© 2001-2015 Kevan Hashemi



Government of Ursia
Phoenecian War
The Ursian Dollar
Ursian Cities

Government of Ursia

The following is taken from a college school textbook published in Endromis, a copy of which sits on a coffee table in the Ghotba's Arn Hotel in Packesh, and is entitled, Nations of Clarus, sixth edition, published in 2453 AE.

Clarus in the Twenty-Fifth Century
Mid-West Clarus Showing Nation States

Ursia was founded in 1987 AE, thirteen years before the Reconciliation, which marked the end of the Dark Ages and the four centuries of war between hellspawn and humanity. Two hundred and forty eight warrior-wizards, accompanied by their families and servants, gathered beside an oasis in the desert a hundred kilometers south of the River Fen, and declared the land theirs. They had left behind the countries to the north, where they had lived and fought their entire lives. Heroes of the war they may have been in those places, but welcome they were not. Instead, they were feared. A wizard can kill a man with a word, or befuddle his mind in seconds. He can commit crimes and leave not trace. Nobody wanted to do business with a wizard. Nobody wanted one for a neighbor. And so here they were, on their horses, in their armor, carrying their flame lances, with their heads full of the spells of war. They planted their standard in the sand beside the oasis, and the city of Pakesh was born.

The founders of Ursia drew up a constitution. Its fundamental tenets were, and remain, as follows. The nationwide government shall consist of a council of ten wizards, called the Federal Council. The constitution can be amended only by unanimous vote of the Federal Council. The council shall be elected every ten years. Any wizard can vote by casting a spell to open the ballot box. They mark their choices for state council and federal council. Once elected, the state council chooses the state officials, who need not be wizards, and pass state laws. The federal council operates in the same way. Wizards, and only wizards, get one vote each in the election. The government has the right to detain suspected criminals for up to two days. The government has the right to torture, brand, fine, or execute convicted criminals, but it does not have the right to intern any criminal for longer than one month. All citizens have the right to bear arms and prepare spells. All citizens have the right to free speech. All citizens have the right to eat, drink, and inhale whatever they choose. Theft is a crime. Giving false written statement is a crime. Giving false verbal statement in court is a crime. Causing physical harm to others without physical necessity is a crime, unless caused by the government as punishment for a proven crime. The government shall not levy taxes. All people are equal in the eyes of the law, excepting the prejudice for wizards in government. No allowance can be made for a person's sanity or youth.

In the century following its founding, Ursia was frequently attacked by the inhabitants of the deeper desert to the south, and responded by annexing the desert. In the next century, they took over the sea coast two thousand kilometers south of Pakesh. In the past century, they formally incorporated the two-hundred kilometer-wide strip of land beyond the Ghermez Mountains in the west. The nation is now divided it into five states, each with its own State Council. The state councils each consist of ten wizards, elected in the same way as the federal council. The state councils enforce their state laws, while the federal council enforces its federal laws. The states are not required to share the same state laws. Borek is the state in the south, of which Susa is the capital, and borders upon the Zaragoss Mountains. Katan is state in the south-east, of which Abadan is the capital. Khakestan is the central state, consisting almost entirely of desert, of which Shemran is the capital. Kemran is the northern state, containing Pakesh, of which Damavand in the hills north of Pakesh, is the state capital. Telaran is the newest state, on the coast beyond the Ghermez Mountains, of which Karadan, at the mouth of the Fen River, is the capital.

There are few social services in Ursia, with the exception of medical care provided by the state to children born of Ursian women. One service is free accommodation for travelers in most towns. Accommodation is free for the first night, and inexpensive after that. This arrangement has lead to a class of people known as wanderers, who walk from town to town living for free off the state. The wanderers serve to spread news about the country, and are often well-respected for their knowledge and independence. In many cities and towns there are charitable institutions, privately run, that provide food and accommodation for the poor. Similarly, there are many charitable institutions that will pay for medical care for the poor. But, by and large, Ursia is a land in which adults are left to fend for themselves.

To sell divine medicine, clerics must have a license issued by the state. This license is confiscated if the cleric is caught proselytizing at any time to any of his or her customers. This is part of a modern Ursian policy to stop its people serving the interests of the gods other than along the lines of a purely financial transaction. Religious temples do exist in Ursia, but they are not affiliated with true clerics. Ursia grants the status of Woman of Ursia to any woman under the age of twenty who accepts sterilization from one of its clerics. Any child of a Woman of Ursia is entitled to medical care paid for by the Ursian government up until the age of fourteen. Almost all women living in Ursia accept the procedure. The type of sterilization offered in Ursia is reversible for a few months by a serum supplied by Olympia, but is otherwise permanent. Any woman can buy this serum for $2,000 in Ursia. The price in other nations may be higher or lower. She may have to buy the serum several times before she becomes pregnant. The fertility-bestowing serum becomes less effective with repeated applications so that children become more expensive and difficult to conceive. The Ursian Government estimates that the average cost to a married couple of their first child is $3,500, of the second child is $8,000, and of the third is $15,000. The intention of this government policy is to limit the Ursian population in accordance to Olympian Law.

Because all people are equal in the eyes of Ursian law, slavery is not supported. A slave can walk away from his master, and the master cannot take any physical steps to prevent him. In Pakesh, and indeed most of Ursia, the punishment for murdering an armed person is a month of torture and branding the word 'murderer' across the murderer's forehead. The third time it happens, however, execution is the punishment. Most executions are public. The punishment for murdering an unarmed person is execution the first time.

The population of Ursia is stable at about one million. Among these there are about one thousand wizards. Fifty wizards sit on the five state councils, and ten on the federal council. Ursian law does not define a concept of citizenship. Any wizard is permitted to vote in the elections. It is the Ursian policy that no person must carry identification, nor must the state know of their identity, in order to enforce its laws. It wishes to deal with people in isolated interactions, with no continuity required from one interaction to the next, so that it does not have to keep records. One of the few exceptions made to this rule is the branding of murderers. This allows the state to identify a murderer who has already been convicted twice. In the case of wizards identifying themselves for voting, the a wizard casts a first level spell that activates the vote-counting machine. The only difficulty is making sure that no wizard gets to vote twice, which they ensure by dipping the wizard's right index finger in ink.

The population of Ursia is distributed roughly as follows among the states: Four hundred thousand in Telaran, two hundred thousand in Kemran, one hundred thousand in Khakestan, two hundred thousand in Borek, and one hundred thousand in Katan. The populations of the cities are: Karadan fifty thousand, Pakesh one hundred thousand, Damavand fifty thousand, Shemran fifty thousand, Susa on hundred thousand, and Abadan fifty thousand. The state of telaran is divided into six districts, each of which has its own town and mayor. In the past, each of these districts was its own city state. Most were run democratically, and are still run democratically by the people, but under the authority of the Federal Council and the Ursian constitution. Two hundred thousand people live in the six district towns. Thus four out of ten Ursians live in one of their major cities and two out of ten live in the district towns. The remaining four out of ten live in mountain villages or out in the desert.

Ursian cities have proved to be hospitibal places to its citizens. They are clean and well-lit by means of magical devices. Pakesh, for example, is a city in the desert. Its oasis cannot supply water to its hundred thousand inhabitants, so water is brought by five qanats from the base of the hills a hundred kilometers to the north-east. Water in Pakesh costs a dollar a gallon. Sewage is collected by the city and disposed of through space bridges that take it to a place in the desert to the south. There the sewage recombines in a fierce flame to produce steam and ash, and is the source of a column of steam that is visible from the south side of the city. The process of recombining oxygen and hydrogen after atomization through a space bridge is the same one that powers the flame lances of the Ursian army.

By these means, the Ursian government has improved the quality of life in its cities. The dry, warm air in Ursia is clean and renowned for its healing effects. It is no coincidence that most of the land in Pakesh is owned by the federal government, and rent earned on this property is a major source of income for the state. Four of the five qanats are owned by the government, and profits from the sale of water are also a major source of income for the state. There is one non-governmental qanat, but it is not clear why more have not been built. There is no law against building a new qanat. But if you ask a resident of Pakesh, they would most likely say that it is bad luck to try to take business from a wizard.

The buildings of Pakesh are built mostly of baked mud bricks. The desert around the city provides sand and clay that can be combined with muddy water from the oasis to make bricks. Hipogriffs and wyverns are popular among the wizards and other wealthy inhabitants of the city. To accommodate their mounts, the owners build high towers from which the flying beasts can launch themselves with a heavy load, or perch and look down upon the city below. Also popular among wizards and wealthy citizens are flying benches, flying canvass wings, and even balloons. The flying wings in particular are a common sight above the city, and they are best launched from the top of a tower, where there they can drop and gather speed before flying away. Standing in open space of The Triangle at the end of the day, a visitor to the city can look up and see a dozen wings of cloth circling high above, each with one or two people hanging beneath it by straps.

Land in Pakesh is among the most expensive in the world. A square meter in the heart of the city rents for about ten dollars a month. The tallest buildings they can build safely with their bricks are about four stories high. The wizard's towers are made of sandstone imported from the hills to the north. Taller buildings made of mud bricks frequently fall down. The city has been prosecuting the owners of such buildings for causing harm to others without physical necessity. They are unable to pass laws preventing the buildings from getting too tall, however, because to do so would not be a breach of their constitution.

As we said, there are about one thousand wizards in Ursia, or one in thousand of its population. In all of the rest of Idonius there are only one thousand more wizards, in a population of fifty million. In large, wizard-friendly cities about the continent, there might be one wizard for every ten thousand inhabitants, but elsewhere there will be far fewer of them. The Pakesh Scholl of Wizardry was founded in 2089 AE. At first it was a secretive and elitist school, but in the past two centuries, it has opened its doors to any who can pass the entrance exam and pay the tuition. Twenty percent of its student body are scholars for whom all fees are waved. Its large and enchanting campus sits in the middle of the city, its towers overlooking the oasis and the bustling downtown market squares. Each year it takes in two hundred promising ten-year-old boys and girls, and produces twenty wizards thirteen years older. The others drop out along the way, well-educated, but incapable or unwilling to continue the course of study. Some cannot proceed because they lack the intelligence, but most fail because the networks in their brain do not lend themselves to spell preparation. Forty such drop-outs a year leave having earned the qualification of wizard's adjutant, which allows them to obtain a job assisting a wizard, or advising institutions on matters of magic. One half of all the world's wizards are trained in Ursia. Some of these leave and seek their fortune elsewhere, but wizards are always moving into Ursia from outside.

Phoenecian War

The following is an article in the Varay Observer, dated 6th March 2483.

To understand the current tension between Endromis and Ursia, we must go back to the Phoenecian War, so called because it was a war over control of the the Phoenecian City States along the West coast of Idonius between the Ghermez Mountains and the sea. After the Reconcilliation, the Phoenecian States we protectorates of Endromis. Much of the sea-going trade around the coast of Idonius was carried by Phoenecian ships. The Endans built roads in the Phoenecian States, up and down the coast to connect them by land. They encouraged freed slaves and sailors to emmigrate to the sunny and well-watered coastal nations. In the twenty-second century, the city states asked for and received more independence from Endromis, but they were still bound to govern themselves by democracy and constitution. As the years went by, the states came into conflict with Endromis over matters of government and constitutional law. Several Phoenecian states installed monarchies or oligarchy's.

Endromis declared a tax upon shipping carried by any city state run by a non-democratic government, and the Endan navy proceeded to enforce this tax by boarding ships and confiscating cargoes. The city states began to make deals with the Ursians whereby favorable trading contracts would be granted in exchange for protection by the Ursian air force. There were several clashes between hippogriffs carrying thunder-eggs and Endan naval vessels. The Endans shot down several griffs with large crossbows mounted upon their ships decks. The Ursians destroyed several ships with fire.

Karadan was and is the largest and most prosperous of the Phoenecian cities. In 2290, its democratic government had voted to pass control to an oligarchy of land-owners instead of allowing temporary residents the right to vote. By 2320, only one in ten of the city's inhabitants could vote, as a result of the re-defining of what adequate ownership meant. In 2331, Endromis declared that either the Karadan council reverse its restrictions upon voting rights, or Endromis would invade and restore democracy. In 2332 AE, Karadan's Council of Elders invited the Ursian Army to occupy the city and protect it from Endan invasion.

By 2350, all of the Phoenecian City States were gathered together and incorporated into Ursia as its fifth state, by the name of Telaran. Phoenecian ships began harassing Endan shipping, even going so far as piracy. In 2364, Endromis demanded the return of the Phoenecian States, and the withdrawal of Ursian wizards and troops from Karadan. Ursia refused. Endromis declared war.

The Endan navy blockaded Karadan and took control of the coast. The Ursians suffered the blockade for two months, and then attacked with thunder-eggs from hippogriff-back. The thunder-eggs sank half the Endan ships off Karadan. There followed a six-month contests between the endan navy, trying to confiscate Phoenecian cargoes, and the Ursian air force and the Phonecian (and therefore Ursian) traders themselves. The Phoenecians organised into convoys. The griffs flew out from the coast. The Endan navy could not endure their losses, and withdrew.

The Ursians flew hippogriffs over Prolixus, the capital of Endromis, and dropped twenty thunder-eggs on the king's palace. (The king of Endromis holds the office of commander in chief of the armed forces, but holds no legistlative power.) The Ursian attack upon the king's palace was supposed to demonstrate Ursian power and discourage further aggression from Endromis, but it infurated the Endans and produced quite the opposite effect. The Endans sent twenty thousand heavy infantry and five thousand heavy cavalry to South Anon and attempted to cross the Fen River into Ursia.

The Endan forces were met with an invisible wall of conjured wood five metere high, and extending as far as they searched. They did not understand the wall. In places, it would explode when touched. In others, it would yield and then envelope those who pushed forward, freezing them in place until they were cut out by great labor of axes and picks. Monkeys scurried along the top of the wall, ten meters up, and watched. The Endans were frightened but determined. They bridged the river and built a scaffold to take them over the barrier, only to find the barrier grown in height to fifty meters overnight. The monkeys had been running around silently in the darkness. They might have been flying, they were so high up when the soldiers turned their faces to the top of the wall in the morning.

The Endans backed off into the forest. A month later, they crossed the river at night in rafts. Their force was spread over fifty kilomters of the length of the river. Once on the opposite bank, they began to ascend the wall with spiked toe-clips and gloves. At this time, most accounts give the height of the wall as five or ten meters. The monkeys did not notice the climbers until the climbers reached the top of the wall and began lowering ropes on either side.

With the sun rising, the infantry began to descend the far side of the wall. The Ursian wizards, nearby but hidden from view, began to annihilate the wall in one-hundred meter sections, so that each section exploded with white fire and thunderous din. The Endans lost one in ten of their men and retreated in dismay. According to later analysts of the battle, this was the point at which the Endans could have charged forward into Ursia. According to others, the Ursians had already prepared and erected another wall a hundred meters back from the river, so that any further advances by the Endans would have been futile.

The next morning, Endan scouts crossed the river and found another wall, the same height, built in the same place. The Endans withdrew their army. They attempted to cross the river at times with smaller forces over the next few years, but eventually declared an end to their war with Ursia in 2371.

What's clear from the story of the Phoenecian War is that the Endans at that time had not a single wizard on their side willing and able to annihilate a hole in the Ursian wall, nor even a wizard in the command council willing to explain and describe the function and nature of the wall, the monkeys, and the explosions of white fire. We see why, a century later, Endromis has a court wizard serving the king, and an Department of Wizardry under the control of the senate. The Endan Department of Wizardry is a school unto itself, taking in students and producing wizards who graduate and serve the state. The Office provides the Endan government and army with bridge tuning, magical materials, and magical devices.

According to recent statements by the Varayan Foreign Office, the Endan air force numbers roughly a hundred hippogriffs, with a supply of at least a hundred thunder-eggs and a hundred stones of annihilation with which to destroy conjured-matter walls like those they faced in the Phoenecian War. We can only assume that the dozens of wizards now available to the Endan government have given ample thought to all means by which they can overcome Ursia's magical defences and make it possible for the mighty Endan infantry to cross the desert into Ursia should another war be declared.

Meanwhile, Ursia is confident of its own position, and claiming that they too have learned from their mistakes in the previous war, which they qualify as being a failure to anticipate and prepare for the conflict. They did not have an adequate supply or thunder-eggs nor a large enough air force. Now their air force includes a thousand hippogriffs and a hundred wyverns, the wyverns being faster and stronger than hippogriffs, but more difficult to ride and expensive to keep.

After the last war, the Ursian government considered passing a law requiring all wizards to contribute two thunder-eggs or similar devices to the government every year, as a contribution to the government for which they vote, so as to protect the state from invation. This law was passed, but repealed after ten years on the grounds that it was taxation law, and no tax of the people is permitted by the Ursian constitution.

In order to obtain the money required to purchase thunder-eggs, the Ursian government turned to its mithril mining ventures. In such ventures, Ursian wizard-prospectors locate a deposite of mithril ore. Mithril is a metal a hundred times more valuable than gold. Once it locates ore, the Ursian government makes a deal with the local government, whatever that government might be, regardless of its beneavolance or cruelty. The deal always has the same form: Ursia will pay for the development of the mine, and the mine will sell ore at a fixed price to the Ursian government until the mine is exhausted. The local government eventually accepts the deal, and the Ursians begin exploiting the mine. After ten years, or perhaps fifty years, the local government decides not to honor the deal any more, and that's when they get a visit from a single Ursian wizard, or perhaps from a host of them on the back of hippogriffs. Either way, the Ursian wizards intimidate the errant government into submission, and the deal is honored.

The money the Ursian government earns from its mithril mines goes into supporting the army and air force. The Varayan Foreign Office estimates that the Ursian Air Force possesses roughly twenty thousand thunder-eggs and a like number of sponge-eggs, which create a fifty-meter diameter sphere of material that will bind the sails of a ship, and can be annihilated with another device to make an explosion like that of a thunder-egg, but larger. The army has purchased dozens, if not hundreds of homunculi over the years, to take the place of the monkeys that climbed upon the walls in the Phoenecian wars. These homunculi can carry the power of a wizard far from the wizard's laboratory, so that the full power of the wizard and his adjutants can be directed at the enemy without any personal risk to the wizard and his staff. We can only assume that all Ursian wizards would be willing to fight for their country in such a manner.

Recent developments in the creation of spirit matter, a gray, sparkling, heavy material that is impervious to annihilation, have given the Endan navy the ability to make spirit matter rope and sails for their ships. These advances mean that thunder-eggs cannot destroy a ship's ability to move. But the same advances make it possible for the Ursian army to erect spirit matter walls. Once spell available to an accomplished wizard can create, with the help of a magical amplifier device, a braced spirit matter wall ten meters high at ten meters per hour. This is far slower than the creation of conjured walls, but it speaks for an ability to create lasting fortifications at short notice, and will not doubt be a new weapon in the Ursian arsenal in any future conflict. We also believe, from our conversations with wizards in Ursia, that the Ursian wizards have a few secret weapons ready.

As always in Ursia, the government controls the summoning of medical care, food, and indeed all things from Olympia. They exercise this control by means of bridge suppressor devices that cover the entire nation. At random moments from one minute to the next, the suppressors destroy all active summoning bridges. At random times during the day, announced only a few minutes in advance, there will be a short interval during which summoning may take place. During a war, an invading army will be given no opportunity to summon food. The Endroman armies that drove back the orcs at the end of the Dark Ages did so with the help of such summoning. They will not be able to rely upon summoning in a war with Ursia.

Because of its liberal constitution, by which citizens have the right to manufacture and bear arms and to prepare and study destructive spells, Ursia is one of the only places in the world where you can buy dangerous magical devices on the open market. Thus it is possible for a criminal in Endor to cross the border into Ursia and buy a thunder-egg from a store in the center of Pakesh, or even closer to the border in the coastal city of Karadan. A thunder-egg is a device capable of destroying an entire coffee shop with magical fire. They are on sale in Ursia for under two hundred guineas.

Anonni rebels, who protest the unequal representation of Anon in the Endan senate, have been buying thunder-eggs in Ursia and using them in Anon and Endromis for acts of terrorism in which women and children are casualties. Endromis is demanding that Ursia stop selling thunder-eggs on the open market. Ursian bridge suppressors, meanwhile, are interfering with medical care in southern Anon. The Endans demand of the Ursians that they cooperate with Anon to allow summoning of medical care. The Ursians refuse to restrict sale of thunder-eggs and refuse to cooperate on bridge suppression. Many nations subject to mithril-trading deals have appealed to Endromis for relief from what they describe as Ursian oppression. Endromis has been sympathetic. Ursia has refused to back down from its long-term contracts. There is no extradition treaty between the two nations, so that someone who commits murder in Anon can flee to Ursia and escape prosecution. Indeed, one of our famous visitors here in Varay is wanted for murder in Endromis: Quayam Srae, husband of Grisel Virage, is accused of murdering a wounded Endan soldier on Endan soil following a border dispute two years ago.

On a larger scale, Endromis remains concerned about the failure of democracy in the nations to the north of the Western Outlands. In the minds of the Endans, as in our minds here in Varay, a non-democratic nation is a nation with a weak army. In the past four hundred years since the Reconcilliation, the nations around the Western Outlands have grown weak, while the orc nations have remained strong, or so we are told by the various adventurers who have lived among the orcs in the past few decades. The only strong nation bordering the Western Outlands is ours. But Varay is an ally of Ursia's. Nor does Varay have an extradition treaty with Endor, nor any trade agreement. The Endans are concerned that if, one day, the orcs decide to invade the homelands and once again enslave humanity, there will be little to stop them in the north, and a great wave of suffering will engulf the continent, leaving the island of Endromis isolated as before.

This, then, was the background upon wich the Endans decided to blockade Karadan last December. Their demand was a restriction of sale of dangerous magical devices, cooperation over mithril contracts, cooperation over bridge suppression, and cooperation over fighting terrorists and extradition. The Ursians refused. In January they broke the blockade with no loss of life by binding the spirit cloth sails of the Endan ships using conjured matter devices dropped by their air force. The Ursians broke the blockade once every few days after that, and yesterday, 5th March, the Endan ships withdrew.The Endan ships have withdrawn, but the conflict between our Endromis and Ursia remains. Varay is Ursia's ally, and now Varay has signed a treaty with the orc nation of Gutak. It seems clear that in a conflict between Endromis and Ursia, our praticipation or non-participation will be a matter of great importance to all parties.

The Ursian Dollar

The following passage is taken from a book titled International Banking, published in Varay in 2443.

The Ursian Dollar is the only major currency on Clarus that is not backed by gold. Indeed, most countries still use gold coins as their currency, and silver also. But the Ursian Dollar has been a stand-alone unit of purchasing power with no other backing but the credibility of the Ursian Government ever since the founding of the country.

Because the Ursian Dollar is not backed by gold, it represents purchasing power on Clarus. Clarus and Olympia have trade in goods, with healing serums and other summoned commodities passing from Olympia to Clarus, and all manner of other manufactured goods, delicacies, and minerals passing the other way. The Ursian Dollar is worth approximately one Olympian Dollar. The Interplanitary Currency Exchange has an office in Pakesh, and another in Susa. At these offices, exchanges of Olympian Dollars for Ursian Dollars take place. Since its creation, the Ursian Dollar has traded for as little as half an Olympian Dollar (soon after the founding of Ursia, and at the height of the Phoenecian War) and as high as two Olympian Dollars (in the decades after the Ursian victory over Endromis). For the past century, it is within ten percent of the value of the Olympian Dollar.

The Ursian Dollar takes the form of paper notes printed by the government on expensive paper, and impregnated with certain materials known only to them. There are spells wizards can cast to verify the authenticity of such bills. Most large exchanges of money occur through banks, and involve no actual handling of money. The Ursian Government keeps track of how many dollars it has issued, and the total at the time of writing is one thousand million, which is one thousand for each citizen of Ursia.

The combined wealth of the citizens of Ursia is roughly a hundred times as great as the existing currency. The total number of Ursian Dollars in the deposit accounts of all sapien and divine customers of Ursian Banks is higher still. But if we also include the money owed to these banks, and resolve all outstanding obligations of all sorts, and subtract the estimated wealth of assets from the balance sheets of all Ursian citizens, the result will be, according to the Ursian Government, one thousand million Ursian Dollars.

Naturally, most sapien nations are deeply suspicious of any such arrangement. The Ursian Government can print more dollars at any time. Most specialists in international trade agree that if the Ursian Government printed another throusand million dollars, the value of the dollar will collapse. Therefore, any trade or investment in Ursian Dollars is entirely at the mercy of an oligarchy of a thousand wizards.

Despite these apparant paradoxes in the Ursian Currency, and its dependence upon the credibility and integrity of the Ursian Government, the Ursian Dollar is the currency used by Olympian Agencies for the transfer of funds to and from our planet. The result is an Olympian dependence upon Ursia that many regard as unhealthy and dangerous. Certainly, this dependence gives one thousand wizards a disproportionate influence upon the entire Claran economy.

Ursian Cities

Cities like Karadan, Damavand, Shemran, and Susa govern themselves for the most part. They have their own city councils, elected as they wish. They have their own city courts also. But these city courts are subject to the authority of the Ursian State and Federal courts, and by this means the Ursian government guarantees the rule of law among its people, regardless of how they choose to govern themselves. In addition, the Ursian government guarantees its people security from foreign invasion, through the power of its wizards and its army.

In exchange for security, the rule of law, and certain medical services, the Ursian government receives from each state a contribution to the upkeep of its standing army. This contribution can be in the form of actual soldiers, armed and supplied with food to serve in the army, or it can be in the form of money to pay for the same. You will recall that the Ursian constitution precludes any taxation of the populace. Under Ursian law, this contribution to the national security is not a tax, because the monetary exchange is offered only as an alternative to the provision of soldiers. The Bahai of the desert tend to send their men to serve. But the cities tend to pay money instead. The standing Ursian army consists of two divisions of horse cavalry. They are a mixed bunch of Bahai and adventurers from around the world. In times of war, the states are expected to provide another four divisions of camel cavalry at no charge. Any troops beyond that, the Ursian government would have to pay for.

The graceful city of Susa became part of Ursia in 2163, along with its fertile farms and its hippogriffs. Susa is an ancient city, rumored to have been founded at the same time as Endromis. In the Dark Ages, it was overrun by orcs a few times, but for most of that period it maintained its independence, sometimes by paying tribute to The Rule of Iron, sometimes by force of arms. Its population was swollen with refugees throughout the Dark Ages, and in consequence its population was decimated by plague several times during the same period. In the twenty-first century, Susa was invaded several times by warlike people from the southern tip of Idonius, and raided by pirates from the Cypriate Islands. The wizards of Ursia offered to protect the city from both. The City Fathers of Susa voted to be the center of a new Ursian state in 2163. Susa is the capital of Borek, where sits the Borek State Council. Susa does not pay money for nor contribute soldiers to the standing army of Ursia. Instead it supplies the hippogriffs of the Ursian Air Force. Susa's tradition of raising hippogriffs in the mountains above the city goes back a thousand years, and their knowledge of the birdgs is unsurpassed.