Syrámä

Syrámä

Overview

Syrámä is a large swathe of primarily open grasslands. Covering much of what once consisted of several ancient nations, including Sárat, Syrámä, Hendbæ, Keralasia and Mandapor, Syrámä is a fusion of many cultures and peoples. Once known as the Horse People, for their love of, and great skill with, the magnificent horses reared on the plains, many of the Syrámesse remain nomadic, following the ancient trails that their ancestors followed. However, the majority of those that live in Syrámä now dwell in the villages, towns and cities that are dotted along the coastline and the banks of the Syramassa River.

The varied cultural differences of Syrámä lead to occasional tensions and small conflicts, but mostly these are regional disputes that are short lived. The Sárations and Syrámesse dominate the political arena, though the ruling line of monarchs has always been Syrámesse since their emergence from the occupation of Amman, something that causes great anger and tension in the Sáration community. On the whole, however, the fusion of cultures has worked well with the benefits nearly always outweighing the drawbacks.

Aligning itself closely with Karnish, whose culture is highly regarded and mimicked, Syrámä has seen its influence, world standing and wealth grow considerably, with many of its ports and harbors along The Enchanted Bay important waypoints along the extensive trade routes. Syrámä expends considerable effort in maintaining these trade routes and has seen its naval presence grow enormously. On land, it is the strength of their mounted warriors that are relied upon to fight Amman in the west and keep the Urgolians at bay in the east.

Syrámä has been in constant war with Amman, its greatest enemy who treated the ancient states so harshly after their conquest, since they threw off the shackles and slavery that had been imposed on them. Even though the formidable Syramassa River seperates their borders, crossings are common and bitched battles regular occurances on both sides of the river. However, despite the ferocity of these battles and the emnity that exists between the two nations, the borders have remained largely stable. With the rise of Amman and their allegegiance with Zykerathox, however, the Syrámesse have seen a tipping of the balance in the favor of their old enemy, as well as finding themselves also at war with Magasoa, Amman's old ally. The border areas are heavily militarized on all sides, with regular patrols and skirmishes common.

A gowing concern for Syrámä is the emergence of the Urgolians in the east. For long contained on the other side of The Golden Peaks, the Urgolians now make regular sorties deep across the borders of Syrámä, forcing the authorities to move tropps and resources away from their war with Amman to the defense of their eastern borders. The attacks are often swift, with the Urgolian hordes pillaging and looting their way from one community to the next, before melting away back over the mountains to their own lands. What the Syrámesse fear is a massive invasion at a time when their resources are already strecthed.

Since the emergence of Syrámä after the fall of the first Amman empire, they have established themselves as an essential part of the trade routes that criss-cross Arrasia, with the Syramassa River giving access to the heart of the exotic eastern lands of Urgolia and the communities around the Sarazoa Sea. While these routes are treacherous and unpredictable, they are also highly profitable and have proved a vital source of income, especially since nowhere else can boast such direct access, and despite the threat that they now pose. Syrámä's greatest exports are the magnificent horses that are reared and trained by the most skilful animal handlers in Arrasia. All the best armies use these superb beasts, with knights and the wealthy using nothing else. They are renown for their handling and courage on the battlefield.

Significant Trade Export

Copper, Gold, Platinum, Silver: The Hills of Mandapor are rich in the precious metals of copper, gold, platinum and silver, which are mined by the dwarves that dwell there. The hills are also home to a large number of goblinoids, making mining an even more dangerous job than usual. Syrámä is one of Arrasia's principle suppliers of platinum and also exports vast quantities of silver.

Diamonds: Once, the banks of the Syramassa River were said to be lined with diamonds. While this is no longer the case, alluvial deposits are still commonly found along its shores and have brought much wealth into the nation. Syrámä is certainly one of the key players in the diamond market.

Horses: Farasian horses, imported from Farashar, are generally regarded as the finest horses in Arrasia and command enormous prices, due to their rarity, with Syrámä controlling the entire market. The Sárian horses of Syrámä are also highly regarded, second only to the Farasian breed. Powerful, swift, courageous and superbly trained, these warhorses are employed by armies around Arrasia and especially in Karnish, whose heavy cavalry units use nothing else. As such, there is a high demand for these animals. Fetching a high price Arrasia over, this is Syrámä's most prestigious export.

Lapis Lazuli: The Amu-Phat Downs are ragged and rocky with large deposits of limestone, where lapis lazuli is plentiful. Such is the amount of lapis lazuli mined there, that Syrámä has become its principle supplier and the city of Naissi the lapis lazuli capital of the world.

Precious Stones: As well as diamonds, an array of precious stones are washed down from The Golden Peaks and swept along the Syramassa River, where they are deposited. Amethyst, garnet, ruby, sapphire, spinel, topaz and zircon alluvial deposits are all mined along the banks of the Syramassa River.

Brief History

In the ancient days, Sárat stood at the pinnacle of its power, commanding an empire that included the territories of Yad-Yamman, Syrámä and Mandapor. The power of its mounted warriors and the fanaticism of its troops made it a formidable and powerful nation that was greatly feared by its neighbors. However, several internal conflicts weakened the political union of Sárat and the second Great Rebellion of Syrámä indirectly led to their defeat against the tribes of Yad-Yamman. The second Great Rebellion of Syrámä lasted for 100 years, placing a huge military burden on Sárat and during which time the Yad-Yamman evolved both politically and militarily.

After Syrámä was eventually defeated and subjugated, Sárat once again turned its attention toward the Yad-Yamman and launched a massive invasion, which swept aside the resistance and was soon on the verge of an overwhelming victory. However, the Battle of Many Battles saw a vastly outnumbered Yad-Mon army fight a magnificent rearguard action which allowed their army time to regroup and, alone - for none of the other tribes of the Yad-Yamman would stand with them - fought the Battle of Woe, where the Yad-Mon defeated the Sáration army, despite being overwhelmingly outnumbered. This defeat was soon followed up by the destruction of their navy, when Yad-dur sent out their own to meet them and sent them to the bottom of the sea.

The Third War of Yad-Yamman and Sárat, this time with Yad-Mon leading the charge into Sáration territory, saw Sárat utterly defeated, with their conquerors annexing their lands and enslaving their people. Its empire collapsed and the subjugated nations freed. For a while, Syrámä, and the other nations freed of their servitude, flourished, but the unification of the Yad-Yamman under the banner of Amman saw them emerge as a serious threat to regional peace and war soon broke out as Amman looked to expand its borders. Mandapor and Syrámä, as well as a host of smaller nations that had emerged after the destruction of Sárat, fell swiftly to the new enemy, though Syrámä would re-emerge a free nation after the first Amman-Goblin war saw Amman defeated and forced into retreat.

Despite a second war with Amman, Syrámä refused to buckle until the brilliant general Abu-Taq finally ended their resistance and Syrámä was subjugated and its people enslaved. With a streak of sheer vindictiveness, Amman systematically set about erasing the culture and history of Syrámä and only the pride and toughness of the Syrámesse people saw their customs maintained underground. These unbowed people were constantly rebelling and, as Sárat had discovered centuries before, these were bloody and long lasting affairs. The history of Amman is punctuated with such rebellions and when Karnish threw off their shackles and challenged the might of Amman, so the Syrámesse once again rose up and rebelled, this time ousting their long time occupiers.

Syrámä was also instrumental in the Great Battle of Amman, when their army, having defeated their oppressors, swept into the battlefield as Fandor and the great alliance looked all but done for. Such was the impact of their horsed warriors, that the fortunes of the alliance were reversed and the Amman army severely demoralized, allowing time for Uther and Mynax to reach the battle, where the Amman forces were finally defeated and the end of the age of Amman confirmed.

With the destruction of Amman and the emergence of Karnish as the new world power, Syrámä drove the remnants of the Amman empire out of theirs and other lands, consuming those it liberated under their own flag. As Amman retreated west, back into their own borders, and Karnish split Amman in two, Syrámä emerged as a powerful nation sitting to the east of Amman-Mon, as Amman had remodeled itself, offering a powerful ally as Karnish strove to completely destroy the evil empire. However, with the rise of Hith and, later, Zykerathox, Karnish was forced to move its army away, essentially ending the long war. Syrámä, however, never made peace and continued the war, even to this day. The rise of Amman and it's allegiance with Zykerathox have come at a time when Syrámä finds itself also under threat in the east from the Urgolians, but as yet their borders have remained largely intact.

To the south, Syrámä saw the emergence of the Triple Alliance between Yam, Orith and the Freecity of Hanai as a threat to their regional hegemony and escalated a border dispute into open warfare. However, two decisive defeats ended any expansionist ideas that Syrámä may have had in that direction, forcing them to sue for peace. With this dispute over, trade once again crossed the borders between these nations and the power and influence of Syrámä has been on the rise ever since. Although many of their old customs have survived, much was also lost and the Syrámessesse were quick to adopt the Karnish culture as their own, especially their religion. Syramesse is the most commonly spoken language, but Kerlasian and Sáration are also widely spoken. Karnish is considered a language of high culture and business, but tends to be common in urban centers and less so amongst agricultutal communities.

The Major Towns and Cities

Athlem: (pop: 55,000) This sprawling city has access to both the Syramassa River and The Enchanted Bay and, as such, sees much of the trade into and out of Syrámä pass through it. Athlem is a maze of tight dusty streets, lined with back street markets filled with all manner of people selling their wares. The air is filled with their voices as they harangue the passersby and compete with the street dancers, bards and actors who all jostle for the attention in this lively mardi gras. The architecture is exotic, with ornate columns and arches common to most structures and domed roofs adorning the more important buildings. The majority of buildings are built from sun-baked mud bricks, which are extremely tough and durable, and the city has a growing slum problem, where vermin and disease are common.

Naissi: (pop: 30,000) Regarded as the lapis lazuli capital of Arrasia, most of the industries rely upon it for survival, either directly or indirectly. It is home to a large halfling population that has cornered the lapis lazuli market and is extremely influential within the city. Although Naissi is on the face of it a very attractive city, with large markets filled with exotic music and dancers and sellers hawking their wares, it also has a large section who live in poverty and who are paid poorly for their labor. Mud brick buildings with thatched roofs are the most common, though the wealthy and administrative buildings are ornate affairs with columns, arches and domed roofs common features. As Naissi is nestled at the base of the Amu-Phat Downs, it is also exceptionally hilly and elaborate public stairs, flanked with statues and lime trees, are a common sight.

Ebben: (pop: 22,000) The city of Ebben is a lively city which sits on The Enchanted Bay and is an essential port for the Syrámesse navy, around which it has evolved. With maritime statues and art found throughout the city, its connection with the navy is difficult to miss. The port itself is one of the largest in Arrasia - a natural harbor that stretches around two thirds of the city and is filled with all manor of sailing vessels, which dart between the large ships anchored there. The port area can be rough with drunken fights common and criminals - petty and organized - always on the lookout for easy pickings. Architecturally, Ebben differs little from the style of most Syrámä towns and cities, with columns and arches, tight streets and loud markets filled with an array of exotic artisans and produce.

Yaga: (pop: 16,000) The population of Yaga exploded with the emergence of trade links into the Urgolian territories along the banks of the Syramassa River and the Sarazoa Sea. Although extremely hazardous, many have made their fortune and the tales of adventure and wealth have seen Yaga grow rapidly. In many ways, Yaga is the most beautiful of the cities of Syrámä, sitting on both sides of the Syramassa River, which is the lifeblood of the city. Beautiful buildings are augmented with lime trees and other plants and greenery is commonplace. Some of the most magnificent domed buildings can be found here, though primarily the buildings are mud-bricked affairs with thatched roofs. There are several major markets, along with an array of back street markets that are filled with the noise of the performers and those hawking their wares. Yaga is also the center of the market for Farasian horses, which arrive here after their long journey from Farashar.

Gam: (pop: 12,000) As well as being a significant naval and military base, from where both ships and troops can easily be moved to the border with Magasoa, Gam is also an important diamond mining region, which are washed along the coast and collect here as alluvial deposits. The harbor is large, with several impressive jetties reaching into the sea, where fishermen and merchants unload their cargoes. A large tree-lined boulevard runs for much of the port area, which joins several significant markets and along which can be found many of the important buildings of Gam. It is always filled with those selling their wares or performing their art and the architecture is magnificent. However, behind this, much of the city is a web of streets and alleys, with mud brick buildings and slums where the majority of the population live.


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