The World of Andoria
Kingdom of Aali-Jinan
Kingdom of Aali-Jinan
The vast interior of Aali-Jinan is mostly desert, a word that conjures images of great sandy wastes and towering dunes. While Aali-Jinan does boast such deserts, only a portion fits that description. Aali-Jinan wastelands include volcanic debris, salt flats, rocky uplands, ruddy cliffs, rugged mountains, and steppes that become a carpet of green in spring. All are deserts because they share one important trait: the annual rainfall is sparse.
Despite the lack of water, life in this arid realm is as abundant as it is wondrous. Here the creatures of the desert make their home, from the gentle gazelle to the fearsome and deadly ghul. Merchant caravans travel established routes between lush oases. Human and Demihuman nomads also cross the desert, moving to follow the spring rains and finding water where others believe none to exist. Yet, even for seasoned natives, there are places in Aali-Jinan where none would go, where the heat, drought, and dangers are far too great. In such desolate corners, the genies dwell. Far from the prying eyes of men, these awesome creatures build their monuments to power and beauty – great citadels whose golden towers outshine even the glittering sands around them.
In many parts of Aali-Jinan, only seasonal streams, or wadis, exist. In the South-central lands, however, a few rivers are strong enough to flow year-round, crossing the desert until they spill into the sea. Along their wide, muddy banks grew the ancient empires of Nog and Kadar, the first great civilizations in the Land of Fate. These tyrannies fell long ago, and most of their knowledge has been forgotten. Only their crumbling temples and underground warrens remain, like ghosts bearing witness to the past. Some are still guarded by magical wardens.
The People of Aali-Jinan
The Land of Fate is a true melting pot, peopled by men of all shapes, sizes and colors. Here the generalized “man” refers not only to humans, the most common race, but also to elves, half-elves, dwarves, halflings, gnomes, geniekin, orcs and even ogres. For the most part, Aali-Jinan lacks the racial prejudice and segregation of less civilized realms. For instance, the concept of a separate “elven” society is foreign here. While there are indeed a few areas where elves outnumber humans, the elves don’t consider themselves a separate nation or people. Nor do humans view elves that way. Not even ogres are shunned in Aali-Jinan. Although some ogres are brutes, as surly and crude as their foreign counterparts, Jinans do not allow the rough tempered minority to color their opinions of the entire group.
Lifestyle, not race, tends to separate Jinans. In the Land of Fate, people fall into one of two broad groups; those who are nomads and those who are not. The nomads, or Al-Badia, dwell in the most hostile areas in Aali-Jinan, where men are as near to the gods as they are to death. They are driven by the search for simple necessities: water, food, and grazing land to sustain their herds. As a result, the nomads are a sinewy breed with keen sense. Sloth and obesity are virtually unknown to them; many subsist on a little more than few dates and a flask of sour milk each day. With so little food, and only a goat’s hair tent to provide shelter, the Al-Badia are more impoverished than many can imagine. Yet they consider themselves to be the richest of all Jinans. Their Wealth lies not in possessions. Nomads do not value gaudy clothing, a warm house, or a mass of personal fortune. They value their independence.
Although nomadic life is insular, the necessity of trade brings the Al-Badia into contact with the “other half” of Aali-Jinan’s culture: the Al-Hadhar, whose lifestyles are stationary. Artisans, merchants, craftsmen – all are Al-Hadhar. Even the wandering tinker belongs to this group, because his life is inexorably linked to the village or city bazaar, and therefore to the trappings of settled men.
Virtually all Al-Hadhar know more creature comforts than the nomads. Only a few, however, are truly flush with silver, belonging to the Al-Hadhar’s upper class. Such wealthy men and women usually dwell in cities, though many own land in far-flung towns. The sweat and labor of the lower classes makes their existence possible.
For the most part, the Al-Hadhar are poor. Their homes are small and simple, made of mud brick or thatch, and huddled around an oasis or a single well. Some are laborers. Others are farmers, residing on land that belongs to another, tending dates, wheat, and other paltry crops in exchange for a small share of the harvest. Their plots are small. In comparison to the farmers of other realms, most are little more than gardeners. But from a tiny patch of desert, they can create a paradise.
The Al-Badia and the Al-Hadhar tend to view one another with pity if not a touch of disdain. Even the poorest villagers believe themselves to be more cultured and more civilized than the nomads. Though the eyes of the Al-Hadhar, the nomads “madly” choose an austere existence, while the Al-Hadhar dwell in luxury. Further, the Al-Hadhar worship the Elemental Lords in impressive mosques, with the benefits of educated priests to guide them. Hence, the settled Jinans believe themselves to be more pious than the Al-Badia, and therefore closer to the Elemental Lords.
The nomads, of course, maintain the opposite opinion. After all, what could be holier than living beneath the expanse of the heavens and placing oneself directly at the mercy or the Elemental Lords? The Al-Badia pity the Al-Hadhar for their softness, which results from their ardent pursuit of material comforts. Moreover, the nomads pity the Al-Hadhar for their lack of freedom and their inequality.
The nomads bow to no one but the Elemental Lords, while the Al-Hadhar, say the nomads, must kneel to other men. All nomads believe themselves to be equal before the Elemental Lords and before Fate. The same cannot be said for the Al-Hadhar. Though some disparities in nomadic wealth exist, they are small compared to that of city dwellers, and the sherikh who is not generous with his tribe does not retain his position.
Nomadic women also know greater freedom than their settled counterparts. The family cannot survive without every nomad’s work; in turn, the women share equally in the rewards. In contrast, many city dwelling women live like prisoners or slaves. The fact that they are pampered slaves only brings further pity or disdain from the nomads.
Despite these differences in lifestyle, the Al-Badia and Al-Hadhar coexist in peace. Ultimately, both the nomads and the city dwellers believe that a man and a woman should be judged on their own merit – not by the construction of their house. At least in principle, a person’s ability and strength of character outweighs any other distinction.
In their hearts and minds, all Jinans have more similarities than disparities. They share a common language, Midani, and common culture that transcends their differences. More importantly, they share an underlying code of ethics and behavior which shapes their everyday lives. Nomad to townsman, sailor or thief, prince or pauper – all understand and embrace these Aali-Jinan themes: honor, family, hospitality, purity, and piety. These interdependent beliefs make them Jinans.
The pursuit of honor, and the prestige it brings, is a driving force behind the life of every Jinan. For many, there is no greater cause. Even to a city dweller, money and power mean nothing if they are attained at the expense of one’s honor.
In its broadest sense, honor is the embodiment of all that is good – such as honesty, kindness, and forgiveness. Honorable men and women keep their word when it’s given. They are generous, offering sustenance to those who are poor, lending protection to those who are weak. They are faithful o their friends and loyal to their families. Men show their strength and bravery in battle; women display their courage in the face of hardship. Both must be virtuous and free of shame.
To a foreigner, the Jinan concept of honor may appear complex. To a Jinan, nothing could be simpler. Honor is as natural and as necessary as breathing, and its badge, for better or worse, is as inescapable as death.
Every action, large or small, serves either to enhance or erode one’s honor. Moreover, every deed colors the honor of an individual’s family. Honor and kinship are closely entwined. If a man acts dishonorably, his offense may create a stain upon his family’s honor that will be remembered for generations to come. The same, of course, would hold true for a dishonorable women.
Honor is closely guarded. For every insult to a person’s honor, restitution must be made. If the insult is small, a simple apology may suffice. But to steal or injure with intention, to kill without justification – these are grave offenses. They can ruin the honor of the offender as well as that of the offender’s family. Moreover, these crimes assault the honor of the victim and the victim’s family, too. The graver the offense, the greater the required restitution – and the harsher the punishment.
If, for example, a women should be caught stealing, she may lose4 part of her hand; at the very least, she will be forced to make a humiliating public apology and to offer money or livestock to her victims. If a man kills another without just cause, then the victim’s family will eliminate the offender themselves. When a crime is severe, only the death of the dishonorable person can erase the stain upon his family’s honor. In effect, the family must “cut out the offending part” before the honor of the whole can be restored.
Aside from murder, only one crime is great enough to warrant punishment by death: amorous impropriety. Contrary to popular belief among foreigners, no honorable desert warrior would ride off with his enemy’s screaming wife – even in the midst of a feverish camel raid (Such raids, incidentally, are not considered stealing). Nor would he ride off with his enemy’s unwed daughter unless a marriage were to be arranged somehow. In fact, if a desert raider were to return to his camp after committing such a crime, his brothers might strike him down on the spot – there by sparing the family honor.
The Blood Feud
No discussion of honor would be complete without mention of the blood feud. To kill another person is not a crime if that killing is justified. What constitutes justification? Not even Jinans can always agree. A blood feud is a battle between two groups that begins when one side believes a killing is justified, and the other, having lost one of its own, disagrees. Soon, they are both caught in a vicious cycle, exacting one vengeful killing after another, with each side attempting to balance the scales. The feud may not end until an objective third party arranges a monetary settlement between the two groups, allowing each group to feel that its honor has been properly restored.
A blood feud usually erupts between two nomadic families or clans, be even entire villages have become embroiled in this deadly conflict.
To Jinans, a family is precious and irreplaceable. Even in the afterlife, a family remains intact, proving its strength as well as its importance. Material wealth is transient, but the bonds of blood are eternal.
Each person exists within the circle of his or her immediate family, which spans all surviving generations. That family, in turn, lies within a larger circle of cousins and uncles and aunts. Beyond that lies a third circle of relatives, one step removed, and then a fourth, like the rings which form around a pebble tossed into a pool. These circles create a person’s identity. Man or woman, boy or girl, an individual is nothing without this group. The rights of the family, therefore, must supersede the rights of any single person within it.
Jinan families are typically led by men. A father is in charge of his unwed daughters, his sons, and the families of his sons. In villages, a son often lives with his father in the paternal home until he is well past 30 years of age. If he marries, his wife joins the crowded household and becomes part of her husband’s circles. Although the new bride’s position has officially changed, her brothers often continue to watch over her. If she divorces, she will return to her immediate family, taking up residence with her parents or siblings. Blood ties can never be broken.
Jinans value large families, and they welcome the birth of each child. Eventually, of course, a paternal home can hold no more people. When space become scarce and a family can afford to build a new dwelling, a son will leave his paternal home and start anew. Rarely will he leave his ancestral village or city however.
In the desert, tents replace houses, but the customs are similar. A nomadic patriarch typically has the largest tesnt among members of his immediate circle. He resides with his wife (or, on occasion, his wives) and his unmarried children. His married sons live in smaller tents, which are nearly always pitched nearby.
Because blood ties are so important, loyalty to one’s family is tantamount to Jinan law. First and foremost, a man’s loyalty is to his immediate family. As noted before, his actions, for better or worse, will help define the honor of his family. A women follows the same code. Loyalty next goes to the larger circle. If, for example, a man is wronged and asks for help, his cousins are honor-bound to assist him, provided their actions would in no way dishonor their immediate families.
Honor and kinship are two golden threads in the fabric of Jinan life. Without either, the fabric unravels.
In the Land of Fate, purity may be a man or woman’s greatest virtue, at least publicly. A foreigner, condemned for his actions, may point to the harem (or harim) as proof of Jinan hypocrisy. In point of fact, very few Jinan men have more than one wife. But even the wealthy sheikh with a harem is typically married to every women whose unveiled face graces his bedchamber. Furthermore, a man and a woman may divorce readily, and find new spouses, with no stigma attached for anyone. The fact that a sheikh or king is married to particular woman for only a few weeks or even days implies no impropriety for him or her. Long or short, a marriage is sacred in the Land of Fate.
Jinans believe their own culture is more civilized than that of their barbaric neighbors. Certainly, the Jinan concept of purity is more complex. Throughout the Land of Fate, purity means avoiding all unnecessary physical contact between a man and a woman unless they are married, however inadvertent or innocent that contact may seem.
Every honorable Jinan woman would extend her hand to help a wounded man. But almost none would shake hands with a man who is newly introduced, lest he assume her improper or be violently tempted by her charms. Instead, a simple nod is the proper greeting. In strictly religious areas, even a flirtatious glance is considered a sin. At the very least, a man who openly casts fiery glances at an unmarried woman has paid her an insult rather than a compliment. Her brother or father would be perfectly in the right to demand some sort of retribution, from a public apology to a gift of many camels, depending on the woman’s stature and the amorous man’s audacity.
In a world where strength of character is exalted, Jinans have a particular belief in every man and woman’s underlying weakness where matters of the heart are concerned. It’s for this reason that many of the women wear veils and don robes that conceal the shape of their bodies. It’s also for this reason that a few groups requires men to do the same, that is, to cover their bodies and the lower half of their faces whenever they’re in public.
Not surprisingly, eye, hands, and feet have become important objects of beauty in the human (or even nonhuman) Jinan form. Women line their eyes with kohl. Some tattoo their foreheads with a simple pattern. Others may decorate their brows with dots of henna, a natural dye which may also redden their nails. Bracelets adorn their wrists and ankles.
Believing that even eyes and hair create too great a temptation, some sects in the Land of Fate require a woman to don an opaque hood whenever she’s in public, concealing her entire head. The cloth has many tiny holes over the eyes, allowing her to look out, but preventing others from looking in. The rest of her body is completely engulfed by voluminous robes that sweep to the ground.
Purity is also the basis for the seclusion of women, a common practice in the Land of Fate. Whether home is a tent, a mud-brick house near an oasis, or a grand palace, it usually contains separate quarters for women, an area where no grown man but a husband may venture (and even then, he typically asks permission as a courtesy). The degree to which a woman must remain in these quarters varies. For instance, the laws of Jinan hospitality require a woman to act as a host in her husband’s absence, serving an honored or needy guest who comes to their abode by offering water or food. Were her husband to appear later, she might politely retire to her quarters. Although foreigners might view seclusion as a prison, a Jinan woman sees it as her privilege as well as a sanctuary.
In the Land of Fate, generosity brings honor, while stinginess spawns contempt. As a result, Jinan hospitality is unrivaled. According to Jinan ethics, a man must offer food and drink to anyone who appears at his doorstep as a friend, no matter how poor the host may be. In her husband’s place, when receiving female friends, a woman must do the same.
If a guest comes to the door at night, a host must offer lodging as well as sustenance. A wealthy host may offer entertainment, such as the dance of a talented servant, or perhaps even a gift. The obligation, and desire, to offer hospitality is as compelling as any personal need. A normadic tribe whose foodstuffs are nearly gone may avoid a busy oasis even if their water stores are equally low. The tribe would rather know thirst and hunger than be unable to offer hospitality to the strangers at the oasis.
A host assumes responsibility for the well-being of his guests. Whether a man lives in a goat’s hair tent or a lavish house, his honor depends on how well he treats those who place themselves in his care. For this reason, guests can expect safety as well as sustenance, even if they once were the host’s enemies. Arsenic and other toxins are easy to obtain in the Land of Fate, and poison is a common way to eliminate foes.
Nonetheless, once foes become guests, and share the bond of salt, even they can eat heartily, expecting the host’s protection as well as friendship. In turn, the guests are expected to act as loyal friends, never overstaying their welcome, and never overstepping the bounds of good behavior.
The Bond of Salt
The salt bond epitomizes Jinan hospitality and the mutual responsibilities of host and guest. When a guest ingests salt from a host’s table, their bond becomes formal. Presumably, the salt remains in the guest’s body for three days. Until those three days elapse, the host is responsible for the guest’s welfare. By offering the salt, the host vows to protect the guest from harm for the duration of the salt bond.
The guest has his or her own obligations. By accepting the salt, a guest agrees not to bring harm to the host. Furthermore, a polite guest should leave with the coming dawn if the family’s stores appear to be lean. If the family protests heartily, the guest may stay for the entire duration of the salt bond. No matter what the host may proclaim, however, it is impolite for a guest to remain in another’s house for more than three days. Thereafter the welcome is gone, no matter how much salt is consumed. Furthermore, a guest knows that it is impolite to ask for hospitality of any kind; he or she must wait for the host to offer it. Since this is the host’s duty to do so, and it is an insult not to accept, a guest is rarely disappointed.
Religion is a way of life among the people in the Land of Fate. Honor is also a matter of piety, of behaving in the manner deemed good and right by those who rule the heavens, those who will determine whether you are worthy of finding paradise in the afterlife. A dishonorable man, it is said, is never worthy of this great reward.
Jinans accept people whose religions are different. The Jinan primarily worship the Elemental Lords, but a few can be found that worship the Three Sisters or the Old Ways. Yet, Jinans find it exceedingly difficult to accept anyone who does not believe in and pay homage to some higher power. To believe in other gods may seem strange, but it is not a sin. The sin is believing in nothing.
Fate and the Loregiver
Despite which religion a Jinan follows, one belief transcends all other: the belief in Fate. Every Jinan knows her power. Who is this creature after which an entire land is named? Not even the genies can agree. A few Jinans believe she is the mother of the gods, though she herself is not a goddess, for she grants no spells and calls for no one to worship her. To others she is simply a pervasive elemental force who can be as vast as the heavens, yet can assume a form as small as an ordinary person or as insubstantial as a whisper.
It was a shadow of a woman that Fate is said to have appeared in ancient times, to share her wisdom with the genies, and men. When her visit was complete, she had left her teachings in the hands of a beautiful girl, over whom all the gods and genie had been fighting. The girl recorded Fate’s teachings upon a series of scrolls.
The story of this girl, who became the Loregiver, survived for centuries in legends told by the rawuns (desert bards). Then just five hundred years ago, the scrolls were discovered. The customs that wise men has always espoused as good, the code of honorable behavior, were laid out in a manner that was so clear, so complete, that all immediately knew its wisdom.
Soon all Jinans embraced these ideals, and Jinan become known as the Land of Fate.
Aali-Jinan was once three separate kingdoms (Zakhara, Hafaya, and Liham). Other than minor feuds the three kingdoms co-existed with little issues until the Empire of Pel Andoria arrived to take their land. The three kings of the land banded together to repel the invaders. In order to coordinate their efforts the kings appointed the Sultan Hanif El-Amin to lead the war effort.
With the combined armies of the three kingdoms and the help of the mighty genies, they were able to keep the Empire of Pel Andoria at bay for centuries. After the Great Cataclysm, the El-Amin family continued to protect the three kingdoms from the Dark brother and his demonic armies. Over the thousand years of war, the position of Sultan became stronger and finally the Sultan was able to form the three kingdoms into one, named Aali-Jinan.
The Kings of Zakhara, Hafaya, and Liham still rules their individual lands, but they bow to the great Sultan when it comes to matters that affect Aali-Jinan as a whole. The Sultan’s political power is such that he is able to influence the laws and customs of all three kingdoms. What was at first meant to be a military position has now turned into a political one.
The Sultan is stationed in the city of Hiyal in the kingdom of Zakhara and rules that kingdom, despite what King Hassain thinks or says. The kings of Hafaya and Liham have a little more freedom from the Sultan’s rule, but even they are afraid of his military might and usually bow to his demands.
Sultan Fahmi El-Amin is the current ruler of all the Kingdoms of Aali-Jinan. The kings of Zakhara, Hafaya, and Liham all bow before his rule. Sultan Fahmi El-Amin was born in Hiyal as all members of the El-Amin family are. At the age of seven, he was sent to the Kingdom of Learan to study science, history, literature, theology and military tactics.
As a young man be befriended Osman Gazi, a slave who later became one of his most trusted advisers. From the age of seventeen he was appointed governor of Hiyal and upon the death of his father; he ascended the throne at the age of 29. He is said to be a wise Lord, fond of study and all men hope for good from his rule.
King Hassain Amjad of Zakhara was born in the city of Hiyal and accended the throne as King of Zakhara at the age of 25. He is known for his charitable acts, distributing great amounts of his wealth to the poor and passing the time with common people to hear their thoughts and complaints.
King Ghalib Zaman of Hafaya was born in Qudra. Known as Ghalib the grim, he is considered by many to be Aali-Jinan’s most successful and respected Kings. He has defended Hafaya from the Darklands, defeating numerous enemies. He never rests; he works hard and has organized dozens of campaigns to fill the treasury with gold. He is an expert with the sword, archery, and wrestling. He is well loved and respected y hi people and is a friend to Sultan Fahmi El-Amin.
King Hadad Nejem of Liham was of course born in the only city on the island of Liham; El Nath, the City of the Elephant. King Nejem ascended to the throne of Liham at the age of 14. He is well educated, having been formally trained in the Kingdom of Learan, and speaks several languages. He is also a reknown poet and musician. King Nejem has dealt with a lot in his 20 years on the throne, fighting off pirates to the island kingdom as well as a few natural disasters.
Grand Caliph Khalil al-Assad al-Zahir is the spiritual leader of Aali-Jinan. He has been taught the visions and Laws of Fate by the Loregiver and leads the worship of the Elemental Lords. Stationed in Huzuz, on the Enlightened Throne, the Grand Caliph is the final authority on anything religious; not even the Sultan can override him.
Zakhara is the largest and most politically influential of the three Kingdoms. The largest cities in Aali-Jinan are in this kingdom. It also boasts the largest military of the three Kingdoms, although a large number of the troops come from both Hafaya and Liham. The Sultan conscripts men from all three kingdoms to defend Aali-Jinan.
The major cities of the Kingdom are primarily based on the coast, where the few rivers are located. The center of Zakhara is dominated by the Himyar Mountains.
Hiyal, City of Intrigue
The soot-covered, industrious city of Hiyal lay in the valley of the river Al-Wahl, at the opposite end of Suq Bay from its rival Huzuz. It is considered one of the three great cities of Zakhara. Many foundries and kilns shrouded the city in smoke, and this dark atmosphere seems to nurture the trades of smuggling, stealing and underhanded dealings, earning Hiyal the name City of Intrigue. The ruler is Sultana Alurah bint Asrah, aged 60 and in ill health. Some consider her a wise and fair ruler, while others considerher a dark-hearted schemer. A city of 600,000 or so, Hiyal is noted for its crime, pollution, foundries, coal, iron, steel, weaponry, armor, metalwork, slaves, information, and pottery. Hiyal’s foundries turn out some of the finest weapons in Zakhara.
Huzuz, City of Delight
Located between the Golden Gulf and Suq Bay, Huzuz is Zakhara’s greatest city. The spectacular view of its gleaming spires can be seen for miles. It is the place where the first Grand Caliph had the vision of the Loregiver, gaining Fate’s wisdom and the Law. The city remains the seat of the Grand Caliph, the centermost hub of the enlightened lands. Its ruler, Grand Caliph Khalil al-Assad al-Zahir, Master of the Enlightened Throne, the Worthy of the Elemental Lords, Scourge of the Unbeliever, Confidant of the Genies, is one of the most powerful men in Zakhara.
Harab, City of War
Located north of the Himyar Mountains on the border of the Darklands, Harab is a militant city always prepared for war. Harab is more of a fortress than a city with large walls and battlements. The city of Harab has over 750,000 citizens, most of which are members of the military charged with defending the border, although all citizens here contribute to the defense of Aali-Jinan. At any one time there are less than 200,000 citizens in the city, as most of the men are out patrolling the border. Harab is also known for its genie. It is one of the few cities where genie walk the streets. The genie are also in the city to help with the defense of the border.
Alioth, City of Bazaars
Located on the Bay of Fate, Alioth is a major trade city between Hiyal and Rigel. Alioth started as a small town with a single bazaar, but over the centuries it grew to a large city know to sell anything one may wish to buy. The Merchant class rules this city with an iron fist. This fact upset a number of the more powerful noble houses, but so far the nobles and merchants in the city are playing nicely.
Located at the edge of the Himyar Mountains, Rigel is the main waystation between the border and the major cities to the south. Rigel is the largest bronze and iron mining town in Aali-Jinan. Thousands of miners work claims in the Himyar Mountains and bring their ore back to Rigel for sale. Rigel has become a very rich city, both from buying and selling ore and also from selling equipment to the miners in the region. Being close to the Darkland Borders, Rigel is also home to a large garrison of troops.
Located at the base of the northern slopes of the Himyar Mountains, Dezful is a waystation town used by the troops patrolling the border. Dezful is more of a keep than a town, used as a major resupply station. Everyone who lives in Dezful works in some capacity for the military. Visitors to this fortified town are welcome and can purchase supplies as needed. Dezful is ruled by a large dwarven clan known as the Bronzebottoms. It is the largest Dwarven settlement in Aali-Jinan.
Located on the Western slopes of the Himyar Mountians, Evaz is a small mining town between Harab and Gorgan. Evaz has less than 1,000 residence, but is often used as a way station for travelers. Evaz is built near a fairly large oasis and travelers including desert nomads often stop outside of town to enjoy the beautiful pools.
Located near the Golden Gulf and south of the Nazer Mountains, Farahan is a large town between Huzuz in Zakhara and Qudra in Hafaya. Farahan is the last town in Zakhara before entering the Kingdom of Hafaya. Farahan receives a lot of traffic from travels as the road through the town branches to the north to head around the Nazer Mountains toward Qudra and to the south of the Nazer Mountains toward Adhara.
Located near the Golden Gulf, Gorgan is town between Huzuz and Harab. The main road branches to the east toward Evaz and Harab, and west toward Farahan and Qudra. Gorgan is known for its large ranches. Horses and camels are raised on ranches outside of the town and Gorgan boasts the finest animals outside of Alioth.
Llam, the Middle City
Located at the narrows of Suq Bay, Llam lies on the major trade route linking Huzuz and Hiyal. Despite its key location, however, Llam is a rather sleepy town, marked by none of the bustle of the great cities that flank it. The Middle City is but a quaint waystation for ships that travel along this golden route, and its residents are content with their position. The majority of the city’s commerce and business activities centers on providing services to traveling merchants.
Located at the end of the peninsula on the Bay of Fate, Mehran is the largest Elven town in Aali-Jinan. Unlike the elven villages of the west, the town of Mehran looks like any other town in the Land of Fate. The buildings are constructed with the same material and in the same fashion. This has to do with the Jinan belief that all races are members of the Jinan society. Mehran is a sleepy fishing town with a bustling market. Most of the fish caught are sent to the city of Alioth for sale.
Qudra, City of Power
A major power in the northern reaches of Zakhara, Qudra, or the City of Power, is ruled by mamluks who are fiercely devoted to the Grand Caliph in Huzuz. It is considered one of the three great cities of Hafaya. Qudra is a model of duty and organization; overlooking the Darklands about 300 miles west of the Nazer Mountains, Qudra is Hafaya’s bastion against the darklands. The city’s fortifications had been increased over a long history of raids and barbarian incursions. This city was noted for its well run and well treated slave market, its mamluks, amor, and trade in northern goods.
Kadar is a very large city of over 700,000 citizens located on the coast of Hafaya. Tucked between the cool, shimmering waves and the hot sands of the High Desert. Kadar is among the wealthiest in the Land of Fate. It maintains a rich trade in objects of beauty, as well as in frankincense, myrrh, coffee, valuable metals, spices, fine fish, woods, and exotic ware from faraway lands. Trade, in fact, is the second law of the people of the Kadar. Frequently it gives the true Law, that of the Loregiver, strong competition. Lending institutions and speculative ventures are common. So are usurious loans and unseen charges. A traveler in Kadar should remember that nothing is truly free and heed this rule of conduct: Ask questions first, haggle second, and buy last.
Sahu, city of serenity
“The City of Serenity.” This large city located south of Kadar on the coast of the Sea of Genies is every bit the opposite of Harab. Caliph Al-Araniah maintains the city as a sanctuary for people throughout Aali-Jinan; people fleeing oppresion, escaped slaves, escapees from blood feuds are all welcome. However, once there they must agree to not pursue their old concerns and contribute to the city’s welfare and defense. His small but well-trained navy serve to change undue interests on the part of local pirates or the local powers.
Adhara, City of Solitude
Located about 200 miles north of Menkar, is one of the “Cities of the Heart,” which are located on the Golden Gulf. Adhara is one of Hafaya’s six major settlements. The city is perched on a lonely bluff overlooking the dry bed of the Wadi Malih, which once a year thanks to seasonal downpours is a surging, muddy torrent. Despite its isolation, Adhara is a bustling little city, serving as a chief trading post between settled Hafaya and the desert-dwellers. Both city and wilderness people mingle on the streets. An underground slave trade is said to flourish here, and Adhara is a stopping place for caravans en route to Menkar or northeast to Huzuz. Similarly, adventurers and would-be heroes use the city as a starting place for expeditions into the High desert. The city is noted for its livestock and durable goods in addition to being a major trading post.
Menkar, the Gateway City
Menkar is located on the eastern shore of the Golden Gulf and on a broad plateau about 50 miles up the mighty Nogaro River. Dubbed the Gateway City, it is a popular debarkation point for those seeking fortune and high adventure in the Ruined Kingdoms of the Hafaya Peninsula. It also serves as a major trading center. It is the clearing house for goods looted from the ruins of Nog and Kadar. In theory, each ruin or site of treasures is registered with the Ministry of Secrets, and the treasure removed under the auspices of the Ministry of Riches. In reality, plunder flows freely from the Ruined Kingdoms as the Nogaro River itself. Aside from antiquities (and corruption), the main products of Menkar are rice and serving as a trading point between Adhara and Nihal.
By following the road about 300 miles inland from Menkar, a traveler reaches the sinister city of Nihal. It is said to be an ancient, alien-looking place, perched upon the bluff overlooking the sea. The city’s architecture – heavy, angular, and depressing – is unique in the Land of Fate. Some sages believe Nihal was once the capital of Hafaya, though it is not known for sure. Most of the populace is believed to derive its income from rice and more notably the antiquities trade – i.e. tomb robbing.
Located on the coast of the sea of Genies, Oskou is a town only in name. Oskou is the domain of the pirate corsairs. Oskou is the only friendly port of call in Hafaya. This large town of over 100,000 citizens is a sinister den of evil and corruption, but if you need a ship, it is the best place to go. Oskou has no caliph, nor do they recognize a formal hierarchy. In the absence of a greater ruler, anarchy reigns.
El Nath, the City of the Elephant
This is the only city on the Isle of Liham. “The Isle of the Elephant.” Liham, the island kingdom dominated by this city, is one of the Enligthened Throne’s most distant outposts. It is also among the most prosperous. Located in the southern part of the Golden Gulf, the Isle of the Elephant is a convenient stop for traders from the Great Kingdoms of the West. This island is also blessed with great natural resources – including precious metals, spices, valuable gemstones, and exotic hardwoods. As a result, its capital, the City of the Elephant, enjoys a richness that rivals that of Huzuz itself. Unlike much of Aali-Jinan (outside the Ruined Kingdoms), the island of Liham is verdant and wild, with rolling hills and thick jungles, which are untamed outside the capital city. Wild creatures – lions, elephants, tigers – lurk in the wilderness, virtually at the City of the Elephant’s door.
The Himyar Mountains takes up a large portion of the Kingdom of Zakhara. The Himyar Mountains are known for its large deposits of iron, bronze, and copper veins. Hiyal and Huzuz both have mining operations in these mountains and most items created in Aali-Jinan are made from the ore mined from the Himyar. Of course the largest mining operation is from Rigel.
The Hiymar is home to hundreds of small nomad tribes who move around its peaks. While the mountains do not provide much food, it provides shelter from the blistering sun. The nomads of the mountains follow the same beliefs and culture as any other Al-Badia, but they tend to roam less. While the desert folk will travel hundreds of miles, the Al-Badia of the mountains will usually stay within a one hundred mile radius of their primary hunting area.
Himyar also has the largest pool of water which runs down the mountains past the town of Evaz. The large magical oasis of Qre-Nyfrio runs down the mountain as the Turaif River. This river is always run and running as if blessed by the Elemental Lord Nyfrio himself.
The Nazer Mountains is a large mountain range in northern Hafaya. It is known as the home of the Rune Dwarves.
The Rune Dwarves were original created by Titans. The Rune Dwarves learned the art of Titan Runes and was able to manipulate magic through the tattoos on their bodies. They were the most honored of the dwarven servants of the Titans. Other dwarves were mere slaves to the Titans, force to live in squalor and work for the Titans in harsh, inhuman conditions, while the Rune Dwarves lived in vast, rich halls. With the destruction of the Titans, the other dwarves found their freedom, but still resented the Rune Dwarves.
The Great Cataclysm tore the Rune Dwarves nation of Zandar Kuldar apart. Once this nation thrived in the heart of the continent, but now it is gone. When the Dreaded Brother tore apart the nations of Andoria, the Rune dwarves called upon their dwarven cousins for help, but were denied. The Gold and Whitehall dwarves ignored the pleas of their once rich cousins. Now the few Rune Dwarves left in the world, wander the Great Kingdoms hoping someday to rebuild their lost kingdom.
The Rune Dwarves of the Nazer Mountains hope that they may rebuild Zandar Kuldar in Aali-Jinan. They arrived and took over the mountain range a little over 50 years ago and have been working hard to recreate their lost kingdom. The kingdom of Hafaya has negotiated a treaty with the Rune Dwarves and has allowed them to stay in the area.
The Jazirah River is a fairly large river that comes out of the Darkland into the Northern part of Hafaya past the city of Qudra. It is one of only three rivers located in the otherwise arid desert of Aali-Jinan. While the Jazirah river gives Qudra must needed water, the fact that it connects with the Dark Land makes it extremely dangerous. Evil things occasionally comedown the river causing trouble for the people of Qudra.
The Turaif River is a magical river. This river starts deep in the Himyar Mountains at the large magical Oasis of Qre-Nyfrio. This Oasis always has water and therefore the Turaif River flows all year around. Legend states that the Oasis of Qre-Nyfrio and the Turaif River were created by the Elemental Lord Nyfrio as a gift to a tribe of Al-Badia called the Kamil Murtada. The Kamil Murtada lived on the shores of the Qre-Nyfrio and the Turaif River for thousands of years. This tribe still exists today, but hardship has reduced the tribe to less than 50 members.
The Radwan River cuts across the Ruined Peninsula between the cities of Menkar and Nihal. The Radwan Cuts through the Ruined Peninsula from the Golden Gulf to the Sea of Genies. The land near the river is fertile and green. A large number of villages line the river.
The Radwan River was the main source of water for the ancient Kingdoms of Nog and Al Khubara. The two Kingdoms pumped the water from the river to their Kingdoms creating a lush fertile land. The Water was transported magically through ancient aqueducts, and even today the ruins of these ancient aqueducts can be found throughout the region.
The Ruined Kingdoms
The Ruined Kingdoms are the remains of the old Kingdoms of Nog and Al Khubara. These Kingdoms ruled the Ruined Peninsula during the time of the Great Titans. They worshiped the Titans as gods and were looked upon poorly by other Aali-Jinan during its reign. Many of the Al-Badia considered them traitors for not worshiping the Elemental Lords.
The Kingdoms were known for their evil sorcerers that enslaves entire tribes. These Kingdoms enslaved thousands of tribes during its time, and the people of the Ruined Peninsula have never forgotten this fact. The Kingdoms fell during the Great Cataclysm. All that is left now are crumbling ruins.
The Haunted Desert
The Haunted Lands is home to tribes that are the classic desert raiders, nomads who have no use for cities. What trade anyone conducts with them will be when the tribes themselves chose to arrive in cities such as Qudra or Kadar. The names of these tribes are strange to most ears, and their ways inscrutable. It is believed that nine tribes call the Haunted Desert home, with names like Children of the Lion and Clan of the Young Camel. The Haunted Desert is a land home to ghosts and mournful winds, but it is believed by many that two very large tribes call this vast and uncharted region home.
Holidays and festivals
Kassis is an important festival for all Aali-Jinan who follow the religion of the Elemental Lords. Kassis means offering sacrifices in Midani. Therefore, people call this festival the Offering Sacrifices Festival. This festival takes place starting the 1st day of Shawwai and lasts five days.
This festival offers sacrifices to each of the great Elemental Lords, including the Elemental Lord Caos. The first day of the festival is devoted to the Elemental Lord Baw. Large statues are erected made from earth and stone to honor the Earth Lord. The second day is devoted to the Elemental Lord Awry. This is a day where the Aali-Jinan hunt and sacrifice birds. The third day is devoted to the Elemental Lord Nyfrio. This is a day of fasting, no water is allowed to be consumed. The fourth day is devoted to the Elemental Lord Ufel. On this day the followers of the elemental lords burn large effigies of the ancient Titans. The last day of Kassis is devoted to the Elemental Lord Caos. This is a day of pure chaos. No laws or rules are enforced. It is simply a chaotic party that lasts from dawn to dusk.
The Festival of Colors (Daniyah-Anas in Midani)
Daniyah-Anas is a spring festival celebrated by everyone in Aali-Jinan. It is an ancient festival going back to the time of the old kingdoms. The festival starts with a large Bon Fire on the 3rd day of Rabi I at night, where people gather to sing and dance. The next morning is the free for all carnival of colors, where everyone plays, chases, and colors each other with dry powder. Anyone and everyone is fair game, friend or stranger, rich or poor, man or woman, children and elders. Groups carrying drums and musical instruments, go from place to place, singing and dancing.
The Festival of Moirai
The festival of Moirai, or festival of Fate, is celebrated annually on the first day of the New Year. His festival is a plea to Lady Fate to shine on individuals, families, and even Kingdoms. The day begins with solemn prays. Families stay indoors, or in their tents for the Al-Badia for most of the day. In the Early evening a large feast is prepared and people move through their community greet each other and paying that the Fates shine on them. At night time, the people write wishes on fire lanterns and release them into the sky en masse, creating a beautiful spectacle of floating lights. The day ends with late night prays to the Elemental Lords.
The primary language in Aali-Jinan is Midani, which is widely spoken in all three Kingdoms. With the opening of trade with the Great Kingdoms over 300 years ago, common has become the second most spoken language.
Aali-Jinan is the most isolated of the Great Kingdoms, being surrounded by water on three sides, and with the Darklands to the north. They do however trade with the Kingdom of Learan and the Kingdom of Protego.
Protego explorers discovered Aali-Jinan over 500 years ago and since then the two Kingdoms have enjoyed a lucrative trade agreement. Aali-Jinan exports primarily spices, horses, iron, bronze, and precious gems. Aali-Jinan is also known for its perfumes
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