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Native: Dhekhnam
Verdurian: Ďeknam
Capital: Ornâkh
Government: ktuvok empire
Language: Dhekhnami, Sarroc,
Carhinnian, others
Relative prosperity: 19 (Sarnáe)
 % Pagan: 54 (Sarnáe)
 % Eleďe: 5
 % Gelalhát, etc.: 41

Dhekhnam [ˈðɛç nam] is the modern ktuvok empire in Ereláe, the successor to ancient Munkhâsh.

Etymology: Munkhâshi Dheknam 'pure land', Dhekhnami Dhêçnam; Ver. Ďeknam, Bar. Dhekhnam, Ismaîn Zeçnam, X. Zešnam, Keb. Ťeḣnam. The English form is an anglicization of the Dhekhnami.

Establishment of the empire

For centuries the ktuvoks had been subject to Caďinas and the Carhinnoi, but they were independent by 2400. In 2537 the Tyellakhi, hard pressed by the Gelyet and the Coruo, accepted ktuvok protection. They were told that this time the partnership between human and ktuvok would be equal. The first fruits of the partnership was the Caďinorian land of Visecra, conquered in 2550.

Whatever promises were made— and our records of this time are scant, Tyellakh having no writing system— the Tyellakhi were soon effectively under the clawed thumbs of the ktuvoks. The union with Demóshimor (2712) was a different story. The Demoshi were highly advanced by local standards, with cities, markets, trade, seagoing ships, and writing; their religion also deemphasized the many gods of Munkhâsh in favor of a more fervent worship of Gelalh.


On the surface, their submission to the ktuvoks reconstituted the traditional ktuvok empire— as memetically programmed, we might say, for the ktuvoks were objects of worship, and Gelalh was described as a sort of supernatural ktuvok. But the success of Dhekhnam owes as much to the Demoshi as to the ktuvoks; we may wonder if, in the case of the Demoshi at least, the relationship has become more symbiotic.

In theory Dhekhnami policy is determined by the shifting coalitions of the ktuvoks, in which humans have no part. However, low-level discussions between ktuvoks are often begun by humans, usually Demoshi, and this role can be very influential. In addition, as an advanced state, Dhekhnam does have some human institutions-- temples, schools, trading firms, workshops and factories, even local governments in the human cities; these may be supervised by ktuvoks, but are effectively run by humans.

Aggressive expansion

Dhekhnam exploded onto the world stage in 2822, invading Sarnáe with over 90,000 men and ktuvoks, on the pretext of supporting the southern barons of Sarnáe, then rebelling against king Calunour. A third of the the northern kingdom was annexed; Calunour’s army was massacred, and he himself was killed and his head fed to dogs.

Next to go was Carhinnia (2835-45). The Carhinnoi were formidable warriors, and at first the Dhekhnami avoided direct engagements, and preferred to kill horses rather than men. But horses were the wealth, the food, and the transport of the Carhinnoi; they were weakened before the war proper had even begun.

Nonetheless, the Carhinnoi were treated better than any other group besides the Demoshi. They were allowed to retain the Jippirasti religion, and they became the cavalry of the Dhekhnami army.

Dhekhnam soon moved into the Shkónoro valley, taking the capital of Sarnáe, Ilzanea, in 2910; by the end of the century they had effective control of the entire country, and were reducing the few remaining mountain fortresses. Now, however, they ran into the Verdurians, at the early height of their power under the Arcalnei dynasty. King Estdorot, at the age of sixty, led his armies over the Ctelm mountains, and in three masterful campaigns, bundled the Dhekhnami back over the Shkónoro (3045-8). What he was unable to do was to restore the unity of Sarnáe; disgusted, he left for home, leaving the northern and southern barons still squabbling.

The Dhekhnami pushed the Caizurans across the Ctelm mountains in 3120, and reoccupied (northern) Sarnáe as well as Mišicama in 3160-72. Applying the lessons learned in Sarnáe, they fomented rebellions in Eretald as well, in eastern Ismahi and southern Barakhún. The new states formed, Azgami and Mútkün, served as bases for espionage and further subversion; their leaders, at least, also accepted the worship of Gelalh. The pretense of support for the southern Sarnáeans was abandoned; their kingdom was crushed around 3280.

A Demoshi spy

Dhekhnam has fought a few wars with Érenat. In 3297, with the help of the Verdurian naval squadron based on Melloin Island, Érenat advanced almost to the Shkónoro. In 3350, the Dhekhnami pushed the Érenati back, and occupied the Sfaic valley.

The current situation

The Dhekhnami are active traders and diplomats, full of reassurances. They are not trusted— the story of Sarnáe is still well remembered— but some nations either figure that trade will do no harm, or that it might forestall conquest. The Tžuro, Xurnese, and Littoral peoples all trade with Dhekhnam; Érenat feels it has to, as do some of the Lenani states, though others (further away) refuse to trade with the nation of ‘Kulig’ the enemy of Jippir.

Kebri has normal diplomatic and trading relations with Dhekhnam, a fact which leads to a good deal of friction with Verduria, which has attempted to maintain a united front against the ktuvoks. The Kebreni assure the Verdurians that they will help if Dhekhnam invades the Plain; the Verdurians argue that Dhekhnam’s malign intentions have long ago been demonstrated.

The most urbanized section of Dhekhnam is Sarnáe, since it was conquered relatively recently; after that, Demóshimor, which has one city of 80,000 population (the capital, Ornâkh), and four of more than 30,000 (Borondo, Prênzigo, Kilimi, and Kondro). Overall, Dhekhnam is the least urbanized of Ereláean civilizations; the ktuvoks don’t really like or understand cities, though they realize that they’re needed for administration, trade, and industry.