Kalumak relies on a palace-centric structure for their political organizations, with the king at the center. His immediate household and administrators and scribes live in the palace at Kalashu. The king surrounds himself with numerous families that produce that bloodlines of warriors and priestesses that form the nobility of the kingdom. Sons of great families are trained to be warriors, while daughters are raised to revere and serve the gods.
Craftsmen and scribes work in service of the monarch and his nobles in exchange for sustenance and the occasional payment of metal. These families form the basis of his power and help him maintain control through force and pageantry.
The king is very important because he is appointed by the gods, and ill omens sent by them are interpreted as signs as the king not performing his regal duties as well as he should. The class system is very stratified and people tend to accept their place in society. Social mobility can be achieved by becoming a priest or scribe, but entrance into the elite is not possible unless a person was born into it.
People pay taxes in the form of the goods they produce, which all flows into the palace and then redistributed to the king’s dependents.
The king exercises absolute power over the people. The post is hereditary and each king is succeeded by his eldest surviving son. Priestesses have positions of power they interpret divine messages, and scribes record court history and inscribe the king’s edicts. Other administrators began as scribes and rose the ranks to take up more important positions. Aside from the king’s own palace, powerful nobles control certain areas or cities from their own seats, but these privileged few are chosen and replaced at the whim of the king. Kings justify their continued rule with divine favor, the status quo, and by enriching and controlling a warrior class that has a monopoly on the bronze weapons and armor and magic. These warriors make up the upper echelons of the Kalu army and own plenty of slaves and land.
Although he king holds absolute power in theory, but the absence of a centralized bureaucracy means local power is in the hands of various nobles, who owe their position to the king and answer his calls for war in exchange for autonomy in their center of power. The nobles, and by extension, the king, hold huge amounts of power over ordinary people. The codes of law deal harsh and retaliatory punishments that the rulers of the kingdoms are expected to carry out. The government is symbolized by the palace.
The structures of the government are based around, much like the economy, the palace. The king occupies the top of the hierarchy, followed by his nobles, then the priests, scribes, craftsmen, and then farmers. The king wields sole power in Kalishu, and can travel around to dispense justice as laid out by the law codes of the land, which is left up to the nobles in his absence. The king is also commander of the armies, but entrusts his nobles with the duty of assembling local levies that make up an expeditionary or defensive force.
In Kalashu, the king’s household has many duties that must be carried out so that it can run smoothly. Scribes carry out administrative duties from keep track of goods that flow into the palace and distributing them to keeping inventory of the king’s wealth. Only the most skilled and trusted scribes are selected for these positions. The highest-ranked scribes distribute rations of grain and beer and adjust them according to a person’s contribution. Others keep track of precious metals, and others still work for the army and provide weapons, armor, and supplies to levied troops.
The king also has a large network of spies to ensure his nobles are loyal and report any actions that can be considered conspiracy or subterfuge. Ambassadors are taken from members of the warrior that are proven to be eloquent with the spoken word. They are sent to the neighboring polities and speak on behalf of the king, accompanied by couple scribes who write down the exchanged words and report back to the monarch.
Nobles also occupy position in court that is seen above the station of those who can become a scribe, such as cupbearers, military leaders, shieldbearers, and most other positions that involve close and personal interaction with the king.
The palatial system developed gradually from the rulers of city states. The Azimon river valley used to have kings in charge of every single city, but with time, numerous celebrated men united the land into kingdoms and even empires at times. The centralized palace system is the continuation of the power of these early monarchs.
The most recent iteration of the kingdom of the Kalu, a proud and ancient people ruling the lower Azimon.
The Kalu's ancestral lands consist of the lower Azimon and its delta all way up to the sea. At times, Kalumak has held lands further up the river and its tributaries to the north and east.
The kingdoms of Nupara and Med-sitim are the two main entities that share the Azimon river system with the Kalu. The three kingdoms oscillate between phases of alliance, tension, and warfare. Interactions between these states cover hundreds of clay tablets worth of history. Marriages between nobles are acceptable and numerous alliances were sealed by the marriage between a Kalu and a Nupari or Med-sitimi, often accompanied by a peace treaty etched into a flattened piece of solid silver.
Agriculture & Industry
The Kalu rely on farming with large irrigation channels, the first of which were built several thousand years before to tame the unpredictable flooding patterns of the Azimon. The main food crops of the region are emmer wheat, einkorn wheat, and barley. Date palms are a popular cash crop and the Kalu grow many different fruits and vegetables. A non-exhaustive list includes: peas, beans, lentils, cucumbers, leeks, onions, garlic, lettuce, grapes, melons, apples, and pomegranates. Flax is also grown to produce clothing.
Domesticated animals include: cows, sheep, goats, donkeys, horses, chickens, and geese. The animals are not herded in the nomadic sense, but rather grouped together in pens or left to range. The meat of the ox is not very popular due its toughness, since it tends to be primarily a work animal. Mutton, goat, pork, and chicken are incorporated into many Kalu dishes.
Hunting and gathering is no longer a way of life in the region, and has not been for millenia. Kings and nobles are known to hunt for the animals live along the river valley, such as gazelle, lion, and river dragon. The popularity of these hunts has lead to the decline in the population of these creatures.
Farming is the largest employer of people, like most civilized regions throughout the known world. Common occupations include brickmakers and potters that take advantage of the abundant clay and mud. Smiths of bronze are highly renowned for their skills that supply the elite warrior class with the weapons and armor they need to maintain their status and power. There are special craftsmen that work the raw trade goods into products that are coveted by the wealthy. The families that produce these products are under special patronage from the king and his noblemen and often life close or inside the palace.
Trade & Transport
Internal trade amongst the cities of Kalumak tends to take the form of bartering essential goods such as crops, building materials, and clothing; or exchanging large amounts of goods in exchange for precious metals.
Trade with foreign nations is mainly the domain of the palace. This is very important to the country’s economy, but diminishes toward the end of the Bronze Epoch due to the disruption of international trade networks.
All of the deities, god or goddess, are worshiped by priestesses. They are appointed to the priesthood by the ruler of the patron city where the main ziggurat of each god is located. Each girl must be chosen by the age of ten and hail from a noble family, those who possess magical abilities.