The Karapeshai Exatai was one of the largest and most powerful countries in the known world, centered in the region of Acca. Founded by the Redeemer Jahan, it was the successor state to the Ardavai Exatai. The Karapeshai was the "third Exatai" of the Satar people, founded after the Ardavai fell to a coalition led by the Holy Moti Empire. It faced numerous threats -- most notably from the aforementioned Moti, the Farubaida o Caroha, and the Evyni Empire. For the most part, it seems to have weathered those threats, indeed destroying the Evyni in the latter stages of the War of the Three Gods, and becoming the dominant power in the northern part of the known world.
The Exatai was one of the largest states in the history of the world, spanning a variety of terrain. The old Satar lands of the Rath Satar and Rath Tephas lay in the south, a steppe bounded only by the Kothai at the border.
The middle of the empire, on the other hand, was divided in two by the Rhoms, a rocky, dry mountain range. The western slope gradually descended towards the steppe, and was drained to the north by the River Einan, while the east held the old kingdom of Oscadia, a snowy and formerly forested region. North of this, the Exatai centered on the heartland of Acca and the capital of Atracta.
In the north, the Setton, the valley of the River Einan, and the princedom of the Taudo all exhibited some of the coldest climates of the known world at that time, and were among the last lands subdued in the aftermath of the War of the Three Gods.
The War of the Three Gods Edit
The Ardavai Exatai was the second of the great Satar Exatai, a long-lived state that spanned the cradle of the known world from Acca to the River Sesh. The Exatai's rivalry with the Holy Moti Empire lasted as long as the state itself did, only ending with the War of the Three Gods. Initiated by a campaign by the Satar Prince Nephrax-ta-Delphis against the city-state of Neruss, the war quickly spread, drawing nearly all the great powers of the known world into the fray.
The war would be fought primarily on two fronts, the northern and southern border of the Ardavai. In the north, the Satar fought the Evyni Empire, and in the south, the Moti and the Farubaida o Caroha. The northern combatants fought back and forth for some time, without either gaining a distinctive advantage, but the southern campaign ended much more quickly. Overwhelmed by the long odds, the Satar Redeemer Vespelian was killed early in the war, while his successor, the Vithana Jahan, retreated from the Sesh after the fall of Magha.
The loss of Magha and flight northward marked what most historians would later consider the end of the Ardavai Exatai and the founding of the Karapeshai Exatai.
Jahan and his best lieutenants, Avetas and Elikas, attempted to recoup their honor by attacking the Evyni in full force. Though the Evyni had been evenly matched with the Satar in the earlier phases of the war, the combined forces of the Exatai crushed those of the Lawgiver, Isathmaeyr, and captured Alusille and Anyais, the most prominent cities of the Empire. With the remnants of the Evyni in full flight, Jahan decided to reestablish his state.
Consolidation and Realignment Edit
The new Exatai bore little resemblance to those of previous centuries. Where the Satar of old had centered their Exatai on the Rath Satar, the River Sesh, and later, Acca, the Karapeshai had lost the second and barely held onto the third (see the Accan Expedition). Moreover, the majority of the Exatai's new subjects had spent most of their lives in the Evyni Empire, even if they weren't Avaimi in heritage themselves.
Thus, Jahan adopted many of the trappings of the Empire he had just toppled, including the title of Lawgiver, and establishing tolerance for the traditional Evyni faith of Ytauzi. He also utilized the full potential of the Censoratta, the Accan militant bureaucracy which ran the provinces of the Exatai with efficiency. Thus, despite the horselord aristocracy and traditional steppe ties of the Satar, the Exatai became still more Accan than its predecessor in character.
This led to a power struggle between the Censoratta and the Princes of the Satar, culminating in the battle challenge of Avetas against Jahan. Though both were Satar, upon Avetas' defeat, he claimed that he had been manipulated by the Accans, and a brutal massacre of the Censoratta ensued. The purge of the Accan bureaucracy was carried out quite effectively, as the Satar had gained many allies among the lesser Accan nobility, including one Arto Rutarri, who became the Letoratta or "Lord of the Sea," an office which would become the Accan equivalent of Satar Princes and marginalized the families of the former Censoratta for a time.
The old Accan elite would not go away, however. Rutarri would marry one of their number, Zelarri Atteri, and the Tepecci banking family grew into a powerful force, financing almost all of the rest of the aristocracy in the Exatai. Economics had won back what force had taken. Nevertheless, Jahan was succeeded by Avetas in a later peaceful transition, and Avetas would maintain balance between the Accans and the Satar.
The Karapeshai would not rest for long, being drawn into a new war against the Dual Empire in Gallat. This conflict, however, would almost entirely be an imperial sideshow; though it absorbed considerable resources, it never threatened the powerbase of the Exatai.
Civil War and Religious Persecution Edit
The division between Accan and Satar would finally culminate in a civil war between the two. The death of Avetas in his old age led to the emergence of two factions -- one, led by the Vithana prince Karal, son of Jahan and the favorite of the steppe peoples and the Satar conservatives, and the other led by Tephras, the illegitimate son of Avetas by Zelarri.
Each of the claimants seemed averse to risk their fortunes on one titanic battle -- the war dragged on for nearly a decade without a major move one way or another. Eventually, though, Karal eliminated many of the peripheral allies of Tephras and Zelarri, and advanced on their principal bases in the Accan heartland. There, a large battle ended with the triumph of Karal, who reunited the Exatai effectively and would rule for nearly a decade as one of the most beloved Redeemers since the time of Atraxes.
Karal was immediately succeeded by Taexi, a descendant of the Xieni khagans of old. More Satar than the Satar themselves, Taexi proved to be rabidly anti-Aitahist, persecuting the minority religion not only within the confines of the Exatai, but leading massive expeditions to subjugate Aitahist Cyve, and fighting a joint Aitahist invasion of the League of Gallasa across the Kern Sea, effectively replaying the War of the Empty Throne. He would die of an illness while on campaign in distant Brunn, leaving no real heir and no clear direction.
Perhaps luckily for the Exatai, they were spared a civil war. Invasion from the south by the Holy Moti Empire and the Farubaida o Caroha, in a clear attempt to avenge the Accan Expedition, forced the Satar to hurriedly acclaim a new Redeemer. Talephas, Prince of the Shield, was arrived on as a compromise candidate (not to mention the one with the largest army in the immediate vicinity of Atracta, and he prepared to fight the third of the Satar-Moti wars.
Talephas would reorganize his army and deploy it to face the Moti Ayasi First-Lerai's invasion from the south. The Accan fleet would hold off an attack by the Carohan fleet near Sacossa before the armies of the Moti and Karapeshai clashed just north of the River Markha, in the valley of Vesadevas. Here, in a stunning turn of events, the Satar smashed the Moti, and would force them into a paradigm-shifting peace treaty that split the known world in two between the Satar and Moti -- the latter retaining dominion over the south, the former over the north.
The Karapeshai adhered to the traditional Satar philosophy of Exatas, including rule by the strongest warrior (the Redeemer), and its requisite rituals, including that of the battle challenge and the melee of the Satar Princes at the death of the Redeemer. Of course, with numerous other societies under their rule, the Satar adapted a variety of additional structures.
Included among these, in the early Exatai, was that of the Accan Censoratta, though this secretive bureaucracy was replaced by the Letoratta (Prince of the Sea) Arto Rutarri, who ranked roughly equally with the Satar Princes. Meanwhile, though the Evyni, Taudo, and Xieni had princes of their own, each of their respective regions retained traditional government structures.
The Exatai exhibited elements of every culture that it had inherited or conquered -- the Satar, the Vithana, the Accans, the Avaimi, the Taudo, the Xieni, and the Ming -- elements ranging from architecture to language to cuisine. Most of these had little chance to develop further than they had prior to the rise of the Exatai, though the capital of Atracta became something of a cultural melting pot.
One important aspect that distinguished it from its predecessors was the Sephashim, an academy and repository of knowledge, easily the largest in world history to that point. Constructed by the Redeemer Avetas, it would house scholars of many peoples -- notably, Satar, Accans, Opulensi and Gallatene.
The official religion of the Karapeshai, like all the Exatais before it, was that of Ardavan, the ancient faith of the steppe. Ardavan as practiced in the Karapeshai grew perhaps more nuanced than it had in any of its previous incarnations. The loss of Magha, along with many of the southern monasteries, left only the great monastery at Siaxis as the last stronghold of the Ardavani faith. Concerns in the north diverted the Redeemers' gaze, but a battle challenge against Avetas by one of his Argai bodyguards convinced him to take a greater interest in his old faith, and a new era of heavier-handed regulation ensued.
Unlike in other iterations of the Exatai, the Karapeshai accepted, and even to some extent supported non-Satar religions. Most notable among these, of course, were the Evyni faith of Ytauzi, as well as the eastern faith of Maninism -- one which the Exatai went to great lengths to support, fighting for decades against the Savirai Eastern Aitahisit heresy.
On the other hand, the newer Evyni religion of Enguntith was harshly persecuted.