|Motto: Blood Calls Out for Blood|
|Anthem: Ey Eura|
|Official language(s)||Babkhi (official)|
Khalypsine and Vey Greek most commonly spoken
|Government||Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy|
|- Khan||Dāryuš Shah|
|- Grand Vizier||Azardokht al-Osman|
|Establishment||10 Bahman (IV) 1637|
|National forum||The Raspur Khanate|
|National food||Ghormeh Sabzi|
|National drink||Narcotic Wine|
The Khanate of Raspur is a wiki-based simulated state set on the continent of Eura in the wake of the destruction of the Kingdom of Babkha. It considers itself to be a successor to the cultural identity (theme) and fictional history of Babkha as well as the short-lived Theocracy of Khalypsil, but in neither case to the polities themselves.
A persistent remnant and holdover from the time before Eura's atomic immolation. Xenophobic and treacherous, tempered by the pragmatic requirements of survival, the Raspurids follow their own code with a single-minded determination that is as harsh as the irradiated steppe wilderness they call home.
Raspur was, until recently, governed by a Civil Administrator, appointed by the Autokrator of Constancia, who shared authority similar to that of the Grand Vizier. With his ascension in the year 1674 - the new Khan, Dāryuš Shah, has announced to the world that he will henceforth assume sole responsibility for the governance of his "Euran Realm", whilst upholding Raspur's fealty to Constancia and membership of the alliance.
Government and politics
Raspur is governed by a military aristocracy - the Satraps - who answer only to the Khan who is elected by the Satraps and yet who can deprive the Satraps of their lands, titles, liberty, and even their lives, on a word. The state, such as it is, formerly financed itself through extortion, plunder, and smuggling. Following treaties with Shireroth and Constancia a movement has begun to develop a more responsible and sustainable system of government.
A delegation of ten citizens, headed by the Satrap of Farzan, was sent abroad in 1657 to study the ways of foreigners and to develop recommendations for a new constitution.
Supreme power in Raspur is nominally invested in the person of the Khan who sits upon the Takht-e-Ardashir (Throne of Ardashir) of the Upper Ziggurat in Raspur. In practice however the Khan has become a creature of idleness, sensuality and increasing senility. Responsibility for the day to day affairs of state instead falls under the purview of the Grand Vizier, formerly a hereditary position belonging to one of the Raspurid noble families but subsequent to a Shirerithian intervention during the War of Lost Brothers, now held by a distant Benacian cousin.
The Grand Vizier holds the great seal of the Khan and countersigns firmans (executive, legislative, and judicial decrees of the Khan) bringing them into lawful effect.
Firmans cover all aspects of political and civil society, reflective of the theoretically unlimited sovereignty of the Khan and his government. In practice however the seven Satraps, Arslan, Farzan, Mihran, Mitra, Suren, Varaz & Zjandar, enjoy substantial autonomy, up to and including the capacity to wage private wars on their own initiative and even against each other. The central government, with its corps of Zhāyēdān (Immortals), acts as the balancing force, maintaining order in the midst of potential chaos by bringing its forces to bear against any over-mighty Satrap and breaking up coalitions amongst the lords before they can give rise to conspiracies against the throne.
The city of Raspur itself, as a single unitary šahrestân (urban county/"borough"), falls under the dominion of the House of Osman itself. It can presently lay claim to a population of 365,311 citizens and 531,106 subjects, divided amongst seven baxš (urban prefectures), under the administration of the anjoman-e šahr-e Raspur or Raspur City Council.
Aside from direct profit sharing agreements concerning the production and export of hydrocarbons and refined opiates, the Khanate's principal source of revenue is in the form of direct punitive taxation in two varieties. The first, called "ushr" is a tithe on the produce of the land, whilst the second - called "Zakat" after the Umraist obligation - is a levy of a fortieth of the value of saleable commodities and camels. Within Raspur itself, as well as the protectorate cities and the new townships established in Mitra and Varaz, there is also a hearth tax laid upon property owners. With the conflict against Iteru, the rebellious Suren, and now a wider alignment of rebel forces, a poll tax has been introduced taking a fixed sum from citizens and subjects alike, to the chagrin of many, in order to fund a protracted campaign in defence of the city. Mining operations within the Raspurid sphere of influence are only permitted by the leave of the Khan, and in return for the grant of "Firmans of Licence" the Khan's government extracts a goodly amount in fees which are generally devoted to upkeep of the ziggurats and roads necessary for the maintenance of the state.In addition to revenues extracted from the settled populace, the Khanate also collects tribute money from the various nomad clans of the interior, whose flocks and herds were numbered and taxed at a low rate, in return for which they accepted the protection of Raspur over that offered by rival factions operating on the continent.
As noted the territory beyond the bounds of Raspur proper is dominated by seven satraps. These, with the assistance of their Dihqān legions, serve, theoretically at least, as viceroys of the Khan, their power extending far out into the green beyond Raspur's formal borders.
The satrap has charge of the land that he possesses as an administrator, and accordingly he is typically surrounded by a court that is itself almost regal in stature; he collects the taxes, controls the local officials and the subject tribes and cities, and is the supreme judge of the province before whom every civil and criminal case arising therein may be brought. He is responsible for the safety of the roads, excepting the Royal Roads determined by the treaty with Constancia, and has the responsibility for hunting down and exterminating any and all brigands and rebels.
The satrap is supported by a council of Zamindars, feudal land owners, a secretary and emissaries of the Khan, especially the "Eye of the Khan", an appointee of the Grand Vizier, who makes an annual inspection and who can nominate unruly and unsatisfactory satraps for ritual slaughter by the Zhāyēdān.
There were further checks on the power of each satrap: besides his secretarial scribe, his chief financial official (ganzabara) and the general in charge of the regular army of his province and of the fortresses are answerable directly to the Khan, in person. The satraps however are allowed to have Dihqān troops in his own service and could call upon the muster of local armed levies.
The seven satrapies are divided into smaller districts ruled by their foremost Zamindars. Typically hereditary, the zamindars hold enormous tracts of land and control over their peasants, as well as the itinerant nomadic tribes of the interior, from whom they reserved the right to collect taxes on behalf of the Khanate and Satrapan courts or for military purposes.
Zamindars in turn appointed jagirdars, tax-farmers, to collect the taxes owed by the land-renting Dihqān classes of the lesser nobility, who comprise the majority of the citizens, as well as the various fines, penalties, and exactions owed by the larger servile population.
In addition to being tasked with collecting taxes on behalf of the central government, satraps are also entitled to make their own lesser impositions, such as a fee on the sale of fuel, and another levy on milk bearing animals, as well as any number of petty penalties and fines imposed upon traders and consumers alike in the bazaar districts on market day.
The rapaciousness of the satraps, the zamidars, and the jagirdars, is considered one of the main forms of everyday oppression in the Khanate and one of the greatest drivers of discontent. In spite of this however, the order and security that these provincial officers provide, being intensely preferable to the alternatives of anarchy and or foreign occupation, balances out their excesses in the eyes of the populace and the acceptance of the necessity of bowing towards the ziggurats is firmly entrenched in the psyche of the governed.
The government of the lesser provinces has, since time immemorial following the destruction of the old Kingdom, been plagued by the steady proliferation of lesser "khans" who had filled the niche left in the Euran hierarchy of predation left by the fall of the Yemin Zoka. As it was, every village that found itself self-sufficient in produce, along with seemingly every tenement with running water and a reserve of tinned food to ride out the lean years, found in no short elapse of time that its custodian or manager had taken for himself the honorific of Khan in lieu of any authority to say to the contrary.
|Name||Governor||Population||Date of Establishment|
|Arslan||Ostāndār Ismail||Citizens: 115,251
|Farzan||Ostāndār Tahmasp||Citizens: 115,024
|Mihran||Ostāndār Abbas||Citizens: 112,210
|Mitra||Ostāndār Safi||Citizens: 113,017
(In revolt as of 1666 AN)
|Varaz||Ostāndār Farrokh||Citizens: 105,214
|Zjandar||Ostāndār Piruz Khosrow||Citizens: 100,642
|Tributary Cities and Protectorates|
|Name||Governor||Population||Date of Establishment|
|Mehrshahr||Khanzada Ardashir-e Bābakān Osman||Citizens: 126,521
|Pâkishahr||Shahrbān Hormizd Mihrak||Citizens: 21,343
(In revolt as of 1666 AN)
Formerly an unrecognised state, the Raspur Khanate had no formal relations with foreign powers, and indeed in its values and conduct is considered to be actively antagonistic towards the wider international community. Contacts were however established with the Neo-Babkhan communities of Benacia, especially the Shirerithian branch of the House of Osman.
Subsequent to formal introductions facilitated through the meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in Caputia the Grand Vizier of Raspur and the Autokrator of Constancia were able to negotiate a comprehensive trade and strategic cooperation agreement which guaranteed Raspur an export market for its petroleum and opiate output as well as the right to export to the wider world via the Constancian ports of Nivardom and Aqabah. Additionally Raspurids abroad would be permitted to access the support services of Constancia's more expansive network of embassies and consulates. In return Raspur would provide garrisons for a network of ribats and caravansaries along the trade routes between the two realms, offer Constancia preferential access to its petroleum reserves, and host a Constancian military mission to reform and reorganise the Khan's personal guard.
In 1662, building on the rapidly improving relations with Constancia, Raspur formally declared itself to be in alignment with the Sxiro-Natiopian Alliance, in consequence of which it was invited to join the Entente which subsequently rebranded itself as the Raspur Pact following a special session of the Permanent Committee hosted in the Upper Ziggurat of Raspur.
Main Article: Military of Raspur
The Khanate relied, until its accession to the Raspur Pact, entirely on repaired and reconditioned Babkhan military equipment recovered from the myriad of bunkers and arms depots lost under the desert fastness of the irradiated wastelands. This influence is still heavily apparent and the military organisation of the Khanate similarly reflects the legacy of that vanished Euran empire.
With the union with Constancia the Raspurid military was disbanded, save for a ten-thousand man palace guard - the Gârd-e Zhāyēdān - with the majority of personnel transferred into the Imperial Constancian Armed Forces and the Agrofilaki, the agricultural police responsible for the maintenance of law and order in the rural regions.
For the majority of educational establishments in the territories of Raspur the Agnesia-Alalehzamin System was followed. This being a school of child development developed by Babkhan and Babkhi scholars in the 15th and 16th Centuries AN, which taught that the primary purpose of the classroom was to provide a confined venue for unrestrained social predation to develop the character of the weak, or else eliminate them as an encumbrance on productive society by facilitating their self-destruction.
The version practised in Raspur had its wanton cruelty curbed by the necessity of maintaining outward conformance to the rule of law as mandated by successive Constancian governments, who reformed the curriculum in the jurisdiction to put cooperation on an equal footing with competition and gradually rehabilitated the concept of altruism and compassion, albeit not without some resistance from the educational establishment.
More sophisticated schooling was to be found in the establishments maintained by the Education & Indoctrination Service of Raspur (EISR) whose primary function is to provide an annual crop of trained and keenly eager new recruits for Raspur's administrative, corporate, and sporting establishments. The Sarayzenana, a concealed legacy of fallen Babkha which had survived the destruction of that empire, was the most prestigious and accomplished of the institutions maintained by the EISR, attending to the educational requirements of the most distinguished noble families and preserved bloodlines.
The language of Raspur is a dialect of Babkhi, directly descended from the literary and classical language of Babkha but somewhat devolved - described as harsh and abrasive, or "akin to barking".
In 1663 726,420 children aged 5 to 15 were in full time education at temple seminaries and of these 123,491 received bursaries from the Khan.
- Early 1658: Under pressure from international sponsors and financiers, Grand Vizier begins to prepare ground for representative government, legislative assembly, implementation of a consistent administration based upon the rule of law.
- 20.III.1658: Elections called, emancipation and manumission decreed.
- Slave owners revolt, delaying elections.
- Opposition to the Grand Vizier, modernisers, and foreign influence, coalesces around the House of Suren.
- 1658–1659: Election campaign takes on the aspect of a civil war.
- 01.XIV.1659: Grand Vizier's List, a coalition of parties supported by modernisers, the enfranchised, and the merchant classes, narrowly beats the Suren List. Election is considered to be generally free and fair although the high body count on polling day is criticised by observers.
- Early 1660s: The arrival of Froyalaners and community servants in appreciable numbers, imported from Shireroth in return for raw opium, reduces demand for unskilled and semi-skilled labour amongst the Raspurid populace.
- 07.XI.1662: A guaranteed basic income, derived from a portion of the proceeds in the trade in oil and opium, is introduced.
- A Farman against unsanitary practices in the city of Raspur was issued by its disgusted Khan after he caught a whiff of the streets below from atop his ziggurat.
- Displeased by the lacklustre response to his command to clean the city, the Khan dismissed the Durbar and called for fresh elections.
- With the passing of Khan Tahmaseb II, his son and heir, the Crown Prince Kuruš, climbed the Upper Ziggurat of Raspur and claimed the throne of his ancestors. Adopting the regnal name of Dāryuš Shah, the new Khan surprised the Constancian Civil Administrator, when the latter attended court to offer his recognition of the accession, by announcing that he would - hence forth - resume governance over the Euran Realm in his own right. Once George Maniakes had recovered sufficiently as to dissemble by offering congratulations and enquiring as to the presumed bounds of this Euran Realm, the newly enthroned Khan is said to have responded with only the glimmer of a smile.
- Heralds from Raspur proceed into the provinces of Aqabah, Mitra, Molivadia, and Varaz, with the news of the command that henceforth prayers of all believers are to be read in the name of Dāryuš Shah.
The state religion of the Khanate is the Zoroastrian derived faith of Zurvanism, a belief in a supreme deity, the begetter and embodiment of the cosmos and a figure transcending the eternal cycle of good/order and evil/chaos and the rise and fall of empires in which the duality manifests as conflict which first gives life, then drives development, and finally ends in cataclysm before the cycle begins anew. It is a somewhat fatalistic creed which holds that the will of Zurvan is immutable, its ways beyond understanding, and the fate of all humans, bound to the wheel of suffering, already preordained.
Raspur uses the Norton calendar learnt by the Babkhans from their Treesian slaves in antiquity. The length of the calendar year varies on a twelve-year cycle. The rotation of the planet fluctuates, through regularly. The only fixed celestial event on the calendar, that is to say, the same date for the same event every year, is the Summer solstice (for the northern hemisphere, winter solstice for the southern). The first day of Rokhpin (Elroqpin, a month long bacchanal festivity learned by the Babkhans from their Elw slaves in the early modern period) is that solstice.
The years are reckoned from the date of the supposed death of the Benacian Emperor Nor'Ton the Undying. A strain of ultranationalist sentiment agitates for the reckoning of the years from the date of the founding of the Kingdom of Babkha or the birth of Babak the Great.
|Ordinal||Name||No. of Days||Notable Festivals|
|I||Nawruz||24||1.I: Naw-Rúz (calendar new year)|
|VI||Farvardin||24||21.IV: Nowruz (solar new year)|
|XI||Mordad||24||1.XI: Nowruz-khorshid (1658, 1670, 1682...)|
The most popular horse-sport in Raspur is chovgan, a variant of polo which – perhaps inevitably – is claimed by the Raspurids to have been invented by Babkha. Chovgan, along with the more disreputable, proletarian, and goat-mangling sport of buzkashi, was used to teach Babkhans of all ranks an affinity with the saddle which in ancient times made them unsurpassed masters of horsemanship and thereby the conquerors of the entire Euran continent. Even in the present era, chovgan remains an integral part of the education of youths, boys and girls alike, raised in the facilities of the Education and Indoctrination Service of Raspur. Every company, every noble household, every government office, every clan, and every village, that wishes to consider itself of any account, will undertake the expense of training and equipping a rider with a steed, a mallet, and the customary padded armour worn whilst on the field. In its barest essentials, chovgan is played in a manner comparable with polo, the most notable distinction being that participants ride onto the field armed, with a cudgel for men and a whip for women, and with an iron round-shield strapped to their back. In addition to scoring by means of knocking the ball into the goal of the opposing team, points are also earned by unhorsing an opponent. The other notable difference between chovgan and polo is in the size of the teams. In chovgan each team enters sixteen riders into the lists, eight blockers positioned to defend the goal zone, four strikers whose purpose is to take possession of the ball and knock it forward into the opposing side's goal, and four beaters whose primary purpose is to lay about with cudgel or whip with the intent of unhorsing opponents or driving off the blockers with the objective of opening up the goal zone for their strikers. The result inevitably is a glorious mêlée, with wounds earned on the chovgan field accounted a source of enduring honour.
The popularity of the sport has spread into the Principality of Molivadia where it is played as tzykanion under the patronage and encouragement of the Princess of Molivadia while, once more under her encouragement, a more conventional form of polo is played in Arboria. The game, in its more vigorous form, is also played amongst N&H cadres and members of the Honourable Company in Benacia, where it is affectionately known as "murder-polo".
A close second in eminence is wrestling, the practice of which is centred around the zurkhaneh (Bab: House of Strength), whose origin stretches back centuries to the guild of executioners established by Shah Abbas the Grim. The Shah Abbas, in ancient times, rejoiced to watch the spectacle of his special corps of musclemen despatching his political opponents with their bare hands, and from this grizzly practice arose the present custom of wrestling whose appeal is pitched somewhere between that of sport, theatre, and transcendent religious experience for participants and spectators alike. The zurkhaneh is no longer used as a venue for public executions, instead a group of 16 men, standing around the octagonal perimeter of a lowered fighting pit, perform a series of ritualised dances, feats of strength and demonstrations of male prowess and vigour; all to the accompaniment of a mirza who presides from a raised platform overlooking the pit, beating drums to a frenetic rhythm whilst reciting verses in praise of the long vanished line of the Kapav Shahanshahs and of the mythical heroes and beasts of Eura whom they slaughtered in order to establish the eternal glory of the Babkhan race. As the ceremony progresses the wrestlers join in with the ritual chanting, culminating in the furious excoriation of the ancient and eternal enemies of Babkha – Elfinshi, Sathrati, Tymari, Yehudi, and the Tudeh adherents of the Lie, wretches and dupes of Ahriman all. Having vowed, in a final exultant chorus, to crush the life out of any son of Mashya or daughter of Mashyana who refused to accept the universal hegemony of Zurvan over all creation, the wrestlers entered into combat in pairs of eight, then four, then two, after which the champion of the evening – the Mir-Zur (Bab: Prince of Strength) is acclaimed by participants and spectators alike. The sport is notable for gambling and fighting culture that has grown up around it. Loyalty towards to the local zurkhaneh on the Raspurid street approaches a near religious level of fanaticism, and clashes with rival wrestling establishments, especially on high festival days, can swiftly become bloody affairs. Such spectacles are forbidden to women although, strangely enough, foreign women – Aldurians and Constancians especially – are frequently granted admission as “honorary men”, the collective Babkhan psychology being ever mysterious in that way.
Football (soccer) is a sport that has grown in popularity and reputation in recent years, mostly on account of the international prestige accorded to the FMF regulated game. The improved domestic standing may also be due to the Raspur national football team's perceived attainment of a level of proficiency that is considered adequate – or at the very least a sufficient cause for the footballing efforts of Raspur to no-longer be wholly despised in the wider world. The Raspur Division of the Euran League lasts from the onset of the Dry Season in the month of Rokhpin to the end of winter in the month of Azar. During that time games are played throughout the country on Friday, the Umraid day of rest. The Raspur Division has seen the Jam-e Kei-khosrow trophy awarded the every year between 1663 and the present with the exception of the period 1665 and 1670 when the competition was suspended during the Second Euran War. The trophy is invariably contested between the Martyrs of Ashura FC and the Raspur Militants, the only two clubs of any consequence and bitter derby rivals. As noted, Raspur is possessed of an adequate national side, and several Raspurid footballers play for overseas clubs with the blessings of the Khan, who receives a pre-agreed portion of their salaries in yearly tribute.
Awards and benefits for athletes
To be considered a professional in any of the above mentioned sports, an athlete must be formally enrolled with the Education and Indoctrination Service of Raspur, to have completed foundational training with the Dabirestân-e Andarûn between the ages of 12 and 16 (or at least have obtained a waiver thereof), and to have been immunised against the onerously debilitating effects of temporal haemorrhaging. Athletes who demonstrate prowess in their respective fields will be evaluated by the EISR for the preservation of their bloodlines. Those in turn who are selected would be granted quarters adjacent to the Sarayzenana and be expected to spend at least a quarter of each year resident there.
- ^ Formerly the Flayed-Skin Throne until 1658.