Kingdom of Oukranos is one of Lovecraft's Dreamlands, placed in the East.
Kingdom of Oukranos
One of the Six Kingdoms, the kingdom of Oukranos extends the length of the Oukranos River Valley up to, but not including, Hlanith on the coast. It has two important cities, Kiran and its capitol, Thran.
Oukranos River Valley
The Oukranos River Valley lies under a perpetual golden haze, the air is filled with the hums and music of birds and bees, and it is said that the region holds a little more sunlight than other places, bathing the rolling hills and farmlands on its banks in gentle warmth and flowers in thousands of different colours, giving those who walk through this land feel a sense of great wonder and joy.
All that afternoon the pilgrim wandered on through perfumed meadows and in the lee of gentle riverward hills bearing peaceful thatched cottages and the shrines of amiable gods carven from jasper or chrysoberyl. Sometimes he walked close to the bank of Oukranos and whistled to the sprightly and iridescent fish of that crystal stream, and at other times he paused amidst the whispering rushes and gazed at the great dark wood on the farther side, whose trees came down clear to the water's edge. In former dreams he had seen quaint lumbering Buopoths come shyly out of that wood to drink, but now he could not glimpse any. Once in a while he paused to watch a Carnivorous Fish catch a fishing bird, which it lured to the water by shewing its tempting scales in the sun, and grasped by the beak with its enormous mouth as the winged hunter sought to dart down upon it.
— H.P. Lovecraft, Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath (fiction)
The blue-green River Oukranos, the Singing River, is the mightiest river in Dreamlands, similar to the Mississippi or the Amazon rivers in depth, breadth, and swiftness of current, bounded by farm lands and rolling hills covered with the flowers of a thousand different colors. The river winds its way from the mountains through several lands of Dream, even through the Jungles of Kled, before emptying into the Cerenerian Sea in the Land of Ooth-Nargai. A journey down the river is remarkable for its relative peace and safety, for the hum of bees and the gentle song of exotic birds, and the scent of the many flowers that grow upon the river's banks and in the hills above it; among the strange wildlife that might be found are carnivorous bird-eating fish, and the shy and rare Buopoths that lumber out of the forests to drink from the river's waters - it is unlucky to describe the Buopoth, but it is said that those who see one are destined for strange fortune.
The River Oukranos is sacred, and shares its name with the River God Oukranos, to whom a curious temple carved from jasper and forbidden to visitors is dedicated in the idyllic temple-city of Kiran; travelers may pay their respects to Oukranos for safe passage at a shrine found at the temple's gates, and to bathe in the sacred river or to pollute its waters or banks is considered and affront to Oukranos, and forbidden by the King of Ilek-Vad.
A great seaport located at the mouth of the Oukranos. The walls of this city are made of granite, and the houses have fantastically peaked roofs. The wharves of Hlanith are made of oak, and the streets are rutted from the passage of ox carts on their way to the city’s markets. The streets and buildings near the wharves are crusty with the salt spray of high tides. All the city’s taverns are located near the wharves, by law. Hlanith's proximity to the Waking World causes some of the mirage cities reported in this world from time to time. In addition, it has allowed many of the magicians in Hlanith to become alchemists, astronomers, and inventors. Hlanith's king is good and fair, though he likes the luxuries in life perhaps a bit overmuch.
Toward evening he mounted a low grassy rise and saw before him flaming in the sunset the thousand gilded spires of Thran. Lofty beyond belief are the alabaster walls of that incredible city, sloping inward toward the top and wrought in one solid piece by what means no man knows, for they are more ancient than memory. Yet lofty as they are with their hundred gates and two hundred turrets, the clustered towers within, all white beneath their golden spires, are loftier still; so that men on the plain around see them soaring into the sky, sometimes shining clear, sometimes caught at the top in tangles of cloud and mist, and sometimes clouded lower down with their utmost pinnacles blazing free above the vapours. And where Thran’s gates open on the river are great wharves of marble, with ornate galleons of fragrant cedar and calamander riding gently at anchor, and strange bearded sailors sitting on casks and bales with the hieroglyphs of far places. Landward beyond the walls lies the farm country, where small white cottages dream between little hills, and narrow roads with many stone bridges wind gracefully among streams and gardens.
Down through this verdant land Carter walked at evening, and saw twilight float up from the river to the marvellous golden spires of Thran. And just at the hour of dusk he came to the southern gate, and was stopped by a red-robed sentry till he had told three dreams beyond belief, and proved himself a dreamer worthy to walk up Thran’s steep mysterious streets and linger in bazaars where the wares of the ornate galleons were sold. Then into that incredible city he walked; through a wall so thick that the gate was a tunnel, and thereafter amidst curved and undulant ways winding deep and narrow between the heavenward towers. Lights shone through grated and balconied windows, and the sound of lutes and pipes stole timid from inner courts where marble fountains bubbled. Carter knew his way, and edged down through darker streets to the river, where at an old sea-tavern he found the captains and seamen he had known in myriad other dreams. There he bought his passage to Celephaïs on a great green galleon, and there he stopped for the night after speaking gravely to the venerable cat of that inn, who blinked dozing before an enormous hearth and dreamed of old wars and forgotten gods.
— H.P. Lovecraft, Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath (fiction)
Thran, capital of the Kingdom of Oukraonos, is a great, golden-spired city on the River Oukranos, built within high, inward-sloping solid white walls built by unknown means in ancient times beyond memory, pierced by one hundred gates flanked by two hundred turrets. The city itself is is loftier still than its walls, constructed of a thousand white towers topped by the famous golden spires, visible from great distances away even dimly through clouds and mists. To access the city via the river, a Dreamer must first pass marble wharves trading in goods from strange and distant Dreamlands; from there, the city is surrounded by a farm country of small white cottages, pleasant gardens, little hills, delicate streams, narrow roads, and stone bridges. At the city's walls, the gates are guarded by by red-robed sentries, who will not grant passage to the city's winding, narrow streets, high balconies, and bubbling fountains until the visitor can tell three dreams beyond belief. An old sea tavern can be found on the river, where the captains of ships traveling to far and obscure reaches of the Dreamlands might be hired.
The king of Thran is an old dreamer who has seen many wondrous things, he became king after he successfully won a challenge to the former ruler to a dream-duel - the accepted form of choosing a new ruler in Thran, involving a story-telling contest between the two contestants.
The streets of Thran are steep and mysterious, and wind between the many towers which stretch heavenward. Smaller shops and homes stand like mice at the feet of these towers. Near the center of the city is the bazaar, a wide plaza where all the goods from the galleys in the harbor are sold, or traded for local goods. By day the streets are crowded with people and animals. By night they are filled with the warm glow of light which escapes through grated and balconied windows and the sounds of music wafted on the air from inner courtyards where cool fountains gently play.
The wall is pierced by 100 gates and surmounted by 200 turrets. The towers of the city are also made of alabaster and shine white beneath their golden spires, the tops rising so high that sometimes they are obscured by the clouds, and at other times they pierce through the clouds to appear as a city in the sky with their spires blazing fire in the heavens. The wall around Thran is so thick that the gates are more like tunnels through a mountain, 100 feet long, 30 feet wide, and are lit by torches every 10 feet. Each of the gates to the city is guarded by red-robed sentries, and those who wish to enter the city must first prove their worthiness by dazzling the guards with tales of three dreams beyond belief.
The gates open onto the river and city's marble wharves, where ornate galleys of fragrant woods such as cedar or calamander are anchored. Strange bearded sailors from all over the Dreamlands crowd the docks, and many crates and barrels labeled with mysterious hieroglyphs of far places stand in piles waiting to be loaded aboard ships or taken to market. Thran's harbor is the third mightiest in all the Dreamlands, after those of Dylath-Leen and Celephaïs.
By noon Carter reached the jasper terraces of Kiran which slope down to the river's edge and bear that temple of loveliness wherein the King of Ilek-Vad comes from his far realm on the twilight sea once a year in a golden palanquin to pray to the god of Oukranos, who sang to him in youth when he dwelt in a cottage by its banks. All of jasper is that temple, and covering an acre of ground with its walls and courts, its seven pinnacled towers, and its inner shrine where the river enters through hidden channels and the god sings softly in the night. Many times the moon hears strange music as it shines on those courts and terraces and pinnacles, but whether that music be the song of the god or the chant of the cryptical priests, none but the King of Ilek-Vad may say; for only he has entered the temple or seen the priests. Now, in the drowsiness of day, that carven and delicate fane was silent, and Carter heard only the murmur of the great stream and the hum of the birds and bees as he walked onward under an enchanted sun.
— H.P. Lovecraft, Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath (fiction)
Kiran, City of Jasper, is a small Dream city on the hills above the banks of the River Oukranos upstream of Thran, remarkable for its famed terraced jasper Temple of Seven Towers dedicated to the god of Oukranos, and otherwise populated with small cottages, mansions, and shrines to Dreamlands gods amid the hidden streams, fanes and groves of this dark but peaceful land.
Here stands the Temple of Loveliness to the god Oukranos. Oukranos is one of many small regional gods which inhabit the Dreamlands, and his influence does not extend beyond the river valley which bears his name. His temple is built all of jasper wood, and stands near the edge of the river. The temple's walls and courts cover an acre of ground and encompass seven pinnacled towers which surround the central shrine. Through this shrine, directed by hidden channels, run the waters of the river. By day the temple stands drowsy and silent. But often, at night, the air surrounding the temple is filled with a strange music. No one can say if this music is made by the priests of the temple or if it is the song of the god, for no human has entered the temple and seen the priests except the King of Ilek-Vad. The King, borne on a golden palanquin, comes from his distant land once a year to pray. It is said that the King of Ilek-Vad knew this region as a youth, and that the god Oukranos sang him to sleep each night.
Besides the Temple of Oukranos, Kiran is also home to hundreds of small and hidden shrines of red jasper and green chrysoberyl, each dedicated to one or more of the countless and often nameless Dreamlands gods, some of which might be recognizable to visiting Dreamers, but many of which are long forgotten or remembered now only in distant and obscure lands of dream. One of the newest such shrines is the large red jasper shrine dedicated to the river god Oukranos built at the Temple's barred gates, at which visiting sailors, captains, and travelers may pay their respects and make sacrifice to Oukranos, and give thanks or pray for a safe journey upon the sacred river.
Temple of Oukranos
The Jasper Temple of Oukranos, also known as the Temple of Seven Towers, Jasper Temple, or Temple of Kiran, is an ancient temple dedicated to the god of Oukranos. The temple, carved of jasper, a form of reddish granite gemstone with pale red bands, is walled and terraced, with seven mysterious pinnacled towers in which the temple's monks and priests are cloistered; a strange and gentle music might sometimes be heard within the temple's walls, perhaps played by the hands of the chanting monks, or perhaps of a more supernatural origin. Besides the temple's priests and monks, the King of Ilek-Vad alone is allowed within the temple's walls; the King has made a regular pilgrimage to the temple to pay homage to the god of Oukranos since his youth, when the King dwelt in one of the cottages of Kiran and heard the god singing to him from within the temple's sacred fanes, and ordered the temple's gates to be barred and visitors to be forbidden from trespassing within.
Associated Mythos Elements
- setting: Dreamlands
- fiction: H.P. Lovecraft's "The Doom that Came to Sarnath (fiction)", "The Silver Key (fiction)", "The Other Gods (fiction)", "The Cats of Ulthar (fiction)", and others
- fiction: H.P. Lovecraft's Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath (fiction)
- fiction: H.P. Lovecraft and E. Hoffman Price's "Through The Gates of the Silver Key (fiction)"
- sourcebook: "H.P. Lovecraft's Dreamlands"