The Tathatan is a region in the West straddling the Tathata River. It is not to be confused with the Tathatan religion, which takes its name from the same river. It’s fertile plains and mineral-rich hills gave rise to the Dwarven civilization that eventually forged the Empire.
Seven city-states comprise the Tathatan. From west to east along the Tathata River, there is Indirah on the coast, Tragara in the middle, and Bara-xi at the source of the river in the Tianshu Mountains. North of Indirah, bordering the Iron Forest, is Nilan. South of Indirah is Arjunasi, and south of that is Qaruna. Finally, the island state of Punj lies off the coast of Arjunasi.
Indirah is currently the largest and most powerful of the seven. Qaruna profits from trade along the southern sea routes. Punj is home to the Great Library of Punj and the Grand Seer of the Atmahan religion. Bara-xi was once the spiritual center of the Empire, but it was destroyed in The Conquest, and now lies in ruins. Tragara and Arjunasi are breadbaskets of farming. Nilan is a rocky region known best for its warriors.
The cities of the Tathatan sprang up around BZY600 (about 1600 years ago) with the arrival of agriculture and urbanism from the East. They did not achieve a unified identity until about 500 years later, when iron-working Dwarves from the Tianshu mountains invaded and set themselves up as overlords. The Tathatan League was established in BZY99 to drive out the Tianshu raiders, resulting in a prolonged struggle called the Iron Wars. Finally, in BZY25, the Peace of Thauma established the autonomous self-rule of Tianshu raider kingdoms in the Iron Forest and the Tathatan city-states to the south. After this, the city-states grew enormously in power and pushed over the Tianshu Mountains into the East. There they found a Goblinoid civilization severely weakened by plague. In a celebrated campaign, the city-states conquered the Goblinoids and founded the Empire.
In the early years of the Empire, the city-states experienced difficulty and confusion in administering across such vast distances. A more efficient system proved necessary. A bureaucracy with a single Emperor at its head was created. But the city-states feared abuse at the hands of a single leader, so they retained semi-autonomous self-rule and established themselves as the Council of States, a body with power to veto any Imperial decision. The Emperor likewise enjoyed the power to veto decisions by the council. This system of balances persists to this day.