A LOOK AT LIZARDS
The Ancient Empire is the oldest, continuously existing empire in Rivellon. Ruled by the ever-proud and often imperious lizards, the empire rests its foundations on a rich, if rigid cultural framework honed in millennia-old traditions. Centuries pass, wars are waged, catastrophes wreak havoc, but the lizards' walls still stand untoppled. Their palaces face the ages undaunted. Incense wafts from eternal flames in elaborately carved temples. It has always been like so, and no single lizard doubts that is how it will always remain.
Three households, all alike in dignity
Lizard society revolves around the three axes of power that are the great houses: The House of War, the House of Law and the House of Dreams.
The most powerful and influential house is the House of War. Within this intricate construct of noble families, all lizard emperors are born. Their main seat is the imposing Forbidden City: a vast complex of palaces and fortresses that lies at the heart of the empire's capital. From here they dominate a continent's worth of empire and direct campaigns of war against any enemy foolish enough to challenge lizard rule. They are also the only house that uses, imports and sells slaves, a practice that began with the conquering of foreign enemies centuries ago, and is very much frowned upon by the rest of Rivellon's peoples (and to some extent the other Houses).
The only force to temper their lofty ambitions is the House of Law, which outranks the House of War on paper, though not quite in practice. Nevertheless, the Assembly of Thousand is in never-ending session at the capital's court, ever passing and amending laws, and judging over every conceivable infraction, no matter how minute, committed anywhere in the empire. It is also the Assembly in its entirety that has to give permission for the House of War to actually to go to war. If it weren't for these more level-headed, and more politically and diplomatically inclined judges, the Ancient Empire might be in a permanent state of war.
The least prominent, but probably most respected house, is the House of Dreams, a semi-religious institution made up of Dreamers: mystics that can travel the dream world at will. It is in this strange realm that they chance upon prophecy, and many prominent Dreamers serve in myriad roadside temples as oracles of fortune. It is said some of them even brave the boundaries of sleep and venture into the dark of nightmares. Such a journey is extremely dangerous and will most likely result in madness or death, but the boons -some claim- can be quite literally otherworldly.
Lastly, there are ever fearful whispers of the clandestine House of Shadows, but these rumours are never substantiated and no one within the Ancient Empire acknowledges the existence of any such organisation.