Kingdom of Kaveh
Overall population: 39.300
The Kingdom of Kaveh is a nation with two hearts, two souls, and two cultures. It was founded over a century ago when the Xolotec survivors of the Ouroboros War were marooned on the southern shore of the continent in the aftermath of the last and greatest battle of the war. During this battle the majority of the Xoloteca men died, but the remainder used their advanced technology to quickly subjugate the native Kaveha tribes and installed themselves as a new nobility.
Over the course of this century, the Kaveha and Xoloteca intermarried and mixed, to the point where few differences remain. Some, particularly in the nobility, still take pride in their mostly-undiluted Xoloteca blood. Physical characteristics like straight black hair and jade eyes are still seen as marks of pride. After a period of technological decline, large-scale use of Arejo crystals mined in the Valkorian Empire allowed for the application of unprecedented amounts of magical power. This, after a period of adaptation, allowed the Kavehans to regain many of the technological advancements of their ancestors.
In the south of the continent, great deserts sprawl. The land is dry and dead, all except for the area surrounding the Azar river. It is at the mouth of this river that the Xolotec survivors landed, and where they would build their great capital city of Kurshid. The steppes stretch far beyond the horizon, providing ample space for breeding the great war horses that are the pride of the Kaveha nobility. To the east is a moisture-choked jungle made of poison and sickness, whose natives are rumoured to practice child sacrifice and sell their souls to demons in unholy rituals. To the west, boundless and bare, the lone and level sands stretch far away.
Kaveh, before the Exodus arrived, was a savage land. It was the realm of Angra Mainyu, where men indulged their appetites for violence to the full. It was divided among numerous tribes, each constantly waging war and vying for fertile pastures, cattle, and women. Blood drenched the desert sands in those days.
Then, a century ago, the Men of Xolotec fought in a great war against the Tyrant Chicomecoatl. After many sacrifices and enormous losses, they were forced to flee. The City of Xolotec was razed to the ground, its people scattered to the four winds, and the King of Xolotec, Eztlixochitl, brought the remains of his nation across the ocean in an event that became known as the Exodus. They were pursued relentlessly by the Tyrant, whose fleet outnumbered the Xoloteca three to one. The last great battle was only won with the aid of the Valkorian Navy, whose battleships provided the firepower needed to turn the tide, though at great loss to themselves.
After the battle, the Valkorians departed, leaving the Xoloteca survivors stranded. Only a few soldiers had survived the last great battle, but they were still well-armed, equipped and trained. Within a year they had subjugated the bloodthirsty tribes of the steppe, who could not resist the power of the Xoloteca riflemen. They introduced a new god - Ahrmazed, personified by the Sun, who represented the peace and creation to which the Xoloteca had begun to yearn after the years of savage butchery in their homeland.
At this point, however, Eztlixochitl had died. His daughter Atzi married the chieftain of the most powerful of the Kaveha tribes, a man known as Mahin, and assumed the title of Banbishn (Queen) of Kaveh - the first in the history of that fractured region to do so. However, the advanced technologies and armaments that the Xoloteca had brought with them could not be maintained without advanced industry, and the scholars that had once made the City famous had all been captured or murdered on the Tyrant’s orders.
And so technology regressed, and the Xoloteca lost their power base, and were forced to look for different ways to maintain their dominance over the native Kaveha. They chose to assimilate, following the example of their queen, marrying locals and adopting their language, customs, and religion. Over time, the differences disappeared, though some definite Xoloteca influences remain in the nation.
At the death of Atzi, 27 years after the Exodus, her son Hormoz took the throne as Shah. Under the leadership of Shah Hormoz, the nation was strengthened and fortified - Kurshid was expanded, and an Arcane College was founded to further the studies of magic as a tool for increasing the wealth and power of the nation. The Army and the bureaucracy were all reformed to provide greater Royal control, and Hormoz oversaw the first founding of the Aswaran. A number of local lords of Xoloteca descent resented this new authority, and in a small-scale repetition of the Ouroboros War, they revolted. However, they lacked the power base or the strength of the new Royal forces, and the rebels were quickly crushed. The Shah perished in the fighting, however, along with his son, leaving his young grandson Sargon in the care of a regency council until he came of age.
Sargon was quick to establish an elite force of guardsmen, known as the Zhayedan, the Immortals, to prevent another tragedy like Hormoz’s death. These troops would be the elite of the elite, trained at arms and in the ways of magic, loyal beyond question. Slowly the land recovered from the war - scourged fields were resown, built villages rebuilt, shattered families restored. Early on in Sargon’s reign, the Shahdom made diplomatic ouvertures towards the nations of the West - our brothers of the faith in Lavande, and re-established contact with the Empire of Valkor. Trade flourished, and Kurshid became richer than any other city in the Kingdom by profiting from it. A navy was created to protect the naval routes from marauders and pirates, and wealth poured in from abroad.
Sargon’s reign was a golden age of trade, science and exploration for Kaveh. But as all ages must end, so did this. The Shah, old and infirm, chose to abdicate in favour of his son Ardashir some 105 years after the Exodus. The new Shah proved an adept, if vain, ruler. His military experience has made a lasting impact, and Ardashir has endeavoured to leverage the economic might his father built up into greater military power. The discovery of great reserves of Arejo crystals in the Valkorian mines provided for a further opportunity, and as a result the Shahdom is currently rapidly industrializing. New forms of machinery are created to work with Kavehan magic, and productivity is greater than ever before. Cities, trade and the economy all grow - though at the expense of many of the poorer citizens of the Shahdom, who cannot compete with the cheap products and are forced to close their workshop and find employment in the cities, where living conditions are worsening due to pollution and squalor.
The recovery of their technological base has changed Kavehan society to the core. The final result of this change remains to be seen.
615 Before Exodus - Tlalocotan tribals are driven from their homeland by droughts. Here starts the official record.
514 BE - Tlalocotan tribals sacrifice the daughter of King Axayacatl, and are forced to take refuge on the island that would later become Tlalocotec.
512 BE - The founding of the City of Tlalocotec. King Axayacatl’s army is swept away by Tlaloc.
448 BE - Most of the cities nearby have been subjugated by the Tlalocotec rulers. Founding of the Empire.
438 BE - Founding of the City of Xolotec by Tlalocotan colonists.
352 BE - The Foreign Invasions begin. Armies land, sweeping aside native resistance and subjugating many cities with their superior technology.
350 BE - The Quetzalcoalcan Reforms are initiated. The Tlalocotan Empire is reformed into a Federation of equal cities. Captured foreigners are put to work in technological development, creating new weapons for the Tlalocotan armies.
338 BE - The end of the Foreign Invasions. All invaders are chased from the homeland, captured, or slain, but at tremendous cost.
125 BE - The Golden Age of the Federation. In this era, prosperity is widespread and much advancements are made. The first attempts at industrialisation hold great promise, both for economic and military purposes.
25 BE - The first Xolotecan explorers reaches the continent. First contact with the Valkorian Empire. Initial diplomatic ties are favourable.
6 BE - Start of the Ouroboros War. Attempts by the Tyrant of Tlalocotan to centralize the Federation result in a revolt by four of the seven Great Cities. Savage warfare sweeps the continent, bringing with it many technological and tactical innovations including armoured vehicles, repeating rifles, and advances in artillery.
1 BE - Nearing defeat at the superior manpower and industrial might of the Tyrant, Tlatoani Eztlixochitl hatches a desperate plan to evacuate as many Xolotecans as possible across the ocean to start anew.
0 AE - The Great Exodus. Tlatoani Eztlixochitl of Xolotec leads a ragged fleet of survivors of the war over the ocean. The pursuing fleet of the Tyrant is defeated by combined Xolotecan and Valkorian forces.
0 AE - Tlatoani Eztlixochitl dies, and is succeeded by his daughter Atzi. Founding of the City of Kurshid.
1 After Exodus - Xolotecan armies subjugate the native tribes of Kaveh with their superior weapons. To placate resistance, Atzi marries the local lord Mahin and assumes the title of Banbishn, Queen, of Kaveh.
28 AE - Banbishn Atzi dies and is succeeded by her son Hormoz.
32 AE - Founding of the Arcane College in Kurshid, and the Four Orders. The bureaucracy and military are reformed, and the Royal Aswaran is created to counterbalance the power of the nobility.
33 AE - Resenting the reforms, a number of nobles revolt. The revolt is crushed, but at the cost of the lives of Shah Hormoz and his son. Shah Sargon assumes the throne at age 3. His mother assumes the regency until the Shah comes of age.
46 AE - End of the regency. Shah Sargon assumes the throne and creates the Royal Zhayedan as a bodyguard.
55 AE - Start of the Golden Age of Kaveh. Kurshid prospers as a port city, and Kavehan goods are widely prized for their quality and craftsmanship. Stability and wealth allow the Kingdom to flourish and enable greater experimentation with magic.
58 AE - For the first time, magic is successfully stored in a physical object. Soon, the use of amulets becomes widespread amongs merchants, craftsmen, and mages.
62 AE - The properties of Arejo crystals are first discovered, but their limited availability in the Shahdom reduces their usefulness.
79 AE - Kaveh engages in far-reaching military cooperation with the Valkorian Empire. The Auxilia is founded.
107 AE - Shah Sargon the Radiant abdicates in favour of his son after ruling for 74 years. Ascension of Shah Ardashir to the throne at age 27.
112 AE - Coronation of the Princesses Eurwen and Oribel in Lavande.
113 AE - Availability of large stocks of Arejo crystals in the Valkorian Empire is discovered. The crystals are imported in huge quantities, fueling the rapid transformation of the Shahdom.
117 AE - Present day.
Kaveha society was mostly feudal, with the nobility holding land in the name of the monarch and in return being obliged to provide taxes and military service. Urbanisation was fairly low, with most of the population living in small towns and growing food and cattle. Cities remain, with Kurshid being the most prominent example, and are centres of commerce and production for the surrounding region.
With industrialization picking up speed, however, the cities growing fast, with new industries being founded regularly. The King has seized the opportunity to finally draw away power from the nobility and centralize, and the Shahdom has now become an absolute monarchy. Nobles have taken to industry with gusto, and own most of the new enterprises that are now being founded.
The role of the family
Kaveha culture revolves strongly around the family. Each family has its head, usually the oldest man in the family, and keeps detailed lineages in an effort to legitimize their social status. For the nobility in particular, this is very important as showing descent from Xoloteca immigrants is considered very prestigious.
Children are taught from a young age to obey their elders and to never shame the family. Young children go to the Commoner’s School where they learn the basics of religion, writing, and warfare. After age 12 their education is taken over by their fathers, who usually passes on his craft to his children. Some, particularly the children of more prominent families, enter the priesthood instead. Nobles attend a different school, where they are taught higher sciences as well as warfare. This lasts longer, until age 16, and many young nobles afterwards enroll at the Arcane College to further their talents and studies in the field of magic. With magic taking a vital place in the recent industrialization of the kingdom, many youths are pressured to study it.
It is also a requirement for officer training in the Aswaran, the professional army, the usual career path for young nobles until they come into their inheritance. Many, if not the majority, of the current heads of Kaveha noble houses are Aswaran veterans. Others may enter the bureaucracy, or pursue a career in the sciences.
Food and customs
Common Kaveha foods include various vegetables, mutton and flat bread. Dinner involves sitting on pillows around a low table with the entire household including servants, who are of course given a place further down the table. Of particular note is mint tea - the most widely served drink in the Shahdom. It is customary to start each supper with a cup of tea, which is served and enjoyed before the actual meal begins. Guests in the house are always offered mint tea, and traditionally no conversation is made until the first sip is taken.
Kaveha government is organized along the same lines as that of their Xoloteca ancestors. Power has been centralized in the hands of the Shah, and local governors and bureaucrats are but deputies and representatives, to be elevated or dismissed at the Shah’s whim. A standardised bureaucracy is applied across the land, maintained using a network of roads and couriers on horses to provide rapid communication. This bureaucracy is overseen by regional governors known as Satraps, who each govern their province in the Shah’s name.
Before the reforms of Shah Hormoz, these satraps werre mostly independent regional magnates, but the Shah centralized control, subordinated the satraps, and currently holds them under control through several means including taxation, economic control (mainly over Kurshid, the main trading port in the country, and the roads and waterways) and the Aswaran military. Furthermore, the Shah is seldom reluctant to call upon the services of the Midnight Order when dealing with a recalcitrant or otherwise obstructive satrap.
Noble titles are hereditary, and the tradition of Atzi is carried on in letting girls inherit on the same grounds as boys. Since only nobles are permitted to own and wield swords, and these are often worn as a symbol of status.
Kaveh noble garb
Six main branches of government are distinguished.
• The Bureau of Economic Affairs and Development, overseeing commerce, businesses and development projects.
• The Bureau of Taxation, Trade and Finances, overseeing the urban mint, trade policy towards other nations and cities, and the collection of taxes. This Canton also maintains the population census, used for collecting taxes and drafting men in times of war.
• The Bureau of Justice and Inquisition, dealing with implementation and enforcement of law across the territory
• The Bureau of the Magical Sciences, overseeing the Four Orders and the College in Kurshid, as well as generally guiding scientific and technological development.
• The Canton of General Affairs, dealing with situations that fall outside the authority of any one Canton or require the cooperation of several. Usually headed by the local lord.
• And lastly and most importantly the Canton of War and Defence, overseeing the military and procurement of weapons and other equipment.
The Kavehan economy was mostly agricultural, centered upon the market square. Each town and each city has its market, with festivals being regularly held. Merchants and the like will post assignments at the city square, asking for certain quantities of goods to be delivered at a certain time, and the farmers will produce these goods at home. The majority of the population consists of farmers, with agriculture limited to a wide strip of land bordering the Azar river and its irrigation networks, and with herdsmen keeping pastures and herds of sheep further inland.
In the towns, many crafts coexist. Smiths, weavers, jewelers and other craftsmen perform their business there. Kaveh has a thriving industry for cloth and rugs, and these are widely exported. Kavehan jewelry and weapons are similarly prized, for the quality of the craftsmanship and metals involved. Nobles collect taxes and dues from their estate and from the merchants to fund their expenses, and roads and waterways are regularly patrolled by soldiers to keep them clear of bandits.
The nobility plays an important role in the economy. Since they are required to pass on much of their income from taxes to the Crown, they earn their living by engaging in commerce, manufacture, and shipping. Every noble family is also an economic enterprise, investing in and owning workshops, ships, and engaging in other economic activity. This, on the one hand, allows the nobility a way to contribute to the nation and the economy in a direct and real way, but since the Shah owns the infrastructure of the nation it also strengthens Royal control.
Recently, industrial production has come into its own as a major force within the Kaveh economy. Many of the richer noble families invest in factories, to produce goods on a large scale, with low cost. Craftsmen find it harder and harder to compete, and many sell their shops to find employment in the industries.
Kaveh technology is advanced, coming close to the level that was attained by the Xolotecans before their Exodus. Magical energy, combined with use of steam engines and fossil fuels, powers many machines and other forms of economic capital, allowing for mass production of many goods, and also of weapons. Electricity, long known to the Kavehan mages, is slowly being introduced in more and more factories, allowing the work to even continue at night. It also lends itself for long-distance communication by telegraph and, more recently, radio.
A special mention is warranted for the Kavehan airships. They have become the preferred mode of long-range transport, both for civilians and for the military. Civilian airship models range from small yachts to large cargo dirigibles. Military models go from light patrol vessels to the large battleships of the Kavehan Navy. Each is powered by a number of mages, whose number depends on the size of the airship, who continuously feed power into a large Arejo crystal to permit flight.
Valkorian Empire: Close historical ties
Principality of Lavande: Diplomatic connection, no treaties yet
Empire of Ebongrasp: Aware and concerned