The Yellow Springs, also called the Dark Kingdom of Jade, is a part of the Underworld dedicated to and controlled by the dead of Asia. Wraiths who are used to the relatively laissez-faire government of the Hierarchy found the underworld of the Asian dead controlling and discomfiting.
The Asian Underworld is centered on China, and the Necropolis of Xi'an, where Qin Shihuangdi was buried in the 3rd century BCE. Yellow Springs society is divided into China proper and the Conquered Territories, the rest of Asia (with the exception of the Indian Subcontinent).
In the Tempest proper, the Yellow Springs include the Jade Palace, a mind-bogglingly large complex of fortresses contained within the Tempest. A manufactured Hell, Feng Tu, serves as a torture garden and prison for Yu Huang. The entirety of the Asian Underworld is connected by the Imperial Highway.
The government of the Yellow Springs is an absolute monarchy under the control of Yu Huang, the shade of Qin Shihuang, first emperor of China. During his life, Qin Shihuang enacted a potent magical ritual that allowed him to come into the Underworld armed for conquest – a massive funeral complex, no caul, and an army of immortal guard which dwarfed any military force at the time.
Qin Shihuang conquered China relatively rapidly and instituted a government similar to the bureaucratic and legalistic system that he had developed in his breathing days. To this day, the government of the Yellow Springs is highly intricate, bureaucratic and phenomenally corrupt.
The cornerstone of Yu Huang's power are the Immortal Guard, wraiths mystically bound to their terracotta facsimiles at Xi'an. These entities are absolutely loyal to the Emperor and possess powers beyond most normal wraiths, Yu Huang has approximately ten thousand of these soldiers in his service (although he cannot replace them) and they are to this day the only things he trusts in the Underworld.
Underneath this layer of official government, which covers everything from the external military to bureaucracy governing interaction with the living, is a familial system. Asian wraiths are part of their families in life and death; wraiths without a family do not last long. The families jockey for power with each other, seeking to place members in the bureaucracy and the military, as well as to control the flow of relics and jade. In the modern era, Communist Chinese have created communist families in reaction to the more profoundly traditional families of the Yellow Springs.
The Dark Kingdom of Jade exists primarily for the perpetuation and comfort of Yu Huang, and its primary purpose is to prevent a revolt from eliminating him. Several revolts have punctuated the history of the Jade Kingdom, and Yu Huang is relentlessly paranoid about another one actually succeeding. To that extent, the Chinese of the Underworld maintain a relatively prosperous existence, while the Conquered Territories are fit for nothing more than relics and souls to be converted into White Jade.
Economy And Technology
Consider paper; any bureaucracy requires vast amounts of the stuff to keep running. That said, sheets of 8½ × 11 college-ruled foolscap are generally not emotionally resonant enough to cross the Shroud as a relic. Most people would give up. Yu Huang is not most people.
The Dark Kingdom of Jade's solution to the paper shortage is the Eunuch: a wraith drained of all will but the ability to record information, and moliated to contain a sort of keyboard. Eunuchs are used to record and transmit messages, maintain records, even serve as signposts. The Yellow Springs not only uses Eunuchs, but it manufactures them in the thousands annually.
While soulforging is abominable, the jade-based economy of the Yellow Springs combined soulforging with mass manufacture. Yu Huang has very few compunctions about making something from nothing, as it were, and where Stygia is composed of the memory of buildings, and most Stygian construction has a certain patchwork quality due to the use of relics, the aesthetics and economy of the Yellow Springs means that many more things are built from scratch and screams. So much so that if Yu Huang used the dead of China for his purposes, he would face perpetual revolt.
The economy of the Yellow Springs is consequently tiered. The oppressive, but not too horrible, government of China proper takes a tithe of souls, and uses Feng Tu as a mechanism for acquiring fresh souls to convert into Jade. Yu Huang squeezes, but the alternatives are not necessarily any better. However, in the Conquered Territories, you are fit only for the forges as fast as possible.
Relations With Stygia
The Yellow Springs is pitilessly expansionistic and had already fought several indecisive engagements with Stygia by the 1950s. However, at the close of the 20th century, Yu Huang launched a full-fledged assault on Stygia, stopped only by the Sixth Great Maelstrom.
- Emperor Yu Huang
- Judge Li Gao
- Judge Zu Fai Wan
- Warlord Peng Xin
- Archgovernor of the Conquered Territories Wong Tse-Tong
- General Protector Shih Hua-Nui
- Jade Censor Hu Ji
- Favored Courtesan Lei-Zu
- Stygian Ambassador Herr Holbein