The Three Kingdoms
Legends tell of the origins of Zerithian culture as a gathering of tribes to battle incursions of goblin-folk from the Starkspit Mountains. There is little doubt that the Kingdom of Zerithia is the modern successor of that tradition, and people from Zerithia never let anyone else forget it. At the end of First Zerithian Empire, though, several regions became semi-autonomous after the fall of central authority. The Marcher Lords of the east, in particular, had a long history of self-sufficiency and a collective identity around their role as the protectors of the Empire’s restive eastern border. In the long period often called the First Interregnum, starting with the Marcher Lords, and then the peoples of the southern coast, local governments formed that eventually became Kingdoms in their own right (a monarchy being more or less the default form of government anywhere that Relnon is worshipped). Other small states sprang up during this period, but none survived the resurrection of Zerithia as a regional power. The Grenmark and the Kingdom of Westen, however, were given special recognition by Seren III, as part of his efforts to re-establish the Empire. Thus began the tradition of the Empire being composed of the Three Kingdoms.