Juzhian Age (Patronage Supplement)

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Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Emperor Juzhian was considered the greatest of philosophers in the age named after him, and age known for a blossoming of philosophy, art, and culture.

Timeline - Juzhian Age!
Xalian Age
1726 Juzhian succeeds Xalia as second Alabastrian Emperor.
1727 Sarrun Empire breask from Alabastria.
1728 Juzhian announces policy of rapproachment.
1734 Balash tries to exile Efthal.
1738 Efthal kills Balash and installs human Kavadh.
1746 Efthal apprentices Kavadh, fakes his death and replaces him with Djamasp.
1748 Kavadh escapes to Dragonseye.
1761 Kavadh declares Dragonseye free.
1767 Djamasp reconquers Dragonseye; Kavadh escapes.
1779 Juzhian publishes Code.
1781 Efthal kills Kavadh.
1788 Rapproachment ends when Xarlem invades Duat.
1789 Oncia invades Sarrun Empire.
1790 Xarlem occupies southern Duat, renamed the Borderlands.
1791 Plague decimates Second and Sarrun Empires, and eastern Alabastria.
1802 Oncia conquers Sarrun.
1806 Efthal commemorates centennial of his dynasty with the "bone coin".
1820 Khosrau (the "Free") destroys Djamasp and drives Efthal into hiding.
1840 Oni named "Immortal" leaves Green Lands.
1845 Muhajiel and Gamliel first reported in Wild Forest.
1863 Muhajiel first preaches Ferroclasty.
1864 Kasra occupies Dragonseye.
1866 Kasra lures humans to Dragonseye with promise of freedom.
1867 Efthal begins using Dragonseye humans for experiments.
1876 Prophetess Aira rescues many humans and leads them to Ramhead.
1878 Ramhead Rangers kill Kasra. Efthal disappears.
1882 Yazgur (the “Necrarch”) destroys six rivals to end succession dispute.
1885 Muhajiel and Gamaliel organize an army.
1891 Muhajiel conquers Sarrun, founding the Eternal Caliphate.
1895 Immortal recognizes the "Trail of the Knife" as the first honorable path.
1899 Muhajiel and Alabastrian Empire skirmish.
1900 Muhajiel meets Ramhead Rangers and Prophetess Aira.
1901 Gamliel conquers Southbar and begins century-long march north up the Wall.
1930 Muhajiel returns to Sarrun.
1961 Battle of Corren’s Stand founds Chisel.
1990 Humans found "New Dragonseye" on the site of what will be Frostwall.
1995 Plague decimates Second Empire, stopped by the Wall.
1997 Gamaliel conquers Northbar.
2010 Muhajiel and the Rangers raze Artifice, destroying the Second Empire.
2048 Juzhian recalls Xarlem from the Borderlands.
2051 Xarlem assassinates and succeeds Juzhian, ending the Juzhian Age.
Xarlemi Age

The Juzhian Age is an age of philosophy. During this period the Free Kingdoms ceased to be mere tyrannies and aspired to higher concepts of nobility, chivalry, and justice. The Juzhian Age begins with the disappearance of the Patrons, and it is during this time that the servile races had to discover their own paths, their own destinies. The age begins with a struggle between Juzhian, the philosopher king and Oncia, the warrior-queen. The philosopher won, and eventually won over the queen. But as philosophies grew, they clashed. Three of the great empires of the age -- Albastrian, Second, and the Caliphate -- battled for supremacy of their philosophy. In the end, Juzhian was brought down, not by a rival philosophy, but by his own lieutenant, Xarlem, who cared less for philosophy and more for his own goals. The Juzhian Age followed the Xalian Age and preceded the Xarlemi Age.

The events of the Juzhian Age are appropriately described in the histories of the major nations that moved events in those kingdoms, including the Alabastrian Empire, the Efthali Dynasty, the Sarrun Empire, and the Caliphate. Instead, a more appropriate summation of the Juzhian Age can be summed up by examining the philosophies of the major philosophers of the era: Juzhian, Efthal, the Immortal, Muhajiel, and even the obscure Mazdak. These five philosophers introduced ideas from which all the philosophies of Patronage derive.

Juzhian Code[edit]

Fifty years into his reign, Juzhian produced a masterpiece of law, philosophy, that he called the Code, and which has become known as the "Juzhian Code". The Code is a discussion of life from the perspective of a monarch, and offers advice by which those who rule should be governed. This advice has become the primary source of law for virtually all of Patronage. The law offers as its primary motivation ensuring that people treat one another with respect and dignity, two concepts that were virtually unheard of before the issuance of the Code. From there, Juzhian weaves a legal system founded that discusses the punishment of crimes, the efforts to rehabilitate, the respect of Patron worship, the duty of nobles to treat their subjects fairly, the obligation of subjects to be dutiful to the law, and many other legal topics.

The Juzhian Code is not simply a collection of laws. It also contains the first code of chivalry, describing how men and women should treat one another as equals and with respect, how various races should tolerate one another and respect both their similarities and differences. It discusses the daily efforts of commoners and nobles to life lived of dignity and strength.

Finally, the Juzhian Code contains a number of poems drafted by Juzhian himself that touched on universal concepts such as love, both dutiful, chaste, romantic, parental, and passionate, or death and rebirth, of the passage of time and the importance of companionship and of solitude. These poems have been rendered into songs by bards, have been analyzed by philosophers, and revered by lovers of literature. In fact, these sections of the Juzhian Code inspired the production of further works of fiction throughout Patronage.

One legend says that Oncia, having been estranged from Juzhian because he bested her in the bid to succeed Empress Xalia, wept upon reading one of the poems that described his love for her, and caused her to immediately seek reconciliation with him. Oncia went from being his greatest rival to his most ardent supporter. This undying support would eventually become the source of her ongoing rivalry with Juzhian's successor and murderer, Xarlem.

In one act, Juzhian became the patron of art, law, philosophy, and chivalry, and his philosophy has inspired jurists, philosophers, and romantics ever since.

Nine Truths[edit]

Sometime in the early 18th century, a philosophical discussion occurred in one of the temples of the Ochre Mountains. A young ogre asked her Titan whether Titans could die like other Patrons had. The Titan said that he could. The ogre then asked the Titan whether a Patron could choose to die. The Titan said he could. The ogre than concluded that the Titan chooses to continue living for all this time. The Titan acknowledged it did. Why, asked, the ogre. "To learn and to know," responded the Titan. The ogre then said, "But since you must choose death, you cannot know time." Shortly thereafter, the ogre was evicted from the Titan's presence, the only ogre ever banished from the Ochre Mountains.

The ogre took on the name "Mazdak" and entered the Free Kingdoms. At the time, the Second Empire and the Alabastrian Empire had divided the free kingdoms between them. The Alabastrian Empire was ruled by the Immortal Deva Juzhian. And the renegade human Emperor Kavadh had just revealed that the Second Empire was under the sway of the fell lich Efthal. Mazdak observed that the Free Kingdoms were not free; they were simply ruled by new Patrons.

Mazdak entered the Barrens. Word of an exiled ogre quickly brought followers. Goliaths at first, but then humans, elves, even devas, orcs, and half-orcs. Mazdak began to unfurl a new philosophy known as the "Nine Truths". The first Truth was that time is finite and change infinite. Therefore, the second Truth stated, complete knowledge is unattainable. This led to the third Truth, which is that one must embrace uncertainty. Further Truths beyond these three become increasingly esoteric, but together they led to a distinctive philosophy that emphasized concern for the least members of society, a stoic acceptance of hardships coupled with a fervent engagement in emotional release and celebration, and a dedication to the notion that all things are and should be transient.

This latter aspect of Mazdak's philosophy is the most well-known, even though it is an almost incidental offshoot of the Nine Truths, because it became the centerpiece of resistance against immortal rulers, including Patrons, the Alabastrian Emperors, the Eternal Elves (eventually), and even the lich Efthal. This quiet philosophy inspired rebellions in the Sarrun Empire, Chisel, the Ramhead Rangers, Patronage and the Loyalists.

Mazdak lived her entire life under the canopy of the Barrens. When she died, she was buried in the Barrens, at a site that is still sacred to the followers of the Nine Truths, and fiercely guarded against the Efthali who currently dominate that Wild Land. The movement still thrives across the Free Kingdoms, but particularly in Minia, Dragonseye, Chisel, and Carraway. Elsewhere, particularly in the Caliphate, Oncia and the Alabastrian Empire, it is officially banned and persecuted.

Dark Arts[edit]

What little is known of Efthal's philosophy comes from Kavadh the human sorcerer and Efthali apprentice who had been installed by Efthal as an Emperor of the Second Empire, and then escaped to found a rebellious and ill-fated Dragonseye. However, during the twenty years that Kavadh ruled his human community, he managed to write down what little he knew of Efthal's teachings, and portions of these writings have survived to this day and reside in libraries across Patronage.

Efthal believes that existence is a constant struggle against nature. Nature compels beasts to forage and starve, so mortals developed agriculture. Nature compels beasts to steal and murder, so mortals developed laws. Nature makes people sick, so mortals developed medicine and healing magic. And nature commands that all people die, so mortals developed necromancy to defeat death. Nature makes beasts overcome with emotion, so mankind developed logic, reason, and emotionless calm. Efthal, in fact, sees necromancy as the pinnacle of mortal endeavors for it conquers all the obstacles that nature places in mortals' way. With necromancy there can be no hunger, no labor, no sickness, no death. A mastery of necromancy elevates a mortal beyond all that is bestial about their nature, stripping away the meat and the blood and emotion, and leaving only that which is pure, clean, and rational.

Efthali discipline however, is not merely about necromancy. It is an entire way of life, and, warned Kavadh, many Efthali follow his precepts without casting necromancy. Not all mortals have the capacity for magic, but Efthal believes they all have the capacity for Art, which is the term Efthal uses to describe the behaviors and rites that all Efthali are expected to follow. (Opponents of the philosophy call them the "Dark Arts".) Efthali eschew all signs of primitive or animalistic behavior. Many of them will shave themselves bald of all hair, even to the eyebrows. They will spend hours in quiet meditation, learning to control and eliminate baser emotions like hate, love, and fear. Those who have not been elevated beyond the need for sustenance will eat little, usually only rare or uncooked and unspiced meat or blood, legumes and simple grains, and water or milk. They do not drink alcohol or take drugs, except in the furtherance of rites and rituals. They are eminent rationalists, studying logic and mathematics. While they revere the Patrons, particularly the Shinigami, as the ultimate embodiment of the escape from mortality, they do not necessarily find value in following the Patrons, believing their words are deceptions designed to prevent mortals from sharing in the gifts of immortality. Many found that following these disciplines imbued them with focus and success, even without engaging in necromancy. As such, the Efthali philosophy finds adherents among the ambitious even today.

When Efthal killed Kavadh, he was able to rule more or less openly. However, after Efthal's banishment, the Efthali must practice their philosophies in secret. Only in the Barrens, among Efthal's inner circle, can one openly practice Efthalism.

Honorable Paths[edit]

In the middle of the nineteenth century, an Oni who called himself the "Immortal" emerged from the Green Lands. He claimed to be intrigued by the new ideas and concepts flourishing in this new era. It is said that he traveled the Free Kingdoms, often in the guise of a weary traveler. Many folktales discuss the Immortal's journeys. Some say he discovered and visited the Secret City of Ramhead. Some say he was present when Muhajiel first developed Ferroclasty. Some say he dined with Efthal, took Oncia as a lover, and swam the length of the Nereid Sea. Whatever the truth, his journey's end did not return him to the Green Lands. Instead, he settled in the foothills of the Ochre Mountains, where he established a small community (which would eventually transform into the Free Kingdom of Verdant), dedicated to exploring his own philosophies on life. Many orcs and half-orcs came to study to the Oni's feet. As time passed, other races joined him, including humans, elves, goliaths, and others from all over Patronage.

Eventually, the Oni's thoughts began to coalesce into a philosophical framework. Although too complicated to detail completely here, the philosophy became known as the "Trails" of the "Honorable Paths". The Immortal premised that people are not merely products of the mind, but of the body as well. Therefore, how one acts is at least as important as how one thinks. One's life can therefore be seen as a "Trail" and one's actions blaze this trail through the wilderness of the unknowable future. However, a trail also indicates what is left behind, and one's actions leave a trail that others can follow, if they are good, and avoid if they are bad. He encouraged all people to ensure they leave good trails.

The Immortal's emphasis on right actions led to a concentration on physical exercise and movement. If one is to act well, one must be able to move well. Many of these actions led to patterns, which the martial Oni then converted into battle stances. As he or one of his followers developed a "Trail" that helped to reinforce a productive and good life dedicated to a specific craft, they became known as "Honorable Paths". The first of these became known as the "Trail of the Knife", a specialized form of knife fighting. Form this followed the Trail of the Sword. Later, Honorable Paths were adopted for non-martial endeavors. Scribes found the Trail of the Quill, which led to a revolution in calligraphy and visual artistry. The Trail of the Artisan dealt with other crafts, such as pottery and weaving. The Trail of the Scout dealt with animal husbandry and orienteering. Eventually, the esoteric Trail of the Scholar dealt with actions related to academic study and spellcasting.

In Verdant, the honorable paths are almost a religion. Every child is expected to choose one and to follow it. The honorable paths are often adhered to beyond Verdant and the Immortal has many admirers throughout Patronage. In Chisel, for example, professional duelists often say they follow the Honorable Path of the Rapier, or the Duelist's Trail. In Carraway, some ravin have created a Trail of the Hunt, and even in Alabastria, some deva created the Trail of Memory, a series of exercises and movements that they claim help them recall details from their past lives. The Honorable Paths and Immortal's Trails have had a profound impact in the lives of many mortals in Patronage. Even some of the dwarves of Ironguard have adopted the philosophy behind the honorable paths.

Ferroclasty[edit]

Historically, the Wild Forest had always been a haven for refugees from the Fey Realm and Mongrel Island. It was a savage place, little better than either of these Patron Realms. However, in the middle of the Juzhian Age, the law of the jungle became replaced with the teachings of an ageless elf. Muhajiel the Prophet preached that the fallen state of mortals was unnatural. In nature, animals mostly eat only to survive, but in the Wild Forest, mortals slay each other over petty things. Muhajiel observed that weapons made it too easy to turn what would otherwise be a nonfatal fist fight into a deadly battle. Even the shedim and ravin, with their claws and talons, rarely kill one another when unarmed. But place a blade in their hands, and blood is spilled, and death is no far behind.

Muhajiel preached that the advent of iron made it too easy to manufacture weapons. Iron was a cruel, cold metal. His preachings often delved into arcane alchemy, but at it's heart, his philosophy stated that we make it too easy to kill one another. Iron poisons our minds and hearts. When it becomes easy to kill, we become more prone to kill. When it becomes hard to kill, we concentrate on other less lethal solutions, and other less lethal crafts. Muhajiel exhorted his followers to discard their iron weapons. His followers were not unarmed. Rather, those who felt a need for some sort of defense were encourage to build one from wood. Quarterstaves and spears were common, as well as bows. Under his tutelage, bronzework was also encouraged, though he cautioned that people should only ever make bronze weapons for themselves. Only the smith knows the effort needed to make a weapon, and only the smith would therefore not take the weapon for granted.

Muhajiel also fostered a sense of camaraderie among his followers. Their shared suffering forged a brotherhood of community unheard of in the Wild Forest. Within a century, the Wild Forest had been purged of iron, and almost all its inhabitants followed Ferroclasty, even if they were not actually followers of Muhajiel. The Wild Forest ceased to be a place of murder.

Muhajiel looked beyond the Wild Forest and saw that the so-called Free Kingdoms were also slaves to iron, which caused wars and in-fighting. Muhajiel began to export his philosophy beyond the Wild Forest, leaving the place a Wild Land again, as he founded his Caliphate and thus transformed the world.



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