News from Gwenth

Ah, gosh.. Is it 20xx with you?

I bet Gwenthia was started somewhere in 2004 or 2005, so we're about 16 years in! However time moves so much slower, and so it's been but a few moons.. [:-}]

The site is fairly robust, but no changes since 2012 basically..

Sadly gwenthia dot org has been seized, copied and use by malware scum, so avoid

Tom Aug 2021

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Introduction

The region known as Parkhesh is a diverse part of Gwenthia - caught in a civil war at one end, but peaceful at the other. Parkhesh is a region in North East of the continent of Thurian. To the north of this region, is Parkhesh itself, though the whole region including the Red Desert, Duresh, Ju'Gara?, Phasarna?, Tu'Kresh, Shumtira?, the Loparankwari Lands and Khalesh are all known as Parkhesh by foreigners. Indeed at one time in the ancient past it was all a provence of the Meravaenian Empire. The authorities in Parkhesh City like to believe that they still hold sway over parts of the Red Desert, but that belongs to the mysterious and ancient people known as the Red Desert Nomads. To the west of the Red Desert are grass plains which sweep up to the Meravae Plateau, the home of the Lopar Riders (Loparankwari). To the South East lies the provence of Duresh, settled by the exiles from Durustan who came here long ago after an epic voyage. They partially displaced and intermixed with the indigineous Lotak tribes. In the inner heart of Duresh live the Ralami, and some tribes of the Yakhmi. To the South and South West of the Red Desert lies Khalesh which rebelled from Parkhesh a few centuries ago; the Parkhesh City League? has currently annexed part of their lands on the border with Duresh. Off the coast to the South East, is the large island of Shumtira? - peopled by another race of peoples who have no love for the Parkheshi. It makes for a fractious land. Below is a map showing the different political areas. Note that the islands of Kaipor and Shumtira are equivalent in size to England on Earth (that's without Wales and Scotland). See map below.

The Geography

Parkhesh is a large state of heterogenous geographic nature, both in culture and geography, found in the north east of Thurian. Running along the north and east coast are various chains of mountains (The Zotcharakh Olakha? – literally the Backbone of Olakaha) which feed rivers to the land on either side. On the north and north-east coast the city states, dominated by Par’khesh City, live off the produce from lush fertile strips of land. To the south-west is the Red Desert, a large basin of rolling red dunes where an inland sea once lay. City States dot the enormously wide River Kha’ta’la (The Blue Serpent) bordering with Nhi-Tual, it's climate similar to Egyptian Nile valley on Earth. Further city states lie on the south-east coast and around the large island (known as Shumtira to the Parkheshi) off the south east coast of Parkhesh. The inland slopes and valleys of the mountain chains are home to tribes of peoples who owe allegiance to Parkhesh City. In the south east is a wild bush like land very akin to the outback of Australia and the Savannah of Africa. To the west of the Red Desert are dry but fertile plains which rise up to the Meravae Plateau.

The Climate

Except in the South and North, the interior of Parkhesh is arid. The Red Desert is merciless. However, microclimates are sustained near the mountains, along the coast, and oases in the Red Desert. The oases are tended by the Red Desert Nomads each situated on what was once an island in an ancient inland sea.

The south east experiences similar arid conditions but the landscape consists of rocky ergs and ancient riverbeds very much like the badlands to the northwest of Parkhesh, but large areas do consist of a savannah bushland.

The Flora and Fauna

At first glance, most of Parkhesh may seem to be lifeliess. But the Oases abounds with insects, reptiles, birds and small mammals. Zoologists of the University of Parkhesh City are still wondering how so much life managed to brave the deserts to reach the Oases. The answer lies with the Red Desert Nomads who actively foster life in the Oases and the history of the Red Desert. At one time all the Red Desert was a lagoon with many tropical islands which now sites of ancient ruins. These oases nurtured by the Red Desert Nomads are sacred shrines to the past. In truth, the life has always been there, and the oases are still islands but now islands in a desert instead of an inland sea.

In the South East, in Duresh, the vegetation is much more bush like with a savannah like feel. On the coasts the City States have groves of olive like trees which they press for an oil that they use for lamps, food and other uses. Animals include the Dureshi Buck? and Dureshi Hog?. The Ralami and Yakhmi originate from this area.

Before the appearance of horses in the stables of the elite, imported from Cromaigne at extreme cost, the only animal for fast travel was the Shamuul. The Shamuul is a sleeker cousin to the Khamuul?, faster, more agile, smaller and more elegant, but without the water saving hump. As a consequence, the shamuul requires frequent watering.

The Loparankwari ride the llama like Lopar

Up in Tu'Kresh, Ju'Gresh and Phasarna, heavily irrigated lands provide lush argricultural terraces and lands sloping down to the ocean. In Tu'Kresh the spice Intigro is cultivated.

In Khalesh, Targarth herds of lizards can be found and in some cases these lizards have been domesticated and used as meat animals or beasts of burden.

The People

The peoples are varied in stock. To the north and east the people are much more olive in skin tone (like Arabs in appearance). These people are an old race called the Parkh, with Parkhesh City being their cultural capital. This is the region that is rightfully called Parkhesh, the heartland of what used to be the Parkhesh City League?. The southern river cities of Khalesh have traded with the Parkh for millennia. They are more Mongolian in appearance, calling themselves the Khal (Blue or River People) and share many cultural traits in common with the Nhi-Tual to the south, though they pride themselves in their independence from that state (helped by living on the north of a very wide river). They form a group of city states that at one time were part of the Parkhesh League? but for the last 200 years have broken away from the dominance of Parkhesh (see the Parkhesh City State Wars and the Parkhesh Civil Wars).

The south-eastern corner of Parkhesh is peopled by a hardy folk known as the Lotak (tribe which the conquorer Aran hailed from), various tribes who live in a Savannah like bush environment. The south-eastern city states consist of a polyglot of peoples now collectively known as the Dureshi, on the crossroads of trade routes, who pay tribute to Parkhesh City in return for protection. These cities are allowed much freedom by Parkhesh City and are, for all intents and purposes, autonomous states within the sovereign state of Parkhesh. Duresh is much loved by Parkhesh as their once vilified (but now adored) hero, Aran, began his rise to domination of the Parkheshi City League and sowed the seeds for the current Parkhesh Empire (which is still called the Parkhesh City League).

The Language(s)

The Parkhesh language is called Parkhsi.

Names

You can't go far wrong with Arabic and Turkish sounding names. Parkheshi names tend to be 3 syllables in length. Please see Parkhsi for example of Parkheshi names.

Political Structure

Parkheshi States slowly became dominated by the city state of Parkesh about 600 years ago. It took the next 400 years for all the States to become absorbed into the Parkhesh League? through war and alliance (see Parkhesh City State Wars). Parkhesh City, is situated on a river mouth on the north coast of Thurian. However, the peoples of the South of Parkhesh still have ideas of their own and bandits and such still roam the southern desert of Pakhesh and the inner valleys of the Zotcharakh Olakha mountains close to the Red Desert. Those that owe allegiance to the Parkhesh League? are formidable desert fighters - guarding the caravans of desert beasts of burden from the occasional Red Desert Nomad raid.

Every year there is a Meet of the League at Parkhesh City. All debate their taxes and how much men and resources they will contribute to the League. Much politicing takes place, but it seems to generally work out. It has been known for Parkhesh to send an undead legion to bring a recalcitrant city state to heel. An unfortunate waste of resources from a Parkheshi point of view as the dead from the beseiged are usually beyond the point of mummification and thus useless in the army.

The two main strengths of Pakhesh is in it's Navy and in it's Legions of Undead?. The Navy (originally a merchant fleet now military in nature) is a vast group of fleets dominated by their warbarges which often spat with other navies.

The Regions/Kingdoms/Cities

Parkhesh consists of eight regions (nine if you include the autonomous Loparankwari). The four provences of North and East Parkhesh (Lesser Parkhesh, Tu'Kresh, Ju'gresh and Phasarna), the original City States that formed the Parkhesh City League? which also include the internal regions which sit between the Zotcharakh Olakha mountains and the Red Desert Nomads. The Khal City States in the South of Parkhesh who are at war with Parkhesh. The Red Desert with it's Nomads, an ancient race who once served the Forerunners, are a law unto themselves and though Parkhesh may consider them part of Parkhesh they are not included in the political maps but Parkhesh has used the Red Desert Nomads on various occasions as mercenaries. The South East City States of Khasan?, Duresh city?, Dara'lea?, Harsan?, Dizhun?, Caran?, Khilzuda?, Dhilkhan? and Matan? all form part of provence of Duresh. Khasan is the Parkheshi administrative capital of Duresh, though Duresh City is seen by the locals as the capital (it was the city first conquored by Aran). The last region is the Island of Shumtira with various cities of its own whose primitive interior has not been pacified.

International Relations

“It is the fervent wish of the Prophet King of the Parkheshi League of City States that the religious beliefs and cultures of all other peoples be respected. To this end, the undead will not be seen by your peoples unless you travel to our lands and especially to the Holy City of Parkhesh with it's large floating piazzas and the Light House of Maluja - surely one of the wonders of the world? And unless you should declare war upon my people.”

”However, there is one group of peoples that the Parkheshi do not respect. The race that sees themselves as gods amongst us. The peoples of Zathur are a scab upon the land. They have defiled the Holy Name of our most Holy Prophet, Maluja. May their peoples be plagued by a million sand devils. May the Holy Seven turn their favour away from them and their cities crash to the earth. Peoples of Thurian we should unite against this arrogance and burn it from Gwenthia.”

Parkesh are likely to control the amount of goods reaching more northern climes from the southern states. The Parkheshi might try to interfere but all seafaring nations have a naval force. The KiDelan of AurUrbis also travel via the western route - something which the Parkheshi can't stop. The Parkheshi Battle Galleons are pretty ponderous against the nimble small merchant vessels. The Parkheshi merchant vessels are definitely smaller than the Galleons and though they might pack the odd gunpowder device, they would much rather compete with the trading competition than fight.

Economy

The North and North East Parkesh city States produce spices and grains like rice and fruits of varying kinds. The lush fertile terraces provide a green and fertile land in stark contrast to the arid interior of Parkhesh.

Trade occurs across Parkhesh. Caravans wind their way from the South to the mountains to the north, reaching Parkhesh City via a number of passes. Merchant ships ply the seas to the east and north of Parkhesh and trade routes reach Quatzadia to the south and Aur Urbis to the north and beyond. The Parkhesh navy is very strong, consisting of large Battle Galleons which guard the shipping lanes and patrol the Pirate’s Teeth, a string of islands scattered from north east Parkhesh to the island of An Kitai. Every 8 years the Octaminist Clipper race is held between all the nations of the East of Thuria and from the northern continent. Some of the fastest merchant vessels race around the Sea of Brass from Parkhesh City to the city of Duxi in AurUrbis, carrying 10 tonnes of purest Parkhesh intigro. Who can carry the spices the fastest is the official point of the competition, the prize is the ashes of the bones of the black pirate, Zambala. Zambala is said to be one of the aspects of the The Invisible Lord.

Further in large oil deposits, believed to be the blood of the eigth god, have been found and a large industry has sprung up for Parkhesh.

The Khal City States rely on the rich alluvial deposits of the Kha'ta'la river. They have an agricultural economy with meats such as the Khamuul, sheep and river fish.

Limited trade has been established with the insular Nhi Tual but the rest of the trade exists with the Meravaenians up river. The Parkheshi actively blockade the river to prevent Khalian traders from trading with the outside world.

Currency

Describe the exchange items used as money - often round bits of metal, but basically something rare and/or difficult to reproduce practically or by regulation.

Religion

The Pakheshi believe in 13 Great Spirits or Saints Each Spirit is like a patron saint and oversees a part of everyday life. One of the lower saints is involved in thievery. Each saint has a number of orders. Nearly every Saint has one or more military orders associated with it and a number of minor orders or guilds.

Examples of orders: Order of the Scarlet Scimitars? - military. Order of the Silken Veil? - courtesans. Watchers of the Night - Night Guard. Guardians of the Gates of Dawn- The Day Guard. Order of the Severed Skull? - One of the Mercenary Orders. Order of Matikhot? -

Maluja was not the first of a line of Prophet Kings?, but he was the one to change the rules about the use of the dead (see Parkheshi Undead). It is said that he is still alive as his soul was never allowed to find rest, but none have seen him save the Prophet Kings and the Priesthood. Maluja is now a spirit bound to Gwenthia - his worship has given his spirt much energy and it is his presence so close to the mortal reign that allows the Living Dead to exist.

“The Zathurians know that Maluja was a souless outcast who abused the power of death and was forbidden to enter their City of Eternal Ancestors ever again. He is a damned to die of his own mortality, never to again to enjoy the pleasures of oneness with the Seven Gods of Zathur. His name was scratched from the records, but immortals have long memories. The undead are an abomination, and the bastard children of Maluja will one day pay for their blasphemous ignorance. The walking dead of your lands must face the truth of mortality, their souls must feed the gods, the gods hunger and will not wait any longer.”

The Pakheshi faith believes that the body has 2 souls. The mind soul and the body soul. It is the mind soul which departs the body and enters into blessed communion with the eternal saints/spirits. The body soul is that which makes the body stay alive and it is not considered to be as important as the Mind soul. It is the body soul which is used to reanimate the dead, as it lingers in a corpse for 7 days after the death of a person.

The bodies of the low caste are the ones used for the undead legions and as the undead rowers of the battle barges. These are also filled with the ranks of dead foreigners who are slain on the battlefield (should the Pakheshi win of course). The corpse collectors are not considered to be pleasant people and tend to be quite dour people. Each legion will have some of these collectors.

The bodies of those who are considered to be high born, or even who are rich enough to pay for exemption from mummification, have their bodies burnt on pyres. The ashes of those of high status are placed in canopic jars which either form part of the travelling tabernacles of the Legions (and their body souls can be called to aid the legion in battle) or are interred in the bow of a battle barge - the barge then being named after that person. The burning of a body is seen as a way to release the body soul from the decay that is inevitable if the body was allowed to rot. The ceremony performed at the cremation captures the body soul and it forms a spiritual complex with the ashes of the deceased.

Animals are quite sensitive to the presence of these body souls, both in the mummified dead and in the tabernacle jars, and thus animals shun the cities. Beasts of burden become very agitated when they enter the cities, so they are kept in corals just outside the cities. Any items carried by caravans must be transferred to undead bearers or to wagons drawn by undead beasts. Undead beasts do not move very quickly so they are not employed in the travels between the cities or to other nations and the Undead Legions will not have any animals amongst them either. At night, in a Pakheshi city, you will not hear dogs barking, nor find cats or rats, birds shun the places and trees grow in a gnarled fashion. However insects are found.

The Undead - the Parkheshi do not see the use of the dead in this way as corrupt. They see the bodies of those that are low in class as expendable resources. Mummification was practised long ago (2000 years ago, at least according to written records), and it became wide in practise as the City States grew in wealth. Maluja The Prophet King, was the first Sorceror Priest to use arcane means to animate the dead so that he created the first Legion of the Dead about 650 years ago (which lead to the rise in influence of both Parkhesh and the Temple of Matikhot over the City States). Each successive 'King' has utilised these loyal forces to varying effect in the later dynasties, adding to the undead legions.

The Parkheshi Religion identifies each of the moons with the following:

Black - Matikhot/Olakha - Earth sphere - In Parkhesh This sphere is also given the colours Silver/crystal/white and is identified with the 8th Moon - which all other cultures see as with no colour. Parkhesh see the 8th sphere as the Master of all Magic as witnessed by seeing the 7 other colours on the surface of Oil which is believed to be the blood of the 8th Moon (though other cultures may see oil as being the blood of Gwenthia). Also, the 7 colours are seen through crystal and glass. Both the oil and the crystal (sand) are bounties of the Earth. It's interesting to see that in Quatzadia the Earth god is aligned with the 8th God as well. Now the normal magics for Earth do not have access to the other Spheres powers, but the higher 8th College of magic use Shard Magic which uses the power of the 8th god, where Octaminist magicians gain access to the magics of the other spheres. See the section on Magic below.

Red - Bikhon - Fauna sphere. Red is the colour of blood and quite a lot of living animals (apart from the nightspawn perhaps and some alien races) have red blood as the life giving fluid.

Orange - Ralashon - Flesh/Body - In places like Parkhesh the skin tone is a deep browny red - almost orange and orange is used in Parkhesh to denote the colour of the skin of the gods. Many statues in the temples have orange gold for their skin.

Yellow/gold - Yakhmetra - Fire sphere - /heat/light.

Green - Gibrash - Plants sphere - closely aligned with Blue and and Black.

Blue - Zim'a'al - water sphere - also identified with sky - bringer of rain - includes the sea.

Indigo - Khalut - Air Sphere - identified with the heavens / stars - seen as former consort of the 8th Moon as it's full glory is revealed at night. You can see the true nature of Air when the sun is set. The colour of twilight and the sky at night.

Violet - Stakhat - Spirit/Keeper of the Dead - in opposition to 8th Moon who allows the veil between the dead and living to fall away.

As for the Five Messengers, they are identified with interactions between people - to express the fact that they are messengers. They are independent of the 7:

War, (domination by aggressive means)

Seduction (domination by subtle means)

Trade/diplomacy (co-operation)

Knowledge, (can be a form of communication or just a means of education - one way communication)

Sorcery (is the same as knowledge)

Magic

Each order or professional Guild provides personal magic provided to it via the Saint/God associated with it. Warriors will have access to fighting magic, Courtesans to love magic, tailors to magic that will aid their trade, and so forth. The magic is localised.

More powerful magics are wrought by the Seven Colleges of Priest-Mages using Parkheshi Sorcery. Each college, associated with one of the 7 orbs can create powerful magics related to that orb. In Parkhesh, all the 7 orbs are seen as aspects of the 8th Orb - the Invisible Lord who is also associated with Gwenthia which it merged with. To Parkheshi the 7 orbs are slaves to the 8th, so their magics and influence are slaves to the 8th Orb.

Maluja belongs to this Eigth College of Magic, which has access to the magics which only the 8th Orb can provide - the Shard Magic.

Military

As mentioned in above, most Parkheshi civilian life revolves around the Parkheshi Orders and the patronage of a particular saint. This permeates through to military life as well. Orders will have one or more Parkheshi Legions attached to it. The number of a Legion denotes its age (the lower numbers being old Legions) and can not be repeated or duplicated - when a Legion is destroyed it is struck from the lists (very much like the Roman Legions). The Order of the Scarlet Scimitars is an order for Soldiers founded by Aran, and it consists of some 53 Legions. The Order of the Scarlet Scimitar has the honour of being the first Order to be established and has some of the earliest Legions to be founded in the Parkheshi empire. The Order of the Severed Skull is an order set up originally for Mercenaries (it contains the 34th Foreign Legion, which consists of non-Parkheshi soldiers seeking to become citizens of Parkhesh) - and contained the Legions drawn from the different Cities in the Parkheshi City League. With time, as each city became part of the Parkeshi Empire (still called the Parkheshi City League) the Legions still stayed within the Order of the Severed Skull. The order of Matikhot was set up by the First Prophet King, Maluja, and caters for all the Undead Legions.

The military also provide the engineering skills for the Parkheshi Empire and are responsible for building and roads.

History

It’s name is a recent appellation. Before the Parkheshi League was formed 650 New Year Calendar (about 324 Old Year Calendar), Parkhesh was an arid region with numerous City States (a number of which reside along the southern Khala'tala River which borders with Nhi Tual). Over time various Leagues formed to counter external threats or civil war.

Parkhesh, as viewed today, is a relatively new nation, consisting of a group of old nation states. These nation states in themselves were formed from the amalgamation of various city states situated situated either on the coast or near Oases and crossroads on rivers. 2000 years ago, they were dominated by other nations both west and south of Parkhesh but (like the Greek City States on Earth) they formed a League to beat off the yoke of foreign domination (not completely of course) and to fight off successive waves of invasion (again with varying success). In the distant past Parkhesh was a provence of the Meravaenian Empire.

Parkheshi States slowly became dominated by the city state of Parkesh about 600 years ago. It took the next 400 years for all the States to become absorbed into the Parkheshi League through war and alliance. Parkhesh City, is situated on a river mouth on the north coast of Thuria. However, the peoples of the South of Parkhesh still have ideas of their own and bandits and such still roam the southern desert of Pakhesh. Those that owe allegiance to the Parkheshi League are formidable desert fighters - guarding the caravans of desert beasts of burden.

About 700 years ago the southern states on the Blue Serpent River invaded the upper valley controlled by Meraveania. Around 613 BP, the subjugated peoples rebelled and carried the battle to the gates of the Khalian cities. For centuries, these cities have had close ties with the Parkhesh League to the North. A delegation was sent to ask for assistance from Parkhesh to rid Khal of the Meravaenians, which the Parkheshi duly supplied. It was a big mistake. The Parkheshi decided to stay and the Khalian states became absorbed into the Parkheshi League in 600 BP. At this time, the itinerant priest called Maluja journeyed into the Red Desert to meet with the nomads and stumbled upon an ancient ruin belonging to a race that existed in this region some 5000 years ago. Maluja came back with dark magics connected with the Dark God, which allowed him to build undead armies. With this military force he crowned himself the Prophet King of Parkhesh and this region entered into a cruel period. Maluja was cursed become an immortal Liche, doomed to never die and pass on to the Blessed Realm. With this new force, Maluja tried to annex the Meravaenian valley once again but this proved to be too costly for inexplicable reasons.

From 600 to 400 BP, Parkhesh City ruled over the entire region, but in about 400 to 325 BP the Khalian city states began to break away. Bolstered with Nhi-Tual mercenaries the Khal have managed to wage a separatist war against the Parkhesh League, winning over many converts from the Red Desert Nomads (traditional allies to the Parkh). The civil war has raged ever since allowing Khal to become an independent State in Southern Parkhesh. Frequently, Parkhesh sends legions to subdue the recalcitrant Khalians and bitter battles are fought but to no avail.

People of Note

Maluja, Aran, son of Arak -

Roleplaying Ideas

Think of Arabian Kingdoms of Andalucia and Baghdad, of Moors, of Hitites and Middle Eastern Kingdoms. The scimitar plays a prominant part.

->Page last modified August 24, 2020, at 10:10 PM BST