|“||Through knowledge, transcendence.||”|
The Scholar Empire
The Empire of Scholar arose from the successful accord between men, the jinn and the fey - cave efrits, ghuls and wraiths. The efrits had shown men the path to greatness, granting them powers of healing, fighting, swiftness and fortune-telling. The Scholars were the strongest among men and they were dedicated to their creed; Through knowledge, transcendence. What they had achieved, nevertheless, was not enough to surpass the boundless knowledge owned by the jinn. In attempt to learn the secrets of the jinn, the Scholars sent delegations to negotiate with the leader of the jinn, the King-Of-No-Name. They received a gentle but firm response;
|“||We are jinn. We are apart.||”|
The Scholars had attempted a countless ways of negotiation but the response was still the same. Soon, hard times struck the Scholar Empire. Famine and plague took whole cities. The Scholar Emperor believed that if they had the knowledge of the jinn, they could rise again. Thus, he gathered the finest Scholar intellectuals into a Coven to master the jinn. The Coven allied with the fey. From these creatures, the Scholar learned to trap the jinn. They tormented the jinn but still failed to secure their secrets. Enraged by the inflexibility of the jinn, the Coven no longer cared for their allies. The Coven used the knowledge given by the fey to create a powerful weapon called the Star. They used the weapon to corner the jinn and lock them forever in a groove of trees.
The power unleashed by the jailing destroyed the Star as well as the Coven. Though the jinn were defeated, their leader was not. The failure to save his people gave rise to the dark side of the king. He was then given a name, the Nightbringer. He plagued mankind for hundreds of years then allied himself with the Scholar's ancient enemy, the Martials. They were a cruel people exiled to northen reaches of the continent. The Nightbringer whispered the secrets of steelcraft and statecraft to them. Within a few generations, the Martials managed to invade the Scholar Empire.
Invasion of The Martials
500 years after the Martial's invasion, Scholars live in oppression and enslavement. They used to own the finest universities and libraries in the world, great buildings those were. Since the invasion, Serra is filled with barracks and training halls. Every school is turned into armory. The Street of Storytellers is now filled with an arms market instead of the stages and theaters. Scholars who are not enslaved work menial jobs such as farmers, cleaners and stevedores. Free-women cook, clean, dress hair, press clothing, make soap, wash dishes and barter. They do not get paid reasonably for the laborious jobs they do. Some of them turn to thievery. For those who rebel, they join up the Resistance.
Scholars cannot own a property or attend schools. Even the mildest transgression leads to enslavement. The Martials treat them like trash and hunted craven animal. They raid, jail and even kill Scholars who hoard grain, smuggle book or teach children to read. Anyone who collaborates with the Resistance will be executed. Since the invasion, Scholars do not have the privilege to learn steelcraft. The Martials guard their weapon secrets stringently and sentence an execution to those who enter their forges, no matter Scholar or Martial.
Scholar's Quarter is a poor living area in Serra. It consists of mud-brick houses, dusty markets and cramped streets. It is where the Moon Festival is held. The Empire's garrisons are located east of the quarter.
Izzat is a code of honour as old as the Scholar people. It is in Old Rei, a language spoken by Scholar before the Martials invaded and forced them to speak Serran. By definition, it means strength, honour and pride but recently, it has come to mean freedom, courage and proving yourself.
Izzat usually comes together with an image of a closed fist raised high with a flame behind it.
|“||Death before tyranny.||”|
The Resistance is a branching secretive group of Scholar fighters and rebels seeking to overthrow the Empire. They lurk in the shadows of the Serra catacombs which snake beneath the entire city.
The Resistance live by Izzat. Laia's parents were their leaders along Mazen who served as the third-in-command. They were the greatest leaders in history. However, the Resistance was then betrayed from within which led to the death of Mirra and Jahan. Mazen became their leader ever since.
Under Mazen's leadership, the Resistance is split into two. The younger fighters take Mazen's side while the old fighters take Sana's side. Mazen serves as the overall leader and Keenan is his second-in-command. The young fighters are bold and pugnacious while the senior fighters tend to be analytical.
- Unlike Tribesmen, Scholars do not always believe in ghuls and wraiths.
- Scholars are very much a hunted group of people. They do not use last names because it makes them more difficult to track down. So they end up being identified by cities or neighbourhoods, like Laia's parents, who are referred to as "Mirra and Jahan of Serra".