by Max Barry

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by The Hooshy Snack Manufacturers of The Celestial Shurayu Republic. . 44 reads.

Iššű Muttallu Ṣírúta, Kakkulata Mandaru, Ḫarmu Šinálímu-Šinášrá Šúráya

Theme: LinkLe Trio Joubran - Masâr

Ḫarmu Šinálímu-Šinášrá (Ḫarmu Two-thousand twenty-two)
Mandaru Kuppušultú (Mandaru Ice-Veins)
Mandaru Parzillénú (Mandaru Steel-Eyes)
Mandaru Ašṭarras (Mandaru the Indomitable)

𒅗𒀝𒆪𒆷𒋫 𒈠𒀭𒁕𒊒 𒄩𒊑𒅖 𒁕𒀸𒉺𒉘𒈬 𒊓𒄠𒉡𒌌𒇽𒉌𒌅 𒅎𒈠𒈾𒀝𒅗𒅈𒁕𒆕


Hail, Kakkulata Mandaru, silent Ḫarmu of Shuraya, successor of Ešrášeššeténú Sapqat, appointed in the year ten-thousand-six-hundred-twenty-three by the holy and civil matrimony of himself and Šar Kinzirű Anšar, successor of Šar Ešrášeššeténú Matáḫanáḫir.

Hail, Šamuműbár, eighthborn progeny of Kakkulata Baqqu and Kakkulata Dašpat, born ninety-and-five years ago on the fifteenth day of Ulúlu in the year ten-thousand-five-hundred-ninety in the homestead of Immanakkardadu on the planet of Adruqarḫa, Loyal follower of ATRAḪASÍS, Faithful to the gods, he who names Enki, God of Knowledge as Ilu-Mušallimu, Loving husband of Šar Kinzirű Anšar.

Hail, master of the esoteric arts of math and science, taught by his elders, who stands resolute seven-feet-and-six-inches above the earth. May his tenure be blessed thricefold by the Wisdom of ATRAḪASÍS, the Mercy of the Gods, and the Strength of Our Ancestors.





Pictured above: The icy vale housing the Immanakkardadu homestead

”Our family came to this harsh world nine years before you were born. Adruqarḫa is desolate, but beautiful, we did not come here so we could live like we did before, where everything was established and taxes took more and more from us each passing year, no. By the Wisdom of ATRAḪASÍS and the strength in our blood we will build a grand home for our family. The harshness of this planet will temper our spirits and winnow away our weaknesses. It is the duty of you, me, - all of us to contribute and toil together, to build a new home greater than the one we left and bring civilization to this frigid place. One day our little homestead in this valley will be a mighty city amongst these jagged peaks and all shall revere the name Kakkulata.”
-Kakkulata Baqqu


Mandaru was born betwixt the graceful arches of crystalline mountains in the modest Akalútumáyu cobalt-mining homestead of Immanakkardadu which sat stoically amidst the biting mountain-winds of the frigid frontier-world of Adruqarḫa, to Baqqu and Dašpat of the steel-eyed Kakkulata family. He was the youngest of eight siblings and one of the fifty-and-eight who comprised the homestead. The Kakkulatas immigrated to the remote planet nine years prior, seeking to escape the escalating taxes of their former coreworld home and to build a life for themselves by their own hands. Mandaru spent the entirety of his childhood in and around the isolated homestead, exploring the alabaster wilds which surrounded it and helping his family with daily chores.

As a baby, Mandaru showed great magical promise, levitating small objects around his crib, leading to great celebration and him being taken under the wing of his eldest paternal uncle, Šarraḫűnašru, a competent Multépiš who would train him all the way into adolescence beneath the shade of the ice-willow in the center of the homestead. As Mandaru grew up, he exhibited not only a keen interest and aptitude in magical pursuits, but also the esoteric arts of science and mathematics, and when not using his magical and scientific prowess to help in the family mine, he could usually be found in his room studying magical and scientific texts side-by-side. In regards to his temperament, he was an arrogant and abrasive child, though dedicated to his family and devout in his adherence to the ŠIPÁR ATRAḪASÍSI as taught by his elders, and he maintained a good relationship with his kin, though most of the goodwill accrued was mainly born of their respect of his talents rather than himself. By age twelve, he was fashioning magitechnical gadgets from spare parts and putting them to use in various parts of the homestead along with bartering them with the caravans that passed by every other month. As the years passed by, the homestead grew richer and more populous as the Kakkulata mine grew deeper and it’s yield larger, as the profits from Mandaru’s increasingly-complex gadgets multiplied, and as the folk of the homestead eagerly continued the family line. For a time, life on the Immanakkardadu homestead was truly idyllic, but this prosperity did not last.

In the midst of the freezing black of night during Mandaru’s sixteenth year of life, bandits beset the homestead. The bleary-eyed Kakkulatas fought back as well as they could, but within fifteen minutes half of them lay dead and the other half were chainbound. Mandaru was fortunate enough to have both of his parents survive, but still he wept at the sight of his dead kin, the eye of his grief the charred bodies of his uncle Šarraḫűnašru along with two of his sisters and one brother, all of them who’d been trapped in a shed and burned. The surviving Kakkulatas were driven through the ice and snow, all of them in varying states of grief and shock as many of them were simply unable to comprehend what had just occurred. After a three-day forced march they’d arrived at the bandits’ fort, where they were given respite as after they were stripped of their hair, clothes, and dignity in the traditional manner befitting slaves, their exhausted bodies were put in cages. After two weeks languishing behind bars, the fort found itself much livelier as an auction began as Mandaru and his kin were marched up onto a raised platform and Pirate-Šamędannatú began to hover down from orbit. This was the last time Mandaru would see his family. One-by-one, he watched them cry out empty promises of reunion and liberation as they were taken away from eachother, taken away from him, pushed into the cold embraces of their new masters. Once what remained of Mandaru’s family was ripped apart and shoved into Šamędannatu, he stood alone, regarded as the ‘Prize of the Lot’ in the words of his captors, advertised as magically talented and gifted in the esoteric arts, far more expensive than any of his kin. He was purchased by the Burumkuš Bél-Multépiš Bíšulišán and marched into the man’s Šamędannatu, this was the last Mandaru would see his home planet for seventy-seven years.

Pictured above: Berquḫurru

”I have tried time and time again with you, boy. Tried to elevate you, to make you as a son of mine, you stand as a slave and I offer you power and a place at my side time and time again and yet you reject and disrespect me at every turn. Do you think you’re the only magical prodigy in the universe? You think because you were the most promising Multépiš in your pathetic little middle-of-nowhere frozen homestead you’re better than me? I’ve been perfecting my magic for a hundred and forty years. I am the master of this citadel, the master of you. I could turn you inside-out with the flick of my wrist, you little douchebag! I won’t, though. You see, I’m done trying to reason with you but I’m not going to kill you either, no, you don't deserve that mercy. This is the last time you disrespect me, the last time you speak at all. I will take that voice you so love to use and cast you down to the depths of my keep and you will languish there in the pits with the lowest of the low until your toil consumes you and you are forgotten. You showed great promise, you know. Shame you threw it away.”
-Bél-Multépiš Bíšulišán


Mandaru spent his adolescence in Bíšulišán’s violet-walled fortress of Berquḫurru on the toxic moon of Ḫarbúta 9, creating, improving, and repairing machinery. He was amongst the Bél-Multépiš’s most cherished slaves thanks to his skills, and so was naturally alienated from the rest of the mage’s slaves, this isolation leading to a deep depression which Mandaru’s impetuous temperament quickly transformed into rage. Bíšulišán tried repeatedly to manipulate Mandaru, trying to foster a fatherly relationship with his new slave, thinking his isolation would make him pliable, but Mandaru hatefully rebuffed him every time, and undeterred by violence and humiliation, spent each of the early days of his enslavement publicly berating Bíšulišán, the hatred and venom of his words growing each passing day, until one day he yelled a string of insults so vitriolic and hurtful they caused Bíšulišán to break down and weep. This was the last time Mandaru would ever speak. As Bíšulišán’s eyes dried, Mandaru was subjected to the full extent of the magelord’s rage. Bíšulišán placed a powerful Curse of Silence upon Mandaru, declaring that for as long as the magelord lived, Mandaru would never utter another word again. The rebellious boy was then beaten within an inch of his life in full view of his fellow slaves, his screams coming out as nothing more than muted breaths. After being beaten, he was crucified against the Bél-Multépiš’s personal tower, kept alive solely by healing magic transmitted through the walls of the tower and force-fed with vein-wires. By his sixth day of crucifixion, Mandaru’s mind had fully retreated to Ur-Kuríbadnáti where in his fevered journeying he befriended the spirit known as Χachćrađavŕrraššâţoz who comforted him and proved to be his only true friend, keeping him company throughout his crucifixion. After thirty days and thirty nights under the oppressive summer sun, the nails and vein-wires binding Mandaru to the tower receded and the boy was tossed in a pit populated by the lowest of Bíšulišán’s slaves.

Mandaru spent the following days in a depression deeper than he’d ever felt, his once sharp tongue silenced forever and still shunned by his fellow slaves, now for their master’s contempt of him rather than his favor. Through labor and the determination of the ever-present ember of burning rage immolating the sorrow within his heart was Mandaru’s sanity preserved. He took well to his toil within the welding pits, underneath the crackling roar and great geometric shadows of the Bél-Multépiš’s War-Šamędannatú lumbering by like thunderclouds, hauling raiding parties and their loot back and forth and he spent nearly all time not working, within the majestic infinance of Ur-Kuríbadnáti, being taught the magical arts by Χachćrađavŕrraššâţoz, his immense innate power being honed into an ever-sharper edge in the hope of one day killing his enslaver and escaping. The first technique he learned was telepathy in the hope of bypassing the Curse of Silence but when he discovered that even through the language of the mind he was silent he was heartbroken and all the more motivated to slay Bíšulišán. For thirteen years Mandaru’s magical prowess grew and he assembled a number of magitechnical constructs made of scrap which he hid in a small gas-filled cave he concealed with a cloaking spell. The normal bustle of the fortress was brought to an abrupt halt when an attack force sent to the Atrahasian mining station of Dur-Napšatbár returned beleaguered and disgraced, carrying with them countless wounded. Mandaru took this as a good omen and decided it would be the day he’d take his freedom. For hours he meditated in his hidden cave, marshalling his power until it was interrupted by the sounds of explosions and gunfire and the skin-tingling lightning smell of battle-magic as a force from Dur-Napšatbár stormed the fortress to exact vengeance on the slavers.

Mandaru roused his constructs and levitated through the halls of the fortress with his creations behind him, shooting ice magic and freezing the servants of Bíšulišán with the merciless cold of Adruqarḫa. Mandaru carved a bloody swath through Berquḫurru, felling many of the Bél-Multépiš’s apprentices and confronting Bíšulišán himself along with his Atrahasian pursuers. In an instant Bíšulišán teleported to parts unknown, never to be seen again, the only proof of his continued existence confirmed by the continuation of the Curse of Silence placed upon Mandaru years before. Mandaru looked to the Atrahasian squad and made eye contact with their leader, revealed to him as Kinzirű Anšar by the engraving on the chestplate of his resplendent blood-splattered golden armor. For what felt like an hour they stared at eachother, Mandaru on a base level was mesmerized by the other man’s perhaps supernaturally handsome appearance and the bearing he had, like some half-mad lion, and on a rational level he knew his bid for freedom only would’ve worked with his help and in that moment he realized the officer had done more for him than anyone else in over thirteen years and in doing so put Mandaru in an unpayable debt and over the following months, this feeling of indebtedness and attraction would spiral into full-blown obsession. Mandaru made a silent vow to repay Anšar, though first he had one final labor before he could be truly finished with his life of slavery. Mandaru nodded to Anšar in silent thanks and entered Bíšulišán’s personal Šamędannatu and departed from the planet, for there was nothing left for him in the violet fortress.

Mandaru activated the Šamędannatu’s Ašratunamṣar and carved a portal to the one place he knew to go. Reality parted and Mandaru’s Šamędannatu materialized in the sky of Adruqarḫa and floated to the bandit fort him and his family were taken to, only to discover it had long since been abandoned, though this didn’t stop him from bombarding it with his Šamędannatu’s cannons. After taking out his anger on the derelict fort he moved on to the burnt husk of his childhood home. Mandaru walked amongst the ruins, retracing his usual route, running his hand along what remained of the homestead’s walls. He stopped in the center of the homestead and laid under the charred skeleton of the ice-willow where his uncle Šarraḫűnašru taught him for hours, feeling once more the comforting tingle of snowflakes falling upon his numb face while reminiscing the memories of a life lived what felt like millennia ago until before his eyes the ghost of Šarraḫűnašru appeared before him, flanked by the rest of the those who died that freezing night thirteen years ago. His family was heartbroken to see their once-firetongued and lively kinsman silent as stone and malnourished, reduced to communicating through letters he burned into the snow. Despite communicative difficulties, seeing his family again did much to help his recovery from the trauma of his life, he apologized to them for his unworthy behavior as a child and they forgave him, responding with loving words of comfort and encouragement, and for a night, communicating with his dead family felt almost domestic. The following morning he fulfilled the Shurayu virtue of filial piety and brought the bodies of his family into his Šamędannatu and floated to the summit of the highest mountain in the valley surrounding the homestead and placed the bodies of his family there in upright, lively poses and with magic he pulled the stone from the mountain’s crown and shrouded his family’s bodies in it, creating statues in the traditional manner. He prostrated himself before each statue and placed a protective ward around them, and burnt into the snow a promise he would return to pay his respects before levitating into his Šamędannatu and teleporting to the Shurayu homeworld of Šurrâtar.

Pictured above: Typical scene within the gardens of Dašarum Lá Šanán

”Oh, look at you, hair as short as an infant’s, physique like you died years ago, trying to hide yourself in some shabby old rags, eyes darting around like you’re expecting something terrible to happen at any moment… Well the fact you’ve come here in the first place means you can read, at least. Enter, you need not tell me the specifics. There’s an open room down the eastern hall, fourth door down, go ahead and get settled there and I’ll give you some proper clothes and give you a run down of the hostel.”
-Imnitű Pesanáṣirat


Mandaru rationalized that Anšar would have no use for a feral ex-slave with no communicative abilities beyond writing and so he ventured to the most civilized of all places. In all of Shurayu hegemony there is no planet or moon which compares to the majesty of the sacred origin-moon nor any city whose grandeur comes close to rivaling the supremacy of the ancient city Ál-Bélúti-Šúráya whose holy name the whole nation bears. All his life Mandaru had been deprived of the splendor of civilization, as a free child his whole world was a frozen vale populated by none but his own blood, wild animals, and whichever trade caravans passed by and as a slave his whole world was confined by high violet walls populated by hundreds of those which he despised and which despised him. After arriving and cloaking his Šamędannatu, Mandaru walked amongst the city and was stunned by the splendor of the greatest center of civilization in the relevant universe and spent his first days there skulking in backstreets with the comforting concealment of a hood, only venturing into open places late into the night. Eventually, Mandaru found a charity-hostel for ex-slaves offering free meals and lodging. After a great deal of convincing from it’s owner, Imnitű Pesanáṣirat who was clearly experienced in cultivating trust with traumatized ex-slaves. Mandaru agreed to stay there for a time and was given a tome comprehensively covering the hand-language of the silent by the woman, whose eldest daughter was deaf. Mandaru, in typical fashion, mastered the new skill within two weeks, much to the surprise of Pesanáṣirat. Mandaru spent the next months at the charity-hostel nearly reaching a healthy weight for his height and fashioning enchantments and tinkering with equipment using esoteric scientific methods just as he did as a child, turning a modest profit. Despite his successes with his small business, he was reminded whenever he slept that no matter what, the trauma and pain of thirteen years of slavery would never be forgotten, no matter how much he tried to distract himself.

When it was revealed to the public that the attack on Dur-Napšatbár was orchestrated with the financial aid of none other than the incumbent Šar, Ešrášeššeténú Matáḫanáḫir and he saw Anšar on national television passionately railing against government corruption and branding many elements of the political apparatus as murderers and traitors Mandaru at once lost what trust he had in the government and respected Anšar all the more. Mandaru was never a man of political principle and never would be, and he could tell by the way Anšar spoke he much the same, but it was clear to him the unignorable corruption of Shuraya was an issue of morality, not politics. At this point, Mandaru practically lived for Anšar, of whom he grew ever more infatuated with, all the work he did in the city, he did not only to help himself, but to make himself of better use to Anšar when the time came.

Months later, after Anšar was elected to Šar and executed Matáḫanáḫir the Traitor, the time finally came. Mandaru had a vision of Anšar being attacked by those close to him and so he made haste to the Dašarum Lá Šanán, using powerful spells to cross through the massive palace’s magical barriers undetected. He found Anšar deep in the gardens shooting bullets and bolts of flame at a squad of Palatial Guards from behind the cover of a stele, fending off his attackers with surprising success, though it was clear it was a losing battle as the guards surrounded him and began to overwhelm him with their superior magic. Mandaru joined the fray with a torrent of frozen lightning, taking the combatants by surprise and felling many of the guards in seconds. In minutes Anšar and Mandaru killed the remaining traitorous guards and stared at eachother just as they did a year prior, once it was clear Anšar remembered him Mandaru gave him thanks with hand-language which Anšar expectedly did not understand, and so Mandaru handed the other man a letter he’d written weeks prior in preparation for the day, identifying himself and his intention to repay him. From hereon, the two become inseparable, first as friends, with Mandaru sleeping in the guest’s apartment nearest to the lodging of the Šar and teaching him hand-language, serving as a bodyguard, and acting as a faithful confidant. There was scarcely a time when the two men weren’t totally besotten by eachother and after eight months of mutual courtship the two were wed within the main ziggurat of Dašarum Lá Šanán under the watch of the gods, ancestors, and an intimate number of close friends. Nowadays, they are indispensable to eachother. Both carry with them an immense weight of lifelong trauma and the unhealthy habits which often make themselves the hateful bedmates of such pain. They may not exactly understand eachother’s trauma but they know pain of the soul as a fish knows swimming and from their mutual trauma is a bond of it’s own and a firsthand expertise which they use to help eachother with their pain to the best of their abilities and every day both men seem to get just a little better for it.


Mandaru is about as political as a peanut. He was taught the ŠIPÁR ATRAḪASÍSI by his elders and remains faithful to its teachings to this day. He has little to no interest in politics besides supporting Anšar’s positions and despising any who work with or make deals with slavers, bandits, or any of the other groups who predate upon the innocent along the Astral Frontier.


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Mandaru is a severe and reserved person, prone to grudges and impatient towards those he considers fools. He is a man with few friends, but those with the patience and will to overcome his coldness find themselves a protective and conscientious friend and an honest and caring confidant. Besides Anšar, with whom he shares a mutual obsession and unerring dedication to, Mandaru seems to have little interest or compunction for warmth towards anyone other than the people he met at the charity-hostel and the odd palace-worker. Thirteen years of slavery have molded Mandaru into deeply distrustful person, always on guard around new people for his experiences have taught him to expect the worst. In spite of Mandaru spending so much of his life in a subservient position, he is a genuinely and overtly domineering individual, a trait from childhood that only grew over time thanks to his stubborn nature. Despite his muteness, Mandaru is a truly impressive wordsmith, particularly in the field of insults. He is a man who as a child made one of the great slaver Bél-Multépišú break down into tears, and can and will do worse the same to anyone who disrespects him or someone dear to him either through a flurry of hand-language or a life-changingly heinous letter. If somehow neither of those work, violence usually does the trick. Despite his disagreeable temperament, His time with Anšar mellows him out and the longer he spends with him the less unpleasant he seems to be.

Like most Shurayu, Mandaru keeps his emotions close to heart, only expressing them at certain places with certain people at certain times, though Mandaru’s emotional shell takes on a much colder and standoffish appearance than most others. Underneath the cold and stoic exterior, Mandaru is a deeply troubled man. As a young child, the large family he was born into comprised the entirety of his social life thanks to the isolation of their homestead and when they were all either killed or enslaved it was as if his whole world was destroyed. It is certain Mandaru’s emotional issues sprout directly from this, for since their loss he’s always been plagued with a deep sense of loneliness which has never truly been able to alleviate thanks to his circumstances, be it being shunned, his distrustfulness, or the natural social ineptitude of one born on the ragged hem of arguable civilization.

Thirteen years of slavery and pain has left Mandaru bitter and impatient towards others, creating a sort of self-defeating cycle where while he longs for family he’s too distrustful and cold for most people to bother investing themselves in him. His infatuation with Anšar can be chalked up to the perfect storm of Anšar helping him with the most important undertaking of his life without any expectation of repayment, the great span of time since anyone of the physical plane has shown him kindness, the unconscious recognition of the deep-seated struggle in eachother’s eyes, and simple physical attraction along with any Ištaric influence radiating from Anšar that may or may not have affected the course of their relationship. Anšar and a few select others now serve as his familial figures and his mental state has been greatly stabilized by their presences. To those he considers family, be it a conscious or unconscious distinction, he removes his emotional shell and is extremely protective of and very caring and attentive towards, most likely a strategy to keep them safe, considering the fate of his blood-family.

Besides his fixation on family, he has a number of strong innate personality traits which guide a great deal of his decisions. He is an unerringly stubborn man who is confident in his abilities and is both direct and domineering, though not arrogant or boisterous; he does not seek to go around and try to affirm his own virtues and dictate others, but would certainly rather break than bend, or rather break another person instead, if need be.

The final noteworthy aspect of his mentality is his thirst for knowledge. It began when he was very young as idle curiosity but over time the purposes of his thirst for knowledge have changed on some occassions, a way to gain power and free himself as a slave, and a way to distract himself from his demons as a free man. It could be said that in regards to relieving stress, Anšar has drugs and music and Mandaru has books and research.


Mandaru shares the same quarters as Anšar within the massive palace complex of Dašarum Lá Šanán. The two men spend about as much time together as possible, be it working out, hand-to-hand sparring, playing sports, or any number of other activities. His high position has enabled him to foster a vast network of contacts across the nation which steadily supply him with various magical and technological artifacts and manuscripts. When alone, Mandaru is content to read books, conduct experiments, both magical and scientific in nature and record the results in his countless journals, create and improve artifacts and gadgets, and once a month he treats himself with a trip into Ur-Kuríbadnáti to bask in the majesty of the birthplace of the Shurayu and visit with friends. Until meeting Anšar, Mandaru was irreligious, but in the face of the other man’s unwavering piety and passion for the gods Mandaru took an interest in them and nowadays is mildly religious and names Enki, God of Wisdom as his Ilu-Mušallimu. He enchants nearly all his articles of clothing and jewelry, and prefers to wear long, cool-colored robes lined with fur and covered in various nature themed patterns in the style of the folk of Adruqarḫa. He is seldom seen without at least one of his enchanted rings on each finger.

Ḫarmu - Spouse of the Šar

Šamędannatu - Heavenly Fortress, spacecraft of the Shurayu

Burumkuš - Slaver Faction which kept Kakkulata Mandaru as a slave and attacked Dur-Napšatbár

Bél-Multépiš - Magelord, a mage in a position of power

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

Χachćrađavŕrraššâţoz - The extradimensional entity that befriended Mandaru and trained his magical abilities

Dur-Napšatbár - Mining station attacked by the Burumkuš with the financial support of Šar Ešrášeššeténú Matáḫanáḫir

Ašratunamṣar - Spectral swords Šamędannatú use to teleport through space

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

Ál-Bélúti-Šúráya - The Capital of Shuraya, and the city the nation's name bears

Dašarum Lá Šanán - The-Palace-Without-Rival, headquarters of the Ékallum and residence of the Šar