Part Three – The War
In part three of our lore diary, civil war over the use and control of magic breaks out between the Bashrahni Emirate and the Azar Cabal, thus instigating the events of Mirage: Arcane Warfare.
Read part one here.
Read part two here
“And the Alchemist Dinah’s magic ripped open the fabric of all things – in her right hand she took hold of the realm of man. In the left, the Sha’ilum. And with the immense power granted her by the elements themselves, the Alchemist Dinah pulled the worlds together in one cataclysmic, cosmic blast. And the realm of man was undone.”
- Perin Genesis verses, The Bashrahni Codex.
The ruling elite of Bashrahn exact fierce control over how its citizens use magic, and the Azar Cabal rise from the ensuing conflict
Though it began as a gift to the world in helping to build the fantastic city state of Bashrahn after the cataclysm of the Dinahn Genesis, it was the magic power of the Jinnaye that would lead to the bloodiest conflict in the history of Nankur.
The “wielded” vs. “embraced” debate – the opposing viewpoints on how society should co-exist with the Jinnaye – resulted in intense arcane warfare that tore apart the nation.
The fight began with societal oppression in the city of Bashrahn. Those who subscribed to the “wielded” method ostracized from society those who took the Jinnaye into their bodies. These “embraced” users were outcast from the city into the deserts, hills and mountains outside of Bashrahn. Taurant guards, the strongmen of the city under the employ of the Bashrahni Regency, were tasked with the removal of “embraced” Jinn users. For those who had become too dangerous to evict by means of raw muscle were eliminated by the elite Vypress assassins.
The “embraced” believers were seen by the Bashrahni as unclean, their oddly coloured skin making their beliefs obvious to whoever passed them in the street. Their appearance of skin drained of its natural colour – given an otherwordly appearance – earned them the nickname “the pasties” and they were forced out of the city of Bashrahn where they formed their own fledgling society under the shadow of Mount Nankur.
Today, the Bashrahni keep to their “wielded” method in the city limits, manipulating the Jinnaye through the Marinstone ink tattooed in their skin. The Marinstones were gathered by Entropists, hunters of the Djinn who were awarded bounties based on their finds; the more successful the Entropist, the more lavish his lifestyle. The alchemical process of manipulating the Marinstone substance for magical use was mastered by Alchemancers, the most capable – and often dangerous – Jinnaye researchers of the Bashrahni Academy.
Those exiled, who came to call themselves “The Azar Cabal,” would dwell in hidden caves crafted into the cliffsides surrounding Mount Nankur. The Azar, free of the watchful eye of the Bashrahni elite, welcomed the Jinnaye fully into their bodies and worked in partnership with the spirits to utilize their powers. Many Azar gathered together and shared their new discoveries, but others chose more solitary lives – diving deeper into their relationship with the Jinnaye. In general, the Cabal rejected the ambitious architectural and militaristic drive of the city-dwelling Bashrahni when it came to using the Jinn. The Azar made practical use of their inherited territory, crafting humble dwellings to suit a simple lifestyle – in contrast to the opulent palaces, maze-like markets and incredible feats of engineering that can be found in the city of Bashran. In the caverns and old temples, outcast Tinkers – young orphans from the bazaar district of Bashrahn – made use of their hands-on knowledge of Jinn-infused technology to expedite the construction of the Azar Cabal’s exclave, built in secrecy under the mountain’s shadow.
– The Azar Cabal retreated to the desert and mountain caves outside of the city of Bashrahn –
The conflict depicted in Mirage: Arcane Warfare begins. Waged battles commence between two clear factions, the Bashrahni Emirate and the Azar Cabal
The war between the Bashrahni Emirate and the Azar Cabal can be summarized between its two primary frictions: a philosophical argument over the use of the Jinnaye spirits – enslavement vs. symbiosis; and the control of the resources of the power wrought from the Djinn. Jinnaye spirits are contained within Marinstones, which are harnessed by both sides for their potential to provide superhuman abilities. Whoever possesses more of the Marinstone resource thus is truly in control of the power of the Jinnaye.
Battles began between the Bashrahni Emirate and the Azar Cabal only a short time after the systematic removal of “embraced” Djinn users began in the city. Today, both sides fight to ultimately destroy the other, and to control the destiny of the Jinnaye… and Bashrahn.
The Bashrahni Emirate represent the ruling elite of the grand, progressive city of Bashrahn. Comprised of the most capable Jinn wielders, those who fight for Bashrahn feel wholeheartedly that their cause of controlling the Jinn and protecting their people from the influence of the Jinnaye is the right path. The Emirate believe that, while useful for the power abilities they grant humans, the Jinnaye are corrupting forces that can twist the mind. Therefore, the Jinnaye must be controlled and kept separate from the human body at all costs.
Members of the Emirate’s fighting force wield the power of the Jinnaye through tattoos, their ink the result of alchemical experimentation with the Marinstones of the Sha’ilum. The Marin-ink tattoo is the catalyst through which a person is able to manipulate their Jinnaye, written in the alchemical language created by the first true alchemist Dinah.
The warriors of the Bashrahni Emirate wear purple clothing – a royal colour – to represent their loyalty to the Bashrahni Regency. The Regency is the governing body of the city of Bashrahn. It is made up of eight regents – two regents for each of the elemental gods: Ari (aether), Esh (Sulfur), Sam (Mercury) Bar (salt). Regents are selected from the Legacies – high status families who can trace their lineage to the warlords of ancient Nankur. They can be Alchemancers, Hashashin, former vigilists and taurants. The eight regents serve as council to High Regent Tahar, the 40th ruler in Bashrahn’s history. The Regency is protected by the Vigilists, an elite guard celebrated for their defensive prowess. Not many years ago, the Emir of Bashrahn died, leaving no heirs and thus ending the original lineage of the Bashrahni Emirate. This left the rule with the Bashrahni Regency who then created the position of High Regent.
High Regent Tahar, dwelling in his palatial fortress nestled between the astronomical towers of the Bashrahni academy, directs the defense of Bashrahn and the destruction of his city’s common enemy: the Azar Cabal. Though early fighting was concentrated in the defense of Bashrahn against the guerrilla tactics of the Azar, today the Bashrahni take the fight against the adopted home of their outcast cousins.
The Emirate have sent many Vypresses into the mysterious mountain base to scout out the locations of the Azar’s precious Marinstone reserve, as well as to understand the weak points of the Azar Cabal’s defense. There, they’ve seen that the Azar grow fierce in both number and power; crafting impressive magical seals to hide and protect their people. Thanks to the overzealous efforts of the Bashrahni Regency to exile as many “dirty” magic users as possible, the Azar’s forces have rapidly expanded to represent a true threat to the ruling society.
Derogatively referred to as “The Pasties” by the Bashrahni city folk because of their pale skin, the Azar Cabal’s power is sourced from scars carved into their very skin.
The beautiful scars that mark the Azar Cabal are made from the discarded Marinstones of the Jinnaye. When an alchemancer extracts a Jinnaye from its Marinstone, the stone is saved and processed into a molten substance. This molten Marinstone is what the Alchemancer uses to mark the Azar as an inviting body for Jinnaye, scarring their body with the very spirits of the Sha’ilum.
The Azar Cabal believes in the symbiotic partnership between Jinnaye and man. They believe that taking a Jinn into the body results in a spiritual awakening to the truths known by a Jinn, a knowledge of the cosmos that would be otherwise unavailable to the human mind. It is, in their belief, the responsibility of the spiritually enlightened, to protect the ignorant (the Bashrahni) from themselves. This drives them in their fight against the Bashrahni; a fight orchestrated by the venerated leaders of the Cabal.
The Azar Cabal is lead by the Grand Council, made up of Azar citizens who are voted to their seats at the council table. Like the Bashrahni regency, there are eight representatives, two for each of the Gods, and at the table’s head is the Grand Matron.
A former Alchemancer, Grand Matron Avice is a very devout woman who believes her people are guided by greater forces than the Bashrahni. She is so spiritual in her approach to the war with Bashrahn that even amongst her people, some of have come to question her sanity. As an Alchemancer, she is known to have eccentricities characteristic of the position, but people in the Azar are starting to wonder if she is not merely eccentric, but losing her mind entirely. Her tactics are increasing in risk and desperation, and there are whispers among the Azar that Grand Matron Avice could cost them the war. Her often reckless leadership brings the warriors of the Azar back into the heart of the city of Bashrahn, in battles fueled by explosive acts of sabotage and destruction. Some would say that such desperation is what brought the Dinahn Genesis upon Nankur in the first place.
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