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An Overview Of The Karnhorn Empire

by the esteemed scribe Kharrg Jhodian

The great and holy Karnhorn Empire rests on the blessed soil of the northeastern spur of Alastari, below the bay and the barbarian lands to the far north. The Empire is peopled by true humans, for the most part, with the occasional Shew blooded strain, as well as a trace of barbaric influence from the northern lands. We are home to more than 40,000 sentient beings at the last census, not counting the slaves of the Grand Kalifs and their emirs.

We came from over the Storm Sea many, many years ago, from the ancient land of Serevada which lies far to the south and east. Exiles we were; sent by the Serevadan Kalif to fight in the service of the vile Frafrejans against the equally vile giants of the Shewish Forest, for the pale-eyed and haughty sons of Fratsfa had no skill in sea craft. The Kalif bore no love for the sons of Fratsfa, but being a wise man, bethought himself of a way of ridding himself of certain persons who troubled his empire, and at the same time bringing the Frafrejans into his debt.

Therefore did the Kalif send his wave-skimming triremes across the dark waters of the Storm Sea, taking and capturing such pirates and wharf scum as might make crews. From his armies and navies did he cull such officers who seemed over-greedy for glory won at his expense; and from the sons of the Satraps and Emirs did he winnow the sons and sons of sons whose eyes looked to their father's thrones with less than filial reverence. Too from his prisons did he fetch forth those sorcerers and priests and poets and wise men who had spoken too freely against him, or dabbled in forbidden magic or knowledge.

These were the people who crewed the ships sent to fight in the barbarian land of Alastari, and with guile and ferocity unmatched did the Serva Corsairs strike the ports of the Shewish Giants, and so fulfilled thrice over the task requested of them. In gratitude therefore did the Frafrejan Emperor grant the Serva land about the old Shewish city of Assual, which our father's fathers renamed Vyeel-af, city of battle. Willaf it is called today. Messages came in swift ships from the old Kalif, bidding us bring home the spoils won in war, but Ayrmeen Khaligal, the first Satrap of our empire, slew the messenger and hulled his ship, and declared himself ruler of all the north and east of Alastari. The title of Kalif was cast down from its eminence, and that of Satrap took its place.

The men of Serva took to themselves this land and all it contained, building a new world for themselves here. The old Temples and the old lands were forgotten as our blessed ancestors (may the hands of Kjarran hold them forever!) made this land into what they wished it to be. From the swamp-dwelling Karragit our father's fathers took wives, that the children of these matings might dive the chill waters of the Storm Sea and bring up pearl and arctic coral, and become betimes the greatest sailors the world has yet seen. We conquered all who opposed us: the Ferenician city of Zuwayza, the fisher folk of Stormcrowe, the tribes of the Shewish Forest. Fantastic palaces we built, turreted and spired in gold, floored in marble and chalcedony. There was no luxury which might not be found in the palace of a Serva Lord. Indeed, such luxury was our doom, for as the sons and the sons of sons of the dread Corsairs lay upon silken cushions, their empire slipped from their fingers. The barbarian Harkenes of Malcorn and North Fork defied us. The orcs of Glacks Island repelled the finest of our ships. As tarnish reveals the impurity of base coinage, so did the flaw in our Empire reveal itself.

And yet the flame which would purge the dross from the crown of the north was at hand. From over the sea, from our ancient homeland, there came a single ship, and upon it rode the onyx statue of Kjarran the Terrible, and about the statue the Karnhorn Priests made sacrifice, and when that grim ship docked at the capitol of Zuwayza the shadow of the god himself strode mountain-tall from ship to shore, holding aloft in his talons the Scimitar of Wrath and the Flail of Justice, and in the Khashka of the Satrap the shadow fell across the First Wife of the Satrap, and in the morning her physician announced that she was with child, with the Holy Seed of Kjarran the Inexorable.

With the raising of a descendant of Kjarran to sit on the throne, the fortunes of the Empire rose as the sun rises in the morning. We did call him the Satrap Hjarrk, and it is He alone who is permitted to stand beside Kjarran Himself. Our Empire Hjarrk renamed Karnhorn, and blessed. Under the great rule of Hjarrk, we the Karnhorns prospered, and spread the holiness of our teachings through this barbaric land.

We conquered the barbarian hordes that had made their homes in this region, blessed it, and made it ours, ruling from the Holy Mahsh (temple) of Kjarran and the Great Khashka (palace) of the Holy Imperial Family over the ruins of their accursed infidel city, destroying their foul magics that cursed the blessed new city and giving it life such as it deserved.

The Jewel of the Satrap's (may He live forever!) Empire is the Holy City of Zuwayza. Zuwayza is an ancient city, with a history both great and terrible. The Great Khashka of the Satrap (may He live forever!) rests there, as well as the secret and mysterious Silent Place, where the oldest green stones of the first buildings of Zuwayza stood. This ruin is shrouded in darkness, and none dare enter. The Satrap Alkurias (blessed be he who stands beside Kjarran!) ordered it closed to all when his brother, Tandeces, entered this place and never returned. Only the Silent Place was unable to be blessed by the Alliahr, the servants of Kjarran.

The cities of the Karnhorn Empire pay worship to the god Kjarran and his living descendant on Ghea, the Satrap (May He Live Forever). Kjarran is the God of All, suffering lesser gods only in the outskirts of his Holy Empire, the gods of the rivers and forests. The Holy Mahsh of Kjarran is found in Zuwayza, with minor mehlans (shrines) to be found in the other cities. Kjarran is expected to be worshipped in all areas of the Empire, as is His Holy Satrap (may He live forever).

The Holy City of Zuwayza is also the heart of the open port, welcoming the trade routes from the near legendary lands to the east over the Storm Sea, as well as from the barbaric northern lands, where rests Vithicar of the Mages. In our Holy Empire the arts of music, poetry, and dance are exalted, and the sciences of mathematics and architecture as well: where in the world are the eldritch spires of Aljafir or the mighty arches of Willaf equaled without recourse to sorcery?

In recent history, the Satrap Alkurias (may Kjarran hold his soul) fell victim to a strange poison that ate away his body, and his son, Tandeces Kalighal (may He live forever), has come to the throne in the Great Kashka. His rule began with His proclamation that we had at last laid claim to the lands which should have belonged to the Holy Empire from the beginning: Malcorn, North Fork, and Veastian. Alas, these plans were foiled by the agency of the accursed Enemy, Demnat, the Beast-God of the west, whose vile sorceries ever strive to pull down what by Kjarran's will we have built, and Tandeces was driven into the wilderness of Shew. Yet his brother Kharijhal succeeds him in glory, raised to the throne by Kjarran himself: surely a reign begun so auspiciously shall be eternally blessed!

The Empire consists of the Holy City of Zuwayza, Willaf, Aljafir, Kurukar, and Jurine, plus numerous towns and villages scattered throughout the lands.

It was during the blessed reign of Alkurias that the great gladiatorial arenas were opened in the cities of Willaf, Aljafir, and finally in the Holy City itself. These arenas proved to be excellent training grounds for our brave warriors, and brought to our Holy Empire much glory. However, when came the time when the Witch of the Grey Wand began to take Karnhorn Warriors for her own nefarious plans, Alkurias rebelled (his poisoning is still under investigation by the Alliahr). He wished the Karnhorn Warriors to fight for the Holy Empire, and not some foul demon-witch from unknown lands. Before his untimely ascension to Kjarran's side, he saw Karnhorn warriors placed in a regional arena that was opened for the "Free" Cities. This outrage, perhaps, sent him even more quickly to Kjarran.

Although termed "Independent Nations" in regard for our Holy Empire, this regional arena is considered blackly by the Satrap (may He live forever). We had been told that "Independent Nations" referred to the cities that belonged to neither the Andorian League or the Delarquan Federation; this only furthered the displeasure of the Satrap (may He live forever) and Kjarran, who caused the ground to shake with his righteous anger; for the Andorians are a blight to the Empire and the Frafrejan Empire as hated an enemy as any Malcornan; surely the great and holy Karnhorn Empire should be considered as highly as the League!

NOTE: Alas, the esteemed scribe Kharrg Jhodian passed on in the year of Our God 240. In the year 241, His Imperial Majesty the Satrap Kharijhal (may he live forever) signed a treaty of peace with the Andorian League, marrying his beloved sister Ieashia to the white barbarian King Rylian and his beloved cousin Zarhed of Jurine to the elfin princess Samarra of Andorak. Joy! Laughter! Rejoicing throughout the Empire! Alas, the joy did not last, for in the year 242, her Majesty Queen of Andoria and Princess of Zuwayza did fall ill and was taken to be seated at the Table of Kjarran--shortly thereafter did follow her beloved white barbarian King. In sorrow there was joy, for a child was born to them before her death, and in Andoria a prince of Kjarran's blood is growing up--hail the new Prince, Rylian Kharijhal (may his growth be swift as the arrow and strong as the mountain)! The treaty remains secured. Andoria, though barbaric, is our ally. His Majesty Kharijhal (may he live forever) has spoken.

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Published on: 2002-07-14 (1477 reads)

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