29 August 2012

Shaham of Nekoda AWOL!

Try as I might, I just didn't find the time to continue the adventures of Shaham and the entries seem to have stalled after just 12 parts! Oh the shame!

But never fear, though his updates will be sporadic, they will not end. In hindsight I realise that writing it in real-time was a bit of a stretch, considering my shift-work and other commitments (including miniature converting/painting freelance) to keep up with. I often wonder how people manage to successfully complete NaNoWriMo when I cant even manage 3 days I a row writing. guess I need to stop procrastinating (i do tend to spend a lot of time reading blogs and random websites (over and over) and get writing!

With regards to cartography, its slowed down somewhat at the moment, and I've continued writing backgrounds and regional histories, like this:

Nation that appeared in 835 RM following the ascent of the otherworlder known as the Steward to the ruling council, which was abolished. The kingdom was centred around a religion known as the Child’s Adventism, which was popularised by the Steward (considered a prophet of the child), that foretold the coming of a child emperor that would on the passing  of its 7th year unite Opham with all surrounding regions as one.
                This religion was almost universally accepted, save in the city of Naal, which for some years had drifted from the Ophami ideal and had become influenced by the regions’ imperial rulers (Opham was and remained at the time a vassal to Parthia (now known as Parthis), which in turn was under Korachani control), its own religion taking on many traits from the Church of the Machine. Naal was the only city to have voted against the change in government and opposed the appointment of the Steward as regent to (in Naal’s own words) ‘the invisible child’. The schism between Opham and Naal only grew following this until in 867 RM its armies marched peacefully into Tentael (the Ophami capital) and declared its intent to sunder itself completely from Opham. The Steward accepted, declaring to its people that once the Advent of Child occurred, Naal would and Opham would be reunited. The people largely accepted this and Naal was granted its independence.
                Under the leadership of the prophetic Steward, Opham prospered, though its vassalage to Parthis meant that much of its peoples hard work was lost in tithes and taxes. Nevertheless, a rigid doctrine appeared around the regency. A child under the age of 7 was chosen from prospective families, its lineage and the traits of its family playing a major role in the selection. The child would become Emperor, its will enacted through the actions of the regent, though if the prophesised events did not occur on by its 8th birthday, the child would be returned to its family, its name a mark of shame. Over the years, this process became highly ritualised with a great deal of ceremony and symbolism attached to the various processes and procedures and it was sometime in c. 1500 RM that the failed children would be ritually slain, in offering to the true Child.
                It people united by their religion and expectations of the prophecy high, Opham did what it could with that money was left after paying hefty tithes and takes to Parthis. Where it could it bolstered its defences, in the event of an invasion (such as the one that had claimed its twin nation Opret in c. 740 RM), and occasionally sent its troops south to slay any of the half-breeds that had resulted by unions between oghur invaders and humans at the time. Despite its vigilance, Cyhlagharr paid little attention to Opham during these decades, with a few sporadic corsair or privateer activities marking the extent of their ‘attacks’. It was changes to the north that caused the most unease for Opham. Parthis, despite its vassalage to Korachan, had been relatively autonomous, with the arrival of the so-called Scion Azer in 537 RM bringing great change to the region that echoes even 4-centuries later, despite imperial intervention to end their beliefs down (though many scholars postulate that even the Korachani administration, xenophobic as it was, had no choice but to acknowledge the scion of Avraham as a true entity, and his association with Rachanael (being his nephew, so-to-speak). Unrest in Parthis and a reluctance of its populace to be governed by Korachan, coupled with other problems north of the inner sea, led to Korachan abandoning the region to the interreges in 934 RM.
                Almost immediately, there came a change to the region. No longer enslaved by imperial morals and dogma, Parthis fully embraced its heritage and flexed muscles that had for too long been shackled. It continued tithing Opham, using the burst in money to expand its borders south, largely along the western coast of the sea of Byssos, and by establishing colonies in old Opretian lands. The Interreges fully abandoned Parthis in 967 RM, remaining in Naal, where the two disparate cultures slowly melded, the patricians that made Naal their home forsaking their true imperial heritage to start anew. Parthis suffered following imperial abandonment, and was forced to abandon its colonies and its borders with Opham faltered.
                Liberated from 200-years of vassalage, Opham flourished. Produce and money that had previously been appropriated by Parthis were suddenly their own once more. The region experienced a renaissance, with art and growth experienced across all settlements. Its own borders began increasing as new settlements and colonies were established, many of which encroached on old Opretian lands. Crusades into those lands increased and between 976 and 982 RM hundreds of oghur half-breeds were slain, paving the way for more expansion. During these crusades, the city-state of Roah (last remnant of Opretian culture) was encountered and trade was established between the two.
                Within the span of 50-years, Opham had become the dominant force in the region, exerting its influence on Parthis through trade negotiations as well as west with Cyhlagharr, where it tentatively traded items the oghurs could not produce locally, with the oghurs in turn restricting their activities in Opret to a defined border (where they had effectively established as many as a dozen human ‘farms’, the largest of which was known as Ograd, to supplement their need for slaves). An alchembral calamity in the oghur city of Halgdaggr in 1008 RM had left much of the Camarinal sea penumbrally tainted, severely restricting fishing in its waters, negatively affecting Ophami settlements along its shores, though the oghurs were far more severely affected, leading to a dwindling of their presence in Opret and their acceptance of this trade agreement.
In the north, Ophami borders expanded across the less-afflicted shores of the Camarinal, reaching the city-state of Eruto in c.1110 RM, which had been in a precarious position for some decades, trading with both Opham and Parthis. Nearby lodestone and ore deposits recently discovered made the city a favourable acquisition and after years of threats and diplomatic missions to the city-state, it finally relented and in 1121 RM became a vassal to Opham. The region stabilised after this time, securing its trade with Parthis and other nations. The Child’s Adventism remained a powerful religion, despite what outsiders would claim to be a misinformed prophecy – hundreds of children had been elected as emperor, only to see their 8th year come without fulfilment of the so-called prophecy. Enjoying sertain priviledges that others did not have, the child emperors were buried in a great necropolis outside Tentael upon death. The Stewards powers of oratory served the nation well in those days, for many would see a child rise to the position of emperor only for him to be forced to step down. The peoples’ faith was tested and many saw themselves drifting away from the religion, gravitating to the faith of nearby Naal, whose own borders had been steadily growing.
In the south, the city of Olnnad – the southernmost of major city in Opham – had become notorious for its growing alchemical tradition, thought by many to be attributed with trade with the many lhaus enclaves to the south. Through its alchemical guilds, the city had rapidly gained an influence over surrounding areas, its distance from the capital ensuring it was allowed to progress at its own pace, its own culture surpassing that of Opham proper by c. 1250 RM. Meanwhile, in the south-west the caravanserai known as Holothan (built on the ruins of an old Erashan city, Alatean) had become very influential in the region, seeing much traffic from Roah, Ograd, Olnnad, Parsimenia (a small but rising settlement built on the Opretian ruin of An Simeia), Tentael and, farther north, Eruto and Tethra. By 1274 it had grown so powerful that its merchant houses were effectively able to purchase Roah, bringing the last remaining fragment of Opretian culture into Opham territories.
Holothan and Olnnad had both grown exponentially, rivalling Tentael in grandeur, and surely surpassing it in wealth and size. The growth of these two cities (not to mention the added pressure of Naal to the west and a resurging Parthis to the north) caused tension in Tentael, with many businesses and industries abandoning the city in favour of the two upstarts, leaving Tentael a diminished city. Holothan itself adopted the moniker Ophram (meaning ‘of Opham’) by 1440 RM. This was an open challenge to Tentael and the older capital of Opham (which by then had been reduced to little more than a way station along the Holothani trade route), a challenge Tentael was unable to accept. The capital continued to diminish, losing control of the Holothani trade route by 1462 RM, when Olnnad and Ophram (the name Holothan by then forsaken) effectively ended its rule, emerging as separate entities. The Child’s court was relocated to Ophram in 1465 RM, leaving Tentael little more than a ruin tended to by Templars and a handful of families.
The major trade route of Ophram was sundered, with contact with Olnnad reduced following several trade disputes. To avoid war, the trade route was divided in two – with Olnnad maintaining exclusive rights with Naal and Lira, Ophram maintaining exclusive rights with the lhaus enclaves and Ograd, and both allowed to trade with Eruto (still under vassalage to Ophram) and Bahal.

pretty basic stuff, and out of context some things might seem rather bland. For instance, the oft-mentioned lhaus enclaves are remnants of the ancient lhaus empire, the lhaus being one of the two-and-twenty mortal races (so theyre not human), in this case, obsessed with immortality and the building of golems/clones in which powerful lhaus can place phylactries containining their souls.

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