The Burning Sands: Shem

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Shem is a bustling trade port at the mouth of the Azure river, the only major river on the continent of Erimos. It is supplied with an abundance of fresh water, boasts massive amounts of fertile farmland, and is the heart of all trade in Erimos.

Because of the desirability of the land that it controls, the city-state of Shem must constantly be on alert against potential rivals. The military power of Shem is unrivaled on the continent, mostly thanks to an extensive reliance on slave soldiers to bolster their ranks. Slave labor, also, is the backbone of their economy. Slaves work the marshland farms around the mouth of the river and provide a food surplus that allows the city-state to trade these essential resources for boundless wealth.

All of the other city-states on the peninsula trade with Shem, but invariably there are conflicts related to the valuation of the Shemmite commodities. These conflicts often lead to war, but the military power of Shem has never before been defeated.

The government itself is lead by a Sultan, and this title is passed on via heredity. There is also a council of viziers from among the most wealthy merchant houses. The city-state is ruled with a heavy hand, and every grain and coin is counted by a merciless bureaucracy. Violation of the law, especially theft from the state, can be met with harsh punishments. It is not uncommon to see the corpses of criminals crucified along the roads leading into and out of the city itself.

The city-state also controls land along the river all of the way to its source at the Pasha Oasis, the largest oasis on the peninsula. A sizable town has grown around the oasis, called Maresh. It is large enough to be considered a city, itself. The main purpose of the settlement is to support the garrison that guards the oasis and patrols the eastern reach of the city-state’s holdings.


This is for an upcoming desert-themed sword and sorcery project that I am working on.

Stay tuned for more!

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