In the deserts of An’khahar, daily life is as harsh and unforgiving as the sands that surround it. Legend says that this was once a lush land of bountiful resources, until the empire of Vor Baleath came to power. Its nobles made infernal contracts with dark powers from the Nine Hells; bargained with devils and demons for greater power. Through these pacts, Vor Baleath conquered most of the known world. Every deal has its costs though, which manifested itself in the ruin of Vor Baleath. No one now remembers when it happened, or even what happened, but Vor Baleath fell and its jungles became blasted wastelands, it’s crumbling ruins a constant remain of its fallen grace.

It is said today that the descendants of those who bartered away An’khahar’s future now bear the mark of their averice: they are the tiefling race, cursed with features of the devils for their ancestor’s sins. Hated for selling the soul of their land to devils, tieflings are the slave caste of An’khahar and are treated harshly for their ancestors’ sins. Most tieflings in the freelands know to stay away, lest they join their unfortunate cousins.

Outside of the city of An’khahar, the deserts are largely ruled by orcs. Bound together in tribal warbands, they are known as fierce warriors and savage bandits. Within the city proper, humans represent the large population, followed by dragonborn and then dwarves. Together they hold the largest sway over governance and trade, in an alliance known as the Merchant Princes. Halfings play a less prominent role, but can still be found in modest numbers. It is said that if you cannot find it in the stalls of the Merchant Princes, then it will likely be found in a halfing’s. The dragonborn are the ruling class, though due to political schisms they have lost much of their power to the Merchant Princes.

The laws of the land follow a harsh stricture: an eye for an eye. The accused are brought before a judge (typically a member of the Merchant Princes), who determines guilt and appropriate punishment for the crime. Thieves leave having lost their hands and murders almost never escape with their lives, then never with their freedom. The young dragonborn Shiek Bahara is mostly a figurehead, though those who have meet him sense his ambition and cunning. He has been manuevering to reclaim much of his power from the Merchant Princes.

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