The Pirates Of Atlantis
Some wizards believe the Karshemish civilization is nearly as old as Eshuna’s, though it’s never been as stable — based on historical records and the visions of seers, until about 4,000 years ago the region was inhabited by various tribes who spoke similar tongues but often fought with one another. The mighty warrior Baldir arose, defeated all who stood against him, and made himself king over the Shems. To this day the rulers of Karshemish (as well as many Shem nobles) claim to be descended from Baldir, though privately they have to admit there’s no actual proof of an unbroken lineage extending over the millennia.
Karshemish was the first realm to enter the Dominion voluntarily, thanks to the wisdom of King Arvand, who became its first prince. Aside from the Urguts (see below), the Shem are loyal citizens of the Dominion who have adopted much of Atlantean culture but blended it with their own ancient ways. For example, the Shem style of architecture runs to large but short structures that impress the onlooker with their size and grandeur; they’re not quite like anything else in the world. In centuries past they built ziggurat-like temples to the Shem gods, and even now when they worship the Atlantean pantheon their holy buildings
look more like the ones of old than their counterparts on Atlantis.
The seat of Karshemish is Ekbatahn, a relatively young city that was built on the shores of the Mestorian Canal after King Mestor created it. As the gateway to trade with the southern lands, Ekbatahn is a cosmopolitan place with a marketplace to rival Atlan’elos’s own and inns famed for the crisp Shem ale they serve. Despite the best efforts of the Prince’s men and King Mestor’s soldiers, thievery is rampant, with rival gangs of burglars and pickpockets competing to see who can acquire the most illicit wealth.
Karshemish’s other major city is Biltis, at the mouth of the Zosar River in the east. A much quieter place, it’s the center of the Shem weaving industry. Shem cloth is renowned for its fineness and rich colors, and many a noble of other lands proudly boasts of having a tunic or cloak from Karshemish.
The Mestorian Canal
About a thousand years ago, Atlantis found itself frustrated by the slow pace of trade from the southern lands. At the same time it was dealing with the latest in a long series of border disputes between Ras Shamra and Karshemish. Mestor decided to solve both problems at once.
Traveling to Tel’Ramas, he went to the place where the two provinces were fighting. Ordering the armies to withdraw, he cast a mighty spell. The power of his magic began digging a channel a hundred yards wide and deep enough for the heaviest ships. It started where he was standing, at the shore of the Inland Sea of Khotar, and continued northward. It took two days, but eventually the force of the spell reached the Atlantean Sea… and the Mestorian Canal was born. Ever since, trade has flowed freely from the south to Atlantis, and neither Ras Shamra nor Karshemish has raised any concerns about their border.
The Maradin Mountains on the eastern border of Karshemish are home to a tribe called the Urguts. They prey on travelers going through the aptly-named Urgut Pass and are known to commit atrocities against their victims, whom they regard as sub-human. Often victims are kidnapped and then sacrificed to the Urgut gods in bloody, torturous ceremonies.
After Karshemish entered the Dominion, Atlantis sent a military expedition to wipe out the Urguts. But as the soldiers approached the mountains they began to feel ill, and the closer they got the worse they felt. Eventually a priest accompanying the expedition revealed to the commander that the gods had spoken to him and declared that the Urguts must be spared. Those whom they attacked could fight back, but any army or heroes that came against them would suffer the same debilitating illness. So to this day the Urguts remain a thorn in Karshemish’s side.
|Everyman Skill Addition||Rating|
|AK: Karshemish||8 -|
|L: Shem (No Literacy)||Rank 4|
|L: Atlantean (No Literacy)||Rank 3|
|PS: (Architect, Farmer, Fisherman – Pick one)||11 -|