The Kothari Exatai resulted from the Satar invasion of the valley of the River Had under the direction of the Redeemer Xetares. Given a small army tasked with fighting the Hu'ut and Faron while his sovereign fought in the main theater of the War of the Crimson Elephant, the Prince Hashaskor found himself cut off from his homeland when the opposing alliance brought down the Exatai of the Satar. Surviving their destruction, he took his forces to the small mountain stronghold of Athas and carved out a small state based on raiding the nearby trade routes and agricultural lands. The Kothari, named for the Kothai, lucked into a position that facilitated the expansion of the Exatai into a true empire, growing to encompass the Had Valley, Palmyra, the Hamakar Peninsula, and the lands of the Zyeshu. As of 600 SR, it is among the most powerful states in the known world.
Founding and Conquest Edit
The War of the Crimson Elephant was the most titanic fight in the world to date, an enormous war that would consume the southern Uggor peoples, the Seshweay, and the Faronun before the end. In particular, the Faronun had only recently emerged from their own war with the ancient Hu'ut Empire, defeating them and establishing a Hu'ut Republic in the River Had valley, apparently well on their way to regional hegemony.
All that ended with the march of Xetares to the east; he would cross the Senet Desert and burn the cities of eastern and southern Helsia in the infamous Treda, utterly laying waste to one of the cultural heartlands of the world. In the aftermath, Xetares found himself compelled to return to the Satar heartland to fend off a counterattack from the Holy Moti Empire under Third-Gaci, and his ally in Krato. He would leave his most trusted lieutenant, Hashaskor (son of Atraxes the silver prince) to garrison the Had.
Xetares' defeat and the ritual suicide of Hashaskor's fellow princes at the Pyre of the Six left the general in an awkward position. Most expected him to follow suit, but suicide had never seemed a sensible course to Hashaskor. Taking his army into the deeper south, he made camp at the base of the Kothai, at what would later become the city of Athas, and vowed to survive.
He and his successors would do far more than that. As the Kratoan Empire fell apart in the wake of the war, the Satar would cross the Kothai and seize Triad, claiming a transmontane empire. Shortly after, they plunged into the Had valley, laying waste to the Faronun-style communes that had struggled in the wake of the Treda, and reaching the ocean itself before stopping. An empire in hand, the Kothari found themselves in a far more tenable position than they had ever dreamed.
The growing Exatai had conquered a vast empire; the tricky part proved to be holding onto it. They were lucky in at least one thing -- almost all the major powers in the region had other concerns, or had been crippled by the war; perhaps the only one in a position to fight them, the Moti, chose instead to pursue Uggor hegemony in the south. The most critical existential threat, then, came from internal foes -- a tiny Satar army ruled over an enormous underclass.
Traditionally, Satar would categorize all non-Satar as "slaves" and be done with it, but the Kothari had a pragmatic streak. In 368 SR, only shortly after conquering Palmyra, the Kothari converted to their subjects' religion of Iralliam, and quietly adopted a series of reforms that would make them a more traditional empire along Hu'ut lines -- though they would retain a great deal of the Satar warrior ethos and cultural affectations.
A growing base of power enabled the Kothari to campaign far and wide, and they invaded the lands south of the Kothai in a grand campaign, sweeping aside the kingdoms of the Zyeshu and Hanakahi, building a new Exatai that rivaled even their northwestern siblings.
Rivalry with Caroha Edit
Meanwhile, the rest of the known world seemed to wrap itself up in the War of the Three Gods, a struggle that saw the Holy Moti Empire still more successful, and led to the liberation of the Seshweay under a new government. Though this seemed remote from the Kothari homelands, it would have critical ramifications down the road. The Seshweay began to make an alliance that would coalesce into a federation -- the Farubaida o Caroha.
The Farubaida eventually swelled to include Helsia as well, ending up on the Kothari's doorstep. Thus began a hundred-year rivalry that would never die down below a base level of raids and counter-raids into each state's territory; the undeclared war was only broken when the two states eventually entered a declared war over the city of Subal.
This conflict would expose many of the flaws of the Kothari system, as huge slave revolts sprang to life in the Had valley and Palmyra, assisted by the Farubaida from the sea. Eventually, the two sides came to an agreement mediated by the Ayasi of the Holy Moti Empire, and entered into a nominal alliance with one another, though the Kothari were forced to give up Subal, as well as several coastal cities further south, and gave autonomy to the peoples of Palmyra.
In an attempt to make up for lost ground, the Kothari focused on the south, conquering Jipha under the auspices of the Ayasi, and even traveling to the Kayana kingdoms of the far south, but the loss of influence could not entirely be recouped by this.
What followed, however, was the greatest diplomatic revolution of the era. After the Farubaida and Moti met with utter defeat at the hands of Talephas in the far north, the Moti Empire verged on collapse. With chaos threatening to overtake the heartland of civilization, the Carohans and Kothari agreed to work together more closely than ever before, and launched a joint expedition to save the Empire from an invasion by the Vithanama Empire to the west. Though this proved only moderately successful, the alliance seemed to endure; both challenged the threat of the growing Karapeshai Exatai to the west.
The Kothari adopted the traditional Exatai system of government from their Satar roots. While Hashaskor himself would never claim the title of Redeemer, all of his successors did, and the Satar in their new homeland began to establish a new set of princedoms, mirroring the organization of the old Exatai in the northwest. When the Kothari snowballed in size, however, the old arrangements failed to keep up with the task of administrating the new land. A bureaucracy had to be trained in the Hu'ut heartland to the north, and as more land would be added, a patchwork of systems of governance continued to be added on. Governors, or satraps, ruled large parts of the land, especially the southern conquests, and in more modern times it allowed degrees of autonomy to some of the southern cities as well.
Kothari culture drew quite heavily from several sources -- the Satar, especially in its mountain hinterland, the Hu'ut, and the southern conquered people of the Hamakua and Zyeshu. In time, it would come to be a mostly-devout Iralliamite country, and a proud monastic tradition sprang up. Perhaps the most distinctive feature of Kothari culture would be its church music, among the most theoretically complex in the world.