I’ve heard you have traveled a great distance to be here. On behalf of the Emperor and Empress of Kikuseki, I, Rising Prince Kagayaki Sentaiyo, future emperor of the Kikusekin Empire and wielder of the Light Magic Scepter, welcome you to my empire.
Kikuseki is a gorgeous empire, covered in greenery from its lush forests and fields to its many mountain ranges. I highly recommend you tour our empire when you have the opportunity. The rocky peaks of the empire’s highest mountains pierce the clouds. Nestled in the rocks and cliff paths are monasteries and the occasional outpost and remote village. Steamy jungles with profuse vegetation cover the southern regions. Animals have built towns and cities among the roots of the massive trees and forest canopy. Plants flourish in Kikuseki’s sunny weather and occasional rainy nights. Dark daytime skies are rare, and a bad omen, since we associate them with Roncefleur.
Kikuseki’s fertile land allows our citizens to prosper in farm villages, large cities, jungles, mountains and everywhere in between. We grow more than enough food to feed and provide for our entire population. The rest of our bounty is traded among our vast trading networks. The empire’s economy thrives and the population continue to grow in numbers and wealth, as more Kikusekin can afford finer lifestyles.
Kikuseki’s bounty is due not only to our virtuous lifestyles and hardworking citizens, but also the Light Magic Scepter and Morph Magic Scepter. Roncefleur has been trying to steal both from us for eons. We must prevent it from falling into their paws at all costs. They would use the Morph Magic Scepter for evil. The Many Gods gave Kikuseki both scepters for a reason. Long ago, Kikuseki banned dark magic, so we have no need for Roncefleur’s Dark Magic Scepter. Roncefleur can keep their vile dark magic on their side of the Rift.
Rich Kikusekin enjoy luxuries from around the world, and we adorn ourselves in opulent jewelry and vibrant brocaded silk garments. Most notable are the bejeweled golden sun halos gracing our heads, and especially eminent citizens wear sun halos that also cover their shoulders. Sun halos have gained such cultural significance that elaborate sun halo ceremonies are a vital and celebrated part of Kikusekin high society. These are among the most spectacular sights I have ever seen.
Kikusekin believe our citizens’ prosperity should be displayed to the whole world. What some may call flaunting wealth is not only socially acceptable, but highly encouraged and expected of the nobility. As Kikuseki’s wealth grows, more Kikusekin are wearing sun halos. These show our pride and patriotism for our empire, as well as displaying our prosperity and shining inner virtue on the outside. Although those who contribute the most to our empire reap the greatest benefits, ordinary citizens live more pleasant lives than those in other nations. The dazzling clothes and lavish lifestyles of the elites set trends and inspire adulation among common Kikusekin, and they emulate our culture to the best of their financial ability. I worry that in doing so, some of them spend beyond their means, trying to pursue a lifestyle they cannot afford. Nonetheless, they make their empire proud.
There is a stigma against not wearing or owning gold, with the exception of certain classes like ninja clans and religious orders. Poor Kikusekin often have one or two baubles or bits of gold, as we Kikusekin hold gold sacred, but the poorest among them struggle to afford it. One of my goals is to expand access to gold across the empire.
While different cultures can be found around the empire, many things hold true for all Kikusekin. We are all very comfortable with our place in the world and want to maintain peace and stability. Most Kikusekin are pious. While not all Kikusekin worship the same gods, shrines to the Many Gods are common throughout the empire, decorated as lavishly as their communities can afford. Kikusekin believe in maintaining the prosperity of their empire no matter what it takes, and thank the Many Gods for what they have. One common saying among Kikusekin was popularized by a past empress: to keep Kikuseki peaceful, bountiful, and beautiful, we must be grateful, respectful, and dutiful. We value tranquility, but we are not afraid to fight for what we have.