12 December 2018

Atlas Elyden #29 - the Independancy of Khamid

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A key/legend to the map can be found here.

So here's the latest map in the Atlas Elyden series. Khamid is one of the first regions I came up with, before I actually started working on the world of Elyden - it's a remnant of an old D&D campaign system I had come up with for 3rd edition (or possibly 3.5) that I imported into Elyden since I hate wasting a good region! I redid the map and recycled the place names and the Cataclysm (more on this below TL,DR: a HUGE magical disaster destroyed half the nation a long time ago) from the original setting.

Back in it's first incarnation it was a very blatant ancient Egypt analogy (read 'rip-off') and positioned on the southern coast of an inner sea. I re-did the map and came up with more original history, whilst keeping some of the Egyptian influences.

A key/legend to the map can be found here

Atlas Elyden #29 - the Independancy of Khamid

Khamid is a land viewed with empathy and awe by those in the west, and its mention would likely conjure images of monolithic destruction, mystic shapers, granite pyramids, and gigantic pylon-shaped mausolea. This was once true, though it is only one facet of a long and troubled past.
    Its defining trait - the Great Cataclysm of 101 RM - is a shackle that Khamid has been unable to shake, tethering it to the past in many ways. To understand this impact this great calamity had on the Khamidians, one must understand Khamid’s past, a tale that walks side-by-side with the early spread of shaping amongst the mortal races.
    The Art of Firmamentism was pioneered Ages past by the Demiurge Duruthilhotep, who handed down its secrets to his mortal children, the ifirmians, just as the Demiurge Rachanael first taught the secrets of the Atramenta to his children, the plagi.
    For a time the secrets of the dichotomous matter of creation were just that: secrets held by the Demiurges and their chosen ones, but contact between the Two-and-Twenty tribes slowly increased, propagating a slow spread of the Art of shaping. It was a Scion of Duruthilhotep, Khamar, who travelled west with a handful of ifirmian acolytes and brought knowledge of Firmamentism with him to a land of farmers who revered their dead and gazed upon the stars with wonder.
    He saw in them much potential and, together with his ifirmian aides, taught them the sciences of astronomy, architecture, medicine, and embalming. Under his aegis they prospered and spread, taking the Scion’s name as the name of their homeland. Proud of what they accomplished, he moved on to new lands, and allowed them to govern themselves.
    They escaped the darkness that ended the Fourth Age of Mortal life relatively unscathed and went on to become one of the more powerful empires in the region, ruled by the Pharoants - a caste that legend claims to be descended from the Scion Khamar (and, by extension, Duruthilhotep himself!).
    These rulers were priests and shapers of the highest magnitude and were considered gods amongst men. As other cultures struggled with rebuilding following the devastation that ended Fourth Age, the Pharoants and their people were dominating trade across the Dark sea west into the Inner Sea and south across the Iapetan sea, taking advantage of the needs of nascent peoples that surrounded them. By c. -250 RM they were trading with the Nathi Kingdom, sharing secrets of alchemy with the city-state of Midal. By the time the Nathi Kingdom fragmented in c -150 RM Khamar had grown into a decadent place, its Pharoants using their Firmamental abilities to prolong their lives, growing more and more debauched off of the spoils of trade. Their people were hardly ill-treated, but the chasm between ruler and ruled continued to grow even as a third class made up of powerful merchant-lords grew in influence.
    The secrets of shaping grew stagnant under these apathetic dynasties, and many processes and techniques were lost, preserved only in ancient treatises that were forgotten. What was not lost was their expertise in prolonging life and stalling the effects of decay on their bodies following their eventual death.
    By the first decades of the Korachani calendar, Khamar had become Khamid following the evolution of its language after prolonged contact with Hara and Venath. It was in this time that the so-called Cataclysm of Khamid took place, in 101 RM.
    Some say it was a Firmamental ritual gone calamitously awry. Others that is was Khamar, returned to appraise his people, punishing them for the sins of their indifferent rulers. Some say it was a natural disaster, unfortunate yet inevitable.  Though speculation is rife, the truth is we do not know - almost all records of the day were obliterated, alongside most of the nation’s populace.
    At the time of the Cataclysm, most of Khamid was concentrated in territories south of the Snjemet Mountains, sue to the mineral richness the regions. Most of its major cities and trading centres were destroyed, alongside its jewel, the capital of Kharr (the present-day Kharr, built in memory of the fallen capital, is roughly 40-miles south-east of the sunken ruins of the old capital). What remained, north of the Snjemet Mountains, were mostly rural communities that worked hard to maintain the affluence the South Kingdom had grown used to.
    The Khamidians grew fascinated with death following the Cataclysm, continuing a tradition started by the Pharoants of building gigantic pylon mausolea, hollow, with inner loggias that housed thousands of embalmed bodies. During this time the Khamidian people turned on their Firmamental heritage (leading some scholars to believe that misuse of the Firmament was responsible for the Cataclysm), leading to a purge of many Firmamental records - a great blow to those studying the history of shaping in the region.
    Khamid was devastated. Its leadership, its trade, its military were destroyed in one blighted day, remembered bitterly to this day by its descendants. Other regions were quick to fill in the cultural vacuum - Venath to the south, Hara and Goetia to the North-West, pirates and corsairs, and Char Mâthi to the east (though the latter was also affected by the destruction), and for many centuries the land of Khamid became a hunting ground for more powerful political players, it’s people prey to their slavers and armies.
    By c. 800 RM a descendant of the Pharoants, known as Sapet Besayt, emerged in the region of Nehrenhat, bringing the people together around the town of Iahnef. Over the next decades he was able to ally himself with the people of Haré Shka to the north. With their help he was able to train Khamid to defend herself against attack. So good was he that by 992 RM, when Haré Shka was threatened by Melayan barbarians it was Khamid who went to its aid. This cemented a close coalition that lasted for many years, leading to the establishment of a port and embassy in the settlement of Lamea in Caria in 1012 RM, which became a centre of trade between the two nations.
    Sapet became the first in a new dynasty of Khamidian rulers that led Khamid into a golden age of sorts. Honourable values were instilled into the Khamidian people under this new dynastic rule, with reliance on esoteric arcana ignored and discouraged. Ancient idols, temples and colossi were allowed to fall into ruin as the Khamidians looked to the future instead - technarcana instead of shaping, trade with the outside world, industry, and diplomacy all became traits of Khamid, who, though its silver-tongued ambassadors, was able to maintain good relations with most outside nations.    
    The Sapeti dynasties, as they became known, lasted until 2384 RM, when Shedkharkhem IV, the last in their line, was assassinated, replaced by a powerful demagogue Natit Henshef who used fear and tyranny to bring back a belief in the old gods, elevating him to the statue of emissary. He took on the mantle of Pharoant, a practice his descendants would continue for centuries.
    Desperate to gain some new territories and resources following its losses in Almagest in 3014 RM, Korachan turned to the East and found Khamid; greatly diminished under the stewardship of the new Pharoants, who busied themselves erecting gigantic pylon mausolea in their honour, allowing the good done by the Sapeti Dynasties to falter. Following a blockade between 3019 and 3021 RM the Pharoants agreed to surrender on condition they be granted citizenship of Korachan, with lands and titles in the heartland. By 3023 RM the Pharoants had married into imperial Archpatrician families and had become little more than instruments of the empire.
    The name Pharoant slowly fell into disuse and these imperial puppets eventually became indistinguishable from western Archpatricians (though they maintained a flair for the dramatic - with garb inspired by their ancient namesakes), and ruled the region, handing over a portion of state-owned resources to the Korachani empire until the Dissolution of the Empire in 3705 RM, after which it was placed under control of the Domnitors who abandoned it fully in 3781 RM, leaving Khamid independant after seven centuries of subjugation. The descendants of the new Pharoants left Khamid when the Domnitors were installed, fulfilling a destiny promised by Korachan in 3021 RM and claiming the lands they were promised so long ago. Many of these Khamidian-descended patrician houses are still around today, proud of their eastern heritage.
    Korachani rule saw Firmamental practices, already greatly reduced since the days of the Cataclysm, all but forbidden, replaced instead by technarcana - which the people of Khamid saw as a defining symbol of their oppressors, causing them to dismissive of it.
    Most Khamidians remain distrustful of the technarcane arts as well as shaping in general to this day, which is somewhat of a burden in today’s post-industrial landscape, though there is a small but growing interest in the region’s ancient history and links with the dawn of Firmamentism in the west, with some individuals travelling to Meniscea to learn the truth behind the Art. this may lead to Khamid becoming a centre of firmamentism in the west.


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