The Silver Cities, also known as the Silver League or the League of the Silver Cities, is the second kingdom of magic and home of the Wizards in Ashan. It was established after the Purge of the Necromancers and the Civil war in the Seven Cities which destroyed the ancient cities of the former kingdom, the Seven Cities.
Foundation and riseEdit
In 751 YSD, the Wizards of the Seven Cities, the first kingdom of magic, became jealous and suspicious of the political power the Necromancers had acquired during the Rise of the Necromancers between 610 and 660 YSD. A large-scale persecution was then initiated and the Wizards seized the Necromancer's properties. Some were banished from the kingdom, and others were even publicly executed. Coupled with their previous attempts, this resulted in to a long and gruesome civil war - the Civil war of the Seven Cities. The new king, Alaron of Irollan and the Holy Falcon Empire, provided aid to the Wizards in 756 YSD in their wars against the Necromancers. At the end of the war, in 770 YSD, most of the ancient cities were destroyed and much of the southern deserts are rendered uninhabitable.
The surviving Wizards established the Silver Cities, the second kingdom of magic, in 771 YSD after the destruction of the Seven Cities. Sometime after the foundation of the Silver Cities the Archmage Cyrus became First of the Circle – leader of the Circle of Nine, the governing body of the kingdom and he was also proclaimed king at some point.
During the War of the Broken Staff between 813 and 822 YSD the Necromancers, who had fled to Heresh after the civil war, tried to crush the Silver Cities as vengeance but the Wizards were victorious and invaded Heresh and the kingdom of Necromancy was shattered. Cyrus was the one who ordered the attack and was aided by King Oleg and they sent their troops to Lorekeep were they destroyed the town and killed the Necromancer Sandro, Markal's mentor and master.
Later, when Markal was banished from the Griffin Imperial court by Emperor Alexei Griffin IV and Godric Unicorn, Cyrus and his fellow mages helped them because of Markal's schemes and treacheries. Cyrus also managed to obtain the Vampire’s Garment which originally belonged to the exiled Markal and separated the various items in different locations within the Silver Cities.
The Blade of Binding was a sword that gave the wielder the power to control Demons and was created after the Fourth Blood Moon Eclipse in 843 YSD. A few individuals were sworn to protect the sword and one of them, named Lady Delara, came from and represented the Silver Cities.
Azh Rafir, a citizen of the Silver Cities and husband of Delara, tried to obtain this sword in 929 YSD to release Kha-Beleth from the prison world of Sheogh and in the search for it one of his Demon servants, Azexes, killed Delara. Nadia, Azh Rafir’s daughter with Delara, managed to defeat him with the help of Cyrus, Anwen, Godric, Fiona, and Aidan, and she destroyed the Blade of Binding afterwards. Some time after the incident Nadia married and had a child together with Cyrus, which they named Zehir.
In 951 YSD after the Fifth Blood Moon Eclipse the Demons, led by Kha-Beleth, appeared in Ashan and were confronted by the Gray Alliance - a coalition led by Emperor Alexei of the Holy Griffin Empire, High King Alaron of Irollan and Archmage Cyrus, First of the Circle of the Silver Cities. During the end of the war Alaron and Cyrus hesitated in the final attack against the Demons who had been pushed back at the gates of Ur-Hekal in Sheogh. Without their aid Alexei pushed forward but this decision led to his death along with his household knights. This conflict was to be known as the War of the Gray Alliance, or War of the Eclipse.
Queen Isabel's WarEdit
Sometime after Fifth Lunar Eclipse, Cyrus brilliance begun to fade as a huge ego and tendency to avarice started to emerge but he was still a powerful mage. This was one of the reasons that he laughed at the request of aid against the Demon invasion in the Holy Griffin Empire by Godric and his daughter Freyda Unicorn. This was because of his involvement in the previous war and that Cyrus refused to follow King Alexei in the final battle in Sheogh. As the Wizard don’t believe in the Dragon gods and the devotion to them he also laughed at the empire's piety to Elrath.
When the Demon invasion in 969 YSD continued in the Holy Griffin Empire the Necromancer Markal tried to reach the empire to take advantage of the situation and travelled across the lands of the Silver Cities to achieve his goal.
After that Markal had allied himself with Queen Isabel Greyhound to resurrect the fallen King Nicolai Griffin and needed the Vampire’s Garment for the ritual. Together with the Holy Griffin Empire, Markal proclaimed war against the Silver Cities to regain his old belongings and get revenge on Cyrus. Isabel’s also had another reason for the war between them which was the betrayal that Cyrus had insulted their realm and refused to aid them against the Demons.
The war has gone poorly for the Wizards; first they lost the old Necromancer city Lorekeep located near the border of the Holy Griffin Empire and then Markal and his Undead forces landed on the shores of the Silver Cities’ mainland. After a couple of fierce battles the Wizards lost the cities of Hikm, Bahiyaa and Sihaam and Markal was then able to obtain all pieces but one of the Vampire’s Garment. The last one, the Ring of the Unrepentant, was located in the Silver Cities capital, Al-Safir, in the possession of Cyrus.
Markal pushed his troops forward and crushed the last defences of the Silver Cities and reached Al Safir but Cyrus managed to escape before the siege. Cyrus used the Ring of the Unrepentant to teleport himself to the magical reality of the ring. Markal sieged the capital and followed Cyrus where he looked for the Archmage in the vast labyrinths of the mystic realm until he found him. An epic battle between Cyrus’ and Markal’s armies started but Cyrus could not hold on for long and after his last soldier fell, Markal killed him.
After the defeat of Cyrus, Markal returned to Queen Isabel and Godric. With the Vampire’s Garment now intact Markal was able to begin the ritual to resurrect Emperor Nicolai. Godric then begun to have a change of heart and didn’t trust Markal which led to that he fell back and fortified at Hikm, taking a part of the Vampire’s Garment with him. Hikm fell shortly afterwards and Godric was spared by Isabel. The Silver Cities was now mainly under the Necromancer's control.
After his father’s death, Zehir was elected First of the Circle and therefore ruler of what was left of the Silver Cities. Zehir wanted revenge on Markal for what he had done to his family and his homeland so he started to take back the cities Markal had conquered. It started well after young Zehir had taken the city of Kadashman which was relatively easy as Markal only had left smaller garrisons to guard the area as he was busy fighting the Elves in Irollan and the Demons.
With enough troops at his command, Zehir could liberate the rest of the cities on the mainland and locating ancient lore of Sar-Elam to expand his knowledge and attributes. Zehir managed to take back the capital of the Silver Cities, Al Safir, and then moved on to the surrounding area and retook Lorekeep. He also seized the newly founded city of Newpost which was a smaller settlement and was built as outpost during Isabel’s and Markal’s invasion.
Zehir had liberated all of the Silver Cities and purged all of the Necromancers corruption in the kingdom. Only a short time later, a messenger named Galan arrived, with words from Irollan and Tieru, a now deceased Dragon Knight. Galan told Zehir of Tieru’s knowledge of the plot of Kha-Beleth who had used the Fourth Blood Moon Eclipse to mark Isabel as a child as the mother of the Demon Messiah. Zehir hurried and together with the Elves led by Findan, Humans led by Godric and the Dark Elves led by Raelag to save and hide Isabel from Kha-Beleth. Together they managed to defeat the Demon Sovereign after he had managed to take Isabel to Sheogh and she had given birth to the Demon Messiah. Worried that Isabel had been tainted by the event, Findan requested that she would stay in Sheogh but Zehir took them to the Silver Cities were they could restrain queen Isabel if necessary.
To the Wizards, there is "No Gods, no Masters. Knowledge is Power, and Power is Freedom”. The universe is a puzzle to be solved, by whatever means necessary. Knowledge is the Wizard’s true religion. Wizards do not view the Elemental Dragons as gods, but rather as the highest form of the spiritual beings. They are either metaphors for understanding and canalizing powers, or perhaps real entities that will eventually be comprehended given time. With enough study and experimentation, the Wizards believe that they too can achieve the power of the Dragons, as Sar-Elam did before. This can only happen through a lifelong quest for knowledge and an accumulation of power. These scientists of magic favor understanding, and believe in diversity.
All life carries knowledge and the smallest flower or animal might contain wisdom to help understand the whole. This path sometimes leads the Wizards to justify experiments that rationalize the sacrifice of any life in the quest for higher knowledge, a view that makes them appear arrogant, callous, controlling and supercilious to their peers.
Unlike most of the nations of Ashan, for the Wizards, however, Magic is simply a higher form of knowledge that must be developed through extensive study of arcane lore (mainly the teachings of Sar-Elam) and a rigorous discipline. Instead of praying to the Spirits, Wizards bend them to their will. The main source of their magic is therefore in the spirits that serve them and the artifacts they create or collect, in which spirits of all magnitude are bound. Wizards are masters of all schools of magic with no discrimination (excluding Necromancy, Chaos and the Void for obvious reasons). Their search for power and knowledge gives them access to all existing spells and has led them to develop new ways to use and combine them.
The mages do not have many traditions, as they only seek to learn new things. Still, for the war times, the Wizards don’t need to get in the middle of the fight. They tend to create golems and titans or bind spirits to aid them, whether it be a demon threat or an attack from the necromancers. In fact, a mocking joke was made about their tactics, saying that "Wizards are seen on the front lines about as often as Angels are found in Sheogh, at least if they have anything to say about it". Wizards stay in the rear echelon, preferably stationed on high ground so they can see and affect the battle without physical risk. They usually serve the role of long-range artillery, launching spells into the fray while staying safely behind the lines. They also tend to use mercenaries if they are unable to use their beastmen or constructs, meaning overall, the Wizards don't have an army of themselves. The only kind of wizards that actually get into the fight, would be the Sherif's and Blademages, which serve as either police officers and army leaders. This shows that while the wizards are more inclined to provide support from the rear, that doesn't mean they won't lift a finger to help their beastmen, spirit and construct forces. They also have healing tents and alchemists to aid and heal their wounded or repair their constructs.
To improve the military strength, they have made some experiments, the Beastmen, but many revolted and escaped the Silver Cities: harpies, centaurs, minotaurs etc. The only Beastmen that remained with their masters were the Rakshasas, half-human and half-feline, and having more privileges - as well as being widely feared and respected—was among the main reasons of their unfailing loyalty. They now serve as officers, bodyguards and hunters. In the past, when a new breed of beastman was created but didn't meet certain military requirements, then they trade their military use for a political one, normally trading them to their allies for aid, future alliances or for a simple favor. For example, in 512 YSD, when the Crimson Wizards created the shark guards but they didn't appeal to the Circle of Nine, they offered them to the Nagas of the Locust Empire. Another being when the exiled Crimson Wizards offered the minotaurs to the new Dark Elves of Ygg-Chall as a diplomatic gesture.
If one wishes to become a wizard, joining one of the Academies of Magic is free, but students, regardless of their age or species, are requested to take part to a four-year Tour of Duty in the Wizard armies. During their first two years, they gain the rank of Apprentice. In their final two years, apprentices gain the rank of Disciple. With this new rank, they must manage the new Apprentices, while being under the authority of a Master themselves, namely an elder Wizard or Blademage. The Master of the disciple teaches them the art of magical warfare.
In truth, the wizards of the Silver Cities are rather open-minded about one's background, compared to the other nations of Ashan, race and origin in particular. Background does not matter to them (though they draw the line with Demons, Necromancers and Orcs), anyone can become a wizard and once they have become so and gain a respectable degree of power, knowledge and/or possibly ally with one of the major Houses, they are treated as such.
When the Seven Cities existed, there were numerous houses that specialized in certain type of magic. Now only two known houses are part of the Silver League.
Houses of MagicEdit
This is the House of the Summoners who summon and bind spirits to their will, like for example, Djinns. They are located in Al-Imral and they are strong allies to House Materia.
The House of Shapers who mutate creatures into new forms. They are led by the Crimson Wizards in the City of Al-Rubit. This house is credited with having created the Beastmen and the Orcs, the later of whom were instrumental in defeating the Demons in the First Eclipse. However after the orcs were re-purposed as slaves they revolted, now their creations are considered the Wizards' (as a whole) greatest hubris. After the formation of the Silver League and the use of constructs became more favorable to the use of Beastmen, House Chimera had lost tremendous influence it once had and were now a shadow of what they once was. Due to their lack of status, the Crimson Wizards left the Silver Cities and created their own kingdom in the Free City of Karthal located on the coast of the Irisus Sea, on the Agyn Peninsula between the Dark Elf and Holy Falcon Empire territories. This territory is often nicknamed the "Crimson Empire" since their arrival, albeit often derisively. The Crimson Wizards are also the ones who gifted the Dark Elves with one-thousand loyal Minotaurs as a diplomatic gesture, which angered their fellow wizards.
This is the House of the Necromancers while they were still united with their wizard brethren. It was led by the angel, Belketh, and was based in Al-Betyl, using their undead servants to defeat the Orcs and beastmen when they revolted, gaining power and influence in the seven cities. After the discovery of the avatar of death, the Mother Namtaru, House Eterna became less of a magic school and more akin to a cult. However, the other houses grew fearful of House Eterna's growing power, fanatical beliefs and after the purge of the Necromancers in the Seven Cities and their defeat in the ensuring civil war, members of this house regrouped in Heresh and became the Necromancer faction. They are now hated rivals with the Silver league.
The House of the Alchemists, who use their magic in the building of constructs like golems, gargoyles and titans. They are based in Al-Safir. When the Silver League was established, House Materia became the dominant house.