Dark Days in Sion
Size: Approx 20,000 square miles
Government: Shumayal Dynasty of the Quresh
Power Center Alignment: NE
Technology Base: Dark Ages
Population: 12,000; Approx 12 persons per square mile.
Population Demographics: 80% Rural, 10% Urban, 10% Abroad
Racial Demographics: 40% Quresh, 50% Humanoids, 10% Demihumans
Class Demographics: 10% Military, 4% Clergy, 7% Upper Class, 30% Middle Class, 24% Lower Class, 25% Slaves
Law Rank: 0
Overthrows: Kezzarat Theocracy (3,000 years ago)
Legal Code: Laws of the Sezzara Wasteland
Law Enforcement: Very Strong
Social Standing: Sometimes Matters
|Sites and Landmarks|
|Ruins of Cyrael||Mezzarat Mountains|
|Kingdom of Vulkh||Kingdom of Maharatha|
Society in the Sezzara Wasteland is a mix of Quresh culture and that of evil humanoids who dwell beside them. It is a harsh and largely lawless place. There are only two hard and fast rule here. First, Quresh are the only ones the evil humanoids consider untouchable. Second, Quresh do not permit outsiders into their lands unless they are invited.
When they came to rule the wasteland the various branches of the Quresh tribe knew they must unite under a single ruler in order to consolidate their strength. It was the only way to show their true strength to the evil humanoids who roamed the wasteland. Chief Mukhara was voted to become their first Sheikh and begin a new dynasty. The other chiefs swore to serve the Mukhara Dynasty from that day forward.
The Sheikh decided to form an army led by a Chief General who answered only to him. Also the Cult of Shakstasati grew quite influential after the fall of the Kezzarat Theocracy. The Sheikh chose one of their High Priestesses to be one of his advisors with the rank of Chief Priestess.
Later, when Quresh culture became more decadent and widespread on Akhenaten the practice of training mistresses became very important. Mistresses living among the influential and powerful in other cultures proved invaluable as ambassadors and spies. He similarly chose one of their High Mistresses to become Chief Mistress and serve as his advisor.
|Chief||Chief General||Chief Mistress||Chief Priestess|
|Sheriff||General||High Mistress||High Priestess|
Originally just another tribe among the Sezzaran nomads who roamed this region before they were united under the Kezzarat Theocracy, the Quresh observed the Sezzaran pantheon made up of the following gods. Zhieros, father of civilization, law and order, depicted as a king with three eyes. Baezu, patron deity of hunters and the warrior caste with the head of a lion and the body of a man. Anuvega, goddess of fertility and nature who always has flowers blooming from her hair. Muirra, goddess of poetry, art and music who serves as a muse to all who seek to express themselves creatively. Traxis, god of craftsmanship and hard labor, depicted as a strong man holding a hammer and chisel. Several other lesser deities were also worshiped. Among these was an evil goddess of corruption and sin named Shaktasati.
However, ever since the fall of the Kezzarat Theocracy, the Quresh have elevated Shaktasati in status above all other gods and forbidden worship of Zhieros.
The Kezzarat Theocracy – 3,000 Years ago
The origins of the Sezzara wasteland occurred almost three thousand years ago. Back then locals called Sezzarans roamed their domain in large tribes. Many Sezzarans were devoutly religious towards different deities from a diverse pantheon until the high priest of the Kezzara tribe united them under Zhieros, patron god of civilization, law and order. He founded the Kezzarat Theocracy and became their first Pontificate, or ruler. His theocracy prospered for four hundred years during which time they built a capital city named Cyrael against a large range of dormant volcano’s known as the Mezzarat Mountains in the center of their domain.
The Great Calamity – 2,600 Years Ago
Then a terrible calamity occurred. The dormant volcano’s of the Mezzarat Mountains became active again and erupted. Cyrael was destroyed, darkening the sky with soot and smoke. Flocks of birds fell with the ash, crops withered, fish were poisoned in the rivers and lakes. Within days every living thing within hundreds of miles of the the Mezzarat mountains was dead or dying.
The Curse of the Quresh Tribe
The Pontificate blamed the calamity on the Quresh tribe, claiming they provoked the wrath of Zhieros stealing the wealth from the high temple. The fact the Quresh tribe inexplicably departed the region hours before the volcano’s blew (allegedly with the temples wealth in their possession) backed up his claim.
The Quresh tribe were poor, disrespected vagabonds; cheats and thugs. They lived on the outskirts of Sezzaran society or in the slums, offering dirty work to the highest bidder. They were also reviled as the most devoted followers of Shaktasati, familiar with dark rituals that could ruin the lives of other Sezzarans. A service they offered to anyone willing to pay the price.
The pontificate cursed the Quresh tribe with the mark of greed… golden eyes… a mark their descendants still carry to this day.
The Origins of the Underfolk
Shortly after he made the curse the pontificate claimed to have a vision to lead his people in a mass exodus underground. Many followed him into the depths of the earth where they were preyed upon by evil underdark races. Many perished, but some survived, evolved, even thrived. After three thousand years those sezzarans became the Underfolk.
Return of the Quresh Tribe – 2,500 Years Ago
After stealing the riches of Zhieros’ temple the Quresh tribe were as wealthy as kings. They could have lived comfortably anywhere but their desire was always to return home. However before they did so they chose to finish the extermination of other Sezzaran refugees. Any Sezzaran who didn’t have golden eyes was hunted down by the Quresh or captured by mercenaries they hired to patrol the borders of the wasteland. Only after a hundred years had passed, when they were certain none who remained could have survived, did they risk going back.
While they waited the Quresh spent their time making contacts abroad sourcing everything they needed to repopulate their devastated land. They returned to ruins of their former towns and cities (now overrun with evil humanoids) with hundreds of slaves and mercenaries to reclaim it (even if the Sezzara Wasteland would never again be truly habitable to live in).
The Quresh rebuilt some of their former homes but they never had any intention of restoring it all to its former splendor. For them the ruins of Sezzara were grander and more beautiful now than ever before… for what remained was a monument of Shaktasati’s victory over Zhieros and that was worth preserving. Even the charred bones of their former countrymen were regarded with appreciation and left where they lay.
Of course the wasteland offered very little to profit from and almost nothing to live off of… but the Quresh tribe were proven survivors and made the best of it. They arranged alliances with the evil humanoids and organized them like mercenaries, offering armies to the highest bidders.
War of the Bastard Usurpers & the Slaughter Knight – 1,000 Years Ago
After fifteen hundred years the Mukhara Dynasty had a crisis of leadership. The Shiekh, his wife and heir were all killed by a freak volcanic sinkhole that swallowed most of the royal caravan into fiery doom. The Shiekh was only survived by his five bastard sons, each born of a different mistress. The bastards were experienced warriors with small armies at their command. Their names were Turesh, Josek, Hurek, Uberus, and Masun.
Quresh law stated only a true-born heir could rule the Quresh, but the chief who was likely to become the next Shiekh was such a bitter critic of the Mukhara Dynasty the bastards feared for their livelihoods, even their lives, if he was allowed to take the throne. Thus they demanded the council of chiefs choose another or else they would end his reign by force before it ever properly began.
The council commanded them to stand down and disband their armies, so the bastards declared themselves all princes and turned their armies upon the chiefs starting a civil war! Nearly one quarter of their population died over a period of thirty years.During the first year Turesh happened upon the corpse of a foreign merchant after laying waste to a town near the Maharathan border. The merchants goods were being pillaged by his mercenary soldiers, among which was an old tome containing various legends written in ancient and foreign languages.
Turesh kept the tome out of curiosity and discovered one legend written in ancient Akhenaten that he could translate. The legend spoke of a Chivalan knight who appeared to serve the owner of the tome. And so it was, as before, that the knight appeared once again to serve him. The knight asked his master what grand quest was his wish and Turesh answered it was the throne of his father.
Turesh was very pleased with his new henchmen. The knight already spoke all the same languages and served him with unwavering loyalty. The knight became his most trusted bodyguard and tyrannical commander, tirelessly slaughtering his foes and slicing fear into his enemies. As he did so, the magical tome magically recorded his deeds in the Akhenaten language for his master to read. Turesh became obsessed with the other secrets in the tome and copied down the foreign writing as best he could so captured sages from all corners of the land could translate its many works.
What he discovered were tales of horrors he could barely imagine, and such great power! Power enough to rule the world perhaps. Turesh found himself being drawn into its evil. He felt the corruption in his soul tainting his thoughts and actions. His orders became progressively crueler. His methods grew progressively brutal and the knight carried them all out without question.
Before long, the knights brutality on the battlefield earned him the nickname Slaughter Knight, which made the other princes worry what Turesh’s true intentions were? They knew they could not hope to earn the respect and humility of the common people if Turesh continued with so much needless killing. Josek and Hurek broke off their campaigns to parley with Turesh, and if necessary, bring him down.
Josek and Hurek soon realized Turesh was not the same brother they started the war with. There were dark forces behind him now, forces from other planes he could not hope to control. He refused to cease his bloody campaign, nor would he hear of banishing the knight who served him so well. It was if he went mad with the desire for dominion over all his father once had. Faced with no alternative Josek and Hurek had to raise arms against him and defend the rest of the tribe from his continued attacks.
Demons began to appear in the ranks of Turesh’s armies, forcing a bloody five year standoff before they eventually defeated him. Josek took possession of the tome afterwards, which immediately corrupted his soul as it had Turesh’s. Josek suddenly had many evil ideas after reading about all the knight had done for Turesh in the tomes pages. When the knight reappeared and swore to serve Josek as loyally as he previously served Turesh it also revealed many things about Turesh’s former plans. It also revealed secrets he knew about his other brothers.
Hurek became angered and jealous of Josek once the knight was standing by his side. Before long Hurek abandoned Josek and reached out to make an alliance with Uberus. Once again two brothers had to confront and stand against a third because of that tomes evil influence. This time however the knight was twice as strong. It took eight years to defeat him this time. Afterward, Hurek took possession of the tome for himself instead of destroying it as they agreed, which was probably his plan all along.
Seeing how much of a deceiver he was, Uberus naturally abandoned Hurek and made an alliance with Masun. Together those two were the last to stand against the might of the slaughter knight and the evil intelligence of the tome. Their conflict lasted another 8 years, ending In a final battle in which the slaughter knight slew Masun in personal combat while Uberus defeated Josek.
Uberus was the final bastard prince standing. Yet he, as the others, could not resist the dark influence of the tome. His character changed for the worse after he claimed it and the throne of the Shiekh for himself. As before, the slaughter knight stood by his side to enforce his will. However, the armies of the bastard usurpers were so weary and weakened from their constant infighting that it was finally possible for the tribal chiefs to eventually surround him and end the civil war after a further eleven years of fighting.
No one knows what happened to the tome after Uberus’ defeat. It was never found again by the Quresh within the Sezzara Wasteland. The next chief to rule the Quresh was named Shumayal, the first of the Shumayal Dynasty. One of his first acts as Shiekh was to enact a law that all royal bastards must be raised in orphanages, never knowing their true birth.