The Middle Kingdom
The Imperial Cult
The Emperor is descended from the great Wuldai dynasty of the late Bronze Age. The Emperor has little temporal power, but he “aligns Earth and Heaven,” keeping the latter (seen as a sinister force) appeased and “at bay.”
Despite the Emperor’s limited temporal power – or perhaps because of it – his theoretical “reign” extends over enormous territory. Almost anywhere the Alaadians go, they continue to send token “tribute” to the Emperor. In return the Emperor extends his protection against heaven’s judgment.
Beyond this token tribute, however, the ordinary Alaadian plays almost no role in the Imperial cult. The common man has to assume the Emperor follows the portents and performs the proper rituals, for he has no part to play in them.