The Shurani Mountains were inhabited by disorganized bands of barbarians until the Prophet Markav'Kotas unified them into tribes under a single faith. During his reign (268 - 310R [397-439SA]), he directed the construction of the Holy City, Shurikal (273 - 292R [402-421SA]), founded the Holy Servants of Shurikal (294R [423SA]) and brought discipline to the mountains.
Markan the Bloody (310 - 327R [439-456SA]), the successor of the Prophet, fanaticized the faith. Tribes who worshipped other gods, or whose worship of the true faith varied from Markan's rites, were bloodily shown the error of their ways. During his reign, to fix his tyranny on the tribes, Markan had the Holy Road and the Temple of the Great Serpent in Shurikal (311 - 326R [440-455SA]) built. (The Holy Road is a 2,000 - foot long promenade leading to the Temple of the Great Serpent. It is constructed of basalt blocks and is lined, along its entire length, with human skulls set in obsidian. The Temple of the Great Serpent is dedicated to Kototh. It is one of the most imposing structures in the world.)
In the year 327R [456SA], Markan had a liturgical dispute with the leader of the Holy Servants in which he proposed arguments that demeaned the omnipotence of Kototh. Three days later he was executed for Heresy and replaced by Khabla the Mystic, the leader of the Holy Servants, renamed the Caste of Power, the ultimate power in the realm. He dedicated his reign to establishing temple dominance in Shurikal, mystic research and deadly journeys of discovery in the Lower World. In the last ten years of his life, he wrote the Tome of Kototh and discovered the Rite of Immortal Birth (373R [502SA]). Three months after completing these works, he died of exhaustion.
Ka'Khab the Immortal succeeded Khabla the Mystic. In his reign (374 - 501R [503-630SA]) he refined the Rite of Immortal Birth, added to the Tome of Kototh, completed the suppression of the tribes and authored the Code of Shurikal (455R [584SA]) (the nation's legal code). During the final years of his reign (498 - 501R [627-630SA]), he created the nation's first standing army and cast the Rite of Immortal Birth on his great - granddaughter (who was with child). Six months later, two months after his death, the Immortal Master Shurikal was born.
At birth, Shurikal was fully aware. Under his leadership (501 - 739R [630-868SA]), the nation's knowledge of foul magics grew. Throughout his life, Shurikal was the personification of terror and the world's most powerful mage. He died in the year 739R [868SA] at the hands of K'bab the Conqueror. His death, and Ro'babza's sack of the Lair of Secrets, threw the nation into decades of dynastic upheaval. Among the many tomes and artifacts taken by the Ro'babzans were the Tome of Kototh and the Rite of Immortal Birth.
NOTE - The Tome was lost to Kacili raiders by the chief who took it (747R [876SA]). The raiders took it to the Rogizini Empire and sold it to the Emir of Maoun (751R [880SA]). His descendant sold it to a Pelaran merchant (912R [1041SA]) who, in turn, sold it to a Marentian scholar (920R [1049SA]). It is currently buried in the archives of that scholar's son (who has no idea of what it is or how to translate it) in the city of Sivas.
The warrior who took the Rite traded it to a Kirazani trader for a fine spear (741R [870SA]). The trader sold it to a Rogizini wizard (744R [873SA]). The wizard, an evil man, took ship in Shestar, led a mutiny and headed north to A'Korchu - intent on perverting the Rite to Chaos and giving birth to the gods of Death. Forty miles from Chau, after being blown to the west by a terrible storm, his ship was taken by Goidanese pirates. They took the rite to their Druids. The Druids realized its evil and, finding it to be indestructible, sealed it in the Cave of Ancient Deaths in the western hills of Goidan (748R [877SA]).
They guard it from those who would return its evil to the world.
Shurikal's dynastic wars ended in the year 778R [907SA] when Kon'kie the White reformed the Caste of Power. During her reign (778 - 822R [907-951SA]) she rebuilt Imperial Shurikal. In the year 822R [951SA], she dueled Urazi the Invincible and was slain. Under Urazi the Invincible (822 - 870R [951-999SA]), Shurikal's army grew. Urazi rededicated the Caste of Power to the mystic path charted by Khabla the Mystic and sent agents to find the Tome of Kototh and the Rite of Immortal Birth. Since his death, Shurikal has remained a militant nation. Her greatest priority is to find the lost tomes so that Shurikal can live and lead them to glory. So far they have failed in this endeavor.
The city of Shurikal has a population of 13,013. Another 17 - 18,000 people dwell in a large tent camp around the walls. The city is restricted to the Caste of Power, religious functionaries, the Shurani Guard and those who serve its elite. It is death for anyone else to be found in it. The tribes controlled by Shurikal (the Shurani) are the Kotobo (24,000), the Morkel (20,000), the Sabai (19,000), the Kel (17,000), the Dirani (16,000), the Khab (14,000), the Kotasi (12,000), the Apina (10,000) and the Kon (8,000). Their total population is 140,000 with 28,000 warriors. The total population of the nation is about 170,000.
Shurikal's standing army has two groups. The Shurani Guard is based in the Holy City. It is composed of 2,400 elite footmen, The main army consists of 3,600 trained warriors. They patrol the border, raid Shurikal's neighbors and keep order in the nation. The members of these units are drawn from the tribes, In addition to these units, Shurikal can levy 22,000 warriors.
The Shurani Mountains are rich in metals, gems and game. The nation makes do with what it has or steals what it wants from its neighbors.
These people worship Kototh, Kotarl and Shurikal. They are dedicated to Kototh's eventual dominance over all existence.
The Shurani are vicious. They enjoy cruelty, mutilation of the helpless and all kinds of perverse, unnatural pleasures. Their rulers are arrogant megalomaniacs. Survival in this nation demands that a man be cunning, pragmatic and ruthless. The same applies for women and children, perhaps more so. The Shurani are a cruel and perverted people without the slightest decency toward themselves or others. They consider kindness to be the last refuge of the weak - and they never tolerate weakness.
The ruler of Shurikal is the ONE member of the Caste of Power who can dominate the others by defeating them in magical combat, intimidating them or manipulating them into obedience. As long as he maintains his dominance, he is an absolute despot. When he loses it, he dies at the hands of his successor.
NOTE - Only ordained members of the Caste of Power, about 1% of the caste, can vie for the throne. Others are servants and acolytes who must obey until they are ordained.
Criminal penalties in Shurikal are mutilation, torture and mutilation, or a slow death. For major crimes, the penalty is public mutilation followed by an agonizing death. The average execution of this kind, at the hands of Shurikal's expert executioners, takes about eight hours.
None. (At times, especially during the reign of the Immortal Master, their armies have been aided by Kotothi creatures.)
Every neighbor despises Shurikal. Aredan's hatred is the most virulent.
|Tongue of the Kotothi||5%*|
*Members of the Caste of Power and the Shurani Guard speak this tongue. It is the tongue of the elite in this nation.
The civilized citizens have the same weapons and appearance as Shurani barbarians. Their clothing is much finer, and their use of cosmetics and perfumes make a major difference. but, essentially, they are the same.
Club, Fighting Dagger and Spear
Black Malay stock especially the Malagasi of Madagascar.
The Shurani rarely use armor. They wear very little clothing in the summer and furs in the winter. When available, they prefer woven cloth and other civilized niceties.
Shurikal's calendar tracks time by counting the years of each monarch's reign, i.e., the 23rd of Ka'khab, the 113th year of Shurikal, etc. No other record of the passing of the years is kept by the people of Shurikal.