Old Empire, The Benighted Kingdom
Zyrr (Nor Kàlas Zyrr) lies beyond the Snaking Pass at the headwaters of the Run Neðyzan. Here stirs a dark place enclosed between forbidding mountain walls. Pale villages dot the colorless landscape. The ghostly inhabitants don’t seem to wave so much as motion for you to return from whence you came.
The Land of Zyrr is unique among its siblings as it is not centered around any one city or temple. The people of this region worship their High Lord as a god; and by the tenets of the Council, the High Lord is ranked within the ancient pantheon. High Lord Zyrr commands this unwelcoming region from the City of Morn, within the Nūlēun Vale. Each of the towns within Zyrr are built around a circle where one of the High Lord’s thrones stand; threatening that the Lord will come again.
Zyrri priests are known as the Shroud, after their bleak and featureless vestments. The priests exist in all corners of the land, carrying out the edicts and delivering the will of the High Lord Zyrr. In more recent times the Shroud acts as a ruling body (i.e., magocracy), and is believed to carry out the wishes and intent of the elusive High Lord. The Shroud’s operations are based in Dis, Zyrr’s largest city. The Citadel of the High Lord however, stands in Morn, Zyrr’s oldest city.
Since the fifth century, Zyrr has attracted students and scholars alike as a repository for arcane lore. The libraries of Dis and Erzynul are among the finest in Teréðor, second only to the Halls of Panæð and the Iron Library of Oð (which although extensive is not devoted to the lore of the arcane). Unlike the others, the Zyrri libraries are relatively open to all those who wish to study the Chaos. With the destruction of the Great Circle of Ildûn in 1246 HK, the libraries of Zyrr are more important than they once were.
- Type – Theocratical Magocracy (The Shroud)
- Ruler – High Lord Zyrr (Eternal Pall) and the Shroud
- Capital – City of Morn
- Cities – Dis (47,260), Morn (18,400), Shallath (13,330), Erzynul (12,000), Nulm (10,230)
- Calendar – Dekàli Reckoning (DR)
- Festivals – …
- Population – Zyrryr (650 DR) 630,600
- Races – (Yrūn 83%, Dwürden 5%, Ortor 3%, Gnor 2%, Werrid 2%, Odárad 1%, Eylfāe 1%, other 3%)
- Ethnicities – …
- Languages – Zyrric
- Religions – Zyrr
- Currency – Rôn (1.0d)
- Imports – Livestock, paper, produce, slaves, spices, textiles
- Exports – Armor, glass, gold, iron, raw minerals, silver, weapons
- Nūlēun Vale
Zyrr became a city-state of the Old Empire in 376 HK. Before that time, the region had been held as a territory of Dekàlas following its conquering by Rûn in the first century. The area was held in limbo from 103 HK until its admittance as a state because both Ummon and Kændal laid claim to the region. It wasn’t until 184 HK when a descendant of the region’s fallen rulers returned from studies in Lyrast arrived that the region began to form its own identity within the scope of the Old Empire. The man was arrested and taken to Kændal where he was imprisoned for over twenty years. In 207 HK, the man was released by order of the Council of Ildûn who recognized him as a fellow “scholar” and convinced the authorities that he would be no further threat.
After sometime in Ildûn, the man returned to the disputed territory. Over the years, interest in the region waned and the forceful Dekàlan presence could not be maintained. Neither Kændal or Ummon wished to spend resources on a territory they could not claim and reap the rewards from. During this period, from about 220-370 HK, the region grew and garnered the reputation as a “free” land. The region attracted runaways and outcasts. On several occasions, Dekàlan armies were marched into the land to quell uprisings and to reassert control, but still no final decisions were made. Part of the indecisiveness on the part of the High King was probably due to the fact that the regions resources and taxes flowed directly to Lanàdus, offering an excess of money and goods for the island city-state, and empire.
During this time, the people of the region became increasingly aware and in awe of a figure living in the City of Morn. Stories circulated that the man was extremely long-lived and a descendant of the ruling families, now conquered almost 250 years ago. Though not a political figure (as far as Dekàlas was concerned) the man held great power within the region and was not crossed by any of the competing factions, ever. In the Summer of 372 HK the man sent emissaries to Lanàdus pleading the case for a new city-state before the High King. The emissaries further offered that he who called himself Zyrr would humbly accept the honor of becoming the city-state’s first High Lord. All but one of the messengers was executed. So every year, from 373 until 375 another dispatch of messengers was sent with the same offering. In 376 HK, Zyrr himself made the trip alone to Lanàdus (via Ildûn) and gained audience with the High King. The royal ledgers are sketchy on the content of their meeting but after a short time they adjourned to private chambers to discuss the matter at length. After days of conference, the High King decreed (to the dismay of the Council) that a new city-state would be formed between the city-states of Ummon and Kændal, and it would be named Zyrr, for the man who would be its first High Lord.
The Zyrri Decree was met with surprise and suspicion in every city and state that it reached. Even among the High King’s counselors there was talk that the mysterious Zyrr must have employed powerful magics to bring about this development. Raising suspicions to a higher level, the Council of Ildûn met for their first emergency council so that they could vote their approval and support of the High King’s most wise decision. The Council of Lanàdus immediately saw this as an encroachment on their powers, as all city-states (except Zyrr) were jointly ruled by a Temple. Whatever had transpired, the High King’s word was law and the new city-state was formed. Zyrr returned to the land that now bore his name and prepared for his next miracle, convincing the Council of Lanàdus that he should be admitted into the Dekàlan pantheon thus securing himself within the chain of royalty, the sirkūlī dragàdir, and the Council of Lanàdus.
In 419 HK, the High Lord’s plans began to unfold. The Shroud, a group of magician-priests formed by decree shortly following the High Lord’s return to his city-state (circa 379 HK), had swiftly grown in number within each city and town of Zyrr. They served as magistrates, priests, and teachers throughout Zyrr. About 419 HK, the Shroud began a set of daily rituals of homage to their High Lord, which Dekàlan priests traveling through the region reported as heretically close to prayer. Messengers sent to Zyrr concerning the practice returned without answers to their questions. By 422 HK, the Council of Lanàdus organized a holy crusade to see an end to the practice and to bring the High Lord (who some claimed to be the same man crowned 46 years earlier) before the Council for High Judgment (as was their right in matters of a religious nature). The crusaders pushed north and west through the Snaking Pass in the Winter of 422 HK. Instead of being met with an army as they were prepared, they were met by a single man wandering through along the snowy shores of the Run Nethyzan. The man was brought before the commander because the soldiers could not understand his words. When presented, the man introduced himself as the God Zyrr.
The crusaders arrested the High Lord and turned back toward the Snaking Pass. The God-man did not resist but did tell the commander that he was unable to leave the region. The High Lord explained that no-one enters or leaves the Nūlēun Vale without his knowledge or wishes. The story continues that as the commander looked up he saw his vanguard soldiers and horses erupt into ghostly white fire as they entered the pass. The crusader priests tried to weave sendings, but all attempts were blocked. The Chaos was not responding to their prayers. The commander, filled with the fear of Irāyn his God and the just and unquestionable cause to thwart this corrupting hubris, plunged his holy sword into the High Lord’s abdomen. Both stood still for sometime, staring at one another. Slowly fear crept across the paladin’s face and as Zyrr pulled the unbloodied blade from his gut, the commander dropped to his knees and wept. All that stood around then watched as the God-man Zyrr pulled the man to his feet with one hand and kissed him saying, “You have done more for me with this one act, then I have been able to do in centuries.” Stepping away from the paladin, Zyrr stopped and turned again adding, “But, for looking me in the eye, you may not be suffered to live.” With that pronouncement the paladin erupted in the unholy ghost fire. The remaining crusaders dropped to the ground, their eyes averted. The High Lord commanded them to return to Lanàdus and instruct the Council that priests would arrive there in the coming year. They were to be met as honored priests, and one would be chosen to sit upon the Council. No further excuses, insults or obstruction would be tolerated. “A God walks among the men of the Empire.” This moment, referred to as Zyrr’s Annunciation, is the last reported appearance of the God though many believe that high ranking members of the Shroud meet with the High Lord.
In 423 HK a contingent of Shroud priests arrived at Lanàdus. By the Summer of that year one was placed on the Council of Lanàdus. The others returned home.
The dynamics that existed between Zyrr and the rest of the Old Empire are not clear. It is believed for instance, that Zyrr cannot leave the region of his rule, so he could never be crowned High King (and never has). The “priests” that sit upon the Council of Lanàdus are by all accounts wizards, not clerics, though they are labeled as such. Spellcasting priests that visited Zyrr have all reported the same phenomena of inaccessibility to divine magics while in the Nūlēun Vale. This phenomena has never been reported across the World of Teréth End in another region so large (though it is not unheard of that divine magics are blocked in holy places devoted to other gods).
Following the collapse of the Old Empire, Zyrr has continued to exist without much change. With the exception of the encroachment of Nalðàzam to the east, the Zyrr live as they have for centuries. There are those that speculate that the High Lord was involved with the appearance of the City of Black Flames. Whether this is true or not is unknown. What is known is that people and soldiers from Ummon wishing to continue through the Snaking Pass must now do so with Shroud escort, for the darkness there cannot be penetrated by torches or lanterns. For this reason, the Shroud have begun appearing outside Zyrr. In Horkoral, Shroud escorts may be hired to guide adventurers, caravans and ships along the Run Valan. While passing through Zyrr, the escorts have the added duty of leading travelers in the daily rituals of prayer to the High Lord.
(Zyr) The Territory of Zyrr, 103-220 HK
- 103 HK, 4/1712 ER; (Zyr) Zyrr becomes territory of the Old Empire
- 184 HK, 4/1793 ER; (Zyr) Zyrr returns from Lyrast
- 207 HK, 4/1816 ER; (Zyr) Zyrr is released from prison with influence from Council of Ildûn
(Zyr) The Succession Wars, 220-370 HK
- 220 HK, 4/1829 ER; (Zyr) Skrimish embroiled region seeks independence, but uprisings repeatedly quashed by Dekàli forces
- 372 HK, 4/1981 ER; (Zyr) Lord Zyrr sends first emissaries to Lanàdus petitioning statehood
- 376 HK, 4/1985 ER; (Zyr) Lord Zyrr travels to Lanàdus; Zyrr becomes city-state of Dekàlas
- 423 HK, 4/2032 ER; (Zyr/Lan) Shroud approaches Council of Lanàdus, Zyrr elected to pantheon
- 1246 HK, 4/2855 ER; (Ild) Kyrm Orydràun and the Great Circle are destroyed
- 564 DR, 4/3419 ER; (Zyr) Appearance of Nalðàzam
Nomenclature: Zyrr Dekàlic: Zyrr (place), Zyrri (pertaining to), Zyrryn (resident), Zyrryr (people), Zyrric (language)