Ash-Shallal Al-Hadi

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 Recent history: the disease, political climate etc.

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Join date : 2016-11-27

Recent history: the disease, political climate etc. Empty
PostSubject: Recent history: the disease, political climate etc.   Recent history: the disease, political climate etc. Icon_minitimeThu Dec 08, 2016 6:26 am

No one knows what caused the disease, or even what to call it. Whether simply some variation on "The Illness" or "the marthambles" or whatever else, its mention strikes fear into the hearts of all who hear it.
It swept through Ash-Shallal and Fahari alike, decimating the population.

At first, the disease has no symptoms. The incubation period can take weeks, as the illness slowly weakens the body and emaciates the victim. Then the sufferer, previously already frail, suddenly worsens dramatically.
Symptoms at this stage:
-Extremely contracted pupils and photophobia.
-Sometimes, fur loss.
-Very high fever that can progress into extreme chills and back again in a short span of time.
-Extreme weakness.
-Muscle spasms and cramps.
-Extreme difficulty swallowing and keeping food down, as in the earlier stages.
-Sores in and bleeding from the mouth and/or nose as well as under the skin, often leading to suffocation.

After this point, if the victim does not die within seven days, it is reliable knowledge that if they are strong enough they will survive.
No one knows how it is spread, but no matter what preventative measures are taken, there has been no cure found -- only time and prayer. A recent fire seems to have eliminated new occurrences of the disease, but by now it has already claimed many lives.
Strangely, those who survive the disease and exhibit the fur loss symptom typically regrow their fur. However, it grows back a different colour coded for by the sufferer's genetics -- a previously melanistic lioness may develop patches of vivid orange where she lost fur, and the stress may be a trigger for any vitiligo she carries, creating a calico, for example.
The symptom has basically introduced a 'calico' or 'chimera' gene into the gene pool of the survivors -- or something. 'Or something' is the best explanation possible, but it's highly likely none is needed, as the sickness is not of natural origin...

Shortly after the disease vanished, the qOrowa auxiliaries showed themselves again and offered a lioness from their ranks, Temitoph, to replace the deceased shaman of Fahari. The pride then crowned a new king (Dejen) and fueled by their pre-existing hate for Ash-Shallal, declared war. Obviously it had been the sorcerers in the waterfall who sent the disease! But there was no one there to acknowledge the declaration, and eventually the king was convinced to retract it. Temitoph cemented her status and established a shadow network in Fahari, bent on preserving the grudging truce for as long as she could. Dejen, grieving the loss of his father and mother, left to travel -- essentially granting the horned lioness regency, but leaving her with his troublesome advisor and (said some) lover Rizah, who will be found to hide a dark secret...

The Manati were hit just as hard. The loss of their queen weighed heavily on them, and their Speaker had died as well, leaving them divided as they struggled to replace them both. The succession to the monarchy fell eventually to Umaiza, daughter of the deceased queen, but her lack of experience showed -- and lack of faith was rife throughout the pride. Into the role of Speaker came Soraya, a lioness of no renown except that Manat had saved her from the illness.

The current foreign relations are such:

An extremely uneasy truce. Their history is one of close connection, yet also of hate and prejudice; the Fahari have always thought of the Manati as an inferior race of liars and sorcerers, and to even the irreligious or foreign Ash-Shallal lions, the Fahari come across as a militaristic slave state hell-bent on killing them all.
Manati religion is meticulous about the memory of its martyrs, especially the many Speakers who have died as a result of essentially religiously motivated attacks, and in turn the Fahari fervently believe their adversaries to be the (albeit passive) aggressors.
Manati scripture speaks of the horrors of oppression under a Fahari hero-king, while the Fahari extol the holy duty of war against the followers of the waterfall demon.
The disease has weakened them and created an uneasy peace.

Distrust, but no overt hostility, on both sides.
The Ash-Shallal lions know of the qOrowa only as auxiliaries to the Fahari cause and as idolaters who worship effigies of strange gods, which naturally upsets them.
Similarly, the qOrowa tend to view Manatism as a charming little mystery cult that grew up as an offshoot of their own (better, according to them, obviously) faith. They are not necessarily incorrect; the same feline they venerate as their god of charity and hope was the first Speaker of the dwellers in the waterfall.
As contact opens up (and playing them becomes a possibility), learning more about one another will lead them to appreciate their distant relation more.
Currently, however, the lions of Ash-Shallal are not focused on the mysterious horned ones, and the qOrowa have more frightening enemies to contend with.

The Fahari laud the qOrowa and see them as allies sent by the gods to help wipe the Manati scourge from the earth. Their customs and gods are strange, but surely reflections of the Fahari's own! There is an implicit trust in the qOrowa that seems almost eerily universal to the Fahari. Perhaps it is right to see it as eerie: are these truly mortal lions if even the most frightening among them can with such certainty inspire trust?
On the other side of the coin, it is more sinister; though only observing for now, the sons and daughters of the King in the Place Where the Sky is Stone do not balk at using manipulation to get ahead, and feel no especial kinship to the pride. They are merely aligning themselves with the side occupying the land in which they choose to live that is most likely to win, and their allegiance is mercurial, decided only by the auguries and the political lay of the land.
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