Yalshur

Introduction

Yalshur is one of the largest and oldest kingdoms of the River. Throughout twelve hundred years of existence it has never been conquered or demolished, though it has lost territories that it had previously conquered in the many wars of the kingdoms. Yalshur was carved by one of the most powerful pharaohs in Pharaosi history, Ral-Kan III, who held the most glorious empire in Pharaos. The Ral-Kan dynasty is now one of the only surviving pharaonic lineages, though like the others its power has waned considerably.

Geography

Yalshur is primarily flatland floodplain. Crops and farms cover a large portion of the huge kingdom, producing great quantities of figs, dates, papaya, emmer, barley, flax, and pomegranates. The farmland tapers out to sand flats in the western and southern reaches of the kingdom along the border with Ghitu Azrac and the northern edge of the Shieldwall Steppe. Swaths of drier, unfarmed land also crosscut paths through the farmland itself. A pocket of land in the northmost area of the Kingdom is designated Nomadi’ai, lands granted to the Nomadi to preserve their lifestyle.

The Sungod Stair is a key geographical region in Yalshur, holding great religious importance. The grand networked range of staggered plateaus is the religious center of Re-Horakhty, operating almost like a small city, albeit sparse and lowly populated. Temples to the sun god sit atop many of the plateaus, as do gardens, fountains, altars, and monuments. Many of the plateaus also house the nests of giant falcons and other birds. It is said that when the Pharaosi first discovered the Sungod Stair, a great roc lived atop the highest plateau. This was taken to be a sign from the sun god, that this place would be his new home, and the surrounding lands the Pharaosi’s. Rocs still dwell in the highest reaches of the Stair, and the priests of Re-Horakhty that live there swear that they are all descendents of that first roc. Pilgrims from all over the Riverlands come to the Sungod Stair to receive blessings and pay homage to the chief deity of the pantheon, although Re commands less influence now than he did when the pharaohs ruled absolutely.

Major Settlements

Yalshur – The city Yalshur is the capital of the kingdom, wherein dwells Yar Ral-Kan X, one of the last pharaohs. The city is the second largest city in all of the Kingdoms and boasts breathtaking architecture and decoration. Most of the city is built of whitewashed sandstone and white limestone and is decorated with quartzite. Its coloration has led to it being called ‘The White City’ or ‘The Glowing City’ due to the way it shines in sun- and moonlight. Yalshur is densely populated, despite many commoners having left the inland city to find new homes in river towns.

Yabed Yalshur – “Yalshur by the River” is one of the most thriving ports in the Kingdoms, and the largest. Virtually every ship that passes down the Lifeblood calls at Yabed Yalshur and the city boasts that anything one could hope to buy can be bought there. A crowded trade city, all space within the walls is packed with people and buildings. Markets, shops, homes, and production facilities are found in every nook and corner and down every street. Three grand harbors sit along the river, bringing in slaves, goods, materials, and everything else from all throughout the Kingdoms and from markets beyond. Yabed Yalshur is perhaps the most diverse area in all of the Kingdoms, hosting populations of not only the Pharaosi, Dwahani, and Nomadi of the river, but islanders off of Xeng Qui and mercenaries of Lanpei from the north, and fair-skinned merchants and traders from ports far to the east. Gnomes, halflings, half-orcs, dwarves, and elves can all be found there as well, and even bhuka, goblinoids, and thri-keen are not completely absent. Powerful merchant families operate to own as much of the trade as possible through taxes or buyouts, but the Merchant Prince Sakkeht is the closest thing Yabed Yalshur has to a ruler.

Westgard – Westgard is a militarized town on the border of Ghitu Azrac, a highly defensible settlement built to keep watch for any Azrac raiding parties. Built against the formidably foothills of the Shieldwall Steppe, Westgard has high, strong walls and many watchtowers and is almost completely populated by soldiers and militia. Westgard is also the training grounds for such soldiers. The town is in its fifth iteration, having been destroyed four times in the past by Azrac hordes. The area around Westgard is notably dry and cropless, the land there having suffered so much from burning and other attacks that nothing will grow.

Beada – Beada is a city built just inside the Shieldwall Steppe and was Yalshur’s primary mining outlet for centuries. Limestone, sandstone, shale, and granite can all be found in the extensive quarries and caverns in and under the mountains. When the Pharaosi first came and settled in Yalshur, countless workers and slaves worked the mines here to provide the stone for the building of Yalshur and other starter cities. About 400 years ago, miners in Beada and dwarves from deep underground discovered one another, and after a few scuffles over the quarries and ore deposits, Yalshur and the dwarves made peace and Beada was connected with the underground dwarven settlements. The mines are worked less than they previously were by Yalshurians and Baeda has become a mostly dwarven settlement; their base for surface trade and caravaning.

Ecology

The land in Yalshur has been mastered for near 1000 years as the settler Pharaosi converted the seasonal flood-based agriculture to controlled irrigation. Date and fig trees are native to the area and were familiar to the Pharaosi who grew them in the Pharaos of old, so they became the primary crops of Yalshur along with the emmer wheat brought across the Dunes of Endless Sun. Pomegranates, also native to Pharaos and brought along, took to the land as well, and papaya was discovered a few decades after settlement. Barley and flax were also introduced. Yalshur has ever been a fruit-and-grain nation, with very little to show in the way of vegetables and legumes which grow abundantly in other kingdoms. Native trees include acacia, palm, kerda, sycamore, and olive. Olive trees are sparse in the kingdom and were never seen as a viable crop source. They mostly grow along the river, so a fair amount were cut down in the early stages of settlement.

Yalshur

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