The Kingdom of Makan is one of the most wealthy nations in the Veiled World, and along with the Aparni Kingdom also one of the most influential in controlling trade between the Western Lands and Eastern Lands. Their influence is much greater than their size would indicate, which has unfortunately also resulted in the forces of darkness giving them more attention.
Nations Name: Kingdom of Makan
Form of Government: Monarchy
National Symbol: A Wave with a Date Palm and Mountain
National Colors: Blue, Green, Brown
Leader(s): Shah Arjuna XII
Military Strength: 30,000 (mostly naval)
State Religion(s): Polytheistic, favor deities of commerce, the sea, knowledge and order.
Primary Products: Trade, shipbuilding, incense, palm wine, dates
Secondary Products: Textiles, glasswares, distilled goods
Encounter Frequency: Low
The nation of Makan, now famous for its merchants, explorers and naval prowess was once a much smaller entity. The Makan people were a tribe of the Aran people, related to the Askuzoi, Kewerts, and other steppe nomads. The Makan settled along the coast of the Gulf of Spices, and founded fishing villages and farms, digging deep sloping tunnels to bring water from the Takht Mountains, a spur of the Pariktu Mountains. As trade goods from Tiāncháo and Tse’tah began to pass through Toichous to the Akkyrian empire, the Makans, Kewerts and Arans prospered, allowing caravans to use their wells, serving as caravan guards and drovers, and eventually building warehouses and exchange outposts. While the Arans who founded the Kingdom/Empire of Mayda grew the largest, the Kingdom of Makan became one of the richest, exploiting its trade route access, proximity to the Gulf of Spices to traffic with Samskara, and a well fed, hard working populace. After a minor succession crisis that resulted in the founding of the Kingdom of Aparni from Makan and Maydan elements, the Makans experienced several centuries of growth.
In 1052 BH, the Mayda Empire invaded and conquered the kingdom, using its massive armies to overwhelm them. Many Makan traders went into exile, forming expatriate communities in Akkyria, the Samskaran Principalities, and Aparni. Four the next four centuries, Makan was an occupied nation, seen as a convenient source of taxes and sailors for the Mayda empire. An attempted civil war in 880 BH was crushed within four years, leading to even more Makans leaving to other lands. The conquest of the Mayda Empire by Maz-Torgoth was a horrible experience, but had a single positive outcome in that the turmoil after his assassination and the breakup of his Empire under his Warlords resulted in widespread rebellions and the Kingdom of Makan was able to regain it’s independence under Shah Kozana IV, selected as the most eligible heir of the former ruling dynasty. Mayda is unable to focus its attentions on the Kingdom of Makan due to the lurking presence of the Empire, and Makan takes advantage, forming economic and diplomatic ties with the Aparni, Udaya, and other regional powers. Eventually an accommodation with the Mayda is made, guaranteeing Makan independence in return for favorable trade deals and promises of assistance if the Empire invades.
The ascendancy of the Empire of Tse’tah results in even more trade from the Western Lands, mirrored by similar growth in Tiāncháo. The rebuilding Khana City states and League city states are greatly interested in Western goods and provide wares in return, enriching many of the central trading powers. While the Tse’tah are able to exert their influence over the Örgön and Tsenkher Khanates and Kilich Khaganate, the Askuzoi and Tsarumani continue to plague caravan routes, raiding, plundering or extorting bribes for passage. In 295 BH Aparni and Makan attempt to crush them, but encounter a very capable foe, who also seems to have the covert backing of Toichous.
The period leading up to the arrival of the Host of the Void saw the Kingdom of Makan expand its power at sea, with the founding of trade outposts in Yaksum, Nyeni and Magusa, as well as expansion of their influence along the eastern coast of Samskara. In 75 BH the Royal Academy of Astronomy and Nautical Arts was founded, heavily endowed by Arjuna I, a skilled sailor himself. The Makan fleet is expanded, with a dedicated navy patrolling the Gulf of Spices to suppress piracy, allowing for longer voyages by merchant fleets, including some trips to Saei and the western Samskaran coast.
The arrival of the Host of the Void takes the Kingdom of Makan to the breaking point, as tens of thousands of Slowani refugees, desperate to escape the Host pour south through Askuzoi lands. The Mayda Empire directs many of them toward Makan, knowing that they lack the resources to keep them at bay. The Shah dips into the royal finances and hires every free ship in the Gulf of Spices and bribes many communities in Yaksum, Nyeni and Samskara to take in refugees. Several thousand others are settled in temporary communities in Makan, their descendants still there, assimilated into Makan society, but in most cases stuck in the lower classes. The arrival of the Host also disrupts trade, draining the coffers of many merchants, bankrupting dozens. Aparni and Makan lend troops to the Mayda Empire to assist in the offensive Mayda and Akkyrian troops have launched against the Empire.
After the war, Makan faced several difficult centuries. The shattering of the Tse’tah Empire, the constant turmoil in the steppe lands, and the Dosa Period in Samskara result in less than a third of normal land trade, forcing them to expand their naval trade. In 50 AH, the Brotherhood of the Black Banner makes its first appearance, a combination of the worst of the worst pirates with unknown fell powers backing their rise. As they expand, they are able to extort ransoms and passage fees, and Dameda Nadu is eventually revealed to be paying them to attack rivals. After Arjan IV is slain by assassins hired by the Brotherhood, the Kingdom, allied with Mayda, Aparni, and Udaya Rastra begins a campaign that finally results in the crushing of the Brotherhood, and the elimination of its fleets and anchorages. With the clearing of the brotherhood, the Makans are able to expand their influence, forming outposts in Saei, Kaja, and Kirtana. The death of Shah Shahak V results in several months of intrigue, settled when his son is crowned as Shah Shahak VI.
The Maydan-Empire War of 358 AH, the formation of Gui Guo in 363 AH, and the continual threat of Dark One cultists results in the Aparni and Makan rulers forming a secret organization to monitor the fell powers, disguised and hidden among the merchants and caravan guards of both nations. This organization soon expands to monitoring events across the whole known world. In 487 AH, they also found a jointly held enclave in Rodos, to serve as their hub for trade in the Eastern Lands. In 532 AH, the Brotherhood of the Black Banner reappears, especially targeting Makan merchants. Besides Empire support, they are also assisted by the Magocracy. Makan experts are brought in to help the Awar Khanate defend against Gui Go, train mariners in the Southwestern Lands, and assist in improving markets in Tarjanhely. In 652 AH, riots in Tyrinos resulted in most foreign merchants leaving, causing hardship for the Hegemony city.
During the recent 3rd Void war, the Makan and Aparni supported the Mayda Empire, but their main focus was on removing the Black Banner fleets profiting from the war. Shah Arjuna XII took command of a fleet from many nations and at the Battle of Buzzard Bay sank the majority of their fleet, the rest only escaping in magically summoned storms. Makan is now looking forward to the massive profits it anticipates from the post war rebuilding, while also keeping out an eye for any further Black Banner activities.
Visitors to the Makan capital of Sehbahar or the port of Choldar are often overwhelmed by the noise and manic activity of the Makan merchants, often seen screaming and gesticulating at each other or foreign visitors. The Kingdom of Makan is very rich, and very cosmopolitan, so every type of luxury and exotic goods can be seen, the cuisine and art of a hundred places sampled and admired, and almost anything found. The less seen side of this, is a sizable underclass of those who are not merchants and have fallen on hard times. Many of these lower class people are the descendants of foreigners, lacking the family connections to establish themselves in the merchant trade. Some are able to escape poverty by serving at sea or in the army, but as the underclasses have expanded, they have become a problem Shah Arjuna XII is now determined to combat.
The average Makan is somewhat pious, devoted to native and foreign gods and goddesses of commerce, learning, the sea and order. Purama is the most favored, but there are hundreds of temples in both cities, many of foreign gods. Hidden Dark One cults have become a growing problem, which the Shah’s agents have begun to focus on in conjunction with the Aparni.
The Makans are a musical people, loving to sing, dance and play instruments. Many old tales from their nomadic days have been preserved through children’s songs and festival music. , Lutes, drums and flutes are the preferred instruments. Both sexes tend to wear long shirts and pants, with men always wearing some form of hat and women being partial to large amounts of rough gold jewelry. Makan cuisine favors lamb, goat, dates, beans, bread and fish, though their status as a trade power means many other foods can be seen or combined with local ingredients. Makan cooks are often in demand in Mayda and the Samskaran Principalities.
The Makan military is relatively small, with the vast majority serving as sailors and marines. A small force of archers and cavalry are maintained for foreign expeditions, as well as a garrison to man the landwalls that guard against Askuzoi incursions. These troops are well equipped with chain armor, helmets and quality swords, lances and compound bows. The marines are trained to use cutlass and shield, as well as light leather armor and helmets than can be shed if thrown overboard. The Makan fleet is composed to many fast ramming galleys, along with several slower fortress ships armed with siege engines. Like other Aran/Askuzoi related people the Makan have a tradition of female fighters, with around twenty percent of the armed forces being female.
Shah Arjuna XII: Shah Arjuna, Twelfth to bear that name is the current ruler of the Kingdom of Makan. In his youth he earned fame as a intrepid explorer, sailing to lands that merchants had only heard of, including a three year voyage to Aarkosia and Skalader and back. He has focused his reign on reducing piracy, stabilizing his kingdom, and working to raise up the underclasses so as to avoid future turmoil. He has excellent relations with his Aparni and Mayda neighbors, and has expanded the Makan-Aparni alliance and intelligence network. If he has a fault, it might be too much ambition as he feels there are few things that cannot be accomplished with money and wits.
Mazan Nākhā Bahtaawar: Bahtaawar is the Grand Captain (Mazan Nākhā) of the Makan Fleet, as well as the Makan co-director of the Aparni-Makan intelligence network. As the Mazan Nākhā she is responsible for both military and trade uses for the fleet, and is a shrewd judge of character and potential profit. She is in her early fifties, grizzled from many years at sea with several prominent scars, including the one that took her right eye (a Black Banner cutlass strike). She is said to be grooming her replacements, but their identities are not known.