The Thyatian Empire was once the dominant regional power, and is still a large empire, but one whose focus is increasingly eastward, and whose control over its former western provinces is increasingly tenuous. But the fact still remains that Darokin, the Five Shires, Karameikos, Irendi and the Minrothad Guilds are all former provinces of the Empire, and their legal, political and religious systems are all still conditioned by this.
The Thyatian empire itself is a centralised empire, but an empire of this size, especially one based on so many land-masses requires a degree of decentralisation. This is provided by dividing the empire into provinces, each ruled by a Duke with full military and civil powers over his province. The main focus of the empire is now an existential confrontation with the ancient empire of Alphatia, to the east, which explains the lack of focus on the west, where there is no comparable threat.
The imperial throne, while nominally hereditary, is actually held by force of arms, and the nature of the empire, with independent Dukes with strong personal military powers means that there are frequent coups, rebellions and civil wars. The Emperor needs to be a strong figure, and have a good personal following among the military – an emperor who does not campaign actively, or loses battles, runs the risk of being replaced by a popular and successful duke. The main benefits that the emperor possesses, as well as the imperial bureaucracy, is the Imperial College of Magic, and the Imperial Guard, especially the Aerial Guard.
Thyatia has some of the best magical training in the world, at the Imperial College of Magic, and also some of the most restrictive laws on magic users. All children who show strong magical potential are required to enroll at the Imperial College of Magic, where they are trained in both magical skill and in loyalty to the empire and the emperor. All magicians of 5th level or higher are required to register with the local authorities and report their whereabouts every seventh day to the Imperial College, unless on imperial business that requires secrecy. All foreign magicians of 5th level or higher are required to declare themselves to the authorities when they arrive in Thyatia, and every time the move into a new province, and are required to wear a black robe with white border at all times in order to indicate their status to all observers. Magicians of 9th level or higher are required to wear a black robe with a silver border, and those of 20th level or higher a black robe with a gold border.