The Mürad Empire (ىل-زولتانا اموراىىا, il-Sultana Amurayya, lit. “The Amurayyad Sultanate”) or the Amurayyad Empire, also known as Amulrayya, or alternatively transcribed as Mülrania, is a state currently controlling much of North-Eastern Enníare and the Heyfeddian Archipelago. First proclaimed some time around the second century BBB, the foundation of the early empire was formed from the migration of persecuted Muradi'i escaping the former Concordian Mudrate, then governed by the state’s first Mudro. The Muradi'i arrived in what is now the city of Khapadyya under the leadership of Amurayya Pisnuka (later canonized as Sultan Amurayya Khapadyya), marking the beginning of the Amurayyad Empire. With the beginning of The Great Expanse, the Amurayyad Empire spread into neighbouring Lancelong (لانزىلؤنخا, Lansilunkha) and the isles of Heyfedd (خىپئد, Khipıd), ultimately reaching the height of its power under the reign of Sultan Padisha Khapadyya in the third century BBB. Though the dynasty was originally Concordian in nature, it soon began developing Kv’aki and Arindian influences in both societal structure and politics.
With Khapadyya as its capital, and situated upon the gypsum sands of the Aterac Desert (زالا اتئراك, Sala Atırak), the Amurayyad Empire grew into one of the largest exporters of bronze, illrock, and salt across Enníare, and eventually into the position of a member within the League of Three Kingdoms, where it remains to this day.
Rise (c. 200 BBB)
With the Southern Migration of the first Concordians to the modern-day Sound of Concordia, one of the tribes, lead by a man only known as the Müdro (ىل-مودرو, il-Mudru), claimed to be direct descendants of their patron deity, Müdamir. The Müdro thus declared himself to be the leader of the Concordian peoples, initiating immediate reforms to the government, religion, and military.
These actions caused a split between the Concordian population, one side supporting the actions of the Müdro, later named the Müdamiri (مودامىرى, Mudamiri), and the other disagreeing with the changes recently initiated. This new sect, proclaiming themselves to be the Muradi'i, took a young Amurayya Pisnuka as their ideological head, and under his command, began a four year long migration into the Northern reaches of Enníare. Their travels, detailed in the Muradi'i religious text The Kıtat Patid (ىل-كىتاپ تائر, il-Kıtat Patid, lit. The Divine Hymns), ended on the Northern shores of Amurayya’s Beach some time around 204 BBB. Soon after, Amurayya was dubbed the Sultan of the Amurayyad Empire, and the city of Khapadyya became the de facto capitol until its officialization in 94 BBB.
The Magik War (c. 4 BBB – 1 ABB)
By the time of The Magik War’s beginnings, the Amurayyad Empire had grown to conquer an uninhabited Lancelong, and with it an agricultural boom that spread prosperity into the mainland. However, with the advent of the Magik Kingdoms’ recent pushes for expansion into the surrounding areas, Lancelong, a former ally to the Magik Kingdoms, and being paid by the Magik Tribes, revolted against the Amurayyad Empire in a blockade of food supplies, as well as fortifying the capitol of Longlance and laying siege to the city of Khapadyya. With the sudden loss of food, and the eventual loss of farmable lands, the Amurayyad Empire fell into a nearly four year long famine in which approximately 46% of the entire population died from starvation or disease. The Sultan at the time, Padiyya Khapadyya, was forced into conceding Amurayya’s Beach, the Northern Isles, and guaranteed independence for the Lancelongish citizens. However, with the landmark defeat of the Magik Kingdoms in the Battle of Bardük, and the pressure from the Southern Takarian enemies, Lancelong soon fell to the Sierdan armies approximately the first year after the Battle of Bardük. Though ultimately split up among the Sierdans and the Takarians, the Amurayyad Empire was granted a sliver of grasslands within Lancelong and the capitol of Longlance, as well as a small portion of land within what is now Arindear.
Sakuk (c. 2 ABB – 203 ABB)
The period of Sakuk, taken from the Concordian word زاكوك (sakuk) meaning “isolation,” attempted to rectify the Amurayyad Empire’s issues with foreign relations by cutting ties with other kingdoms and allowing only a select few trading ships, most from Sierda, to pass through the borders. During this time, the Amurayyad focused on rebuilding their infrastructure and populations following their brutal defeat against the Lancelongish, as well as allowing a distinct culture to emerge within the sultanate.
The policy was enacted by Sultan Chayyadar Khapadyya after his father’s death, and under the influence of his wife, Sultan Idanyya Khapadyya. Despite its initial criticism, the programmes initiated by Chayyadar remained in place for nearly two centuries before its eventual end by the hands of Sultan Meyyedman in 203 ABB, and the subsequent re-opening of the Amurayyad Empire to its allies.
See more: LCRP History
The Amurayyad system of governance is primarily split into two sectors – civil and military. The Sultan is considered the highest position of both factions, however, their word is not final. In what is known as the Sultan's Court (ىل-ماخاما زولتانات, il-makhama sultanat), if every member disagrees with the decision of the Sultan, then the proposal is denied. Those members being the the sadat, the appointed ministers of each Amurayyad territory, the aldin, the second-in-command of the Amurayyad military, and the supadar, the minister in charge of civil affairs. The current sultan is Sultan Padisha Khapadyya, who is not wed, nor does he have an official heir.
As of current, no official troop count is available for the Amurayyad Empire – though estimates tend to range from between 2,000-4,000 armed guards, mostly situated in Khapadyya and Longlance. While the military is divided between the infantry corp and the city guard, they are implemented rather interchangeably, leading to little definition in what defines an "Amurayyad troop."
The civil sector's power, while supposedly invested in the supadar, is more accurately described as a conglomeration of the sadat. Each sadat is responsible for the maintenance of their respective regions, however, the Sultan can reject any plans they propose, assuming the court agrees. Despite this, historically, the civil sector was near entirely comprised of relatives of the Sultan, or other such Amurayyad nobles. Most claim this as padding the court, and it has only fallen out of favour with the recent induction of Sultan Padisha Khapadyya and the conquests of Lancelong and Heyfedd.
Though not classified as an official sector of the Amurayyad government, the imperial harem has historically played a key role in creating heirs to the throne, and has evolved into one of the most prestigious organizations in the empire.
The harem is comprised of predominantly female concubines who each vie for the Sultan's attention, each hoping to earn a marriage, and subsequently fame, riches, and a life in the royal palace of Khapadyya. Applications are many, however, very few are accepted into the palace's inner clique – the House of Harem (وىد خارام مىن, uid kharam min). Here, approximately only 115 consorts are lathered in the luxuries of royal life, and while in most instances, only one will be married to the Sultan, the rest are allowed to live in the house for the years to come, with the house operating as a brothel to earn gold for financing the empire, and with the concubines acting as backup wives if the need arises.
Though there is no law stating the Sultan must marry a consort from the harem, every ruler thus far has married from within it, as given its prestigious nature, typically only the most skilled and most beautiful concubines of the empire manage to get in.
Isolated from the rest of Enníare for nearly two centuries, the culture of the Amurayyad Empire is notably distinct from the other kingdoms and realms of the region. From its K'vaki influences to the necessities in living within the Aterac Desert, the sultanate has developed an identity of its own – one clearly distinct upon first impression.
See more: Religions
The most obvious distinction from its contemporaries that the empire possesses is in its religion. Formed by a religious migration from Concordia Proper in approximately the second century BBB, the religion of Muradi'i (مورادىىئ, muradyyı) is an offshoot of Müdamiri which emphasizes a decentralized religious order, the presence of the divine in everything, and the appreciation of the human form above all else.
It is debateably polytheistic, however, the deities of Muradi'i are more accurately described as the forms of Mudamir, the cosmic deity of the religion. Muradi'i takes the stance that Mudamir is present in everything, including humans, animals, and inanimate objects, and as such, there are numerous rules given as to how best respect the presence of Mudamir.
The only definitive source of interpretation for the Muradi'i holy texts, the Kıtat Patid, are local temples dedicated to the various forms of Mudamir – however, the Sultan is cited as the highest authority of the temples, and as a direct descendant of the prophet Amurayya, is seen as the de facto leader of Muradi'i.
The artistic culture of the Amurayyad Empire was highly advanced, with most art forms revolving around either spoken word or the human form. One of the most notable styles was that of shala (مزالا, sala), a genre romanticising the hedonistic lifestyles of Amurayyad nobility. Most commonly, a shala work would involve either a portrait or a brief vignette, with a short verse in the upper right hand corner, signed by the author in a calligraphic signature.
Poetry alone was also popular among the elite, with calligraphy being the primary method of transcribing such. Elaborate constructions using the Saram-Amurayyad script were commonplace in the early artistic movements. However, near the end of Sakuk, minimalistic and flowing lines became prevalent, with the superfluous accents of the original style falling out of favour for a more streamlined approach.
While artistic endeavours were typically resigned to the elite of society, the occasional lower class painter or poet could break into notability through adequate connections or sufficient skill. Both of which, however, were difficult to find for the average peasant.
While not as prevalent among the nobility as decorative arts, the preformative arts were widely practiced among the lower class, given their availability and little to no restrictions as to how they are expressed.
One of the most notable preformative arts was that of il-Nidan Charam Si Ku (lit. The Dance with the Jester of Death). While recognized as a sort of belly dance by foreigners, the aspect of note that differentiates the two is the use of dual Concordian scimitars in the nidan – which, when wielded by a trained nidanla, are fully sharpened. The danger of the art, along with its movements akin to a partner dance, lead to its common title of a dance with the Jester of Death, a folk figure and form of Mudamir in the Amurayyad culture.
Though not widely practiced among the upper class, numerous skilled nidanla have graduated into the imperial harem, and most end up able to earn either a livable income independently or attract a wealthy suitor who will hire them to entertain at one of their palaces.
The cuisine of the Amurayyad Empire is heavily influenced by its home environment, with many meals prepared solely with ingredients found in the Aterac Desert. Most foods are prepared upon a kebab stick, and a meal itself was typically considered five to seven scewers and a light salad or bread. The average citizen had two meals a day, one at approximately noon every day and the other near nautical twilight every night. These were commonly eaten with numerous families, neighbours, and friends, with dinner parties often exceeding 50+ members. The average noble, alternatively, had significantly more freedom in when and what they ate, with most averaging four to five meals a day. The nobility also differed in that they tended to eat in smaller groups, mostly either alone, with immediate family, or at exclusive dinners with potential connections.
Because of Muradi'i's restrictions on edible and drinkable substances, alcohol of any kind is forbidden, though most nobles simply afford the luxury of nonalcoholic wine for their drinking. Similarly, horse meat is barred from consumption, and as such, most meats are that of lamb, pig, and, for nobles, the mekle of Southern Lancelong.
The Amurayyad culture places a high prevalence on festivals, though they generally have a vague definition, given anything from the Migration Festival to a marriage ceremony is classified under the same banner of "festival" – or sayyan, in Saram-Amurayyad.
The most widely celebrated of the major festivals is that of the aforementioned Migration Festival, marking the yearly anniversary of Amurayya's landing on the Northern coast of the Aterac Desert. In most celebrations, large, decorated floats are paraded around major cities, with the largest being in Amurayya's Beach. Entertainment is displayed upon every corner, from nidanla to live khazal games to even small petting zoos and exhibitions of the occult. Food is often prepared in egregious abundance, with desserts such as pek tepurat (lit. Scorpion's Silk) and isi fıdat am min (lit. Pastry of Fey's Fruit, or simply horned melon pastries) prepared for special occasions such as these.
Another similar, yet distinct, festival is that of the Sultan's birthday. Activities tend to be the same, with the notable exception of floats – however, an addition to the roster is that of the Sultan's trip to Amurayya's Beach. A massive caravan of riders and a central carriage is prepared for the Sultan, with a large platform in which he makes his appearance. In this ride, he travels from the capitol of Khapadyya and along the river to Amurayya's shrine. Along the way, citizens throw gifts, notes, and currency onto the platform, and the Sultan is expected to throw an amount of his riches into the civilian crowds, in accordance with the Muradi'i faith. The Sultan then arrives at Amurayya's Beach, where he prays before the shrine and mausoleum of previous Sultans in a moment of silence. Finally, with the ceremonious lighting of Amurayya's torch, the festival is ended, and a brief after-party is held.
"O! The most Divine of the sayyan –
The handfast! The mending of the Soul between lovers –
The knot between the grips of Fate –
However shall I begin to praise the Divinity of the mighty fast!"
-The Standard Lord Ayron Kıtat Patid, v.4761-4764
While marriage is technically classified as a sayyan, in the same vein as the Migration Festival of Sultan's Birthday, it is also the most unique of the pact, as instead of a primarily public event, the celebrations are held between a private collective of family, friends, and other such peers.
A marriage, or "handfast" in more official terminology, is initiated when a suitor asks for it, as there is no standard proposal set in stone. Preparations are intensive to ensure the ceremony's success, and most commonly, a handfast sayyan will be the most expensive thing a suitor will ever pay for.
Beginning nearly days before the event, the bride is taken from her suitor and taken to a ui' payyat (lit. Wife's Hut) with the mother of the bride, any sisters or soon-to-be sisters in law, and the bride's honoured servant, or what foreigners would call the bridesmaid. The bride is treated to a noble's life for the days until the ceremony, with expensive meals and wines being plentiful in the hut. Her hair is meticulously braided every day by the honoured servant, and her navel decorated with jewel piercings and inkings of Muradi'i legends by her mother.
Meanwhile, the suitor remains in their own home, with the day before the ceremony dedicated to meditation and prayer for a healthy life. The suitor is expected not to shave for the entire lunar cycle before the ceremony, and the ceremony itself is mandated to occur on the night of the full moon.
The event itself is held by a coastline, preferrably that of either Amurayya's Beach or the banks of the Aterac's only river, though any body of water is acceptable. The bride is brought to the coastline in a makeshift platform, reminiscent of the Sultan's carriage for their birthday, and is typically paraded in front of the bride's home village – where each civilian is expected to toss a coin upon the maiden's platform in support of their handfast. To not do so is unspeakably taboo among the Amurayyad.
The suitor is brought on horseback by his own honourable servant, and is given a stool to step down onto by usually their mother. The suitor and bride meet in front of the water, with either a Muradi'i temple leader for most nobles or a friend of the couple for the average citizen as a mediator. The suitor is expected to wear an embellished turban and traditional robes, the higher quality of which, the better. The bride is expected to wear a low-cut skirt that reaches over half her height beyond the feet, a wrap around her chest, and the braids and ink she received in the days prior.
In the beginning of the ceremony, the bride is gifted a garland of ivory wheat, symbolizing the folk creature of sanasap – the form of Mudamir represented as a golden serpent around Their neck, and believed to bring prosperity to anyone who saw it. The mediator is commanded to give a collection of verses from the Kıtat Patid and explain how they relate to the handfast before them. He then ties the wrists of the suitor and bride together. In a slow movement, the couple is bowed down, and their heads are submurged beneath the body of water they chose, where then the mediator prays before Mudamir for the marriage to be a successful one. It is commanded that this must be done in "the tongue of Mudamir," which is commonly interpreted as simply Saram-Amurayyad, and with a trident in the left hand of the mediator, the spike in the middle representing Mudamir – the two beside it representing the bride and suitor.
Once pulled from the sacred waters, the couple are now handfasted, and an after-party is commanded to take place for "a day and one night." The rest of the night is reserved for games, idle conversation, and the traditional kidnapping of the bride by the Jester of Death – or, more accurately, a friend of the suitor dressed in macabre garb and stealing the bride in jest. The Jester of Death will then demand a ransom for the bride, in most instances some sort of confectionery.
The morning following is the banquet, where the handfasted couple sit at the centre of a dining table and cuisine is shared among the participants. This banquet period continues until shortly after noon, and consists of numerous servings and excessive indulgence.
Finally, the end of the ceremony is entertainment, where various preformers – whether peers casually singing ballads or globally famous nidanla – attempt to sway the bride and suitor to adultery with displays of incredible feats or comedic roasts to test the pair's committment. Though never truly taken seriously, there have been numerous reports of brides and suitors legitimately being swayed by the preformers, most notable of which being Sultan Alipa Khapadyya, whose bride fornicated with the court treasurer the very night of their handfast – leading to the popular innuendo of "doing the finances." (ژئ ىا-الىىىا, chı il-aliyyu).
The ceremony is officially concluded upon naval twilight, where the suitor ceremoniously mounts their bride onto their horse and rides off to their home, a handfasted couple.
The Amurayyad Empire is officially the regent of two territories, not including Amulrayya Proper, both conquered shortly after the events of the Da'surian War by Sultan Chayyanban Khapadyya.
The small, former kingdom of Lancelong (لانزىلؤنخا, Lansilunkha) is a once Magik-allied region south of the Aterac Desert, becoming occupied by the Amurayyad Empire shortly after the Da’surian War. Rich in only the soil beneath it, the land has now become the primary farmlands of the empire. However, its border with the nearby Takaria is ill-defined, and on occasion has led to skirmishes among the dwarves and humans inhabiting the area.
The Heyfeddian Archipelago, comprised of the islands of Heyfedd, Pe’apa, Kalad, the Isle of Mara’lin, Sapayyana, and to the north, Sanata, Pulus, Oradi, and Khapadyyadid, are the backbone of the Amurayyad trade power, comprising a majority of the ports and shipyards of both the navy and the merchant class. Originally inhabited by the Dryad Fey, the Amurayyad live in a peaceful negotiation with the pre-existing societies, exchanging them advancements in infrastructure and economy for trade rights and other exports, such as natively growing spices, psychedelic drugs, and diamond wood.