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TEL AKBIR (Duchy of)

Location: Southeastern coast of the continent of Brun, south of Ylaruam, east of the Altan Tepes Mountains, along the shores of the Sea of Dawn. OW

Area: 3,640 sq. mi. (9,430 sq. km.).

Population: 140,000 including the city of Tel Akbir (pop. 20,000), the town of Dawnpoint (pop. 10,000) and the fortress of Zendrol (pop. 3,000).

Languages: Thyatian (Thyatian dialect), Alasiyan (Akbiran dialect).

Coinage: Thyatian Standard: emperor (pp), lucin (gp), asterius (sp), denarius (cp).

Taxes: 25% income tax collected quarterly on the aristocracy, nobility, and wealthy; 20% income tax collected quarterly on everyone else (Va. 1, Ya. 1, Fy. 3, and Ei. 1). Thyatians abroad must still pay their taxes. Expensive and magical items are also taxed 25% of their worth. 10% imperial commercia sales tax on all goods except food, clothing, and fixed assets; levied on imports, rebated on exports. Tax on slave owning equal to 50% of the slave's value annually. Property tax levied based on quality of land, roughly 6% of its value annually.

Government Type: Dominion, member of the Thyatian Empire.

Industries: Agriculture, crafts, oil, shipbuilding, trade, wine.

Important Figures: Tarik ben Nadir (Duke or Sheik, human, male, F15), Farid ben Nadir (Heir, human, male, F9), Jamila ben Nadir (Daughter of Tarik, Runaway and Local Hero, human, female, T12), Sarapammon (Magist, human, male, M20), Ralak Ahman al-Mustafa (Priest, human, male, Pr18 of Protius).

Flora and Fauna: Mulberry trees (for sericulture), grape vines, olive trees, date palms, cedar, peach, pear, orange, and cherry fruit trees in cultivated orchards. Herds of cattle, sheep, horses, goats, and mules. Bees kept for honey. Bears, boars, centaurs, lycanthropes, mountain lions, foxes, dryads, wolves, unicorns and goblinoids can be found in the wilds of the empire.

Further Reading: Dawn of the Emperors boxed set, DDA1 Arena of Thyatis, DDA2 Legions of Thyatis, previous almanacs.

Description by Vivianna Romanones.

This is a grassy duchy inhabited by Thyatians of Alasiyan descent untainted by the cult of the Ylari brigand al-Kalim. The legion keeps a close eye out for Ylari raiders in the area.

The Land

The Duchy of Tel Akbir forms the northern arm sheltering the Gulf of Kantrium, its northern shores an arc sweeping into the waters of the Sea of Dawn. Its frontier with Ylaruam is strongly protected, as raiders and brigands from that land have frequently crossed over the border on forays seeking plunder and rapine. This area is somewhat hilly, but the bulk of the peninsula of Tel Akbir consists of plains and grasslands. Farmsteads line the coastal areas, but most of the interior is given over to pasturage for herds of sheep and goats. Though arid, it is not nearly as dry as the wastes of Ylaruam, receiving rainfall from the gulf and the Sea of Dawn to water its surface.

The city of Tel Akbir itself is strategically located at the tip of the peninsula as it arcs westward, forming the mouth of the Gulf of Kantrium. At its backside, northeast, is a large hill or tel. The city is only easily approached by sea or by the coastal roads. Atop the hill itself is a large citadel containing the palace of the duke. This elegant city functions as a seaport, military base, and entrepôt for the agriculture of the region. Here markets bustle with activities while fishermen and traders ply their trades on the seas. Many orchards and gardens lay within its walls. Tel Akbir's architecture is a blend of Thyatian and traditional Alasiyan-delicate, onion-domed towers soar over many-pillared halls. The common houses are usually of pristine white stucco, box-like but very well maintained. The sight of them covering a hillside is beautiful-despite their simplicity of design, or perhaps because of it, they are very lovely in aspect.

The town of Dawnpoint sits at the eastern tip of the Tel Akbir peninsula, jutting into the Sea of Dawn. Dawnpoint is a smaller replica of Tel Akbir, and sits at the end of a causeway; the town itself is almost surrounded by the sea, with its anchorage sheltered by the bulk of the town itself. It is said that in the past Dawnpoint was built upon a pair of islands, but later became attached to the mainland when silt built up between the coast and the shores of the islands. This small port saw much activity during the Wrath War, as the empire based many of its ships here in its efforts to repel Alphatia's aggression against Glantri. It should be remembered that these fleets repeatedly defeated the Alphatian invasion armadas, forcing them to resort to violating the borders of Ylaruam (though, to be fair, the Ylari show no respect for the sovereignty of other nations either, so one could say they had it coming. Still, this was yet another example of why Alphatia needed to be opposed though most of the world still does not recognise this). Several miles southeast, off the shores of Dawnpoint, are several small, rocky islands. Here stands the lighthouse of Abukir Watch, built to warn ships away from the dangerous shoals of this area, which can rip the bottom out of unwary ships. Numerous old wrecks are found sunken beneath these waters, and enterprising divers still occasionally find treasure in their wrecked hulls.

The People

In Tel Akbir the people of Thyatis and Alasiya have intermingled. Notice that I referred to Alasiyans and not Ylari-the people here are not followers of al-Kalim's cult of personality, and many feel insulted if called "Ylari" by ignorant foreigners. Alasiyan and Thyatian customs are both respected here, an example of multiethnic harmony. Thyatian is the official tongue, but the Alasiyan language is also commonly spoken.

The duke (or, in Alasiyan, sheik-or, even more properly, shaikh) is himself both Alasiyan and loyal to the emperor-notably, he did not join the rebellion which is currently wracking Thyatis. Even more significantly, since there are those who believe Thyatian rule is unwelcome here, he has been exceptionally vigilant in protecting the border against Ylari raids during this time of troubles. Crossing him brings harsh and inevitable vengeance, even if he must wait years to spring it. This makes him both much feared and much respected as a man who cannot be taken advantage of or crossed without consequences. He does hold some of the more rigid Alasiyan customs, however, being in particular resistant to the idea of women leading their own lives-he has not talked to either his sister or his own daughter in many years. The fact that both of these women have shown independence of mind does prove, in my opinion, that Alasiyan (and Thyatian!) culture is changing in this area, and people are becoming more open to such things than in the past. Though tradition should be preserved, in some cases it is best preserved by enlightened modification, and should not be too rigid to evolve.

Still, many of the people under Tarik ben Nadir's rule share his attitudes-both good and bad. They are commonly aloof to strangers, but should you win their friendship you will never find a more stalwart friend in the entire world. If you cross them or betray their trust, they will remember and exact punishment. On the other hand, some of them speak of honour but are as crafty at circumventing it when it suits them, while still putting on a mask of virtue, as their northern cousins in Ylaruam. As a whole they are legendary storytellers, and one of their customs is that a guest should share a tale of his exploits or travels with his hosts. Tel Akbirans are also very devout folk, even for Thyatians. Proper reverence towards the virtuous (non-entropic) Immortals is not only common, but also expected. Infidelity (unfaithfulness and lack of faith) is frowned upon severely.

In Tel Akbir there are no nomads as in the north. Oh, to be sure much of Tel Akbir is given over to pastoral use; many people make their livelihoods herding sheep and goats. But their way of life is not nomadic, it is centred around ranches. People also grow crops and orchards. Thus, in Tel Akbir there isn't the division between nomads and city folk as in Ylaruam-the situation is more akin to other Thyatian regions.

Don't Miss

The bustling souk (marketplace) of Tel Akbir City, with its maze of merchant stalls and energetic bartering, is the best place in Tel Akbir to exchange not only goods, but also rumours. Many caravans full of goods find their way here, and the wares of Tel Akbir then find their way throughout the region.

Of special interest to scholars and would-be students is the recently-founded university. Though only three years old, special efforts have been made to attract professors and build up its reputation. It is well funded by the wealthy merchants of Tel Akbir, and with the recent addition of a department of antiquities due to the generosity of the emperor, it is well on its way to becoming one of the world's great centres of higher learning. Tel Akbirans have always been a studious and learned people, but in the past had to travel to Thyatis City or other locations to gain a university-level education, but now with their own local institution academics can flourish even more.