Mirage lore blog series – Part Two, The Rise of Bashrahn
Part Two - The Rise of Bashrahn
In part two of our lore series, from the ashes of destroyed Nankur arises Bashrahn, a golden city state brought into prosperity through the power harnessed from the Jinn.
Utility of the Jinnaye
The people of Nankur learn how to utilize the spirits of the Jinnaye into incredible abilities
Before the Dinahn Genesis, the Jinnaye lived almost identically to humans; they loved, feared, hated and lusted. However, their lives existed on a separate plane of existence known as the Sha’ilum. When the Jinnaye occasionally drifted into the mortal plane and were witnessed by the people of Nankur, they appeared as incorporeal beings of smokeless fire (the Dim), disconnected from their physical being. After the Dinahn Genesis shattered their plane of existence, this incorporeal form was all that remained of the Jinnaye.
The rings that can be seen in the skies above Bashrahn are the only remaining physical evidence of this other plane, and are the actual portions of the Sha’ilum world puncturing its way through the planar division. It has been made visible by its collision with the human realm as a result of the magic performed by the Alchemist Dinah.
Magical shards, that are the consequence of this collision, fall to earth in stones called Marinstone. These stones contain the Jinnaye. Many Bashrahni fear that the use of magic is in fact beckoning more Jinnaye spirits into the mortal world in the form of more falling Marinstones - and thus without moderation, the Sha’ilum will eventually overtake the human realm.
Little is left of the Jinnaye’s conscience, but they have retained their familial connection with humanity and emotions that are familiar to humans, and as a result are predisposed to follow human command. This link to humanity proved to be the starting point for harnessing the power and magic of the Jinnaye, and is the root of the conflict between the Bashrahn and rebels who would come to be known as the “Azar Cabal”.
After much of the land was destroyed in the cataclysmic events of the Dinahn Genesis, the task of rebuilding the world was daunting. The Jinnaye proved to be both destroyer and saviour, as these magic spirits were harnessed by humans for feats otherwise impossible by mortal hands. Thanks to the Nankur’s basic knowledge of alchemy, the power of the Jinnaye could be used to both extend and wildly surpass the abilities of average humans. The city state of Bashrahn was rapidly rebuilt thanks to this newfound power.
The Jinnaye have the inherent ability to manipulate all four elements together - Aether, Sulfur, Salt and Mercury. Because of this, they can be used as the conduit for humans to create their desired effect. The practice of alchemy was the natural consequence of Nankur religious belief. In the time of the Nankur, before the Dinahn Genesis, mankind’s understanding of alchemy was largely only spiritual in nature. Alchemists of the time were incapable of producing any practical alchemical results and their expertise was predominantly in the lore of the gods of the four elements - Ari, the god of aether, Esh the goddess of Sulfur, Sam the god of Mercury, and Bar, the goddess of salt. After the Dinahn Genesis and following in Dinah’s footsteps, Alchemists applied the magic of the Jinnaye to their work, resulting in a renaissance that lead to the rise of Bashrahn. Today, the practical uses of alchemy can be seen in everyday mundane things like sulfur lamps to light homes and aether elevators to pump water through the city.
Alchemy was used to master the act of Jinn-pairing itself. The Bashrahni harvested the Marinstones of the Jinnaye through an alchemical process that rendered the stones into ink, which was then tattooed to their skin. Those who desired a closer, more holistic connection to the Jinnaye would go a step further, and physically scar their skin with the molten Marinstones… however this was harshly discouraged as a practice that was felt by most Bashrahni to be “dirty”.
The city of Bashrahn rose from the ashes of Nankur. The Bashrahni Emirate, its principal governing body, grew powerful through its enslavement of the Jinnaye spirits.
The Rise of Bashrahn
Out of the Dinahn Genesis came the city state of Bashrahn
The Dinahn Genesis leveled and buried the Kingdom of Nankur. Out of its ashes grew Bashrahn. As humans learned to live in a world now populated with Jinnaye, they quickly found the Jinnaye could be used to human benefit. The connection between the Jinnaye and Alchemy lead to a renaissance of alchemical understanding and experimentation, ushering in unprecedented technological and economic development. Over time, Alchemists began to differ in their opinions on how the Jinnaye should best be utilized. Some believed that taking the Jinn into the body was the best method, allowing for a symbiotic and more natural relationship. The Jinnaye were a precious resource, spirits of their own free will and deserved to be partnered with, not taken advantage of. This union lead to a physical and permanent spiritual transformation. The physical effect is evident in a new, pale and bluish complexion of the skin, marking the human as a host of a Jinnaye. The effect of the spiritual transformation is transcendental (a sort of spiritual awakening). The host believes themselves to be awakened to the mysteries of the aether as only the Jinnaye - who have travelled through the universal planes - have the knowledge of those mysteries.
This experimentation was the root of the philosophy subscribed by the Azar Cabal - a population outcast from the city by the forces of the Bashahni ruling elite. The Azar’s use of magic in this manner meant social isolation from regular Bashrahni citizens, which in turn gave birth to a concentrated rebel population of highly skilled Jinn casters with a moral philosophy directly opposed to the Bashrahni.
In contrast to the Azar philosophy, the Bashrahni believe this union is actually a corruption of the mind and body; the corrupted people are now being influenced by the Jinnaye and are not to be trusted. The Azar do not disagree that the Jinnaye are affecting their mind, however they believe that they are spiritually bettered by this communion. For those who subscribe to this “partnership method”, the connection between Jinn and man does not just happen in body, but in spirit. Two sentient minds melding across the cosmic planes. Those who take a Jinn wholly into their body believe themselves to be benefitting from the cosmic intelligence of the Jinnaye, and through them better knowing the four elements and their gods. While this knowledge cannot be described in any language, the partnered person believes this understanding of the nature of the universe is spiritual, and that they are more in tune with the cosmos as a result. It is, therefore, the Azar Cabal’s belief that they bear the “enlightened” responsibility to save those who are not partnered with a Jinn from their own ignorance.
Those who saw the physical and mental “corruption” of the partnership method felt this was far too high a price to pay for “knowledge” when the Jinnaye could be contained in Marinstone ink and inscribed on the outside of their skin, rather than taken into the actual body, and thus their magic could be utilized at a safe distance. Why sacrifice the body and mind for a formless creature? To the Bashrahni, the relationship did not seem to be symbiotic but parasitic, and unclean. Far better to contain the Jinnaye in tattoos that could be removed - if necessary, and keep the internal body clean from the Jinnaye’s corruption.
This “clean” method was seen by those who supported the “partnership” method as cruel - imprisoning the sentient, free-willed spirit of the Jinnaye in simple tattoos was both an insult and tantamount to slavery; using the Jinn as a subservient tool rather than an equal. Rising tensions between these opposing views would eventually divide the Bashrahni populus irreparably. The seeds of a massive conflict had been planted.
PART THREE - The War
The contemporary setting for Mirage: Arcane Warfare, which sees the presence of arcane power dividing the world into competing factions: the Bashrahni Emirate, who see magic as a tool for industry and progress; and the Azar Cabal, rebels outcast from the city for their seemingly overzealous communion with the Jinn spirits.
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