|Dowlat-e Aliyye-ye Suren|
|Motto: Marā dād farmūd-o khod dāvar ast|
|Anthem: Hymn of Eternal Eura|
|Largest city||Mehrshahr, Bandar-é Zinjibar|
|- Surenšāh||Mitradokht of Suren|
|- Astabadh||Rashid Sanook|
|- Legislature||Majles-e Suren|
|Area||2,412,144 km sq|
|Time zone(s)||CMT +4|
|Mains electricity||230 V. 50 Hz|
The Suren Confederacy is a developing nation, set amidst the heavily irradiated, environmentally degraded, and ever prone to desertification, north-eastern portion of the continent of Eura. Notable for its veneration of the continent's Babkhan heritage, the mismatch between an autocratic monarchy and a fractious confederal system of government, and for the numerous quixotic attempts at a crash-course industrialisation effort to catch up with the rest of the world that has moved on in the century since Eura's atomic self-immolation.
The Zjandarian steppe has an extreme continental climate; most of the country is open plain, with enough rain in the north, from the sub-tropical Norashti coast, for extensive wheat farming, but turning to grasslands and then desert further south. The large-scale irrigation networks built over the span of centuries swiftly fell into ruins following the Babkhan Holocaust of 1598, and irradiated dead zones, together with stretches of glassed desert, still mark the destruction of the old Babkhan kingdom. Tentative efforts at a revival of agriculture have focused upon boring down into the deep continental aquifers to draw up the life-giving waters for new experimental cotton plantations, however this in turn has led to saline soil problems that have rapidly become evident.
The desert winds of the inner Euran hellscape continue to whip up and deposit clouds of radioactive ash which can blanket vast swathes of the country, with deleterious effects on farming and human habitation, necessitating the development of shelters and survival strategies for both.
Salt deposits, where they are clear of contamination, are in and of themselves vital for the prospective revival of the society. The largest concentrations of these, along with such hydrocarbon deposits as have thus far been identified, are to be found in the lands of the Suren Ostan, the south-western limb of the confederacy. Though much of the Suren Ostan is flat desert and semi-desert, the high mountains of the north-west are a major source for the rivers which flow in a south easterly direction towards Lake Erik and the Androphagi megariver. Irrigation networks repaired here yield cotton and the mulberry trees vital for harvesting silkworm while the poor mountain and desert pasturage. Copper, gold, iron, chromium, and other mineral deposits located in the Durranian highland regions hint at the possibility of future prosperity if they can be secured against Constancian competitors.
Government & politics
The right of the Surenšāh to exercise sovereignty over the confederacy rests a claim to have been in receipt of the immutable blessings of Zurvan, and the sublime grace of the highest divinity thereby, on account of the three meritorious deeds claimed by his lineage:
- The rescue of the Light of the Kapavs, the sacred flame housed in Kamalshahr, by a humble Sarvan (captain) of the Yemin Zoka Gendarmes, founder of the Suren line, before the fall of that city into ruin and the degradation of foreign occupation;
- The resistance led by the House of Suren against Constancia during the Second Euran War;
- The gathering of the scattered confederates, laid low by that conflict, and their restoration of the true Euran and Zurvanite state.
The consent of the governed does not feature prominently in the Surenid conception of statehood. Either the subjects render their fealty and service to the satraps set in power over them or else they perish, be it from immediate reprisal or else through expulsion into the ungoverned wastes. The subject might expect to be left to his daily affairs should he be obedient to authority and pious towards the Highest Divinity. Similarly, under the confederal system, the satraps enjoy a wide discretion when it comes to managing the affairs of their provinces, save that they are expected to promptly offer up the manpower levies, requisitions, and tribute payments demanded by Surenid Shahbanu. It is a system predicated upon the rule of authority rather than the rule of law, as is reflected in its position on the Micras Democracy Index rankings.
The numbers of overt democratic advocates in the Confederacy must be accounted to be comparatively few, and indeed the heads of many of these may be reviewed on the skull racks situated in the central maidan of Surenshahr adjacent to the polo playing fields.
The Bab-e Dīvān (Gate of the Council), an antechamber to the entrance hall of the throne-room of the Surenshah from which a nest of eunuchs and the incense-smogged droners of forgotten rites had been expelled, housed the reformed executive council which sat from 1.XV.1690 AN onwards and which took its name from the new location.
|Astabadh||Rashid Sanook||Diplomacy, Public Administration|
|Euramehr Arteshbod||Arben Bahramzadeh Khan||Defence and Security|
|Darik-Pat||The Bānū Aspadanadoḵt||Royal Estates, Revenues, Rites and Ceremonies|
|Mystikos||Alexios Melas||Espionage, Counter-Espionage, Industrial Archaeology and the Study of Foreign Technology|
|Moabadan-Moabad||Ādurbād-ī Zandzadeh||Religion and Law, Custodian of the Light of the Kapavs|
From this overview, it should be apparent that the government of the Suren Confederacy does not slavishly follow the precedents set by the legacies of Babkhan kingship. Indeed, for all that the Majlis has enacted legislation that harkens back to the Harmonious Society of late-era Babkha, the initially ruinous condition and hitherto low base level of development evidenced in the Confederacy precluded the existence of a complex and centralised bureaucracy. Instead, the Astabadh and the Euramehr Arteshbod must rely upon their agents in the provinces to enforce the many firmans of the crown. It may be assessed therefore that the Bab-e Dīvān would struggle to assert effective control over the Confederacy, to organise the armed forces and to gather in the universally resented taxes, without the heavy-handed support of the Trans-Euran Command of the Raspur Pact, and its Committee of Euran Salvation.
As it is, such revenues as are collected tend to go towards the costs of the Popular Levy and afterwards in priority to the Royal Court and the Bab-e Dīvān, with but little left to invest in public utilities, the religious authorities, or the development of the provinces. It is this malaise that has seen the Committee of Euran Salvation dominate the Surenid portions of the Trans-Euran Railway.
The 300 strong Majles-e Suren approves laws and can examine or investigate all affairs of the country. The Majlis is dominated by the Surenshah, originally chosen from the House of Suren with tenure for life, and acclaimed by the Satraps of the confederacy's provinces. Aside from the Surenshah the most preeminent individual is the Speaker, who presides over the workings of the Majlis, confirming the validity of its votes and ensuring that receive its summons adhere and submit to its authority.
The first Majlis sat from 1687 to 1690 whereupon the Surenšāh declared himself dissatisfied with the conduct of the body - advising the delegates of this as he oversaw their crucifixion. The laws passed by the Majlis were declared void and its records burnt.
There was therefore much trepidation in the land when the summons went out for a fresh Majlis to convene.
After the execution of the first Majlis, it was no longer considered to be a job for life in a desirable sense.
Seventy-six members of the Majlis were nominated for the new session by their satraps, chosen from amongst the good families of their provinces, subject to the review and veto of the Surenshah. Of the remainder, half were to be nominated by the Popular Levy while the remainder were chosen from amongst the herbads and mobads of the Zurvanite Orthodox religion.
They hold office for four years. Political parties were expressly forbidden prior to the formation of the Surenid National Sector Party of the Nationalist & Humanist Party. All members of the Majlis were thereafter dutifully enrolled into the N&H, over which the Surenshahr presided as National Sector Leader, or "Archon" in the N&H terminology.
In spite of this, the Majles evolved into a surprisingly responsible institution which, although caught between the two fires of the Constancian-led Trans-Euran Command and the overbearing Neo-Babkhan monarchy of the Suren dynasty itself, sought to represent the interests of the provinces and the lower social orders with as much diligence as circumstances permitted.
The 1703 Reform Act would see 212 delegates of the 300 man chamber, two per bakhsh district, selected by the regional sector parties of the N&H in the Suren Confederation. The remainder would be selected by the nomination of the crown. Whilst delegates from the provinces would still need to be vetted by their satraps, as well as passing the selection process of the N&H hierarchy, it was still a significant victory for regional representation - one only made possible by the tacit acknowledgement of the crown of the burden which had been placed on the provincial population during and immediately after the recent war.
|Aspadana||Shahbanu-uz-Spādānām||Ulugh Beg||Mihrab Khan||Arg-é Spahān||976,604||9|
|Kapavia||Sardar Akbar Mir||Yaqub Beg||Durmish Khan||Mehrshahr||1,847,471||18|
|Norasht||Sardar Aʻzam Mir||Tughai Beg||Fereydun Khan||Bandar-é Zinjibar||1,321,236||13|
|Suren Ostan||Mirza Rustaham Sūrēn||Nur Beg||Zahedi Khan||Surenshahr||1,591,923||15|
|Trucial Isles (Chamrush)||Trucial Chiefs||Sohrab Beg||Bektash Khan||n/a||356,850||3|
|Zjand Basseri||Sardar Káẓim Mir||Yulqoli Beg||Paykar Khan||Sadd-é Valiasr||1,831,074||18|
|Ghur||Sardar Rustam Mir||Sohrab Beg||Rashan Khan||Ganzak-Gor||3,056,331|
The Anjuman-i Ma'arf (Education Committee) was established under the 1697 National Education Act passed by the Majles-e Suren and promulgated through a Farman of Endorsement issued by the Imperial Court in the name of the Shahbanu.
Schooling for both genders is compulsory from the ages of seven to thirteen, with gender segregation beginning from the age of nine. The Education Committee was appointed to turn around the woeful literacy rates. Every satrapy must have a school per two thousand children, and be apportioned into catchment districts for this purpose. School masters must be paid for out of the public purse, and for this purpose a one-percent income tax is levied on every free adult subject of the confederacy. Teachers, male and female, may not enter the profession until they are forty-five years of age. No hint of public disgrace nor impropriety must attach to their name, and they must attend a tribunal of the mobads in order to have their Zurvanite orthodoxy and their literacy firmly examined. Teachers who are discovered and convicted of corrupting the children in their charge may be put to death by stoning or else, if there are mitigating circumstances, be sent out into the desert with one loaf of bread and one canteen bottle of water, charged never to return to the community on pain of summary execution.
Teaching is done by rote recitation of basic numeracy, Babkhi grammar, rhetoric, and literature, plus studies of Zurvanite texts which are learnt by convention, instruction, and rhetoric. At the age of thirteen the most promising ten percent of each school are retained to commence a technical education geared towards either agriculture or engineering depending upon the circumstances of the school's community. Those not selected for further education are put out to auction for apprenticeships.
In 1689, alarmed by the 11 Khordad 1688 in Zeed, a sprawling chaotic domain in southern Eura, and the arrival of revolutionary forces in the Ḡur Khanate on its southern border, the Suren Confederacy mobilised four brigades of the Popular Levy and dispatched them towards the south. At the same time, noting the involvement of cadres of the N&H with the revolutionary violence directed at a brother monarch, the erstwhile and quite possibly late Tzjar of Zeed, and concerned at the implications of the strong associations between senior figures of the N&H and the Honourable Company, the Suren ordered the expulsion of all ESB employees from the Confederacy whilst introducing stringent new border checks along the Pan-Euran Highway.
The foundation of the Confederacy and its subsequent administration had rested upon the cooperation of the Surenšāh and the Grand Vizier as mirrored in that of the partnership between husband and wife, in the union of Dāryuš and the Bānū Aspadanadoḵt. The alliance of the Suren and the Aspadana was the bedrock of the confederacy and thus it is only natural that the state was personified by the monopolisation of executive power on the part of the sovereign and she who shared the marital bed, as a symbol of the unity of purpose combining the two great factions of the confederacy.
By the dying days of 1690 AN this arrangement was no longer satisfactory for the Surenshah, who was increasingly impatient with the slow rate of reform and reconstruction in the confederacy, being acutely aware of the precarious position of the Suren who were caught between the antagonistic power blocs of the Raspur Pact and USSO and ill-prepared to face the rising nations of Nova Caradia and Zeed.
Faced with the invidious task of dismissing his wife from public office the Surenshah, perhaps understandably, followed the path of least resistance and instead "promoted" her, as a face-saving compromise, to the new office of Darik-Pat, steward of the royal household and custodian of its estates and treasuries, whilst ordering the creation of new regalia for the Shahbanu and the Imperial Mother-in-law. Meanwhile the office of the grand vizierate was itself abolished and replaced by the Astabadh, an official responsible for diplomacy, tax collection, negotiation with the provinces, economic development and the overseeing of construction works.
The Third Euran War, commenced in 1693 AN, had proceeded dismally for the Suren. The Gendarmes and Popular Levy struggled to contain the influx of Zeedic infantry, disguised as Tudeh guerrilla fighters, while Constancia, shocked at the loss of six corvettes in quick succession, had limited its engagement in the conflict to the provision of air support and tactical advisors. While Nouvelle Alexandrie remained ostensibly neutral, the transfer of armaments to the Surenid under the Fontainebleau Accords, especially of large numbers of light attack aircraft, had helped blunt a rapid Zeedic advance on Surenshahr during 1694 AN. The death of the Surenshah on 24.VII of the same year, slain in a contrived dual that was staged on the margins of the Humanist Convention, upended the political situation in the Suren Confederacy. Menaced by the prospect of collapse and a swift Zeedic revolutionary takeover, the disorientated Surenid court had meekly acquiesced when the Trans-Euran Command had installed the late Shah's sister, Mitradokht on the throne, backed by the Constancian Foreign Legion, a team of advisors from the Honourable Company, and such partisans of the N&H as could be assembled into a Vanguard Division.
A combination of allied air power, and the use of raiding parties to hit the over-extended Zeedic supply lines, was able to further stymie the insurgent cause. The termination of the Second Elwynnese Civil War had further underscored the futility of continued fighting on the part of the Anti-Pact forces, however the brutal nature of the Scouring, and the adverse reaction of allies and neutrals alike, had precluded the possibility of similar methods being brought to bear against the enemy here - especially when the Suren were living amongst the tainted legacy of a continent whose ancient civilisation had been brought low by the use of atomic weaponry in the pursuit of internecine strife.
By 1699 AN, now with the full support of Constancia and Nouvelle Alexandrie through the Trans-Euran Command and the Euran Economic Union, the course of the war had turned firmly in the favour of the Suren, and a counteroffensive had pushed deep into Zeedic territory. However this progress was still not enough to satisfy the Shahbanu Mitradokht, as the grizzly execution of Paykar Khan - disembowelled on a windlass for querying an order to invade a country of steep mountainous valleys in the height of winter - amply demonstrated.
In spite of the calibre of leadership which the Surenid were obliged to endure, the Confederation was able to endure the privations of the war and emerge amongst the ranks of the victors with the 1701 Armistice of Alduria City, even if not wholly satisfied with its portion of the allocated spoils.
In 1704 AN the remnants of the Lashkar-e-Yazatá were permitted to return from Benacia, following their decimation in the Second Elwynnese Civil War and integrated into the Military of the Suren Confederacy. Although still considered ideologically suspect, the experience of these veterans of combined arms and mechanised warfare was felt to be too valuable of a boon for the Surenids to refuse, considering the primitive and essentially pre-modern character of the Confederacy's armies, as evidenced during the Third Euran War. The humiliation of relying upon Constancia for material assistance, advisors, and air support, had wounded the psyche of the ruling classes of the Suren deeply. Modernisation, haphazardly implemented, if at all, previously, would now become a primary focus of the state.
The Majles was obliged to pass the Act for the Repression of Daevas in 1707 AN after the Shahbanu fell into a bout of severe ill-health reported to have been a respiratory illness. For whatever reason this illness was attributed to the influence of malicious arcana, and in consequence the Surenstan Palace and the government complexes of Surenshahr were subjected to rigorous rites of purification after the Zurvanite fashion whilst the court and harem was terrorised by the hunt for suspected warlocks and practitioners of black magic. Obliged to demonstrate sympathy for this outbreak of royal paranoia, and to deflect suspicion from their own ranks, the Majles was quick to formulate and enact legislation mandating death for all practitioners of the supernatural arts, including diviners, fortune tellers, and the sellers of charms.
A durbar was held at Mehrshahr on 1.VII.1708 AN where the armed hosts of the satraps, accompanied by their khans and emirs, their begs and pashas, their generals and their retainers, and myriad throngs of followers and hangers-on, descended upon the city to present their demands to the Committee of Euran Salvation, who had been introduced into the Royal Shahyiar Palace at the instigation of Esmeralda al-Osman. The satraps had grown suspicious and fearful of their position, with the abrupt arrival of high-level Constancian and Zeedic delegations in their city of Mehrshahr claiming executive powers following on so swiftly after the sickness that had afflicted their Shahbanu in the preceding year. The suspicion had grown amongst the satraps that the Bab-e Dīvān, the central executive in Surenshahr had fallen under Constancian influence.
Ulugh Beg, the Farmandar of Aspadana, was elected by the durbar to serve as its speaker. The satraps and notables had occupied the Old Kamalshahr Fortress whilst their host camped in the ruins of the Zoroastrian Quarter, to the south of the former course of Subjugation of Sathrati Avenue. At the broken bridge known as the Vasa-i Nadi, Ulugh Beg met with Kalkul Sahib, the Surenid Shahbanu, husband of the Shahbanu, and designated negotiator of the Committee of Euran Salvation, and presented the demands of the durbar, these being:
- The nomination of a heir to the Surenid throne, from the House of Suren;
- The proper adherence of the Suren Confederacy to the Harmonious Society Act;
- The payment of an appropriate annual subsidy by the Committee of Euran Salvation to Suren Confederacy for the duration of its residency in Mehrshahr.
The establishment of a Constancian led body in Mehrshahr stirred up resentments. For the nobility of Kapavia lived a more militant, chivalrous, and independent life than did their colleagues in western Suren. The Trans-Euran Command had been obliged to concentrate the forces of the Surenid armed forces on the frontiers with the Green and the Bassarid sphere of influence in Norasht. In consequence, the hitherto more settled regions saw fewer garrisons beyond the minimum required to maintain the semblance of urban order. Quiet sectors such as Kapavia would frequently see regiments drawn away to reinforce those stretches of frontier which tended to be enlivened by periodic bouts of tribal raiding. Where strong garrisons were retained, specifically in Merhshahr itself, relations between the conscript gendarmes, their Constancian supervising officers, and the native Babkhans were quite strained.
Critics of the Surenid regime, becoming more confident and vocal over time, maintained that the Confederacy is, in its own way, languishing under a foreign yoke every bit as real and tenable as the subjugation of Raspur to Constancia or the formal occupation of Zeed by the Raspur Pact.
The Suren remain socially conservative, as befits their Neo-Babkhan state, adhering to the stipulations of the Harmonious Society Act, as evidenced by the status of LGBT rights in the Suren Confederacy. The state religion of the Suren Confederacy is Zurvanism, although Mazdian, Yehudi, Nazarene, and Umraid minorities, may still be found in the country. The law prohibits the existence of atheists, Bassarid cultists, and daemon-worshipers. Such as are discovered are to be incarcerated for a period of forty days and forty nights, according them the opportunity to repent and ask for instruction in the Good Religion. Those who fail to do so by the end of the allotted span of days and nights are instead granted Zurvan's mercy.
Zurvanism derives from the earliest Euran religious philosophies of ancient Babkha. The message of Zurvanism, carried in scripture and the Gatha hymns, predate the teachings of the Nazarene and the Reciter by millennia. The faith taught by the Elder Zarathustra centred upon the primordial truth of the uncreated and eternal god Zurvan, the Highest Divinity and creator of all things, including Ahura Mazda and Ahriman, as well as the unceasing battle between the two opposing entities in which every facet and manifestation of creation must partake. The hierarchies of the Zurvanite priesthood, Mobads and Herbads, are embedded deeply into the fabric of the hardy communities to whose needs they minister, and their devotion to preserving both the purity of the souls of their congregations and the atash flames to which they tend means that the are ever vigilant for the first signs of corruption in man and beast. It is the Zurvanite clergy who bless the knives that end the lives of those poor wretches who succumb to the mutations occasioned by the radiological horrors which persist even to this very day, over a century after the atomic immolation of Old Babkha.
The etiquette of Surenid, and indeed Euran, social interactions and relationships remain bound up in the old Babkhan fixation with hierarchy and status, expressed in the intricacies of the ta'arof - a word that essentially means the obligation of politeness. Offers of gifts and hospitality by a Surenid should be declined with polite apologies for three times in a row. If a Surenid persists in making a generous offer after the third refusal it may be treated as being sincere. Shopkeepers have been known to get themselves into trouble by 'refusing' payment only to find that a Constancian traveller has taken them at their word and sought to briskly depart the premises with the proffered goods firmly grasped in their hands.
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