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Author Topic: The K’miar and Hammam  (Read 272 times)


Offline Lucky al-Izar

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The K’miar and Hammam
« on: Nov 11, 18, 08:27:34 PM »

The K'miar

The K'miar are a monastic order that is based in Arnadeth Temple found in western Pruul and are custodians of one of the oases of the desert. They are most known for being practitioners of the ritual of Hammam. They however do not believe the ritual is the conclusion, but merely the beginning of a journey of self-mastery known as the Harmonious Path. The K'miar’s symbol is a brazier lit aflame, a symbol of purification and transformation.

The Harmonious Path is the idea of bringing the energies of the soul and the four elemental energies of Earth, Air, Fire and Water into harmony with each other. In doing so, this allows the soul to grow beyond its limits and obtain true mastery of the self. How the Path is achieved varies from one K'miar to the next and 'schools of thought' are known to exist within the ranks yet all K'miar believe in a few fundamental truths.

1. The energies of the soul manifest as emotions. To harmonize them brings peace to the soul and cultivates self-awareness.
2. The soul is often in conflict with itself as it tries to harmonize the energies within it. This hampers spiritual growth and removes one from its connection to the divine.
3. Hammam brings harmony where there was none but takes a conscious mind to keep it so.

Initiation and Training

One does not join the K'miar on their own. A K'miar accepts, or denies, possible initiates as they so choose but between their Birthright and Offering is preferred. How or what criteria each K'miar look for varies. When the opportunity is offered, and should it be accepted, the initiate takes the K'miar's first name as a surname (ibn [name]) out of respect. The initiate is then taught basic meditation and self-reflection in preparation for the Second Breath, a ritual that reveals to them their true self. The ritual, always performed at Arnadeth, is dangerous to one's Chalice and is why the K'miar are selective to candidates - they must be able to survive the ritual.

Following the ritual the initiate is formally considered a disciple of their sponsor who is now their master. The master-disciple relationship runs deep as each explores the soul of the other to better their understanding of Hammam and the order's beliefs. Training lasts only until the master believes their disciple is ready and when so, puts the disciple through trials that are personalized to the individual to test their growth, self-mastery and understanding. Once completed the disciple becomes a recognized K'miar and is free to accept their own disciples.

Landens and the K'miar

Enlightenment and self-mastery is not restricted to Blood. Landen lines of disciples exist within the group and several of their insights have been cultivated by their fellow Blood (see below). Due to the difficulty of bridging the gap between Landen and Blood in regards to the spiritual (the Blood can sense it and touch it, Landens cannot) Landens are disciples of other Landen K'miar.

Hammam enacted by Landens yields the same feeling of being centered, focused and clear-sighted as usual. They cannot, however, recharge Jewels.

K'miar who offer Hammam to Landens must be careful. Performing the ritual in the manner one would for a Blood kills Landens. They are taught instead to bathe Landens while reciting mantras and hymns to soothe the Landen's mind as they are bathed. Doing so yields the basic effects of focus and clarity. 

The Hammam

Hammam is an ancient purifying ritual that enhances all Craft. It dates back almost 6,000 years, to the time before modern Pruul even formed. The Ardeneth Temple, home to the ritual, was built a thousand years later. The temple—the pinnacle of architecture of not only that time, but some say all of Pruul—is a hard weeks ride from where Onn was eventually constructed. The temple was built over an oasis, Priest Warlord Ardeth al-Bali the founder of Hammam’s current form. The ritual consists of four distinct steps and it is always performed naked and by a member of the opposite sex. Although Priests and Priestesses are able to imbue the ceremony with the greatest effect, all castes are able to be trained in the process of Hammam.

The Process

1. Fire

Once naked, the supplicant enters into a large room, specifically purified for the ritual. The room is circular with a large raised dais in the center, elaborately tiled. They are shown into a sauna in the corner, hot stones heated with fire to such a point that one’s skin is completely saturated, a light sheen visible in the candlelight. This expels the toxins from the body and allows the intricately spelled water to enter into the body. One typically stays in the sauna for about ten minutes, allowing for the pores to open while the K’miar—the overseer of the ritual—changes into a loincloth.       

2. Water

The supplicant then sits on a tiled bench while the K’miar scoops water out of cistern with an etched silver bowl. The water is from the oasis, so ancient that some believe it was created when Mother Night herself wept for her children. The K’miar pours the water gently over the supplicant’s skin, making sure to clear away all signs of sweat from the sauna. Originally, Ardeth performed an ancient Craft on the oasis that locked in both the magical and natural properties of the water—a ritual that has been passed down to a single Priest or Priestess that has taken possession of the temple after him. As tradition is strong in Pruul, preference is given to a male Priest, but if none is available the honor goes to a woman.

3. Earth

After this is accomplished, the K’miar dawns a glove, rough grains of sand on the outside to thoroughly scrub the supplicant’s body. To make sure no area is missed, the supplicant lays down on the raised dias while the K’miar works, the large room heated to ensure comfort. After the scrubbing, water from the warmed cistern is used to clear away the sand. This process peels away a thin layer of dead skin, freeing the body from weeks or months of grime, and ensuring that the potent water can sink deep into the body, spurring the Spirit, the connection to one’s Craft.

4. Air

The K’miar then gets out a bucket with a washboard fit snuggly inside. A finely spun cotton bag is rapidly scrubbed in the bucket, which holds both warm water and jasmine or lavender soap. Once the soap has sunk into the bag, the K’miar forcefully throws the water out of the material by snapping it quickly through the air. Once it is sufficiently wrung out, he or she captures air into the bag and holds it tight, creating a balloon like object. With this, the K’miar rubs the remaining soap, not a gentle lather, all over the supplicants skin. Some say this process feels like clouds have come down from the sky and kissed you. Once done, the K’miar expels the air from the bag, creating a thick layer of bubbles that coats the body. He or she repeats this step until the supplicant is covered from neck to feet in bubbles. The K’miar then scrubs the supplicant down, massaging the soap into their skin before rinsing them with cold water from a separate spelled cistern.

The Effect

The effect of the Hammam is staggering to those who experience it for the first time. Their body is purified of not only the physical dirt that builds up on their skin, but the mental filth that accrues in them as well. This allows them a very rare clarity and peace of mind that is uncommon to experience. The great Opal Priestess Queen, Saiph Nagi, that first brought the rains to Pruul underwent Hamman before the ceremony. Healers have been known to not only be able to mend flesh and bone quicker, but to perform complex Craft that they had previously struggled at. Warlord Princes have reported either a sharper focus, their minds more attuned to their bodies than ever before, or a calm that they have never known in their entire lives. The effects of the ritual last a week at most. Scholars from all over the Realms, both Light and Dark, have come to the Ardeneth Temple to study the effects of the ritual, but the secrets of the process have never been revealed by the K’miar.

Other Craft and Rituals

As part of their line of scholarship, insight and training the K'miar have cultivated several techniques, Craft and Rituals.

Four Elemental Combat Forms
Originally created by Shahab ibn Ardath, the four styles of Earth, Fir, Air and Water were originally designed as tools to help teach Warlord Princes the Harmonious Path by attuning combat techniques to the four elemental energies. It has since expanded to be the primary combat curriculum of K'miar.

Air Form   Air is the element of the mind whose emotions are linked to self-appraisal. Pride, an emotion of Air, is channeled when using Air Form. It is a style designed to be aware of, and thus exploit, the weaknesses of your opponent. A graceful fighting form it is superior in one on one combat but is weak against multiple enemies. Air form could use Craft to enhance the senses as the form is about exploiting weaknesses and basically playing with the opponent until you get one.

Fire Form   Fire is the element of joy, heightened passions and transformation/change. This form channels one such heightened emotion - anger. Fire Form is extremely offensive designed to overwhelm enemies quickly like a raging bonfire. Fire Form easily combines Craft use of speed and strength into its technique, making it superior against multiple opponents. It's weakness is that it is mentally draining. Anger burns hot fast, but flash fires fade quickly. For example, someone practicing fire form could use Craft to increase their strength for their hyper-aggression attacks, since the style advocates decimating enemies quickly via all-out attacks.

Earth Form   Earth is a grounding element and thus emotions of certainty like satisfaction, or uncertainty like worry (not fear), fall under its purview. Earth Form channels the emotion of courage. It is a very defensive form that relies on outlasting opponents and then delivering crushing counter-attacks while one waits. Due to the reliance on defense, Earth Form is the more physically demanding of the forms. Someone practicing Earth form could use Craft to enhance their weapons or shields, since Earth form advocates stalling out opponents until they're winded, then slowly press the advantage until they submit.

Water Form   Water is ever-flowing, mutable, and feeds life where there is none. Emotions tied to water are those that make one retreat from, or interact with, the world. Compassion is the emotion channeled into Water form, which is a hybrid-style of the other three forms. It's strength relies on its flexibility at the cost of the perks of the other forms. As a result it is usually the form used by non-warriors.

Biorhythmic Control
The first Landen K'miar, Drushal al-Tabur ibn Ardath, believed that mastery of the body was the first step to mastery of the soul. He could last a week without water, weeks without food and contortion his body in ways that defied how the body works as he controlled his metabolism and tightening/loosening of muscles. Blood have difficulty mastering Drushal's techniques given the Blood's necessity for food to fuel their Jewels but have cultivated Craft that mimics some, but not all, of Drushal's feats.

The Atun
Known as 'Walking the Atun' and named after the brazier that is their symbol, it is a fire ceremony where supplicants walk into and across open flame. It is a test of faith and a symbolic representation of the K'miar's journey to master themselves, including whether or not they will be burned. Some have said they have seen visions or insights of themselves as they walk the Atun. It is a festive ritual for when several K'miar meet and is also performed for disciples who receive their Offering as a form of baptism.

-Written by Kenna and Lochlan