Campaign of the Month: November 2011
Avatar: Conquest of the Imperial Order
The era when the Emporium ruled is known as the dark times. Non-benders were reduced to slavery, an era of tyranny and bloodshed under the rule of the Saarebas. Eventually, the Empire would begin to crumble after nearly 200 years as they were becoming unable to keep up with the massive amount of abominations resulting from the practice. As chaos continued, they were unable to find the new Avatar, after so effectively killing each young reincarnation before he mastered the elements, they now had too much on their hands. Fow Rung, and Earthbending avatar grew to adulthood and mastered the four elements. The fully realized Avatar led a revolt in the capitol and toppled the empire. It would be centuries before the world would begin to recover, and nearly all information about the blood rituals was destroyed to ensure it would never gain power again. Not all knowledge of the dark art was lost however.
A Saarebas is someone gifted in one of the Bending Arts who sacrifices some of their life force in the form of blood to create a small bridge to the Spirit World and either borrow powers from a willing spirit, or summon spirits against their will to aid you. This can only be achieved by a bender, as they have a stronger connection to the spirit world then other people. Preforming this practice is extremely dangerous, for if one borrows from a powerful spirit and tries to pull too much of its powers through the demon can eventually come all the way through and being too powerful for the bender to control, take over their soul and body, turning them into an abomination. This is when a demon has taken over a bender and uses their body as a vessel to exist in the physical world. The terror they can reap in infamous, but they become mortal in the physical world. Killing them however is no easy task.
Another form of this art, which includes binding a spirit to an item and preforming the ritual only to gain power from that spirit, is not the same as being a Saarebas. This form of the art doesn’t open a bride to the spirit world, but only to the spirit within that item. One can still become an abomination if they are tempted to use too much power from the spirit, but only that one spirit could get out, the bender isn’t actively opening a bridge to the spirit world like a Saarebas is. Note that many spirits bound too weapons are also good spirits who would not try to take ones body.
Saarebas became infamous during the Age of Darkness. The practice was discovered during the War of Four Elements, the second Great War of the Avatar World. As the balance was breaking the Veil between worlds grew weaker, and a Waterbender named Endrin discovered the art of Blood Rituals. He was renowned as a Bloodbender as well as the first Saarebas. Endrin begin forming an army of blood ritualists, teaching other benders the art. Soon they marched through The Land of Earth, conquering the then above ground capitol of Ba Sing Se. From there their numbers would grow and in the chaos of the world at war they would form the Exalted Emporium which would go on to conquer nearly all of the known world. One of the few peoples they never conquered were the remote temples of the Air Nomads. The capitol of the Emporium, Endris City, would be the seat of power for the empire. It is now the capitol of the White Mantel.
The massive city of Endris, once the capitol of the Exalted Emporium was named after Endrin, the man who started and ruled over the Emporium during the Age of Darkness. The city is built up against a mountain. On the other side of the rock wall was a huge valley surrounded by towering cliffs, making access to it all but impossible. Endrin had them tunnel through the mountain where the front of the city was built, creating a long tunnel through the mountain wall and into the valley where the massive heart of the metropolis was built. Once a place of terror and fear, the city is now the capitol of the White Mantel, and has become the largest economic center in the world, gathering massive amounts of income from trading as well as exports across the globe. Endris also has the largest agricultural revenue in the world, earning it the nickname the breadbasket of the world. Despite its new rule, the cities many statues depicting Saarebas overlords and dark walls and architecture leave a reminder of the past evil that ruled here.