Qadira – Desert Frontier Kingdom
Qadira at a glance:
- Alignment: N
- Capital: Katheer (132,450)
- Notable Settlements: Gurat (8,490), Sedeq(89,760)
- Ruler: Xyrbestes II, Satrap of Qadira
- Government: Satrapy of the Keleshite Empire of the East
- Languages: Kelish
- Religion: Sarenrae, Rovagug, Irori
An ancient kingdom of arid deserts and exotic cities, Qadira is the westernmost satrap state of the Padishah Empire of Kelesh. It thrives on trade but longs for war. As the saying goes, “All caravans come to Katheer.”
All along the seacoasts, the ships of Qadira ply their trade, carrying the goods brought by camel and flying carpet from lands further east: silks, spices, and salt, as well as the exotic magical luxuries for which Qadira is known — silversheen blades, healy myrrh, and heatstones forged along the volcanic mountain chain of the Northern Zho. Qadira is not the wealthiest of lands in the Keleshite empire, but even its relatively enormous frontier cities possess wonders that much of Avistan can only wonder at, from its peacocks and flowering trees to its animated siege engines and well-disciplined ogre mercenaries.
In Katheer’s canyon-like harbor, the nation’s vast navy of white-sailed dhows rests at anchor. The Qadiran fleets are well-manned and well-maintained — as the satrap knows, no frontier kingdom can neglect its defenses, and its wooden wall of ships is the first line of defense in the west. Its ogre raiders, flying carpet scouts, and camel cavalry are defenses in the north and east against Taldor and various desert giants, bandits, and nightprowling ghuls. Dozens of abandoned towers, fortresses, and even entire cities litter the northern border of Qadira and are swept beneath the sands to the east, each the breeding ground of monsters and bandits. Within its living cities, the honorable knowledge of the cult of Irori is often turned to corrupt purposes, and everything beneath the sun of Sarenrae is a threat. The servants of Kelesh keep their blades sharp.
The Cult of the Dawnflower is very popular among the Qadiran dervishes and military, and its leaders have long had powerful voices in the satrapy. Indeed, their call for an invasion of Osirion led to Keleshite dominance of that region and their meddling in northern Garund long ago also reshaped the region. Sarenae’s followers are much less eager to turn their goddess’s wrath against anyone but Taldor these days.
Gorum and Abadar are also popular in Qadira. They are seen as twins here — when one ascends, the other declines. Thus, the two priesthoods despise one another. In the current, long lull in hostilities with Taldor, the once-favored war god, Gorum, is in a period of decline, despite the satrap’s wishes. Meanwhile, Abadar continues to be popular among the people and seems every year to increase his dominance.
The arrival of new ideas and new cults from the East is almost as common as the arrival of camel fleets and silks. A small group calling itself the White Feather Monks recently arrived with such a caravan, teaching peace and serenity to those who listen. Their meditations and prayers are closely watched by the satrap, who fears any new faith or idea as potentially dangerous until his people can investigate its leaders and find them worthy. As pacifists, the White Feather Monks face a long struggle to win the satrap’s good graces, for he has little use for those who cannot feed his war machine as he prepares the next offensive against Taldor. Some believe these monks are simply another cult of Irori, but others believe their origins are much older and more dangerous, perhaps related to the lost cult of the Peacock Spirit or to Roidira, a figure called the Dark Sister of Knowledge.
The government is concerned with its rivalry with Taldor. Most recently, Qadira invaded Taldor in 4079 and shattered Taldor’s imperial ambitions. Although this lies 600 years in the past, the border is still tense and it is clear that Taldor’s nobles hope to someday attempt to exact revenge on Qadira’s northern borders. Piracy of the two nations upon one another’s fleets is more than common, and is a routine cost of shipping in the region.
Taldor and other nations on the Inner Sea and Obari Ocean fear the ambitions of Xerbystes II, the young satrap of Qadira, who wants to prove himself through a regional war and needs wealth to pay for it. He works as the hand of Kelesh’s emperor, given free rein over local affairs in exchange for an annual tribute of 13 golden bulls and 300 concubines for the vast pleasure palaces of the imperial heartland. Because of Qadira’s strategic importance, however, Xerbystes bows to the imperial will in matters outside his borders, such as piracy, trade, and war with Taldor. In those matters, his vizier Hebizid Vraj serves as the emperor’s hand. Since Qadira’s generals also follow orders from Kelesh, Xerbystes cannot have the war with Taldor he craves. He makes do by giving his heroes — a group of nobles and advisers called the Peerless — ever more difficult tasks in his service.
Sources: Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting