Brother Kingdoms of Pharah
|Brother Kingdoms of Pharah|
|Nations and States|
|Full Name||Brother Kingdoms of Pharah|
|Pronunciation||Br-other King-doms of Ph-are-ah|
|Official Languages||Ibeth, Common|
|Regional Languages||Ibeth, Common, Daendroquin, Braggan, Modern Altalar|
|Current Ruler||King Neb-Ram-Assehs II|
The Brother Kingdoms of Pharah are a major socio-economic and political union formed a century ago by Asha looking to heal from the devastating conflict between their nations. Pharah is now recognized as the leading Asha State, with its resources sought after by the Regalian Empire and fellow Asha States. Their politics are also uniquely stable, and the united Smakhetra Dynasty which now rules has flourished with their formidable defenses fending off any and all efforts to disturb their golden society.
Pharah comes from a very ancient ungendered term in Asha society denoting power, leadership, and royalty. Whether it referred to a title held by whatever ancient leader or leaders the Dewamenet Empire had, or was tied to only a single region and position of significance is lost to the modern Asha memory. The term itself is never used, save when relating to this triarchic kingdom, who took the obscure term as their own to signify both their importance and power, which the Brother Kingdoms certainly possess.
The Brother Kingdoms of Pharah were originally three separate Asha States that formed around 20 AC in three regions of the Ashal Islands. As the Asha migrated across the islands, their massive bridges of Living Metal crossing any obstacle, the dynasty of Meshak founded Therasu, the dynasty of Cheoposh founded Gizkh, and the dynasty of Menekhar founding Memphiza last. For the next century and a half, each nation existed separate but closely aware of the other’s existence and power. Trade between each was frequent, and Therasu in particular attracted attention from thousands of Asha. It was here that a number of preserved texts and technologies were uncovered, to help the modern Asha maintain and even innovate in some areas around the Living Metal constructs of old that now surrounded them, and rapidly produced a paradise. Therasu also attracted a large collective of Siwath-Khenu, who added to the region’s growing supremacy over knowledge. In the end, for several decades, Therasu was the early regional frontrunner in political power. The Meshak dynasty flourished, and its leaders were praised across the Asha States for their wisdom, intellect, and technological power.
However, this knowledge soon attracted enemies, and the nation was raided in 63 AC, and then again in 71 AC, the first time by Velheim coming to plunder from far away Nordskag, and the second time by Altalar who used an intense storm to mask their approach. Therasu was beset on all sides, yet in the aftermath of the distortion of its fortunes, Gizkh and Memphiza helped it recover. This reinforced a longstanding trade union between the three regions, yet the unity of the Brother Kingdoms was not to come for centuries more. Still, as time wore on, these ties grew stronger, only to come to a crashing halt in 161 AC. Due to political manoeuvring on the part of the then powerful Sekharat Fleet, Gizkh and Memphiza ended up going to war with each other while Therasu remained neutral, ultimately aiding Gizkh for only a few months close to the war’s end. The conflict concluded in 163 AC, and while short, was shockingly brutal and resulted in all three nations teaming up on the Sekharat Fleet, who had caused the chaos. By 165 AC, with the help of other Fleets, the Sekharat Fleet was no more, and the three nations now turned to each other in regret, but also an earnest rebuilding effort.
In 170 AC though, all three nations took an important political step toward their eventual union. The eldest daughters of each region’s leaders were brought together in education at Therasu, before returning home after spending some five year together. When their assorted mothers and fathers died, during a timespan of 181 to 186 AC, the three Asha women moved forward to further unify their kingdoms. In an ironclad alliance, the Queens, who each already had husbands, exchanged them, while also agreeing that the first born child of any of them would come to inherit all three kingdoms. It took only four years, but in 190 AC, the first born son of Queen Clehet-patra IV of Memphiza, who became Neb-Ram-Assehs I, was born. It took a further twenty years, but in 210 AC, the Brother Kingdoms of Pharah were born. As king, Neb-Ram-Assehs I immediately adopted all of the other children from the other two, now dowager-queens, into his own family. The new Dynasty from that day forward was known as Smakhetra, and it has been their rulers that have led Pharah ever since. With the recent political alliance to the Regalian Empire, the wealth, resources, and knowledge of the Brother Kingdoms has been put to good use, and Ailor allies pour into the Fair-Ports, seeking much from the kingdom. At current, led by young king Neb-Ram-Assehs II, a Nefer Lew Clade leader, the region continues to thrive and embrace its role as the crown jewel in the Asha coronet of power and prestige.
The Brother Kingdoms of Pharah are led by the monarch, and the Smakhetra Dynasty spawned from the union of the three old royal dynasties together. The monarchy is technically what Ailor would consider absolute, as there is no democratic system in place within Pharah. However, in lieu of this, the region’s ruler still has excellent advice from their court, made up of the Herew-Senef, and the Kezzra. The Herew-Senef are the ruler’s direct family in the form of their consort and children, but it is also made up of the three unified families joined almost a century ago now. They represent a variety of Clades, though most are Nefer, and the figures at the immediate hand of the ruler. However, beneath them are the Kezzra, which make up a broad range of officials, scholars, religious figures and more that populate the ruler’s place of living at their invitation alone. Both groups, though, can be funnelled into service on the sixteen-person body called the Seshakem. Sesha individually could be considered regional governors, ruling from major cities across the Brother Kingdoms, and each controlling a Khome. Every three months, after a “Turn”, they meet as one to speak with the ruler of Pharah to allow the ruler to check on the progress of projects, and reinforce their desires or plans over the nation. The rest of the kingdom’s bureaucracy and system of authority beneath the Seshakem is actually rather limited, as machines make many tasks easier for singular figures, with the only other notable figures being the Werk’senk. Due to the Asha living communally, these figures are the closest to a landlord in an Ailor's mindset, but in truth, the extensive Living Metal constructs and technology allow for easy living, cleaning, and repair. A Werk’senk is, however, the elected liaison of a single building to the broader city and it’s resources. It is they who residents must report to when first arriving, they who are in charge of setting people up in their new home, and their responsibility to gain the proper resources to keep the structure they are in functioning properly. Werk’senk of the largest and most populous buildings in a city often advise a city’s leadership, and even Sesha sometimes, on important local matters.
List of Rulers
- 20 AC to 186 AC - Non-unified
- 186 AC to 210 AC - Pact-aligned
- 210 AC to 262 AC - Neb-Ram-Assehs I
- 262 AC to 301 AC - Mern-Ram-Assehs
- 301 AC to Present - Neb-Ram-Assehs II
The Laws of Pharah were standardized with the unification of the three kingdoms together, rather than having local variations. Regardless of this, the laws are remarkably clear and simple given the Ashan viewpoint of the world. Kharma rules their law system, meaning that while punishments afflicted to the physical body do occur, they are often minor or lesser in severity than those in the Regalian Empire. Instead, Pharah makes extensive use of the priesthood to remind an offender of their religious violations, and spiritual punishment in the form of bad Kharma. However, unlike the Regalian Empire, and in fact most other Asha States, Pharah possesses a clear and rather extreme punishment for the worst members of their society who in their mind, have failed to produce any good Kharma. This punishment is so heinous that only the Order of Ger knows what is done to these individuals, and they have taken a ritual vow of silence while in service, working in prisons and with the lesser punished. Those that receive this final, absolute punishment are the worst a society has to offer, and no remorse should be felt for their appalling fates.
The Brother Kingdoms of Pharah have a complex relationship with their own sister states, as well as the Regalian Empire. Pharah, as the most prosperous Asha nation, and featuring the combined material, assets, and knowledge of three nations pushed together, is often highly envied by the other Asha States. However, this envy is not violent, and instead, their sister cities are almost in total deference to Pharah. Therasu feels this deference in particular, as it is one of the rare connection points where Asha from across the spectrum of their Race and geographical spread gather to learn knowledge, as well as techniques involving Living Metal. Additionally, at the tri-yearly College of Mother’s Hands, it is often the sitting down of the ruler of Pharah which puts the College into session, at least at its first meeting of the day. As a result of their power, Pharah also has substantial clout with the Asha Fleets, the three major ones in particular, ever since their joined destruction of the fourth helped solidify the existence of the other three. Fleets Medes, Sefetjew, and Kheni-Hetef are acutely aware of crossing Pharah, and so have largely steered clear of their waters, and region as a whole, allowing minor Fleets, often heavily loyal to Pharah, to maintain power in the Ashal Islands. Finally, there are outside powers. The Altalar States loath Pharah, as it sits very close by, and actively projects naval power across the area, making slave transport or indeed, all transport missions by sea a hazardous endeavor lest a sudden, shock raid liberate Altalar cargo. As for the regional Ailor states, it may certainly be said that criminals in Hallonq, Daenshore and across the region salivate at the wealth of Gihza, but many will never see it while the Ithanians are loathed to admit it, but many see the splendor of the land as equal to the excess of Ithania. The Regalian Empire themselves, especially the Ailor of the Regalian Archipelago, largely see Pharah as the leader of the Asha states, which is not an undue assessment, and so many Regalian efforts at outreach to the Asha are based specifically in this nation.
Pharah’s military may, on a piece of paper, seem minor, lacking the raw numbers of some of its neighbors. But, in reality, the state’s war machine is a well oiled, tightly trained mechanism they have rarely had to use, yet keep maintained. Pharah was perhaps the first modern state in Aloria to keep a standing army at all times of year, with the Regalian Empire only earning one with the rise of the Tenpennies within the last few decades. The core of the Pharah military is the simple footmen and archers, known as the Laakhteti. They are made up of any adult, from any Clade and subrace that would serve the state, and are soldiers trained for three years, and serve for a further three in active duty. But, after this, they are made reserves, and live the rest of their lives doing other tasks, and finding work elsewhere. This means that the core of the Pharah military is actually far larger than what might be seen, as within hours, tens, if not hundreds of thousands of basic soldiers can be called to serve. Around this core exist in the specialized units. Like other Asha States, the Pharah keep an array of animals as cavalry and support, but the Pharah have mastered the training and perfecting of using these beasts in combat. Their Seqherat cavalry can move as fast as any horse, and are known as the Kedaked, derived from an Ibeth term meaning slaughter. Similarly, their powerful Maarhanet are wielded as not just siege engines, but as in-battle tanks, carrying highly effective armor on their bodies when used in this rare role. But the last unit, the Baskarr-Khered, is truly the pinnacle of Pharah. This Holy Order of the Asha faith is perhaps one of the most effective fighting forces in all of Daen, as well as the most unique in that they draw from a tradition even older than the Allorn Empire. Doning ornate facial masks with iconography of either the sun or moon in Gold or Silver respectively as well as free, unweighted robes of fabric, the Baskarr-Khered are elite masters of the School of Mirah. They are the best of the best of the Citadels, and command great fear, respect, and attention in battle with their actions. They often guard important figures on the battlefield, or command small elite units of their own kind. Then, there is Pharah’s navy. They control four small, regional Fleets, whose vessels are made up of Pharahan natives and loyalists that are unlikely to break away, and who overall help project Pharahan power across the Ashal Isles.
Pharah is not just a political powerhouse due to their combined strength, but also due to their economic influence on all other Asha States. From Memphiza flows, by some estimates, almost 90% of the marble used by the other Asha nations in their building projects. From Gazh too, comes a vast percentage of the Gold used by the Asha people to decorate themselves, and their structures, along with the creation of objects for worship and even everyday use. While most of Gazh’s Gold stays within the Asha economy, some of it is also used to feed into the broader economy of the Regalian Empire, and to help fund pro-Asha projects across the vast state to their north. Finally, there is the power of the Pharahan navy. While the minor Fleets that swear their fealty to Pharah are that, minor, their power is still considerable in securing the region’s coastline, and to help allow the Pharah to carry out raids and attacks on commerce when need be, further adding wealth and bargaining chips to any table in the region when it comes to trade around the Ashal Islands.
The Brother Kingdoms of Pharah are almost universally adherents to the Faces of Baskarr, and follow the beliefs in the many-faced goddess along with the concept of Kharma governing their lives. Pharah is also home to several religious Holy Orders, two being mentioned already, the Order of Ger and the Order of Baskarr-Khered. In addition to these pious groups, there is also the Order of Tepianew, a group whose task is to seek out the worst off in society and help them, in total selflessness. They operate even beyond the Kingdoms of Pharah, and exist across the Ashal Isles and even beyond, serving as an effective projection of Pharahan power into the states that accept them. Finally, there is the Order of Ihehy, a pleasure cult of Asha based out of Gizkh. The Order fully embraces Baskarr as having the gilded visage of a Mew Clade, and demands her followers to bask in pleasure and endless reward after their millennia of suffering at the hands of the Altalar. Aside from the Faces of Baskarr, Unionism has a significant presence among the regional Ailor who live in the Fair-Ports, with a number of small temples built to accommodate this external faith.
The Brother Kingdoms of Pharah each once possessed individual flags, though after unification, each also flies a new, different flag higher than their previous symbols. Gizha once featured a trio of yellow triangles along a white band flanked by two yellow lines, while Memphiza featured a grey, inverted triangle on a field of black and brown and Therasu featured only vertical flagging, with a cartouche of Ibeth writing saying “Life Revived” flanked by two reigning staffs, all in black, on a field of red. The modern flag features a large golden inverted triangle on a field of white, with a trio of stylized Asha kneeling on each side, their arms raised up to a cartouche saying “Unity” in Ibeth. However, the golden inverted triangle on white is far more commonly used and seen as representing Pharah overall, without the complex detailing in the middle.
- Neb-Ram-Assehs I’s death wasn’t the reason for the ultimate change in leadership in 262 AC. Instead, he retired to allow his daughter to rule to allow for a peaceful transition of power. Mern-Ram-Assehs herself did the same, though unlike her father who lived for almost a decade after the transition, she passed away just a few months after she gave the crown to her son.
- There are concerns that if the Cult of Ihehy ever reaches the halls of royal power, Pharah’s edge may dull substantially, resulting in the loss of a major leader that other Asha States are currently ill-equipped to fill.