The Arzhela Campaign
Current State of the Circle
The Xi-Drake Lineage’s current generation consists of Master and Apprentice . Master has lived longer than most, with being his fifth Apprentice. The rest had died in the course of their difficult training. Master saw the necessity for a strong Xi-Drake to take his place and so contrived an arduous set of tasks for his apprentices to complete. has yet to finish them all but he shows promise. Hopefully he can succeed and prove himself before the Master falls prey to his advanced age.
The Xi-Drakes since the Fall have consistently opposed the continued Sarrak involvement in and manipulation of Arzhelan politics. Many of the Xi-Drakes have seen this period of exile as a chance to return to the original goals of the cabal; the pure pursuit of knowledge and understanding of the magics of lost eras. As such a few, including Master , have made attempts to establish regular contact and accord with the Nevajin only to be rebuffed by the secretive and insular pair of eternal wizards. Most Xi-Drakes have also seen the reduced responsibilities upon the Circle as a blessing, especially because of the reduced interaction they have had to endure with the less desirable Lineages of Varakith and Spider. The Xi-Drakes only true allies are the Seskis who have always kept close to those they see as the successors of the true founder of the Circle.
It has only been months since the last Master of the Sarrak Lineage died, leaving Orram Thar as it’s only member. Thar is a supremely confident and intensely brutal man. Perhaps the best indication of his nature was in the process of his selection as an apprentice. Master Devana sought to select her protege from a pool of individuals. Her observations of the history of the Circle showed that the Spider lineage consistently produced strong and confident masters, while many of the other lineages had periods of weak leadership, especially during the Days of Rule when apprentice selection was often based on political maneuvering. Devana saw the strength of the Sarraks as arising from their intense need for power, and the intense precision in their action. And so she set forth a challenge: she put her three candidates before a bed of broken glass. On the other side was an artifact which would grant its wielder the ability to access the minds of others. She proclaimed that the one who could make it to the artifact with the least cuts upon their feet would become her apprentice. Thar was selected to attempt the trial first. He walked across the glass with a smile on his face, and when he reached the artifact he took it from its pedastle. The next thing Devana knew, the other two selects both jumped into the glass. They rolled around, picked up pieces to cut themselves with, and with which to attack each other until both lie dead in the glass. Devana revised her concept of where a Sarrak derived their strength that day.
The Sarrak have always seen the Xi-Drakes as pedantic, narrow minded, and needlessly reserved. They see the Seskis as equally prudish, with the addition of viewing their devotion to servitude as the supreme weakness. The Sarraks have a long standing alliance with the Spiders, often providing valuable artifacts in exchange for the services of the assassins. Relations between the Sarraks and the Varakith vary greatly from generation to generation. Sometimes one will use the other as a tool, sometimes they will be rivals or outright enemies, while sometimes they will be partners, lovers, or even just friends. As for the Nevajin, modern Sarraks ignore the old wizards. For generations after the Nevajin discovered their immortality, every Sarrak would try to make some deal with them to obtain the secret, but inevitably each was only tricked into somehow helping the Nevajin to no personal gain. The Sarrak of today have learned their lessons from history.
The Seski order currently consists of Master Lugh Leughen and his apprentice Malcolm Walthuze. Master Leughn is self described as “a coarse old avatars who doesn’t tolerate any nonsense.” He holds position as a military commander of high rank under an alias, and he uses this position to recruit for an organization begun by his master known as the Hounds. The Hounds are warriors who devout themselves to the protection of the Arzhelan people, and who will act as bodyguards for associates of the Circle. Publicly, they are viewed as a well organized mercenary and guard-for-hire organization and their connection with the Circle is largely unknown. Malcolm, also a member of the Hounds, is more approachable than his master. Although he is known to be jovial and affable in good company, he is a feared martial combatant, said to be the strongest spear in Arzhela. In the arena and in the tourney circles he is known as Ferazber, the Black Dog.
The Seski’s have always seen those of the Xi-Drake line as the masters of the Circle by the fact that their founder begun it. Their have been few disagreements between the Seski and Do-Drake lines throughout history, and the Seskis see it as their duty to preserve the law of the Circle. To theses loyal protectors and law-keepers the Sarrak and Varakith are dangerous elements to be watched carefully and protected from themselves as well as the outside world. In particular Malcolm little trusts the Varakith apprentice’s calm demeanor and suspects it to be a malicious facade. The Seski are also wary of the Spider though sometimes members of these lineages will bond over their shared martial skills and their perceived duty to protect the hidden Circle. The Seski’s care little for the Nevajin, content that their immortality will protect them and that the aloof wizards will happily abide by the laws of the Circle.
The Varakith present an interesting dichotomy in their modern interior relationship. The Master, Qualen Gevaar and his apprentice Kayen Vhel, have little in common. The Last Nevajin jokes that the Master only chose his apprentice for the similarity of their names. While Gevaar is a brutish, savage, and impulsive beast, Kayen is a silent and reserved intellectual who pursues knowledge with precision.
The Varakith usually see the rest of the Circle as beneath them, beings to be used as tools much like they see all people. The one exception is the Nevajin who have found ways beyond the powers of death that the Varakith wield so readily. Kayen however has proved himself yet again to be an outlier within his clan. He has variously approached all the Masters of the Circle throughout his time as an apprentice and learned what each would teach him. He treats others with respect, even the dead whom he exhumes as servants.
The Spider lineage has been masterless for a year, and is deep in the trenches of its assassins’ war to decide which of the remaining four Spiders will take up the title. Those who remain are Piwar, an enigmatic young woman prone to impulse and good fun who kills with a pain like fire under the skin; Iztermo, a bulky and silent man who seems immune to any weapon; Taro, a person of indiscriminate and secretive identity who can pass through walls at will; and Iocus, who never stops laughing and laughs even harder when he watches his poisons do their work from a distance.
The Spiders have various views of each other line, which only come to be known once they have taken the position of Master. The last Master was largely unconcerned with affairs of the Circle, to the point that he ignored even the Spiders’ traditional allies in the Sarrak, however it is rumored that young Master Thar has made more invested allies of at least one of the remaining apprentices.
The Nevajin are the most withdrawn of the Circle. They are known only as the First and Last. There is no master and no apprentice between them though before their immortality they each respectively held those titles. What they believe about the other lines is unknown. They rarely deign to speak with any of the other members of the Circle since the Fall, though it is known that they have held audience with Master That and Kayen of the Varakith each since the death if the last Sarrak Master.