Monday, October 5, 2015

Companions of the Rose, Pt. II

Map updated 10/6/2015
Many a djinni found it easier to manipulate newcomers than fighting them openly, often pretending to be faithful followers of Arun-Te to avoid suspicion. Most lived in relative peace this way, enjoying Eastern Ellyrion’s prosperity and quietly removing troublemakers. Nonetheless, locals to this day often blame their misfortunes on the djinn. It isn’t rare when a criminal caught red-handed claims: “The djinn made me do it!” Others, staring dreamingly at the nightly sky, might sing: “If you wish upon the djinn, doesn’t matter who you are. . .” Settlers had a visceral fear of the efreet because they couldn’t see them. They knew the djinn to dwell in their midst, perhaps a new neighbor, Taeen of Jaffoo, or Aran the fish merchant, or the Narum the water-monger. They believed with good reason that the desert spirits were infidels with the powers of demons, and suspicion ran high.

Unavoidably, the Nicarean inquisition launched a djinn-hunt in 1045 CE. Fear among colonial population and false accusations between rivals were all too common, complicating matters. Worse yet, local population disliked the Nicareans almost as much as the djinn, since the inquisition could just as likely turn against them. Between uncooperating locals and magical beings hiding among them, the inquisitors found themselves flat footed. Eastern Ellyrion looked and felt increasingly foreign to them. It wasn’t long before the hidden ones infiltrated Nicarean ranks as well, possessing or killing a number of their leaders. The fight raged on, resulting in compromised inquisitors and those suspected of such being gruesomely executed by their own brethren (1071 CE). As paranoia prevailed, the conflict widened. Djinn permeated all levels of colonial society along with the heads of local thieves’ guilds. Commoners who suspected, or who plainly knew someone of being a djinni, remained quiet because they benefited from the status quo. This led to mounting casualties among colonial population accused of consorting with the “demons.”

The Black Rose was secretly founded during these times of sorrow, a tightly-knit nucleus of native colonials devoted to their countrymen’s protection. Known as the Companions, they became caught in the crossfire, but as devout followers of Arun-Te, they had the tacit support of locals who saw them as avenging heroes. Teosarkha II outlawed the sect in 1101 CE. Tantalizing rewards were offered for information leading to the capture or execution of anyone involved with the Black Rose. Very often, it led those whom the reward had tempted, to be questioned as to how they’d come across their information and why they hadn’t brought it up earlier. Most ended up none the wealthier and at the business end of a noose.

To be continued...