- Gennaian Isles
Ar-Selukk is a nation rich in beauty and culture, the home of artists and poets, zealots and philosophers, dreamers and madmen; the streets of its capital Qhul Rahav are alive with the sounds of music, haggling merchants, public debate and devout chanting. Formerly ruled by Sav-Synav the Gilded, any who find strength in vision and inspiration will inevitably hear the siren call of Ar-Selukk. However, for all its beauty, there is danger there. All manner of thieves and scoundrels lurk in the badlands, strange cults and dark philosophies gather adherents from among the desert tribes, and many fear for the future of the nation without a worthy patron to guide its wild energy.
Ar-Selukk was founded in the earliest days of A'therys, when Sav-Synav was a devious and deadly trickster-god. According to the legend, the country was once a prosperous land inhabited by two kingdoms, Tamat-Olrun in the northeast and Rannek-zur-Ranne'eth in the southwest. The sorcerer-kings of both kingdoms were powerful and wise, and though they quarreled, each knew that unless they found peace, their lands would be brought to ruin. And so, when young Sav-Synav offered to lend his silver tongue to the warlocks as a mediator between them, both were relieved and agreed without hesitation. However, whenever one of the kings called upon him, he would tell only lies, and poison one's mind against the other, and in this way filled both with suspicion and rage. When at last war was declared between the nations and Anur yav-Qar'ren dawned, the fighting was so terrible and cruel, and such terrible magics were brought to bear, that the whole of the land was scorched and ruined, a land of hot sand and merciless sun. Sav-Synav walked upon this new land, and claimed it for himself as payment for his skillful mediation. Too few had survived to deny him this prize.
The Shining Land of the Inspired, as it is often referred to, consists of both Qhul Rahav and the vast, lifeless desert surrounding it. Under the rule of Sav-Synav it became a loose collection of city-states and tribal groups that all pledged allegiance to him. In the long ages that passed since the Founders' War, Sav-Synav matured into a contemplative god of inspiration and wit. His reign was characterized by an overwhelming support of arts and religious expression. An enormous number of sects and traditions rose and fell under his rule, each directly endorsed by the temple-government, even those which denied or even violently opposed the temple's doctrine. Sav-Synav himself preferred to remain detached from the affairs of his city and country, and spent most of his reign deep in trance, during which he would compose a seemingly endless stream of esoteric poetry and song. These compositions would be transcribed by the temple, whose priests would devote themselves to meditation on the mysteries hidden therein.
Since Sav-Synav's departure during the Second Calling, Ar-Selukk has become a very different place. Riots began within hours of his disappearance, started by countless cults and conspirators seeking to claim control of the city. While the temple expended tremendous effort in putting down the usurpers, little could be done to stop the chaos in the streets. Eventually, however, one figure in particular rose to prominence among the bloodshed; Raviyna av-Kulthanz, formerly a high priestess of the temple, who claimed to be a direct descendant of Sav-Synav. Word spread quickly of her arrival, with rumors of miracles and supernatural occurrences following her, as well as rumors of her vicious nature and deadly powers. With shocking speed, she assembled a devoted following, converting the usurpers or putting them to death, and in time she was so respected and feared that even the temple could deny her no longer. It was in this way that she became ruler of the city, and thus Ar-Selukk as a whole.
In the years that have followed, peace has come to the desert, but it is not an easy one. Most of the many city-states hold an uneasy alliance under the flag of Ar-Selukk once more, quarreling as they will but ready to unite against outside force should the need arise. Like her predecessor, High Priestess Raviyna spends little attention on the workings of the city, which she leaves to her Vizier. However, her adherents patrol the streets, eager to violently stomp out any rival groups which would wrest control from her. Meanwhile, the Regent spends her time making confusing and frightening prophecies and proclamations, which even the temple is reluctant to endorse. Most in Qhul Rahav simply do their best to carry on, and hope in silence that the Vizier might someday succeed in returning the city to its former beauty.