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There are Toreologists who spend their whole careers studying just one period for one house of one nation during the warring states era. Land and loyalties switched around like plains rivers during a storm, but a stalemate between five remaining ringdoms held off unification for three generations. The details of this struggle make up much of the high art on Torei, and people sometimes identify culturally by which of the five empires they descend from rather than which of the current ringdoms they currently live.

There was a courtesan named Theca or Nebla (depending on the language of the tale), and the emperor of Falon made a grand present of her to the emperor of Prellatia. This gift was part of a court gesture of great magnitude, but war demanded the Falonian emperor’s attention at the home front. So he locked her into Falon’s symbols of state (scepter, crown, and boots) and sent her along with an escort formed of his most trusted palace guards. He would be present in a ceremonial sense, and would arrive in person later to wear the diadem once more.

By the time Theca reached Prellatia, the war in Falon had claimed the lives of the four emperors. The Prellatian emperor gloated, and tried to take the crown from Theca’s head. Her guards dispatched this ruler expertly, and in a legendary battle managed to hold the Prellatian palace.

There were further battles, but within a year all of the noble houses on Torei were swayed by Theca’s calls for peace. She was but a slave, yet she wore the Falonian and Prellation crowns. She seduced hundreds of powerful men who came to her court, and each man felt he owned a piece of her. The planet was tired of war, and Theca offered a new model for human self-rule.

In a coronation ceremony that is the subject of all the great murals and hangings on Torei, she bound herself with circlets made from the crowns of the five empires: one on each ankle, one on each wrist, and Falon’s about her throat. The remaining symbols of state were made into a multi-colored chain that kept her locked to the throne for the rest of her life. Torei now knew life without war for the first time since it had settled the equator.

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