Near Harad, known to its inhabitants as Ahâr-Zâin, is the greatest and most ancient of nations on the Haradric subcontinent. In its long and glorious history, the people of Ahâr-Zâin have witnessed the rise and fall of various empires, dynasties, and cults. With vast territories expanding throughout the northern regions of Harad, its people have enjoyed years of prosperity, earning reputations as great warriors and architects. Today, Ahâr-Zâin stands as the capital region of the Astrasi Empire.
Near Harad underwent various changes over the course of history regarding its ruling system. Currently Near Harad is ruled by the Astrasi Empire, where its capital, Ajtiaz al-Harad, is located. Historically there are several periods described by scholars:
Shortly after the server was started, a player named Karseius established an absolute monarchy in Near Harad with a "Serpent-lord" as emperor and multiple "Vipers" who served him as loyal landlords.
The Old Empire ended after Serpentlord Karseius II. transformed the Old Empire into the Principalities of Near Harad in an attempt to counter faction intern tensions and balance the distribution of power.
2. The Principalities of Near Harad
The Principalities of Near Harad worked as a collection of independent but allied city states. Ain al-Harad lost its status as capital of Near Harad while a new Council Tower was built at The Gardens of Beruthiel in which the regents of all recognized Near Haradrim City States discussed and decided important matters. The ruler of a recognized Near Haradrim city state was called a "Serpent". In the Principalities of Near Harad there were five recognized Serpents:
- Serpent Karseius II. in Ain al-Harad
- Serpent shamiir in Ajtiaz al-Harad
- Serpent GetWrekt_ in Haradwaith al-Harad
- Serpent Skilliar at the Gulf of Harad
- Serpent denniskolin at Poros
The Principalities of Near Harad were relatively short lived. After the Doom of Ain al-Harad and the disappearance of the mightiest Serpent Karseius II. the Principalities broke into more or less feuding camps which ended in the seizure of power by the Serpent Skilliar and his banner-men.
3. The New Empire
With the seizure of power by Skilliar the unity in Near Harad broke completely. Skillar transformed Near Harad into a absolutistic monarchy again with a "Serpent-emperor" at the top in an attempt to even exceed the Old Empire.
The succession of the Serpent-emperors in Near Harad is:
- Emperor Skilliar I.
- Emperor Karsham I.
- Great Python Demon_26
Although the New Empire claimed to be the direct and rightful successor of the Old Empire, it had problems consolidating its power in all of Near Harad, especially in the northern and western regions. Ajtiaz al-Harad even seceded from the newly declared empire and became a fully independent city state. Because of the lack of territorial integrity, some people did not recognize the Serpent-emperor's rule over Near Harad and called it usurpation. After the uprising and demise of Karsham, a Half-Troll named Demon_26 who served the New Empire claimed to be the rightful successor and called himself Great Python of Near Harad. Since Near Harad suffered a great loss in its population [players] the political situation in Near Harad was very unstable. Although Demon_26 claimed all power over Near Harad he was not recognized by several Near Haradrim cites and other factions and in the end renounced his claims over the lands.
4. The Revived City States
After the New Empire also officially ceased to exist, renaissance for Near Haradrim City States had begun. In contrast to the Principalities of Near Harad these new (or old) city states had no connection through shared institutions. These city states were completely independent from each other. There were three known city states, although there were rumored to be a few more:
- Realm of Ajtiaz al-Harad
- Freehold of the Fertile Valley
- State of Astras al-Harad
The Revived City States agreed to merge to another Near Haradrim Empire after Karseius III. showed up in Near Harad to reunite the lands.
5.1 The Astrasi Empire: Karseussid Era
The Karseussid Astrasi era starts with the formation of the Astrasi Empire, a great union between many factions of Harad. Through inter-factional cooperation, Near Harad experienced growth and prosperity. Notable figures of this period include Serpentlord Karseius himself, and future successor Shamiir of Ajtiaz.
5.2 The Astrasi Empire: Shamiiric Era
The Shamiiric Astrasi era begins with the appointment of Shamiir as Karseius' successor to both Near Harad and the Astrasi Empire as a whole. And so started one of the most prosperous eras on record. Citizenship numbers soared and the factions of Harad enjoyed prolonged periods of peace.
5.3 The Astrasi Empire: Arakhassid Era
The Arakhassid Era is defined as the period between Serpentlady Shamiirs resignation from the throne of Near Harad to stevethebuffalo's resignation. Under the rule of stevethebuffalo Near Harad underwent a golden age. Its population flourished, borders were as secure as ever and Numenorian control of neighbouring territories was effectively gone. Prominent leaders during this period include:
- Serpentlord Stevethebuffalo
- Empress Shamiir, of the Astrasi Empire
- Vizier Herodain
- Vizier cpt_butterpants
This period ends with the resignation of Serpentlord Stevethebuffalo and the appointment of Herodain to the throne of Near Harad.
5.4 The Astrasi Empire: Sakharrid Era
The Sakharrid Era is the current era of Near Harad, and starts with the appointment of Herodain to Serpentlord of Near Harad. The Sakharrid era encompasses a large number of political changes both internally and externally. Astrasi Empress Shamiir resigned, leaving Stevethebuffalo to take the Astrasi throne. The rank of 'Consul' was created to divide responsibilities among the Serpentlord's senior advisors. Each Consul would rule over a territory of Near Harad on behalf of the Serpentlord. Notable leaders of this period include:
- Serpentlord Herodain
- Astrasi Empress and Consul of the Southron Coasts, Shamiir
- Astrasi Emperor and Consul of Harnedor, Stevethebuffalo
- Consul of the Nomad Tribes, MandatoryPeanut
This is the current era of Near Harad.
The Government of Ahar-Zain
The ranks of Near Harad are as follows:
- Astrasi Emperor/Empress and their Warlord
- Serpentlord of Near Harad, the leader of the faction
- Consul, leader of a sub-faction and advisor to the Serpentlord
- Proconsul, second-in-command of a sub-faction
- Minor Lord, owners of cities deemed important by a Consul
Near Harad is a member of the Astrasi Empire, Dark Alliance and numerous smaller alliances of which some are described below. MORE COMING SOON
Cites and strongholds of Near Harad
NOTE TO CITY OWNERS: Feel free to add your city to the list here.Ruins of Ain al-Harad, once the oldest and biggest city on the subcontinent of Harad, was founded on the first day the server. Its was the imperial seat of the old Near Haradrim Empire and most of its Serpent-lords until it was ended by Karseius II.. The Ruins of Ain al-Harad are located on the Isle south of the Ain al-Harad waypoint in the west of Near Harad Fertile. The city was completely fortified and connected to the main fertile river with a canal. Notable buildings in the city included the imperial palace, the great southron temple, the academy of Near Harad, the mausoleum of Karseius I., the roofed bazaar and the central imperial tower. After the mysterious Doom of Ain al-Harad it was ruined and is said to be cursed. Only a fraction of the once-great city has survived this event.
Poros is the northern most city of Near Harad and has long since stood watching over the southern regions of Ithilien. Many great battles have been fought at this fortified city due to its location.
Khopakadar [WIP] is the capital of the Khopazul sub-faction of Near Harad. Famed for its fusion of western and eastern Southron architecture, it is for many the gateway to the north. Its ports see goods and stories flow in from the mysterious lands of Rhun and Far Harad.
Astras al-Harad is a Southron city located north of the Mt. Astras. This fomer mining outpost became the new capital of the Astrasi Empire under Serpent-lord Karseius III and existed as the center of the Harpy Cult. Under the reign of Astrasi Emperor Karseius III, the city prospered and developed into the only known mountain-city of the Near Haradrim. After the demise of Karseius III the city was ruled by his heir, Shamiir. Notable builds include the Astrasi Imperial Palace, the Imperial Light-tower, the Temple of the Harpy and the tomb of Karseius III built in a mountain outside the city.
Chronicles of the Sunlands ☀ (Server History)
The written history of Near Harad begins with the founding of the Old Empire in Near Harad by self-declared Serpentlord Karseius I. of the Karsassid Dynasty. He was succeded by three other Serpentlords who shaped Near Haradrim culture and politics which is often recalled as a golden age by Near Haradrim. The Empire was ended by the fourth and last Serpentlord of the Old Empire Karseius II., who transformed the empire into a collection of city states known as the Principalities of Near Harad.For more detailed history of the Old Empire
The Principalities of Near Harad
Although this transformation was considered a positive development by the northern human kingdoms tensions between some of the city states and Gondor arose. A new war was avoided but the tensions still stood. Following the transformation of the empire into a collection of allied city states Serpent Karseius II. of Ain al-Harad built the great Council Tower near the gardens Beruthiel. Although the Principalities seemed to cooperate quite well as intended in the beginning soon a greater divide between the five ruling Serpents was becoming apparent.
For more detailed history of the Principalities of Near Harad
The Doom (The Principalities of Near Harad)
The Doom was a very mysterious event on the continent of Harad, affecting mostly the west of the fertile lands of Near Harad. Although its effects were perceived on the whole continent, the most affected place was Ain al-Harad. The cause of the Doom is not known and there are only speculations but the results were certain. One of the biggest cities of the known world was ruined and its people exterminated nearly over night including Serpent Karseius II and his forces. The Doom caused a major power shift in Near Harad and without Karseius II. the Principalities swiftly fell apart. Following the Doom a civil war like situation emerged with the remaining Serpents and newcomers to Near Harad fighting for power and control.
Beginings of the New EmpireIn an attempt to revive the Old Empire Skilliar from the Gulf seized power over the majority of Near Haradrim teritorry with the help of his followers. He declared himself first Serpent-emperor of Near Harad and rightful heir to Karseius II. the last Serpent-lord. He ordered the creation of a new capital city at a secret location in the desert called Mu'Taz. The city was built by a newcomer called Karsham. At the same time Ajtiaz al-Harad declared its full independence of the New Empire. resistance was also met in the west of the fertile lands. Although the New Empire claims to rule all of Near Harad, it does not control all of the claimed territories and is also not recognized as legitimate by multiple factions. After a relatively short reign the first Emperor Skilliar resigned from the throne and appointed Karsham as second Serpent-emperor. The unexpected resignation of Skilliar and unusual fast rise of Karsham in power gave material for a lot of conspiracy theories. Some people believe Sklillar was only a puppet of Karsham to become Emperor. There are also multiple rumors about his identity. New Empire loyalists believe Karsham to be of royal decent of Karseius II. who was rumored to have fathered children in secret. Others believe Karsham is the youngest son of RookieNinjas II. or even Razum_Dar, who tries to establish his bloodline as rulers again, which lost their claim to the throne after the disappearance of RookieNinjas I. After Karsham took control over the New Empire Rohan declared war and tried to conquer Harandor from the New Empire. The claim that Emperor Karsham's rule over Near Harad was based on usurpation remained until his sudden demise in the events of the Southron Epidemic.
Southron Plague (New Empire)
After the war with Rohan an unknown disease spread through the continent of Near Harad which nearly halved the Near Haradrim population and weakened the faction severely. Emperor Karsham and various other Near Haradrim were victims of the event and vanished [were not accepted in the white-list]. The Southron Plague left Near Harad in its weakest position since the beginning of the server.
The Dark Ages
With a great loss in its population Near Harad lost most of its influence outside of its borders. Further more the already damaged legitimacy of the New Empire suffered even more after the demise of Karsham and most of his followers. With the new vacuum of power Near Harad fell apart yet again into several feuding camps fighting over power. Although practically the New Empire has ended, a Half-Troll named Demon_26 claimed to be the rightful heir to the throne of Mu'Taz with also a lack of legitimacy. Besides this claim the independent Serpent shamiir of Ajtiaz al-Harad still held central Near Harad as an independent city state which is considered as the last remains of The Principalities of Near Harad. The political situation of Near Harad as a whole remained blurry. With Near Harad at its weakest position ever on the server, Harandor was conquered by Gondorian Invaders while Near Harad as a whole lost all of its influence outside of its remaining borders.
The Renaissance of Old (The New City States)
With the end of the New Empire and a lack of a centralized power old and new city states emerged in Near Harad. The most powerful of all, Ajtiaz al-Harad was considered the successor of Ain al-Harad and took over its former status as most influential city on the continent of Harad. Smaller new city states like the Freehold of the Fertile Valley were founded as well. Although these totally independent city states only resemble the Principalities of Near Harad in a small matter, this era of Near Haradrim history is still considered a renaissance for the idea and ideology of city states.
Following the founding of the Astrasi Empire, Near Harad became a prominent and important member. Rulers under the Astrasi Empire include Serpentlady Shamiir and Serpentlords Karseius, Ekans, Stevethebuffalo and Herodain. Under the Astrasi Empire, Near Harad went through a golden period of growth thanks to the close bonds between member factions. The title of Serpent was now reserved for Astrasi leaders, and so the land owners of Near Harad became known as Viperlords.
Religions of Near Harad
The Southron Mythology is the oldest and most common religion in Near Harad. Its a polytheistic religion centered around a great sun god and various other gods. The Serpent-lords of the Old Empire were also High Priests of the mythology at the same time. After the decline of the Old Empire the status of High Priest was lost. Southron temples can be found all across Near Harad though the central temple build was located in Ain al-Harad. The religion is very diverse and differs from region to region. While the Sun is the center of worship in the Fertile valley up to Haradwaith, in Harandor a Shadow goddess is more prevalent. The main symbol of the religion is a carved red falcon with spread wings although other symbols can be found on temples too. The religion has been under heavy influence of other religions and cults over the centuries. Early Numenorean worship of Eru Illuvatar has led to a centralized role of the sun in the mythology and merge between the god of the sun and Eru Illuvatar in some regards. Another recent influence on the Southron Mythology is the Sauron Cult which came into existence after the rise of Sauron in Mordor. While older temple builds of the Southron Mythology don't feature any references to the Sauron cult whatsoever, younger builds like the great central temple in Ain al-Harad feature the eye of Sauron in combination with the red falcon.
The Harpy Cult is a form of Southron Mythology that developed in the south-western part of Near Harad. Before the Astrasi Empire the Harpy Cult was only a local phenomenon. Worshipers of the Harpy put the Harpy goddess before the Sun God. With the rise of Astras al-Harad the cult quickly spread throughout Near Harad and is currently the dominant form of the Southron Mythology in western Near Harad as well as Harandor. To be better able to consolidate power over the region Serpent-lord Karseius III. intended to equate all forms of Southron Mythology. Although the Astrasi Empire lost its political importance after the Numenorean Conquest, the Harpy Cult is still alive in Near Harad as well as in some Parts of Umbar and the Savannah.
The Cult of Kaeyaal is considered to be part of the Southron Mythology but developed into its own religion in the golden age of Near Harad. Kaeyaal was the shadow god of Harad, god of death. Kaeyaal appeared as a big black snake mostly. At its height the Shadow goddess, who is said to be the goddess of death and stealth, was worshiped predominantly in Harandor and the gulf regions. The main Shadow temple was located in Poros. The rapid rise in popularity was linked to the rise of the Serpent Venom guild who took the shadow goddess as their main deity. After the first civil war in Near Harad and the destruction of the Serpent Venom guild, the Shadow cult was deemed blasphemy. Its practice was forbidden in the Old Empire and followers of the religion were persecuted and forced to either flee to Mordor or Far Harad. Today there are no temples dedicated to the shadow goddess in Near Harad but there were rumors that the New Empire worked to revive the religion and even establish it as state religion.
The Sauron Cult is a relatively new cult in Near Harad and is mostly found in a combination with the Southron Mythology. Pure Sauron cultists in Near Harad are rare and can mostly be found at the borders with Mordor or Harandor. It is centered around the worship of Sauron and its symbol is the Great Eye. Although not very common in Near Harad it has a big influence in Near Harad due to close relations between Near Harad and Mordor. Evidence for this influence are the various carvings of the Great Eye in Near Harad, even in the imperial palace of Ain al-Harad.
The Morgoth Cult has been brought by Black Numenorean traders to Near Harad but had no great role in the history of Near Harad. Most worshipers of Morgoth are either Black Numenoreans, Corsairs of Umbar or Orcs and Half-Trolls that reside in Near Harad. The only temple dedicated to Morgoth was located in Ain al-Harad.
Dunlandism is the most recent religion to reach Near Harad. A great temple was built for the small dunlending population living in Ain al-Harad by King Evil_Mogwai of Dunland. Since the Doom of Ain al-Harad and the demise of its dunlending minority there are no followers of Dunlandism left in Near Harad.
Guilds and Secret Societies
The Serpents Venom Guild was a powerful and secret society of Southron assassins. The guild was founded in the Old Empire by RookieNinjas I. on behalf of the first Serpent-lord Karseius I. in order to create a specialized attack force. The guild grew more and more powerful in time and moved from its small headquarters in Ain al-Harad to the fortress Poros as their leader RookieNinjas II. moved there as well. At the height of its power the guild followed their own political interests and even started ignoring orders of Serpent-lord Karseius II. Although the exact circumstances are unclear, it is supposed that the Serpents Venom guild tried to trigger a great war between Near Harad and Gondor and its allies while the Serpent-lord Karseius II. was eager to maintain peace. It is said that this conflict was the cause of the first Near Haradrim Civil War and the siege of Poros. The Serpent Venom guild was disbanded and its base destroyed after the battle of Poros and was declared illegal in all of the Empire. There were rumors that the Serpent-emperors of the New Empire might try to revive the guild in an attempt to consolidate its power over all of Near Harad. The guild made an appearance during the time of the Astrasi Empire with Raashir, who was the last known man of the RookieNinjas bloodline.The Sun Guard was the royal guard surrounding the Serpent-emperor of the New Empire. Its purpose was to protect the Serpent-emperor against all his enemies. After the demise of Karsham the Sun Guard dissolved.
Durin's Folk •
Dol Guldur •
Harad and the South:
Fire elves •
Kingdom of the Golden Wash •
Kingdom of the Isles •