Zaresnar is one of the nine ‘kingdoms’ of Askamar. It lies in the hot, arid Inner Lands of the realm and is ruled by Lord Daskesurul.
Much of the land consists of rugged mountains and deserts. The sky is dull red, and bitter winds sweep across the sand dunes. Beyond the river Xasre, the plains are broken by spars and pinnacles. The air shimmers with heat, and few mortal creatures can survive.
The Court of Zaresnar
askesurul is an ambitious ruler who wants his court to be known for its cultural and intellectual achievements as well as its strength. He favours servants who are clever, skilled in art and feirce in battle, but he also expects utter obedience. Hierarchy is strictly enforced in Zaresnar, and there are severe penalties for breaking Daskesurul’s laws. This causes tensions within his court, as the higher-ranking Nayusuru do not make meek servants.
Daskesurul finds it hard to retain the loyalty of his Nayusuru servants – even those who have joined him willingly. Sooner or later, they rebel against his harsh rule, betray him or get captured by his enemies because they feel too broken and wretched to fight for him anymore.
Daskesurul is thought to be the co-author of The Harmonous Palace, a book that describes Nayusuru as ‘manipulative and self-serving’, and states that they constantly need to be reminded of their place. He makes high demands of his servants, and quickly becomes irritated by their perceived flaws. Much of their time is spend desperately striving to please him.
Carashanza was once Daskesurul’s highest-ranking servant. She admired his cunning, ambition and sense of order, and they shared a thirst for knowledge about the working of the world.
When Carashanza was captured by the mortal wizard Yanquanha, Daskesurul could not rest until she was rescued. However, their relationship turned sour after the devestating fall of Onadura and Kahubur.
Daskesurul felt that Carashanza questioned him too much, while she accused him of being a tyrant. Finally, in a spectacular act of betrayal, she freed Mormariul from his dungeons and fled with her to the Court of Zepzaris. Her treachery left him both furious and distraught.
Canrasiul is the most faithful of Daskesurul’s servants, having been in his court for thousands of years. Daskesurul likes his quick wit and his talent at illusion, appreciates his skill in battle, and acknowledges that he has served him well – most of the time.
Despite this, Canrasiul is seldom regarded with favour, for Daskesurul finds his moody, anxious temperament irksome. Too often, Canrasiul becomes absorbed in his own thoughts and fears, and makes ‘foolish mistakes’ as a result.
Iruzathe was captured by Daskesurul during the Ceyth-Janzarian wars and forced to relinquish his old alleigance. Although he feels too crushed to think of defying his new ruler, Daskesurul considers him a fairly worthless servant.
Iruzathe is a weak fighter, and he hates seeing Daskesurul’s mortal subjects punished. However, he plays fine music and is skilled at diplomacy – and, if not for him, the Court of Zaresnar would have been left with no one but Canrasiul after the Ceyth-Janzarian wars ended.
Daskesurul’s mortal subjects consider Iruzathe by far the most patient and understanding of the Zaresnarans. At first Iruzathe often begged his ruler to be less harsh towards the mortals, but he knew that if he was not careful he would only be punished himself. Daskesurul told him that he was too soft-hearted, and that only a strong leader could bring order to the human world.
Of all the Nayusuru who have served the Court of Zaresnar, Tarissarul was the one whom Daskesurul most favoured. She did well enough in battle and played beautiful music, and she always knew how to handle his agitaged moods. Daskesurul found her company soothing, and treated her far better than his other servants, for it seemed that she never did anything to upset him.
During the Soveriengty of Janzaris, Daskesurul was forced to surrender one of his servants to Naskremari. Tarissarul offered to go, for she was the weakest fighter in his court, and therefore the one he would miss the least. Daskesurul saw the sense in this, but he felt wretchedly miserable for years afterwards. Even though Tarissarul is now loyal to his rival, he regards her as the most noble and virtuous of the Nayusuru.
Kurunari has occasionally given his allegiance to Daskesurul, for they are both coldly ambitious and they share a interest in natural history. The last time Kurunari joined Zaresnar was during the Soveriegnty of Janzaris, after his old ruler had been cast into Garashent. The addition of such a high-ranking Nayusuru to the court did much to soothe Daskesurul’s grief over Tarissarul’s departure.
During the Ceyth-Janzarian wars Daskesurul captured Tassedehami’s highest-ranking servant Drathessa, but although she finally promised to serve him, she fled back to Ebzazire as soon as she could. Kurunari was appalled by the way she had suffered in the dungeons of Tangurial, and also betrayed Zaresnar. Daskesurul blames him – along with Carashanza – for wrecking his bid to become soveriegn, and has not forgiven either of them.