The Kaunian Empire was an ancient superpower in eastern Derlavai ruled by Kaunians. It grew out of the First Kaunian Kingdom.[1] At its height, the Kaunian Empire included the ethnic Kaunian lands of Valmiera and Jelgava, as well as northern and eastern Algarve, the islands of Sibiu, the lands that later became Forthweg and Yanina, and even the western tip of Kuusamo, a kingdom whose inhabitants, culture, and language were all heavily affected by their contact with ancient Kaunian colonists.

The Empire never annexed Ortah, which was protected by its harsh mountainous terrain, or Zuwayza, whose unforgiving desert made conquest impractical; however, economic interaction did introduce Kaunian culture into both those places. The Empire never extended into western Unkerlant or Gyongyos; to the Gyogyosians the Empire was simply the subject of rumors and traders' tales, and vice versa.

The Kaunian Empire eventually collapsed under pressure from Algarvian tribes growing in military and sorcerous strength. Its territory was either divided between various Algarvic tribes or became the forerunners of modern Derlavai's kingdoms. Kaunian culture, however, proved more durable, becoming the foundation of Derlavaian civilization. Classical Kaunian was taught in schools in all nations and provided a common language of scholarship, diplomacy and magecraft.

Literary comment[]

Kaunas is the name of the second-largest city in Lithuania. Most Kaunian names are in fact Lithuanian, or from neighboring languages such as Latvian.

Within the Darkness series the Empire's history and cultural legacy are based largely on the Roman Empire, while the modern Kaunians are analogous to the European Jews of World War II.


  1. Jaws of Darkness, p. 455, HC.