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  • The Al-Rukh Sovereignty Sep 21, 2013

    The Al-Rukh Sovereignty


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    • Full Name: The Al-Rukh Sovereignty
    • Colloquial Name: Al-Rukh; the Sovereignty
    • Capital City: Mezekesh (formerly Sentinel)
    • Affiliated Territories: Azar Harif, Sanbar Flats, Ajak, Namaj, Hellforge, Vor’os
    • Symbol/Flag: The Scorpion
    • Colors: Black on White; Orange and Yellow
    • Government Structure: Federal Monarchy
    • Head of State: Jericho Al-Rukh III, known as Jericho the Wise, King of Al-Rukh
    • Population: ~11,500,000
    • Race(s): Ixan predominately, with a minority of Imperials in the Sanbar Flats region, and several Redguard communities along the Riverhead border. Ixans are Imperials with a very dark skin hue (Middle Eastern).
    • Demonym: Rukhan
    • Language(s): Aziji
    • Currency: The Rukhan Tzenaji
    • Religion(s): The Pantheon of Ancients, a strange and cryptic religion with archaic roots in the Alik’r Desert, centered around a triad of gods: Dakhla, the Sand Warden; Damanhur, the Desert Flame; Sawu, the Dark Genie. Though the Pantheon includes all three deities, some are revered more than the others in different regions of the empire.
    History
    Dawn of Kingdoms – The Collapse


    The conflict between Riverhead and the Kingdom of Azar Harif died down quickly after its start, mostly due to the river mages sudden discovery and manipulation of water with Alteration magic, a tactic that proved rather effective against the sand and dark glass magic of the sand warriors. The river mages were able to stave off the sand warriors of Azar Harif and defend the lands they had laid claim to, and soon enough, the two kingdoms entered into an uneasy truce, not able to best the opposing force completely. King Andromolek set home with his sand legions, unaware of the current turmoil of Sandstone, capital of Azar Harif.

    Ezekiel, thane of King Andromolek, heard of the truce and knew he had to act fast as temporary king in order to carry out his plan to seize control of Azar Harif. The dark magic construct that was being created by Memphis, a dark genie, was nowhere near completion, but in his haste to hurry the process, Ezekiel triggered the construct prematurely, resulting in a massive explosion that left the capital city of Sandstone in ruins.

    Andromolek did not hesitate in beginning to rebuild the once great city as he returned from the front of war--however, he became obsessed with the project of reconstruction, perhaps driven mad by everything he lost in the catastrophe, and was deemed too unstable to rule anymore. He was forcibly removed from the throne and replaced by his elder brother, Thuran, who had left the city to return to his own governance just days prior to the explosion.

    Under Thuran, Azar Harif prospered. The reconstruction of Sandstone continued seamlessly; the people of the kingdom, though somewhat distraught over the sudden change of events, lived very content lives. Thuran, being a much more diplomatic ruler than his warrior brother, managed to establish crude relations, yet relations nonetheless, with neighboring kingdoms, opening more trade routes and communication between nations, bolstering Azar Harif’s economy, which was rather neglected under the reign of Andromolek.

    When Thuran died of old age, he had no children. This proved somewhat problematic for the leadership of the kingdom. His younger brother, Marwan, had died several years back due to severe illness, also without children, leaving none of the Dakhlar bloodline alive to inherit the throne. Chaos was soon to follow as local princes and lords; shrewd diplomats and bloodthirsty warriors alike, combated for the throne of Azar Harif.

    For many years wars raged across the Alik'r. Death and destruction ravaged the populace as armies rose and fell with their leaders and their claims to the throne. Eventually, small contingents of the populace began to break off from the war-engulfed Azar Harif, declaring themselves independent and self-governing. Soon enough, Azar Harif had dissolved into a number of independent city-states in an event that would become known as The Collapse.

    A Divided Azar Harif – Jericho the Conqueror


    These city-states warred and feuded among themselves for hundreds of years, living separately and self-sufficiently. Throughout this period, the magic and knowledge of the desert became lost to many, only practiced and studied by a handful of settlements.

    However, a hope for a united Azar Harif had risen. Interspersed in between all the autonomous states that had declared their independence remained small groups of loyalists—warriors and scholars who believed in a reunited Azar Harif. From one of the loyalist states, a military genius rose—one with an explicit determination to unite the separate states and re-form the once great kingdom of Azar Harif.

    He was Jericho Al-Rukh, and he would be successful in reuniting the Kingdom of Azar Harif.

    Hailing from Al-Rukh, a moderately sized loyalist settlement located on the fringe of the Alik’r Desert, Jericho spent his younger years studying the long-lost secrets of the desert and massing a formidable army.

    When Jericho was in his mid-twenties he began the war campaign to reunify Azar Harif. The conquest took over a decade, and it was a difficult struggle to oust the princes of some of the larger states, but in the end, Jericho was successful in uniting Azar Harif back under one banner—the banner of the Scorpion. He became known as Jericho the Conqueror following the reunification, and led the kingdom into a new era.

    The Dawn of an Empire

    Although the conquest was over, Jericho’s work was far from complete. Ahead of him lie hard times in rebuilding the once great kingdom. What was to come would set the foundation for a new power, and the dawn of an empire.

    Jericho divided the landscape of the lands he had conquered into six territories: Azar Harif, in the Alik’r Desert; Sanbar Flats, in the plains directly east of the Alik’r Desert; Hellforge, formerly known as the Dragontail Mountains; Ajak, the eastern plains that border Riverhead; Namaj, the coastline east of Taneth; Vor’os, the peninsula formerly known as Hnes Rax/Hews Bane. For each of the territories, Jericho installed a prince. These princes would be able to rule over their domains, but within the constraints of the monarch, whoever it may be, effectively establishing a federal monarchy.

    The Al-Rukh Sovereignty was born.

    This system worked brilliantly, and Jericho’s empire prospered. Azar Harif began to re-explore the forbidden desert magic, inspired by Jericho’s extensive studies. A movement rippled through the desert province, a movement centered on the ancient magic of the Alik'r Desert. Universities and centers of study sprung up across Azar Harif, and soon enough, the province became a bustling center of knowledge, a jewel of study, beckoning scholars from across the continent to travel to the unforgiving desert and learn of this enigmatic magic.

    However, this new system wasn’t infallible. The princes and their respective courts would end up becoming very rich, living lavishly off the profits of their territories—creating a rather wide income gap. The low level working class would toil away diligently, doing their jobs and keeping just enough money to scrape by, required to contribute the rest to their local prince.

    Despite the rampant wealth disparity, the people were generally content with their lives. Scholars from across the empire and beyond made their home in the grand cities of the Alik’r, devoting the rest of their lives to deciphering the secrets of the desert. Farmers and ranchers settled down on the plains of Ajak and Sanbar Flats, living the simple lives of an agricultural people, providing the rest of Al-Rukh with ample grains, produce and meat. Fishing towns began to sprout up across Namaj and Vor’os; mines chiseled deep into the earth below Hellforge.

    Present

    The following three hundred years leading up to the current day would remain nondescript at large. For the most part, the Sovereignty toiled away in relative peace. However, history is doomed to repeat itself. The Ixan people were never a peaceful people—not now; not a thousand years ago when all that existed of them was Azar Harif. Diplomacy was never a strong suit for the hot-blooded Ixish, or any of the races that lived within the Sovereignty. This proved to become a problem as growth continued and the people of Al-Rukh discovered they have neighbors to deal with.

    North of Al-Rukh is the independent alliance of Wayrest and Evermor. These two cities would prove a thorn in the side of the Sovereignty, and though they were left as a buffer zone by the Camlornian Empire, they have plagued the border settlements and mining towns of Hellforge with bandit attacks since the very beginning of the empire.

    Relations remained tense on the eastern border with Riverhead. Occasional skirmishes will ignite along the border, Rukhans living in villages along the fringes of Ajak often banding together to carry out a raid of a Riverhead settlement across the border. Nothing major occurs beside the minor skirmishes.

    Aside from the minor border conflicts, the Sovereignty maintains distant and foreign relations with the nations and empires of Tamriel, disliking alliances. However, several of the regional princes have struck up their own private trade agreements with other empires, primarily the trading republic of Veranio.

    In the deserts of the Alik’r, feelings of hostility and resentment are aplenty within the great centers of study as foreign scholars flock to the province to devote themselves to the enigmatic desert magic. Riots frequently break out, Rukhans outraged at the prospect of sharing their knowledge of the desert with outsiders. The situation grows worse by the day.

    Relations and Diplomacy

    Like stated above, Al-Rukh is not a diplomatic empire by any means. The empire currently maintains relatively neutral relations with all of its neighbors, save Riverhead, its millennia-old rival. Border conflicts constantly spring up along the Ajak-Riverhead border, small skirmishes between local militias that are paid no heed by the governments of either power. In the north, Breton bandits and barbarians from the free cities of Wayrest and Evermor plague the mines and towns of Hellforge with harassing attacks, to which the mining settlements are not able to respond to due to lack of military strength in those northernmost reaches of the empire. Aside from the petty skirmishes along the eastern and northern borders, Al-Rukh tries to maintain neutral relations with other empires, despite an overall hostile foreign disposition from the people.

    Government

    The Al-Rukh Sovereignty is a federal monarchy in the truest definition of the term. At the Head of the State sits the monarch, officially dubbed King, though the title is rarely used. The monarch is the absolute ruler of the empire, having complete jurisdiction over any and all happenings of the empire. However, to help lighten the load of having the weight of an empire on your shoulders, there are regional princes in power underneath the monarch. For each of the six city-states there is a prince who lords over that city-state explicitly, allowed to govern their realm as they choose, within the general restrictions set in place by the monarch. If a situation arises, or intervention is required for whatever reason, the monarch has full capabilities to take control of a province, casting the regional prince aside. This works surprisingly well as long as the princes do not become corrupt and tainted.

    Lands

    The Al-Rukh Sovereignty’s reign covers most of former Hammerfell. Its northern border is along the Illiac Bay and the northern fringes of the Dragontail Mountains and its eastern border lies from the middle of the Dragontail Mountains almost straight down to the coastline.

    Cities and Regions
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    Key: Large Star = empire capitol; Small star = regional capitols; Large Circles = large towns/cities; Small Circles = towns
    • Azar Harif – Azar Harif has prehistoric roots stretching back to before the End War. It was this province that was settled once, long ago, by the first Imperial exiles, and blossomed into the great kingdom of Azar Harif. Uncovering vast banks of enigmatic knowledge that were hidden beneath the shifting sands of the Alik’r Desert, the people of Azar Harif have endured through the test of time and now make up a very large part of the Al-Rukh Sovereignty. Its capital is the rich city of Mezekesh, which is the seat of power for the monarchial government of the Sovereignty in addition to the regional capital of Azar Harif. Other notable cities include the prosperous city of Sandstone; the desert town of Oasis; the bustling docks of Vyr. Azar Harif is known for its expansive universities and centers of knowledge dedicated to the study of the secrets of the Alik’r. These universities are located primarily in Mezekesh and Sandstone, the richest and largest cities in Azar Harif. Here, foreign scholars flock from across Tamriel to devote themselves to this enigmatic magic. Azar Harif is a very wealthy province; in fact, the wealthiest in the Sovereignty. As such, the larger cities of the desert state are very extravagant, with beautiful buildings constructed out of marble and sandstone and carved with delicate accuracy. The architecture is very smooth and curvaceous, very reminiscent of Renaissance architecture of the modern world. However, such beauty comes with much upkeep, as the sands of the desert wear down on the cities. As such, the cost of living in the urban centers of Azar Harif is rather high, compared to other regions of Al-Rukh. Azar Harif is shaded yellow on the map above.
    • Sanbar Flats – The plains that stretch out past the ends of the desert have become home to a number of true, olive-skinned Imperials over the years. Not battered from the blazing sun as the people of Azar Harif are, the inhabitants of the Sanbar Flats kept their characteristic olive skin as they settled down and began cultivating the lands. Grapes and barley were discovered to grow particularly well in the soil of the Flats, and so the region has become renowned for their wine. The Sanbar Flats are not a particularly wealthy region; they get by fairly well, and are not the poorest region by far. The capital city of the Flats is the large urban center of Sanbar, with other notable cities being the crowded docks of White Harbor; the large farming settlement of Golan; the sprawling town of Plainview. The settlements and cities of Sanbar are very reminiscent of Cyrodiilic cities, and this comes from the fact that the Imperial people of the Flats are largely unchanged in terms of culture. Sanbar Flats are shaded green on the map above.
    • Vor’os – The smallest of the six regions of the Sovereignty, Vor’os is a fishing state at large. Almost completely surrounded by water, it is no surprise that the first Ixish people, traveling down from Azar Harif following the fall of Solvynstia, immediately turned to fishing to support themselves. Living among the ruins of the small colony that once prospered, the people of Vor’os are not very wealthy. Settlements of the peninsula often do not grow larger than small fishing villages, with only a few rare exceptions. However, the inhabitants of Vor’os do not mind being poorer than most and live relatively content lives. The regional capital of the peninsula is Em’ny, a fishing village that grew unnaturally large, and in turn, became dubbed the region’s capital. Other notable settlements include Arak and Remite, both abnormally large fishing villages. Vor’os is shaded light blue on the map above.
    • Hellforge – Hellforge can be described simply by its name alone. Nestled among the peaks of the Dragontails, this province is by far the poorest of the Sovereignty—not only in terms of wealth, but also it terms of the standard of living. Not only is Hellforge a squalid province, but it is dangerous as well. Bandits from the northern alliance of Wayrest and Evermor hide themselves in the crags of the Dragontails, harassing the northern settlements of Hellforge. The main industry of the province is mining, and is very hazardous to the health of the workers, who often fall ill with respiratory illnesses. However, despite the peril of the mines, the minerals and resources extracted from the mineshafts that tunnel deep into the Dragontails help the economy of the Sovereignty and provide a plethora of raw materials to craft into finer artisanal goods. The regional capital of Hellforge is Hellforge, a sprawling mining city nestled within some of the highest peaks of the Dragontail Mountains. Other notable settlements include Azim, a massive town covering the bottom of a large valley; Axefall and Tonuiz, the two most extensive mines of Hellforge. Hellforge is shaded red-orange on the map above.
    • Ajak – Known as the Breadbasket of Al-Rukh, Ajak is the agricultural capital of the Sovereignty. The soil is very fertile, and the plains the province lays on are expansive, flat and wide open. Able to grow the crops the Sanbar Flats cannot, most, if not all, of the food for the empire comes from the fields and ranches of Ajak. The farmers of the plains live simple lives by choice, giving most of their extra coin away to others in need. The communities of Ajak support themselves and each other, and the people who live in these settlements are some of the most friendly and nicest people of the Sovereignty. The capital city of this agrarian region is Kachkal, a rather wealthy Cyrodiilic-style city. Other notable towns include Yezem and Esrio, considerably larger farming communities; Sul’age, a cultured city with miles of vineyards beyond its city walls; Tzich, a huge, fortified border town ravaged by the skirmishes with Riverhead. Ajak is shaded purple on the map above.
    • Namaj – Namaj is second only to Azar Harif in its wealth. This small, coastal region is incredibly prosperous, boasting large, cultured cities and major universities structured off the philosophical centers of Riverhead. Since the neighboring empire of Riverhead, and particularly the nearby city of Rihad, has become a major center of philosophy, the influx of thinking wore off on the nearby province of Namaj, and soon enough, the small coastal province was following the same path that Rihad had followed. Centers of philosophy sprung up in the larger cities, which were rich in culture. One of the more diplomatic provinces, the larger ports of Namaj became prominent economic centers, hubs for trading and a good stop for a traveling merchant. This is where the wealth of Namaj came from, the wealth that funded the cultural and philosophical growth of the province. There are a plethora of guilds and factions within Namaj, and very powerful guilds at that. One finds that the guilds of the province pull more weight and control more of the province than the actual regional government does. The regional capital of Namaj is Qadar, a bustling port, home to many merchant guilds. Other notable cities include Izalth, a smaller, inland city that boasts one of the greatest philosophical institutions, the University of Izalth; Nemyra, a cultural melting pot, rich and prosperous. Namaj is shaded dark blue on the map above.
    Military

    The Al-Rukh Sovereignty is known for its military strength. Hardy, disciplined, and vigorously trained, the legions of Al-Rukh are truly a force to be feared. The military of the Sovereignty is made predominately of warriors from Azar Harif, men trained so vigorously from birth in the magic of the desert that they have literally become part of the Alik’r Desert, harnessing its supreme magical powers. The sand warriors are very skilled in the use of spears, with a secondary skill set in shortswords and scimitars. While the Azar Harifan sand legions account for a majority of the Sovereignty’s military power, other, smaller contributions are present from Hellforge and Sanbar. Hardened miners-turned-warriors come from Hellforge, usually straight out of the mines. They are brutish and almost savage in combat, but prove very effective tanks. From Sanbar come very skilled marksmen, adding a whole different dimension to the Sovereignty’s military with legions of archers to supplement the spearmen sand warriors and brutal tanks.

    Culture

    The Al-Rukh Sovereignty is very multicultural, and depending on the province, the beliefs and culture are very different. In Azar Harif and Vor’os, the population is almost exclusively made up on Ixans, which are essentially Imperials with an inherently darker skin hue, much like people of the Middle East. Sanbar Flats consists primarily of sects of Imperials, olive-skinned and black haired, like the Imperials of old. Hellforge, Ajak and Namaj all boast rather diverse demographics, including communites of Ixans, Imperials and Redguards.

    Each province tends to have their own distinct culture and beliefs, though there are similarities that bring them together as an empire. In each province, a different god of the triad is usually revered more so than the other two. In Azar Harif, all three are worshipped fairly equally, as the Pantheon of Ancients did in fact stem from the Alik’r Desert, though, if there is a preference, it would most likely be Dakhla. In the north, Damanhur is more widely worshipped, and in the south, it is Sawu who is revered.

    Azar Harif is a very exquisite place, with extravagant architecture and standards of living. Namaj is a melting pot of culture, as merchants bring with them many foreign goods, each adding to the diversity of the classical cities there. As for the less wealthy provinces, the cultural differences are on a much smaller scale, and usually vary from settlement to settlement, each community picking and choosing what it wishes to practice.

    Economy

    The Sovereignty’s economy is a fickle thing. Due to the incredible wealth disparity and rampant poverty in many regions of the empire, the economy is often hard to keep aloft. However, with raw materials and minerals pouring from the mines of Hellforge at the cost of the health of the miners, and bountiful harvests from the Flats and Ajak, the Sovereignty manages to keep itself in a relatively fine fiscal situation. Namaj and Azar Harif fare very well, though they tend to keep most of their money within their provinces, helping themselves rather than the entire Sovereignty.

    Factions

    The Silver Spears – Loyal bodyguards to the King. They are elite warriors, with deadly proficiency in the use of spears.
    Mezekesh Brotherhood – A guild of seasoned and studied scholars, very knowledgeable in the arts and secrets of the desert.
    The White Harbor Conglomerate – A merchant guild, based out of White Harbor, comprised of a few wealthy Imperials trying to corner the market for their own personal gain.
    Brothers of Izalth – A guild of some of the greatest thinkers and philosophers of Namaj. They are very influential with the regional prince and pull great weight in provincial decisions.
    The Merchants of Qadar – A large guild of merchants, based out of Qadar. They are very wealthy, and use this wealth to almost run the city of Qadar themselves, disregarding the regional government.
    Federation of Whispers – An empire-wide guild comprised of thieves and assassins, usually the street scum of the larger cities. There are outposts in every major settlement, with their headquarters in Azim.
    Shadow Militia – Dubbed Shadow Militia by the Prince of Ajak, this guild is a group of hostile warriors operating on the Ajak-Riverhead border, out of the city of Tzich, with a goal of wreaking havoc on Riverhead border settlements.

    POV Characters

    Lord Myro – King Jericho the Wise’s most trusted advisor, both politically and militarily.
    Amadeus Ra’gottri – A prominent scholar in the Mezekesh Brotherhood. Very seasoned in the secrets of the desert.
    Vitri Comodore – Member of the Shadow Militia, based out of the fortress-city of Tzich. Dutiful and hardy; a capable warrior.
    Darius Marillion – Powerful merchant, one of the select few of the White Harbor Conglomerate.
    Joshua Rharka - A general of the Sovereignty's military, a gifted warrior in both sand magic and spear use.
    Symon Cukhlar - Important and revered scholar and thinker, a high ranking Brother of Izalth.
    Jaalah Dzho - Hardy and reserved miner of the extensive Axefall mines.

    (Characters subject to change. More characters will be added eventually. Factions may be subject to change as well.)
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