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Sirayn ("Watered-earth") was a region of the Greater Harad. It was the intellectual and economic hub of southern Middle-earth. Its territory comprises the fertile hills and vales along the northern flank of the Yellow Mountains, and can be divided into five major areas: Isra, Kirmlesra (including Kirmlesran Hills and the Dalad Kirm), the eastern coast and forest of Sára Bask, the plain of Chennacatt, and the Tûr Betark.
The cities of Sirayn were founded along the Sîresha river and its tributaries. The cool streams and rolling grasslands characteristic of the river valley provide a welcome relief to weary travelers coming from Bozisha-Dar or Harshandat.
Second Age Edit
Early in the Second Age, apysaic speaking nomadic tribes from the north and east settled the fertile river valleys of Sirayn, when they found extensive stands of wild wheat and barley growing on the banks of the Sîresha. Due to the abundance of wild grains, the nomads ceased to wander, because the sufficient grains could be gathered during the summer and fall to last the rest of the year. Unaccustomed to the cycles of agricultural life, the inhabitants grew restless in the leisure that followed the growing season. Craft specialization and social stratification evolved to fill the void, with the development of a priest hierarchy, temples, and a noble class.
At around SA 450, the building of the cities of Chennacatt and Tûl Isra starts, and at around SA 600, thirteen independently self-governing cities are fully established along the Sîresha river and its tributaries. In SA 1211, Bávor's Folk found the city of Mablad-dûm in the central Yellow Mountains.
As the population grew, pressure to expand into less fertile areas increased. The inhabitants tried to duplicate the vast grain fields that grew naturally in the more arable valleys. Over the centuries, they developed irrigation techniques and learned the basics of dry farming. Canals and irrigation works abounded, as most major highways were accompanied by irrigation tunnels running alongside the pavement.
Agriculturists expanded the plants that grew naturally and domesticated new varieties. Hybrid strains of wheat and barley, lentils, grass peas, dates, figs and linseed were developed. Some groups returned to the nomadic life and domesticated various animals, such as goats, sheep, cattle and pigs, indigenous to the region. Other nomadic tribes entered the area and lived by raiding or adopted the new life style. The presence of bandits and desert-raiders helped to promote the foundation of defensible urban centers.
As the cities grew, temples were founded, writing was developed, trade was formalized between the urban centers and outside cultures, a fixed military was organized, and craft specialization flourished. The region continued developing until Akhôrahil, the Blind Sorcerer, one of the Nine Nazgûl, began his conquest of Sirayn in SA 1929. Early in the year, the Blind Sorcerer attacks Baud Selen, and by the end of the year, all of Chennacatt has fallen to his Ciryatandan forces. In SA 1930, Akhôrahil sends his general Wyatan to conquer Tûl Isra and the lands to the east, and in SA 1933, early in the year, Rask and Tûl Isra fall to Wyatan's forces. Late in the year, Tyarett succumbs. The forces of Wyatan attack the city of Chamesra in SA 1935, but the combined forces of Chamesra and Tûl Harar are able to win the battle at the expense of the city which is ruined in the process. In SA 1940, Wyatan re-assembles his forces and starts a 59 year campaign against Tûl Harar and Harshandat.
The nomads of Kirmlesra submit to Ankhôril in SA 1979, after 10 years of internal strife. In SA 1995, the surrender of Tûl Harar spells doom for Harshandat, falling one day before the new millenium, in SA 1999. The Blind Sorcerer places governors in each province and city and begins his rule in the South. A Númenórean army defeats Ankhôril and razes his capital in SA 2280, making him flee to Mordor. In SA 2281, the people of Sirayn and Harshandat rise up and overthrow the Númenóreans, destroying the remaining cities of Tûl Isra and Chennacatt in the process. Only the seaport city of Tûl Harar remains standing, as it did not oppose the Blind Sorcerer's occupation plans, thus, is the only city in Sirayn that has been continuously inhabited from the mid-Second Age.
Third Age Edit
Early in the Third Age, Haradrim tribes from the north resettled the river valleys and founded camps along the northern foothills of the Tûr Betark to the south. The discovery of rich ores and mineral resources and the new trade routes that developed gave rise to a very prosperous society. Towns and villages sprang up again along the major rivers, and peace reigned.
Around TA 1100, orcs and demons from the south took over the mines and laid siege to the towns and villages closest to the Tûr Betark. By TA 1175, even the newly re-founded city of Tûl Isra had fallen to the southerly borders. In the spring of TA 1201, Obed, the First, of clan Másra, reunited the peoples of Chennacatt, Tûl Isra, and Kirmlesra and set out to recapture the lands that were lost. Wielding the famous Blade of Másra, a sword passed down through generations of the clan, and the Visor of Sirayn, a holy relic dedicated to the Master of the Sands, Obed's campaign was successful. All of the lands were recovered except for some mines to the south. Obed was slain during the final battles near Horse-head's Peak and was there entombed. From that time, the Blade and the Visor have not been seen.
In TA 1380, Bazaud Izain, of clan Bulgan, a rival to clan Másra, seized the crown and put down clan Másra partisans. The line of Bulgan spread its rule of blood and horror, with heavy taxes, oppression, and dark rites. At this time, Tartas Izain became the Taraskon. A sorcerer of great renown and power, he was relied upon for advice and his control of the populace. Temples to the Silent One were first founded under Tartas' influence.
The Bulgan regime lasted until TA 1436, when Bartek Tam, of clan Másra, regained the throne. Tartas Izain fled to Chamesra and shortly afterward helped in leading an offensive against Tûl Isra. In the ensuing years, great battles decimated the towns and villages in the area. In the spring of TA 1457, the forces of Chamesra laid siege to Tûl Isra and destroyed a good portion of the city, much of which was not rebuilt. The forces of Shuftas Gabar, the sorcerer and ruler of Chamesra, were eventually forced back to their own city walls. Chamesra resisted her foes for a full two weeks before the warriors and magi of Tûl Isra broke through their defenses. The city was sacked save for the High Citadel of Shuftas Gabar, and rumor has it that the power of darkness still guards the fortress.
Peace reigned for almost 100 years, until clan Bulgan carried out a bloody coup at Tûl Isra. Once control was cemented in the surrounding countryside, the power of Bulgan spread. Of the six remaining cities, all fell to the armies of Tûl Isra with the exception of Tûl Harar. Logistics problems and the quality of the Haran navy made the seaport victorious. Plans were laid to conquer this important site while people of Sirayn searched for the true heir to the throne.
The majority of northern Sirayn is covered with sand. Only the scattered oases and river valleys support human life. The Tarnet Bazain, home of clan Másra, is one of two inhabited sites between the Sîresha and Tûl Póac to the north. The southern territories are more fertile. Dry water channels and wadis corrugate the land thoughout Greater Harad. Infrequent cloudbursts produce flashfloods that roar through these breaks in Kirmlesra, while annual flooding due to runoff from the Tûr Betark produces seasonal flow in the gulleys of Chennacatt and Isra.
- Isra, portion of lands that slowly rise from the Sîresha river and the Sára Bask to the foothills of the Tûr Betark.
- Sára Bask, a vast forest, stretching from the junction of the Sîresha and Sîrsis rivers to the coast of the Bay of Ormal.
- Kirmlesra, region comprised of two dissimilar, but equally desolate areas, the Dalad Kirm and the Kirmlesran Hills.
- Chennacatt, region that occupies a plateau that extends south from the Sîresha to the Tûr Betark and east to the Bru Isra.
- Tûr Betark, this range of mountains is the eastern end of the Yellow Mountains and isolates Sirayn from the lands south.
The northern desert portions of Chennacatt and Isra (the Haradwaith) are very inospitable. The area is hot, with temperatures rising above one hundred degrees during the day, followed by a drop of 30 to 50 degrees during the night. Near the coast and in the fertile areas to the south, the weather is equally hot, but the land is quite arable due to the abundance of mountain rainfall and glacial runoff and the presence of rivers. The Tûr Betark are very high, over ten thousand feet in height, and exhibit a true alpine environment.
The Sîrani have three basic seasons: Sadayn ("Flood"), Kramask ("Planting"), and Bauga ("Water-channels"). Since the climate is dry, the seasons stem primarily from weather profile in the mountain range. The month of Tarsk starts the season of Bauga, when rainfall in the peaks of the Tûr Betark begins, and the wadis of Isra and Chennacatt are dry no longer. The mountains receive the greatest amount of rain during Hirain, Tarsas, and Tars, before precipitation wanes again.
In the month of Magaub, when mountain precipitation is tampering off, the warming temperatures melt glaciars and snowfields melt whose moisture combines with the rainfall to create the annual flooding of the Sîresha and its tributaries. Thus begins the season of Sadayn. Glacial runoff and snowmelt continue strong through Gerzaud and then taper to almost nothing.
As the floodwaters recede, rich sediments deposited by the river remain to rejuvinate the topsoil, and the planting and growing season, Kramask, begins in the month of Sain.
The year's twelve months were based originally on the Elven calendar. The Elven month Narwain equates to the Siranean month of Tars, the first month of the year, set in the winter. The names of the months in Elvish are Narwain, Ninui, Gwaeron, Gwirith, Lothron, Nórui, Cerveth, Urui, Ivanneth, Narbeth, Hithui, and Girithron.