Embyr: The Fifth Age
Asham (ah-SHAM) is found south of the Straight of Tyradda between the Sea of Gold and the Sea of Dragons. The geography of Asham is harsh and varied. From the western coastal region the land rises from sea level to form the Plain of Dessimara, which runs to the central mountain range called the Hejmah. East of this lies the plateau of Tyam Sira. The northwestern Hofu Al Hdu region has mountains as high as 9,000 feet and is known for having the greenest and freshest climate in all of the country. To the east Asham is primarily rocky or sandy lowland continuing to the shores of the Sea of Dragons.
Mostly uninhabited, much of Asham consists of desert and arid regions. In these parts of the country, vegetation is limited to weeds, herbs and shrubs. Cities and townships are mainly located along the eastern and western coasts and densely populated interior oases such as Shiar Hada and Tokineptra. In some extended areas, including the great desert of Al Hazarah and the larger part of the western coastline there is no population whatsoever.
Rainfall is scarce throughout most of Asham and in some parts of the land it is seen as nothing short of miraculous. Asham has no permanent year-round rivers or lakes though it has a vast coastline that extends for over 2200 miles.
There are three ‘enlightened’ casts in Asham society known collectively as the Khinasi; the holy cast of the Khalifi which acts as both religious and governing body for all of Asham, the warrior cast of the Khan which executes the will of the priesthood, and the artisan cast Khaieesi which enriches and illuminates the divine for the betterment of the people.
The term ‘Khinasi Al Khaleid’ literally means ‘Keepers of the Sacred.’ Thus, Khinasi see themselves as the enlightened servants of the divine and jealously guard the holy lands of the south. Those that do not walk the path of enlightenment or choose to forsake the rigors of tradition so that they might pursue more materialistic rewards are known as the Khinai. They are not held in the same esteem as their noble Khinasi brethren, nor are they seen as fallen or dishonored members of society. Rather, the Khinai make up the commonality of tradesmen and laborers throughout the lands. In truth, they are seen as the focus of what the Asham strive to protect, for the Khinai are The True Children of Heaven.
The Asham people see the rest of the world as heathen Tjaba; a word that means both ‘outsider’ and ‘barbarian.’ In fact over the millennia the Asham have been victim to countless invasions from the rest of the world as marauding Tjaba armies crusade into the holy lands time and again, destroying cities and pillaging relics of revered antiquity. Today most Asham found wandering the lands of the north are on quests to restore these lost treasures. Others might be charged with sacred missions of justice called a Khol Jek or ‘Blood Hunt.’
By and large the people of the southern lands are dark in hair and complexion. Skin tones range from a walnut brown to a deep mahogany. Eyes are brown and hazel for the most part, though there is found a green eyed individual from time to time.
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