Saturday, 7 May 2016

Laying Down Some Basics: Classical Entachan Part 1

Hello everybody!

Today I'm going to be discussing the basics of Entachan in the classical period. That'll be species, races, borders, kingdoms and languages. Since this is an overview don't expect any real detail like illustrations and such (bar a single map). Anyway, let's get started!

Let's start with the two big names: Elram and Koram. You'll note that while Elram is split up into lots of different kingdoms and such, Koram is depicted as a single entity. This is because Koram was a bit of a backwater in this time, being composed of a huge number of fractured tribes and small kingdoms. Eventually things start to pool together more, but that's not until the Late Period.
The meaning of the two words is Northland (Elram) and Southland (Koram) in Telari. We'll come to that when we get up to languages. Elram has a lot more going on than Koram in this time period, so that's where our focus will be.

There are five species inhabiting Entachan: Vanil, Janta, Razarum, Arites and Humans.
The Vanil are elves, and that's exactly what humans call them. They can live for up to five hundred years, supposedly due to their ethereal lineage. It's been said that vanil are the descendants of the Taran, a powerful race from pre-fall times. Whilst many vanil flout this idea as fact, due to the lack of surviving documentation from that period, combined with the distinct differences between the Taran and the Vanil, there is no small level of doubt on the subject.

The vanil spent several hundred years as a nigh on united people under the Emperor Elethon, until the Empire fell apart after his death. The ancient Vanil Empire was not de-similar to the Roman Empire in that it encompassed most of the known world and had a profound effect on the religious and scientific beliefs of the people it had once ruled over. The collapse of the Empire was primarily due to infighting between Elethon's two sons Luancha and Shinadel (self styled Elethon II). Shinadel was forced to flee into the southern territories in exile, while his brother laid claim to a far more shrunken empire in the north, having given up much of his land to the dwarf lords in exchange for support in the conflict. The last remnants of the Empire broke down when racial tensions between the three kindreds fractured it into three matching kingdoms, which have persisted up until our current period.

The Vanil would see a brief revival of unity under the legendary High King Eltelm, who unified the three kingdoms to fight against the forces of the demon lord Nazack in the mid 8th century BC. Eltelm himself was killed in battle against said demon's armies, and the briefly reunified empire collapsed into a bloody war of succession between Eltelm's brother and father in-law. The kingdom that emerged after this period of infighting held control over all of the lands now held by the three main kingdoms: Kataram, Meliaram and Shesram, with Teleriam having slipped its leash during the conflict.

Numerous outside pressures in form of Arite raiders and the steady northward advance by the Rotakin Empire saw the Vanilram fracture, first into two, then finally three separate kingdoms by the Classical Period.

All vanil are able to speak a form of common tongue called Telari, which is spoken in the high circles of most other realms Elram. There are also a number of unique local dialects which centre around specific areas. These languages grew out of the standard Telari root, and so many share words in common allowing for at least limited cross-conversation. Only one alphabet is used in any of the three kingdoms thanks to the reforms passed by King Menelos in the 5th century: the Ges. A different alphabet is used in Teleriam called the Leni, but the Ges still persists in many aspects of Teleriam's social and political order.

The Janta are a rather unusual people. While most intelligent species (or Tep) follow somewhere along the lines of humans in appearance, they diverge rather significantly. Their bodies are covered in hardened light brown skin for the most part, but at notable points on their bodies-primarily along their spine, forearms and thighs-they posses brightly coloured crests of scales. In addition to this their face is dominated by a large beak, and their legs zig-zag in a bizarre fashion akin to a horse's.

The only major population of Janta in Elram are the Rotakin. Having founded their society based around the beliefs of unity and common cause stated in the Rorar religion, the Rotakin are most commonly thought of as religious fanatics by many outsiders. This accusation is not without substance as Rotakin have been known to wage wars against their northern vanilian neighbours on religious grounds. Much of Rotakin society is also governed by the belief that an individual is expected to push themselves and those around them to the point where they can protect themselves from the Ender (or demons).

Rotakin Male, aged 38
The Rotakin Empire has been a constant thorn in the side of the vanil empires and kingdoms to its north. During the wars waged by Elethon the Rotakin proved to be a formidable adversary, luring formations of organised vanilian troops out into the desert where they were picked off one by one. Despite numerous victories and steady progress towards the south coast, Elethon's death came before the Rotakin's defeat, thus ending efforts to subdue the region.

The Empire saw a brutal resurgence in the following century, driving as far north at one point as the infamous Sefar (meaning cage), the mountains around which the Arite populations are centred. This of course did not last as the Rotakin were driven back during the 4th century by the campaigns of Teleshi of Shesram. Despite urges from his councillors to drive further southwards and claim the Rotakin Peninsula for himself, Teleshi withheld his armies, not wanting to risk an extended campaign through the southern deserts.

During the time of Vanilram the Rotakin waged a war against the Vanil almost ever other year with the hope of driving the border further north. These efforts were met with varying success, though by the collapse of Vanilram the Rotakin had managed to come far enough north and east that they bordered the Kingdom of Teleriam, having seized the Ques Tunera coastline over a trio of short but bloody wars. Shesram did eventually succeed in driving the Rotakin back into their deserts, and seized the island of Omelisan from them during the 3rd Century.

Now in the 2nd Century, the Rotakin have begun to pursue more peaceful relations with the kingdom of Meliaram, though tensions are still high along the border with Shesram.

The Rotakin posses two languages: Geki and Shanal. Geki is the common tongue used by most individuals and taught to some outsiders. Shanal however is a ritual language reserved for use by the Dora-a form of religious high council in Rorar-and the Ratia-the Rotakins' Dora-elected leader. The everyday individual's knowledge of Shanal will be limited to a handful of prayers and nothing else. Geki is considered by many scholars to be a primitive language, not even possessing a system of punctuation when written. Instead it in fact uses single letters written at a smaller size, and this is only really used by the higher officials, since it was added primarily in response to these outside criticisms.

End of Part 1