|Sultanate of Karaganda|
The flag of the Sultanate of Karaganda
|Notable cities||Daninka, Dosha, Kilm, Ruknir, Urimna, Yunefas|
|Language(s)||Common, Elvish, Infernal, Sirithai|
|Race(s)||Humans, Elves, Sirithai (since 1006 AE), Demons (since 1017 AE)|
|Ethnic group(s)||Desert Elves, Sarquil, Simoe|
|Demonym(s)|| Sarquil (for humans), Sirithai (for lizardfolk)
|Allies|| Clergy of Artemicia (1006–1017 AE), Grand Alliance (1017 AE)
|Enemies||Clergy of Shakkan (1006–1017 AE), Clergy of Artemicia (since 1017 AE), Magicracy of Alent (since 1017 AE), Northern Horde (since 1017 AE)|
|Sultan / Sultana of Vanna|
|Executive branch||Black Guard|
|Legislative branch||Council of Elders|
|Judicial branch||Grand Vizier|
The Sultanate of Karaganda is a sovereign state located in the Tronin Desert in Southern Libaterra. It is inhabited by the Sarquil tribes and the Sirithai lizardfolk. Although the Sarquil tend to clash from time to time, they have formed a loose alliance, led by the House of Saif from Vanna, since the Cataclysm. The ultimate leader of the tribes, and thus the sultanate itself, is the Sultan and Sultana of Vanna, who are presently Khalid al-Saif and Axikasha Keiran. After the Battle of Vanna, the Northern Horde has taken over the sultanate and driven the Sarquil into exile in Alent.
Karaganda means Black Stone and it referred to a huge black monolith which was located in Qalat al-Jabal, the citadel of Vanna. According to Sarquil legends the stone had powerful magic stored within, and that is why it was a sacred object of worship for the Sarquil who respected and feared magic above all else. The Sarquil later found out the legends were in fact true and that the Black Stone held an invisible magicl ward around the city which prevented a large scale demon invasion. The stone shattered during the Battle of Vanna, however, allowing the demons to finally invade Vanna en masse.
The Sarquil tribes have many proud warriors who have lived in the Tronin Desert in Southern Libaterra for generations since the beginning of the Third Age. The first known Sarquil ruler was Tronin who founded the city of Vanna and became the first Sultan. He was a fierce and determined man with a vision to unite all the warring tribes of the southern desert, which was named after him, under one banner. He died before he could accomplish his goals, but his wisdom, known as the Law of Tronin, was gathered in tomes, and even the Sarquil from rival tribes respected him.
After Tronin's passing various Sarquil tribes lived in independent city-states although many others lived a nomadic lifestyle by moving from one town and city to another. Vanna became the most influential city in the region.
During the Yamatian Invasion, the soldiers of Yamato didn't dare to attack the Sarquil. Instead they left the tribes in peace, although the Sarquil kept an eye on the invaders nevertheless while the Yamatians conquered the rest of the human lands in Libaterra. The Sarquil remained neutral during the Great War although they did slaughter any Yamatian foolish enough to trespass on their territory.
Forming the SultanateEdit
- "The Sarquil are a tribe of desert-people in Libaterra. They were simple nomads when I was last there, but it seems they've banded together since then."
- —Axikasha Keiran about the Sarquil and their sultanate
It wasn't until after the Cataclysm that Razia al-Saif, Sultana of Vanna, realized the threat posed by the demons and began a campaign to unite the bickering Sarquil tribes under Vanna's leadership in order to have a strong enough force to repel any demonic invaders.
The Sultana's campaign involved both battles and diplomacy, but eventually she and her Black Guard united the city-states under Vanna's banner in a loose alliance which became known as the Sultanate of Karaganda, named after the mystical stone Karaganda located in Vanna, the sultanate's capital. Vanna began trade with the Magicracy of Alent, getting supplies from the mages in exchange for protecting the Libaterran border from demon scouting and raiding parties.
During this time the sultanate also gained new neighbours: the lizardfolk known as the Sirithai who appeared seemingly out of nowhere to claim an area deep in the desert which they said was theirs by right. Although at first the Sarquil and Sirithai tolerated each other thanks to the diplomacy of Sultana Razia, things changed when Adela al-Saif usurped the throne and ushered in a new era with help from the Clergy of Artemicia. The Sarquil began harrassing the lizardfolk whom they saw as monsters, and the lizardfolk responded in kind, and soon the two factions became bitter enemies who killed each other on sight.
The clergy's influence grew and it began banning the Old Ways under Adela's guidance while worship of Artemicia spread to the farthest Sarquil cities. This upset many Sarquil, but few dared to act against the new Sultana and her powerful military because they knew the price of treason and because according to the Law of Tronin they had to follow whoever was sitting on the throne of Vanna.
Changes in LeadershipEdit
When a strike force from the Grand Alliance led by the exiled Emir Khalid al-Saif showed up and gained the Sirithai's support, the supporters of the Old Ways acted and united behind Khalid and the Sirithai. This alliace eventually deposed Adela and installed Khalid on the throne in what became known as the first phase of the Battle of Vanna, and the hostilities between the Sirithai and the Sarquil ended in a strenuous peace thanks in part to Axikasha Keiran who was married to Khalid in a ceremony to legitimize Khalid's rule over the people and became a Sultana of the Sarquil tribes in the process.
Khalid wasted no time consolidating his rule, but his rule over Vanna was short-lived when demons from the Northern Horde invaded the weakened city and began the second phase of the Battle of Vanna. The demons eventually won, forcing the surviving Sarquil and their allies to flee to Alent. The Northern Horde took over Vanna, and Duke Malphas d'Xuvadon, the horde's leader, became the new lord of the Sarquil capital.
Right now the sultanate as it used to be is no more: the surviving Sarquil live in Alentian slums and are used as workforce for the mages. They're bitter and hope to one day return to reclaim Vanna from demons in an event they're referring to as Yawm al-Qiyamah, or the Day of Resurrection. However, this is a distant dream because the horde is a fierce and powerful opponent which won't be bested easily even by the determined Sarquil warriors.
The sultanate is located in the Tronin Desert in Southern Libaterra. It is bordered by the Libaterran grasslands belonging to the Magicracy of Alent in the north, the Great Ocean in the east, Yamato in the south and Simoe Gorge in the west.
Its biggest cities have been built around oases, providing the cities with much needed water supply. The central desert has a harsh climate with constant sandstorms and contains areas such as the Bone Wastes where the Sirithai dwell.
Most of the Sarquil, the main human population of the desert lived in and around Vanna, the capital city of the sultanate, but several other major cities have grown over the years, attracting moe wandering Sarquil to settle in. However, this development was halted after the Battle of Vanna during which the Northern Horde invaded the desert and forced the surviving Sarquil to leave the desert behind.
Most of the Tronin Desert, and thus the sultanate, consists of dunes. A few oases do exist here and there, the most famous one being Dahlgur Oasis where the famous white desert roses grow and bloom.
Several creatures, some of which can't be found anywhere else, live in the are controlled by the sultanate. The Bone Wastes have a small population of dire wolves, and sand gnomes and scorpions can be found anywhere in the desert.
The climate of the sultanate is hot and dry in the day and cold at night. Sandstorms are a common occurrence throughout the desert and have often caught those travelling for the first time in the region by surprise.
The Bone Wastes in the inhospitable centre of the Tronin Desert is filled with huge bones of unknown origin with claims that some of them might belong to dragons. The wastes are also filled with an extensive tunnel network dug by the Sirithai which connect to their main lair Xibalba where few non-Sirithai have ever set foot in.
Harvor Island is part of the sultanate and is located east of the desert mainland.
- See: Peoples
The sultanate is populated with Sarquil, desert elves, and Sirithai. After the Battle of Vanna, demons have become a prominent force in the region and have driven many Sarquil and desert elves into exile in Alent while demons have spread throughout the desert. The Sirithai have remained behind in the region and wage a guerrilla war against the demons.
The City of VannaEdit
- See: Vanna
Vanna was an important city for Sarquil tribes for generations and became the capital of the Sultanate after the Cataclysm. It's a fortified city with two walls which separate it into Outer and Inner Vanna. In the very heart of the city stands Qalat al-Jabal, the Citadel of the Mountain, which is the seat of power for the rulers of Vanna.
The Sultana or Sultan is the ultimate ruler of the Sultanate of Karaganda whose seat of power is in Vanna. The title is equivalent of a queen or king who rules a large number of vassal states. Most of the rulers of Vanna were female and were the heads of state whose authority exceeded that of their male consorts. The long tradition was broken by Khalid al-Saif who became the first male ruler of Vanna since the time of Tronin in the aftermath of the Battle of Vanna.
The Sultanate had a heavy blow after the Northern Horde conquered Vanna, and now demons sit on the throne of the ancient Sarquil capital. The reigning Sultan led his people to Alent in the Sarquil Exodus.
List of RulersEdit
- Sultana Meher al-Saif
- Sultana Kawkab al-Sharq
- Sultana Razia al-Saif
- Sultana Adela al-Saif
- Sultan Khalid al-Saif and Sultana Axikasha Keiran
An Emira or Emir is the title of the child or sibling of the ruler (Sultan/a) of Vanna. The title is equivalent of a princess or prince. They can't automatically inherit the throne; they can only sit on the throne if they defeat whoever is sitting on the throne, whether it's their relative or someone else who has deposed said relative. If someone outside the family defeats the ruling Sultan(a) first and the Emir(a) doesn't challenge the challenger, then the one who won the duel automatically becomes the new Sultan(a) as per the Law of Tronin.
A Sheikha or Sheikh rules one of the semi-independent Sarquil cities and towns which are sprinkled around the sultanate. Each Sheikh and Sheikha acts as a vassal lord to the Sultana and/or Sultan but have relative autonomy as long as they pay tribute to Vanna and rally their forces to defend the capital when needed.
After the Sarquil Exodus, Sheikhas and Sheikhs have lost considerable land holdings but still hold authority over their respective tribes. Their words hold weight in the ears of the Sultan and Sultana.
Council of EldersEdit
The Sheikhas and Sheikhs form a loose Council of Elders which occasionally meets with the Sultan/a and the Grand Vizier to discuss matters and vote on various decisions which concern the sultanate. The known members of the council include:
- Bashar al-Asad - Sheikh of Daninka
- Karima al-Nassar - Sheikha of Yunefas
- Miraj al-Zarar - Sheikh of Kilm
- Unnamed - Sheikh/a of Ruknir
- Unnamed - Sheikh/a of Urimna
The Grand Vizier of the Court is essentially the Sultana's or Sultan's advisor and minister who deals with the more mundane affairs and also interprets Sarquil laws and religion.
The current Grand Vizier is Azriel al-Zarar.
The viziers are under the Grand Vizier's authority and obey their superior's commands although they have some autonomy just as the Sheikhs have autonomy in the sultanate. They help the Grand Vizier interpret the religious laws of the Sarquil and in turn spread the teachings to the masses.
Sarquil clerics mostly follow the Old Ways, the ancient Sarquil customs, and have deep respect for the spirits of the ancestors. They wish to keep things the way they have always been and are suspicious of any drastic changes. They're religious and also superstitious, believing in omens more easily than many other Libaterrans. They are respected men and women among their kin but even they don't tolerate the weak and expect every cleric to be strong enough to defend him/herself. The rare physically weak clerics are only in the clergy due to their relatives bribing the clerics to keep them in the clergy as scholars.
Some Sarquil are so nomadic and adventurous that they actually wander out of the Tronin Desert. These wanderers usually end up becoming either merchants or bodyguards although some have tried their hand at being thieves and assassins. They distrust mages which is why it's rare to see a mage with a Sarquil bodyguard.
After the recent exodus from Vanna, most surviving Sarquil have been forced to become wanderers, and although many of them have settled into Alent for the time being, some defy the elders and seek greener pastures elsewhere, working in various professions, usually bodyguards because they know the art of killing which makes them desirable minions.
Slaves are the bottom rung of the Sarquil castes, most of them consisting of desert elves whom the Sarquil see as inferior weaklings only fit for manual labour. Anyone the Sarquil conquer end up in the slave caste. Even the members of the Black Guard were in the slave caste until the desert elves were conquered and replaced the black warriors as the new slaves of the Sarquil.
Slaves are trained by slave trainers who are usually head slaves. The trainers pick most suitable slaves for services and are divided into castes. This means that the wealthier slaves pick the strongest and most beautiful slaves for the Sarquil nobles whereas poorer slaves have to take the rest to the common Sarquil.
The desert elven slaves are led by a spiritual guide who is called the Imam. The current Imam of desert elves is Nisiopi.
- Main article: Black Guard
An elite military force called the Black Guard consists of brave men and women of Simoe descent who have sworn to protect Vanna and its ruler with their lives. They are fiercely loyal and numerous warriors with the best training available to Sarquil. They consist of only black people, an ancient tradition stemming from the time when Tronin conquered the black tribes of the desert and made them his royal guard because he was impressed by their bravery. The Black Guards eat Drakeroot, a special plant which turns them into ferocious berserkers who feel no pain during combat.
Notable members of the Black Guard include:
- Ahmed - former Corporal of the Black Guard (dead)
- Ismail - former Captain of the Black Guard (dead)
- Jamila - former Sergeant of the Black Guard (MIA)
- Obama - former Sergeant of the Black Guard (dead)
- Razoul - Captain of the Black Guard
- Vitani - Sergeant of the Black Guard
The Faarisah are a special cavalry unit whose purpose is to scout enemy locations and use hit and run tactics when necessary while gathering intel. The unit consists of only women of Sarquil descent who remain loyal to Vanna and its ruler. They are expert handlers of camels and vicious warriors who take what they want when they want.
More info later.
Armor and EmblemsEdit
The warriors of the sultanate wear predominately sand-coloured armor with a mix of grey and gold. This helps them blend into the desert surroundings better, and the outfits and armor have been designed to protect the warriors from heat and sand. The Clergy of Artemicia and the nobles prefer cloaks with a mix of blue, gold and white which are important colours for the Sarquil.
The flag of the Sultanate of Karaganda is a golden sun on a field of blue. This signifies the importance of the sky and the sun in Sarquil mythology and how the sky can either bless the land or curse it. Various Sarquil tribes have their own emblems and flags, but they all fight under the flag of the sultanate when it is time to put differences aside.
The Sarquil despise those they consider weak and fear those who possess magic. They see slavery as natural; might makes right, so weaker races will submit to the Sarquil rule, which is what happened to the desert elf population. Anyone can challenge their current ruler to a duel, and the winner takes the throne. Those with deformities or otherwise weak bodies usually don't survive long because the Sarquil encourage bullying and the survival of the fittest so that only the strongest of their kin may survive to give birth to the next Sarquil generation.
They follow the Law of Tronin to the letter and have superstitious beliefs about omens and prophecies. They hold women in high esteem, and most of them see women as superior to men. Until recently all the Sarquil rulers of Vanna have been female except Tronin who was the only male ruler until Khalid al-Saif became the second man to take over the throne of Vanna.
The tribes respect the dead and see death in combat as the preferred way to die. This is why their recent exile has made the survivors feel that they've dishonoured the will of their ancestors. Ancestral worship is common among the Sarquil who follow the Old Ways, and they've built many tombs in the desert. They also hold the Festival of the Dead during which they burn those who have died gloriously in combat while drinking heavily and celebrating happily their loved ones' passing. They see death as a natural part of a warrior's life.
The Sarquil pray to the desert winds and often utter phrases such as "By the Four Winds!" to protect themselves from harm. They also respect the ancient Sarquil hero Tronin and tend to refer to his mighty beard with the phrase "By Tronin's Beard!".
They're a sexually liberal culture, their rulers sleeping openly with many people, including strangers, to keep their bloodlines varied. To them sex is a blessing of the ancients and one should enjoy it with as many like-minded people as possible. It was common for rulers to have harems of either women or men pleasing their master in orgies, and the Sarquil are, despite their rough attitude, surprisingly delicate lovers who know how to please their multiple partners.
Although Vanna is the cultural, political and military centre of the sultanate, there are many other towns and villages in the desert which are subservient to Vanna. Usually the tribes in these settlements have specialized in some area of expertise, for example producing food or weapons.
- Battle of Vanna
- Black Guard
- Clergy of Artemicia
- Festival of the Dead
- House of Saif
- Tronin Desert