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Azir

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Azir
Locator Azir.png
by User: Otto didact
Ethnicity Makabaki
Capital Azimir
Ruled by Prime Aqasix Yanagawn the First
World Roshar
Universe Cosmere
Featured In The Stormlight Archive

Azir is a kingdom in south-west Roshar. Its capital is Azimir.[1] The people and language of Azir are both called the Azish.

Geography[edit]

Azir and the states of the Azish Empire on the world map

Azir is a land-locked state in the south-western part of Roshar, in the geographical region known as Makabak. The biggest Makabaki state, it covers the area of roughly 1,343,000 km2, making it the seventh largest nation on the planet.[2] From south-east, it's bordered by Emul on a river that serves as its only way to access the sea. To the west of it lay Tashikk, Yezier and Desh, while in the north, it shares a long border with Yulay.[1]

Like most of Makabak, Azir is rather dry and warm compared to the rest of the continent, though it is still cooler than Iri.[3][4] There are broad plains there, and few, if any rivers.[5][1] A vast mountain range stretches across the country's nothern and north-eastern edge, with a wide pass due North leading to Yulay. The tower-city of Urithiru is not far from Azir, in the peaks almost exactly due East of Azimir.[1]

Notable locations

History[edit]

Origins and Sadees' occupation[edit]

Not much is known about the ancient history of Azir. During the Silver Kingdoms era, it was part of Makabakam, the largest of the Silver Kingdoms, with Azimir likely being Makabakam's capital, as it contains an Oathgate.[6][4] At some point, that country splintered into dozens of states that comprise modern Makabak, among them Azir.[1]

Sadees the Sunmaker, the infamous Alethi warrior, conquered Azir as part of his bid to take over the entire continent during the reign of Prime Aqasix Snoxil. The occupation was extremely violent: up to ten percent of the country's population died, many of them due to Sadees seemingly seeking to actively eradicate the Azish. In some areas, Sadees ordered a certain number of executions a day. In others, he declared all men with hair at a certain length to be killed.[7] Sadees rationalized this by claiming the Azish were uncivilized for not using eye color as a basis for their social hierarchy.[4]

Following his passing, his kingdom was split between his sons, and the Azish regained their independence.

Era of Solitude[edit]

In the centuries since Sadees' conquest, Azir rose to the position of the cultural and political center of Makabak. Many of its surrounding nations became client states to it, leading to the formation of the Azish Empire - a semi-formal name for the group of states led by the Prime Aqasix in all international matters.[8]

The peace of the empire was broken in the final year of the Era of Solitude, as the Assassin in White killed two Primes in a row, leaving the country in a succession crisis as all prospective candidates attempted to avoid the position. This ended the night a group of thieves, including Lift and Gawx, attempted to rob the Bronze Palace. After Gawx was seemingly killed, Lift returned him to life with Regrowth. To the assembled courtiers (unaware of Lift's involvement), this was a miracle that proved that Gawx was the Prime they were looking for, and he was crowned as Yanagawn the First.[9]

True Desolation[edit]

Like everywhere else, the Azish Parshmen awoke following the arrival of the Everstorm. Initially, they followed the example of their former masters and, rather than make war on them, sued the government for back pay. The Azish began negotiations, though they had no intention of giving in - rather, they sought to buy enough time to fortify their cities.[8]

At the same time, they were in talks with Dalinar Kholin's buddying coalition in Urithiru.[8] With Sadees' conquests still a sore memory, they were initially unwilling to allow the Alethi armies into their city, or unlock their Oathgate.[10] However, after the talks with the singers fell through, they finally agreed, and ended up joining the coalition.[11] The failure with the singers might've been caused by the arrival of the Fused, who organized them into an army and took them south, to Marat, in preparation for the attack on Thaylen City.[12]

When the coalition leaders assumed that the Voidbringers would attack Jah Keved, the Azish agreed to send five batallions of their troops there to aid in repelling the attack.[13] Later, when Thaylen City was pinpointed as the site of the attack, they moved their fleet to the nearby shores to intercept the Voidbringer forces.[14] However, following the translation of the Eila Stele and the revelations it spurred, they backed off along with their ships. Their resolve to abandon the others was only strenghtened when they saw the Alethi attack the Thaylens - the influence of Nergaoul on Amaram's forces, though the Azish did not know that at the time.[15]

After the Battle of Thaylen Field, Dalinar explained to them via spanreed what truly happened. The Azish were willing to renegotiate their participation in the alliance, though only if Dalinar was able to prove that he could control his troops.[16]

Politics[edit]

Traditionally, the Azish Prime claimed to be emperor of all Makabak—a region that included over a half-dozen kingdoms and princedoms. In reality, he was king over only Azir, but Azir did cast a long, long shadow.

Dalinar Kholin's thoughts on Azir[8]

Member states[edit]

The Azish Empire, despite its name, is closer in nature to a confederacy of states. It's composed of nine member countries: Tashikk, Yezier, Emul, Steen, Alm, Desh, Marat, Tukar and Azir itself. While all those nations consider the Prime Aqasix to be their emperor, other than Azir, they are subject in name only. However, leaders of nations within the Empire cannot marry without the Prime's permission, and the states themselves typically follow Azir's lead when dealing with international politics. Historically, Tashikk and Yezier are the closest to the Azish throne.[16]

Government[edit]

The Azish government is a bureaucracy, composed of several levels of scribes. One may join the public servant caste by a written exam; though the test is nominally open to all citizens, the requirements for passing mean that most positions are taken by people whose social status is already high, as they're the only ones capable of affording sufficient education.[17]

The highest-ranking members of the government, other than the Prime Aqasix, are the viziers. They serve as advisors to the Prime, with enough political pull to force their decisions on them, and are responsible for selecting a new Prime following the death of the previous one. Their high status and broad knowledge mean the next Prime will often be one of their number, as they can make their applications most convincing.[9]

The Prime Aqasix[edit]

The elected ruler of the Azish Empire bears the title of the Prime Aqasix. Their symbol of power is a traditional hat with sweeping sides called the Imperial Yuanazixin.[15]

The Azish believe that they are never without a Prime. When a Prime dies, the election of a new one is considered as a search for the person who is, and always has been, a Prime. Any person, except for the scions, can apply for the position; however, the process requires many forms and essays, which are reviewed by viziers. The Azish pride themselves on this method, as it avoids succession wars.[18]

The Prime is considered to belong to the public. Citizens can enter a lottery to watch the Prime sleep, eat, and perform other daily tasks. They can also collect and keep relics from the Prime, such as a nail clipping or a strand of hair.[18]

When the Prime issues a mandate to the public, citizens have one month to make their grievances known before being forced to comply. These grievances are often displayed as logical arguments and protests.[4]

Military[edit]

The Azish Empire has access to foot soldiers, cavalry and fleet. Their army, though smaller than that of Alethkar or Jah Keved, is still fairly impressive, and their fortifications are noted as difficult to breach.[12] Azish soldiers are equipped with bows, spears or poleaxes, and greatshields.[19][4] They are armored with plated mail and colorful caps.[4] Their army is divided into battalions, which have both numbers and name designations, such as Red and Gold for the Thirteenth Battalion. A single batallion is comprised of about one thousand soldiers.[13][12]

Little is known about their cavalry. Units of it are led by officers called cavalrylords, who wear uniforms with vivid red trousers.[20]

While Azish themselves don't have a fleet, being as they are a land-locked country, Tashikk has a number of ships, which are staffed partially by Azish troops and thus serve the Empire as a whole. There seem to be no battalions dedicated wholly to ship-side service; rather, select ones rotate some of their units in and out of the navy.[12]

In times of peace, the fleet's duty is to patrol "the grand waterway" - an unspecified body of water that may correspond to the river between Azir and Emul - but they are capable of further excursions, all the way to Thaylenah.[12] The fleet possesses both smaller outriders, called scouts, and bigger warships, among them troop carriers.[14] The Prime Aqasix has his own dedicated vessel, smaller than the navy units.[15]

Azish generals wear robes and typical Western hats. They have poor reputation in Alethkar, being usually considered little more than military historians and theorists. The position requires passing a number of tests, and Dalinar theorizes that the officers with practical expertise tend to fail them on purpose so that they may retain field command. However, the generals are also noted to be highly practical people, and their advice is usually astute.[7][12]

The effectiveness of the Azish military in battle against the Voidbringers is yet to be seen.

Fabrials and Shards[edit]

Azir is known to have very few Soulcasters, the most famous of which has the ability to Soulcast bronze.[4] Many buildings in Azimir have bronze domes, and the Prime's palace even has decorative Soulcast bronze trees.[9]

Azimir is the site of ancient Makabakam's Oathgate. Presently, the gate's platform serves as the city's Grand Market, though it has been reopened by Lift during Dalinar Kholin's visit and returned to its prior function.[4]

Azir has several Shardblades, known as the Imperial Shardblades. It's unknown how many of them are there or who wields them, but they can be loaned out to Empire's member states for various services. The city of Yeddaw in Tashikk was created by them.[21] Though it can be presumed that Azish have Shardplate, it's unknown how many sets of it are in their hands.

Culture[edit]

Social Order[edit]

The Azish social hierarchy is based on education and elevation through the bureaucratic governmental system. Viziers and scribes are among the highest ranking members of society. Scribes are stratified by level and then circle.[15] The pattern on one's clothing indicates rank within the bureaucracy.[15] Regular citizens who are not members of the government are known as discrete.[18]

The Azish do not divide their population into lighteyes and darkeyes. In the Vorin countries, it's speculated that this is because there aren't enough pale-eyed Azish to form a self-sustainable social caste.[7]

Order in the country is kept by travelling lawkeepers called constables. Constables typically wear black uniforms, with a double row of silver buttons in the front, and thick gloves with long collars. They seem to have the authority to capture, try and even execute criminals. However, they cannot act against the viziers, and aren't allowed to requisition the Imperial Shardblades.[22]

People[edit]

A folio page of Azish male public servant fashion from Liafor by Dan dos Santos

Alethi liked to joke about them—insult one of their soldiers, it was said, and he'd submit a form requesting an opportunity to swear at you.

Dalinar on the Alethi stereotypes of the Azish[4]

Azish people belong to the Makabaki ethnic group, members of which can be found across the entire Makabak.[23] They are described as being short and having dark skin - deep brown, but not true black like some parshmen.[19][23][24] They have a smooth accent, like the Emuli.[25] Very few are light-eyed.[7]

The stereotype of the Azish is that they are peaceful, prefer education to war and adore their bureaucracy and paperwork.[26][8] The Azish themselves consider the latter a point of pride, as the structure of their government has for many centuries prevented any major internal crisis.[9] They are, however, focused on being respectful and polite. In Azish culture, one should not raise their voice when talking, and should always remain calm, even when angry.[12] Particular care is taken never to offend a guest, though this does not mean the Azish can be pushed around.[4] As a result, they are known for talking around the matter a lot when disagreeing with something, and never saying "no" straight up.[10]

Language and Writing[edit]

The people of Azir speak Azish, the most widespread of the Makabaki languages, though it's possible that other languages from this family are also present.[27] Azish or Azish-adjacent words can be recognized by the letters "x" (Kadasix, Snoxil) and "q" (Prime Aqasix, Unoqua), which are far rarer outside of Makabak.

The Azish have their own system or writing, separate from the various Vorin scripts. It's described as looking like little markings, similar to cremling tracks. Additionally, the various patterns the Azish put on their furniture, decorations and clothing each have a meaning of their own, and can be read like writing by a trained scribe.[4]

Religion[edit]

The Azish religion focuses on the worship of the Heralds, known there as the Kadasixes.[28] Chief among them is Jezrien - Yaezir in local parlance - who bears the title of the Kadasix of Kings. He's the patron of the Azish government, and the Prime Aqasix is considered his emissary to the world.[8] The Primes themselves have some religious significance: per the Azish doctrine, a person is born a Prime, and the election process serves merely to find out who the current Prime is and give them their rightful place.[9]

The Azish priests, called scions, are government officials. Both men and women can become one.[8] Their main duty appears to be taking care of the spiritual side of the bureaucracy's day-to-day workings - they are seen blessing formal meetings and interpreting omens and events to discern the will of the Kadasixes.[9] They also serve as clerks and scribes. Scions can be found in all ranks of the bureaucracy, with the most influential ones serving as the members of the Prime's circle of advisors along with the viziers.[29][15]

Unlike Vorin ardents, scions are free men. In fact, becoming a high-ranking scion, or a priest-minister, is one of the highest honors for the Azish.[8]

Scions typically travel across the country, blessing settlements and towns. For this reason, a scion cannot become the Prime Aqasix, although they are intimately involved in the selection process. During the holy conclave that chooses a new Prime, they are called upon to ensure the spiritual purity of the selection, provide theological viewpoint on the process and assist the viziers in picking the best candidate.[9]

Notable scions[edit]

  • Ethid - a Veristitalian and friend of Jasnah Kholin, who studies the lives of powerful men and, later, the Knights Radiant.[29] She participates in the Prime selection process, and gives the opening blessings to the meeting that results in Yanagawn's crowning.[9]
  • Unoqua - the religious leader of Yanagawn's court. Along with other scions and viziers, he advises against continued alliance with Urithiru.[15]

Morality[edit]

In contrast to Vorin countries of the East, the Azish do not seem to practice the division between sexes. Women do not wear safehands, and men and women can be seen in both military and political positions without any indication that such is unusual.[30][9] However, also in contrast to Vorin states, the Azish have somewhat stricter views on relationships. In a homosexual couple, one member is expected to apply for "social reassignment", and should thereafter behave - and be treated as - a member of the opposite gender.[31][17]

Clothing[edit]

The Azish are known for wearing vibrant, colorful clothing. They are usually seen in robes or wraps and wear large hats, making them seem overencumbered.[32] Each article of clothing has traditional, large patterns on it. Every pattern has a meaning of its own, and a trained scribe can read a person's clothes like a language.[4] Their fashion is heavily influenced by civil servant outfits.[33]

Despite their garish appearance, Azish fabrics seem to be quite popular even in the East. Among others, Dalinar Kholin's childhood home was decorated with Azish rugs, and Alethi fashion folios feature Azish designs.[26][34]

Food[edit]

The Azish have a legend about truthberry jam, a preserve made from an Azish fruit. Supposedly, those who consume the berries speak only the truth until the next sunset. The berries themselves are harmless, but the leaves and stalks of truthberry plants can be burned, which makes people intoxicated and euphoric. Shallan Davar remarks to Kabsal that they should be called birthberries due to the fact of intoxication.[35]

In contrast to Alethkar, where people typically farm lavis, in Azir the main crop is clema. It's usually baked into large rolls known as clemabread, which are noted as being extremely unappetizing, at least for Lift.[36][37]

Notable Azish[edit]

The Heralds Nale and Shalash are both noted as looking distinctly Azish, although they far predate the country's founding.[40][41]

Trivia[edit]

  • The Azish view of homosexuality is based on middle-ages Indian society, wherein the gay person would be "socially reassigned" and be expected to exist and act as the opposite gender.[31]
  • The Azish government is partially based on the Chinese Confucian system.[42]
  • The Azish script might be similar in appearance to cuneiform.[43]
  • Compared to Earth countries, Azir is only slightly larger than Peru, and a bit smaller than Mongolia. The Azish Empire as a whole, on the other hand, covers about 4.455 million square kilometres of land, which would make it Roshar's third largest state after Alethkar and Jah Keved, and about a million square kilometres bigger than India.

Notes[edit]

  1. a b c d e Map of Roshar
  2. Roshar Physical Characteristics And Areas
    — 17th Shard #
  3. The Way of Kings interlude I-5 Summary: The Way of Kings/Interlude_I-5#
  4. a b c d e f g h i j k l m Oathbringer chapter 65 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_65#
  5. Words of Radiance chapter 59 Summary: Words of Radiance/Chapter_59#
  6. Map of Silver Kingdoms
  7. a b c d Oathbringer chapter 42 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_42#
  8. a b c d e f g h Oathbringer chapter 12 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_12#
  9. a b c d e f g h i j Words of Radiance interlude I-9 Summary: Words of Radiance/Interlude_I-9#
  10. a b Oathbringer chapter 28 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_28#
  11. Oathbringer chapter 64 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_64#
  12. a b c d e f g Oathbringer chapter 107 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_107#
  13. a b Oathbringer chapter 96 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_96#
  14. a b Oathbringer chapter 111 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_111#
  15. a b c d e f g Oathbringer chapter 116 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_116#
  16. a b Oathbringer chapter 122 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_122#
  17. a b Oathbringer chapter 35 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_35#
  18. a b c Words of Radiance interlude I-9 Summary: Words of Radiance/Interlude_I-9#
  19. a b The Way of Kings chapter 46 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_46#
  20. Oathbringer interlude I-8 Summary: Oathbringer/Interlude_I-8#
  21. Edgedancer chapter 2 Summary: Edgedancer/Chapter_2#
  22. Oathbringer interlude I-9 Summary: Oathbringer/Interlude_I-9#
  23. a b The Way of Kings chapter 53 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_53#
  24. a b The Way of Kings chapter 40 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_40#
  25. The Way of Kings chapter 14 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_14#
  26. a b Words of Radiance chapter 89 Summary: Words of Radiance/Chapter_89#
  27. /r/Stormlight_Archive
    Arcanum - 2016-11-29#
  28. The Way of Kings interlude I-7 Summary: The Way of Kings/Interlude_I-7#
  29. a b Oathbringer chapter 53 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_53#
  30. Edgedancer chapter 3 Summary: Edgedancer/Chapter_3#
  31. a b General Reddit 2017
    Arcanum - 2017-01-01#
  32. Oathbringer chapter 98 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_98#
  33. Azish Public Servant Designs Folio page
  34. Words of Radiance chapter 49 Summary: Words of Radiance/Chapter_49#
  35. The Way of Kings chapter 42 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_42#
  36. Edgedancer chapter 6 Summary: Edgedancer/Chapter_6#
  37. Edgedancer chapter 10 Summary: Edgedancer/Chapter_10#
  38. The Way of Kings chapter 18 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_18#
  39. Oathbringer chapter 92 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_92#
  40. The Way of Kings prologue Summary: The Way of Kings/Prologue#
  41. Oathbringer chapter 121 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_121#
  42. Paris signing
    Arcanum - 2016-10-22#
  43. Oathbringer Reread: Chapter Sixty-Five
    — Tor.com #
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