Yanbuka

Yanbuka is an Oborsurean empire ruled by the immortal Lord Naskremari. Founded in the 1st century EA, it is one of the oldest surviving Ankaykari territories in Udaris. Its aristocratic elite are devoted followers of the sun-god Hazarakan, and are famed as warriors.

The empire’s bards boast of its glorious history. From the 5th to 7th centuries, Yanbuka was involved in several wars against Kahubur, during which it defended not only its own lands but also the northern kingdom of Namiva. In 1434 Naskremari’s son Naskaran ascended the throne, driving back a Sakruan invasion and successfully holding the empire against the dragon-king Zakrusepi.

A map of the Yanbukan empire drawn using CC3 (Campaign Cartographer 3)
A map of the Yanbukan empire circa 1200 EA

Geography

The Yanbukan empire encircles an inland sea known as Chasuwa. Cities of white marble stand along its shores; beyond these are fields of millet and rice, meandering rivers and the vast sunlit plains where lions and antelopes roam. Countless trading vessels sail Chasuwa’s waters, bearing cargoes of diamond and cotton, ebony, animal-hides and palm oil.

Yanbuka’s oldest heartlands lie to the east, in the rocky stretch of land between the seas of Chasuwa and Ishekebua. It is here that the former capital of Habaskoe and the newer imperial city of Nenushka stand, along with the Gateway of Yanthure which leads to Burshnar. To the north of the empire lie dense forests and mountains, while to the south are low hills and scrubland.

Aruske and Taphiske are the most heavily populated regions of Yanbuka. The people here cultivate rice, sweet potatoes, beans and cashews, as well as crops such as cocoa, coffee and tea. Further south are the grasslands of Ekusha, famed for their cattle. West of Ekusha is Kuarake, a  province that produces salt,rice and fine pottery. At the fringe of the empire is Gabuwesu, a land of tropical forests and mountains once ruled by Lady Liralian.

History

The founders of the Yanbukan empire were originally an Ekushan tribe called the Yanbu, who migrated north-east from the Dakurashan highlands. When their settlement of Ghaboken was threatened by the Taphisken empire, they fled into the Benakayu mountains. There they rediscovered the legendary Gateway, passed into Burshnar and pledged their allegiance to the immortal Lord Naskremari.

At that time Naskremari ruled over the magical realm as Sovereign of Janzaris. His forces helped the Yanbukan warlord Xashakaro to win the allegiance of the Aruskens and to drive back the Taphisken ‘upstarts’. Xashakaro married an Arusken princess and chose the city of Habaskoe as his stronghold, as it was from here that the ancient Jurian emperors had once ruled.

In 21 EA, Xashakaro conquered the Taphisken imperial city of Kahunaske. His son Jebomaro Tan Yaske later used Taphisken war-galleys to invade Quasakeo, whose king Hanqua had dared mock his loyalty to the Ankaykari. By 84 EA, that land had also been absorbed into the empire.

Yanbuka suffered a blow when its Ankaykari patron was overthrown as Sovereign in 95 EA. Although Lord Naskremari remained concerned for the fate of his empire, he was too caught up in his own struggles to give much assistance to the Royal House of Tan Yaske – and its enemies knew it.

During the years of strife that followed, the Yanbukans were grudgingly aided by Gabuwesu, a mountain-kingdom whose people served Naskremari’s Esu vassal Liralian. Throughout the 2nd century EA, the empire weathered revolts in Quasakeo and Taphiske. Abokowan warlords raided the western farmlands, while Hadachi pirates plundered the eastern fishing villages, carrying people off as slaves.

In the end, the Tan Yaske dynasty managed to hold the empire together. They strengthened their ties with Gabuwesu through marriage-alliances and built strong fortifications around their borders, some of which have survived into modern times. Their reign finally came to an end in 257 EA, when Emperor Hakora died childless and passed the throne to his great general, Tokabo Sanyo Takun.

In 488 EA the mighty Kahuburi empire allied with Hadacha and launched an invasion of Yanbuka. Habaskoe was looted and burned, Emperor Tayashon was slain in battle, and the imperial court was forced to flee inland. The Ankaykari flew into a screaming rage when they heard the news, but the Yanbukans rallied around Tayashon’s second son, Prince Kekansh; with Xessuralen’s help, they successfully vanquished the invaders.

The next great conflict between Yanbuka and Kahubur occurred in the 6th century, after Kahubur had fallen under the power of Naskremari’s Ankaykari rival Daskesurul.

It was Lord Daskesurul’s ambition to conquer Namiva – a kingdom allied with Naskremari’s Esu vassal Tassedehami – and extend the Kahuburi empire all the way to the Elurissan sea. Naskremari thwarted him by portaling an army north under the leadership of Lord Mabbaro Son Akuru. Further wars followed, ending only when Kahubur’s provinces rose in revolt against their Ankaykari overlord.

In 610 EA, the Yanbukan empire turned its attention west, launching an unprovoked attack against its erstwhile ally Gabuwesu. Their reasons were rooted in Askamaran politics – Naskremari wished to punish his former vassal Liralian, and to impress Ruzenathra, whose allegiance he hoped to gain.

The mountain-people fought long and hard, but their crown city was conquered in 624 EA; by 705 the last vestiges of resistance had been crushed.

The Yanbukan and Kahuburi empires circa 620 EA, drawn using CC3
The Yanbukan and Kahuburi empires in 625 EA, during the time of the 4th Namivan war.

Yanbuka’s next war of conquest was against Ekusha, the ancient homeland of the Yanbu people. The Ekushan High King Jaskurbor and his sons were killed in battle, the yuyarni of the Dakurashan mountains were subdued, and the last free city-state of the coast, Yanbor, fell in 782 EA. After this, Naskremari declared that his rule extended far enough; any further conquests would only weaken Yanbuka.

The empire became involved in several other conflicts over the centuries – most notably during the Sovereignty of Shekruvaris, when its men were sent to fight in Gabakarua and Tuyaz-Oa – but its own borders remained secure until 1382, when it was invaded by the Sakruan empire.

Armed with the hand cannons that they had been granted by Zakrusepi’s court, the Sakruans swarmed across Yanbuka’s southern border. Quasakeo was conquered, the Ekushan dukes surrendered and even the Gateway of Yanthure fell into Sakruan hands. Emperor Tokoron Yonu Ta withdrew to Kahunaske, where he finally halted the Sakruan onslaught with fire-arms of his own.

In 1434, the aging Emperor Tokoron granted his throne to Naskaran, the Kaniyari son of Lord Naskremari and the Aumoreyan princess Rasayna. Magic was pitted against gunpowder as Naskaran and his siblings clashed with the Sakruans, driving them back beyond Ekusha. The Sakruan emperor appealed to Zakrusepi for help, and rejoiced when they learned that he had captured Naskremari in battle.

Naskremari’s brood continued to hold out, however. Naskaran regained the loyalty of the Ekushans, then pressed south, determined to liberate his mother’s homeland from the Sakruan tyrants.

The Sakruan empire collapsed in 1471, and Lord Naskremari was rescued in 1518. Since then Naskaran has govern Yanbuka on his father’s behalf, defending the empire’s borders and maintaining treaties with the surrounding lands.

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An epic fantasy saga