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Valusia, while becoming faded and degenerate by Kull’s time, is a mighty kingdom, often regarded as the greatest of the "seven nations". Valusia is such an old land, even the Valusians themselves have forgotten its exact age. The hills of Atlantis and Mu were but young islands, barely rising from the sea, when Valusia was just beginning its history. Historians from neighboring kingdoms know little of the records dating to Valusia's creation. Still, scholars believe the origins of Valusia lie within a darker age. It is whispered in legend how this kingdom wasn't always ruled by men. Supposedly, Valusia was founded by the Serpent Men far back in the mists of time. These legends are grim, and few people dare whisper such stories, for the men of Valusia are quick to kill these brave storytellers as blasphemers. However, these stories are true accounts of Valusia's past. Early settlers fought against these rulers for centuries, before wresting Valusia away from its monstrous founders. Now, these ancient enemies of man operate from within the shadows. They lie in wait for the day when humanity becomes degenerate, forgetting their past conflict, and Valusia will be theirs to rule once more.

Decaying Valusia is ruled by foreigners in the time of Kull. Kull, himself, is an Atlantean. He is backed by the Picts, one of the Valusian empire’s most ancient and powerful allies. The court is filled with outlanders. The armies are filled with barbarian mercenaries. The Red Slayers may be Valusians, but they are mountain men who hold themselves apart from the plain dwellers. This situation does not sit well with the old Valusian families. Although seen as a liberator at first, Kull is seen as a despot later – a charge rather well founded once he places himself above the law shortly after his taking the throne.

Although the people are starting to romanticize Borna, their slain king, he was far worse a despot than Kull ever was. Valusia was a decaying empire under Borna's rule. Before Kull arrived, this kingdom had lost its international greatness, and the armies were in disarray. Kull rebuilt the nation. There has been no famine during Kull’s reign, and there is economic success throughout the empire.

King Kull is both Valusia's strength and its weakness. He is a strong king, and holds the decaying country together. This is also the kingdom's weakness because without Kull, Valusia would disintegrate as a power. The armies would become disorganized. All of Valusia’s allies would desert the nation, save for the Picts. Only Kull can control the mercenaries, so they would prey upon Valusia should Kull fall. She would become easy prey for many of the predator kingdoms of the Thurian Age. Kull is also a weakness because he doesn't think about particularly intelligent decisions. He is apt to follow anyone alone if they ask him to, and apt to just leave the city with the nation’s best warriors on any chase that suits his fancy, instead of sending people to do it. He’s a terrible delegator and extremely naïve, especially early in his reign.

Valusians use the flying dragon as a sign and a standard, for the flying dragon is the greatest foe of the serpents. The Black Squadron is Valusia’s elite military squadron. Red Slayers, who defend the king, wear bronze armor and carry lances upon silver-shoed horses. They are Kull’s cavalry and composed of Valusian hillmen. Atlantis is the source of Valusia’s slaves. Outlaws roam the hills of Valusia, while gladiators fight in its arenas. Soldiering is a path to increasing one’s station in life, as Kull rose from mere soldier to a commander and, eventually, became the king.

Valusia, the City of Wonders, is the kingdom's eponymous capital, which is surrounded by estates and palaces to create suburbs. The green hills of Zalgara eventually give way to mountains, as one travels toward Zarfhaana. King Kull and his army was able to reach these mountains by nightfall, although no time is given when Kull set out. A colony of Picts are settled among the mountains of Valusia’s southern frontier to serve as a buffer against foreign invasion.

Valusian Traditions and Laws[]

Valusian traditions are important. A gross offense to one of these traditions is an insult to the nation, which is then an insult to the king. The law is written in the black books of Valusian Law, which are great iron-bound tomes. Much of the law originates from stone tablets by the primal law makers. The Valusians don't appreciate change, nor do they like the idea of altering the law to fit the needs of the time. The laws of Valusia are held to be greater than the king—a tradition Kull eventually breaks.

  • Bell of the King: A great bronze bell, with a deep booming tone, is rang when the king finds himself in peril.
  • Forbidden Lake: It's custom for any who enter the waters of the Forbidden Lake be executed. This custom was actually put into place as a form of peace treaty with the Lake People, although it was declared so long ago that no one remembers why the Forbidden Lake is off-limits.
  • Kill the Messenger: It's also customary that Valusian kings wreak their royal rage upon those who deliver bad news or are otherwise infuriating the king, custom which Kull doesn't follow.
  • King's Law: After the events of "By This Axe I Rule!", Kull became higher than the law, and any law the king finds to be unjust (or against his whim) he can overturn.
  • Lord Commander of Troops: It's custom that the highest rank of soldier, the lord commander of troops, must be a Valusian.
  • Marriage: Valusian noblewomen may marry foreigners only with the consent of the Valusian state. Royal women are forbidden to marry foreigners of lower rank. Nobles also cannot marry slaves of any nationality. Men may also not marry their own slaves. While these laws seem unnecessarily binding to enlightened folk, the reasons are obvious: to protect the nobility from intrusion by undesirable folk of lower status. After the assassination attempt upon Kull, these laws no longer hold force.
  • Oath of the Dagger and the Flame: The Oath of the Dagger and the Flame is considered an oath that cannot be broken. The oath-takers prick their wrists and hold their wounds to contain the blood. They grip hands in a sort of circle over a burning candle, and then turn their wrists so that blood drops fall upon it. The first among them state “I, (name, title), swear the deed spoken and the silence covenanted, by the oath unbreakable!” The other oath-takers merely respond with “And I, (name, title)” in turn.
  • Serpent Men Legends: It's considered a death sentence to mention any legends involving the Serpent Men.

Valusia, The City of Wonders[]

Often referred to simply as the “City of Wonders”, the name of the capital city is also that of the kingdom: Valusia. The walls are ten times the height of a tall human, while the windows are typically draped. The city is ancient. The mansions and palaces are enormous, with pillars and broad stairways which tower high into the sky. These towering edifices appear invincible and indestructible, having existed since antiquity. Valusia has golden spires and sapphire towers, and her streets are cobblestoned. The city is surrounded by suburbs, with spacious estates and lordly palaces. It isn't easy to leave the city after nightfall.

The Royal Palace[]

The king resides here, as does his ermine throne. The Royal Palace contains not only the throne room, but council chambers, a study room, and a Hall of Society. The palace is honeycombed with secret passages, where the king and the palace denizens are watched by many eyes. Most rooms have concealed doors connecting with these bare secret passages. The windowsills are golden. The court has sparkling fountains, trim hedges, and pruned trees.

  • The Hall of Society: Kull’s throne is in the Hall of Society.
  • The Accursed Room: King Eallal of Valusia, who died a thousand years ago, was found murdered in his throne room, now called the Accursed Room. Kull had dead bodies of Serpent Men thrown into the Accursed Room before he sealed it forever. King Eallal's ghost haunts the palace as a slave of the Serpent Men.
  • Fame Room of Kings: This room houses the many statues of the Kings of Valusia, or at least the most notable ones. Many kings removed statues of their predecessors, however, creating an incomplete record of those who wore the Valusian crown.
  • Study Room: The study room has a few tables, a couple of divans, and great shelves of books of parchment. The curtained windows overlook the great inner gardens, where spice trees grow.

The Tower of Splendor[]

The Tower of Splendor is a regal tower housing the Topaz Throne, where many kings sit to watch military parades. The Topaz Throne sits at the front of the Tower. The Tower is said to have gem-blazing shoulders and is studded with gemstones. A white road curves around it.

The Gardens of Ka-nu[]

Ka-nu, ambassador of the Picts in Valusia, has a sumptuous palace complete with gardens where he holds feasts and meetings. Many Pictish cultural artifacts are on display here, a proud demonstration of his ancient culture.

The Temple of Merama[]

Merama is a relatively minor Valusian goddess, and her temple is a lavish shrine and facility. Any marriage of consequence is held here.

The Temple of the Serpent[]

An ancient temple in Valusia. It houses a splendid green gem of terror, which the ambassador Ka-nu stole in order for Kull to trust him. The keepers of this temple are mysterious in nature and, if they decide to act out their vengeance, no one might reasonably save themselves. None have ever seen a priest from this temple and lived, as the priests themselves are Serpent Men in disguise. The Serpent Men consider those they may find useful as allies. The temple is still in use during the early phases of Kull’s career, and later, the folk of Valusia erect a statue of King Borna within. People visit the Temple of the Serpent to wail before the statue and hail the old king as a saintly monarch. Later in Kull’s reign, this statue is removed.

The Accursed Gardens[]

The Accursed Gardens lie two miles outside the city. These gardens were once the pleasure resort of a great nobleman. Eventually, stories of grim debauchery and devil worship began circulating here. As children began disappearing, the people hanged the prince and found strange artifacts in his garden, which deeply frightened them. They partially destroyed the mansion and the summer houses, along with the arbors, grottoes, and ornate walls. However, many of the buildings were constructed of marble and still stand. Deserted for a hundred years, a miniature jungle reigns supreme here, overruning the ruins. It's said at night the Accursed Gardens are vibrant and alive with nameless evils.

Arenas[]

Valusia has arenas for gladiator fights, and Kull was once a gladiator there. These structures range from small pits to larger stadium arenas.

Kull rules his kingdom from the Topaz Throne, in the golden-spired royal palace known as the Tower of Splendor.[1]

The nation was first established when the early Thurians arrived from the east and conquered those of the Elder Race, who inhabited the region which became Valusia. It was even earlier that the Elder Race, themselves, had come out of the wasteland regions and displaced the various tribes they encountered.[2]

By the time of Kull's reign, Valusia and the Picts have become allies despite the hereditary hatred between the Picts and Kull's native Atlantean people.[1]

The Serpent Men, priests of the Serpent God, have at times secretly assassinated various kings of Valusia and ruled in their place, using sorcery to take on the outward appearance of the fallen king. Once in a while, an apparent ruler would die in battle and the magic would fade to reveal the corpse of a Serpent Man. When Kull, with the help of Brule the Spear Slayer, unmasked one such conspiracy against him, he vowed to destroy the Serpent Men once and for all.[1]

The capital of Valusia was also named Valusia, not the "City of Wonders" as commonly thought, which was merely a nickname. Two Kull stories, "The Cat and the Skull" and "Swords of the Purple Kingdom", both explicitly refer to the capital as the "city of Valusia".[3][4]

Notable Rulers[]

Nicknames[]

  • Valusia is also referred to as the Land of Enchantment [5] and the Land of Dreams.[1]
  • The Valusian capital is nicknamed the City of Wonder (or City of Wonders) and the Crystal City.[5]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Robert E. Howard, Kull - Exile of Atlantis ("The Shadow Kingdom"), Del Rey Books (2006).
  2. Robert E. Howard, Kull - Exile of Atlantis ("The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune"), Del Rey Books (2006).
  3. Robert E. Howard, Kull - Exile of Atlantis ("The Cat and the Skull", previously published as "Delcardes' Cat"), Del Rey Books (2006).
  4. Robert E. Howard, Kull - Exile of Atlantis ("Swords of the Purple Kingdom"), Del Rey Books (2006).
  5. 5.0 5.1 Robert E. Howard, Kull - Exile of Atlantis ("Untitled Story", previously published as "Exile of Atlantis"), Del Rey Books (2006).
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