The Prodigy Found
Bound, Praised, and Prime Urisha do not appear out of thin air. They are identified when young, then nurtured and supported to reach their fullest potential. As such, teachers and carers are instructed to keep close watch on Young Urishas, spotting those that may exhibit abilities and powers beyond those of a standard Prosaic. One might think that identifying such individuals is easy, but it is not - Urishas often do not get the gifts or abilities of their parents and although there are some cases (like that of Etin and Unsin) where Onuses are passed down, it is generally rare. Even the Primarchs, Emaja and Egun, are both the children of Prosaic and Bound Urisha.
Isangbe is also one such individual. Isangbe’s potential was discovered on a school trip to the Oruka Gate. As part of their education, Young Urishas are taken to various significant historical sites and the Oruka Gate – the main point of access between the Earth and the Oruka – is a significant one. This particular visit coincided with the routine maintenance that Alimo, the Bound Urisha of construction, and his team carried out every fifty years.
On this occasion an unusual malfunction occurred, causing the power unit in the gate to explode and seriously damage the gate terminal’s supports. It was then that Isangbe's eyes glowed bright golden for the first time and his powers bloomed. Instinctively his body radiated a shield of light large enough to protect his entire class, and after the dust had settled he displayed immense strength by removing rubble to rescue Alimo's trapped maintenance team.
His teacher reported this event to her superiors and the Praised Urisha Uru was ordered to take Isangbe under his wing. Decades have passed since Isangbe came under Uru’s tutelage, and the young Urisha is nearing maturity. Uru takes pride in his young protégé, believing that with Isangbe’s sharp thinking, numerous abilities, and strong sense of justice, the young Urisha may one day grow to take his place – but as a Prime Urisha.
In The Name of Balance
Storms are a standard affair. The wind flows as it does, the Earth will go through its cycles, and the weather Urisha make sure that it stays that way. Aya and Zangu, the Praised Urisha who manage the Earth's weather, ensure this. However, one day some centuries ago, a particularly violent storm struck one of Earth’s ocean with a force that had not been seen in a long time.
It was during a period of great commerce, and many ships were out at the time, and as the waves crashed and beat against their boughs, their passengers and crews turned to the Urisha for aid. They called to all the various weather and water Urisha, but especially to Aya, Master of the Wind. At the time Aya was visiting Ulukun, and was content to ignore the cries of those calling to her. Zangu, however could bear it no more and called to her himself, requesting she show mercy to the seafarers. Aya, sighed and came to the water's surface to see the storm for herself. It was indeed severe.
She settled on a passenger ship being tossed about in the sea like a leaf in the wind. She closed her eyes to feel the path of the wind, where it had been and where it was going. As she studied the wind, the humans on board came forwards and knelt at her feet begging for her to grant them kindness and save them. She looked down at them and shook her head.
“I cannot carry all of you, and if I calm this storm, then next month the rains will not go where they should. The Earth’s climate will be out of balance.”
The passengers looked on with horror as she turned to leave. Then suddenly she felt a tug on her dress hem.
“My children, please take them.” A small man with greying hair knelt behind her, his shaking hands gripping onto the fabric of her dress. His two frightened children, barely over the age of 10, stood behind him struggling to maintain their balance on the rocking ship.
Aya looked at him, then at the two children… something seemed familiar about them.
Their mother is Urisha isn't she?” Aya asked.
“Yes”, he responded, “please save them!”
Aya stepped over the man and grabbed the two children by their chins. She stared into the eyes of the girl first, then the boy second. She turned back to the girl:
“You are Urisha.”
Then to the boy.
“You, are not.”
She swiftly grabbed the girl and began floating up into the air. The crowd looked on with disbelief, as Aya glided away on the same wind that was striking their ship over and over again. They cried and called to her and the little girl in her arms screamed and begged her to return for her father and brother. But Aya had closed her ears to their calls.
And even as the ship was thrown against the rocks, and its human contents spilled into the sea, Aya still closed her ears to their calls.
The child in her arms thrashed about and hammered on her back. It did not hurt, but was incredibly annoying. Aya touched her fingertips to the girl’s temple and the child fell silent.
Aya smiled to herself. She had no children of her own, but maybe if she supported and trained this one well enough, the girl would grow to be even greater than her one day - another great servant of The Grand Purpose. And so Aya took the new Young Urisha under her wing.
The Young Urisha whose name was Toju.
The Great Human Siege
The Great Human Siege was and still remains one of the saddest days in Unsin's career. Her Onus is to protect the Earth, the Oruka, and every living thing on them - especially the humans. But what happens when the protected turn on their protectors?
It all began with one man. A man filled with such spite and hatred for all Urisha that it caused him to do the unthinkable – to declare war on them and convince others to do the same. Gaining support was not as hard as one might think; Ulukun's Great flood, the broken families, Aya’s indifference to human life- many had reason to consider the Urisha a plague on mankind. As this man gained more and more followers he came to be known worldwide as The Rejector.
Not all mankind was won over by The Rejector. There was vocal resistance to the anti-Urisha movement, and these loyalists tried to remind people that the Urisha were dedicated to balance, and not to human servitude. However, it was too late. The Rejector had claimed the hearts of Kings and laypeople alike and built the greatest army the world had ever seen.
The Rejector himself was a mystery. If anyone asked where he came from, he would simply answer “The sea”. Also, even though he was not an Urisha, his abilities and strength were very Urisha-like, and to this day no one knows where or how he attained such power. But it was with these same powers that he and his generals accomplished great deeds, and eventually overran the Oruka Gate and breached the Oruka’s outer walls.
As Urisha began to fall at the hands of the human forces, Unsin ordered the inner gates of the Oruka barricaded and shielded. She turned to Uru and the Primes for guidance. Left without a choice they instructed her to strike back at the human forces without mercy and bring The Rejector in for questioning.
The slaughter was great that day.
Thousands upon thousands of humans were slain, their bodies piled high in the streets of the Oruka. And as for The Rejector? He was burned completely when Aya, the most unrestrained of the fighting Urisha, redirected one of Zangu’s lightning bolts down onto his head. The Primarchs were furious that Aya was not able to display self-control and bring The Great Rejector in alive or whole - she had burnt him so badly they could not figure out who he was nor the source of his power.
But the battle was over and the siege was done: it was time for peace and order to be restored.
Sesewo's Mission Report
The streets of The Oruka were filled with celebration as Sesewo's crew landed and made their way to the Prime Heights. In tow were the two stasis pods they had retrieved from the crashed ship.
Turning Point 2: The Strangers
Upon the Alympian’s awakening, the Primes could immediately sense the same energy that emanated from the Dark Serpent 1000 years ago. Herakless acknowledged this, but insisted that the Great Serpent was a weapon of generations past, and that the current Alympians were peaceful explorers. The Urisha were divided on how to receive these strangers. The Primarchs turned to the Praised Urisha of Justice Uru and his protégé Isangbe. This would be a perfect opportunity to test Isangbe’s training. If he were ever to be an Urisha of Justice, choices like this would be his jurisdiction - his informed judgment of how they should treat these Alympians would need to be fair and right.
Isangbe saw three solutions, one supported by his mentor, Uru, a second backed by the influential and intelligent Aya, and the third, an unspoken thought he knew many Urisha were secretly thinking: - Uru senses no deception in Herakless’ words but still he suggests the Alympians be imprisoned and thoroughly interrogated. -Aya demands the Urisha welcome these strangers as honoured guests, and ask them to share knowledge and technology with them. -Isangbe knows a large number of Urisha believe they should execute the Alympians and be done with them. So now the choice must be made.
The Urisha Honour the Strangers as Guests
The Urisha will honour as guests Isangbe meets with the Primes in a private room to give his decision. Unsin, Aya and Uru are also present looking on with interest.
“Give us your judgement, Young Urisha,” Primarch Egun orders.
“I may be too young to have seen or experienced the devastation of the Dark serpent” Isangbe responded “But I have lived long enough to know one thing – that hospitality, patience and self restraint are some of the central ideals by which we Urisha carry out The Grand Purpose. These unarmed and vulnerable Alympians have been rescued by us, and now extend a hand of peace. We should not even have to debate this topic! We are Urisha of the Oruka, are we not?! Welcome these Alympians as guests!”
The seven Primes turned to each other and whispered quietly among themselves, then called over Aya, Uru and Unsin and continued their deliberation.
“It is decided,” Primarch Emaja said aloud turning to Isangbe, “Your wisdom is evident despite your youth, Young Isangbe. We have seen so much calamity this past millennium we almost forgot ourselves. We will extend the appropriate hospitality to these guests.”
“Wise indeed” Aya smiles and kisses the young Urisha on the forehead before gliding out of the room.
“You are not wrong, but the horrors we know the Alympians are capable of may have made caution or violence the logical course,” Unsin says sternly to him before she leaves.
“Your judgement was sound,” Uru said smiling proudly, “I think we’ve made the right choice.
To welcome their guests, the Urisha held a grand feast that carried on well into the night. The Alympians enjoyed themselves – especially Herakless who drank and ate heartily, regaling tales of his home world and their travels through space. Ikkarias was much more reserved but asked lots of questions, curious about the Urisha’s advanced construction techniques. Unsin stood in the shadows nursing a glass of water and watching the men closely.
As the night wound down and the griots began to play softer melodies, the Urisha began to take their leave one by one. It was then that Unsin’s fears came to fruition.
With a flash of his wings, Ikkarias grabbed a knife from the table and lunged across in the direction of Primarch Emaja who was in conversation with Uru. Unsin and Uru reacted swiftly and both leapt forward to intercept him.
Uru reached first, blocking Emaja and taking the blade to his own chest. Ikkarias, realizing he had failed to assassinate the Primarch leapt out the nearest window and flew of into the night. Wreaths of Egun and Zangu’s Iron and lightning bound the startled (and quite drunk) Herakless in place as Unsin ordered her soldiers to pursue Ikkarias.
Isangbe, ran across the room and knelt down cradling the dying Uru in his arms. “No, no, no this is all my fault.” Isangbe wept.
Uru reached up and gripped the Young Urisha’s shoulder, his voice rasping as he spoke his last few words “No, it is not - you judged fairly and rightly, just as your Onus dictated.
Hold your head, high young one, for the future will be difficult and the Urisha will need you to remind them of who they are.”
And with that, the sun set on Prime Urisha Uru’s Onus.
“The older Urisha dream of gentler days and the young Urisha, know nothing but calm and quiet. But this is a New Age, and the old ways will no longer be enough. Let this be a lesson.”
-Bound Urisha Unsin
What horror. What shame. What fury. A Praised Urisha, slain within the sacred halls of the Prime Heights. Such an event is unprecedented. The Oruka is the safest place within the realm of the Earth, and the Prime Heights are the safest halls of the Oruka. And yet within those very walls, before the Primes and Primarch’s themselves, the kind and just Uru was taken from us. Egengen groaned as he felt Uru’s energy return to whence it came in the Underlands, and lawmakers and judges all over Earth shuddered as they felt the vacuum left by their patron.
And worst of all poor, young Isangbe. He has isolated himself to his dorm and spent weeks without seeing anyone. Though Uru said otherwise, Isangbe still considered himself responsible for his mentors death – he believed that maybe if he had been better, more like Uru, then everything would be fine right now.
As for Aya, she vanished. No one knew where or why, but most assumed it was shame over being one of the main supporters of welcoming the Alympians.
Now the Urisha are angrier and more unstable than they have been for centuries and only time will tell what awaits them.
However Bound Urisha Unsin, suspects there is more to this attack than meets the eye and begins investigating. The imprisoned Herakless will be her first stop…