A long time ago, before the coming of spirits to the world, there ruled a human empire. This human empire stretched over land and sea, and was prosperous and powerful. The emperor ruled from Varantium, as head of the Faloran Empire.
When the spirits came, the nature of the world changed. Spirits interfered in the affairs of man, pacting and sparking and growing more powerful. Eventually, some spirits grew so powerful that they had massive followings, and were known as the Archons. The Archons took over control of the empire, dividing it into spheres of influence. The emperor was helpless, the title becoming increasingly meaningless with each passing emperor. Eventually, the last emperor died and the crown was not passed down, because the title did not mean anything any more. On that day, the empire became the Holy Dominion of Archanicus, and its capital was moved inland. The Archons officially ruled over the empire, and expanded it hungrily.
Meanwhile, the southernmost parts of the old Faloran Imperium splintered off, considering themselves the one and only true successor to the Falorian legacy.
The Holy Dominion ensured the privilege of spirit over man through Common Law, which also held the Dominion together. This Common Law was upholded by the Arbiter, an Archon of order keeping the Dominion together.
Over time, any technological advancements were suppressed, because the Archons did not want humans to find ways to live without magic. When gunpowder was invented in Varantium, the Archons hurried to destroy that technology. This ignited a revolution, and led to the Battle of Shatterbridge in which the Faloran rebels of Varantium retreated south, to the Faloran island homeland to which the Dominion was connected by a giant bridge. The rebels then destroyed the bridge, and the Faloran Wars began.