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Introduction to the Yezchamenid Empireby Adrian Mattias
Location: Continent of Brun, northern Arm of the Immortals, between the Yalu Bay and the Sea of Brun (For a map of the region Christian Constantin)
Area: 508,500 sq. miles Population: 3,500,000 (80% humans, 10% pegataurs, 5% dwarves, some elves and demi-ogres). Language: Dars, Hatti, Yivj, Mebir, Churan, Pegataur, Midannite and Dremen. Coinage: Talen (pp), Darik (gp), Sicles (sp), Sabzi (cp).
Government Type: Hereditary monarchy. Divided in ten Zatraps, each headed by an hereditary family or relatives of the Shah-an-Shah (emperor).
Industries: Trade, textiles, silk, spice, herding (sheep, ox, goats), fishing, rare woods, oil, mining (gold, copper, iron), arts and literature, magic.
Important Figures: Shah-an-Shah Zhoher Yezchamenid (M-U 1), young emperor of the Yezchamenids; Quymer Yezchamenid (C16, of Mizara-Idan, Ixion), Imperial Regent, Uncle of Zhoher Yezchamenid, Zatrap of Darsi; Parsan Zhemenieh (F23), Zatrap of Uvaraz; Gulbuddin Marzik (F19), Zatrap of Zrakan; Mursillis Labinitas (M-U20), Zatrap of Hattas; Azartan Cemirtus (T14), Zatrap of Yivja; Zholodeer Yemilcataur (13 level Pegataur), Zatrap of Pazarkan; Nisir Suun (F7), Zatrap of Mebirush; Eratkar Kasusu (C18, of Edad, Thor), Zatrap of Chura; Odarit Muztasir (F26), Zatrap of Midan; Djomel Tirruk (M-U17), Zatrap of Draya
Description: The Yezchamenid empire stretches along the two coasts of the Arm of the Immortals from the southern foothills of the Resht Zanbaar (southern Endworld Line) to the Resht Kazit (Northern Shield of the Immortals). Most of the Empire's population is regrouped in two major plains: the fluvial plain of the Zebris valley, between the Northern Shield of the Immortals and Dzemayaut Range, and the Jyar plain, northwest of the Yalu Bay. The rest of the population is concentrated along the coastal plains and in the higher valleys, only the pegataurs dwell in the highest regions.
The weather of the empire is varying widely from one region to the other. But, overall, the climate of the regions is mild and temperate. The western coast is slightly drier the eastern although this change at the latitude of Attasar where the colder currents coming from the northern Sea of Brun meet with the warmer waters of the western coast of the Arm of the Immortals. Inside the land, the weather varies according with the altitude; the Zebris valleys shares a similar weather pattern as the western coast. At water level, or in the large valleys, there are normally four seasons in the Empire. A long dry summer, a milder yet dry fall, a short but rainy winter and a rainy and warm spring during which hurricanes may follow the coast up to the Yezchamenid Empire.
The Yezchamenid Empire is a multinational state where no ethnic group really predominates. Relations between the peoples of the Empire are free of competition or confrontation on ethnic ground, people of the Empire refer to themselves as Yezchamenids before any other designation based on language, ethnicity or race. The larger ethnic group of the Empire, is the Dars, this people came from the steppes of inner Brun about two millennia ago. These people are of approximately the same breed of Oltec and Neathar blood as the Huleans and the people of the Midlands are even if they mingled with some of the Pitchans who were living in the Jyar plain before their arrival. Dars can be found throughout the Empire serving in administrative offices or trading with the locals, but they are predominant in the three zatrapies of the northwest, Darsia, Uvaraz and Zrakan. Many dialects are spoken among the Dars and may vary wildly from one region to the other. The second most important group of people in the Empire are the Churans. They live principally in the Zebris Valley in Chura, Midan and southern Mebirush. Of all the people in the Empire, they are the closer to the original Pitchans even if they have lost most of their ancestors original culture. Some Churans are of mixed Oltec (Pitchans) and Tanagoro blood which explains their darker completion. The Mebirs and Yivj share the same language and origin but their cultures are so different that the Empire threat them as different people, which they, in fact, are after centuries of differences in the cultural and religious field. Both peoples are the sons of the first Tanagoro settlers that landed on the western coast around 1700 BC and were integrated by the Pitchans of the coast. The Hattas are closer to the Oltecs than to their Pitchan cousins, they were forced to migrate from the lower basin of the Yalu River to forested hills of the western coast when the Dars tribes arrived in the region. Since then, they might be consider more as being a blend of Oltec and Neathar since some marriages occurred between the two nomadic groups. The Middannites are a smaller ethnic group, they are close to the Dars since they came from the same far away steppes, but were send to the higher part of the Zebris Valley so that they would oversee the obedience of the natives Churans to the early Kanastenid Empire. Since then, the Midannites have lost most of their earlier cultural traits to the contact of the Churans, but they still consider themselves as different. The Dremens are the sons of the Pitchan nomadic tribes, they have abandoned this mode of living long ago, but they are among the most closed society of the Empire, and marriages with the other groups has always been forbidden, which explains there quasi-pure Oltec/Pitchan traits. As for the pegataurs of Pazarkan, they came from the northern mountains times ago, and much of their memories about this distant times were lost during their exile. Since then, they have been very reclusive in their high mountains, but accept the suzerainty of the Shah-an-Shah, for he traditionally gives them the best position in the army and leaves them manage their own lands as they want.
The social structure is roughly the same throughout the Empire, the main social divide coming not from the different cultural areas but more from cleavage between the sedentary people of the coastal and fluvial plains, and the semi-nomads of the hills in Zrakan, Hattas and Draya. These peoples social and political structures are built upon the clanic ties and the leadership is, in general, given to the elders. Clerics and priests are most of the time the counsellors of these chiefs, magic-user are few but respected, and warriors are plenty and skilled. In the urban areas and in the rural communities of the valleys and coasts, social classes are more elaborated with the scholars and religious people being almost on par with the hereditary nobility. Rich merchants may wield more influence than the nobility and scholars and richest of them may have a similar standing as the upper class, but, generally, they live in conditions closer to the bulk of the laborious population. While highly respected, the free peasants and craftsmen must economically support the entire Empire and pay most of the taxes. The law allows slavery in all the Empire but the teachings of Zaranaster have had such an impact that some regions are nearly freed from this form of exploitation. The slave status may be deceiving since some of the richest land owner may grant to their slaves the right to retain some of their production for their own use (they may choose to sell it or to consume it), so that it isn't uncommon to see some slaves of the Zebir valley be much more comfortable than the freemen of the less fertile regions.
Historically, the Empire as been quite decentralised, the regional leaders being quite free to do what they want as long as they respected their obligations toward the Shah-an-Shah, paid their taxes and send their armies when needed. Nowadays, the zatraps still have almost the same autonomy as kings would have elsewhere, but discontent against the central administration of the imperial regent have encourage the zatraps to ask for more autonomy. Recently, they have been increasingly reluctant to send their taxes and military to Darsagades, and some are nearly asking for full independence.
One of the most surprising thing in the Empire is its code of law. It came down through the generations and, albeit modified regularly, have retain most of its original characteristic while being quite modern and impressively comprehensive. Everything or so is codified in the Yezchamenid Law, from the unified weight of the money pieces to the age at which it is allowed to marry (15 years for a man and 13 for a women), through the exact distance at which one must kneel when facing a noble or a high-ranking priest. There are many to say that this strict and comprehensive, while just, code of law is the key to the survival of an Empire that might have crumbled under the weight of its ethnic and religious cleavages.
Darsia: Darsia is the biggest of all the zatrapies, it is located in a large plain, the Jyar Plain, and overlook the waters of the Yalu Bay. It is characterised by large valleys flowing slowly toward the bay. Small white houses dotted the lands sometimes regrouped in small fortifies hamlets, sometimes build atop a higher hill. Many shrine dedicated to the philosophy of Zaranester may be found along the trails and roads of Darsia; inside them, one can find the ever feed fires dedicated to Mizara-Idan, it is considered as a crime for an non-religious to even breath into the air near such a sacred fire. The biggest cities of the zatrapy are Darsagades, the imperial capital (73, 000 habs.) and Ragmata (26,000), the empire's major port on the Yalu Bay
Uvaraz: This small zatrapy is peopled almost only by Dars, but was forged of the Darsia more than 300 years ago as a gift to a cavalry captain who saved the live of the Shah-an-Shah. Since then, the people of Uvaraz have tended to develop an identity of their own, but the main thing that may distinct them from the Dars of Darsia is the fact that the Hivebrood is a constant threat in the region, and that many from Uvaraz are infected and cured or sent to the southern steppes. The Zatrapy's capital is Uvar (8,300), a pretty-looking port on the Yalu Bay that also serves as the main naval base on this side of the Empire.
Pazarkan: Pazarkan is the land of the pegataurs, it is located atop the high peaks of the northern Immortal Shield. It is a region blown by constant fiery winds and showered by the regions worst thunderstorm in winter and spring. Pegataurs have adapted well to this environment and have built what they call "cloud cities" on the verge of the most precipitous cliffs. The biggest of these "cloud cities" is Degerin (18,000), the Zatrapy's capital and Pegat (16,800) a city in two part: the upper levels, reserved to the pagataurs, and the lower levels where human merchants of the rest of the Empire come to trade with the winged centaurs.
Zrakan: Zrakan is one of the poorest Zatrapy of the Empire, yet it is of strategic importance since it's high forested hills and the narrow valleys are the easiest (and almost only) way to cross from the eastern part of the Empire to the western coast. People there survive by herding sheep and goat, and by trading their carpets renowned for their quality beyond the Empire's frontiers. Also, one of the main resource of the zatrapy's administration comes from the trade on the imperial road and the central state's credits to maintain it. Praptanj (6,900) is the regional capital, it is a bleak city where only the central market, the Bazaar, seems to live.
Hattas: Hattas is the empire's jewel. It provides almost half of the Empire's mineral resources and nearly three quarters of its timber. It also profit from the imperial road, which brings even more riches in the Zatrap' s coffers. However, Hattas as always been one of the most turbulent zatrapy of the Empire, for its people still believe that it should head the Empire instead of the Dars. Nevertheless, the riches that Hattas receives from the Empire's inner trade is enough to convince them that stability is better than civil war. Attasar (22,400), is filled with opulence and monuments that were built in the time that it was the Empire's capital. It is also a major centre for the study of magic in the Empire.
Yivja: Yivja is the land of the Empire's best and richest merchants. The Yivj are among the best sailors living on Brun, and went farther than many other seaborne people. Their only problem is that, if they are good merchants and sailors, they are poor warriors; this helps explain why the Empire's oversea trade is still constrained by foreign piracy, after centuries of fighting. Utsidon (42,600), the capital city of the zatrapy, is the Empire's biggest and most prosperous port; Bertsos (21,400) is the home of the imperial fleet and a holy site of the Yivjs' religion.
Mebirush: The land of the Mebirs encompasses the most fertile lands of all the Empire. There, the irrigation network, is ,in itself, a real wonder. Rice, sorghum and wheat are harvested in large amounts. Date palms are grown along the main rivers and on the seaside and provide an additional source of revenues for the peasants. Linen is also grown both for its oil and for its textile fibre. There are two cities of great importance in Mebirush: Ishmar (34,200), the zatrapy's capital, is a impressive city renown throughout the empire for its immense gardens and its multitude of fountains, and Kadour (22,600), while more austere is also impressive for its fifteen-stories-high ziggurat.
Chura: Chura is the land that has been inhabited by sedentary people for the longest period in the Empire. Artifacts and ruins of long gone peoples and kingdoms dot its lands. Chura is somewhat smaller than the territory inhabited by the Churans, which extends well beyond the frontier with Midan and along the frontier with Mebirush. Chura comprises most of the central Zebris valley and the fields are almost as bountiful as they are in Mebirush. Asniveh (27,400) is the historical capital city of the Churans and it is still the capital of their zatrapy, Regnieh, was traditionally the second city of importance in the zatrapy, but it has been given to Midan by the current central administration in a bold move to weaken the influence of the Zatrap of Chura.
Midan: Midan is the most artificial zatrapy of them all. It has been given to the Middanite nomads by the first emperors so that they would help the central government to control the Churans' sovereign aspiration. Now, the Midannites are a minority in their own lands, most of them live in the hills at the foothills of the great Immortal Shield (which, from Midan's side, looks like a wall of rock thousands of feet high), while the Churans occupy the valleys and cities. Nonetheless, Midan is one of the richest zatrapy of the Empire, its richest coming from its lands, ideal for the culture of wheat, and from its hills that are hiding many gold and silver deposits. Nishep (18,600), once was the Churan Kings' summer capital, now it is the permanent capital of the zatrapy. Regnieh (13,200) as been considered as part of the zatrapy of Chura for most of the reign of the Yezchamenids, until the current regent decided to give it to Midan.
Draya: The land of the Dremens is among the most arid of the empire, the Dremen coast is constantly swept by the hot winds of the Sea of Brun. In Draya, the coastal plain is less grassland than steppes while the hills are almost desert. The few rivers coming from the mountains are much or less mud pits during most of the year. In Draya, one will find villages of tall buildings cling together to the hills or grouped around a well. The Dremens normally are distrustful with strangers (anybody who isn't from the clan) and tend to be reclusive. Zabiis (8,900), is a small city if compared with the other zatrapies' capital, but it is renowned for its tall rectangular towers and for its spice market.
History: The history of people living on the Arm of the Immortals goes back well beyond the Great Rain of Fire. However, at that time, only the southernmost part of it was inhabited since the Northern part was covered with a thick icesheet. People of roughly the same origin as the Oltec and Azcans settled this land well before the rise of Blackmoor. The Pitchans, as they called themselves, where living in the coastal plains and the misty mountains of the southern part of the peninsula. They'd followed a path similar to the Oltecs even though contacts were sparse and the Pitchans isolated. Between, 4000 BC and 3000 BC, the Pitchan's were able to unite the tribes of the Arm of the Immortals. Large cities were build atop the rainier plateaus of the central Immortal Shield Range. With the Great Rain of Fire, however, their mighty empire crumbled as terrific earthquakes rocked their lands drowning parts of the coastal plains and wrecking havoc on the higher plateaus. The survivors of the Pitchans, fell back into barbarism as tribes fought each other for the little resources left.
As the ice sheet receded over the northern part of the peninsula, some Pitchan tribes begun to migrate north as others tried to re-establish the old order as they remembered it. The two groups gradually lost contact from each other since the hardship of surviving in this trouble times impeded travel and since the arrival of the migrating elves of Ilsundal in the region, around 2350 BC, further rendered the communications between the two branches difficult. For almost a thousand years, the northern tribes remained nomads trying to survive on the desolated land that slowly replaced the glacier. It is only around 2100 BC that, the northern Pitchan tribes settled down in the area known as the Zebris valley, where the ice had left place to rich pasturelands that were soon irrigated and cultivated by the Pitchans.
There were five Pitchans city-states competing for power in the Zebris valley when, fifty years later, a mission of Enduk came in contact with the Pitchans. Following this first contact, trade ties were established across the Yalu Bay between the more advanced civilisation of the Enduks and the somewhat retarded Pitchans city-states. The Pitchans adopted many of the customs of the Enduk in architecture, arts, technology, magic; even their language was rapidly filled with Enduk words. The worship of Ixion also grew among the Pitchans, even though, it had to share the Pitchans' souls with other divinities instead of being the sole Immortal as in the Enduk pantheon. Contacts with the city of Dravya also developed between 2100 BC and 2000 BC, even if they were a little tenser than the relations with the winged minotaurs, the contacts with Dravya had a great impact on the, still nomadic, northern tribes some of which adopted the fiendish cult.
The city-state of Asniveh rapidly took advantage of its position of main trading partner of the Enduks among the Pitchans to increase the techno-magical gap between it and it's competitors. The Churans of Asniveh transformed what look liked peaceful knowledge into a military edge against the other tribes and gradually subdued most of them. Around 1850 BC, the Churan Empire is at its apex . Centred on the Zebris valley it covers much of the northern Arm of the Immortals, and trades with most of the nations of the Yalu and the Savage Coast.
Around 1700 BC, a small fleet of raft loaded with people from Tangor lands in the northwestern region of the Churan Empire. The new settlers are welcomed and are promptly integrated into the Churan society. Their assimilation will leave the Churans with the knowledge about distant lands overseas, but will also add new deities to the region's pantheon. In 1556 BC, however, the Mebirs - of mixed Tanagoro and Pitchan blood- revolt against their Churan Masters. A civil war ensue between the two peoples. When, in 1478 BC, the civil war ends, the Mebirs have been able to establish their hold upon most of the former empire territories.
The Empire of Mebirush will keep the control of the northern Arm of the Immortals until, around 1280BC, scores of humanoids from Wogar's hordes, invade its territory. For almost a century, the humanoids will plunder the land, leaving behind them only ashes and smoke. When, around 1200 BC, they resume their southward migration, Mebirush is in ruin; only the high walls of Utsidon and Bertsos were able to resist the creature's onslaught. Once the humanoids gone, the two cities will thrive as the sole inheritors of Mebirush's trade links with Skothar and Davania.
Another group of humanoid will deliver chaos to the distant northern land of the Pegataurs, which will be force in exile. They land in the high mountains of the northern Immortals' Shield around 1150 BC. They found a new kingdom, Pazarkan (Freedom), and establish good neighbourly relations with the divided and exhausted peoples surrounding them.
Coming from the far steppes of inner Brun, several tribes - of Oltec-Neathar ascent- moves into the lands of the Hattis, a Pitchan tribe living at the mouth of the Yalu River, submerged by the riders' number, the Hattis withdraw toward the mountains. The nomadic tribes are the avant-garde of the gigantic Yalu River Empire, which stretches as far as the Hyborean valley. Dravya is conquered and sacked by the nomads in 1088 BC. Following the demise of Emperor Dorfin, the Yalu River Empire fragments in 1034. Under constant threat from the humanoids of the Yazak steppes, the main tribes among the nomad, the Dars, retreats behind the protection of the Yalu River estuary into the Jyar Plain at the Northwest of the Yalu Bay. Pressurised by the westward move of the northern nomads, the Hattis are forced to settle the forested valley of the Zob River.
The Dars finally settle the valleys of the Jyar Plain, in 1000BC, Darsagades is founded. Contacts are made with the societies of the western coast. This is the dawn of the region's modern history.
From 750 BC to 700 BC, Xaries, King of Darsagades, unites the city-states of the Jyar Plain. Trade with the kingdoms of the western coast and Nimmur intensifies.
In 653 BC, Zaranaster, a merchant from Darsagades come back from a journey to the land of the Enduk. He brings home a new cult - in fact a syncretism of the traditional Darsian manicheist pantheon and the Enduks cult of Idu (Ixion)- where Mizara-Idan is the sole god. This religion will preach that people doing good will be rewarded at the time of their death while people of evil nature will be sent to a place of eternal torments. Many Dars among the nobility as well as among the populace adopt his religious school.
In 611 BC, the sacred alliance is signed between Kanastez, Shah of the Dars, and Pasuldar, King of the pegataurs. This alliance decrees that, while being their vassals, the pegataurs will make up the bulk of the Dars' elite troops, and, as such, will be the first to exert their right to plunder new territories in the name of the alliance. Also, the alliance establishes that as long as the pegataurs will stay trustful allies of the Dars, only pegataurs will be eligible as king of their brethren. Following the signature of the treaty shortly, the Dars and their new elite cavalry of pegataurs launch an attack against the small and divided kingdom of the Arms of the Immortals' western coast and the Zebris valley. In 590 BC, the conquest of the Pitchan's lands is done and Kanastez is sacred Shah-an-Shah (Emperor); the Kanastenid dynasty is founded.
From 590 BC to approximately 400 BC, the Kanastenid Empire blooms: it becomes a trade hub in western Brun. The merchants ships of Yivja can be found in the farthest ports. Trade links are established with Nimmur, the Nithian Empire, Hule, the Milenian Empire , the Eastern coast of Skothar, and western Davania. Maritime expeditions are sent to explore the Mystara, some will go as far as Alphatia or Pelatan. Money taken from the taxes finances the arts, science and literature, and the Kanastenids are renown for their magical skills. Humanoid tribes of the Yazak Steppes are military kept at bay or even bribed to stay in peace. The teachings of tolerance from Zaranaster allow the Empire to avoid any religious troubles among the diverse confessions.
The first blow to the Kanastenid Empire is the eradication of the Nithian Empire. Even if the memories of that Empire were removed by the Immortals, the disappearance of a major trading partner in Eastern Brun handicapped the Kanastenid merchants. More costly was the war between the Enduks and the Sohktar manscorpions, the demise of Nimmur, the Empires first trading partner, will make the eastern trade route almost profitless.
The real blow to the Kanastenid dynasty will also come from commerce, even if it is a very different nature: in 314 BC, a cargo ship coming back from Davania lands with a crew infested by Broodlings. The parasite creatures will rapidly spread throughout the unprepared Empire. Years of internal fighting against the Hives won't be enough for the Empire to win, and, finally, in272 BC, the Kanastenid Empire collapses, its administrative structures corroded by the monstrous parasite.
Around 250 BC, while the people of the northern Arm of the Immortals are divided and exhausted by their struggle against the Hivebrood, a group of ogre-kin sailors from Tangor lands on the western coast, south of the former empire territory. From this time on, they begin to settle a land that was known as the Land of the Gyerians under the empire. The ogres-kin will buy parts of the land to the bird-like gyerians in exchange of petty jewellery and fake precious stones. As they settle the lands, these newcomers are able to overtake much of the trade routes abandoned by the disorganised empire. In 239 BC, there are enough ogres-kin to found a new political entity called the Kingdom of Suma'a; 16 years later, a second kingdom is founded, named Gombar. Both countries will thrive on the trade with Tangor, Davania and the Arm of the Immortals.
In 44 BC, a group of Hattas adventurers, led by the mage Supalinaan, is able to kill the broodmother of Attasar. This event will trigger an awakening of the people in the former Kanastenid Empire. Supalinaan and his group are projected at the head of a vast crusade against the Hive in the entire Empire. As the chief of the liberation squads, Supalinaan and his friends take the opportunity to build a new empire: each city freed of the Hive must swear allegiance to the council (he and his friends) in Attasar. By 10 AC, the entire country is liberated from the Hive's yoke, Supalinaan leaves the new empire's throne to his son Attassaper in order to quest for immortality. A new special security force is created in 9 AC in order to keep the hive out of the Empire's territory, any new infected person must be sent to the closest temple for immediate healing, else, the new hivebroods are sent to the steppes south of Uvaraz. The new empire awakens only to find that it isn't the centre of the world anymore...
After one and a half century of internal rebuilding, the new Hattasin Empire feel ready to take back its former position. In 157 AC, an armada of breathtaking size is assembled in the western ports of the empire. Its goal? To invades the ogre-kin kingdoms of Suma'a and Gombar and reassert the empire's control over the trade routes across the strait of Tangor. On its way to the two kingdoms, the armada is surprised and nearly annihilated by a hurricane summoned by the ogre-kin shamans. The few remaining vessels of the fleet are sunk or captured by the smaller but faster ships of the ogre-kin navies. Defeated at sea, the empire tries an overland invasion seven years later. But the legions of the Hattasin Empire are humiliated by what was thought to be uncivilised and disorganised gyerians. The Hattas discover that, helped by the Gombarians, the gyerians have created their own kingdom, Adilli, and mastered the modern war techniques and equipment.
In 179 AC, the Yevo, a nomadic tribe of Antalian blood coming from the northern steppes, conquers Vyatka, which was, until then, a satellite of the Hattasin empire. Preoccupied by its conflict with the western kingdoms, the Hattas neglect to care about these peripheral developments.
Focused by its maritime struggle against the kingdoms of the western coast, the Hattasin Empire is surprised, in 217 AC, by a sudden attack from the humanoids of the Yazak Steppes and their Hulean allies. The Empire looses its control over Dravya and the Yalu River estuary. Threatened on its eastern flank, the Hattasin Empire signs a peace treaty with Adilli, Suma'a and Gombar in 220 AC, in exchange, the Empire receives some minor trade routes toward Tangor. From 233 AC, the Empire enters a war of reconquest against the humanoids of the Yazak Steppes. Casualties are heavy on both sides, and the frontline stalls on the Yalu River with neither adversaries able to cross it.
It won't be the situation on the frontline that will define the war result: the implosion of the Hulean Empire (in 295 AC) and the following fragmentation of the Yazak tribes (from 297 AC) will. The armies of the Hattasin Empire reach Dravya in 299 AC and conquer a large portion of the Yazak Steppes in the following four years.
Around 415 AC, the increasing resources diverted from the Hattasin Empire's economy to protect the eastern territories stirs discontent among the nobility. In 466 AC, the discontent reach its apex and the vassals of the Zebris valley deliberately refuse to pay their taxes and send any more troops to the eastern territories. The imperial army is sent to quell the revolt and bump into the local garrison supportive to the rebel nobles. The Empire in split between those allies to the Hattas rulers (most of the northeastern nobility) and the southwestern kings. The ensuing civil war will devastate most of Yivja while other territories will be much or less spared. In 473 AC, while most of the imperial army is battling in southern Yivja, the King of the Dars, Pirooz Yezcham, backstabs the Hattas by sending his forces to Attasar. With the support of the pegataur king, he proclaims that Darsagades will be the capital city of a new empire, the Yezchamenid Empire. The elite pegataur troops shift their allegiance followed closely by the core of the imperial army. A separate peace is signed in 475 AC with the King of Chura, thus splitting in two the alliance of the southern vassals. However, it takes more than 30 years for the Yezchamenids to reunify the territory of the preceding empire.
It is only with the conquest of the last Dremen rebels, in 508 AC, that the new dynasty stabilises its power at the head of the new empire. But, after more than a century of troubles, the empire's trade has been disrupted and the most prosperous regions have been ravaged. The economy of the empire is at its worst as traders from the Savage Coast (primarily from Bellayne and Renardy) now control most of the trade to and from the Yalu Bay ports. Also, the loosening of the sanitary controls during the civil war has triggered a new surge of the Hivebrood in the eastern regions.
Following the end of the civil wars is a period of inner build-up and socio-political modernisation in the Yezchamenid Empire. The multitude of vassals that characterised the reign of the Hattas will be reduced to ten Zatrapies, each headed by a zatrap designated by the Shah-an-Shah among the locals or in his family. The teachings of Zaranaster are brought back to the forefront after a period where the Hattas pantheon prevailed. The inner economic infrastructures are revamped and a state school system is established. Ready to reassert itself as a major power in western Brun, the Yezchamenids build a new war fleet in the Yalu Bay. In 622 AC, at the Battle of the Bayou, the fleets of Bellayne and Renardy are ousted of the Bay, the colonists of those countries are forced to withdraw from the region. However, the two kingdom of the Savage Coast continue to finance piracy in the Strait of Yalu, thus impeding the growth of the Yezchamenid trade outside the bay. Also, in 649 AC, the hivebrood is effectively repelled from the Empire lands. And, in 665 AC, a new trade treaty is signed with the Kingdoms of Suma'a and Gombar that allows the Empire to conduct trade with Tangor and Davania, but piracy remains an endemic problem in the Sea of Brun's waters.
Around 700 AC, the growing power of Zuyevo increasingly worries the Yezchamenids. A small scale military expedition is sent in 706 AC into the Zuyevan lands to test their capacities. The rapid victory of the Zuyevans signals to the Yezchamenids that they are no longer free of threats from the north.
Despite the piracy problem on both sides of the Yezchamenid Empire and the growing power of Zuyevo, the eight century AC is marked by the prosperous and peaceful reign of Qanikes Yezchamenid "The Enlightened" from 727 AC to 789 AC. During his reign the Empire undergoes an artistic, philosophic and magic renaissance. Trade ties with neighbours also develop, but oversea trade remains constrained by the pirates' activities.
His grandson, Sasdan, will follow the guideline set by his grandfather. But his reign is abruptly ended when, in 818 AC, his ship is sunk in the Yalu Strait by Renardian pirates. Leaving no heirs, his throne becomes the object of a fierce competition among his brothers. The ensuing fifty years, during which the throne is vacant, are filled with assassinations, intrigue and treason. In 866 AC, Fazar Yezchamenid, a distant nephew of Sasdan will be chosen by a council of mages to be the new Shah-an-Shah. His reign, from 866 to 903 AC is renowned as one of the most just of the region's history.
In 913 AC, the southward expansion of Zuyevo bumps into the interests of the Yezchamenid Empire. This expansion leads to the first open conflict between the two big countries over the status of the southern Yalu Steppes. After a brief engagement in which the mobility and discipline of the Zuyevans allows them to take the upper hand against the flying chariots and infantry of the Yezchamenid army, the Yezchamenids are defeated and will only keep a small band of land around the Yalu River estuary to link them with the Zatrapy of Drazde.
In 957 AC, the citizens of Utsidon are marvelled at the sight of a flying island hovering just outside their city. Soon they meet the island's inhabitants, wizards of a distant empire named Alphatia. Their island came from the Kingdom of Floating Ar, and for a reason unknown broke free from its magical anchor and derived randomly for more than 15 months. In fact, Palartarkan, the immortal who created the island, freed it from its magical anchor and brought it to Yivja in a move to widen his followers base. The journey of the Alphatians was made hard by the lack of onboard food resources, and, since the Yivj helped them with food upon arrival, the Alphatians feel welcome in this new land. Local merchants seeing an opportunity to bypass the pirate of the Sea of Brun begin to learn from the Alphatians how to make flying ships. The cult of Palartarkan taught by the newcomers finds many followers among the merchants and sailors of Yivja.
In 977 AC, a new competitor appears in the Yalu Bay: the Vilaverdans. Five years later, the Empire is defeated by them at the Battle of the Horn. The Yezchamenid eastern fleet is destroyed and the Bay is opened to the Savage Coast colonial powers anew.
In 986 AC, Zuyevo sinks into a civil war, seeing in this struggle an occasion to weakens its northern neighbour through a long and destructive civil war, the Yezchamenids secretly provide help and equipment to the two factions. However, in 990 AC, the unrest is quelled by Zuyevan military and the Yezchamenid plot is unfold, stirring anger throughout the Zuyevan nobility.
The year 997 AC is marked by the death of Shah-an-Shah Mayzar Yezchamenid in a hunting accident. His sole son Zhoher is sacred emperor at the age of four under the tutelage of his uncle Quymer. The regent's decision to put some of his relatives at the head of the state, to rise the taxes and lower the transfers to the Zatraps, to use his own guard as a paramilitary forces and to enforce religious repression rapidly award him with the hatred of most of the Zatraps. Nevertheless, the Zatraps allegiance goes first to the Shah-an-Shah and even if the disapprove his uncle's policies and strive for greater autonomy, none of them will attempt to declare independence as long as a Yezchamenid is at the head of the state.
Profiting from the Yezchamenid Empire's problem, the Zuyevans launch a blitz attack against the Empire possessions at the northern tip of the Yalu Bay in 998. Taking the Yezchamenids off guard, they easily conquer the estuary of the Yalu River and found the city of Kishinev on the bay's shores, thus cutting the Yezchamenid Empire in two. The zatrapy of Drazde becomes de facto independent in 999 AC, but the authorities in Dravya, the capital city, are divided between the supporters of Zuyevo and the loyalist to their old motherland
Religion: The Yezchamenid Empire is almost as diverse on the religious ground as it is at the ethnic level. The traditional religious tolerance of the rulers has allowed many pantheons and philosophical schools to develop or the perpetuate within the political framework given by the Empire. Religious conflicts were few in the Empire history and they did happen only in time when no legitimate ruler was in charge of the central administration. Spellcasters of the Empire are called mages regardless of the origin (magical or granted by the immortals) of their powers. The peoples of the Empire may be broadly divided in five main religious groups: the followers of Zaranaster's teachings (found mainly in Darsia, Uvaraz and Zrakan); the followers of the Churans' pantheon (most of the Churans and Mebirs, and some Midannites); the Hattas, the Yivjs, and the, both have their own pantheon as for the Dremen, they have their own ways to accomplish miracles. The pegataurs also have their own pantheon, but many of them have been converted to the teachings of Zaranaster.
Zaranaster, was a merchant of Dars origin, who went to the land of the Enduks, Nimmur, during the seventh century BC and came back enlightened by the winged minotaurs' faith in a sole god. Once back to Darsia he began to preach the faith in a sole god, Mizara-Idan (Ixion). According to Zaranaster, Mizara-Idan, was accompanied by two different immortal and immaterial spirits, Spenta Mainyu, the one he loved and cherished, was a good spirit and was the guardian of a paradise-like place where the souls of the do-gooders would go after their deaths; the second, Angra Mainyu, despised by Mizara-Idan, was of evil essence and was responsible for the punishment of the evil beings. The teachings of Zaranaster were revolutionary for the Dars as the gave a meaning for the people's lives. They weren't the pawns of the immortals anymore and were free to choose their path between good and evil and be rewarded or punished accordingly in a life after life. According to the prophet's teachings, fire was of holy essence since it was given to the humans by Mizara-Idan to fight the darkness of Angra Mainyu's realm.
If, at first, the teachings of Zaranaster were followed tightly by his followers, the centuries and the action of the Immortals have changed what Ixion once thought would be a realm devoted to his own magnificence. The two Mainyu's, which were only supposed to be avatars of Ixion began to act independently from the sun-god's will. At first, only the evil side of his personality, acted in autonomy: it was Hel, who used this identity to influence the followers of Zaranaster's teachings to do evil actions. Then, in a quick response, Odin overtook the role of Spenta Mainyu to balance the entropic immortal. Since then, the followers of Zaranaster's philosophy more of less have a pantheon made of three immortals even if most ignore this fact.
The Churan Pantheon:
The Churan Pantheon, is a classic pantheon if compared with Zaranasterism, it regroups many immortals revered elsewhere on Mystara, even if they have different names or functions. Another specific trait of this pantheon is the role given to the Shedus (winged bulls with human heads from another dimension, the ancestors of the Enduks) who are the messengers and guardians of the immortals. The importance given to the Shedu, help explain the reverence with which the Enduks are treated on Churan soil. Each Churan city has its own protector, which might even be from entropy. Entropic immortal are on an equal stand as the other since they are essential to keep the balance of the universe. They are even more revered and honoured in some region since their worship is seen as a way to protect itself from the wrath of the fiend.
The main immortals of the Churan pantheons are: Edad (Thor), god of lightning and rain; Allaruta (Talitha), goddess of copulation and lust; Aszun (Korotiku), the wicked thief; Abskallar (Ka), He who teaches the arts; Asarduxli (Pflarr), He who has the power of magic; Ashnankan (Freyja), goddess of grain and fertility; Alu (Alphaks), He who crushes men; Pastirrid (Loki), He who erases; Shagulhaz (Masauwu), upholder of evil; Menkir (Odin), god of wisdom; Enbiludli (Koryis), god of irrigation, farming and prosperity; Kerrar (Orcus), The Scorched Earth; Gibal (Rathanos), Fire god; Gushkin (Kagyar), He who works metals; Basmur (Atzanteotl), the Horned Serpent; Umbala (Ordana) Guardian of the forests; Ishahura (Tarastia) goddess of marriage, the Enforcer of oaths; Ishteri (Valerias), Goddess of love and war; Mushassu (Demogorgon), the Furious Snake; Nebur (Ssu-Ma) God of writing and eloquence; Namuntar (Thanatos), the Decider of faith, god of plague and other diseases; Nanash (Nyx), moon-goddess, the Darkness; Kulit (Tiresias) the Hymns Singer; Ninlul (Calitha) goddess of sailors; Numsar (Djaea) goddess of plants and survival; Nuskmash (Ixion), God of light and sun.
The Hattas Pantheon:
As the Churans, the Hattas have their own pantheon, which predates the Empire by centuries. The main figures of this pantheon are: Kumarbis (Odin), the Storm God, head of the Hattas' pantheon; Tasmisus (Thor), the children of Kumarbis; Hannahanna (Terra), the mother of all gods; Suwalyattas (Halav), the warrior god; Upelluri (Gorrziok), a giant who carries the world on his shoulders; Ulikummis (Kagyar), god of rocks and mines; Hapantallis (Ixion), the Sun god; Inaras (Djaea), goddess of the wild animals and forests; Telepinus (Frey), She who make the crop grows; Hahhimas (Protius), the sea god; Illuyankas (Ka), the dragon, he who makes the earth rebirth; Kamrusepa (Pflarr), patron of magic and learning; Astabis (Orcus), the destroyer; Yarris (Thanatos), god of pestilence; Hasamelis (Asterius), he who protects travellers; Istustayas (Nyx), moon goddess.
The Trinity of Yvja
Strangely, for such a peaceful and constructive people, the Yivjs, worship a triad of entropic deities: Djaal (Thanatos) who rules the universe from a throne of skulls; Ashaat (Talitha), the false maiden; and Melqeart (Orcus), He who supervise the process of destruction. This strange particularity come from long-forgotten times where the Yivjs entertained close trade contact with the ancient city of Dravya, where the fiendish cult was celebrated. Many ancient Dravyan came to Yivja when the Yazaks destroyed their city and brought with them the cult of entropic immortals. The Yivjs see their evil and chaotic immortals as being at the root of all changes, without them their wouldn't be a reawakening of the earth every spring, for the earth needs to plunge into darkness to wake up. The Yivjs have built giant-sized statues of the three immortals in their cities with fire always burning inside them, offerings (fresh meat, money, even human sacrifices) to their gods are thrown in the fire. Human sacrifices are common, but it is seen as an honourable end to die in such a way that it will appease the wrath of the fiendish trinity.
The Way of the Dremens
For the Dremens, there are no archbeings. No immortals from which to draw the energy to cast spells or prayers. This is not to say that there isn't somebody able to heal one or to turn undead. The Dremens, do not have shaman either, what they have instead are what they call, Qur-Zhoïtkar, or The Permutators. Permutators are people able to discharge the magical power imbedded in the Qur-Aoutat, The Root, a magical tubercle found in the valleys and caves of Draya. The ways to use The Root are only taught to young Dremens who owns certain mystical characteristics. A Permutator, will discover how to trigger new power from the consumption of the Qur-Aoutat as he will get experienced with the use of the vegetal (same spells and spell progression as the clerics). Many scholars and mages of the rest of the Empire have tried to explain and use the magical capacity of The Root, but none have reached convincing conclusions or results, so the use of the Qur-Aoutat remains unexplained and limited to the Dremens.