Blog post 6/26/122 on Nasreri IV
Hi guys and girls! It’s your favorite Shadow Reporter Jyukka here, coming to you live from Nasreri IV on all the things the Empire doesn’t want us to talk about! And folks, I don’t think I’ve ever reported on something this dangerous before! Is it a slave rescue? A secret government conspiracy? No!
This might take some explanation, but monastic orders are one of those things Imperials lowkey don’t talk much about, but which can be really important to how their society functions. To try and explain it to the people back home, monastic orders used to be how the Amarrian military was organized in the first days of the Reclamation (you know, since there weren’t really that many holders or lands back then). Obviously, that’s not how it is anymore, but those orders are still around today in some form or another, mostly as sort of deeply-involved religious social clubs.
How it works is like this. At some point, someone decides to become a member of a monastic order, or their parents decide for them (there are whole houses that are seriously bought into one order or another). They then get a sponsor in the order to vouch for them when they’re old enough to join. That person then ends up training for a while, usually about a year, in whatever that order figures to be important, usually some combination of Scriptural training and whatever else the order values. Some are harder to get into than others, but it’s usually not too easy to get in. The older and more traditional of them can be downright dangerous to join.
So why would mom and dad send their little boy or girl off to one? Turns out that lots of these orders, especially the aforementioned old and traditional ones, have a lot of people in positions of power, and they’re willing to lend a hand to their own before anyone else, especially if they or their sponsors do a lot of outside work for that order. Members help out the order, the order helps out its members. They barely even try to hide it, all the better to get yourself new members for the order, right?
So, why is this newsworthy? There are little secret lodges and societies everywhere, that doesn’t make the Amarr special. Well, sometimes these monastic orders don’t see eye to eye. And when they fight, it’s one of the few times the Imperial government tries not to get involved. These orders don’t generally keep public records of their membership, and because of how they work, members of these orders can be pretty highly placed in government. Those that aren’t can be anyone and anywhere. Worst of all, they’re usually plenty loyal to that order, and it’s the one loyalty that isn’t always counted in the Book of Records. It’s like kicking trees in a forest because you see bees. The response is usually to just leave them alone instead.
So as long as they don’t make too much of a mess for everyone else, local councils leave them to sort out their own differences. But right now, there’s a big one running that might be just about to spill out so far that someone might have to step in!
Getting back to those old, traditional orders that were around in the early days of the Reclaiming on Amarr Prime? Well, two of those monastic orders have apparently been viciously fighting for something like two or three months. The Most Heavenly Order of the Sirrush Uncoiling and the Grand Order Militant of the White Hand of Purity, usually pared down to the Sirrush and the Hand, have fought on and off for millennia over various theological and political differences. Seriously, these guys have hated each other’s guts since the Amarr Empire started getting called an empire, and if anything it’s worse these days.
Trying to boil it down, the Sirrush is a pretty broad order that will train people from high lords to slaves (with their master’s permission, of course) and pretty much all races. Sounds great, right? But you’ve got to have faith, a LOT of faith, because apparently they’re pretty fanatic even by the standard of the other monastic orders. The training is apparently pretty grueling, making people hit rocks barehanded in the desert, read Scripture in uncomfortable positions for days on end without rest, and generally risk death and madness. All while expecting their people to smile about it.
The Sirrush was traditional enough to even physically oppose the Moral Reforms until House Ardishapur made a deal with their vassals in House Baracca (who are the big patron family that runs the Sirrush). Since then, the Sirrush have been all over Ardishapur space (with respectable presences in Kor-Azor and Khanid territories), mostly acting as clergy, missionaries, security, and old-fashioned skullcrackers chasing heretics. The way it’s all played out, the Sirrush are doing pretty well recently. They’re definitely one of the bigger orders around these days, and it’s been a good era for a society of racially tolerant religious nutjobs.
On the other hand, the Hand (hehe), as their extended name suggests, is less religious and more ‘militant’. They’re not really a military unit themselves anymore, but military service is really big for these guys. Like, service is a requirement for membership big. Broad sections of the militaries of several families are commanded by highly placed Hands, and they’re always helping each other out to climb the ranks. The problem, especially for types like me, is that they’re really sold on the idea of caste. They figure the Amarr are at the top, groups like the Ni-Kunni and Khanid come next, and then you’ve got the ‘slave peoples’, who still need to ‘prove themselves’, and finally the ‘people outside the faith’ (that’s you and me!) who can get shafted for all they care.
Standard line at first glance, I know, but these guys are really extreme about it. To the point that they take personal offense to interracial marriages, particularly Amarrian ones. To the point where they openly badmouthed the new Imperial Empress because she might have Udorian blood, and demanded she recite her entire lineage. To the point where they’ve been treated as a terrorist organization for going after families that might have mixed blood to keep the Amarrian blood pure. Those stances put their patron families, Houses Rorrq and Irhya, in some hot water, but they managed to stay afloat through their connections in the military and police forces. They’re not as big as the Sirrush, but they’re still pretty large as an organization.
All that talk of theology is just background this time, since this fight seems to be territorial. Near as I can tell (and depending on who you hear it from, this story’s vastly different), the Sirrush ended up chasing some Sani Sabik into Genesis and started operations there. Seems those Sani Sabik, though, weren’t really Sani Sabik (or maybe they were). What they did definitely end up being were Hands. Whatever the Sirrush ended up doing pissed off the Hand in the area, who count the Kadorite patch of Genesis as one of their strongholds. And it pissed them off enough that the Order of the Hand started using its connections to punch back.
At first, you’d have to be watching the local papers’ notifications to see anything was going on. See, most of the time these things don’t even get reported, since the news orgs don’t even want to dip a toe in the middle of these fights. But you do get to see official notices for duels, and there suddenly came a BIG spike in duels involving houses that shouldn’t have any other reason to fight so often. The Hand started bullying around the smaller Sirrush houses like House Sharqon, House Greia, and House Go-Saian with duels to the death and a few assassinations, I’m guessing to try to warn the Sirrush to get out.
Whatever the Sirrush are doing in Genesis, though, it’s not something they’re willing to back off on. And now, it’s gone all the way to the Hand’s House Rorrq and House Irhya going head on with the Sirrush’s House Baracca, House Vho, and House Ganzorig. The way this usually plays out is that the families are kind of spamming each other with duel demands, basically picking fights that they think are advantageous. Each house has champions, guys trained in obscure stuff like sword fencing they call to fill in for weaker members that need protected.
So it’s a giant chess match where the houses have to manage where they’re sending their champions and who they think can manage. The champions have been wiping each other out for months and more regular members are having to handle their own fighting. These guys are literally picking hangouts across the street from each other and throwing down outside at random. Everyone’s getting blooded.
We’re talking a straight up tournament of attrition!
But this only ends one way. The Hand might be the Order Militant, but they’re probably half the size of the Sirrush, and the Sirrush just has more guys and girls who have been trained with archaic equipment like sabers since birth. So eventually, the Hand did the logical thing and started sending their members, who definitely know how to use guns, to assassinate the Sirrush champions in the street. Which, of course, led to responses in kind and other reprisals.
Eventually, that led to businesses getting blown up, shootouts in the streets and on stations, running gunfights from inside cars, and vanilla flavored murders. It’s turned into a total bloodbath in Genesis and the parts of Ardishapur space that the Hand can reach, like the Mandate. Anyone even remotely seen as being involved is becoming a target, so the bloodshed is spreading far beyond just the order members and their house champions.
All this happening with the Triglavian invasion and warzone news going on? It’s becoming a major issue. Which brings us, finally, to Nasreri IV.
Turns out the heir to House Rorrq, Duke Uuberan Rorrq, was in New Imperial City on Nasreri IV on some official business and caught physical sight of Duke Septemus Baracca, brother of the current scion of House Baracca, who was there completely by coincidence. The two obligingly started trying to kill each other and called everyone in the area to get in on the action. Apparently, the monastic retinue of two dukes and their guard wasn’t something the city was prepared to handle.
What came about was an absolutely brutal gunfight in the streets that turned New Imperial City into a temporary warzone. Duke Septemus apparently got out unscathed (and I hear he’s worth his nickname), but Duke Uuberan was gunned down. Total casualties seem to number a few hundred, but they include some highly placed members of both families (and thus orders).
Everyone has sworn revenge, and it’s about now that it looks like the heat is getting too serious to ignore. The odd gunfight in the street? A stabbing here and there in a nightclub? An antique store getting blown up? Those are one thing. A street battle worthy of the golden days of the Molden Heath mafias getting ready to turn into a full on monastic war? That’s another. However, the government doesn’t want to step in and end up seen as being on any one order’s enemy (or, worse, everyone’s enemy). But with things getting this out of hand, can they actually afford to let it get any worse?
And meanwhile the conflict is getting hotter, and neither order looks ready to back down. Who knows where it’s headed now? I’ll try to find out more tonight and keep you posted. Until my next post, this is shadow reporter Jyukka, signing off!