Region of Fharas
Capital: None. All cities vie for the title.
Exports: Spices, ivory, silk, slaves
A confederacy of merchant cities lies on the hinterlands of Fharas, controlling the Silk Route and all eastward passage. The rulers are called Mercantors, elected by the wealthy landowners of each city. As of 1150 Y.E., the Spice Cities’ glory days have receded in the wake of lawgiver raids and vast destruction in the prior century. Now many stone buildings lie abandoned and covered in vines, the once-gushing fountains run dry.
Trade forms the basis of the cities. Slavery and sale of slaves is rampant. Slave markets are held regularly, with specimens from across the world. Spices are imported from the farthest reaches of the world and then shipped overland or to various ports of call.
Instead of horses, Spice City folk prefer to ride elephants. The elephants are much smaller than the war elephants of Sur and often gold or red in color.
In the streets of the Spice Cities, monkeys have become an omnipresent nuisance, stealing food from market stalls and then leaping up onto rooftops. Authorities have not been able to eradicate them.
The Spice Cities lie on the western border of the Plains of Meggido and live in constant fear of the nomads who wander the grasslands. The climate of the Spice Cities is tropical, more humid in the “winter” and drier in the summer but hot all year long.
Several stories tell of the cities’ beginnings, all of which perhaps have a grain of truth. Most cities claim descent from the Sea Raider States or Fharas, or an amalgamation of disparate peoples. The citizens of Ishera and Attai, however, claim descent from the armies of Eloesian conqueror Tarchon the Mad, saying one of his battalions settled in the far-flung region.
Nonetheless, all five cities existed and had begun to prosper by the 200s Y.E. They accepted the hegemony of the King of Kings of Fharas around that time and agreed to pay an annual tax. With the exception of minor wars between cities and occasional raids by the Megiddo nomads, great prosperity and relative peace reigned until the lawgivers arrived. Ships traveled to Sur and as far as Ascalor and Saidoon, bringing back Haroon spice, silks, and porcelain.
The cities’ gods are all held in common: Ayaan (Mother Sea); Hirsa (Mother Sky); and Neseret (Mother Earth); with shrines to the Creator and Fharese gods such as Athra Lord of Flame and Mina Lady Love.
In most cases, the cities’ population were ten times what they are now, following the destruction of the eleventh century Y.E.
- Hattusa (Pop. 30,000)
- Ishera (Pop. 25,000)
- Attai (Pop. 24,000)
- El-Zuba (Pop. 23,000)
- El-Azor (Pop. 18,000)