by Max Barry

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by The Hooshy Snack Manufacturers of The Celestial Shurayu Republic. . 208 reads.

Pánítuzamár Šúráya

Left-to-Right: Ur-Kuríbadnáti, birthplace of the Shurayu, Šurrâtar in front of Ur-Ḫašmán, Ša-Ma-Aš in their supreme brilliance

The Shurayu were forged deep within the embrace of Ur-Kuríbadnáti by the manifold hands of the Ur-Iláni, who shaped the Kuríbišimtum and Pagrušimtum of their progeny in accordance to the innumerable incomprehensibly complex vertices and lines that comprised their own forms and minds. The Ur-Iláni carried their children within the breadth of their bosom, scouring the bleak vastness of Ur-Pagradnáti until they discovered Šurrâtar, the most radiant of the seventy-and-one jewels which adorn the crown of Ur-Ḫašmán, the blue giant who revolves eternally around the three brothers Ša-Ma-Aš, enraptured by their supreme brilliance, which shines like a beacon at the burning heart of a great chromatic shroud made of the combined essences of the ancestors of the three brothers, protecting all within like a shield of a trillion swirling colors, each more magnificent than the last.

As the Ur-Iláni arrived on Šurrâtar, they placed the backs of their hands to the ground and opened their fists like blossoming lotuses, and from their open hands came forth the thousands of the First Shurayu, who scurried across the world like a tide of flesh for two-hundred years, inventing clothing, tools, and the other fundamentals of civilization. They stopped their journey when they discovered the land of Šanűyapam, a verdant land of tall trees and black dirt inhabited by an enigmatic race called the Mukaššidar, single-eyed and wreathed in bone. For a thousand years the Shurayu and the Mukaššidar lived together in the land, apart but at peace, just as the gods who bore their respective races lived together in the heavens, apart but at peace.

The Shurayu splintered into countless tribes, multiplied, and thrived from the bounty of the land as their great fleshwaves revolved around it each year on the backs of moths while the industrious Mukaššidar broke from eachother and built great hives and monuments out of basalt and the bones of great lizards. Throughout this period, the gods of the Mukaššidar obsessively courted the affection of the Ur-Iláni with all manner of gifts and kind words. After a millennium of courtship, the gods of the Mukaššidar beckoned the Ur-Iláni to the heart of Ur-Ḫašmán to join them in their floating palace. As the Ur-Iláni pierced through the vaporous blue skin of Ur-Ḫašmán, they discovered the skeleton of the great palace abandoned. They returned to Šurrâtar to find it ensnared by the power of the Gods of the Mukaššidar, and for millennia they pounded against the dark barrier with the desperate primal fury of a parent’s panic.


After the departure of the Ur-Iláni to the Cerulean Giant, Ephašai, hatched from an egg borne from the womb of a Mukaššidar by the seed of the chiefest of their gods, king of the red hive of Achâra, led a bloody campaign against his kin and brought the hundreds of Mukaššidar hive-states under heel by sword and flame. After uniting his people under his dark banner, Ephašai turned the million-blades of his carapaced legions towards the Shurayu and made war upon them. The Shurayu fought valiantly for eighty-years against the Mukaššidar, but they were disjointed, poorly armed, and entirely unprepared for the utter cruelty of the Horde of Ephašai. In the final battle between Shurayu and Mukaššidar, the Mukaššidar enacted a great ritual which caused a great storm, whose foul rain caused the moth-mounts of the Shurayu to drop from the sky like stones in the sea. As the remaining Shurayu stood, tired and demoralized, the shelltide of the Mukaššidar enveloped and enslaved them, dragging their silent chainbound bodies to their great hives.

After the Shurayu were subjugated, the panic of the Ur-Iláni had transformed into rage, their manifold hands breaking from constant barrages against the Great Snare and their vocal-cords tearing from their incoherent screaming, both being repaired countlessly each second as they discordantly raged against the barrier keeping them from their progeny.

Under the clawed-foot of the Mukaššidar, the Shurayu were subjected to five-thousand years of unimaginable cruelty and humiliation, their whole collective being writhing in mindless agony for countless generations before going slack and catatonic, the spirit of the Shurayu going still and falling beneath the frigid lapping waves of utter despair. After five-thousand years of this, the Gods of the Mukaššidar had grown fat on the misery of the Shurayu, whereas the Ur-Iláni had grown strong with rage. After thousands of years of wailing against the great snare, a hole had been torn in it, no bigger than a grain of sand. The Ur-Iláni focused their rage, their wisdom, their imagination, and their shame into the creation of a single soul and squeezed it through the hole in the snare where it made its home in the womb of a nameless pregnant Shurayu slave-girl. From her womb at the sacrifice of her own lifeforce came forth ATRAḪASÍS whose eyes burned with a cold flame. ATRAḪASÍS spent his childhood toiling miserably under the Mukaššidar like the rest of his kin until he reached the age of twenty, when in an instant he put down his tools and roused his kin. For eleven years, spurning both the gods of the Mukaššidar who were responsible for his people’s misery and the gods of the Shurayu who abandoned them to such a fate, he ventured across the breadth of the black dominion of the Mukaššidar stoking the fires of revolution, pulling the broken spirits of the Shurayu up from perdition, all while under constant pursuit by the finest manhunters of the Mukaššidar. After those eleven years, ATRAḪASÍS initiated a coordinated revolt, and the Shurayu climbed out from the ancient sea of despair wreathed in rage and fueled by vengeance.

The Qaráb Almíndintúm and the Sinking of Šanűyapam

As ATRAḪASÍS reawakened the spirits of the Shurayu, the snare surrounding Šurrâtar had weakened considerably. With one final coordinated strike, the Ur-Iláni shattered the snare, and as shell fought flesh below, gluttony fought rage above. For twenty-eight years the earth and heavens alike were embroiled in total war, the battle of the heavens was always in the favor of the Ur-Iláni, who surrounded their childrens’ captors and spent the duration of the war ripping apart their Pagrušimtum and defiling their Kuríbišimtum, their actions causing massive natural calamities below, destroying entire hives and killing hundreds-of-thousands, only adding to the earthly death-toll, as hordes of Shurayu and Mukaššidar threw themselves at eachother in feral fury. The war met its conclusion at the Qaráb Almíndintúm along the northernmost coast of Šanűyapam. As the Shurayu and Mukaššidar butchered eachother in equal number, their powerful magics rending the tired land, the Ur-Iláni finished off the Gods of the Mukaššidar for all time, erasing their shapes and consuming their power. With the death throes of the gods of the Mukaššidar and the sheer savagery below, the beleaguered earthflesh of Šanűyapam cracked and sundered, falling under the salty blanket of Ur-Gapášutánti. With the death of Šanűyapam came the extinction of the Mukaššidar, lost forever to oblivion like their creators, only a few thousand Shurayu managed to avoid sharing their fate, as when the ground first began to shake and crack, ATRAḪASÍS led his most immediate followers to the ships, boats, and rafts along the coast, all of them watching in horror as their kin perished with their homeland. With no home to return to, the wretched fleet of ATRAḪASÍS sailed north in desperate hope of finding a new homeland. After fifty days of sailing, with many of their number dying from hunger, thirst, and exhaustion, the Shurayu made landfall on the jungle island that would come to be known as Shuraya.

The nature of Shuraya and one of it's early settlements

As the beleaguered Shurayu landed on the violet beaches of Shuraya they wept for hours, and they felt the warm embrace of the Ur-Iláni for the first time in five-thousand years. They gifted the Shurayu with the Napšutišqillatumú to shield them from harm, both spiritual and physical, and altered their Kuríbišimtum, bestowing upon them a natural inclination towards teamwork so they might work together for all time as a unified group, strong in the face of all threats. After they granted their gifts upon their progeny, they taught ATRAḪASÍS how to alter his people’s Pagrušimtum in secret, allowing him to make it so that the Shurayu could inbreed with impunity, without breeding themselves into insanity, physical infirmity, and eventual sterility. After the shapes of the Shurayu were altered, they were deprived of the embrace of the Ur-Iláni once more, as they departed Šurrâtar for some unknown purpose. With the Shurayu abandoned once more, ATRAḪASÍS’s heart inflamed with hate towards all divinity, encouraging his kin to eschew the embrace of gods in favor of the embrace of community, though the Shurayu solemnly recorded all their knowledge of the Ur-Iláni regardless, for even after being abandoned twice, the Shurayu could not bear to forget their creators.

Even with their newfound gifts, the Shurayu struggled terribly to make a home out of Shuraya, the sky was oft-marred by violent storms, the animals were hateful and vicious, and most of the plants were poisonous, but they eventually overcame it all through the Teachings of ATRAḪASÍS. He taught his people countless lessons over all manner of things, from business, to war, to governance, and to the most minute details of daily life. His lessons were harsh, but the Shurayu reverently followed them regardless. After one-hundred-thirty-eight years of life on Šurrâtar, ATRAḪASÍS died quietly in his sleep, after all his lessons taught, all his wisdom shared and impressed on clay tablets, and with a safe and growing settlement established on the island. The Shurayu mourned his loss for months, weeping before his body which had been cast in stone as is customary, but they never stopped their sacred toil, their devotion to his teachings only growing more fervent following his death.

The five most prominent races of the Erṣetim

After the death of Šanűyapam, the unconscious Napšutadnát reeled in pain and as it instinctively reacted to rebirth life upon its body, it copied the shapes of the Shurayu and formed within it’s core the races of the Erṣetim who resembled closely the Shurayu they were based off, but as the Napšutadnát lacked the intellect, skill, and creativity of the Ur-Iláni, it’s spawn was utterly imperfect, short and weak of body, with slow-minds and flat, lifeless eyes, their only advantage over the Shurayu being their innate understanding of earthly matters thanks to their heritage, though even that advantage was just a much of a weakness as they were cut off completely from Ur-Kuríbadnáti and impotent with magic. As their numbers swelled beneath the surface of the world, like a bursting pustule the Napšutadnát spewed them onto the surface out of great sinkholes, their number spreading all across the world, infesting all corners of Šurrâtar.

By the time it’s progeny had formed basic tribes, Shuraya had already been established and it’s mariners sailed far and wide, exploring the seas. When they discovered the Erṣetim, they looked upon them with horror and disgust, and chose to continue their sacred toil and constant perfecting of their home island. This attitude stuck with the Shurayu for the next ten-thousand years. As the ages progressed and the Erṣetim grew in number, the Shurayu kept building their city, it’s beauty and immensity compared to the greatest of the Erṣetim cities was like a gilded palace to an anthill. The Shurayu assumed the role as the world’s economic hegemon, trading and banking the money of the tempestuous polities of the Erṣetim. The Shurayu ensured they might never unite through a network of hidden objects called Zęrasumittú placed all across the world which emitted magically-generated radiowaves which penetrated the minds of the Erṣetim, stoking their tempers, resulting in the realms of the Erṣetim existing in a constant state of conflict and build up to conflict.

A Šíruqištam and the smoldering ruins of an Erṣetim city

The modern age was a time of anxiety for the Shurayu, The Great City held a population of over five-hundred-million citizens with the greatest standard-of-living on Šurrâtar by far and an economy that stood on par with the greatest empires of the Erṣetim, but at this point the Erṣetim invented a great many things, the progression of their technology outpacing that of the Shurayu as they excelled in math and the sciences, fields esoteric to the Shurayu mind. However, on the sweltering day of the Fifth-of-Ábu of the year Ten-Thousand-One-Hundred-Seven, this anxiety was removed. An enigmatic alien force known as the Ḫalluláya materialized from the heavens and invaded. There was no parley nor terms, nor any discernible reason to explain their arrival on Šurrâtar other than destruction for its own sake. After watching the realms of the Erṣetim get wholly annihilated by the fury of the Ḫalluláya, the greatest Multépišú of the Shurayu teleported the city into a massive underground cavern. As the Shurayu hid, the Ḫalluláya flailed in rage, and in four months exterminated the entirety of the Erṣetim. However, a hero soon emerged amongst the Shurayu, Turtak, endowed with the power of Enlil, Shurayu God of Primal Power led an army against the Ḫalluláya, comprised of the ghosts of ancestral Shurayu and the great hidden beasts of the world who had been stolen from the Napšutadnát and bound by magic millennia prior. As the army of the undead and the great beasts of the world clashed with the Ḫalluláya, it became evident the latter had no interest in self-preservation. The Ḫalluláya were gradually exterminated within a month, there was no attempt to surrender nor flee, but instead they all fought viciously to the last.

After the Ḫalluláya were destroyed, the ghosts returned to their slumber the few great beasts which had survived went back to their hidden places, and Turtak flew off in a Ḫalluláya craft never to be seen again. The Shurayu were alone in the world, much of the land was decimated and the realms of the Erṣetim were marred beyond recognition, their civilizations gone forever, the steel-skeletons of their towers gnarled like black horns, their gardens razed, and their monuments turned to dust. The only proof of there being people in their lands at all being the shadows impressed upon the concrete, the only sound being the wind wailing against the creaking bones of their broken buildings, thick with ash and dust, the dying breath of a species, complimented by the soft-crackling of foul embers. Despite all of this destruction and death, the Napšutadnát did not react, for there was a new great spirit within the core of the world. Ur-Eṣemtaš, the great bone-machine straddled the world’s core, it’s arrival sudden and origin entirely unknown. The Multépišú of the Great House of Mánišutuš studied it and divined its purpose: a soul conversion machine, the tool by which they could repopulate the planet, with real people this time. And so the Mánišutuš launched an expedition across dimensions, reaping the souls of an entire primitive race and placing them in the machine. As the bone-machine received it’s souls, a myriad of crimson roots extended from it. On the surface of the world could be seen the Šíruqištamú, great forests of flesh, extensions of Ur-Eṣemtaš, in which five-billion Shurayu gestated. Ur-Eṣemtaš fed it’s brood information, their names, their personalities, their opinions, the word of ATRAḪASÍS, and all the fundamentals needed to give birth to a person both productive and cooperative. After twenty years, the Children of Ur-Eṣemtaš were birthed from it’s fleshy trees, the trees petrifying as their vicenarian children ripped their way out of them. Once the final tree petrified, Ur-Eṣemtaš simply disappeared, presumably back to which dimension it came from, these new Shurayu abandoned by their creator just as the old Shurayu were.


The new Shurayu journeyed to all corners of the world, building new settlements and pledged allegiance to their kin in the Great City. Henceforth, those descended from Ur-Eṣemtaš were known as Akalútumáyu and those descended from those in the Great City were known as Labíráyu. By this point, Multépišú scoured the world, harvesting the souls of the dead Erṣetim and sending them to great refineries wherein the souls were ripped apart and turned into Napšutaširpam, a potent fuel they used to power the partially-magical machinery of the Shurayu, chief among these, the newly-made Šamędannatú, fusions of Ḫalluláya technology and Shurayu magic, great constructions of enchanted stone and brick that fly through the cosmos without thrusters, and use spectral swords within their cores to cut through the fabric of reality and teleport across the galaxy. As the first of the Šamędannatú breached the firmament, all Shurayu fell to their knees as they felt the return of the Ur-Iláni and heard their combined voices in their heads, marked with pride and love. The Ur-Iláni declared they’d finished what they left ten-thousand years ago to do, and that now they would be by their beloved children’s side for all time. This led to a massive religious revival as many Shurayu eagerly worshipped their parent-gods who had been absent for an eon.

All of this has culminated in the tumultuous days of now, as countless Shurayu ventured into a lonely galaxy, exploring and spreading their dominion, the distance bred unfaithfulness, the strenuous philosophy of the old-city not holding as much sway with those lightyears away. Relations between the Akalútumáyu and the Labíráyu have grown strained, with many Akalútumáyu departing into the cosmos to get away from the elitism, growing corruption, and economic control of the Labíráyu, and the Orthodox Atrahasians who share their ancient teacher’s disdain for religion feud with the growing-population of religious Shurayu. The lawlessness of the astral frontier and the newfound diversity-of-thought of its denizens has led to a constant state of war, as the Atrahasian Military clashes with the countless criminal organizations which flourish there.

Shuraya has grown vast and powerful, but it is tired and sick. In this age of great upheaval, of philosophical-religious conflict, of rampant corruption, of space exploration, and of war,
the future of the Shurayu is uncertain.

Ur-Kuríbadnáti - The Spiritual Plane, home to magic, spirits, the gods, and birthplace of the Shurayu

Ur-Iláni - The Gods of the Shurayu

Kuríbišimtum - Spiritual Shape

Pagrušimtum - Physical Shape

Ur-Pagradnáti - The Material Plane, home to science, physical life, and home of the Shurayu

Šurrâtar - The only habitable moon of Ur-Ḫašmán and homeworld of the Shurayu

Ur-Ḫašmán - The blue gas giant which Šurrâtar orbits

Ša-Ma-Aš - The three stars which all planets of the Shurayu's home system orbit

Šanűyapam - The lost continent in southern Šurrâtar where the Shurayu first made their home

Mukaššidar - The natives of Šanűyapam who subjected the Shurayu to five millennia of torment

Ephašai - The lord of the Mukaššidar who conquered the Shurayu

Achâra - The Red Hive, greatest of the hives of the Mukaššidar

ATRAḪASÍS - The man who freed the Shurayu and founded Shuraya, creator of Atrahasianism

Qaráb Almíndintúm - The Battle of Unnumbered Tears, final battle of the Shurayu revolt

Ur-Gapášutánti - The Great Sea

Napšutišqillatumú - Soul-Shells, the magnetic fields which surround the Shurayu

Napšutadnát - The Worldspirit, the unconscious spirit of the world that manages all life on Šurrâtar

Erṣetim - The inferior copies of the Shurayu made by the Napšutadnát

Zęrasumittú - Hate-Steles, placed all across the world to keep the Erṣetim in perpetual conflict

Ábu - The fifth month of the Shurayu calendar which takes place during the height of summer

Ḫalluláya - The alien invaders which invaded Šurrâtar and exterminated the Erṣetim

Multépišú - Mages, Shurayu with magical training

Turtak - The mysterious Shurayu hero who lead an army that vanquished the Ḫalluláya before flying away in one of their ships

Enlil - Shurayu God of Primal Power

Ur-Eṣemtaš - The enigmatic bone-machine that birthed the Akalútumáyu before disappearing

Mánišutuš - An ancient clan of the most powerful mages of the Shurayu

Šíruqištamú - Flesh Forests, the places where the Akalútumáyu gestated

Akalútumáyu - Treefolk, those born from the flesh forests and their descendants

Labíráyu - Oldfolk, those born in the Great City of Shuraya and their descendants

Napšutaširpam - Soul-Fuel, a potent fuel made of refined souls, used to power a great deal of Shurayu machinery and sometimes used in weapons

Šamędannatú - Heavenly Fortresses, Spacecraft of the Shurayu

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