Population: 1,763,850 (96% human, 3% half-orc)
Government: Military Matriarchy
Imports: Textiles, wood products
Exports: Gems, gold, wine, cheese, wool
Ahuran is a large island nation southwest of the Straits of Akir. Its mountainous north is rich in mineral wealth, and its mild south is famed for its farms and vineyards. Ahuran is most notable for its curious society dominated almost entirely by women.
In Ahuran, only women are allowed to own property, carry weapons or use magic. Some men are professionals, such as engineers, surgeons, and artisans, all are sponsored by female members of their family, who are ultimately responsible for their actions. The Queens soldiers and knights are all female, and are excellent light cavalry, archers and spearwomen.
Ahuran is highly civilized and ruled by a rigid feudal aristocracy of soldiers, knights, warlords, priestesses and the royal family. The code of Parmaadan, or "The Soul of the Warrior" rules all aspects of society. This code spells out in intricate and difficult detail the required behavior between various members of different members of Ahuran society, and requires a rigid dedication to the queen and to personal honor. An Ahuran is expected to prefer death over dishonor, and to disdain foreigners for their lax ways and failure to follow the strictures of Parmaadan
The Soul of the Warrior
Parmaadan requires that a true warrior, whether a simple soldier or a cultured warlord, pursue a spiritual connection with Maddari, the great mother goddess. This may range from a soldiers cultivation of poetry or the sword-dance, to a knights perfection of painting, philosophy or gardening. As a result, art, music and dance are highly prized in Ahuran society, as are tranqulity and reflection. Wealthy knights and warlords cultivate elaborate gardens and patronize the finest bards and scholars (all women).
None of which means that the warriors of Ahuran are peaceful. Far from it. Parmaadan encourages a martial spirit that delights in combat, sport and competition. Ahuran knights prize skill above strength and clever tactics above brute force. Tournaments are held where a poor knight might hope to attract the attention of a rich or powerful mistress, or to win a prize and fame. These are popular spectator events and are held several times a year throughout the land.
Parmaadan has its cruel side as well. The heated pursuit of honor results in many deadly duels and vendettas that last for generations. Two knights who cross paths may duel over the right to cross a bridge first, or over the right to plant a banner at a crossroads, or over the favors of a lover. The situation is worse for commoners or men. An Ahuran knight has the power to mete out death to these for any offense to her honor, and many consider it their duty to do so.
The history of Ahuran goes back to the cataclysmic end of Iridian. Once a part of the mainland, that Hammer of the Gods opened up a rift which left it separated by a wide strait. By -2000 CY, the island was home to Calaan, a thriving nation of psions who were worshiped as gods.
The psions of Calaan were mighty summoners and made many pacts with demons and stranger entities. This brought them great power, but also sowed the seeds of their own destruction. The exact details are lost to the tides of history, but in about the year -1190 CY, the capital city of Meij was destroyed by an otherworldly army of terrible women with bright swords and bone-white hair. The city was literally swallowed up by the earth. Every sorcerer in Calaan who survived that terrible sack mysteriously died within the year.
The survivors of Calaan thereafter held psions to be dangerous and outlaws and for centuries would go to great lengths to drive them out of the land. The people also saw the terrible destruction of the psions by the demon women as a sign. The worship of Maddari, the three-faced warrior goddess swelled, and within a few centuries came to dominate all of the land, now called Ahuran, or the Purified Land.
In the ninth century BC, the legendary queen Zorah Swiftsilver, herself a devotee of the goddess, instituted sweeping reforms, depriving men of the right to bear arms or hold public office. Within a generation, women had replaced men in all walks of public life, following the teaching of Maddari that the soul of woman held more of the divine.
In order to maintain this order, the fanatic followers of the queen and her dynasty took to the teachings of the mystic wanderer Mainab, who taught the fundamentals of Parmaadan which are still the bedrock of Ahuran society. This strict code soon permeated all aspects of Ahuran life, ensuring the long-term survival of the matriarchy and its ways.
Change does occur in Ahuran, if only slowly. The coming of the Conorrians in CY 606 demonstrated to the Ahurans the need for more flexible tactics. The old chariot was abandoned for light cavalry and the many ports and harbors were fortified. Sorcerers and wizards, long viewed with suspicion since the fall of Calaan, became important figures, second only to great warriors and important priests.
Despite the constant threat, and the elimination of the Ahuran navy at Forentum in CY 932, the Conorrian Empire never conquered Ahuran, making only one failed attempt at a landing in the fall of 943. A strained diplomatic marriage between Ahuran crown princess Imelia and the nephew of emperor Hadrasius II in 661 did little to improve relations.
In CY 1117, the Ahurans invaded the mainland in great force. Landing at the mouths of the river Artaxes, they marched upriver, conquering the lower river valley and putting the Conorrian garrison to flight. In a single stroke, queen Nuar III seized control of the greatest part of the Empires food supply, putting the Emperor in a desperate position. The Emperor, young Savril I, decided upon a bold stroke, sailing his navy into the Ahuran strait and cutting off the queens retreat. The war had become a death struggle between the two mismatched powers. In the end, Nuar was forced to sue for peace, and accepted a humiliating treaty which forced her to divorce her three husbands and marry the Emperor, as well as withdraw all her forces from Luxur. The marriage lasted for twenty-seven years, although the new Empress was shut up within the Lonely Tower of Echoriath within a year, never to be let out until her death. She produced two twin heirs, a boy and a girl. The boy became the Emperor Echorius the Great. The girl ascended the throne of Ahuran in CY 1150 as Alia Magehand.
The year CY 2572 marks another great date in Ahuran history. A merchant fleet sponsored by Crown Princess Jehaa returned from a dangerous sea-voyage to distant Changshai, bringing silk, spices, ivory and a hoard of other exotic riches. The sea-route is still perilous, fraught with sea-monsters, pirates and even Accolon warships, but every year shipments of fine goods come to the Purified Land from the distant lands of the east and south.
In 2799, viewing with alarm the spreading chaos on the continent, Queen Maalan issued the Edict of Perfection, which ordered the ports to be closed and foreigners expelled from Ahuran. By 2803, the Purified Land was a completely closed society once again.
MAJOR POPULATION CENTERS
Sedeskan –(Large City; population 59,240) The capital sits in the high Naryan Pass, where it is cooled by the winds from the mountain peaks and watered by the melting snows. It is a cool, tranquil place of high-walled gardens, patiently manicured jungle parks and alabaster images of the goddess. Three rivers meet at the heart of the city and then plunge down the pass in a torrent that leaves the city wreathed in mist most days until after Noon.
Ilduskan – (Small City; population 27, 690) The great northwestern port of Ahuran, Ilduskan is famed for its skyline – the tall triple towers of the goddess silhouetted against the mountains in the light of dawn are counted one of Vatherias most beautiful sights. The city is also Ahurans major shipyard, building the small fast corsairs for which the southern coasts are famous.
Mahaaran – (Small Town; population 6,230). This central town is held to be the site of the cave of Mainab, where the mystic wrote down the code of Parmaadan. It is a site of pilgrimages by the faithful of the goddess. A large knightly tournament is held here every summer which attracts visitors from all across Ahuran.
IMPORTANT LOCAL SITES
The Seven Pools of Heiken – On the rugged northeastern coast, inaccessible except by long and treacherous footpaths, lies a region of seven sacred pools, home to seven fey sisters. Within each pool is said to lie a temple to a different aspect of the goddess. She who learns the wisdom of all seven schools will receive a great secret from the Divine One herself.
The Land of the Ring of Gold – Within the land of Ahuran there lies another land, hidden from mortal sight. The Land of the Ring of Gold is a faerie realm which only great heroes can enter, or those permitted by the faerie queen. The faerie queen is said to be cruel and capricious, and yet achingly beautiful and a powerful sorceress.
The Lost City of Meij – Rumors have persisted for more than three thousand years that the ancient city of the psions of Calaan was not destroyed, but rather that it lies buried under a mountain of rubble, or that it was hidden away by the gods so that the races of Theeurth would never again witness its evil. No one has ever seen it and lived, and yet the legends persist.