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  1. Disclaimer: Some of you will probably have already seen the MOC or read the story on Flickr, but I wanted to post it here as well for completeness' sake. So if you've already read the accompanying story, feel free to read it again but if you don't want to, you won't miss out since it's copy-paste from Flickr . Only very little is known about the secluded Gerlo Empire. What scarce information the Madrician nations do possess comes mostly from hearsay via traders, for no Northerner has ventured into the Gerlo Empire, since a failed Oléonese expedition nearly hundred years ago. The search for new trade partners and markets in southern Halos yielded no tangible advantage of value to the Crown and brought mostly death and misfortune to those who participated - abroad and at home. Only a few copies of the annals of the expedition remain and are kept safely hidden away from the public by the Inquisition, but most were destroyed. Legends and folk tales surrounding the expedition have sprung up, but they are only told in hushed tones. The omnipotent Faith is always ready to protect its flock from incursive thoughts of heresy. For such was the terrible fate that befell some members of the expedition. Apostates who turned their backs on the Aplynician gods in favour of the so-called "Greater Good" preached amongst those who live on the Roof of the World: the Celestial Sky Realm - the Gerlo Empire The Gerlo Empire as we call it in the North, is a misnomer brought forth by the forlorn voyage. It is a bastardized version of Ghur-Lang, which means "empire of Ghur" in the Gerlong tongue. "Ghur" referring to the chief sky deity and "Lang" being an indication of political territory. The Gerlo Empire is, despite its name, a theocracy. While named after a sky deity, all life is centered around the religion of Nirvan Emmet: the Enlightened Master Builder who unified the warring tribes in Greater Harmony. By mastering all elements, his mind and vision were clear and only thus was he able to bring balance and build the nation. Followers of Emmetism still strive to find balance in life and master the elements. They live the Path to Greater Harmony in search of Enlightenment and the ability to build their own lives in mindfulness. In honor of the Master Builder, many stupas dot the mountain tops and villages, often holding a shrine with an image of the Nirvan Emmet. Their forms represent the elements - the building blocks of all life, and are decorated with flags also referring to the five elements: wind, water, fire, earth and space - the cornerstones of everything. Priests or lamas are often found near them and are easily spotted by their signature red monastic clothing. On the build: As some of you might already know or have read somewhere, I was away traveling in Nepal for a while in the beginning of the year and was inspired there to build this. I sketched the idea in my notebook, based on stupas I saw there and the information I learned. Obviously, I wanted to LEGO-fy the concept and merge and tweak the philosophy with that of Emmetism (which was introduced tongue-in-cheek during an earlier MOC of mine) - hence, the shape of the stupa is that of a LEGO brick: the building stone of life and the master element . None of the story surrounding the Gerlo Empire is canon in BOBS world, but I based it on some rough outlines I wrote down a year or so ago. I have also sketched a Monomonto-type Emmetist temple which I also want to build in the future, but I still have to finetune the idea and design. To my fellow Oléonders: I know this doesn't help the war effort in the slightest . But it was fresh on my mind and I wanted to build it. I have a larger backstory, but this will have to do for now.