Daruna - Kingdom of Light


See The Darunites for an overview of Darunite culture.

The Kingdom of Light is the group of Darunite towns and villages affiliated with and ruled by King Ash-tep the Eternal from the capital city of Daruna. The following significant towns are considered part of the Kingdom:

The following territories and provinces are independent but pay tribute in some form to the Kingdom of Light:


The Kingdom controls a large swath of the northern portion of the Central Plains, including significant stretches of both the Tana River and Gya River. To the north and east the Kingdom shares a border with the Loshmati Realm and the wild forests and hills south of the Ravari Mountains. To the west and south, the lesser kingdoms of Dadtaar and Shi pay tribute to the Kingdom to maintain their freedom. To the southeast the wilds of the Twisted Lands, especially the marshes and swamps of the northern reaches of this area, block further expansion.

Geographic Features

Central Plains

The Plains are a large, relatively flat expanse of grasslands and veld that are generally bordered by the Gya River to the north, the Twisted Lands to the east, the Sangha Jungle to the south, and unknown territory to the west. The Tana River winds through the middle of this region.Human settlements line the many river banks and flood plains of this region, while the Rahk Tribes control most of the less fertile areas.

Tana River

The Tana is the largest river in the known world. It winds across the central plains, bringing life-giving water and providing a major transportation route to the various cultures that line its shores.

The Tana fluctuates with the seasons. It is subject to a great deal of flooding in the spring, and reaches its lowest ebb in the fall. The last 20-25 miles of its length are tidal and brackish, its course splitting and merging as it crosses the marshy lands leading to its mouth in the Bay of Svata.

The entire length the the Tana is navigable by fairly large vessels, though the shifting sand and mud banks created by the spring floods make local pilots invaluable. The river serves as a major trade artery for the entire region, transporting goods from the furthest reaches of the Enkaru Kingdom to the Bay of Svata and beyond.

Gya River

This major waterway runs generally west to east, eventually feeding into the Tana River. The Gya is large enough to allow transit of fair-sized vessels between the town of Parada and its juncture with the Tana River, though during the dry summer months most larger craft stop at Dadtaar to avoid the many sandbars exposed by the lower waters. Travel upriver from Parada is limited to smaller craft, as there are many shallow fords and barricades that obstruct the main channel.

Major Cities


This small city is sited on the Gya River, near its juncture with the Little Gya River. It is part of the Kingdom of Light and is the capital of the province that bears its name. One of the Hands of the Avatar rules from this city.

There is a regular ferry that runs across the Gya River, providing access to the Twin Paths leading into Kogani Tribes territory. It is also a jumping off point for boats heading up the Little Gya River to Tai Bour.


Chidani is a relatively recent addition to the Kingdom of Light having been conquered just over 30 years ago. Nevertheless it is the capital of the northernmost province of the kingdom and one of the Hands of the Avatar rules from the palace there.

One branch of the Twin Paths trade route to Tai Bour and the Kogani Tribes ends in Chidani, making it an important trade center. Unlike most Darunite cities, Chidani is sited well back from the Gya River, a concession to the low ground and propensity for flooding of the nearby territory.


Daruna is the largest city in the known world. It is located at the juncture of the Tana and Gya rivers, and is the capital city of the Kingdom of Light. The city is dominated by the palace of Ash-tep and a vast temple plaza which features a huge ziggurat dedicated to Daru.


Kusuman is one of the most recent additions to the Kingdom of Light, and the capital of the southernmost province. Kusuman's fall was relatively bloodless, the result of both religious and political pressures over the long term. When Lokot Kep died leaving only an underage daughter as heir the city's conquest was inevitable.

Kusuman is a relatively minor town, primarily serving as a local trade hub and convenient ferry point across the Tana River than anything else.


Mukhar is a relatively recent addition to the Kingdom of Light, taken by conquest a scant eight years ago. The city is still unstable as a result of this strife, and there is a strong undercurrent of rebellion within the city walls. Kingdom forces within the city maintain a heavy watch, and a strict curfew is enforced on the streets.

Mukhar is both a local trade center for the rich farmlands, some of the best in the northern parts of the Central Plains, and a river port for both traders traveling along the Gya River and the many fishermen that make the town and nearby river banks their home.


Nava is one of the least important towns of the Kingdom of Light, a dry and relatively desolate place. Agriculture plays second fiddle to other industries here, chiefly cattle and goat farms and a quarry centered on one of the few good sources of stone in the Central Plains. There are also substantial deposits of bitumen, a key ingredient of Liquid Fire, in the area giving the area some strategic importance.

Nava is a provincial capital, ruled by one of the Hands of the Avatar. The city's strategic value balancing its relatively weak economic value.


The primary inhabitants of the Kingdom are Darunites. This is particularly true in the cities of Daruna, Anadala, Kusuman, and Nava, the original core of the Darunite realm. There is a small Rahk presence in some of the outer cities, notably Mukhar, but for the most part these are transients rather than permanent residents. Chidani is the exception to the general population profile, as there is a substantial permanent Kogani population within the city, primarily traders and merchants representing the interests of the Kogani Tribes to the north.


As is common with Darunite cultures, the population is concentrated in and around the main cities of the realm, with a significant population in smaller agricultural towns and villages spread along the rivers and canals that provide irrigation to the many fields and farms of the region.


The defining features of the Kingdom's culture are:


In the Kingdom, worship of the Daru Pantheon is required of all Darunite citizens by law, following other religious beliefs is subject to prosecution under laws of heresy. Non-Darunite citizens are not held to this mark, but also have fewer rights under Kingdom law. All Darunite citizens are required to participate in the Rite of the Living Avatar on their 11th birthday, a rite involving a specific series of sacrifices and a declaration of belief in Ash-tep as the avatar of Daru.

Non-Darunite citizens may practice their own religious beliefs, but only outside the walls of the Kingdom's cities. This edict has led to some considerable tension in Chidani, since there is a significant Kogani population there.

Magic in the Kingdom

In the Kingdom of Light practitioners of the magical arts must obtain a license from the royal scribes to use their magic within the realm. The fee is relatively minor, but failure to obtain a license results in much stiffer penalties should the magician's art go astray.


The Kingdom's wealth is based on grain. Like most of the Darunite societies of the Central Plains the Kingdom farms the rich river bottoms of the Tana and Gya rivers. Goats and cattle are also common agricultural food sources, as are various fruit trees, particularly dates and oranges.


The needs of agriculture and flood control have forced the development of a considerable number of canals and waterways along the course of the major rivers. These waterways stretch for miles along either shore of the major rivers, providing both water for crops and passage for smaller craft moving between outlying villages and major towns.


Unlike the Shalish Alliance the Kingdom has some access to wood and stone from their northern borderlands. Bricks are still the primary building material but stone and wood structures are more common here than in other Darunite cultures of the Central Plains. Pottery remains the primary form of container and utensil, though pottery from the Kingdoms tends to be more utilitarian than decorative.

Sea Port

The city of Daruna is a major sea port, the first such along the Tana and Gya rivers. As such is has a dominant presence in both local and regional trade. Ships based out of Daruna patrol the courses of both rivers, stopping all travelers and levying taxes on any products carried up or down the river. This practice has lead to a sprawl of unofficial docks and harbors in the swampy wild lands east of Daruna, where ship captains make deals with unsavory traders in hopes of gaining overland passage for their goods, particularly to points south.

Political Upheaval

Daruna and the Kingdom of Light, lead by Ash-tep, have followed a pattern of conquest for over 100 years. The most recent cities to fall to the Kingdom's might were Nava and Mukhar. With Ash-tep rising once again in the spring, neighboring city-states all tense in preparation for war. Moha in particular, finds itself in an uncomfortable position between the Kingdom and the Shalish Alliance, two powerful neighbors who each have something to gain by absorbing the smaller nation.


The government of the Kingdom is essentially a dictatorship, though many local governmental institutions live on under a different guise, particularly at the city level.


Daruna is the capital city of the Kingdom of Light, and Ash-tep maintains a vast palace there to govern his expanding realm. A second layer of governance, the Hands of the Avatar rule the outer provinces from the cities of Chidani, Anadala, Kusuman, and Nava. It is likely a new Hand will be appointed in Mukhar this spring. The Hands manage their provinces as agents of the Avatar, though they are effectively kings of these lesser realms.


The leadership of Kingdom of Light consists of a number of very powerful individuals ruling over a complicated network of priests, scribes, royal councilors and military leaders. From the top:

Curiously missing from the royal court in the Kingdom of Light is Daru's Voice, the chief priest of Daru's own temple. Ash-tep himself has taken over this role, after the temple priest Kolfa Khem refused to declare him rightful ruler of Daruna in the year 406.

Darunite Justice

Within the Kingdom of Light, justice bears the added burden of religious intolerance. The Agents of the Sun are ruthless in the application of the strict religious law requiring unquestioned obedience to Ash-tep as the Avatar of Daru. Those refusing the Rite of the Living Avatar or failing to live up to their vow are subject to terrible penalties.

Political Relations

The Kingdom of Light has established itself as a rather aggressive and expansionist culture. As such it is viewed with both fear and envy.

The Kingdom's two chief rivals are the Loshmati Realm and the Shalish Alliance. Relations between the Kingdom and the Realm are neutral to tense, depending on the unrest along the common border. Incursions by either side are relatively common, though neither side gains significantly in these exchanges. Relations between the Kingdom and the Alliance are calmer, but economic pressures brought by the Kingdom in the form of taxes on Alliance goods traveling along the Tana River are a continuous irritant.

Shi and Dadtaar have managed to avoid direct confrontation with the Kingdom by offering concessions and tribute to avoid military incursions. They serve as a buffer between the Kingdom and remaining Gya States as well, so they receive support from that direction. The Gya States suffer the economic pressures as the Alliance, but their better overland access to both the Kogani Tribes and the Alliance puts them in a better position to stave off Kingdom advances.

Moha is the most precariously positioned kingdom in the realm. Stuck between the Alliance and the Kingdom, a move in either direction is likely to lead to open conflict, possibly dragging all three parties into a fight.

The Kingdom maintains a good relationship with the Kogani Tribes, their primary source of quality weapons and armor. The Kingdom has made some territorial advances to the north in the past, but have been turned back by the fierce Kogani response and their basic unfamiliarity with mass combat in the woods and hills of the upland plateau.

The Kingdom has little contact with the Rahk the Enkaru Kingdom or any other southern groups.


Agriculture is the mainstay of Kingdom trade. The chief crops include grain, fruit, grapes from the northern province, and a variety of animals.


Fishing, ship building and pottery are all major factors in local trade, though most pottery is for local use, being made from generally inferior clay when compared the the materials available from the Alliance. There is a small amount of lumber production and mining in the northern province near Chidani, but most of that production remains local.


As with the rest of the Central Plains nations, metal, stone, and timber are rare in Kingdom lands.


The Kingdom's chief exports are grain and a variety of fruits grown only along the cooler foothills of the upland plateau. They occasionally build ships for sale to outsiders, but most remain in Kingdom hands. They also export a limited amount of dried meat and fish, typically overseas, but most of that is consumed locally.

Most of the exported grain flows north into the Kogani Tribes but some travels to points unknown via ship.


The Kingdom is technologically on par with the other Darunite cultures in the region. They have mastered writing, basic engineering, boat construction, and some forms of medicine, including basic surgery. They also have basic knowledge of chemistry, including the ability to refine Liquid Fire from naturally occurring bitumen deposits.


Darunite farmers use oxen to til fields with heavy multi-bladed wheeled plows. Temple scribes keep detailed records of financial, political and legal proceedings. Pottery is practiced art. Roads are infrequent but usually better maintained than in other Central Plains cultures as there is better access to timber and stone for maintenance and bridges. Boats are still a more common form of transport.


Construction techniques are limited by the available materials. Mundane structures are one or two stories high, and feature simple designs built of sun- or kiln-dried bricks. More important structures are made of brick with timber or stone supports. These structures tend to be larger and more enduring. The poorest and crudest form of construction uses bundles of long reeds as a structural material with rough clay walls applied for permanency.

The Kingdom still uses reed bundle barges, but supplements these clumsy craft with a variety of canoes, jon boats, cogs and similar vessels.

Canals and waterworks, including aqueducts, are central to Darunite construction, and waterwheels power grindstones used to grind grain into flour.


The Kingdom's military forces follow the typical Darunite model of spear- and bow-men coupled with charioteers and an elite guard unit, albeit on a larger than usual scale. The scarcity of metal limits the armor worn by military personnel.