The State, Imperia
Xinke Han is one of the most famous figures in military history. He has been a part of almost every major military, from the second Royal Guard to the most recent incarnation of Imperia. His skills and talents are well-known, though his long lasting history has not been elaborated on often.
Xinke's name is based on Li Xing-ke, a General in the famous anime "Code Geass" known for his great intellect and practically unmatched fighting skills.
Xinke first started playing sometime in the month of July of the year 2011. Looking for a Zelda-esque game on the App Store, he would eventually find Graal Online Classic, a title that had graphics very similar to 16-bit games, especially the third Legend of Zelda title. When he first started, he titled himself "Angel Link" due to his character looking like Link, but with a halo on his head. He would roleplay in the Burger Refuge for a few hours before starting an adventure to explore all of Graal. To do this, he logically thought he would need a horse. However, since he did not have either the house or customization pack, he could not farm in his house safely. Thus, he would begin farming in the wild, near what used to be MoD tower (now Master Li's dojo).
Upon beginning his epic quest of amassing 2500 gralats for a basic horse, Xinke was faced with a group of PKers of the guild "TR0N". These PKers harassed him the moment he arrived in the farming area, forcing him to either retaliate or be food for the other Graalians. Thus, he began killing PKers whenever he saw them, in a sort of vengeance. He took up the name of "Hunter of the Dark" to illustrate his tendency to attack PKers. Xinke's skills as a PKer quickly developed, as he forced himself to attack players much better at the game than itself. His player kills numbered less than 300 at the time, yet he faced opponents with more than 2000 kills. Eventually, Xinke adapted to the TR0N members' skills and managed to fight them off fairly.
Around the 20th of July, Xinke would invite one of his real life friends to play Graal. They would manage to get a horse together and form a small guild. However, three days later, his friend would tell him that "he was bored of the game" and that "it had no content, no quests, nothing to do". Xinke stayed a bit longer, thinking it was about time he go on an adventure. With the help of his trusty mount, he would travel the entirety of Graal...in less than an hour. Disappointed, both in the time spent getting the horse and in the size of the map, he told himself that he would quit Graal the next day if he found nothing interesting.
The next day, the 24th of July, Xinke ventured in Graal City through the most western entrance. There, he would meet Auel and the Royal Guard, who were in the middle of a recruitment rally. A man named "Kycle the Great" messaged him.
Kycle: "What do you want to be?"
Xinke: "I want to be a knight."
Kycle: "Very well."
And just like that, Xinke was recruited to the Royal Army, a branch of the Royal Guard. He would not know, but this guild would make him stay in Graal for 4 years, spanning his entire time in high school.
The Royal Army
After being recruited in the Royal Army, Xinke was immediately ordered to the castle, for the purpose of defending the Royal Family from PKers. Obviously, he was very thrilled, having finally something to do. However, as he arrived to the castle, he realized that this new guild wasn't all roses. Firstly, he was ordered to do a very boring job: guard duty. If he did not comply, he would be kicked. Secondly, he was assigned under Kentiman, a commander known for his intolerance of new players. Finally, while Xinke could fight off enemies with roughly 2000 kills, he could not fight against the towerers that had well over 10000 kills. Yet, even with all these negatives, he loved the Royal Guard. He had a purpose. He had a duty. He was important, to some degree, and that was all that mattered. So, everyday, he would log on to Graal Online Classic for a good three to four hours and guard the throne room of the castle. Not once did he complain, and not once did he disobey the authority. He was the perfect foot soldier; gullible, hard-working, a quick learner and most of all, active. So, in the few days that he was in the Royal Guard, he managed to catch Margrave Auel's attention. At the time, Xinke still had his name of "Hunter of the Dark", a long and easily forgettable name. He also a terrible look. Thus, he asked Auel to name him. The Margrave threw names at him, some mythological, one biblical, and finally, he said "Xinke". To him, it was perfect; quick, short, easy to remember and unique. Thus, "Hunter of the Dark" became Xinke. With this new name, he changed his look to a more knight-like appearance.
During his time in the Royal Guard, Xinke became acquainted with a few officers of the Royal Guard. At the time, all officers were either of royal origins or they were guild leaders. Thus, he began to talk to individuals such as Kentiman, Warclaw, Zearos, Harau, Ryzallion, The Wandering Troubadour, Eazallar, King Auel and Margrave Cordias/Auel. Some of them, he disliked, some of them, he liked. His opinions were mostly superficial, since being a common soldier, he was not yet important. Some, like the Margrave, already sensed some potential. Others, like Harau, did not care about royal grunts, especially at the time of the split between Imperia and the Basceys that would later lead to the First War. However, with everyday that passed, his skills as a warrior improved, and so did his value. Eventually, days before the first Graal Sparring Tournament, Xinke was accepted in the GST team of the Royal Guard as a sub, as a sort of mark of respect for his combat skills. By that point, he had roughly 1000 kills, 500 of them coming from defending the throne room.
Soon after the GST, Margrave Auel, who had succeeded King Auel after the latter's death, would propose a plan, to revolutionize the Royal Guard and create something greater, something better than just a Royal Family and a couple of soldiers. It would be an idea, an Eden, a force for good, a player-run government. That idea was Imperia.
The First Imperia
Before Imperia was made, there was a lot of controversy on the topic. Much like how the State had a lot of controversy when it first started, Imperia was originally deemed a stupid idea. Most Royals deemed Imperia an impossible endeavor, a sort of wild fantasy, while a very small minority thought it was a good idea. Xinke belonged to the former clan. Originally, he thought that Imperia was biting more than you could chew. The Royal Family and the Royal Guard were doing fine, always growing slightly, reaching previously unheard of numbers at roughly 7-10 people online at any time. Imperia just seemed like a good way to disorganize all this and destroy the established order. Some people even thought of rebelling, thus forcing Auel to keep the Royal guilds. However, Auel maintained that Imperia would work, and that the empire had been well planned. And so, people trusted him, and they were not disappointed.
At first, Imperia would have its branches created by competent individuals of the Royal Guard and Royal Army, so that the Royal guilds would only be transferred later. So, individuals such as Xinke, Warclaw and others were promoted to the rank of Captain. Imperian Captains were chosen for their activity, fighting skills, loyalty and most of all, their will to improve. Margrave Auel met with each captain personally to announce their promotion to them and give them his congratulations. Later, Zaer, who was chosen as the King of Imperia for his knowledge in the ways of nobility, would publicly announce the new captains of Imperia.
On launch day, the King and the chosen captains allied their guilds and started working on their guilds. Though it would not be formally said, Imperia was based upon a series of ideals that would lead spearhead its rocket during the years 2011 and 2012. Firstly, Imperia would be based on several traditional Christian values. Such values included justice, glory, retribution and order. Secondly, Imperia would be based around kingdoms of the Middle Ages, with a strong ruling monarchy and a small, well-trained army. It would also have in its later stages citizens of Imperia, who would live under royalty. Thirdly, the Royal Army, Royal Guard and Royal Family would be parts of Imperia, and as such there would always be an elite guild, a Kingdom-esque guild and the remaining allies would serve as shock troops. This ideal of Imperia would be more prominent as time went on. Fourthly, Imperia would work to assimilate similar minded guilds in the hope of creating a player-run government. Small time guild leaders would be made princes and princesses if deemed intelligent enough. Finally, Imperian captains and commanders would be left alone in managing their guilds. As such, they could choose their own rank systems (with some ranks mandatory for everyone), manage their member base, and could choose their own theme. This highly liberal approach allowed the royalty and high officers of Imperia to focus on driving Imperia based on objectives, not on how many members were in each guild. If ever a captain or commander became inactive or incompetent, he would simply be kicked out of the alliance and deemed a non-threat, especially since he had just demonstrated he could never amass troops.
When Xinke was first told he was being given an Imperian guild, he was quite thrilled. At this point in time, he had come to look up to Auel and the commanders, even his own commander, Kentiman. He wished he could one day be worthy of the title "Commander" and be invited to the high officer meetings. As such, he saw this guild as both an excellent opportunity and fun endeavor. However, he lacked a very important trait to manage his guild: charisma. Xinke, at least at this point in time, was not very charismatic, and the high degree of freedom of Imperia acted as a double-edged sword that would force him to manage his own guild without anybody's help. As such, he titled his guild "The Imperial Cavalry" (since back then Imperian guilds were called Imperial) and began recruiting as much as possible. The new captain recruiting a mere 5 active members before the end of Imperia. Part of the problem consisted in Xinke's high standards, the other part being a lack of charisma and people skills. However, other Imperian captains had success. They managed to keep a stable 15-20 people at all times, with some members more active than others. The Kingdom guild, simply titled "Imperia", was reserved for the eventual transfer of the Royal Family to Imperia, and was thus simply composed of Auel and Zaer. The other soldier guilds included a Vanguard guild dedicated to being the final defense of the Imperian Army, as well as two guilds full of shock troops dedicated specifically to end battles quickly and effectively.
The First Imperia was ambitious in every sense of the word. It was rapidly growing due to the independence of the captains, allowing the officer core to dedicate their time to meetings and empire wide activities. As such, there were plans to create a civilian section of Imperia, the first civilian idea of its kind, as well as ideas to have sections of Imperia dedicated to towering, guarding the castle and even Graal city. Propaganda began rising, in the form of legends mostly. Legends include the legend of how whichever guild conquers all towers at the same time would obtain the power to send mass messages to Graalians, or the legend of how one could manage Graal City by conquering all towers and entering the Golden Portal. Such propaganda pushed the Imperians forward in their purpose. Xinke, as all captains, spat out the propaganda religiously, making sure all knew the legends, even believing some of them. These legends would push him on to work harder at both training and recruiting.
Several changes in rankings occurred in Imperia's times. Several Royal Guards became commanders and vice versa. Some of the most famous include Zearos and Ryzallion. Auel's own position rose, going from Margrave to unofficial king. Several more Imperian lieutenants became captains, and some older members were promoted so as to free up space within the guilds for new people. The Royal Family started losing some power, as they were now under the protection of the King and were not subject to the same law as the Royal Army and Royal Guard. Imperia was thriving, with every rank change being an actually needed rank change, and not merely someone's greed speaking. Quickly, it would become a force to truly reckon, with a skyrocketing record in activity, easily reaching over 12 people active in a single day.
Yet, like all good things, they must come to an end. Towards the middle-end of August, Auel announced the bad news; he was leaving Graal. The reason he gave was to go do some good in the real world, to do miracles. The guild chat exploded quickly after Auel's announcement, with the Commanders and the King trying to quell people's anger and confusion. However, in the midst of all this confusion, an event that would mark Imperian history, as well as Xinke's legacy, would occur. Auel messaged him: "Do you want to become the new King of Imperia?" Xinke did not answer for a long time, thinking through the question time and time again. On one side, it was quite thrilling. It would be the ultimate underdog story, of how in one empire, a soldier rose from the weakest dog in the battalion to the King of the entire kingdom. Yet, at the same time, it bounded him to a legacy as a King. It forced him to keep Imperia alive, as much as for others' pleasure as well as a matter of reputation. As such, after 5 minutes of inner debating, Xinke answered Auel with a heartfelt answer:
"No, I do not wish to become King of Imperia. You and I have different dreams, even though I've followed you loyally. I cannot follow your dream for your sake, it would not be right. And as such, I would never ask you to achieve my dream, my dream of fixing this game from the inside out by becoming an admin. You want a player-run government, but I just want to clean up the staff and restore it to something worthwhile. So, I thank you for this opportunity, and I will be happy to help you if ever you need it again, but this is not for me."
Auel simply answered "Very well", whether out of frustration, disappointment or another emotion it is unknown. This event would mark the first of many drifts in Auel and Xinke's relationship, denoting the latter as rebellious and to have a tendency to do things in his own way. It is unknown what would have become of Imperia had Xinke accepted the mantle of King, though it can be guessed that it would have crashed the same as if Auel had simply left, since the young captain was both not charismatic enough and simply not Auel.
As such, the First Imperia died without its leader, with its members scattering and its power dissipating. Yet, the flames of the Imperians would not die out, not now, not ever. They would rise from adversity, conflict, plotting and even admin attacks time and time again, whether under Auel, Xinke or Zaer's kingship. The Legacy was not ending, it was only beginning.
As Imperia crashed, Xinke entered a time of uncertainty. He could remain with the friends he had made in Imperia and hopefully re-create something worthy, or he could start towering and become more active within the popular community of towerers to pursue his goals of becoming an admin. This would be the revolving theme of his trailblazing and would eventually culminate in his decision to follow Auel in his quest for a player government, abandoning his own dream in the process.
His trailblazing started in the most basic manner, with Xinke exploring Graal once again. Now, equipped with a lamp, which he previously did not have, he explored the whole of Deadwood and Snowtown. This time around, with his military experience, he began to realize Graal's map was much bigger and much better than it seemed. Tight caves, that looked like simply narrow and ugly to the average player, held a strategic value for the young captain, serving as a perfect ambush spot. Snowtown, with its special terrain, seemed like a very good fighting zone when dealing with newer armies not used to traditional terrain. In short, Xinke begun appreciating Graal's map and its potential.
A mere two days after Imperia crashed, Kentiman contacted Xinke to invite him to trailblaze together. They begun reminiscing of old, fun times, and their bond developed from one of mutual disrespect to one of friendship. Kentiman showed his old soldier secret spots within Graal and told him of history, teaching him about pre-Royal Guard empires, legends such as Insignia and Rufus Shinra, and of the crimes the admins had committed. Over roughly three days, Xinke learnt much about Imperia and how it came to be, especially things he had not had access to considering his rank and failure as a captain. Kentiman also told his old soldier of something every old officer deemed "Auel's madness". It was said that with every new empire, Auel and Cordias, who had taken his name, grew madder with power, less caring and more focused on the end.
On the 6th day after the crash of Imperia, Kentiman and Xinke came across a man named "Leua", who was Auel in disguise, doing his own trailblazing. They briefly talked, during which Auel said a few quotes that he would be ashamed of. However, he also told his two subordinates that there was something brewing, a new creation coming soon. It was going to be much more economical, and much less medieval. Obviously, the two were very thrilled to hear Auel talk of a new creation with such passion. As such, they began to spread the word to their old friends, like the Wandering Troubadour, Zearos (at the time Kantor), Ryzallion and Richard Damian. Quickly, the old Imperian officer base grew excited at the thought of an economic empire.
For the next four days, Xinke traveled alone, thinking of his past, present and future. He briefly joined a towering guild and as quickly he left it. It was not for him, at least not yet. He began pondering about militaries, if they were truly so fun he could join another one so soon. Imperia had been what he thought would be a once in a lifetime experience, and yet here was the possibility of yet another one. Xinke questioned the moral and practical aspects of continuing alone or joining Auel once again for the longest time, until on the 10th day he decided he would join Auel. He thought that while he could never carry out Auel's dreams for him, and that he would probably never follow him completely, Auel and his empires remained the only path to take. It both brought power and order. It was perfectly balanced, a sort of real-life fairytale of the internet.
As such, on the 10th day, Xinke received the message from Auel, inviting him to join the Shinra Corporation.
Shinra started quite dramatically, with the proposal of a plan to revolutionize Graal by creating a corporation that would manage all trade between Graalians. Whether it be simple code trading or large transactions of guilds, Shinra would have a hand in it, and most of all, a share of it. Shinra would span much larger than Imperia simply because it would not require physical combat to settle disputes of territory, but simply economic power and political connections. As such, the full potential of Imperia's officer core could be used for the singular purpose of managing and running an economy.
At least, that was the plan. Shinra would prove to be a disaster, with investments rarely rewarding the investors and barely any divisions properly set up.
When Xinke first joined Shinra, he began by changing his look to a more business like look. Thus, he adopted a new head and a suit so that he could seem professional in his job. Auel gave him the difficult task of managing the Shinra Housing Division, a division that was heavily reliant on the clients obeying the rules. As can be often seen with most Graalians, obeying the rules is not many people's strong suite. Thus, Xinke built a farm and a proper apartment complex, which was actually quite revolutionary at its time due to its ingenious lock system, yet due to a poor clientele ethic, it could never be profitable. Over time, the landowner of Shinra began coming up with new systems to minimize abuse from his clients, to no avail. Every single time he tried, the Graalians came up with new ways to glitch in the farm, new ways to not pay, new ways to be all-around unethical people. As such, Xinke grew quite angry with the non-military community. This anger would convince him that Auel was right in his approach during the time of the first Imperia. At the time, Auel had stated that a democracy would never work because Graalians were quite frankly either all noobs or all idiots, minus the 1% that belonged to the military community. At the time, Xinke did not believe him, due to his heavy liberal beliefs that the right to vote was an essential part of any society. However, with his new found issues with dealing with the common folks, he realized Auel was right and began pondering just how much more he had been right on.
Shinra itself did not last long. It had barely 5 divisions, three of which barely functioned. The only division that produced some sort of income was the newly formed baby exploitation division, which adopted the babies then guilt-tripped them into farming for the members of the division. However, even if Shinra did not last long (no more than 2 weeks) it had a very big effect on the young land mogul. Firstly, it made him a lot more cynical and easily angered than before. His patience had been gradually decreasing over time since the beginning of the Royal Guard, and with Shinra he finally decided that those who did not deserve help would never deserve it. Secondly, it greatly improved his leadership capabilities. The Shinra Housing Division forced Xinke to communicate with many people and organize everything happening in his own division. Unlike in the First Imperia when he had to deal with only the small numbers of his Cavalry, in this case, he dealt with over 25 people, which forced him to be able to flexibly direct them on what to do and to manage his 1 employee to ensure that they got paid. Finally, Xinke would distance himself from his dream of being an admin. The problem was not the staff, but the average Graalian that hung out at Burger Refuge, or the towerer that dumbly spammed his sword in the hopes of one day getting a hat. As such, the young captain believed that passive conversion from an admin would not work, and only a strong military intervention from Imperia or a similar empire would actually be able to purge the Graalians and make them into intelligent human beings.
Shinra crashed after a mere two weeks, as its members dwindled, its profit shrank and its officers left. Xinke was one of the last few to leave, along with Auel and Troubadour. All three of them believed in Shinra until the end, knowing that an economic empire would be a fantastic thing to manage, but alas, Graal was not and would never be ready.
Following the crash of Shinra, Xinke went trailblazing once again. This time around, he began exploring his combat abilities much more instead of focusing on what he wanted. As such, during this time, Xinke's player kills jumped from 1200 to roughly 2100. With this growth in skills, the young captain also talked with his old pals from Imperia. That is when he heard rumors of the rebirth of Imperia. Obviously, he was quite thrilled to know Imperia was coming back, yet he remembered the failures of both the Imperial Cavalry and the Shinra Housing Division. As such, he seeked to improve from his mistakes and underwent special preparations.
Firstly, Xinke set up a training area in his guild house so that his members could train independently whenever they wanted. This training area had a targeting range, a jousting arena and a pk zone included all in one. Xinke would himself do all the exercises multiple times to test them out, which greatly improved his jousting and archery skills. This model of having a guild house as a training area would be used through nearly all eras of Imperia, and it is still present in all eras of the State.
Secondly, Xinke set up a short training program for his soldiers as well as hours he would do these programs. He had noticed a great lack of coordinated training in Imperia, which will not so important due to the large amount of activities done by the Captains and Commanders, could prove a disaster for the quality of the average Imperian soldier. The reasoning behind having a coordinated training was that real militaries did it, and as such, why should Graal militaries not do it as well?
Thirdly, Xinke chose a look that was easily recognizable and defining. He had been particular about how he wanted his name to defining and unique, and as such he wished to have an equally striking and unique look. So, Xinke spent roughly 1500 gralats trying to win the Sardon RPS hat, bought a 5000 body and got himself a few good looking sword and shield codes. The result was an impressive sleek black and red look that while perhaps a bit noob-like, was also quite avant-garde for the future darker looks in Imperia.
Last but not least, Xinke prepared himself mentally for his new position. He knew his position would involve leading a guild full of soldiers, and considering his previous failures, he would be ranked captain and no more. As such, he began to prepare himself to sacrifice everything for the success of his upcoming guild, no matter if he had to sacrifice his Graal friends or if he had to delve into very unethical methods of obtaining and keeping his soldiers. Thus, he hardened himself and became very serious.
At last, after 10 days of waiting, Xinke was recruited to the new Imperia by Auel himself.
The Second Imperia
The Second Incarnation of Imperia began with a meeting that included all captains, commanders and royal family members. Well over fourteen Imperians showed up to this meeting, eagerly awaiting the start of the new empire. The meeting began with Auel exploring once again the goal of Imperia, this time straying away from conquering towers and focusing more on building a player-built and player-run society. This concept of having a military built as a real empire, with civilians and soldiers, was not unknown to Imperia, however it had not been a top priority previously. This time however, Imperia was focused on being an actual empire and not just a bunch of roleplayers running around. As such, as with every Kingdom, there was a need for a King. Auel was unanimously chosen as King, and thus began handing out tasks. Firstly, he decreed that all guilds could have their own rank system (as in the first Imperia), however they could not make ranks higher than the co-captain/lieutenant, so as to stop power creeping from newer soldiers. Secondly, he assigned all of his previous Commanders and High Officers to lead elite guilds, guilds that would be composed of only the best soldiers. Finally, all Captains or newly appointed Commanders would manage a standard guild that would serve a specific purpose within the Army.
During the meeting, Xinke was given the rank of Commander, a sign that Auel strongly believed in his ability to lead and to manage his own guild, despite previous failures. Some older members were rather disgruntled with that decision, as they considered the newly appointed Commander to only be a hotshot, and to clearly have been brown nosing Auel considering his quick rise in rank. Auel asked him for the theme of his guild, to which Xinke answered "Knights". The King juggled with names such as "The Imperial Knights" and "The Royal Knights", but this time, Xinke chose the name himself. He answered "The Knights of Imperia". Auel, after a little resistance, accepted this nontraditional name. He declared that The Knights of Imperia would be a mixed cavalry and sword unit that would serve as shock troops for the Imperian army. Unknown to most at the time, the Knights would become the elite of Imperia for many generations, with its members basically becoming legends as they were chosen for this guild.
The meeting continued, with matters such as the colors of the uniforms and the new flag being discussed. However, trouble was already brewing. Jade, the Duchess of Imperia and a very highly ranked noble, kept talking and interrupting all the military figures in the meeting to raise her points. Xinke, who was already not a fan of the nobles due to his time in The Royal Army, quickly grew mad at the girl, until he eventually told her unceremoniously to "SHUT THE FU** UP." Jade left shortly after, upset by the lack of respect. This incident would mark the beginning of a conflict between Xinke, and later the rest of the military elite, and the Royal Family of Imperia.
The meeting ended with Auel ordering that Darkblade would be the meeting place of the High Officers, and that SNC would become the main base of operations. As such, all of Imperia headed to SNC to explore the building.