The Royal Houses, the Church, and the Merchant League conspire to controll all avenues of power. Despite centuries of rule, they just can’t manage it all. A number of minor noble houses still exist, clinging to dwindling fiefs and fading titles, resisting other houses’ attempts to subsume them. Smaller orders and sects strive to gain converts, among the forlorn, forgotten, and heretical. Minor guilds eke out livings beneath the shadows of the League giants, selling wares and services the big guilds ignore. And some among these minor factions are aliens: the simian gannok, the ungulare shantor, the avian etyri, amphibian oro’ym, insectoid ascorbites, and the repitilian hironmen. In the Pax Alexius, any one of them might yet rie above their rivals and claim a voice in the fate of empire.