A History of the Order of Mamaka the Master of Steel
& the Order of the Warriors of Mameka
(as well as the Order of Khamar)
by James Chokey.
Corani Origins: The Order of Khamar (approx. 420-491 TR)
Although the Order of Mamaka the Master of Steel claims 574 TR as its founding date, its origins can be traced back to the now-extinct Order of Khamar, which enjoyed some popularity among Corani legionnaires in the 5th century. That order, whose chief temple stood at at Kustan, also attempted (unsucessefully) to proselytize among the Kubora. [The choice of Kustan, a remote legionary fort as a chief temple was deemed odd by other Agrikans, but Khamar priests considered the site sacred, believing it to have been the location of one of the original 888 cairns lain by the early church prophets].
Unfortunately for the Order of Khamar, Kustan fell to an attack by the Kubora in 477 TR. The temple there was destroyed, its treasures plundered, and the great majority of its priests and Terahni slain. The sack of Kustan crippled the order. The remaining Khamar priests (and most lay followers) began to abandon the order after it became clear that the scholarly emperor Sylud would not send the imperial legions to retake Kustan.
But, in 485 TR, Sylud died and was succeeded by Saurach, an Agrikan fanatic. The few remaining priests of the Order of Khamar found in him a generous patron. Gathering in Coranan, they received state sponsorship. Several Khamar priests became imperial advisors. Some historians believe it was they, more than anyone else, who persuaded Saurach to make Agrikanism the official religion of the Empire.
In 491, Saurach issued the famed 'Unification Writ', banning all churches other than the Hierarchy of Eternal Flame. However, just minutes after signing the Writ, Saurach was assassinated. Mindrathar, the emperor who suceeded him, was a pragmatist rather than a zealot. In the first few months of his reign, he repealed all of the religious laws that his fanatical predecessor had issued, stopped supporting the Agrikan church from imperial coffers, and left the Order of Khamar in a lurch. Having placed all of its coals in Saurach's hearth,the order was left with no support, no money, and no perceivable future. The Hierarchy of Eternal Flame declared the order dissolved shortly therafter.
Exile in Merethos (491-562 TR)
Although Khamar had ceased to exist as a recognized order, a small group of devoted priests sought to keep its embers from going out altogether. Banished from Coranan by the new emperor, they took up residence in Merethos (now Golotha). Bitter over the cruel turn that fortune had dealt them, they developed a hatred for the Kuborans (who had destroyed their temple), for the Emperor Sylud (who had not even tried to reclaim Kustan), and for the Emperor Mindrathar (who had repealed all of the pro-Agrikan laws and exiled them). The memories of Saurach's patronage and the dreams of what-might-have-been stoked the fires of bitterness and vengeance still further.
Finding it difficult to make converts, the ex-Khamarists eventually gave up prosletyzing and became a small private 'cultlike' community. They and their descendants, bitter and vengeful, began to nurse the fantasy that somehow, some day, some way, they would re-establish themselves as an order— and even more— that they would help bring about an Agrikan theocracy such as they had attempted to found under the rule of Saurach.
The Balshan Jihad: From Khamar to Mamaka (approx. 562-588 TR)
When the Balshan Jihad came to Merethos a century later, the successors of these Khamar priests did nothing. Too few in number to make a difference in fighting the Morgathians, they were also so obscure as to escape their notice. Though some thought it cowardly not to take up arms against the Worshippers of Death, the group's leader persuaded them that greater glory could be gained for Agrik by remaining hidden The Balshans, he observed, were intent on destroying the Corani Empire, but they could not possibly hold onto power for long after. And, once that happened, there would be a power vacuum that they themselves could then occupy, and perhaps— if they were resolute— they could build a new Agrikan regime centered in Merethos.
It was then and there that the descendants of the Khamar priests declared themseves to again be an order with a particular mission. They took a new name, choosing one from a curious figure in Agrikan mythology, calling themselves: The Order of Mamaka, the Master of Steel. In the short term, their goal was simply to survive the Jihad by remaining concealed, but in the long term, they sought nothing less than the creation of an Agrikan theocracy in western Hârn.
Under Morgathian Rule (588-635 TR)
Much to the surprise of the Mamaka Master of Steel priests, Morgathian rule proved not to be so short-lived. Even after Horahnam, the leader of the Theocracy, was assassinated, a second Theocracy immmediately sprung up in Golotha and took control of the surrounding region.
When it became apparent that this Second Theocracy would not simply fail, Mamaka the Master of Steel realized its plans would have to be modified. Rather than just waiting to seize power after the Theocracy collapsed, they would have to find some way to help speed up the process. They would also have to ensure that there would be no other claimants to power following that collapse. It decided to adopt a policy of infiltration into the Morgathian Church and the government of the Theocracy. It also decided to create an affiliated order of lay 'agents' and assassins, called the Warriors of Mamaka, to do much of their dirty work.
Infiltration was a long slow process and taught the order a virtue that is possessed by few Agrikans: patience. As the decades passed, many of its agents rose in the ranks of the Theocracy, acquiring positions of power, planning for the day when they'd be able to bring an end to the Theocracy from within. In the meantime, they acted like loyal Morgathians and further urged on the persecution of all other groups that might conceivably be an a position to make a power grab once the Theocracy did collapse: including other Agrikan bands, followers of other religions, noble/wealthy families, etc. The goal was to ensure that, when the Theocracy was finally brought down, there was a power vacuum that could only be filled by their order.
Arlun's Conquest: Mamaka Emerges (635-656 TR)
The order's plan was progressing slowly and surely. But in the 630s it was all thwarted by a Kuboran tribal leader named Arlun. Within a few years, Arlun's Kuboran army (aided by a few allies from northern Rethem) conquered the Second Theocracy and declared the kingdom of Rethem.
All of the long-laid plans so patiently pursued by Mamaka the Master of Steel were crushed by this unexpected barbarian invasion. To make matters worse, Arlun had banned the Morgathian Church and was executing the old theocrats, whose ranks included many of their own priests and assassins.
It was here that the Order of Mamaka decided to play a dangerous game. It decided, one the one hand, to declare itself publically and pledge loyalty to the new barbarian-king so that it could acquire some political status in the new state that was forming. They also reorganized the Warriors of Mameka, transforming them (at least outwardly) into a more traditional and 'thuggish' Agrikan fighting order— although an emphasis on secrecy and internal discipline remained.
On the other hand, the Order of Mamaka secretly and covertly gave aid to the persecuted Morgathian theocrats. Its goals in doing so were multiple. First and foremost among these is the fact that many of the theocrats were actually Mamakan agents. Additionally, they also hoped that the Morgathians could be used as a counterbalance to Arlun's Kuborans— that they would be able to play the two groups against each other, as it were, in order to keep both of them in check.
The Reign of Obras: Mamaka and the Warriors Gain Influence (656-642 TR)
When Arlun died and his son Obras, only half Kuboran, succeeded, the great Kuboran army went home. Revolts broke out across Rethem, and many within the order of Mamaka the Master of Steel believed that it was time to seize power. The current Senesharil, however, deemed that the the time was not yet ripe.
The Order, however, did accomplish the following three 'small-scale goals'. First, they were instrumental in effecting the compromise between Obras and the Morgathians that gave the latter effective control of Golotha via the Heptarchial Council. (A strange goal, perhaps, but let's remember they've got spies in high-ranking positions among the Morgathians…)
Secondly, they directed the Warriors, now become a substantial military force, to aid Obras in putting down these revolts. This bid seems to have paid off, because, in exchange for their assistance aid, King Obras granted the Warriors of Mameka three small manors in Anerath hundred, near Golotha.
Finally, the clerical order began to expand its spy network, infiltrating other Agrikan orders and many noble families in Rethem.
King Nemiran: The Promise of Bedenes (672-681 TR)
Nemiran's reign was punctuated by the same kinds of revolts as those faced by Obras. While the clerical order maintained its low profile, the Warriors of Mamaka aided the new king much as they had aided Obras.
Consequently, they expected that Nemiran would grant them still more lands— and indeed, there is some reason to believe that the king privately promised them a sizable chunk of land along the kingdom's northern frontier, near present-day Bedenes. (The keep had not yet been built).
Regardless of expectations or promises, the Warriors seem to have been unable to extract a written grant for this land from Nemiran, even though the king made substantial grants to other Agrikan fighting orders. The Warriors now (in 720 TR) claim that Nemiran did in fact give them this land, but the fact that the alleged writ of enfoeffment seems to have been lost by both the Warriors and the Sanguine Saltire (Rethem's heraldic college) would appear to belie this claim.
Ezar's War and Seizures of Powers (681-697 TR)
In 682, Ezar's War broke out between Kanday and Rethem. While most Agrikan orders eagerly supported this anti-Laranian war, both Mamaka the Master of Steel and its fighting order, the Warriors of Mameka, remained aloof. Insulted by King Puril's refusal to confirm the grant of Bedenes that had (supposedly) been promised by his predecessor Nemiran, the Warriors sent only token troops to fight for the crown. The priests of Mamaka the Master of Steel, similarly, paid only lip service to the war effort.
The decision to remain distant from Ezar's War seems to have served both orders well. Many orders— most notably the Fuming Gate and the Copper Hook— were gravely weakened by this fifteen year struggle. By contrast, the priests of Mamaka the Master of Steel and the Warriors of Mamaka seem to have taken advantage of the war to further their individual ends.
In 689, during a crucial period of Ezar's War, the clerical order of Mamaka effected an ecclesiastical coup. Following the death of Garyn Elkras, the reigning Apalankh of Hârn (of the Order of the Fuming Gate) a series of assassinations and mysterious disappearances eliminated most candidates for the office. Almost by default the grandmaster of the Order of Mamaka the Master of Steel Sensharil became the new Apalankh.The other orders, too embroiled in Ezar's War to object, had to accept this coup as a fait accompli.
The following year, the Warriors of Mameka, buoyed by the success of their parent order (and perhaps the death of King Puril), decided that the time had come for them too to act. While the kingdom's attention was still directed southwards to the war, the Warriors went north to Bedenes and seized it and the surrounding settlements by force. They also began to build a keep, so that it could be more securely held against attacks by either Kuborans or the Rethemi crown (although construction was slow due to wartime shortages of goods and labor and the keep was not actually finished till after the war, in 699).
Thus, by the time Ezar's War came to an end in 697, both the clerical Order of Mamaka the Master of Steel and the fighting Order of the Warriors of Mameka, had made impressive gains. The crown and the other orders, weakened by 15 years of fighting, had little choice but to accept these achievements. In 698, King Chafin I formally recognized the Warriors' right to Bedenes, while, over the course, of years, the other orders grudging came to accept that Mamaka the Master of Steel now had a secure grip on the primacy.
Since Ezar's War (697-720 TR)
Since Ezar's War, the Order of Mamaka has maintained a firm grip on the primacy. It has managed to do this by maintaining its excellent intelligence system, through a tacit alliance with the Morgathian Church, and by successfully playing the other orders off against each other. Indeed, many suspect that the Order of Mamaka helped to engineer the schism within Herpa the Mace (i.e. the one that resulted in the creation of the Order of the Eight Demons), in order to weaken its power and to establish a force that could be used to counterbalance it. The Order of Mamaka has also not refrained from engaging in overt temple war when it seems necessary or useful, as the destruction of the only temple of the Order of the Pillar of Fire in 717 shows. It is unknown whether the order's priests still dream of establishing an Agrikan theocracy in Rethem or whether they are now content to maintain their dominance over the Hârnic Agrikan church through the office of Apalankh.
The Order of the Warriors of Mameka have spent most of their time since the end of Ezar's War 'crusading' against the Kubora. They, like many Mamakan priests, yearn for the day when Kustan might 'again' be in their hands.
This page is part of the Hârn Religion Team
Page last updated on July 29, 2002 by Jim Chokey