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Jhelum--Arena 4

The Jhelum! Even the name once sent shivers through the bones of those old enough to remember when the fantastically armored Jhelum knights last rode into battle. Clad in fantastic armor wrought in the likeness of a spider, a dragon, or a strange creature of the underworld, riding a great armored steed as fierce as himself, a single Jhelum rider could rout a dozen Rirornian horsemen. But that was generations ago. Jhelum's mighty war machine long ago beggared the common folk who supported them. The gleaming armor lies rusting now. The lords of the city, brooding on their former glory, established an arena to regain it, promoting the games as a cheap and efficient way of training bold new warriors who would once again lead the city to victory against the nomadic tribes to the east.

Jhelum is ruled by an hereditary aristocracy with a strong chivalric tradition. It took great hardship for them to consider dirtying their hands with trade, but when the decision was made, they took to the battlefields of commerce with as much ferocity as they had once spent on the battlefields of war. Long a member of the Delarquan Federation, Jhelum has grown wealthy (and a little complacent) on the revenue of two trade routes: the Selwin Trace through Jhans, Rocanis, and Trocar in the south, and the Delarquan Road from Xochithlan, Talcama, Bonsur and Tricorus in the east.

The pale blue battlements and brazen domes of the city of Jhelum rise in striking contrast to the black rocks and sparse, dark-leafed brush of the Langrani Badlands. So beautiful that the bards liken it to a dream, Jhelum is sometimes seen from hundreds of miles away, out on the Rirorni Plains, as a mirage floating above the horizon. Those who see the city thus from afar call it a bad omen, no less now in time of peace as in former times of war.

Now an enemy has arisen to threaten the city's welfare. Trocar, once a poor community without allies, clinging to the edge of the Shagornan Desert, has just joined the Federation under extremely advantageous terms. After the wedding of King Samir of Trocar to Princess Talissen of Mordant, tariff allotments were renegotiated in a secret meeting, when not all the members of the Crown Council were present to protect their interests. Now the lion's share of income from the Selwin Trace goes to Trocar! This unjust arrangement has given rise to voices of anger and rebellion in the marble halls of Jhelum Palace. The nobles of Jhelum remember their bitter years of poverty and are determined not to repeat them.

Ruler: Lord Ildwarin the Quick, a sly and conniving man.

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Published on: 2002-07-14 (1410 reads)

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