Airspur was a powerful trading port city in western Chessenta in the Old Empires. It was a highly cosmopolitan and multiracial city, with an impressively high population of orcs and half-orcs. Destroyed in the Spellplague, the capital city of Akanûl, also called Airspur, was upon its ruins. The genasi would call the old city Ancient Airspur.
Airspur stood in the north-west corner of Chessenta, on the southwestern shore of the Wizard's Reach and with the Akanapeaks in the west. A trail ran west through the mountains to Reth and another ran southeast along the coast to Cimbar.
Formerly a possession of the empire of Unther, the cities of Chessenta rebelled and formed the Alliance of Chessenta under the leadership of the warlord Tchazzar of Cimbar. Driving Untheric forces from the land, they seceded from Unther in the Year of Flashing Eyes, 929 DR. Thereafter, they stood as a part of the Union of Chessenta, a confederation of city-states that swelled into the Chessentan Empire ruled by Tchazzar. However, with Tchazzar's death or disappearance in the Year of the Dracorage, 1018 DR, the Empire broke apart and declined. Although each city-state had sworn fealty to a central monarch, after Tchazzar, they disagreed on who this should be. Finally, in the Year of the Twelverule, 1117 DR, the realm broke up into a number of feuding city-states, with an ever-changing network of alliances, conflicts, and factions.[note 1]
By the 14th century DR, Airspur was in the grip of the priests of Bhaelros (otherwise known as Talos). They ruled as a theocracy and every month they sacrificed a maiden to the Destroyer. Needless to say, they were incredibly unpopular.
However, when a bloody civil war erupted between the orc tribes of the neighboring Akanapeaks, many refugees of the Flaming Spike tribe went to Airspur. They went into business as traders, intermarried with humans, and soon gave rise to a burgeoning population of half-orcs.[note 2]
In time, the priests of Bhaelros were deposed, with many killed and the rest escaping into the wilds. They were replaced by a military council led by Khrulis and half-orcs held many positions of political power by the late 1350s DR. They were, by all reliable reports, a significant improvement.[note 3]
However, thanks to their traditional alliance with Soorenar, they were soon dragged into a war with Cimbar and on a war footing by 1357 DR. Soorenar's rulers plotted to form a grand alliance to destroy Cimbar, divide the spoils between the allied cities, and unite all Chessenta under Soorenar's rule; with them with Airspur and Luthcheq, but Luthcheq contributed nothing. The war was unpopular in Airspur; many of the citizens had friends in Cimbar and human racists claimed the orcs were sending them to die. Anti-orc factions sought to "free Airspur from half-orc tyranny", perhaps even to attempt to assassinate Khrulis, and Cimbar was even offered the services of a sizeable dwarf mercenary company who wanted to fight against the orcs of Airspur. Even in Reth, traders called for an alliance with Cimbar against Airspur to be rid of a commercial rival. Airspur suffered heavy losses, even losing much of its navy. While Khrulis could keep the peace at home through the military, he realized he would either not win the war or not win anything from it if he did, and racial tensions would be exacerbated. It was expected he'd negotiate a peace with Cimbar and even turn against the Northern Alliance, given the chance.
All plans and projected outcomes would come to naught, however,[speculation][note 4] in the Year of Shadows, 1358 DR, when the Time of Troubles came and the Godswar began. The god Hoar led Akanax against Cimbar, Luthcheq, and Soorenar, and those cities fell into fighting against each other as well. Most of Chessenta fell into warfare. Akanax emerged victorious, and Hoar bound the cities into an alliance, before attacking Unther. Ultimately, Hoar was defeated by the god Anhur and the Chessentans routed. Following the Godswar and the gods' return to the planes, the alliance forced upon the Chessentan city-states swiftly fell apart once again.[note 5]
In the aftermath, having maintained an aggressive posture towards Cimbar for several years, Airspur set to work rebuilding its might whilst guarding against future enemies, as it was by the early 1370s DR.
Following the suppressed eruption of the distant Ship of the Gods volcano, on Flamerule 25, the Year of the Gauntlet, 1369 DR, a massive explosion under the Inner Sea rocked Airspur and Delthuntle, rattling the rooftops and causing waves that damaged the docks.
Around that time, the halfling bard Phlensos Ursuma entertained at the court of Airspur and did an amazing accurate impersonation of a key political opponent of Khrulis. Amused and more than a little inebriated, Khrulis awarded Phlensos a barony and land to go with it. Not a fool, though, the land he gave was a small plot in the Adder Swamp.
Near the end of the Rage of Dragons in the Year of Rogue Dragons, 1373 DR, on Nightal 1, the great red dragon Tchazzar, alive and well, made a shocking and devastating return to Chessenta, and reclaimed his seat of power in Cimbar and his dominion over Chessenta. While in the near-term the Northern Alliance cities and others were counted as his foes, Tchazzar began working to bring the city-states into his fold, through covert negotiations and threats, while a church to the dragon god opened in Airspur, swelling the faithful among the citizens there. Meanwhile, the Northern Alliance leaders tried to find ways of quietly discrediting Tchazzar and his faithful without attracting the dragon's wrath. Airspur's mercenaries secretly provided information on Tchazzar's followers near Airspur to the dragon's external enemies, such as crusading Impilturan paladins.
After the Spellplague of 1385 DR, a portion of the world of Abeir was swapped with western Chessenta in 1386 DR, causing utter catastrophe. The city of Airspur was destroyed when a vast crevasse opened beneath it. Many were killed and the survivors fled into the mountains, back to orcish kin.
As things settled, the orcs and half-orcs returned from the Akanapeaks and reclaimed the ruins of Airspur. But then, following the fall of Brassune around 1430 DR, the Abeiran genasi of the new realm of Akanûl came south and forced the orcs out, killing many, before using the remains of their city to build the new capital of Akanûl, named Airspur. Only a small population of half-orcs remained in the later Airspur, while full-blooded orcs were banned. The situation gave rise to a half-orc dissident group seeking to avenge their wronged elders and based in the catacombs amidst their bones of their ancestors.
Once, Airspur was a theocracy ruled by priests of a cult of Bhaelros, who sacrificed a maiden every month. They were widely hated.
They were replaced by a military council led by Khrulis, and he and other half-orcs wielded a lot of political power by the late 1350s DR. Khrulis had tight control of the military, and with it, the city.
Circa 1357 DR, there was much discontent in the city, from the unpopular war with Cimbar to entrenched anti-orc bigotry. Many humans against the war even claimed the half-orcs were deliberately sending them to be killed in battle, paving the way for the Flaming Spike to take over, no matter how baseless this was. To deal with this, Khrulis used the Bhaelrosians as scapegoats for the city's troubles. He accused those who opposed his policies of therefore supporting the cult and the sacrifices. Particularly vocal opponents were even covertly charmed into participating in public Bhaelrosian ceremonies to discredit them. While this tactic was for a time successful, the false dichotomy risked polarizing the people of Airspur and turning the cult of Bhaelros, no matter how hated they were, into the only opposition and driving people to join.
In Chessenta's regular wars, Airspur usually allied with Soorenar and Luthcheq in the traditional Northern Alliance. Together, they usually opposed the Triangle Alliance of Akanax, Cimbar, and Mordulkin. Yet Luthcheq was hardly a reliable ally and Soorenar's rulers sought to control all Chessenta. Airspur had normally followed its lead, at least until the war with Cimbar around 1357 DR. Airspur and nearby Reth in the Chondath were also long-time adversaries and rivals in trade. In general, Airspur on some occasions sided with Chessenta and on others with Chondath.
Circa 1357 DR, Airspur maintained an army of 3000 soldiers, including 500 cavalry and 500 archers.
However, Airspur suffered heavy losses after the 1357 war, and its navy was reduced to just one customs vessel around 1359 DR.
Like many cities in Chessenta, Airspur received much of its food supply from the Akanal farmlands. They likely kept a store of up to three years' worth of magically preserved food in case of war or shortage.
Law & OrderEdit
While Airspur was once a theocracy of Bhaelros, the cult was widely hated and later deposed, with the real priests either killed or fled from the city. Nevertheless, an element of the cult of Bhaelros remained, with some Bhaelrosian ceremonies conducted in public. The orcs followed gods like Assuran (elsewhere known as Hoar), Tiamat, Tempus, and Tyr. After Tchazzar's return in 1373 DR, a small church to him opened in Airspur.
Around 1357 DR, the population of Airspur was reported to be 20,000. In 1372 DR, its population was recorded at 22,282. Airspur was famed for its multiracial society with a high number of mountain orcs and half-orcs, the latter of whom made up 30% of the population and quickly came to dominate Airspur.
There were a number of orcish tribes here, who had had long history of fighting and trading with the humans of Chessenta, just as the humans did among themselves. The orcs and half-orcs mostly adopted local human customs and values and when they competed with human traders, it was for business, not race. This was not without prejudice and hostility, for human bigotry was entrenched especially among the Mulan, but they were largely tolerated. The archmage philosopher Heptios argued that orcs who adopted human values might be the greatest threat the Realms had ever known.
Orc warriors of the region were typically very tough and could charge into battle with great skill. They were commonly equipped with breastplate armor and wielded bastard swords or falchions, all well made.
In Chessentan style, Airspur's buildings utilized columns and the streets were wide and cobbled. The dead were traditionally buried in quite ancient catacombs running extensively beneath the city.
- ↑ It is unknown how Airspur was involved in these events, or even if the city existed at the time. However, it probably should be assumed to be based on its importance in the Old Empires sourcebook, and these events are included for historical context.
- ↑ The history is fragmentary and it is unknown when and how this occurred. It is assumed orcs and humans intermarried to produce the many half-orcs over at least one generation. That is unless the refugees were largely half-orcs; for example, Kreodo was a half-orc slave of the Flaming Spike. Meanwhile, "The Patrol" in Realms of the Deep mentions a Flaming Spike uprising occurring in the mid-1300s, likely after 1350 DR, which might be connected, though it could've also occurred well after the civil war.
- ↑ Again, the history is incomplete and it is not stated when or how the Bhaelrosians were removed from power, only "long ago", but the implication on page 58 of Old Empires is that they were deposed, with "Khrulis and his half-orcs... a considerable improvement". Surviving priests of Bhaelros seem to be still be alive by 1357 DR.
- ↑ Old Empires page 58 offers a number of "Likely Courses" to the political situations presented there, but the actual outcomes are unknown. However, the events of the Time of Troubles the following year seem to have disrupted all these.
- ↑ Airspur's role in these events is unknown; it is included for historical context. As it was not mentioned, Airspur may have remained apart from the fighting.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 183. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Scott Bennie (1990). Old Empires. (TSR, Inc), p. 51. ISBN 0-8803-8821-8.
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 Scott Bennie (1990). Old Empires. (TSR, Inc), p. 53. ISBN 0-8803-8821-8.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Richard Baker, James Wyatt (March 2004). Player's Guide to Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 25, 27. ISBN 0-7869-3134-5.
- ↑ 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 5.15 5.16 5.17 5.18 Scott Bennie (1990). Old Empires. (TSR, Inc), p. 58. ISBN 0-8803-8821-8.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Eric L. Boyd, Eytan Bernstein (August 2006). Dragons of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 91. ISBN 0-7869-3923-0.
- ↑ Scott Bennie (1990). Old Empires. (TSR, Inc), p. 50. ISBN 0-8803-8821-8.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 90. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Matthew Sernett (July 2009). “Explore Airspur”. In Chris Youngs ed. Dragon #377 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 67.
- ↑ Scott Bennie (1990). Old Empires. (TSR, Inc), p. map. ISBN 0-8803-8821-8.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 Scott Bennie (1990). Old Empires. (TSR, Inc), pp. 4, 5, 6. ISBN 0-8803-8821-8.
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 111. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- ↑ Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 119. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- ↑ Scott Bennie (1990). Old Empires. (TSR, Inc), pp. 5, 54, 55. ISBN 0-8803-8821-8.
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 15.2 Curtis Scott (March 1992). Pirates of the Fallen Stars. (TSR, Inc), p. 47. ISBN 978-1560763208.
- ↑ Eric L. Boyd (1997). Powers and Pantheons. (TSR, Inc), p. 29. ISBN 0-7869-0657-X.
- ↑ Steven E. Schend (1999). Sea of Fallen Stars. (TSR, Inc), p. 7. ISBN 0-7869-1393-2.
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 Steven E. Schend (1999). Sea of Fallen Stars. (TSR, Inc), p. 11. ISBN 0-7869-1393-2.
- ↑ Halflings in Chessenta: The Bard of Adder Swamp. Wizards of the Coast. (2004). Retrieved on 2013-09-30.
- ↑ Eric L. Boyd, Eytan Bernstein (August 2006). Dragons of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 39. ISBN 0-7869-3923-0.
- ↑ Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 154. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- ↑ Eric L. Boyd, Eytan Bernstein (August 2006). Dragons of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 38. ISBN 0-7869-3923-0.
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 23.2 Matthew Sernett (July 2009). “Explore Airspur”. In Chris Youngs ed. Dragon #377 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 62.
- ↑ 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 Matthew Sernett (July 2009). “Explore Airspur”. In Chris Youngs ed. Dragon #377 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 68.
- ↑ 25.0 25.1 Scott Bennie (1990). Old Empires. (TSR, Inc), p. 55. ISBN 0-8803-8821-8.
- ↑ 26.0 26.1 Scott Bennie (1990). Old Empires. (TSR, Inc), p. 57. ISBN 0-8803-8821-8.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 184. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- ↑ 28.0 28.1 Scott Bennie (1990). Old Empires. (TSR, Inc), p. 60. ISBN 0-8803-8821-8.
- ↑ Scott Bennie (1990). Old Empires. (TSR, Inc), p. 56. ISBN 0-8803-8821-8.
- ↑ Thomas M. Costa (1999). “Speaking in Tongues”. In Dave Gross ed. Dragon Annual #4 (TSR, Inc), pp. 26, 28.
- ↑ Reynolds, Forbeck, Jacobs, Boyd (March 2003). Races of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 98. ISBN 0-7869-2875-1.