Two ideas spun off from an observation about a Green Lantern comic, thanks to Rose Bailey:
The Empire Of Tears was a throwaway reference in an Alan Moore story, which was expanded on decades later by other writers, along with other references like the Five Inversions which became a group of five demonic beings rather than five things that first demon famously inverted (or one thing he inverted five times)...
So alternate meanings crop up.
“Don’t you see, Clara... we’ve been pronouncing it wrong!”
1: The Empire Of Tears as in crying is the first likely reading. This suggests a vast space empire given over to despair, perhaps by monsters who want or need that (which is the way they went) or perhaps for some other reason. Its leaders are in mourning or filled with existential despair, perhaps, or to make it more threatening they have a nihilistic drive to destroy everything.
2: The Empire Of Tears as in rips. I’m picturing Viking-style raiders who can create teleport gates by shredding holes in reality to get where they need to go. Like the false gods of Stargate but even more able to get into anywhere they want.