OUT OF CHARACTER INFORMATION
- Unit Name: Keepers of Azali's Sacred Flame.
- Affiliation: House Kerrigan-Alcori, Qadiri, Sistren of the Eternal Flame, Hazani Jai Bysara. Order of Fire, Firemane.
- Classification: Force Infantry, pyromancers.
Equipment: They can use Abregado-Rae Guild of Hammers equipment due to Firemane gaining access to ARGH tech in this thread.
- ACS-004 Olympian Battle Armor (Permission requested here, obtained here). Commlink uses CD-X cryptologic key (available for Firemane per this thread).
- Paragon-class Personal Energy Shield (request here, permission here)
- Taegis Shield
Wrist and Underbarrel Weapons:
- Wrist Bolter
- ACS-208 Wrist Ion Beamer (storefront request here, permission here),
- ACS-208 Wrist Tensor (storefent request here, permission here). Two wrist weapons per soldier max.
- ACS-208 Wrist Charric (request here, permission here).
- ACS-207 Aerosolblaster (purchase request here, approved here).
- Cylix bolt pistol
- Magnetic Revolver,
- Sonic Wave Pistol (Firemane obtained a supply contract that allows it to use Fire for Effect gear here).
- Adjudicator slugthrower.
- Misc equipment such as medkits, lifeform scanners, meditation band, Force focusing visor etc.
Description: The Keepers of Azali's Sacred Flame are a sect within a sect, representing the elite of the Sistren of the Eternal Flame, an order of Qadiri fire mages who serve the Goddess Azali. Qadiri society has strong theocratic tendencies. Force powers are regarded as a gift from deities, and so those who manifest preternatural powers are seen as blessed. This has given cults such as the Sistren and the Celestial Dragons, a sect of Qadiri aeromancers, a lot of political and economic influence.
This exclusive, small sect within a sect contained the Masters and strongest Knights of the fire cult. Sahali was one of their youngest members before she was elected as High Mistress, after having brought about the downfall of the House of Sassanal. Only those who have passed the trials of fire and proved their valour and skill in battle can join their ranks. Moreover, they must have earned the respect of their peers and those they originally served alongside with. This makes the cult somewhat democratic compared to most Qadiri polities, though the vote of an established mistress still unofficially has more weight. Needless to say the punishments for cowardice, betrayal, desertion, corruption or any acts that would bring the sect into disrepute are draconian. The order has a long history and persecutes those who sully its name.
While the order itself has significant holdings, the Keepers themselves are expected to live frugal lives. This includes giving up any claims to titles and domains if they happen to be of noble birth. Religious principles aside, it is also supposed to prevent the sect from being beholden to a specific noble family, keep a member from having divided loyalties or use her connections to exert influence upon the group. This has not stopped the sect from being heavily involved in Qadiri politics. Indeed, the fire mages have led armies into battle against Qadiri states for political and religious reasons.
Some particularly zealous Keepers take their devotion to the sect to the next level and renounce their family names. Instead they adopt Azali as their surname to show their commitment to their deity. In doing so, they are figuratively married to the fire goddess. All members of the sect must keep themselves in peak physical condition and train regularly to hone their abilities. Training is accompanied by prayer and periods of fasting. They are expected to be an example to other members of the order. The Keepers regard themselves as a sworn community, a sect whose members serve their goddess by combating her enemies. Their belief that they are blessed by a divine power contributes to them being zealous, dedicated fighters on the battlefield and gives them high morale. It can also inspire other Qadiri soldiers to acts of valour. They treat the Force itself as a flame, which the select few can tap into due to the blessing of the goddess.
Like all Force-using groups that are part of Firemane or have sworn fealty to House Kerrigan-Alcori, the Keepers are supervised by the central command of the Order of Fire. Their primary role on the battlefield is that of elemental infantry. Their pyrokinetic abilities enable them to cause a good deal of havoc, especially against dense clusters of enemy troops. In that regard they are a good at dishing out damage and excel at crowd control, especially if they pool their powers.
Their skills are helpful for clearing bunkers and trenches of enemies and can function as area denial weapons. Depending on the foe and the power of their attacks, they can also be useful against heavy armour. However, they are very reliant on their preternatural powers at range. Lightsabres are still extremely rare among Tygaran elves and so the Keepers do not utilise them. Instead they have adopted the Sarix, an energy sword originally invented by their Eldorai cousins and upgraded by Firemane at the request of the Star Queen. Due to their long history of animosity, the Keepers have issues cooperating with Xioquo and will not accept orders from them.
The sect is led by Caspara Jai Azali. As a sign of her devotion to the Goddess of Fire, Caspara has given up her family name and adopted that of her chosen deity. This is not unusual among Qadiri clerics and is considered a sign of dedication rather than blasphemous. Caspara served in the order alongside Sahali. The two were comrades but also competitors. Indeed, she was one of the members of the sect who came to the aid of Sahali and Hazani when they were being menaced by bandits so many years ago. Caspara has an impressive command of fire and earth. A strong mistress in her own right, she was in the shadow of the more dashing Sahali, but may have a more level head. Having been elected as leader of the order after Sahali's murder, she must balance the interests of Firemane and of her own followers. She is very protective of her order's rights. There is a part of Caspara that is critical of Sahali's decisions, believing her ambitions went too far. and that this cost the order. She feels affection for Hazani and is protective of her, but also wary because she realises that Lady Kerrigan is using the girl as leverage. She is an old hand at the game and knows how it is played.
Unit Size: Medium
Unit Availability: Unique
Unit Experience: Elite.
Combat Function: Elite warriors. The Keepers are a unit of Force-Sensitive Qadiri who specialise in the elements of fire and have an aptitude for earth and air that supports their pyrokinetic attacks. They are mostly composed of Knights with some Masters. Their pyrokinetic abilities allow them to perform feats such as create fireballs and blasts of flame, conjure thermic lances to hurl at the enemy at close range, summon flashes of bright light to temporarily blind or disorientate opponents, heat objects by touch or the power of their mind, absorb and channel heat. Moreover, they can play with fuel. Under the right conditions, they could manipulate fire and the wind to generate a minor firestorm over a certain area, but this would require time, focus, teamwork and preparation and is thus not something that can be summoned on a whim. Same applies to creating a dust/sand storm in an arid or semi-arid environment. Their aptitude for all things fiery and a degree of affinity for earth also encompasses manipulation of lava and magma. This is pertinent on volcanic planets.
Their skills enable them to remain warm even in cold environments, and they have an aptitude for Tutaminis. Moreover, they are skilled in Control Pain, Force Weapon and Force Meld. Force Meld allows them to pool their powers and draw strength from one another. This is a strong ability that enhances their coordination, but also potentially a double-edged sword. A disturbance in the Force could overwhelm the melding participants, as the pain is transmitted through the bond. If the pain is caused by the minds the melding participants are touching, it could cause them harm.
However, their abilities are rather flashy, which makes them a poor choice for stealthy operations, except perhaps as a distraction that makes a lot of noise. Power use makes them rather obvious targets for snipers and bombardment. Furthermore, their specialisation makes them far less effective in very cold environments, as it is extremely difficult to utilise fire magic effectively there. Using their powers in such an environment would be quite draining for them, especially since Qadiri are not used to a cold climate. They would be at their strongest in a volcanic hothouse like Mustafar or a desert world like Tatooine or Terax, but far less useful on an ice ball such as Hoth or Belsavis. On the elemental front, ice and water are the obvious counters to fire. Voidstone and ysalamiri would either weaken their powers or deprive them of them altogether, thereby robbing them of their biggest advantage over opponents.
Careless use of their abilities can also make them a danger for allied troops, which is why they must be deployed intelligently, lest their attacks backfire. They forego heavy weapons, as carrying anti-tank/air missile launchers or grenade launchers could be quite hazardous given their specialisation, while rotary cannons, heavy repeating blasters and the like would impair mobility. This has implications in pitched combat or if they are confronted directly by formations of tanks or heavy walkers. Being infantry, they are vulnerable to air and artillery strikes. To a significant degree, they rely on their preternatural powers to give them heavier firepower or deal with large numbers of enemies. If this does not work out, they could be in trouble. While potent, the unit is very small and so enemies could overwhelm them with force of numbers. They do not operate tanks or heavily artillery or fly aircraft and thus will thus require support forces. They also do not carry lightsabres.
- Elite unit composed of Qadiri Force-Users.
- Focus on pyromancy. Their elemental abilities are extremely potent.
- Forego heavy weapons such as missile launchers, rotary cannons and so on. Lack support forces such as heavy vehicles.
- Reliant on the Force for heavy firepower.
The Keepers came into being as the elite of the Sistren of the Eternal Flame. This is a powerful Qadiri fire cult that reveres Azali, goddess of fire, the desert and forging. The Sistren regard themselves as a martial order who serve the Eternal Flame, ensuring that its light never dims and its fire never abates. A cross between Templar, Priestess and Holy Warrior, they have a long, proud history. Despite their claims of only serving their goddess, they have also been important players in Qadiri politics. Given the theocratic tendencies of their people, this is probably not surprising.
There have been many Qadiri warlords who were motivated in equal parts by gold, the goddess and glory. Sahali Jai Bysara, one of their most famous members, embodied these traits. Before she pledged herself to the order, she was the spoilt, carefree daughter of a Qadiri noble family. However, after being shipwrecked in a storm, she and her little daughter were stranded. She was forced to call upon her rudimentary Force training and learn survival skills to protect herself and her daughter from wild animals and raiders. In the desert she found her way to the Goddess Azali, praying to her for guidance and strength. Her until now rarely used Force powers helped her free her daughter from bandits. While being pursued by the raiders, she stumbled upon a patrol of the order. The fire mages helped her smite them and took the pair in. When Sahali managed to return to her home, she was a changed woman. She gave up her titles and worldly possessions and swore an oath of allegiance to the order. She rose through the ranks, proving herself a fiery warrior, dedicated and, if need be, ruthless leader. In time she joined the Keepers and was thus recognised as one of the mistresses of the order, second only to the High Mistress.
When Parisa Jai Sassanal, head of the noble House of Sassanal, illegally occupied land the Sisterhood regarded as sacred ground and claimed to invest clerics of the Temple of Azali, Sahali rallied the Sisterhood. The High Mistress of the Sisterhood had succumbed to disease and it was in doubt whether she would survive or not. In the latter case, a conclave would be required to choose a successor. However, Sahali took the initiative, refusing to tolerate the temerity of the Sassanals. Her campaign resulted in the destruction of the noble house. The defences of their city were overcome and the Sassanals' palace was burnt to the ground while the nobles were trapped inside it, for the Goddess brooked no heretics or false worshippers.
Sahali was one of the Keepers' youngest members until she was elected as High Mistress, after having brought about the downfall of Parisa and her family. Only those who had passed the trials of fire and proved their valour and skill in battle can join their ranks. Moreover, they must have earned the respect of their peers and those they originally served alongside with. This made the cult somewhat democratic compared to most Qadiri polities, though the vote of an established mistress still unofficially carried more weight.
It was their Sahali who repulsed a massive Xioquo assault on Krolis, the holiest city of the Qadiri. The major Qadiri power, the Amikarese Empire, was distracted by a succession crisis. Many of the Fire Sisters were unable to reach the city in time. However, Sahali and her followers rallied the Krolians with the help of the Saosyhant. They also entered an alliance of convenience with Qadiri corsairs. Together they were able to defeat the Xioquo and take many captives, though at a cost. This success won the order great renown and led to the formation of the League of Krolis. Officially this alliance was directed against the Xioquo, as they were the hereditary enemy of the Qadiri. But it was also meant to deter Amikarese expansion.
Later she led the armies of the League of Krolis against Firemane and their ally Shahbânu Semiramis, who wished to unite the Qadiri under her rule. Th immediate catalyst of the conflict was the death of the Saoshyant. This was the high priestess of the Goddess Kashara, the supreme deity of the Qadiri pantheon. Her position was of great religious and political significance. Semiramis sought to put her own candidate in power, but the members of the League elected their own high priestess. Both Saoshyants proceeded to excommunicate each other and their patrons mobilised their armies. Sahali was honour-bound to stand with the League.
The fire cultists put up fierce resistance against Firemane, facing them in many battles. They used their prowess in the Force and guerilla tactics to compensate for Firemane's more advanced tech. The fighting was brutal on both sides. However, Sahali was murdered by betrayers who sought to curry favour with Lady Siobhan Kerrigan. Disgusted by the betrayal, Siobhan personally executed the ringleader of this plot and sent her confederates, along with Sahali's body, to the Fire Sisters.
The Sistren were compelled to bend the knee to the so callled 'Skyqueen'. They had to swear fealty to her and many of their assets were seized. Nonetheless, her terms were lenient because Siobhan had grown to respect their deceased leader and believed the fire mages could be more useful as allies than resentful foes. When they capitulated, they did so to her, not to Semiramis, which caused some resentment at the royal court of the Amikarese Empire. This has not made them unquestioningly obedient followers though. They are very protective of their rights and beliefs.
Siobhan took hostages to ensure good behaviour, one of them being Sahali's daughter Hazani Jai Bysara, who may one day lead the order of fire mages. The Keepers were also part of this arrangement. This was obviously not very popular, as no one likes having a foreign conqueror impose a dictate on them. However, the fact that Siobhan turned on Hazani's murderers and let her sistren bring them to justice won her some respect. The Keepers see themselves as the leaders of the order and are thus rather protective of their rights and privileges. There is bad blood between them and some of their former allies in the League, as it is suspected that not all of those who were part of the conspiracy against Sahali have been punished.
Edited by Siobhan Kerrigan, 31 March 2019 - 07:42 AM.