There is an incredible amount that can be written about Rabhanast, its founding, rise as an marine commercial hub, transition to empire, with control of the vast deserts and bad-lands stretching to the South, East, and Southwest, uniting the desert tribes and resulting in an intellectual renaissance and blossoming of a unique culture that encompasses at the same time desert nomads, great settled cities, and maritime trade, boasting one of the greatest naval forces of all time. There were great and terrible wars between the Rabhanastran and Shaltean empires, both old and new, and while those conflicts invariably ended in Shaltean favor, stubborn Rabhanast survived their defeats, and has long out-lasted, as a major power, their Shaltean rivals. In contemporary times, there is no power that can truly rival Rabhanast in the known world economically, intellectual, or militarily.
Suffice to mention for now that, among other things, there is, in the city, the Great Library of Rabhanast, the (Maebad’an) Alttamrir, the single largest and most complete repository of knowledge and historical artifacts in the known world. The great brazier at it’s zenith provides a great light both literally for ships at sea, guiding them to port, bathing the nighttime city in a dim orange glow, and represents the pride of enlightened knowledge in people of learning across the world. Any books or works of print that enter the harbor are taken first to the library, where a painstakingly exact copy is made. The original is kept for posterity and study. The copy is dutifully returned.
There will be more to come about Rabhanast, but in the meantime, hereafter are some aspects relevant to the PCs.
Gershek is a large trading corperation/dynasty, one among many in Rabhanast. The Gershek, in addition to their conventional trading activities, are loosely affiliated with and partially supported by The Alttamrir, and actively seek out new knowledge and novel cultural works to bring back for the enrichment of Rabhanast. The head of Gershek activities in the region of Aria is Griz Koryun dan Gershek (Griz being his title, roughly translated as ‘Merchant-Prince’) and his daughter and heir, Kushlu dan Gershek, whose current base of operations is the Lugardian city of Aaren.
The legend of Rabhanastran Djinn
There are old stories of a hero called Saafh’Adin, the golden, who rid the southern wastes of the La’Habin. These La’Habin were monsters of smoke and flame, and had powers of possession. When they emerged from the wastes, villages emptied one by one. It was said that an entire army sent to deal with them simply lowered their arms and surrendered willingly upon first contact with them. It was at this time that Saafh’Adin, blessed of the gods, ventured into the wilderness. He tracked the La’Habin and their minions to a great mountain, and there, through combat and cleverness, slew the monsters of flame, and freed those therein enslaved. And so ended the La’Habin reign of terror.