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Guide to Murapii

(The Heart of Mura by DALL-E 3)

The City of Mura

Spanning half of the continent of Apour, the empire of Murapii has been shaped by a legacy of religious fervour and military power. Stretching around the Murian Sea, they are feared by their neighbours and revered by the devoted followers of their fanatical brand of religion - Sarghus: The Divine.


Murapii is governed by an Emperor in combination with a religious leader, known as the Head of Sarghus. Thanks to the empire’s vast military, and their elite force of fanatics - the Feet of Sarghus - and their spy network - the Left Hand of Sarghus - the empire’s tentacles extend into most of the world.


Their capital, Mura, serves as the administrative heart of the empire, both politically and spiritually. The strategic value of its constructed canal that connects the Azrean and Murian seas, make Mura an essential trade hub.


From its founding, Murapii’s history has been filled with strife and religious wars inflicted on others. The western Empire of Kurhan being the only nation in the region powerful enough to oppose them.


Geography & Landscape

(Map of Murapii by Jaques Smit)


Apour’s Natural Barriers:

Bellor Channel: A massive waterway that bisects the continent. Its width varies from 250 miles to 500 miles across. These waters have seen countless naval battles between Kurhan and Murapii as they grant access to the northern and southern seas, along with valuable trade routes to Isai.

Kurhan Sea: Stretching 1,500 miles. It is the heart of Kurhan, connecting its provinces to the Bellor Channel. Its azure waters enable Kurhan’s navy to mobilise against Murapii or mass for counterattacks.

Murian Sea: Spanning 3,000 miles, this sea’s bustling ports facilitate most of Murapii’s prosperity through trade, and travel, while being easy to defend.

Mountain Ranges: The Wasku Mountains, are a natural barrier and have been the site of many historic standoffs with Itavia and the nomadic raiders of Rovskia. To the south, the Thurkor mountains and their volcanic terrain are as dangerous as it is irresistible for its wealth of olliriam.


Murapii’s Borders:

North: The shimmering expanse of the Azrean Sea stretches for 4,000 miles from the Ostre Ocean in the east. This coastline is dotted with fortified naval bases, bustling ports, and trade hubs that interact with the nations of Southern Azrea.

South: Defined by the Schilkhu Sea and the vast expanse of the Sotau Ocean, the southern coastline has been instrumental in the empire’s maritime endeavours, providing an alternate route to Isai that avoids the heavily contested Bellor Channel.

West & East: A complex weave of forests, mountain ranges, and deserts forms the western and eastern boundaries. The empire is book-ended by the Bellor Channel in the west and the deadly Vermolian Forest in the east.


Provinces of Murapii:

Murian Plains

Location: North and central, surrounding the Inati Mountains as well as the Urals and Anra islands.

Capital: Mura

Culture: Home to the capital and the agricultural heartland. In Mura itself, people are generally rich and focus on arts, culture and religion. They’re known for their amphitheatres. Fashion is grand, with masks being a popular accessory. Outside the big cities, the rural population toil on farms and have an annual Harvest Gala to celebrate the yearly produce. These simpler people prefer linen attire covered in patterns that resemble their crops.


Vitrania

Location: Northeast, stretching from the Ostre Ocean to the volcanic Helirank mountains and the Pylha Forest.

Capital: Irmo

Culture: Vitranian culture revolves around maritime traditions and they are exceptional ship builders. A yearly Asure Festival marks the date when the first humans set sail across the Bellor Channel to find Mura. This event includes boat races and seafood feasts that last for an entire week. Their fashion reflects their love for the sea in different shades of blue, with shells or pearls as decorations.


Thalcoria

Location: Southeast, stretching along the Murian Sea Coastline from the edge of Silvo Bay to the Thurkor mountains and the Vermolian Forest.


Capital: Thalcor

Culture: Thalcorians are skilled miners, extracting precious stones and metals from the Ulvian and Thurkor ranges. They wear thick woollen clothing with metallic threads woven into the fabric. Their yearly festival is the Glitter Stone festival where the people gather around massive crystals erected in the town square to exchange gifts.


Deserius

Location: South, in the vast Schikhas Desert.

Capital: Desora

Culture: Most Deserians are nomadic by nature and have mastered desert survival. They live in tents, following oasis routes with a few permanent settlements for trade. Each time they encounter rain or an oasis, they hold a full day festival that includes dancing in the water and refilling their supplies. They were lightweight and pale-coloured clothing that reflects the sun.


Silvania

Location: Central and East, keepers of the Porta Channel, stretching from the Wasku Mountains to the Silvani Forest that surrounds the Muklan Lagoon.

Capital: Silvari

Culture: Silvarians are expert woodworkers, hunters, fishers and sailors. They are the second most powerful province after Mura and are fanatical, even by Murian standards. Believing themselves to be the first to follow the path of Sarghus the Divine, they celebrate the day of creation for a month every year. Their dress is extremely modest and often includes veiled faces for both men and woman. Fort Portorii is home to the infamous elite military division, the Feet of Sarghus.


Portalia

Location: East, along the Bellor Channel’s coastline.

Capital: Gunda

Culture: A trading hub that facilitates safe travel for Murian vessels along the Bellor Channel. The Portalians are a mix of various cultures because of constant interaction with traders. They’re known for grand bazaars and the White Market festival. Their clothing is an eclectic mix that blend different regional styles. Portalia has a powerful navy that often clash with Kurhan.



Mura - The Jewel of Murapii

Location: Nestled on the Azrean Sea's coast, Mura exhibits Murapii's might and prosperity. The Grand Canal, a great engineering achievement, runs north to south, connecting the Azmurian sear to the Murian Sea to allow trade and rapid naval deployment.


Architectural Marvels: Mura bristles with tall spires, grand amphitheatres, and sprawling plazas. Buildings are covered in intricate carvings and monuments. Most art in the city either depict heroic scenes from Mura's history or religious stories from the Book of One.


Economic Significance: As the heart of the empire and thanks to the Grand Canal, Mura is a thriving trade hub. Markets are filled with exotic goods from distant lands.


Mura: The Capital of Murapii

Architectural Influence and Style

Many buildings have elevated platforms, wide steps that lead to majestic entrances, and vast courtyards. Entrance ways have stone carvings that depict historical events, myths, and daily life.

Roofs are multi-tiered and slope outward, allowing rainwater to cascade down like a waterfall. Wide archways promote natural cooling and led pipes provide indoor plumbing.

Statues of historical figures, especially past leaders and notable figures from the church of Sarghus, are common. These statues are all part of the city’s narrative, often placed in significant spots related to the figure’s life or achievements.


The Grand Canal

A statement of wealth and engineering prowess, the Grand Canal is both functional and beautiful. Lined with carved polished stone that is maintained by craftspeople. It has small platforms along its length for performances, markets, and gatherings. At night, the water comes alive with floating lanterns tied to its walls.


The Heart of Mura: Central Plaza

This vast open space is surrounded by the city’s administrative and religious buildings. The plaza is paved with mosaic flagstones that depict stories from the Book of One.

A grand fountain sits at its centre with water spouting from a statue of Sarghus in the shape of a serpent with thousands of legs. The plaza hosts festivals, ceremonies, and daily religious gatherings.


Defensive Structures

Mura, being the capital, is well-fortified. Massive walls encircle the city. Each of the wall towers are equipped with signal fires and bells to warn against encroaching threats. The city has multiple gates to allow traffic to flow, each named after a past emperor.


Religious Structures and Centres

The Grand Temple of Sarghus

Standing at the heart of Mura, the Grand Temple of Sarghus plays is big a role in politics as in culture and religion. Built on the highest point, it can be seen from anywhere in the city. The temple’s entrance is guarded by the Feet of Sarghus, and leads to a vast hall. The walls are etched with scriptures and decorated with art that tell stories from the Book of One. Deep within the temple, the Head of Sarghus has a throne room that is only accessible to high-ranking officials and the Emperor.


Shrines and Altars

Smaller shrines dotted across Mura. Each with a distinct purpose, from blessing new ventures to ensuring safe travels. These shrines are the focal point of festivals and traditions.


Marketplaces and Trade

Echoing Voices

A sprawling marketplace where traders from all corners of Murapii converge. Stalls offer everything from exotic spices to expensive Jing silks. The bazaar gets its name from the unique acoustics created by its arched pathways.


The Port of Lustrous Sails

In the Grand Canal, this port is busy night and day with ships sail trading goods from across world.

(Echoing Voices by DALL-E 3)

Cultural and Recreational Spaces

(Epithula Amphitheatre by DALL-E 3)

Epithula Amphitheatre

This amphitheatre comes to life with fictional and historical stories that reflect the empire’s diversity of culture in plays, dances, and musical performances.


Serene Gardens

The Emperor’s vast and meticulously manicured gardens, complete with streams of exotic fish, animals and plants. Besides the nobility and clergy, poets, artists, and thinkers visit to engage in philosophical debates.


Education and Learning

(The Hall of Wisdom by DALL-E 3)

The Hall of Wisdom

The Hall houses scrolls, manuscripts, and texts from across the continent. Scholars and students travel from afar to study here, under the guidance of Murapii’s brightest minds. All Mura’s greatest generals studied at its war college.


Governance and Administrative Centres

The Palace

Overlooking the Central Plaza, the Palace with its tall towers is both home to the Emperor and the empire’s administrative nerve centre.


(The Palace Central Plaza of Wisdom by DALL-E 3)


The Council Chambers

Next to the palace, this is where decisions affecting the empire are made. Representatives from various regions gather to discuss, debate, and decide on matters of state.


Murapii Government

The Monarchy

(Emperor Ignatius Lionus Arugula Pirani by Midjourney AI)


Emperor Ignatius Lionus Arugula Pirani: The Emperor shares ultimate authority with the Head of Sarghus. The Emperor’s word is law, and their edicts shape the empire’s direction.


Royal Family: Surrounding the Emperor is the royal family, comprising close relatives who play significant roles in governance, diplomacy, and military strategy. Each member has a dedicated function, ensuring the smooth operation of the empire.


Elective System

The Emperor’s successor isn’t determined by birthright. Instead, a council of high-ranking officials, religious figures, and influential citizens convene to elect the next ruler. This process ensures that the chosen individual possesses the qualities deemed fitting under Sarghus. The appointment is a lifelong term, which means many unpopular emperors have a tendency to die young.


Administrative Hierarchy

Provincial Governors: Murapii is segmented into provinces, each overseen by a governor. These governors handle local administration, tax collection, and maintaining order. They report directly to the Emperor and are often selected based on merit and loyalty.


City Prefects: Every major city within a province has a Prefect reporting to the local Governor, managing urban affairs from commerce to security.



Sarghus: The Divine

(Sarghus: The Divine by Midjourney AI)


Core Beliefs

Monotheism: This church upholds the belief that Sarghus is the one and only true god. All other deities are perceived as shadow creatures in disguise.


Divine Protection: Followers believe Sarghus acts as a protector, shielding them from harm and guiding their paths.


Destiny: Every individual has a predetermined role in the grand scheme of things, and it’s up to each follower to discover and fulfil their divine purpose of face retribution.


Hierarchical Structure

The Head of Sarghus: The spiritual leader of the church is the most powerful authority in religion and even in some matters of state. The Emperor requires their agreement on all matters that could affect religions’ practice before laws can be passed.


Right Hand of Sarghus: Missionaries who spread the Book of One across lands, seeking converts and reinforcing faith among existing followers.


Left Hand of Sarghus: A secretive group of spies and instigators. The Viper leads them, specialising in gathering intelligence and handling covert operations.


Priesthood: They conduct religious ceremonies, maintain temples, and guide the spiritual development of the cult’s followers.


Feet of Sarghus: The militant arm of the cult, responsible for defence and the spread of faith by force. They are the enforcers, ensuring the teachings of Sarghus are respected and adhered to. These women are taken at birth, trained and magically enhanced to be devote war machines that follow orders and kill without mercy.


Relations with Other Sects

Given the Church’s belief in Sarghus’s supremacy, other sects, especially those within Murapii, are viewed with suspicion or outright hostility. Sarghus: The Divine sees itself as the true path, and its mission involves the conversion or subjugation of other faiths.


History & Evolution

When Kurhan expelled followed of Sarghus: The Divine from their cities, they headed northeast. While Mura wasn’t the first city founded by these devote fanatics, it was where the first Head of Sarghus established the grand temple, and soon a grad city followed. Driven by the belief that all humans must follow Sarghus as the one true god, the empire ballooned its territories and soon came into conflict with their land of origin, starting the first Kurhan-Murapii conflict.


Ancient Beginnings

Before Murapii or even Kurhan was established, the Old Empire of Sarghus stood dominated by west Apour. All of humanity traces their origins to this powerful entity and the reason for its collapse is lost to pre-history.


The Cult of Sarghus Emerges

Sarghus Worship: The creator of humanity has always been the prevailing deity in Apour. His followers see him as the embodiment of strength, honour, and wisdom. In Kurhan, Sarghus became known as The Beacon.


Cult’s Early Associations: The budding Cult of Sarghus found allies in the military, leading to a symbiotic relationship. Soldiers and commanders began perceiving Sarghus as their protector. With in this military faction, followers began viewing their purpose in a more aggressive way, which didn’t sit well with the philosophers that dominated Kurhan’s political leadership.


The Formation of Murapii

Settlement in East Apour: After a bloody civil war, the followers of The Divine were expelled from Kurhan and travelled east across the Bellor Channel to find Mura.


Murapii’s Borders: The nation expanded to eradicate most of the non-human populations of East Apour.


Murapii’s Aggressive Expansion

The Cult’s Military Involvement: The Feet of Sarghus support Mura’s standing professional army, but they report to the Head of Sarghus rather than the general of the legion. Their approach to conquest begins with the Right Hand, sending missionaries to covert the population of a region while the Left Hand sowed political discord. If more than 10% of the population can be converted, the military simply moves in and forces the rest to move. This approach has not always worked, as with Azrea, where the human population remain deviant in the face of conversation and no following has ever been established. In other cases, Mura has simply taken the region by force and then begun the conversation of the population.


Kurhan-Murapii War: Kurhan has been the balancing force that has kept Murapii from forcing their will on all. Kurhan has taken it upon themselves to balance Murapii, supporting nations that resist the Eastern Empire. As a result, Kurhan has been locked in a near constant war, spanning hundreds of years. Neither strong enough to force a surrender from the other, the two are constantly shifting borders back and forth. Because of economic and political pressure, in 710 A.R.M. Kurhan and Murapii signed a 100-year ceasefire.


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