"Amber fields of grain, lush forests, and clear winding rivers teeming with life. The cities, elegant and beautiful, but some of those forests are filled with monsters, and the kindest smile and softest silks of the city can easily hide razor edged steel." -The Traveler's Guide to Soi
Kushan is a politically isolationist empire on the southeastern edge of the Eastern Block, and one of the two nations responsible for the construction and upkeep of the Great Wall. They are a mostly peaceful society that emphasizes loyalty and caring to one's family and piety towards elders. Outside of their empire, they are best known for the Great Kushani Wall, which surrounds their entire nation and prevents all unauthorized travel in and out of their borders.
Kushan produces an enormous amount of exported cash crops and medicine that is consumed by the rest of Soi. They are a highly superstitious people, and have the largest diversity of biomorphs.
The Kushani government is a meritocracy in which the leaders of the centralized government are selected with a battery of mental and social tests to determine the most fit for leadership.
Their seat of government is the Forbidden City, living place of the Pheonix, the Immortal that manages the country. The Phoenix, as the eldest of Kushan, is regarded as a bastion of wisdom and guidance.
The leadership of many towns and smaller pockets of Kushani civilization mostly rely on local leadership without the guiding hand of nobles. These towns mostly govern themselves through group consensus. These towns are generally left alone, sending their taxes in mostly the form of grains or whatever the village produces.
These townships are generally never farther away from a day's ride from the local Imperial army garrison. In the case of instances where a town cannot decide on legal matters, aid is called. Local lords may send representatives to preside over hearings.
- Kushani citizens are known for having exceptionally long and healthy if simple lives due to their easy access to medicinal plants, food, and caring family structures.
Noble families and lords are a mostly autonomous ruling class of Kushan. They collect the taxes and materials from the common peoples of Kushan and deliver them where the bureaucracy of the Forbidden city decrees their taxes should go. They are responsible for the well-being of the peoples living on their lands, and often command the Imperial army outposts stationed in the area.
- All nobles, while they have limited command over Imperial forces, often have their own small private armies.
- Power struggles between regional nobles are rare but often occur with quiet wars and privately contracted assassins.
Kushani Royal family
The Royal circle is the central leadership and massive extended family that lives within the Forbidden City of Kushan. The family is vast, numbering in the hundreds with dozens of branches. Nearly all of them can trace their lineage back to the Phoenix.
Each member of the royal family is expected to be extremely proficient in some art f,rom the natural sciences or economics to warfare. Without a honed skill or talent, one risks being disowned from the family and cast out of the Forbidden City to some corner of Kushan to become a regional noble. In some cases, people of extraordinary talent will be added to the family by way of marriage.
This family of scholars, philosophers, warriors and scientists comprise the leadership structure of Kushan. The family is incredibly susceptible to bickering as hundreds of voices commanding the direction of the nation often disagree with each other. These disagreements often end in intricate assassination plots or the systemic dismantlement of a rivals power structure.
- The power struggles over the direction of Kushan is often referred to as the "silent war" due to the preferred method of hiring stealthy assassins and conspiracy.
The Immortal which founded the Kushani Empire
- The Phoenix is most often found at the Great Library cataloging and studying the worlds accumulated knowledge.
- Gifts of books or new knowledge are prized and often greatly rewarded.
The Kushani economy is primarily based in their agrarian society. A combination of rich, fertile land, mild climate, advanced farming techniques, and biomorph research has allowed Kushan to be the largest producer of cash crops and exported food on the surface of Soi.
- While Kushan is capable of producing its own metallurgical products, it typically does not export them.
By far the largest
Many of the worlds medicinal plants such as vitaebloom and purgeleaf were developed in the bio temples of the world. During the Great War many of them were shut down due to the lack of international cooperation. Some of the few remaining active temples reside within Kushan's borders. Kushan produces massive amounts of these.
- The Ashed City-States are a large consumer of both smokable herbs and medicinal plants to treat resperatory problems.
Kushan is a prominent producer of silks, smokable herbs, pigments, and spices. These products, while small in scale compared to the grain and medicinal crops, bring in a large portion of national income. Prices however never raise above Forbidden City approved levels as to keep these items available to the vast majority of the world.
Kushani culture is one of quiet dignity, competence, and mental serenity. The culture emphasizes loyalty and discipline in everyday actions. The common folk tend to live to have long, happy, and peaceful lives, focusing on having a large, prosperous, and cooperative family. The nobles and royals jockey and compete with each other for power and favor in the eyes of the Phoenix.
The Kushani mountain ranges are home to various orders of monks. These orders often are self sufficient communes of those that study various paths of spiritual enlightenment and inner peace. They often send their more seasoned acolytes out into the world outside of Kushan's borders on pilgrimages to bring peace and knowledge to all the children of the Phoenix. They see all people's of Soi outside of the Kushani border as wayward children of their family.
- Due to the isolation and few resources of these communities, they have had to develop martial fighting styles without the use of manufactured weaponry.
The leadership of Kushan. While primarily based in lineage, the family structure itself is quite lax. Each royal must prove their worth in order to b considered worthy of leadership, and often nobles and even royals will search the countryside for talented individuals to add to their family.
Respect and Care of Elders
Kushani tend to live on average longer lives than most other nations, partially due to the abundance of food, clean water and medicine. This has led to Kushan having many living elders in in their society. They are often held up as sources of great wisdom and guidance.
Loyalty to Family
The Kushani culture stays loyal to family first, then to the village, then to the country, and ultimately to the Phoenix.
The Citizen Guard, also known as the Fist of the Phoenix is the largest militia force in Kushan and one of the largest in the civilized world. It is primarily made up of civilians armed with glaives or composite horn bows. The primary purpose of the Imperial guard is a first response to small local threats and are usually never deployed outside the great walls of Kushan.
In the case of an official muster, the guard will form up behind the Imperial Army and act as a support force. When the Imperial Guard is done with a task they typically go back to their farms. Compensation for the dead is given in the case of casualties.
- The Imperial Guard are known for being skilled archers.
- The Imperial Guard usually receives no armor, and the glaive is the primary weapon to keep attackers at bay.
- All Kushani citizens receive several years of training from the local army
The Imperial Army, or Sword of the Phoenix is the official standing army of Kushan. The Kushani Imperial Army is one of the largest organized standing armies only being comparable to the sheer numbers of the Goran or Tallet forces. The primary purpose of this army is to respond to larger threats such as possible foreign incursion or massive containment breach from haunted forests.
The Imperial Army emphasizes glaive formations, backed up by blocks of archers, similar to their Imperial Guard counterparts with the addition of more armor and training but reduced numbers. In mustered combat, the army stands in front of the Imperial Guard to break apart the bulk of enemy forces so that the guard may catch the stragglers or wounded.
- The Imperial Army makes great use of horse archers to harass the flanks of mustered enemy forces.
The Royal Guard is the elite force of the Kushani military, usually only found around the Forbidden City or escorting members of Kushani nobility.
The royal guard are highly trained individuals noted at being proficient in all arms and masters of their chosen specialty weapon.
Wing riders are the result of Kushani bio temple research into creating a flying creature large enough to carry a human being. The two surviving temples are known as the Temple of the Bat and the Temple of the Raven. Both have created massive flying creatures capable of carrying loads of up to 100-120 pounds in weight, allowing for one small human and a small amount of cargo.
- These wing riders are typically used for scouting or carrying messages of extreme importance
- Very few wing riders exist and are usually in the employ of royalty or nobles that command military bases.
Kushani nobles and royals typically keep a small menagerie of interesting and dangerous creatures, often procured from the Phoenix's personal stock. Occasionally as an intimidation tactic, they will send these creatures to the front lines and essentially point them at an opposition to cause chaos and terror among their ranks before they advance.
Relation to other nations
"We were allies once, then came the great conflict. We want peace, but the red tide only rises." -Imperial army commanderDue to the Goran tendency to expand outward with no real control or direction, the Kushan build the Great Wall to keep their western border safe and direct Goran expansion away. After the Great War, tensions still run high between the two nations and attacks on the wall are not uncommon. Incursions never make it too far inland.
- Their first attempt at diplomacy was an utter disaster due to differences in the Goran dialect.
- Despite this, some nobles still trade with Goran Godspeakers.
"We were willing to accept their Imperial contract, and merge our two peoples, then I saw how our people were treated to the taste of the lash." -Kushani RoyalThe Tallet Empire remains a steadfast trading partner with the Kushan for their grain export. They were at one point allies with the intent of forming a full merger between the two empires. During a joint governance of shared land, the Kushani were horrified at the draconian law of the Tallet and slowly withdrew.
- On occasion, Tallet forces will invade old Kushani territory in the eastern bloc, occasionally provoking a response from the Kushani army.
"We cannot hold the children responsible for the sins of the father. They are in need, they have the gold, and it would be ever so cruel of us to deny them the privilege of parting with it." -Kushani noble on tradeThe Ashed Confederacy keeps an open trade with Kushan. Any merchandise going to the Ashed is typically sold to them at a slightly higher price due to the history between the two nations and the betrayal of the Ivory Tower battle.
"Sometimes you cannot chose your family." -Kushani RoyalThe Encircled nations, and later, the Technocracy, have always been on good terms with the Kushani Government, and the Circle has been their largest trading partner throughout most of history. A relatively large number of Encircled are of Kushani and Kushani-related ethnicities, especially after Mother's Gate joined at the end of the Great War. The Kushani, however, find the Circle and the Technocracy to be "extremely annoying", especially their constant pleas for intervention in outside affairs. The Technocracy policy of not getting involved in Kushani conspiracies has earned them as much respect as it has contempt. The Kushani do, however, appreciate the Technocracy's openness to negotiation, and the seeming benevolence they show to their neighbors.
"There is a beauty to the ways of our southern neighbors. They seek a wisdom as ancient as the stars themselves."The Mamutok occasionally appear at the southern border of Kushan and are allowed inside the walls if they so wish. They are usually treated in very much the same way as the various monastic orders of Kushan would be as honored guests. The reason for this is their history of contributions to the Great Library in knowledge of mathematics and astronomy. The Kushani, along with the Circle, contribute specialized gear such as telescopes or sextants to better equip them to this task.
Whenever a young Kushani royal gets too rambunctious or out of line, it has become common practice to foster them with the mammoth tribes for a year. Officially this is to teach them dedication and serenity; unofficially it is to remove them from their positions of wealth and power and force them to learn how to focus and survive.
"The iron riders are a loud, crude, and hairy lot I would compare to packs of feral beasts rather than nobility. It pains me to hear their harsh language and their rude laughter shakes my walls. Every year I hope that we can show at least one of them how to be civil, and every year I am disappointed." -Kushani innkeeperMesquaki
"Why, no one knows who you are speaking of. No one asks that question, and I doubt you wish to become no one."The Mesquaki people were once a part of the Kushani empire during the First age before the fracturing of the outer nobles. They are often hired by the Kushani royal family to perform tasks of both benevolent and malevolent nature.
These are also known as the Phoenix's personal menageries. These are wildlife enclosures dedicated to keeping the most terrifying and dangerous looking creatures that have ever been bred into existence.
As Kushan has some of the few remaining bio temples aside from the Goran nation, they are able to continue the process of selective breeding and have continued to do so. While these temples do attempt to make useful biomorphs with practical utility, the greatest coin is gained from creating a creature that is visually disturbing and dangerous.
If it is sufficiently terrifying, it is brought before the Phoenix. If it pleases the immortal, the breeders are given a vast bounty of gold, and occasionally a title of nobility. The creature and its breeding population are then taken into the haunted forests to live and thrive.
- Haunted forests serve as the prisons for Kushan. If one survives their sentence in the haunted forest, they are released.
- Once a year, the forests are managed by a ceremonial incursion. If one species is taking too much prominence, they are either culled or relocated. Broken Kingdom knights often are invited to these cullings, or more accurately, were once invited and now show up in groups of exuberant youths each year seeking battle and conquest of Kushani women.