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Foreigners & Heathen Enemies Notes on the lands and peoples beyond Edolon's borders.
Meridiez . Trimeris . Rhegedren . Zaksalam .


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Old 11-10-2012, 11:01 PM   #1
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Default Zaksalam

Zaksalam (North from Edolon and threatening the west of Asserya and Trimeris) (Zakish, Zaksalaan)
-- They follow a god called The Bright Serpent, a rainbow-hued snake sometimes depicted with bright feathery wings, who speaks through dreams and in the patterns of the stars, and thus astrology is an obsession of Zakish leaders and commoners alike.

-- Their empire is ruled by a Khan, and divided up into several provinces (called Khanziers), with the armies mostly divided in equal part between an Eastern and Western Raj, to prevent any one general from getting ideas above his station, and to make local administration easier.

--Zaksalam's warriors are feared for their ability to use a bow while mounted, and many stories say the Zaksalaans are the outcomes of dark sorcery that had men born of horses.

--Originally a tribal people of the desert and steppes of southwestern Zaksebar, the survivors of the Great Death were united by the great warlord Terrghis in A260 and struck out against the western remnants of Asserya as much for the joy of conquest as for the food and arable land in that region, but they have also been greatly influenced by the ancient knowledge and customs of the old Asseryan libraries and scholars there, who were also knowledgeable about the movements of the stars and heavens and about the construction of aqueducts and irrigation, which has been invaluable to the northern Zakish lands, which are largely in the desert.

--It was during this contact with Asseryan scholars that the Zakish language was codified in writing for the first time. All four dialects of the Zakish language use the same system with varying pronunciations, but only high-ranking military commanders and some Zakish nobles know how to read. Within the tribes themselves, ancient oral traditions remain the primary form of passing down knowledge. All Zakish spoken dialects are notoriously difficult to learn.
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Old 11-10-2012, 11:02 PM   #2
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Default Society In Zaksalam

SOCIETY OF ZAKSALAM
Originally nomads, the Zaksalaan people emerged in the last two hundred years as a powerful and terrifying military power. Among most of the peoples of Sutherland they were at first only nightmare figures, boogeymen of the far north in the half-legendary lands of central Zaksebar to frighten children with, but fifty years ago the nightmare came knocking at their door. Zaksalaan armies crossed the sea and marched through the lands of Western Asserya, taking cities and towns alike and terrified refugees flooded to Asserya and Trimeris with dark tales of cities now made only of ash and bone.

There are many myths about the Zaksalaans, that their leaders have hundreds of hands or a thousand heads, that they conjure demons to kidnap children in the night, that the khan takes a new wife every day and has the old one butchered for the wedding feast... the tales are as varied and gruesome as imaginations could make them.

Zaksalaan Khans do take more than one wife, but they seldom murder any of them, and the Zakish soldiers generally have one head and two hands, unless they've had an arm amputated after a wound.

The head of everything is the Khan, who rules supreme above all and is the descendent of the Bright Serpent. As his right and left hands are the two Raj - one for east and one for west, and as a guide from his divine forebears is The Serpent Woman, a high priestess of the Bright Serpent. Every seven years the Serpent Woman gives up her life to the god, and her successor must dine on her heart so that she can feel the past as well as the present. As the Serpent Woman is generally depicted or presented at the Khan's side in the place where Suthern culture would place a queen, it rather explains their confusion about his marital situation.

Next are the priests and Simikhans who make up the bureaucracy which handle the smaller affairs of the areas under Zaksalaan control. Semikhans are chosen from Zaksalaan soldiers and commanders who have grown old or taken a wound which does not allow them to wield weapons or sit a horse, and for their experience they are accorded respect even by the Khan. Priests may be from that same background, or they may have been born with some defect which kept them from being a suitable soldier- a sign from the gods that they were chosen to dream of the divine rather than ride.

The next rung of importance are the artisans, who are highly prized and always paid for their works. Some Zaksalaan women have become famed artisans, though most artisans are of conquored peoples. Architects, masons, painters, jewelers, weavers and wine-makers- artisans of all kinds are revered and are never forced to work for free, nor to restrain their creativity. Zakish traditions make them wary of scholars who do nothing but people who can bring water to the land or teach a captain to navigate are something to keep around.

Likewise, the Zakish being former nomads have long appreciated the necessity of trade and merchants. The tarrifs to Zaksalam-controlled lands are generally lower, and there is greater protection of merchant interests. Some Zaksalaan men once too old or too injured for the army will retire and take up trade, having traveled widely already in their lives.


WOMEN IN ZAKSALAM
It should be noted that unlike the extremely patriarchal cultures of Sutherland, Zaksalaan women get a far different lot in life. They may inherit property from their husbands and if a man dies it is his wife (or first-wife) who becomes head of that family unit, unless the other wives seek to set up their own separate units and then all may go their separate ways.

Though men may take multiple wives if they can afford to do so, the wives themselves can seek a divorce at any time. In fact, a Zaksalaan man who does not listen to his wife is considered immature, because women create life and therefore hear the Bright Serpent more easily.

A divorced Zaksalaan woman may remarry whoever and whenever she wishes to, she retains her children in the separation, and her new husband will adopt her children as his own- due to the Zaksalaan belief that family is not blood so much as spirit and that if a man acquires a family it must be that there is a spiritual connection among them.

Usually Zaksalaan parents will arrange marriages for their children when the children in question are quite young by agreeing upon the idea and going to see a priest. The only thing to keep a marriage from happening is if the priests of the Bright Serpent study the stars and sees some misalignment between the man and woman's fates.

In fact, the reason the Khan is usually seen with the Snake Woman at his side rather than his wife is that the wives of the Khan are busy- the administration of the Khan's City, palace, and his roving tent-palace are overseen by various wives. When a Khan calls up his horde or sits with his rajii and guls in council, it would be rare that one of his wives is not present, for Terrghis-Khan advised his descendents to be sure to always have at least one wife who they would heed as general as well as steward.
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Old 11-10-2012, 11:03 PM   #3
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Default Life in Zaksalam

BIRTH/CHILDHOOD/EDUCATION/LIFE
All Zaksalaan children surviving birth will begin learning to ride soon after they can walk and will sit to hear the Tales of The People (the oral history, which is told by Zaksalaan priests). Only the leaders of armies and the children of a Khan, Raj, or Gul will be taught to read and write- others will learn later in life when they are advanced in the ranks.

Boys will begin their military service at age 14, though they may have begun learning how to fight long before. They will be assigned to an arav, and their unit and comrades-in-arms will be considered their family as much as the family they grew up in. If they prove resourceful and bright, they will eventually get command of their own Arav, and continue up the ranks- the only truly hereditary position in Zaksalaan socity is that of Khan, and even then there is usually some arguing and at least one bloody coup to overcome.

Girls will continue their education whether in memorizing the Tales of the People, learning a trade, or if their father gets lucky and takes a learned slave from Asserya at some point that slave might tutor them further. They may be taught something of how to wield a weapon. At 14 they will be sent to their husband, and follow him as the army moves. Once they have a child or two to help with the tasks of keeping horse, weapons and armor- or once a soldier takes a second wife, the first may be sent back to Zaksebar and one of the cities to further learn her trade, or to set up shop. Thus, if the husband is wounded and cannot serve the army the family will have a place to retire to, and a means of income. If he continues in service, then they have all the more wealth accumulating to buy slaves, ships, goods, even land or perhaps a chance at promotion if merit is taking too long to provide one.

Some girls, if they profess the desire, may be allowed into the army- but they must demonstrate a skill in arms and horsemanship equal to those of males their own age. Often girls who join the army will be placed in the same unit as a father or brother. Others may simply ask to follow their father on campaign and fight more or less unofficially.
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Old 11-10-2012, 11:04 PM   #4
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Default Zakish Forces

ZAKISH ARMY
a squad of ten = Arav, led by a chief
ten aravs (100 men) = 1 Zuult, led by a chief called Head-of-Hundred
ten zuult (1,000 men) = 1 Mayahan, led by a Gul called Head-of-Thousand
ten managul (10,000 men) = 1 Tomen, led by a Gul called Head-of-Ten-Thousands
((there are various tales throughout Sutherland of monstrous Zakmen with thousands of heads or hands... guess where those came from.))

The Khan will summon up 2 to 5 Tomens (20-50,000 men) to form a standing army (horde) at need, and it will be either in his control or that of a Raj. During battle the leader of each type of unit has a great freedom on how he executes his orders.


When not formed up into a Horde, the individual units will nonetheless be in constant training to keep up horsemanship, archery, formations and tactics.

All Zakish males from 14 to 60 must serve the Khan's army, unless they are farmers or infirm and unable to ride or march. Brothers, sons and other relations will usually be put in separate Aravs and Zuults to break up any family-borne rivalries or loyalties. A soldier's wife (or wives), children and horses will go with him on campaign as much to avoid separation as to help with maintaining his armor, weapons, and mounts (each soldier will have at least one and up to five). Even sons of the Khan must join at 14.

If a Gul who has won many victories is no longer able to ride or fight, he will continue serving anyway, as the Zaksalaan respect for military minds and tactical thinking trumps physical prowess for their leaders- the custom is that Zaksalaan commanders do not fight at the forefront in any case. If a lower ranked official can no longer fight, he is usually awarded land, money or a set stipend for the remainder of his life and retires with honor to become a priest or merchant.

On the other hand, if a commander of any rank fails too many times he will be demoted. If he continues in his streak of foolish ideas or bad luck, it is a sign of a bad destiny and he may take his own life to appease the Bright Serpent so that he may be born again under better stars. If he doesn't take his own life, a few more defeats may result in his dying of mysteriously contaminated food or drink which is a very inauspicious end.


ROYAL GUARD - “The Blessed” or Khasheq
Warriors who prove their worth above and beyond will often be invited to join the Khatharn, the royal guard of the Khan. These warriors do not go into battle but remain with the Khan and his Queen as protection. This is partly due to the fact that the tents of the wandering palace and armies of Zaksalam are not made of stone and have no solid walls, thus quiet assassins in the night were a historical danger to any Zaksalaan chieftain.
There are 70 kasheq for the days and 80 for the night.


WARFARE AND TACTICS

Zakish armies will accept surrender and truces, but tend to use surrendered troops for their own ends- they will send surrendered soldiers (or even simple townsfolk) in first in the next battle, as human shields to take the brunt of enemy arrows and weapons. This has led to a deep and abiding hatred of the Zaksalam armies most especially in Old Asserya.

Likewise, if their scouts inform them that the horde may face too fierce of opposition, the Zaksalan commanders will often send their men off to the north of the target to divert rivers and water sources, then laying siege and blocking off supplies from the unfortunate town.

The Zaksalan way is to first offer each targeted city or kingdom an opportunity to surrender- if they accept they must pay tribute and turn their soldiers over to the Horde. Refusal means tht when the Zakish army attacks they will give no quarter save to allow perhaps ten to twenty survivors who may flee and spread the terror to other towns.

When a conquored territory is vast enough, it is divided into Khangziers, the heads of which are Simikhans and they answer to Khan directly, not to the Raj of the area.

Commander of Archers = Tirbodh
Commander of infantry = Salaro
Controller of a castle = Argath
Commander of a march or attack = Marzpawn ((there's a nursery tale in Trimeris about a marzipan-man or candy man who will come to take wicked children away...))
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Old 11-10-2012, 11:05 PM   #5
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Default Zakish Rule

ZAKISH RULE
Peasants in arable land are organized into groups of about 50 households, and a leader appointed who will be responsible for conducting the census, ferrting out anti-Khan plots, increasing production, opening up barren areas, planting, etc. Taxation is fixed to a set rate every year, and the Khans will not suddenly raise or lower it. Unfortunately, peasants are conscripted as much as slaves to construct public works - a postal relay system, digging of canals, erecting buildings, etc.

If a city's nobility surrendered, most will be left alive so long as they offer up individual yearly tribute to the Khan and take their oath of loyalty. Any of their forces remaining must be joined to the Khan's horde, and usually daughters or sons will be taken as hostages to become 'honored guests' of the great Khan in his roving court. Some of these children when they reach maturity may choose to become Zaksalaan, or may be adopted even as children, as the Zaksalaan believe that it is not blood but spirit that binds a family. Some will marry Zakish spouses and never return to their original home.
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Old 11-10-2012, 11:07 PM   #6
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Default Zakish Timeline

  • -In A270, Terrghis’ son Vieshad had a vision of the Bright Serpent showing him the rest of Zaksebar and Sutherland and telling him that all of this was meant for the children of Terrghis to rule.
  • -By A280 the Zaksalam armies had taken the western part of the Asseryan holdings and spent the next ten years cementing their hold of southern Zaksebar.
  • -In A310 they began their assault on Asserya itself, and took the city once before being repelled by Trimeran forces in alliance with several city-states.
  • -A325 they were surprised by Edollene forces landing on the shores of Zaksebar as the Sutherland kingdoms swelled their armies in the west.
  • -A327- The Western Raj, Terrazul, pulled his armies back from Asserya and solidified his border against the Sutherland armies pressing for more territory
  • -A329 - The Eastern Raj, Saldeym, was ordered by Vieshad-Khan II to surrender the city of Abat-Charn on the southern coast of Zaksaber to Edolene forces and ride north.
  • -A330 - The majority of the Sutherland armies are returning to their homes, and the Zaksalam generals lick their wounds and watch the stars for the Serpent’s guidance.


List of Khans:
Terrghis -> Vieshad I -> Murrad -> Salasarr -> Vieshad II
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