Urharulan: The ''Homeland''
Urharulan, the homeland of the haruninki; some non-haruchi call it
"The Forbidden Shore," but many haruninki call it Jhet Brahna, the "Golden Land." It is the home to one of the most isolationist
races of on the Continent of Irendi. It is a land devoid of arcane teachings, yet full of mysticism
and superstition. The haruninkian lands are spotted with dramatic ruins, ancient cities, and sacred holy places. Most of the population
lives along the coast or the interior Route of Red Sands; the vast interior of the land is mostly untamed jungle and savannah.
Like the distant land of the Eastern Empire, the population of Urharulan is extremely
single-sided. Haruninki, less formally known as the haruchi, dominate (92%) the free population majority. The only reason that they
do not make up for even more of the populace of their homeland is because of their widespread enslavement of the
husti (7%), a lion-like humanoid race of servitors that has been
subjugated by the haruninki for untold generations. Nearly one in ten residents of a haruninkian village are servitor husti. There
are no free born husti in Urharulan.
The remaining residents of the homeland are diplomats or renegade members of other races. Most
visitors of Urharulan are required to remain in certain districts of the port city in which they arrive; they are not allowed to travel
outside the city at all. Some non-haruchi are given special privilege to do so when invited and guided by a haruninki with suitable
The haruninki have a peculiar sense of government that relies greatly upon their natural lawful behaviour and the ingrained sense
of honor that all haruninki practice, called the Way. At its most basic explanation, the haruchi divide themselves into
clans, led by a matriarch and her first husband who handle most day to day decisions. These various clans are in turn influenced
heavily by their sense of nationhood and by their spiritual leaders. Haruninki divide the governing of their lives to three different
arenas in the following order of importance: the spiritual, their clan, and their nation.
Foremost, spiritual leaders hold the most social power; they are the
Unsultanlan. These are essentially priests who act as
intermediaries between haruninki and the Elders. the Elders are treated with the same respect as gods, but they are not worshiped as
most gods are, they are treated with great deference for their mystical influance over the world. They are invoked in supplication and
thanksgiving, but not in adoration. the Elders are said to be the spirits ancient haruninkian ancestors who achieved perfect spiritual
enlightenment. As the Elders are not treated as deities, the Unsultanlan are not treated much at all like priests. They do provide
wisdom and guidance to the less privledged and when they speak it is with the authority of the Elders, but they are more like aesthetics
who live in social seclusion. They do not have families, they do not give sermons, they do not evangelize, they don't have churches,
and though they are often seen in bustling streets and among the people they do not attend social gatherings and they never form close
relationships with non-unsultanlan. When a child or elder, but never an adult, is selected to join the ranks of the unsultanlan they
are forgotten by their family. Their ties to former acquaintances and friends are abruptly ended; an Unsultanlan is expected to be aloof
from such non-spiritual relationships and not becloud their quest for spiritual perfection with such distractions.
To the haruninki the Unsultanlan are icons, symbols of spiritual strength and rightness with the will of the
Elders. They are a source of inspiration. The presence of the Unsultanlan is seen as the mortal presence of the eternal Elders.
Unsultanlan spend most of their time traveling from community to community, providing counsel to clan leaders, visiting holy sites,
guarding against evil spirits, and dispensing spiritual judgement. It's rare for an Unsultanlan to give orders, most wisdom is dispensed
in the form of subtle suggestions or as parables called Kahpa.
To the average haruchi all Unsultanlan are treated as the same, with great deference and respect, among the
Unsultanlan there are few official 'ranks'. The eldest and most spiritual of them naturally become leaders of their caste; certainly the
Elders would express their displeasure if any Unsultanlan exceeded their authority among their peers. The center of the Unsultanlan's
power is, appropriately, their massive fortress at the southern edge of the homeland, called "Unsultanlan."
The second source of haruninkian government is their official national governance which is headed by the
Pedestal of Divinity, a singular position of rulership that is supreme in all government decisions. Beneath the Pedestal is a counsel
of governors who each represent the interests of a city-state. These governors each have their aids, marshals, and so forth who operate
beneath them. Each has their city garrison to command, but the only military is that which is led by the Pedestal of Divinity. The
military of the Pedestal keep roads between cities safe and keep the peace between the city-states. The Pedestal has traditionally
been held by a male haruninki, but there have been eras and occasional female rulers. Most of the official government, despite the
power which women hold in haruchi society, is filled with males as the purpose of government is seen to be mostly military and law
enforcement in nature which is the duty of men. Aside from the great edicts handed down from the Pedestal of Divinity, governors enjoy
wide powers over their city state. Some are ruthless warlords, wealthy merchant princes, and others are cunning diplomats.
Most daily power and governing is done by the leaders of each clan, also known as the Wah. The leaders
of a haruchi clan are its matron and her first husband. Ancient traditions have led to a society where the birth of a female is an
uncommon occasion, thus most women have multiple husbands. This gives significant political power over the day-to-day governing of
a clan to successful, desirable clan matrons. Second, third, and further husbands and their families (if any) are subordinate to
the wills of the first husband and his clanwife. Most outsiders never experience the impact that the Wah has on the haruninkian way
of life, but to a haruchi it is of tremendous importance.
The haruninki are a not religious people, but they are a deeply spiritual people. They have a superstitious belief in spirits, mostly
malicious in nature, which require appeasement. They freely mix this fear of spirits with fear of demons. None of this superstition is
surprising when you consider that as a whole the haruninkian race is generally devoid of magic. Arcane practitioners are stoned or
executed at the Walls of Bithralania, sorcerers rarely survive more than a week beyond their birth before they are discovered and have
their skulls caved in, divine magic is a carefully guarded secret of the Unsultanlan, and the druids of the jungles command the spirits
of the land which most haruchi quell in fear before. Much of this stems from an ancient schism in the haruchi social system known as the
Breaking of the Sultan, when the Elders broke the haruninki race in half and
struck the powers of arcane magic from their blood. Many centuries later magic slowly began to reappear as a natural talent among the
haruninki, but fear of the Elder's wrath has made the appearance of such powers to be an inauspiscious event best concealed and disposed
Haruninki do not worship gods. Their respect for beings which they refer to as the Elders amounts in most
outsiders eyes to ancestral spirit worship. Haruninki do not believe that the Elders are their ancestors except in the most distant
progenitor like sense. Instead, the Elders are enlightened spirits who have transcended from mortality as haruninki and become something
more. Elders are not worshiped individually, but as a collective. The ascendence of a haruninki's spirit to among the Elders is not an
event that occurs in modern day; only legends exist of such things since the haruninki do not keep stories of who the Elder's were when
they were mortals, it is simply not relevant to them. the Elders are not "pretend gods" though, they have a real and potent power over
the lands of Urharulan as evidenced by their direct intervention in the haruninki race on many occasions.
The haruninki do not build churches to the Elders as they believe that the Elders choose their own holy
ground. Most of these holy sites are difficult places to get to and only the Unsultanlan travel to them on pilgrimage. Though they do
not have churches, the Elders do have "priests" called Unsultanlan. These intermediaries are essentially wise-men who communicate the
will of the Elders to the haruninki. They enjoy an elevated position in haruninkian society as mystics, seers, and arbiters of divine
justice. Even the Pedestal of Divinity and governors of the city-states listen closely when approached by an Unsultanlan.
Besides their mindfulness of the Elders will, haruchi also strictly adhere to a system of honor and shame,
respectively referred to as Pah and Tor. Each action of significance results in the accumulation of either one or the other as though
they were two weights that only become heavier throughout a haruchi's life. Pah, besides honor, is a measure of prestige and spiritual
achievement. Tor, on the other hand, is a measure of how indebted an individual is to society. Failing social expectations, by either
failing an important academic test, stealing a loaf of bread, or killing an individual without good reason causes one to become indebted
to those that have been disappointed or harmed by the event and the offender gains Tor. Thus, in the lands of Urharulan it can be just as
bad to be a beggar as it is to be a serial murderer. The haruchi believe that upon death the greater of these two weights, Pah or Tor,
will determines their estate in the afterlife. Those of purest Pah are said to be destined to be embraced by the Elders as their own while
those who have nothing but the weight of Tor are dragged into the underworld, to live out eternity in darkness.
Urharulan is a tropical land with two seasons, dry and rainy. Temperatures are perpetually warm and snow is something that most
haruchi have never seen. The interior of the land is choked with jungle, parted only by wild savannah. Most Haruninki live on the
coast in small villages or in the city states. Disease is a common worry, but is a hazard greatly mitigated by the careful hygienic
practices of the haruchi. A greater danger is straying too far from village borders and being attacked by some savage and hungry
animal. Thousands varieties of exotic insects, birds, and predators call the interior of Urharulan their home.
The golden desert is no safer. Named for the glittering fools gold that litters its sparkling sands,
the interior desert is plagued with terrible, sudden windstorms in its eastern reaches and with extremely deadly quick and slipsand
along its western borders. Only criminals consigned to death and foolish adventurers travel there.
Three sides of the homeland touch the oceans and this is where most of the nations population live. Those who do not live along the
water dwell upon the Great Route, an interior road that starts in Kiniwullen, passes through Sur'utanu and Bithralania, and spans the
entire nation to the capital of Aman-Runon. Most haruninkian cities are ancient, built of stone, and located for their historical or
spiritual importance. A new city-state has not been founded for many centuries. This does not mean that the haruchi are in decline,
rather it is a symptom of their staunch traditional lifestyle that appreciates the old and often shuns the new.
Greatest of haruninkian cities is Zhahakar (pop 165,000), the Port of Mystique. Zhahakar has the grandest
bazaars and the largest international district of any other city in the homeland, besting even those of Aman-Runon. It is the trading
capital of the homeland. Foreigners can explore its international districts in comfort and security; it almost seems as though this is
the one place where the haruninki do not shun outsiders, except for the laws which require divans that travel between one international
district and the next to have their windows curtained and not stop along the way.
Second only to Zhahakar in size, but far greater in importance is the capital of Aman-Runon (pop 145,000). The
interior of Aman-Runon has been closed to outsiders for so long that palaces are built outside its walls to accommodate the Pedestal of
Divinity when he deigns to meet with the emissaries of other nations. Over the many centuries so many palaces have been built that
the royal courts have awarded many to ancient lineages, city-state governors, and other families of power. Naturally, ever grander
palatial gardens and grounds are then built so that the Pedestal can have the very best. Consequently, the cliff sides of Uroq'an
glitter tantalizingly to passing ships destined for Zhahakar. Aman-Runon is also important for how local it is to the holy fortress of
the Unsultanlan, where new chosen of the Elders are trained.
Nearly the same size in population as Aman-Runon, but incredibly larger in scale is the mighty fortress
city-state of Bithralania (pop 138,000), the 'mighty hill' and also known as the 'blood walled'; so named for the ancient stains of
blood that cover its desert facing walls where prisoners are executed by bludgeoning to death at the hands of demons. Bithralania is
visible from many miles away due to the tiered shape of its city walls. The socially powerful live in the higher placed tiers,
separated by walls from their lessers. Beneath Bithralania are its legendary mines where criminals work out life sentences, unlikely
to ever see the light of the sun again. In ancient times, Bithralania was the seat of sultan power, before the sultan race was divided
into haruninki and Silothreni by the Elders for its wanton use of
In the north is the holy city of Sur'utanu (pop 72,000), literally the 'city beneath spirits.' The
lord of Sur'utanu, Aman Ma'atyaluk-lan, is the most ancient of haruninki and has ruled over his city-state for so many centuries
beyond all possible expectations of a haruninkian lifespan that he is said to be Pryap-Lan, honored eternal. Except on a yearly
pilgrimage to the fortress of the Unsultanlan, this ancient Unsultanlan never leaves his palace and allows his advisors to deal with
most of his city-state management. Sur'utanu is given its name for the close presence it has to the spirit world. Haruninki travel there
to speak with their ancestors. It is perhaps the only place in Urharulan steeped in deep mysticism, but a privileged outsider should
not presume that this means that any practice of magic can be found there, at least not publicly. Haruninki scoff at the notion of
magic practitioners in their holy city; such a thing could not be in a place more visited by the Elders and Unsultanlan than only
the very fortress of the Unsultanlan itself.
Keavrus (54,000) is special among haruninkian cities as one of the very few places where original ruins
of the Sultan can still be found. It is also a busy city of politics, spice trade, and exotic medicinal herbs brought forth from the
jungles which surround it. Keavrus is also the only city that is frequented by the mysterious druids of the jungles, who use its vine
and garden laden streets as a place to meet. Haruninki treat the druids with great suspicion, but do not believe what they do to be
magic. Druids are feared and respected for their ability to communicate and persuade nature spirits to do their bidding.
Northernmost of all haruninkian city-states is Kiniwullen (pop 42,000). Few foreigners visit its
harbor. It has no international district and it is rumored that for the right price a non-haruninkian ship docked in its harbors
can allow its passengers the rarest of looks at haruchi life without being confined to an international district. Kiniwullen is
spread out over a vast low plain with swampy jungles along its western side. The city has been slowly sinking over millenia; it
is said that not all of its sunken streets are flooded and that great wealth can be found there for the brave to take.
Least of the great city-states, but certainly not the smallest is the city-state of Goodlund (pop 34,000).
Sea-travelers speak of Goodlund as the backwaters of Zhahakar. It has an accommodating harbor, a comfortable international district for
visitors, and an easy manner of trade less excitable, but just as productive as the markets at Zhahakar. Goodlund is also home to one
of the greatest hand-to-hand martial academies in Urharulan, Aret-Taladi'n.
As a insular nation, the haruninki keep their neighbors and visitors at arm length. Fortunately for them, their most immediate
neighbors are just as disinterested in political play. The Kingdom of Thean, populated by the
deep mountain loving Urdunan dwarves. Trade between the
two nations is scarce, but present and often taking the form of fine weapons being exchanged for haruninkian silks and textiles.
The human populated Westering Kingdoms are the most frequent visitors
of haruninkian ports. All manner of trade passes from and into Urharulan in this manner. Despite the flow of trade between the two
nations they are not military allies in any sense of the word. Some humans of the Westering Kingdoms are still bitter that no help was
forthcoming from Urharulan even when multitudes were dying before the conquering armies of the Dark God during the time of the Black
During those bitter times, not a single haruninkian spear was lifted in defense of the elfin lands of Elestinlore either. The Lerether
elves of Elestinlore had never been particularly close to the haruchi; mountains, desert, and a dwarven kingdom separate the two nations.