Khatavaar

Background:

Khaatovar is located on an island south east of Seynorea. The city sits in a shallow valley on the southern coast between two large ranges of sand dunes. Throughout its history Khaatovar and its inhabitants have always had a fierce streak of independence. The city was first built during the height of Carnax the Destroyer's domination of Ghoraja Juun, and served as the headquarters for the member of the Obsidian Circle known as "Soulreaver." Unrest was rampant throughout Soulreaver's occupation/rule of Khatovar, and various parts of the city were destroyed and rebuilt during this period. When the rebellion against Carnax's rule began, Khatovar was one of the first cities to break away. After a particularly violent uprising, Soulreaver was overthrown and driven out of the city, his lieutenants scattered.

Soon after, a mysterious figure calling themselves the "Overlord" (this individual's identity is unknown, believed at one time to have been Soulreaver in disguise. This has since been disproven, scholars now believe it to have been one of Soulreaver's lieutenants) appeared in the city with a large, experienced group of soldiers and promptly took over rule. Anyone defying the Overlords orders was either imprisoned or killed. The Overlord's soldiers, calling themselves the Black Scorpions, became both the civic guard and they army. Within two weeks order was restored in the city. The Overlord's rule was harsh, but productive. Building's ruined during the insurrections were razed and new structures built in their place, the economy slowly began to grow and Khatovar's influence began to expand. Within several years of the Overlord's takeover Khatovar had become one of the largest port cities in the region and the city prospered. Over the next 20 years Khatovar expanded its influence to encompass the entire island. Smaller towns and villages became subservient or were eliminated.

Over time the Overlord's iron-fisted rule somewhat softened, and 'less-reputable' people began to gain greater influence. Several strong thieves' guilds appeared and the 'black market' flourished. At first the Overlord tried to rid the city of these groups, but eventually realized that if Khatovar (and more importantly him/herself) were to receive a portion of their profits in turn for 'protection' it would prosper even more. As a result of this Khatovar quickly gained a reputation as a city where, for the right price, one could purchase nearly anything. The one thing that the Overlord absolutely forbid was slavery. Any slavers discovered attempting or doing business were quickly put to death, the slaves freed, and any existing profits split among the remaining slaves after the city had taken its cut. Despite the harsh policies, slavery continued, it just moved deeper into the city's "underground."

Rise of the 'Dark Market'
It was during this period that a series of caverns was discovered just below the city's main sewer lines. These caverns soon became the hub of the criminal activity in Khaatovar. Dwarves, stone giants, and other skilled creatures were hired by various factions to dig hidden passage ways to the city above as well as construct buildings within the caverns themselves. Once the work was completed, these creatures were often killed to make sure no knowledge of the construction could be discovered. This new 'town' soon attracted inhabitants of many races; shadow elves, dwarves, mind flayers, etc. began to make their homes and businesses here. This underground 'town' continued to grow and prosper and because of this the Overlord's cut of the profits from illegal activities began to shrink. After some investigation the Overlord finally discovered the existence of this underground 'town' or 'Dark Market' as he/she called it and was determined to destroy both it and the parties responsible for its creation. The overlord gathered as many of the Black Scorpions as could be spared and descended on the caverns.

The residents of the 'Dark Market' were caught somewhat unaware, while they knew they Overlord had discovered their existence, they hardly expected him to launch an attack. A fierce battle ensued, with the Overlord and the Black Scorpions making great initial gains. However, the Black Scorpions were unprepared for what they would encounter, they had expected thieves, assassins, some mercenaries and a few demi and non-humans, and while they did not encounter those they were ill prepared for groups of well-equipped shadow elves, mind flayers, a beholder, a lich, and a small horde of lesser undead. The Overlord and the lich (known as Calesta) faced off, and though Calesta was defeated the Overlord was severely weakened and the Black Scorpions ultimately decimated. In their retreat the Overlord and his remaining forces managed to collapse a few of the tunnels to the surface.

The Overlord Strikes Back
With the forces of the Overlord weakened, criminal activities within Khatovar rose to greater heights and the city's prosperity suffered. Trade fell off and many long-time resident merchants fled for safer havens. But unknown to the general population the Overlord was buying time, secretly rebuilding the Black Scorpions in distant towns. It took several years, but when ready, the newly reinforced Black Scorpions descended on Khaatovar like an avalanche. Former residents of the Dark Market, who now lived in the city above were hunted down and imprisoned. Once the round-up was complete a mass execution as ordered, nearly 600 were hanged. Once more the Overlord had donned the iron gauntlet of tyranny. Martial law was declared, curfews imposed and brutally enforced. New, stricter laws were added to the books, it took nearly two years , but nearly all influences of the Dark Market were expunged from the city and slowly Khatovar climbed back to a level of prominence that it had formerly enjoyed.

But the Dark Market was far from finished, the survivors of the Overlord's crackdown continued their business, just on a lesser, more secretive scale. In time again the Overlord's iron-fisted rule softened and since he/she was seen less and less, residents began to speculate that the Overlord was dead or dying. But, since the city was prospering, they soon stopped caring.

The Arrival of Katassah
In 1804 AG everything changed, a new resident arrived in the Dark Market. Katassah, a marilith banished to Ghoraja Juun by her balor superior, took up residence in the Dark Market, and soon became the de-facto leader. Katassah began a scheme that would gradually allow her to take control of Khaatovar itself. Slowly Katassah began to infiltrate the criminal element back into day-to-day activities in the city above. In time the Dark Market began to regain the power and influence it had once held. The Overlord however was prepared for this, and had purposely let him/herself appear to grow weak. In a surprise move the Overlord confronted Katassah in her lair at the heart of the Dark Market. This time however, their was no conflict, the Overlord was there to discuss a possible 'business arrangement.' After several rounds of discussion, some nearly so heated that fighting broke out, and uneasy but equitable bargain was reached. The Overlord, and other city officials, would 'look the other way' when it came to most Dark Market activities in return for a 15% cut of the profits. This agreement has held since.

Situation at Present
Currently Khatovar remains one of the primary economic powers on Ghoraja Juun. It's merchants sail to nearly all known ports and it has become a center point for information and commerce. The Dark Market continues to flourish under Katassah's guidance. Despite the city's opulence and obvious wealth it is still considered a somewhat dark and evil place.

There is some argument as to whether the current Overlord is the original. Most scholars believe that it cannot be, that the current Overlord is merely a hand-picked successor to the position. A few believe that it still is the original, only that he/she has either discovered some age-retarding magic, chosen lich-dom, or is non/demi-human. But since no one living has ever seen the Overlords face it is impossible to know.

Notable Personages:

See Personalities page

Inhabitants:

Khaatovar is the proverbial 'melting pot', with a nearly equal mix of human and demi-human races living in the city. It is a haven for those on the run, or simply wishing to leave their past behind them. The Dark Market is home to a myriad of creatures, anything from Aaracockra to vampires can be found residing there.

Defenders of the Realm:

Khatovar boasts one of the stronger, more well-equipped and trained militaries on all of Ghoraja Juun. Black Scorpion patrols range out as far as the Mountains of Shadow. The Black Scorpions also act as the city guard/constabulary. There is always a large contingent based in the Scorpion's Lair. The Black Scorpions have a diverse mix of troop types as well as several specialist cadres. The Khatovarian navy is small, but adequate for the purpose of coastal patrols and fighting of the occasional pirate incursion.

Black Scorpions - Originally an outfit of mercenaries and cutthroats hired by the Overlord to take control of the city. As the Overlord's power solidified, the malcontents and more deviant members were weeded out and the more disciplined mercenaries took positions of command and authority. As the Overlord's (and Khatovar's) influence grew, so did the Black Scorpions.

In recent history the Black Scorpions have become on of the finest armies anywhere, perhaps only bested by the Imperial Guard of the Seynorean Empire.

The basic unit of the Black Scorpions is the squad. A squad consists of nine men; a sergeant, two corporals, and six troopers. The next unit is the platoon; comprised of five squads and led my a Lieutenant. Next in size is a company; comprised of five platoons and led by a Captain. Next up is a brigade; comprised of five companies and commanded by a Major. The largest unit within the Black Scorpions is a division; comprised of five brigades and commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel. With this type of organization, a division has a fighting force of approximately 4,500 personnel, in addition the various support mechanism's (blacksmiths, artillery, medical, etc.) bring the total complement somewhere between 5,000-5,200 personnel.

A typical Black Scorpion trooper dresses in studded leather armor, carries a small shield or buckler, and is armed with a spear, saber, hand axe and dagger. Those skilled with missile weapons (minimum two per squad) are armed with crossbows in place of the spear. Sergeant's typically wear scale mail, carry a medium shield and are armed with saber, hand axe, dagger and a weapon of choice.

There are various specialty troop types such as Scouts (Rangers), Cavalry, Engineers, etc.

Notable Places:

Khaatovar is home to several interesting buildings and geographic locations. Much of the original city was destroyed in the aftermath of the post-Soulreaver insurrections, and has since been rebuilt. The "inner city," including the palace and most of the temples were left untouched by the violence. Current-day Khaatovar is laid out in a grid patterns, divided into four quarters named after the seasons, that surround the original inner city. A 15' wall with 30' guard towers spaced every 100 yards surrounds the city on the north, east & west sides. The southern boundary of the city borders the Sunset Ocean and is home to one of, if not the largest port facilities on Ghoraja Juun.


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