The Empire is one of two warring factions which feature in the first Drakengard game. The Empire is a huge expanse of land ruled from one capital, and its government is known as the Cult of the Watchers, who worship a mysterious pantheon of entities called the Watchers.
The Empire is a stark contrast to its rival, the Union, which is a coalition of many small and insignificant nations and principalities. Before and during the events of Drakengard, the Empire and the Union are at war, and the outcome of the war is inconclusive if anything.
Imperial soldiers are voiced by Richard Epcar.
The Empire is run with little regard given to the wellbeing of the humans that make up it. The majority of the Empire's soldiers are possessed, bloodthirsty killing-machines that have no emotions and whose only wish is to destroy. Their soldiers come in several different types and different ranks.
- Private - the most common kind of Empire soldier, these are found throughout the first Chapters of Drakengard, hold swords and wear kettle helms with large medium-sized shields.
- Private 2nd Class - another common footsoldier, possessing cylindrical helmets, small square shields, and one-handed spears. They are the fodder enemies for later missions.
- Crossbowmen - basic ranged units, crossbowmen wear black armour and can be deadly if their attacks are not blocked or otherwise avoided.
- Brutes - large, menacing-looking soldiers, brutes wield large battleaxes and shields. They are moderately strong, and can be difficult to kill.
- Elites - the most imposing footsoldiers of the Empire. Elites wield enormous swords and huge shields which can block most attacks. They also possess an attack which is unblockable.
In addition, the Empire's soldiers each have their "Red" counterparts. Soldiers with Red armour are resistant to magic, and these can be extremely deadly, as Caim will have to rely on his sword and combo attacks in order to defeat them, as magic attacks or dragonbreath will result in the attack backfiring and possibly wounding Caim.
From time to time, the Empire also enlists the help of various monsters from around the world, such as goblins, ogres and other strange beasts of varying sizes and difficulties. In sky missions, they have large balloon-like contraptions and airships, and occasionally use creatures like gargoyles and gryphons to fight. They do also, at one point, use a large cyclops in a battle with the Union.
The Cult of the Watchers
The Empire's magicians and priests are known as the Cult of the Watchers. These are dangerous mages who can harness magic and use it in battle for various reasons. They can summon creatures such as golems, cast powerful offensive and defensive spells, and even cast illusions to throw attackers off.
The Cult of the Watchers' high priest is a little girl called Manah. Manah was originally from a family of farmers who lived in a valley, but was taken by the Empire, who killed her mother and orphaned her brother, Seere, who later made a pact with a golem. Manah, however, was infested with the evil spirits of the Watchers, and became their minion. She has glowing red eyes, and speaks with two voices; her own voice, that of a little girl, and the voice of the Watchers, a deep, monotone man's voice.
War with the Union
In Drakengard, the Empire is waging war against the Union, its largest and most important rival, and the game opens with the Union's main castle being assaulted by the forces of the Empire. Seeing that his sister, one of the seals, the goddess Furiae, Caim, who is the son of murdered royalty in one of the small states that make up the Union, fights through hordes of demonic Empire soldiers to rescue his sister.
After fighting his way to the castle, Caim, who is severely wounded and dying, sees Angelus chained and nailed down in the Castle bailey. He offers to make a Pact with the dragon, and in exchange for his voice, he is allowed the chance to live and become more powerful than ever before.
Shortly thereafter, he and Inuart, Furiae's betrothed, rescue the Goddess and hide her. However, they are plagued by the Empire forces wherever they go, and it is at this point that the Empire, led by the Cult of the Watchers, begin destroying the many seals that protect the world, hoping to bring about the destruction of the Union and everything else.
Caim fights to stop this, finding several allies in many places, such as the Union's hierarch, Verdelet, a blind forester called Leonard, a sadistic elf called Arioch, and Seere, Manah's brother. There are multiple endings which can be achieved by the player, and, though none turly end with the Empire's destruction, it is assumed that both the Empire and the Union are dissolved shortly after the war.
In Drakengard 2
In the events of Drakengard 2, the last remnants of the Empire (who now are free of the Watchers' strange magics and are human again) live around some of the Districts that are protected by the Knights of the Seal. They are forced to live as martyrs, whose lives are miserable and hard, in order to appease the Knights, and are looked down upon and punished for being the ones who "almost brought about the destruction of the world".
In the District of Soul Flame, in particular, they are downtrodden and weak to the point that Manah, whom they refer to as "Lady Manah", comes and kills Zhangpo, the guardian of the district, and frees the populace, who later rebel and help her in battle several times.