Zhar is the kurmiric Word for power. The Kurmiri call those beings Zharam, "those of power", that have unnatural abilities. This power can be traced back to the Three Brothers that created the world of Tarrho. Apart from the creators Atôrh, Èsido and Sôr themselves, Tôs is of almost equal status and power. Below are the Zharinam (including the Gray Masters) and the different classes of Zharanoki.
The Principle of Power
Each Zhara owns a certain amount of the Divine Power, being comparable to a potential of energy that enables the owner to resist and change the laws of nature. Also, Zhar is an essential part of the Zharam, sustaining the being's existence. This results in the fact that in order to destroy a Zhara, first his powers have to be overcome. Since Zhar is the only way to influence itself, only a Zhara can overcome another, unless a Zhara spends all his powers and is attacked before it could rebuild.
In theory there are two separate kinds of Zhar: The Higher Zhar (Zhar enjaýrê, the Power of Creation) and Lower Zhar (Zhar vurainê, the Power of Nature or Power of Change). The latter is used for changing and disregarding the law of nature (spontaneous combustion, changing inertia, gravity or the way light reflects). Power of Creation is used to create from nothing. It also is that power that sustains the Zharam's existence.
The Three Brothers and Tôs regenerate their entire power after they used it. They can be weakened and close to become destructable, just as Èsido was after subverting the fourteen Zharinam, making him flee Volarit. The Zharinam and Zharanoki own only a small amount of Power of Creation that only regenerates very slowly. In some of the lower Zharanoki, especially the Zharîshi, the amount of Zhar enjaýrê might be close to nonexistent.
Apart from some classes of Zharanoki (see below), the Zharam have no physical form. They can either use their power to manifest in the visible world (by creating an image of themselves) or they can possess a physical body. That is the only way for them to actually mate. If the Zhara uses its powers in the moment of conception so that the Zhar infuses the physical form, there is a chance that they transfer a part of their power to the future cild. Thus the Zharîshi are born.
The Zhar is very intense. A physical body using it ages quickly and is worn out. Even those Zharîshi that are not born immortal have an unusually long lifespan that differs from each individual case. Excessive use of the power shortens that lifespan immensely. Even those that inherited immortality age due to their physical form being worn out, until they gain an ancient look. Those not bound to a physical body normally burn away the shape of their birth. If they possess a mortal body it also ages rapidly with the use of Zhar.
The Twenty Five Zharinam
The Zharinam, in the eyes of the Kurmiri the emissaries of their god Èsido and a symbol of their creator's good, were originally created by Tôs the Doomed with the intention to destroy the people of Èsido. Tôs mated with mosntrosities his former master Atôrh had made and tried to transfer his power to those beings born. The Zharinam should have five characteristics of their maker (the so called Lanmatozi): They should be conscient and intelligent, immortal, without a physical bond but filled with the Divine Power. Furthermore he wanted them to be under his sway, that he could control them. Thus a great number of beings came into existence that had only parts of these characteristics but lacked others. Those under his sway were soon destroyed and those which were mortal quickly died away. There still remained a group of beings he could not destroy, some were as powerful as the Zharinam but were free, though filled with the same malicious character Tôs had originally fuelled his creatures with. These were the Zharanoki, of which a great number were a continuous danger to all peoples and creatures (see below for details).
The Zharinam, once created, were sent out to mingle with the Kurmiri in their disguise, to mate and to breed a species of Kurmiri that was not under Èsido's sway. Thus the Shureôri came to life. Since all of them had one or later even more Zharina as ancestors, the chance that they could even be Zharîshi was very high. Then the Shureôri went forth to slay their brother people, while Tôs returned to his creator with pride. Èsido used this time to attack the Zharinam. He managed to break the bond of fourteen of them with their maker and tied them to himself. He also removed the hatred they had learned. After doing this he was so weakened he had to flee. This process was so absolute that these fourteen were never again able to regain all the power they had before. So the Zharinam of Èsido were always weaker than the Gray Masters (Shùr-Zharinam), as those were named that remained with Tôs.
Centuries later, when Tôs had become strong again and inflicted great loses upon the Kurmiri, Èsido wouldn't take the conflicts any longer. In a large military campaign that was dubbed the Victory, he directly attacked Tôs' fortress on Volarit and all known Shureôri settlements. A great part of the Shureôri were slain and five of the Gray Masters were destroyed. But four of Èsido's Zharinam perished as well.
Most of the Zharinam took the shape of Kurmiri as long as they were in public. They hardly possessed physical bodies because this proves mostly fatal for the host. Apart from a Kurmiric projection, they owned a true form, which is a projection of the body they had been born into but that had withered away with the ages and left them without an actual shape. Since Tôs as well as those he mated with in order to create the Zharinam had been descendants of the monstrosities Atôrh had created on Arorhava, the original shape of the Zharinam was of a monstrous look. While the Shùr-Zharinam frequently used this shape to fill the hearts of foes and allies alike with terror, the Zharinam hardly ever used this shape.
The Fourteen Zharinam of Ômdal
Avezherha was one of the wandering Zharinam, meaning that he had no place to call home, like Rapzalôr, Thenerin or Ulvar. He also had no certain area to oversee, like Eroar or Thenerin. Before the Victory he spent most of his time on Zebelo and often visited Shoreang, since he, too, had a poetic talent. Unlike his friend he mostly invented stories instead of songs, stories he wrote down or told. After Shoreang got ordered to Ômdal and wrote less than before, Avezherha mourned for the loss of his talent and did not come to Zebelo that often anymore. Instead he took over a lot of Eroar's duties on Baitikar, though he kept a close contact to the rural people, while he stayed away from the cities such as Marut or Zurino, which he did not like. He stayed in touch with the people of these places via merchants. Especially the younger people knew and loved him as the "storyteller", while he kept his true identity secret.
Dhere was one of the wandering Zharinam, and hardly concentrated on a certain region. He often moved though uninhabited area and mostly assumed the form of wild animals rather than that of a Kurmiri. He was the first to discover the Karatar in western Baitikar. Dhere died during the Victory.
Eroar was one of the "scouts" of Èsido, who almost explicitly wandered the lands of Baitikar, mainly in Zurino or near his friend Rapzalor. Incognito he also examined the ties between Sorijan and Shureôri. It was him who contacted the Sôrijan traitor Izôrh, who during the Victory played a vital role in the battle for Rano. Eroar himself fought with Mijores and Èsido before the gates of Wanor yn Tôse, where he faced the Doomed himself and was destroyed.
Leat was the governor of the island Elorn south of Zebelo. Though he owned a home in the eastern mountains that was known to the people, he often travelled incognito through the villages. Leat loved to participate in the celebrations of the rurual people. In the end he went into battle against Tôs and just as some other he did not return. On Èsido's order Taon often came to Elorn.
Marishkon was named "Seafarer". He often sailed the waters of the Northern Seas surrounding Volarit and Zebelo. When the Zharinam travelled between Ômdal and Marut they often used Marishkon's ship. After Dhere had discovered the Karatar, he travelled to the west of Baitikar more often. In times of war Marishkon was the admiral of the kurmiric fleet.
Mijores was later called the Curse. He was he last of the Zharinam to be converted by Èsido, described as weak and insecure but it remained unknown that he had a last core in him that still belonged to Tôs, until he betrayed Èsido.
Rapzalor was probably the most simple and accesible of the Zharinam. Originally he had wanted to retreat from the uprising, growing cities. Therefore he built a simple farm on Baitikar not far from the city Zurino, where he lived with some servants. Rapzalor did not care as much for the affairs of the Kurmiri unless he was asked to. By the time he invited friends and other Zharinam to his home and celebrated these occasions with large feasts. When those Zharinam responsible for the continent met, they either did this in Marut at Ulvar's place (where Rapzalor often refused to attend) or at his place. So more and more Kurmiri, originally from his servants and relatives but later even a few local merchants to serve the Zharina's demands, settled around his home, so it became the kernel of a thriving village. As decadent as Rapzalor might seem to some, he was also a fierce warrior when the need arose. Among his famous deeds is facing and destroying Oshtar in the skies over Marut during the Victory.
Shoreang was the poet of the Zharinam, unlike the storyteller Avezherha. After Weri's destruction, he was called to become the librarian of the tower of Ômdal and thus keeper of records of all Kurmiric history. Even before he often came to the tower of Èsido to present his beautiful songs before the mighty. For composing and creating his poetry, he preferred the peace of the woods in northern Zebelo, where he owned a home. After he had to move to the captal for good, he became rather quiet. The Song of Siryldan and the fourteen poems engraved on stone pillars standing around the tower of Ômdal, on which each of the fourteen Zharinam is described, are said to be his works.
Taon was, similar to Ulvar in Marut, lord and governor of the city of Sharol. The city was the harbor of the capital Ômdal and stood in the marshes of the delta of river Leliish, which connected the two cities with each other. After Leat's death, Taon often visited Elorn.
Thenerin was lord of Rano keep, the mighty fortress that watched over the seas between Volarit and Zebelo. Shortly before the Victory he was driven out of Rano. This camapign, led by Sharfarh, was one of the reasons for Èsido to start the war, though some suspect that, afraid of the arrival of the Karatar, Èsido wanted to end the conflicts with Tôs for good, suspecting a far greater threat from his brother Atôrh. Thenerin led the expedition to regain Rano at the dawn of the Victory. In the ensuing battle, the Sôrijan traitor Izôrh, a learned scholar of strategy, played a vital role. After the war Thenerin remained in his position on Rano and often even went to Volarit to help to guard over the incarcerated Tôs. He was in the end destroyed by Mijores.
Tshioran was one of Èsido's scouts on Baitikar, though he was responsible for the coasts and colonies east of Zebelo. The loneliness he felt there made him travel to Marut or Zebelo fairly often. He was said to be among the most intelligent of the Zharinam, though he was rather melancholic and stayed away from the Kurmiri. In some legends of the Kurmiri he is described as a sad and lonely wanderer, sometimes visiting the outskirts of larger settlements where he quietly walked the streets at night.
Ulvar was the governor of the largest cities of the Kurmiri: Marut. This port was the main entrance for travellers from Zebelo to Baitikar or back and also was the main trading place. Ulvar lived there in a mighty palace that showed how much he enjoyed his position as the executive of the creaor of the people he lived among. As the lord of the city he was just but not really generous. He left most of the business of giverning the city to administrators while he took credit. Next to Rapzalor he was one of the few to openly show their identity and a Zharina.
Weri was one of the permanent inhabitants of the tower of Ômdal. He was the guardian of the tower's library and there fore of the whole knowledge and lore of the Kurmiri, because all writings that have ever been written in the Kurmiric world, no matter whether scientific, religious, whether poetry or prose, are collected here. Weri was a dark, introverted character who found his end in the Victory.
Zeglim was Èsido's warlord and strategic counsellor. Before the Shureôri had almost been extinct in the Victory, he often travelled the lands of Baitikar to raid smaller Shureôri settlements. Later he worked incognito for different local lords of the Kurmiri aiding in battles with Karatar or Sôrijan. He never engaged in quarrels between Kurmiri.
The eleven Zharinam of Wanor yn Tôse
Altharun is governor of the port city of Sharhom south of Volarit and a little more than a thousand miles south-west of Marut. He is said to assume the form of a fat tradesman who resides in a large palace. When during the Victory Sharhom was attacked, Altharun managed to create an illusion so strong that Zeglim, who led the attack for Èsido, was convinced he had captured and destroyed the city after a long, exhausting siege. In fact, no citizen of Sharhom was hurt.
Gurhal is the supreme warlord of Tôs. When first Rano and then Volarit was attacked during the Victory, Gurhal rushed to aid his lord in the defense, after he'd coordinated smaller troops on the continent. His arrival is said to have turned the tide over the battles.
Humarh is a wanderer on Baitikar and thus a direct enemy to Eroar. Consequently both found destruction during the Victory. Humarh was a close ally to Oshtar, being Koshôn's governor on the continent. He was often present in Serek and guarded over the tradings with Sôrijan merchants from Borok that resulted in the first armed conflicts between two of the people of Tarrho in 815p.D. When at the end of the Victory Serek was attacked, he escaped into the mountains and was not seen for a long time.
Koshôn is second-in-command next to Tôs and lord of the fortress that is Wanor yn Tôs&e. While the Doomed himself had hardly any contact to most of the Zharinam and none to the Shureôri, Koshôn was his eyes, his voice and merciless fist.
Lijon is also called "beastlord" for he bred a large host of the most vile creatures that the Shureôri used in battle. With his destruction in the Victory no new creations were made afterwards. But of the old ones large packs were still kept alive.
Ôshtar is the governor of the fortress of Loshoreth, while in the hands of the Shureôri. Thus, he was constantly fighting Eroar, Rapzalor or Zeglim, even Ulvar. Often, the fortress could be conquered and Ôshtar always escaped, mostly giving up his mortal shell. During the Victory, he again fled, but Rapzalor travelled after him and caught him over Marut, wher Ôshtar was destroyed. Legends tell of masses of flame that erupted in the nightsky over Marut during this duel.
Ponshor, also dubbed "Hammer of Tôs" wielded great magic to overcome his opponents. It is said that his fist striking the ground would make it quake in convulsions and swallow the enemies treading on it. He was slain by Ulvar during the victory.
Sharfarh is second-in-command over the legions of the Doomed. He led the attack on Rano to drive Thenerin away. He was destroyed when Thenerin reconquered the island during the Victory.
Tavèl was called "master of the foul winds". He named no particular office his own but spread diseases and decay wherever he went. This happened even in Shureôri settlements, but his ragged figure was often said to be seen outside villages that were later swept away by some terrible plague.
Theruk was, though not the most powerful of the Zharinam, probably the most feared. He worked in secret, commanded over the assassins and spies and was responsible for several assassinations himself. Even the Shureôri were afraid of him. Whoever ended up in the dungeons of Wanor yn Tôse was sure to be tortured and questioned, mostly killed in the most gruesome ways in the end. His spies, present all over the world, often in secret even in regular Kurmiri settlements, were just as known for their cruelty.
Zhotu was Tôs' herald. Wherever the Doomed went, Zhotu went there before him to make sure everything was ready. When he wanted to announce Tôs to face the hosts of Ômdal that resided before Wanor yn Tôse, Èsido immediately slew him without a word, thus beginning the battle on Volarit.
According to the plans of Tôs the Zharinam were supposed to own all of the five Lanmatozi: Intelligence (Nijônma), Immortality (Lôshuma), lack of a physical form (Lijorama), Divine Power (Zharma) und Obedience to Tôs (ThÓrngama). He tried to destroy all those which did not own all five of these features, but this only worked with those which were mortal or obedient to him. A few of the immortals he could slay by using great amounts of his power, but those who themselves owned the power of Zhar would have tried to resist and he was already weakened by the procedure.
The first Zharanoki thus were all immortal. Due to the evil spirit of Tôs, they all thirsted for death and destruction. Some were able to partly overcome this like the Zurarh, but in the end they all succumbed to their vile urges. The sages differentiated between the following classes:
Therdani owned all of the Lanmatozi (except for the Obedience). They were powerful demons like Tôzhur, evil sprits that roamed the land or dwelled in some dark place. They were in every respect as powerful as the Zharinam of Tôs and Èsido.
Fozhimni owned a physical body but were still immortal. This monstrous form they had since their creation and it grew older and older over the centuries, an ancient cage of flesh these powerful spirits were kept trapped in. The Zurarh was one of them.
Shakuni lacked intelligence but were neither bound to a physical form, nor without power. Driven by a predatory urge to kill and destroy, these terrible creatures appeared like invisible natural disasters, laying everything to waste that lay in their way. These were often feared as the most frightening of the Zharanoki.
Takani were hardly less feared. Just like the Fozhimni, they were held in a physical body. In north eastern Baitikar there is a very fertile strip of land that is inhabited by a small population of Kurmiri. Unfortunately this area is annually visited by Tang, a migrating Takani. It is part of the life of this colony that just after the last harvest, the people who live in tents, pack everything up and move into the mountains until the first snow falls and the area is save again.
Rhannai have no power but are cunning and free without a body. They are described as evil ghosts that haunt places or people, whispering evil things in their ears to drive them to madness and death. Some visit villages by night and bring despair over the inhabitants by strangling every child in their sleep.
Sh'doi were bodiless immortal beings, nothing more. Similar to the Shakuni they roamed the land in thirst of death and destruction but due to their lack of Zhar, they were no larger threat.
Nangai were the least of the Zharanoki. They were only hideous looking immortal creatures. It is said that the noble Sôrijan named Tukor had caught one that was kept in the dungeons of Gôrta for long until the city was destroyed. Hurt and humiliated the creature is said to still seek out the one that had captured it, though Tukor had been killed in young days.
Since Zharanoki as well as Zharmani do have a sex life, there is a small chance that the Lanmatozi are inherited to their progeny. This chance might be really minute, but it means that once in a while, new Zharanoki are born, called Zharîshi (as mentioned above). It also means that the forms described above can be encountered in mortal form. Unfortunately, the usage of Zhar wears the body so much out, that it ages rapidly, when the power is regularily used. In some cases the Lanmatozi manifest several generations later. Zharîshi do not necessarily have the monstrous character of their forefathers. One example is Kaja, child of the mortal Sôrijan woman Sharet and Tozhur. The same applies to the mostly hideous looks of the old Zharanoki.
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