Tashramada, Sovereignty of
Before the Drowning, Pelcatis, the nation that would become Tashramada, was much smaller than its current form. The nation of Narstedh, located directly east of Tashramada, was most swallowed up by the Sargassi Sea. The lands that survived merged with Tashramada in order to survive in the time following the Drowning.
In the current age, the nation of Tashramada is a place of turmoil and uncertainty, but it is also a place of steadfast fanaticism. Much of the central to southern regions of Tashramada are covered with a tropical savanna that did not exist prior to the Drowning. The northernmost reaches are covered with both wild and maintained wheat fields.
Life and Society
Even after the Great Lord Sovereign exposed the Elder Dragons as the true powers behind the Tashramadic Church, a vast majority of the citizens in Tashramada held fast to their believes and support of the church. Although there are no Elder Dragons located within its borders, the church was founded in these lands in the 150s AD when representatives of the dragons came and met in secrecy in the capital Sahterilka. The Tashrama became the first strong cohesive power in Tashramada, and so a majority of the people supported them. Since then, their influence within the borders has not wavered.
A few towns in the mid-west of the nation comprise of people who are not so "pious" as the rest of the country. These people primarily support the unified Sovereignties or are apathetic to the situation as a whole. But they are in the vast minority here, and if it wasn't for their proximity to the main trade routes into FyxZharar, it is likely those towns would had been enveloped by extremists of the Tashrama long ago.
Still, even with the conflict and friction of the Tashrama and the Sovereignties coming to a head, most people continue to focus on their daily lives. The farmers to the north supply much of the Midlands with wheat, corn, and breads. The coastal villages have adapted to their new shoreline and have become experts in fishing bivalves and crustaceans (fish is oddly minimal along Tashramada's stretch of the Ason Coast). The whaling industry has also taken off. Water buffalo hides have recently become a new major export, and the mining towns scattered throughout the Droakcalm hills on the southern border have been turning out useful metals for over a century with no sign of depletion.
In the scattered villages, towns, and cities across the heated grasslands, most Tashramans uphold their religious traditions and practices with a devout passion. Up until recently, they had obeyed the declarations of the secretive Tashramadic Council without question. With the Elder Dragons exposed, some sects have appeared who believe that the time of the Council is done, and that worship of the "Gods made flesh" (as they believe the Elder Dragons are) should be done directly. Others believe that the Council comprises of those few chosen mortals who best exemplify their gods teaching and thus should be obeyed as if they were the mouths of the gods themselves.
Followers of the newly reforming Tao-Shin are widely seen as heretics and are treated and abused as such. The severity of how they are treated depends specifically what community they are in at the time. Those few towns more supportive of the Midland Sovereignties tend to be more open to them, but on the whole the number of Tao-Shin followers in Tashramada is extremely small.
The nation of Tashramada is divided between two governments. The Tashramadic Council has had control of the welfare and spiritual needs of the Tashraman people for centuries, but in the last few decades a small and insignificant (at least perceived so by the church) challenge had arisen.
The Council of State (the Locohra) was installed with the backing of the Midland Sovereignties, intended to be a replacement for the secretive theocracy. This government body of twelve plus one chairman (the Sabanya) was created to run the affairs of Tashramada and bring the nation under the rule of the Midland Sovereignties.
The ability for the Council of State to enforce its rule over the nation has been problematic at best. Most towns and cities refuse to pay taxes to them and instead send tithe to the Tashramadic Council. The Locohra has on occasion targeted some towns and begun applying pressure to bring them into their own control. The Tashrama has also applied similar pressure in some western towns that have come under the sway of the Sovereignties. Many times those working for the Tashrama have tried to penetrate the well-armed offices of the Locohra in Sahterilka, but most tries reached very bloody ends.
The Tashramadic church has two local militaries separate from the church's own guard to protect Tashramada from enemies both foreign and domestic. The Tashramada Legion, formally named the Svasevta (which means "The Breath of God"), is the standing army of the country under the direction of the Tashramadic Council. The Svasevta holds itself to religious and spiritual standards as much as to skill in battle and the desire to protect the faithful. Adherence to tradition is also highly praised within the legion.
The Rocuran Fleet is the naval forces of Tashramada. Up until recently they were loyal to the church, but upon the discovery of the Elder Dragons as the power of the church, the leader of the fleet Adimia Orassa began to lose faith. Quietly he began to hunt through the ranks to find men and women who felt the same way. In time, his heart came to hear the call of one of the true gods, a beautiful spirit of the sea. As the rest of the Tashramadic church began final preparation for the coming war with the Sovereignties, Orassa launched a massive assault against the sections of his own navy still loyal to the church. Now the Rocuran Fleet sails the waters off the Ason Coast, only rarely risking to make port on their homeland. They continue to patrol the sea to protect their homeland, but the remaining navy is hated by those on the mainland who side with the Tashrama.
The Council of the State is not without its own forces. The Hand of the State, referred to by those loyal to the Midlands as simply "the army," does what it can to keep the towns under the jurisdiction of the Locohra safe and also bring more towns under their control.
In the past several years, the Hand and the Svasevta have battled several times over lands. It is expected to decay into full blown civil war shortly, a war the Svasevta will have the upper hand with if the Locohra does not receive a large amount of outside assistance.
Magic and Mysticism
Magic of any sort is highly prized and respected in Tashramada. There are many sects and parishes that use magic as part of their ceremonies, especially those who hold the Black Branch of the church in higher regard. The use of magic to the Tashramans is a sign of the blessing of talent or holiness, depending on the type of magic being used. To use magic without acknowledging the blessings of the church is an affront to the gods (namely the Elder Dragons) who "gifted the ability to use the magic in the first place," or so they claim.
Major Geographical Features and Locations
Ason Coast: From the Kiyeb peninsula in Tashramada to Emperium Gate in Dhu, the Ason Coast is a famed fishing ground that produces maritime resources demanded in much of the Midlands and Esorucak Islands. Oddly enough, the amount of fish available off of Tashramada's shore is small, but the waters are filled with other seafood: including clams, lobsters, crabs, sharks, whales, and other more dangerous creatures. As such, "fishing" villages are scattered up the coastline. With there being a local custom of only certain rare types meats from land-based creatures available for consumption, the desire to dine from the sea is very popular in Tashramada.
A local legend claims that a massive sea monster, a dragon of sorts, swims in these waters. But other than a few deaths contributed by most to shark attacks, no clear evidence has proven this beast truly exists.
Droakcalm Hills: Although the weather is identical to the heat in the Heartlands of Tashramada, the Droakcalm Hills on the southern border near the Heskeram Desert form a blocky horizon for those to the north. The plateaus and canyons manned by a number of mining colonies working on delivering steel, iron, and other useful common metals to the nation. Tight and brutal security insures that nothing is stolen by greedy outsiders, including Montegron's forces, and also that the mining villages and tunnels are protected from the wildlife that roams the yellow and dusty-tan rocks that form these steep cliffs.
Narshik Forest: The only sizable forest in Tashramda lies to the north of the capital between Memorance Lake in Dhu and the Ason Coast. This area receives a high quantity of water from the constant rains that pour down on it, which allows the vegetation to grow and thrive. The reason for the perpetual rain that does vary from light sprinkles to hurricane forces is unknown. Ever since the Drowning, the Narshik forest has been watered from the eternal clouds above it.
In the forest, many variants of the animal-life that desire shelter from the hot conditions of the Heartlands or the civilized settlements around other areas of Memorance Lake live here. A small number of villages populate sections of the forest, mainly by those who give highest respect to the Green Branch of the Tashrama.
The Heartlands: The savannah-like area that covers most of the central regions (and some south) of Tashramada is known as the Heartlands. Villages, towns, outposts, and cities dot a sun-baked land covered in tall grasses and parched earth. Lions, rhinoceros, elephants, giant spiders, and other exotic creatures not often found elsewhere in Adlatum roam here. Traders, travelers, and the army use some of these animals, just as rhino and elephants, as mounts or pack animals. Travelers who do not cross these lands with some method of protection often become prey for the wildlife. After the Days of Darkness, a larger variety of wildlife has been seen in the Heartlands, much of it more vicious and dangerous.
The history of Tashramada begins with a land named Pelcatis. It was initially formed as a province of a long-fallen theocracy thousands of years ago. Upon the larger nation's collapse, Pelcatis continued to exist as its own separate and smaller entity. Although weak compared to its immediate neighbors, it acted as a buffer between several powers that grew and faded over the years.
During the Canon War, Pelcatis sent units into the battle, but were often put under the command of officers from the Empire of Dhu or the nation of Narstedh. Often when Pelcha soldiers were promoted, they were impressed into the Narstedh armies to further show the greatness of Narstedh without Pelcatis gaining any importance in the view of the overall alliance.
The tide of history changed due to both the Drowning and a minor rebellion conducted by Pelcha forces. Tired of subjugating themselves to larger more arrogant powers, Captain Rajani Abhay, one of the few female Pelcha officers disobeyed orders and led her units out of position to prevent a large incursion of minotaurs from pressing south towards her homeland (having been born on the battlefield, Rajani Abhay, ironically had never seen her homeland until her fortieth year). Her superiors were willing to risk Pelcatis' safety in order to better surround the enemy and destroy the incursion. Captain Abhay did not wish to sacrifice the lives of her own citizens at the orders of heartless foreigners from Narstedh. A large percentage of her forces included men from Pelcatis, and they followed her treason. Those within the unit who showed objection were executed in the night.
Captain Abhay's forces began hit and run attacks against the minotaurs, slowly cutting their numbers down while minimizing their own losses. However the incursion was too strong compared to their own numbers, and four out of five soldiers in her ranks were slain. Eventually the minotaurs reached Pelcatis and burned three towns. The Narstedh forces nearby under the direction of General Kamsthun were purposefully held back from surrounding the enemy as punishment to the Pelcha who turned against the orders of the higher command. When the minotaurs reached their first city in Pelcatis, Abhay and her remaining seventy men stood at the city gates on the hillside, ready to kill as many minotaurs as they could before the city of Kutaray would be sacked. She prayed for her people to be protected. In a bittersweet way, it was.
The attack began, but the minotaurs never reached the walls. After a massive onslaught of arrows, boulders, and magic, the minotaur army charged up the tall hill to undermanned Kutaray. A roar paused the charge, and every turned to the southeast in horror as a giant tidal wave began to crash over the lands. The minotaurs quickly charged the city again, but this time hoping to get to higher ground. Very few made it in time, and most who reached the city were slaughtered by the defenders. Out of an attacking force of seventy-eight thousand, only twelve made it within the gate. The wave struck Kutaray, destroying buildings, roads, and the hill itself. But days later when the water levels receded, everyone who stood within Kutaray's walls when the wave struck had miraculously survived. It would take years for families and friends to find each other as many were swept far and wide during the horrors of the flooding, and many were injured severely. But the greatest lost was when it was discovered that Captain Abhay and her remaining men had all perished holding as many of the minotaurs outside of the city as possible. Whatever blessing held for those who within Kutaray's walls, it did not extend to those outside.
The rest of Pelcatis was in shambles, but even with the destruction and death, many were grateful. The Canon War ended with the destruction of the invading armies, and the two empires that had been using Tashramada as a source of fodder, Dhu and Narstedh, were destroyed. All of Narstedh's major cities were removed from the map, and Dhu only had a small fraction of land left to hold its name. Over time, the Narstedhi survivors turned to Pelcatis for help, and it was given. What was left of Narstedhi was annexed along with the lands abandoned by the people of FyxZharar who fled into the mountains, turning what used to be a small province into the largest post-Drowning nation of the Midlands in area.
A large period of adjustment followed. For the first time Pelcatis had a shoreline, but the heat from the warm waters changed the landscape. In place of green hills and lush forests, the savannah of the Heartlands formed. Wild animals, many Adlatum had never seen before, began to prowl these territories, trying to adapt to their new surroundings. Many of the Narstedhi survivors built small towns along the Ason Coast and turned to life living off the sea. The northern third of the enlarged country began to grow wild grains and other plants. Pelcatis healed faster than many other countries in the western half of Adlatum, and it became a stabilizing force of trade in the region. But although stabilized, it was not strong enough to keep the peace. Warlords, bandits, and various factions struggled to cut away at the land and rise up from the ashes of the Drowning as powers of their own. True stability would be a long ways off.
In 142 AD, priests began to return to the land, many focusing their attentions on the people of Pelcatis. These Tashramadic priests told of how the gods were forgiving, and that if they ended their squabbling and come to worship in faith again that the gods would accept them. Stories of the healing magic also traveled the land, and with demonstrations of these powers at specific holy sites around the Midlands the Pelcha came to praise the gods and join the Tashrama, the Church of the Divine Ladder. In 230 AD, the selected elites from the major settlements decided to consolidate Pelcatis' power into a small board made up of the spiritual spokesmen of the various branches of the church. Historians debate as to whether this was the formation of the secretive Tashramadic Council, or if the council already existed and this was merely a handing over a power. Eight years later, Pelcatis changed its name to Tashramada to further honor of the church.
Although none of the Holy Lands of the church were within Tashramada's border, the theocracy became a meeting place for members of all branches of the faith to come and freely worship and mingle. The government of Tashramada and the leadership of the church became synonymous (although many believe this was actually the case since 230 AD, but the public was unaware of it). The influence of Tashramada grew in the following centuries. By 350 AD, the church had extended its reach into each and every Midland nation.
Soon in the following years, men and women preaching the faith of false gods began to sprout up in the Midlands. Some recognized this faith to be a throwback to the ancient theocracy that existed long before the Drowning. Many of these new clerics showed the ability to demonstrate clerical magic and healing outside of the Tashramadic Holy Lands. In Tashramada and many other places, followers of this new religion were denounced as heretics and persecuted, imprisoned, or in some extreme cases executed. The Tashramadic Council called on all of its priests to preach the good works done by the Tashrama over the last two centuries and to fight these heretics with sermons and proper teachings. For thirty-years the Church of the Divine Ladder struggled to put down the heresy of this Tao-Shin, Church of the Divine Paths.
When the Days of Darkness came, and the beasts of Chaos filled the sky, the Tashramadic Council heard of the deeds of a noble warrior from the northwest who had taken control of many of the Tashramadic armies to the northwest and led them to victory against the darkness. With the Starfall came the realization that the Tao-Shin was swiftly doomed. With the false gods gone, the land was theirs.
In order to further secure their own place in the spiritual needs of the Midland people and also the political control of the region, the Tashramadic Council quietly offered to this praised warrior hero, Lord Montegron, to put him in charge of a unified Midlands. He would be a holy warrior standing tall as an example to all. The populace would praise him, and through him the Council would have a more direct say over the actions of the Midland nations.
Montegron agreed to decision, but upon secretly meeting with church representatives, he added a single stipulation. He would not be a puppet for the Tashramadic Council. He would rule the Midland Sovereignties on his own. Realizing that such an arrangement would make their own say on foreign matters obsolete, the Council attempted to have an accident befall the hero. Their repeated attempts failed, and Lord Montegron began to move forward with the concept of a unified Midlands under his own rule. Both sides kept their earlier negotiations with each other out of the public eye in order to save face, but from that point on the Tashrama and Montegron's Sovereignties have been at odds with each other. To make matters worse, even while Montegron was in talks to the Tashrama, he had already sent out his own men into the various nations to help stabilize the regions and secure any governments weakened by the Days of Darkness. Their acts became praise for Montegron, and the Lord began to collect the loyalty of the nations under his belt. For years, only Tashramada was outside of his reign.
This changed to a small extent in 409 AD. Sovereign Lord Montegron snuck a large contingent of mages and guardsmen into the capital of Sahterilka, where many believe the Tashramadic Council meetings are held. A noble named Rejada Harshal opened up his mansion to the Midland forces upon suspecting that the Tashramadic Council would soon be excommunicating him. Rejada, who's father was a Corinesti and mother a Gildanesti noble, allowed his home to become the offices of the newly installed government, loyal to the Midland Sovereignties.
The estate was exceedingly well manned by Montegron's military personnel, and the Tashramadic Council was unable to uproot the Sovereignties' tiny hold in the capital. Instead they focused their efforts in keeping the influence of Montegron's puppet government (the Locohra) bottled up. So far the word of the Great Sovereign Lord Montegron appears to only extend to the extreme western border of Tashramada (where the original Pelcatis used to be) and to wherever the Sovereignties' forces roam to at the time.
Since Montegron made announced to the people of the Midlands that five powerful dragons were truly running the Tashrama with the Tashramadic Council as their puppets, the Locohra has attempted to push its control into more towns. So far it has had only mixed results. A majority of Tashramada is remaining faithful to the church their have supported for almost 300 years.
Hrika (Large Town 1,839): In 374 AD, this Corinesti village located underwater off of the Ason Coast chose to show its piety by allowing Tashramada to annex it. Although it is inaccessible to most Tashramadans, this underwater community has held fast to the church's teachings, even after Montegron exposed the true power of the church to be the Elder Dragons. Most other Corinesti shun Hrika as traitors since they have fully allied themselves with a land-nation. Hrika is located thirty-five miles off of the shoreline.
Pavatan (Large City 10,930): This coastal city to the north stretches for ten miles without going more than mile inland. Pavatan brings in a majority of seafood and imports to Tashramada while farmers outside of the city borders produce much of the region's grain and corn supplies. Pavatan used to be the second largest seaport in Tashramada, but the larger city of Nubai located north of the capital was swallowed by the sea during the Days of Darkness. The Tashrama has recently bolstered its own military presence in Pavatan thinking it would be a likely target for Montegron's forces in the coming war. The fishing guild has promised to support the holy army in any and all fashion should war break out.
Sachi Ajat (Small City 6,520): Located in the Droakcalm Hills, this city is the oldest mining settlement still in existence. Although it was built to house those who would cut into the plateaus and hills in the best way possible to extract metals, the town itself appears to had been shaped out of the living rock, as if the land had somehow shaped itself into homes, stores, and roads. Sachi Ajat was built as an intricate maze of crevices (roads) through the rock (buildings) that would slow down any invading force not familiar with the city layout.
Sahterilka (Metropolis 40,442): The walled capital rests south of the Narshik Forest and on top of a cliff overlooking Memorance Lake in Dhu. None of the buildings are flush to the streets. Instead wide stretches of well-tended grass and trees that would find difficulty surviving outside of the capital in the Heartlands buffer the roadways from the homes, businesses, and palaces.
The museums, temples, and palaces are unique in style compared to the rest of the Midlands. Many use high walls with rounded, yet peaked, archways to give a feeling of spaciousness between rooms or to the outside, and tear-shaped domes are often built into the center to show off the high points of the structure. Brilliant red sandstone and marble are the most common materials used in the highly detailed patterns on the walls, and those with wealth use gold and silver as adornments to give the holy city a greater sense of grandeur.
The Harshal palace, where the Sabanya fought to rule Tashramada in a manner loyal to the midland Sovereignties, is no exception. However high walls surround the main building in order to give the many archers a great advantage over any attacking force. Thus only the central dome and its central spire can be seen from the outside, hardly an impressive symbol defying the Tashrama.
It is rumored that the Tashramadic Council also meets within Sahterilka, and many of the temples are worshiped as locations where the Council often meets. Many believe they cycle from temple to temple in order to keep moving. But the truth is that the public has no sure knowledge as to whether the secretive council even meets in Sahterilka. All that is known is that decisions of the Council are first proclaimed to the public here.