The Khezeratt of the Sun and Stars
“It is through the trials of this life that one receives the blessings of the Sun.It is through the cultivation of our minds, bodies, and spirits that those blessings can unlock the Paths of the Stars.”
Master Solesh Ventra
The Khezeratt (Key-Zer-aht) of the Sun & Stars is a religious theocracy that has, as its guiding principle, the ideal that it is through self-actualization that the soul is blessed. And through that blessing, the soul is granted access to walk among the stars when it is released from the mortal life. These principles have percolated throughout the structure of the society and have dominated the cultural imperatives that govern the nation. The Sun-King is both Head of State and High Priest (Primus of the First Order) of the Khezeratt and its state religion.
Though the early history of the Khezeratt is lost to the Fracture, it is well repeated lore that the unified Khezera (Key-zar-uh) of today were once several different tribes. They came together in a time of strife and became bound by prophecy as they traveled the Terminus Arcs to seek out a homeworld. According to legend, those on the Haj were led by a man called the Hebdomad Prophet who claimed that they were a chosen people who one day would be blessed to walk the path of the stars under the glory of the Sun. Only by overcoming hardship and being better for it would one gain the blessings of Solesin Varinkhar, the Sun-God.
At long last the Khezera settled on the desert world of An-Tesh and founded The Khezeratt of the Sun and Stars. Over the many centuries since it has expanded to dozens of other worlds and become one of the Six Nations of the galaxy. Those who live in The Khezeratt are known as the People of the Sun, regardless of their Species.
Traditional Colors and Costuming:
Loose flowing garments of desert hues of tan, brown, grey, and beige. Often with darker cloaks or coverings for the heads protect from the heat and glare in the open desert. The colors of the fiery sunset are the ones most commonly used for decoration.
Arrakis, Persia, Bedouin, Nomads.
The Way of the Sun and Stars
Religion and Government
As a theocracy, The Khezeratt’s religion and its government are intertwined. To move up the ranks in one is to move up in the other. This process culminates in the present day Sun-King who presides over the day to day lives of the citizenry as well as their immortal souls.
The Septenary Orders
All People of the Sun are considered a member of one of the seven orders that make up society and religion. Each Order deals with a different aspect of life in The Khezeratt and interacting with them is part and parcel of daily life for an average citizen. In addition to civic functions, the Orders each strive to master and teach one of the seven Ways of the Sun and Stars that combine to form a pathway to the soul’s ascension.
There is, however, a distinction between passive membership in an Order and becoming an active participant with sworn vows. Most People of the Sun go their entire lives without swearing vows to an Order, but doing so is a requisite to be able to rise through its ranks. Each Order has the same basic structure. Once the vow of service has been taken the individual becomes an Acolyte. Once the Acolyte has learned the basic lessons to carry out their duties within their Order they are eligible to become a Disciple. In turn, Priors oversee many Disciples. From there the Orders use different ranks depending on their particular focus in The Khezeratt. For Example, the Sixth Order has Brother and Sister Commanders who lead warriors into battle and the Second Order has Prelates who oversee large departments within the government’s bureaucracy. Each Order answers to a singular leader, called the Primus, who answers to the Sun-King. The Sun-King, himself, Primus of the First Order.
The First Order and the Way of Perfection
The First Order is dedicated purely to matters of religion. Its various priests are responsible for leading religious observances and daily benedictions to The Sun, Solesin Verakhar. They also preside over blessing the dead, tending to temples and shrines, and religious education.
The most sacred place to the First Order, and the entire Khezeratt, is the Crystal Prism atop the Temple of the Sun. It is the first thing touched by the rays of the morning sun and is the conduit by which the souls of the departed leave for the Paths of the Stars.
During High Holy Days the Sun-King himself will personally lead services, bringing the direct blessings of the heavens to his people.
The Second Order and the Way of Precision
The Second Order is charged with the task of administering the general bureaucracy of The Khezeratt. Members of the Order must balance the desires and needs of the various other Orders and the commandments of the Sun-King. As a result of this experience in finding compromise, The Second Order provides most of the diplomats of the Khezeratt.
The Third Order and the Way of Prosperity
The Third Order is in charge of all matters relating to economics, finance, currency, farming, and trade. They set rates of exchange, tariffs, taxes. They also make up the vast majority of merchant houses in the Khezeratt. All resource management and resource exploitation is derived through the Third Order, this includes all farming and animal husbandry.
The Fourth Order and the Way of Contemplation
The Fourth Order is made up of scholars, librarians, historians, and the students of the Arcane. All studies of the ancients are done by members of the fourth order and it’s the order that provides most of the man power for exploration.
The Fifth Order and the Way of Eminence
The Fifth Order is the order of the law. Those who enshrine the law, those who judge the guilty and those who prosecute or defend the judged. Magistrates, barristers, and clerks generally come from the Fifth Order. The Second and Fifth Orders often work directly together, sharing space in local government buildings.
The Sixth Order and the Way of Righteousness
The Sixth Order is the order of warriors, sorcerers, assassins, spies and generals. It is the Sixth Order that maintains protective forces among the Worlds of the Khezeratt and is answerable to the Second Order for maintaining order among the population in times of unrest. The Sixth Order works with the First Order to root out Heretics and those that work against the Sun-King.
The Seventh Order and the Way of the Muse
The Seventh Order is comprised of artists and craftsman of all kinds. Poets, sculptors, painters, coopers, masons, and a vast array of others all fall within the purview of the Seventh Order.
Cultural Ethos and Moral Virtues
There are four pillars of the Khezeratt culture that help shape their interactions with each other and outsiders.
The Highest moral virtue that one of can attain is the perfection of the self. It is not expected of every person that they manage to attain perfection but it is expected for everyone to always be better tomorrow than they were yesterday. It is the effort of will, the strengthening of the body, and the purity of spirit that invites the blessings of the Sun and Stars.
Also central to the ethos of the Khezeratt is the cultural and religious imperative of hospitality. While it is important that one strives against adversity to improve, it is only through the meshing of individuals into a society that true greatness can be achieved. Furthermore, during the Haj and after the settlement of An-Tesh no one would have survived had not all the strong helped those in moments of weakness. For if the weak do not survive then the strong will weaken and wither as well, and then only the carrion prosper. The long journey and the difficulties of establishing themselves on a new world have always been remembered, and the imperative of hospitality is one of the ways that the lesson has been kept alive.
There is a saying in the Khezeratt that each person should have the temperment of Wolves and Lambs. To thine enemy be like the wolf. With tooth and claw be their demise. To thy friend be as the Lamb, gentle and serene. Bring not the ways of conflict to the door of your brother but meet he that would seek your harm with the fury the storm such that they are unable to ever set foot upon the path of the Stars.
“As the Khezera would stand in the track of a merciless foe so to protect their family from harm, so also should they speak naught but the truth lest they drive their own mind to the darkness of ignorance” The Hebdomad Prophet commands that truth be the standard of speech among the Khezara and so the Khezeratt has become a Nation known for its honesty. To willfully lie or knowing speak falsehoods diminishes one's spirit and puts into jeopardy one's likelihood to set foot on the path of the Stars.
There are dozens of worlds that make up the Khezeratt. Some are inhabited solely by Khezera and some are shared with species from other nations. Below are some of the more important of the worlds politically, economically, or culturally to the Khezeratt of the Sun & Stars.
The first world of the Khezeratt, An-Tesh, was foretold by the Hebdomad Prophet as the crucible that would bring the Khezera to the grace of the Solesin Varinkhar. It is a dry and harsh world filled with sand, rock, and mountains. The main sources of water on An-Tesh are the polar ice caps and mountain rivers. Most of the population lives in two cities, Mandisa and Resef, or in villages in the mountains. There are some small groups that live nearer to the deep desert but these are mostly nomadic groups that shift with the sands.
The Capital of An-Tesh, and the entire Khezeratt, is the palace of Radiant Light which sits at the center of the city of Mandisa (Man-Dee-sah). The Palace is one of the only multi story buildings in the city and the Crystal Prism atop it’s highest spire can be seen for many miles away as it refracts the light from the Sun.
An-Tesh is the home for both the First & Second order as they work closely together to administer to the spiritual and civic lives of the People of the Sun.
Major exports of An-Tesh include Terminus crystals, building products of stone and sand, and semi precious gems from the mountains in the north
Bajwa is the second settled world of the Khezeratt. Smaller and more temperate than An-Tesh with large forests at the higher latitude and many lakes and rivers, it offers a stark contrast to the harshness of the nation's capital. Many of the wealthiest people within the Khezeratt either live or have homes on Bajwa.
Sitting at the foot of the Khovar mountain range, the capital city of Bajwa is Ankov and it is there that the Third Order has its main headquarters. Most of the merchant houses of the Khezeratt began on Bajwa or moved there to be closer to the Third Order and closer to their rivals.
Major exports of Bajwa include timber and quarried marble.
Varin is one of the last worlds brought in to the Khezeratt. It was chosen for its potential as an agricultural center. Most of the world has yet to be developed and remains wild. There is a bit of a frontier feel about the world even in those part of it that are more developed. Bariel is the capital of Varin and mostly houses storage for merchant houses and a Terminus Arc Node. The Third Order oversees most of the farming and herding on Varin.
Major exports of Varin include food products, spices, and wool.
Omniel is a semi arid world settled early in the expansion of the Khezeratt. Omniel is the location of the Septin Keep, the main fortress of the Bright Star Academy where the Sixth Order trains their disciples in the art of war. Many other people besides members of the Sixth Order live on Omniel but the main economy of the world is centered around trade with The Septin Keep and the Order members there. The Bright Star Academy is said to have a library in the keep that is small, but dedicated to rare manuscripts.
Omniel has no noteworthy exports.
Sareash is a small lush world that the Khezeratt shares with the Tri-Star Hegemony. The three cities that the Khezeratt maintain on Sareash specialize in a specific type of crafting intended for export:
Khabeer specialises in the refining of Terminus crystals.
Hissa specialises in crafting jewelry from precious and semi precious stones wrought in silver and gold.
Majeed specialises in the crafting of high quality arms and armor.
The People of the Sun and Others
The People of the Sun (Sometimes shortened to “The People”), both Khezera and other Species that have come to live in the Khezeratt, have lived for countless generations with the world of An-Tesh as their home and the spiritual center of their realm. Though not native to the world, the People were inexorably shaped by the harsh desert terrain of the world once they settled there and even those who do not live on An-Tesh keep it in their hearts and as a reminder that only through righteousness is the path of the Stars open to one’s soul.
The People are a hard people when strength is called for, fierce in battle and honest in council even when the outcome is bleak. Socially they elevate hospitality and generosity to a religious mandate, for one whose heart is closed to a friend or beggar in need has not the ability to hear the blessings of the Sun-King. Thus, when one of them is helped or granted hospitality they are deeply honored and will hold it as their duty to return the generosity and to defend those who have granted it.
Sun and sand being the two most dominant feature of the world; the people of An-Tesh tend to wear loose flowing garments of desert hues of tan, brown, grey, and beige. They often use darker cloaks or coverings for their heads to protect them from the heat and glare in the open desert. For decoration, the People of the Sun will use the colors of the fiery sunset as it burns it’s way into night.
The People on An-Tesh have traditionally lived in one of three places and have referred to themselves as such. There are those of the towns and cities called the Moraki (the People of the Walls), those of the mountains called the Ashraki (the People of the Teeth), and the people of the deep desert called the Varaki (the People of the Erg). There is not really a hierarchy of caste between the three people of the Khezeratt. It is mostly an awareness of self and a statement of where one comes from. Even those whose families have lived off world for generations know from which of the three they come from and each is rightly proud of their heritage.
The vast majority of the population of the Khezeratt is made up of the Khezera Species. However, the galaxy is vast and so the relatively tiny minority of non-Khezera who live within the Khezeratt are in sufficient numbers that it is possible to see almost any Species as one of the People of the Sun. They may be recent immigres or have family lines dating back hundreds of years in the Nation. In addition, like all of the Six Nations, at any given moment there may be visitors, tourists, academics, diplomats, merchants, and the like that do not call the Khezeratt home but are present nonetheless.
A heretic is one of the People of the Sun who has acted with intention and willful malice against the Khezeratt from within, or has attempted to bring about the fall of the Sun-King himself. Simply emigrating to another Nation does not make one a Heretic. The Way of Perfection of the First Order teaches that when those of the People leave the Khezeratt they embark on an opportunity to bring the light of Solesin Varinkhar to those who may dwell in shadow.
The established worship of other Gods is illegal within the Khezeratt. Those of other faiths who visit, such as merchants and tourists, are not subject to such laws as long as they keep their own beliefs private and are not seen as proselytizing. Indeed, An-Tesh is known to attract religious scholars of many denominations specifically to exchange knowledge and engage in lively, respectful, debate.
The law, however, is very strict if it is believed that a religion is seeking some kind of foothold. As a result, the only temples or shrines to other faiths within the Khezeratt are hidden and secret, always concerned about their potential discovery by the Fifth and Sixth Orders. Dae’Kos is the most common of these hidden places of worship for a Monastery is very easy to mask as a gathering hall, school, or even a warehouse.
Within the Khezeratt, Golems are slaves. They are the property of their owner regardless of the Golem’s capacity to reason. There are no sanctions prescribed by law for the “mistreatment” of Golems as the destruction of one's own property is not a transgression though it is culturally looked upon as a weakness of character. There is no normal path to freedom for a Golem that has become sentient. It is theoretically within the purview of the Sun-King to grant such a thing, but as a Golem cannot petition for audience on its own accord there is little chance for it to ever come to pass.
The Sun-King has declared it to be an act of grace to render aid to one of those who has been afflicted with leprosy and the People have been known to open their doors to lepers from outside the Khezeratt who have been shunned by their own people. There is a rank of Blood Witches within the First Order, overseen by the Sun-King, whose mandate is to care for all lepers who seek their aid.
People of Note within the Khezeratt
The Sun-King leads the Khezeratt, in accordance with the teachings of the Hebdomad Prophet, from the Radiant Palace on An-Tesh. Forty-nine years ago the Sun-Queen passed away peacefully in her bed at the venerable age of sixty-four. Over the course of the next year the People of the Sun mourned her passing and celebrated her soul’s passage to the Paths of the Stars. Afterwards it was time for a new ruler. In a process spanning weeks, and the dozens of worlds of the Khezeratt, the Sun-King was elected by avowed members of the First Order and the Primuses of the other six. In sacred rites he left behind his old identity, order, and name and took up the mantle of Primus of the First Order, Keeper of the Way of Perfection, Speaker of the Hebdomad Prophecies, and Guardian of the Way of the Sun and Stars.
Hasam Nazari, Primus of the Second Order
Hasam is an ambitious, yet deeply faithful, man who is said to be looking at the Radiant palace with intentions of being the next Sun-King. Hasam comes from a poorer family from Varin and has rumoured to have worked his way to the position of Primus through diligence and dedication to the Second Order. It is fairly common knowledge that Hasam holds no love for Zahara Shaheen, the Primus of the Third Order.
Zahara Shaheen, Primus of the Third Order
Zahara is the eldest daughter of a wealthy merchant family from Bajwa. It is generally assumed that she reached her position of Primus as a result of her parentage rather than her own merit. However, she has been Primus for thirteen years and the economy of the Khezeratt has been stable and growing each of those years.
There is discontent among the major merchant houses in the past two years due to restrictions imposed on harvesting certain types of resources throughout the Khezeratt.
Gamal Malek, Primus of the Fourth Order
Chief archivist of the Khezeratt, Gamal is a quiet and thoughtful man usually found buried in stacks of books. He can also, often, be found collaborating in research projects with scholars of the Concordia Illuminata. He is Faranzod Malek’s brother and known as being considerably more mild and calm.
Faranzod Malek, Primus of the Sixth Order
Faranzod is a loud brash warrior who is known to be a war hawk and a bit of a nationalist. Brother to Gamal Malek, Faranzod is known to be vocally disdainful of his brother’s non-violent temperament.
Toulis Rilik, Master Merchant
Toulis is the head of the Kamaal Merchant House. She is wealthy but is the first to ever lead the merchant house who was not born to the Kamaal family. The Kamaal Merchant House is known as one of the primary exporters of refined Terminus crystals out of Sareash.
The general attitude of the Khezeratt of the Sun and Stars towards the other nations is wariness. Culturally, the People of the Sun see themselves as a chosen people and everyone else as, at the least, pitiable for their inability to walk the Path of the Stars. Despite this, or perhaps in part because of it, individuals of the Khezeratt will tend to be warm and hospitable to most people as long as they themselves are treated with respect. As a whole, the Khezeratt believe that theirs is the true path but at least some profitable trade can be had before the eventual and inevitable failure of all other nations happens.
The Hotanga Alliance
The Khezeratt thinks that the Hotanga Alliance is generally weak of character but they create high quality golems so the Khezeratt does a brisk trade with them anyway
The People of the Sun don’t really understand the structure of the Calid Circle and are suspicious of the practice of leadership by age instead of merit. But they see strength in the warriors and that is both a source of fascination and concern.
Sovereignty of Riavan
Like the Khezeratt itself, the Sovereignty of Riavan is built upon a foundation of religious teaching. It may be the wrong faith, and the Sovereignty may allow other religions as well, but at least there is a similarity between the two Nations of valuing faith in civic life.
Republic of Illara
Illarans tend to project an air of superiority that creates an undertone of distaste among the People of the Sun. Furthermore, the Conclave of the Universal Sun is held within the Republic and that is a perpetual sore point for the proud citizens of the Khezeratt.
The Khezera respect the structure of the Tri-Star Hegemony and the way in which they do business. There’s a strength to the Hegemony’s practices that the Kheeratt respect.