SHAZRAD: City of Veils

Not always a place at peace, Shazrad has its share of provisions for armed conflict.


Many sorts of weapons can be found in Shazrad if you know where to look, mostly due to a wide variety of import sources. They are, however, fairly expensive: most ores have to be imported, and Shazrad's smiths command high prices.

Scimitars. Generally worn by members of the House of the Crescent Sword, and peace-knotted when not on duty. Some civilian citizens do carry scimitars, but they must always be peace-knotted (except in an engagement, which carries separate consequences), and the practice is frowned upon. However, the desert folk and warriors who sometimes sojourn in the city carry their kasakhara, a scimitar with a spear-point-shaped swelling near the tip, and this practice is widely accepted. Foreign visitors, especially mercenaries, may wear their weapons (again subject to concealment or peace-knotting as per the society page), but will be subject to public and private surveillance.

Daggers of all kinds are common, though the ones most often seen have the characteristic crescent curve. To be noted is the existence of glass daggers, generally one-use only. The House of the Lightfoot Cats often uses them to deliver warnings rather than fatal injury; it is difficult for others to acquire such daggers.

The poor are sometimes seen with slings tied around their waists or necks...or whatever they can steal. Even a shard of pottery can serve as a weapon if the need is great, and in the poorer quarters crude ceramic daggers are sometimes found.

Archery is an uncommon practice due to the high cost of wood, which is considered a luxury item. Bows and arrows are not made locally, though spears and javelins may be. Note that the House of the Watching Dragon does maintain war engines: heavy trebuchet and ballistae...and who knows what other secrets they hold?


Light armor tends to be worn, where it is worn at all. There are two reasons for this: First, Shazrad has evolved from a desert culture, and hence anything that invites the sun's heat is avoided. Second, Shazrad is a seafaring culture, with a sophisticated paradigm for naval warfare (i.e. Shazrash do not use their ships as "infantry platforms," as did the Japanese in the Imjin War, 1592-1598). Her marines are unfond of anything that hampers their ability to swim and can't be taken off in a hurry, should a ship sink.

Within the city, armor is worn almost exclusively by mercenaries (foreign or otherwise) and the House of the Crescent Sword; and the former, as always, are carefully watched by eyes both seen and unseen. For dangerous duties, Crescent Sword soldiers may be supplied light metal-scale or metal-lamellar, as well as light shields (leather over a wooden frame). Metal armor is hideously expensive and is carefully rationed out among the troops; it is also somewhat unpopular due to its weight and heat-trapping properties. The Crescent Sword generally trains with cuir-bouilli, soft leather (i.e. no "real" armor) or even leather-lamellar, as grace and freedom of movement (a throwback to the days of desert raiders) are emphasized. Soldiers who need heavier armor do receive drill so they get used to it.

Unit Types

Shazrad uses mostly infantry, but the Crescent Sword does maintain a cavalry division, whose duties are to scout the desert and to protect desert trade routes and nearby oases. Centuries of trading with the desert's horse breeders has resulted in some very fine mounts. Cavalry typically ride with stirrups (a la jiñeta), with light leather or no armor.


Merchanters are generally escorted with ships bearing Crescent Sword soldiers; the Golden Hand and Crescent Sword cooperate closely on such matters. Ships have both sails and oars, for becalmed seas. Military vessels are often equipped with war engines that throw "dragon's fire," which burns even on water (Greek fire). An engineer and his/her assistants from the Watching Dragon are responsible for these engines, and have orders to destroy them if the ship is captured or downed, which is a rare occurence due to Shazrad's reputation, vigilance, and use of forward diplomacy.

Copyright © 2000-2001 by Alioqui & Yoon Ha Lee

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