Bishant, sometimes spelled "Bixant", is the capital of The Shantine Empire and the homeworld of the Bishant Trading Company. It has five Aetheric Gates, making it one of the most strategically important worlds in the cosmos for Aetheric navigation and commerce.
Conquered eons ago by the Prophet-King Adarnum (before his ascension as Kirva's archangel), Bishant became a logistics hub for the Kirvan legions and remained a holy world of the Kirvan Church and a stronghold of The Knights of Adarnum well after the end of The Pantheon War. Several minor empires emerged from Bishant over the millennia, and the Knights of Adarnum kept the world semi-autonomous for most of the era of The Mage Imperium. After the depopulation of Aeldrum in the latter days of the Imperium, Bishant enjoyed a brief ascendancy as the dominant trade capital of the cosmos, but the general collapse of civilization that followed swiftly diminished the volume of commerce passing through its gates. The subsequent invasion of Bishant by an orcish warhost left the planet ravaged for centuries. It recovered just as Dres'Fialt carved out his empire, leaving Bishant as a bulwark of the Kirvan faith against The Lords of the Pentacle but unable to reclaim its moment of glory.
In more recent centuries, Bishant has developed a more robust state apparatus to match the prominent Kirvan Church. The Knights of Adarnum, weakened by a series of crusades and reconquests, were unable to maintain the Church's iron grip on Bishant, and a princely state with historic ties to the ancient ruling houses that served as political clients of the Mage Imperium rose to global leadership. This state swiftly became The Shantine Empire and forged a partnership with the Knights of Adarnum. The Empire soon absorbed the worlds conquered by the Shantine Kirvan Church. Within its moderate but growing sphere of influence, Bishant became dominant, and Shantine became the lingua franca. Bishant continues to expand its reach, and the Shantine Empire currently consists of about two dozen moderately to highly developed worlds, with dozens of far-flung colonies and, along the edges of Fialta space, a handful of protectorates.
The expansion of the Shantine Empire into the periphery of the Fialta states sparked tensions. After the last Fialta war with the Orcish Republic, the Church of Valdos and several lords of the Thalranese Marches joined forces with a number of lesser Fialta neighbors to the Shantine to stage a full invasion of the empire's frontier.
Life in the Empire is still heavily influenced by Kirvanism, though other faiths are (grudgingly) permitted; Idolmar, The God of Healing is considered one of the more acceptable alternatives. Worship of The Lords of the Pentacle is discouraged at the best of times and more often met with violence; the role of the Fialta as standard bearers of the Pentacle has transformed this attitude into outright state persecution, spearheaded by the Knights of Adarnum. Despite these issues of religion, The Shantine Empire is fairly cosmopolitan in other regards; its human emperor and predominantly human grandees do not share the supremacist attitudes of the elvish rulers of Aeldrum, and the Empire has a primitive set of legal protections for its inhabitants.
- See also: Shantine Imperial Army
A century before the Unification of Aeldrum, the Bishant Trade Company was established. Restrictive property laws on Bishant made investing in corporate shares of the BMC one of the few outlets for capital held by non-gentry, turning the company into a private representative of the Third Estate. Consequently, the Imperial Court vies for influence with the Kirvan Church and the Bishant Merchant Company.