The Azhuran people were always in some form of border conflict with Tyrean people, so when the Tyreans allied with the newly "arrived" Vhalurians, they felt extraordinary pressure during the Imperial Era. For more than a decade, the Azhurans had been able to assassinate prominent Tyrean jarls and earls to disrupt an organized Tyrean effort to invade Azhuran territory. However, with the arrival of the Vhalurians, such precise guerilla tactics were undermined by pure military power.
Under Christoff Caliborne, the united Tyrean and Vhalurian forces began attacking Azhuran society where it hurt—labor. Swafts of Uhlia were either eradicated by Tyrean armies, or recruited under the promise of freedom and equality by the Vhalurians. The obsidian forges slowly cooled, and Ataloa Totzin’Zimoc acted in desperation, seeing a statue of Xipotec ripped down and replaced by a statue of Ohlm. Totzin’Zimoc permited people of Khemet to work the obsidian forges, and used obsidian to regulate a trade agreement with the Khemetar to assist in resisting the combined Tyrean and Vhalurian assault. The balance of domesticity was drastically interrupted.
By the time internal conflict destroyed the Tyrean/Vhalurian alliance, Totzin’Zimoc was under extraordinary pressure to break his agreements with the Khemetar. Many within Azhuran society felt he had committed high-blasphemy by allowing Obsidian to be forged by outsiders. The domestic pressure weakened control over the Mhordul tribes within Azhuran territory, and when the Mhordul united under their matriarch, many obsidian forges were destroyed. Azhuran was under attack before it could react, and cahtelia held Totzin’Zimoc responsible.
His son, Toltex’Zimoc, assumed the title of Ataloa and met with the Mhordul matriarch, promising an exchange of obsidian and people to forge it to relieve Azhuran territory from assault. During negotiations, a coup occurred, and both Toltex’Zimoc and the Mhordul matriarch were assassinated by Azhuran agents. In the fallout, many Azhuran people fled to Vhalurian territory, but the assassination also led to the splintering of Mhordul tribes.
Under new leadership, that of Ataloa Axocep-Kannis’Pactli, the Azhurans made a profitable arrangement with the Alyrians. The previous two eras had nearly stripped the economy bare, but through the Era of Commons, the Azhuran people thrived again. The pact with the Alyrians fed enough currency back into the Azhuran economy to restore the Obsidian mines, and allowed Axocep-Kannis’Pactli to organize the assassination of any person outside of Azhuran society who may have knowledge of forging obsidian. Given the large majority of those people resided in Khemet, the killings were easily disguised as internal conflicts gone awry, and dozens of Khemetar people were destroyed to protect the production of obsidian without a hitch.
2. Stat Caps
3. Patron Diety
4. Unique Trait
5. Capital City
6. Physical Appearance
The Azhurans are short and lean, the men rarely more than 5 feet 4 inches tall and the women more delicately built with an average height of about 4 feet 11 inches. Skin color varies from dark to light brown, and the typical Azhuran face is broad with a prominent, and often hooked, nose. Eyes are black or brown and almond-shaped. Their hair is typically coarse and straight. Men wearing it short and plain, but shamans have their own distinctive hair style and most warriors shave off their hair except for a small ponytail in the back, due to the heat. The women let their hair grow long. Normally it is allowed to hang loose, but on festive days it is braided with feathers. Facial hair is unheard of in Azhuran culture.
7. Society and Government
Azhurans names are forms of praise for Xipotec in their language. Concomitantly, Azhurans do not use surnames for several reasons: first, it is seen as an affront to Xipotec to muddy the pure praise of your Azhuran name with a name given purely due to base, human relationships. Thus, the Azhurans use only one name, though hyphens and extremely long names often serve the same purpose as surnames, especially to distinguish between castes. For example: Hextli-Huemal’Opazin, for male, and Tlilo’Chintoci-Sayri, for female.
The Azhuran social structure is broken down into distinct castes, revolving around two central tenets: spirituality and practicality. Which caste one belongs to is based on measured enlightenment by the elders and the Ataloa. The goal of individuals is to strive to reflect the God of the sun, Xipotec, and to ensure the practical function of Azhuran civilization. Azhurans are normally born into their caste, and never live above the practices of their family. On rare occasions, the Ataloa may elevate individuals above their born caste. While the The cast hierarchy is as follows:
Cahtelia—Individuals of this caste assist the whole of Azhur with major and decisive achievements. They are normally highly skilled tradesman or intellectuals. They are tasked with acquiring goods through their expanded influence and can be sent by the Ataloa as ambassadors to foreign leaders. They are Shaman and clergy members for the church. Additionally, in the event that the seat of Ataloa is vacated and no heir is apparent, the eldest male of the Cahtelia will become Ataloa.
Cahulia — Craftsmen and women also make up the majority of this caste, but they work specifically to fulfill the needs of the Azhuran military. As such, they are recognized and respected among society. While they are unable to attend clergy or to indulge themselves with “higher” education, the Cahulia often lend out apprenticeships among the families and members making up the caste.
Cahltalia — The lower caste of Azhuran society make up resource gathers and soldiers. They normally employ servants from the Uhlia caste, unlike the castes above them, in order to make better use of their time. Soldiers also need servants to ensure the upkeep of their equipment, and commonly call Uhlia into service to do so. Servants are always well kept and nourished, albeit unpaid.
Uhlia — Most Azhuran people in this caste perform simple tasks, such as hard labor and tending to the city’s cleanliness. They can be employed for pay by the upper castes, but never brought to servitude. However, they often do servants to Cahltalia caste members. They can serve in the military, but are barred from achieving high rank. They can never become clergy members.
The caste system of Azhura works explicitly for Azhurans, and they are very unlikely to cooperate with foreigners in trade involving Obsidian. Not only is Obsidian impossible to work with for others, due to the uncompromising levels of heat required to forge it, but it is revered as a direct blessing from Xipotec.
8. Government Structure
Azhurans from all branches look up to two figures of opposite genders, the Ataloa, or “Fire Father,” and the Apahuac, or “Holy Mother.” These two individuals carry the burden of bringing every Azhuran closer to the Gods and idealistic perfection while upholding the old ways of tradition and caste.
Ataloa — Working as a pseudo monarch, this title is normally hereditary to one family. He is the holy guide of the whole Azhuran people towards the betterment of themselves, and is both very wise and knowledgeable in the ways of his people. His word is law, and usually written down to establish new precedent. It’s uncommon for new Ataloas’ to break away from a precedent set down in law by a former Ataloa. By his hand, the souls of all his children are perfected and purified, in order for them to reach the “True Life,” a fairer and eternal existence on the surface of the Sun. His words are of pure enlightenment, and they are meant to teach and improve all Azhurans and to lead them to their ultimate state of well-being. Even though the Ataloa usually permits the Apahuac to perform her role with certain freedom, he has the right to overrule her decisions.
Apahuac — The Apahuac sits as the spiritual and judicial head of the Azhuran people. Normally chosen for her compassion and intellect the Apahuac is second only to the Ataloa in Azhuran society. It is customary for the Ataloa to present marriage to the Apahuac but she is under no obligation to accept. If she accepts her daughters are prevented from ascending to the Apahuac position. If she declines her sons are prevented from rising above the rank of Cahtelia. As the spiritual head it is the duty of the Apahuac to see to the spiritual wellbeing of the citizenry. She also oversees the clergy’s efforts to house and care for orphaned children whose parents were lost due to Azhurs dangers. Due to this role she is sometimes referred to as the Mother of Many. In her judicial role she oversees trial and punishment within the city. It is said that through her studies and compassion there is none more fit to dole out justice, and in general this is true. This by no means suggests that harsh punishment is out of line, but the punishments are fitting to the crime and the reasoning for the crime.