Tuesday, July 7, 2015

City of Curses: Icons: The Spice Khan (Fate Core)

Despite wanting to get back in InTransitMonsters, I decided to strike up something Crux related.  The Spice Khan, everyone.  InTransitMonsters will go up Friday, although I might post 2 sooner than that.

Here is the latest in the series on the Icons of #Crux, City of Curses.  The Spice Khan, whose wealth and exotic status can be felt throughout Crux.  After aiding Ith in its revolution, she enjoys the prospect of controlling her mercantile empire from Crux.  She fears that it is nearing its end, though, as new industries are coming that make her spice obsolete for controlling the markets of the Maru and Sleeping Seas.  She did appear in my last short story, "Iron Justice" as well, if you are looking for a fictional interaction with her.

The Spice Khan

Aspect: "Whosoever Controls the Spice, Controls the World."
Click here to see the original artist of this pic.

Quote: "The Maliphi have long controlled the Sleeping Sea, longer than any dream held by Ainesia or Othebea.  Ours is a ancient, glorious venture.  Do not doubt us, our strength is always greater than you can guess."

The Spice Khan is the wealthiest Khan of all Maliph.  She controls the Spice Trade that flows from all over the world and into the Maru Sea.  The Spice Khan also is one of the largest employers of Crux- both in that she is a Sand Giant, and in that she employs a vast number of enterprises.

Common Knowledge
The Spice Khan lives in her massive barge in the docks of the Port of Crux.  Her barge is dominated by a massive Silk Tent, where she conducts and manages her interests all over the City of Curses.  Most believe her to stay almost all of the time on her barge, rarely leaving it.

The Spice Khan is a Sand Giant, one of the few beings of her size to live within Crux itself.  Towering over most at a height of thirty feet, the Spice Khan can cut a intimidating figure, although at a distance she appears more like a young blonde, dark-skinned woman in her purple, white and blue robes.  Her dark bronze crown, marking her the ruler of Nephkha.  Of course, the crown originally worn by humans is tiny on her frame- the Spice Khan often wears it on her left thumb.

The Spice Khan's janissaries act as her proxies throughout Crux.  Because her size could be problematic throughout Crux, she often uses her janissaries to manage her businesses and interests.  They can carry her authority in most cases.  These janissaries are very disciplined.  But they aren't the only people who carry the Spice Khan's authority.

Many others work for the Spice Khan, loyal to Maliph and eager to show their support to her as their leader.  Gangs of gnolls, giants, werebeasts and all other kinds pledge alleigiance to the Spice Khan.  While some work for her genuinely, there are many more who use the Spice Khan's word in order to secure territories or to use Janissaries to push out competition.  In some cases the Spice Khan interferes and punishes those who abuse this; other times she allows it because it is the way of her people.

Life is pain.  Strength must be rewarded.  If one is too weak to even find help among the scarless against such bullies, the Spice Khan turns her nose at them.  Afterall, charity didn't build her trade empire.

The Maliphi Khanate of Nephkha has long been the home of the Sand Giants of Aqdah since they settled there after the fall of Rruk.  The Khanate of Nephkha enslaved the massive Sand Giants of Aqdah, who prior to their enslavement had worshipped the Sky Goddess Enaan-Davi.  Servants to Ramelin Sultans of Nephkha, the Sand Giants enabled the tiny province to build the city of Nephkha into a new kind of metropolis.

Over time, the Sand Giants of Nephkha would convert to Mapliph's native form of the Twins.  They adopted Ramelin customs.  When the humans of Nephkha were struck with the Screaming Plague in 983 AO, almost all of the ruling family died, except for the Sand Giant son the family had adopted.

SIDEBAR: On Sand Giants
"The Sand Giants of Aqdah came from a series of steppes closer to Rruk.  Their migration into Nephkha seems to have been caused by drought, even if it were in the desert.  Sand Giants are of a rather big variety of giant, akin to the Mountain Giants of Ocrid, the Ice Giants of Northern Jarn or the Sea Giants of the Jade Lands.  A Sand Giant towers about thirty to forty feet.  They prefer meat, but like Ursyklons, they can make due despite not finding vegetable matter to have much taste.

Within Sand Giant bands, women tend to outnumber men about ten to one.  They tend to live to around four hundred years, although some Sand Giants have been known to live for nearly nine hundred years.  Due to their size, their numbers have never been that many.  

Most peculiar is how Sand Giants even can stand.  Cruxite Scholars have spent centuries debating the basics of giant anatomy.  At their mass and scale, they shouldn't be able to stand, yet alone fight or do any of the other feats attributed to them.  

As to origin, most Sand Giants claim they were born of the day sand blinded the eyes of the sky.  This myth aside, they seem to have been on Orphos for as long as humans have been."
-The Aqdah: A History of the Sand Giants
by Horu'atethys

The Sand Giant Khan started a new family line.  The family took control over Nephkha, elevating the Sand Giants to power.  They never numbered that many to begin with, but the position proved vital to helping them to influence Maliph in the centuries to come.  By the time of the Othebean Crusades, Nephkha itself had turned into a major port on the Spice Route that brought Spices from Soram, Southern Maliph, Rani and the Jade Lands to the Maru Sea.

The current Spice Khan grew up as the daughter of the Goksinah, or "the Master of all Seas."  Beginning around the start of the Othebean Crusades in 1367, the Goksinah created a vast fleet and began the systematic takeover of port after port throughout the Spice Route.  He conquered through ideas and business.  The Goksinah used techniques developed by the Church of the Machine to gain advantages over local spice traders throughout Maliph, Soram and the Jade Lands.  By the time of his assassination in 1723 AO, his mercantile empire had created trade standards throughout most of the known world.

Raised abroad, his daughter continued to develop her father's network.  The current Khan formally was educated at the University of Crux.  Khan Chiana had been formally trained by the best learned scholars in Ith.  When Ith formally rebelled against Othebea, Chiana threw her support behind the upstart Ith.  Still young by Sand Giant standards, her acumen in business was proven when post-revolution Ith paid her back the loans she'd given.  Her choice to remain in Crux ever since has only grown her empire.  These days the Spice Khan looks to protect her business, as she fears new technologies and magics are causing her long-trusted spices to lose their value.

Steamships have made the Spice Route less and less equitable.  Other industries and trade goods intrigue her, and she keeps an eye out for the next big enterprise.  Part of that is her interest in the City of Curses; the Spice Khan sees great potential in the Androids the Tinkerer created.  She also worries about her native Nephkha and greater Maliph's stability over all.  The Spice Khan continues her father's legacies, but those of his ideas on adopting more and more innovation make her question the old Maliphi traditions and inflexible local politics.  She fears what Shah Venomfang might do if he decides to act against the Revolutions in Ainesia.

Should the Revolution make it to Maliphi, the dragon who rules Maliph would strike out to cleanse any place that might harbor infidels.  Including even a devotee of the Machine like Spice Khan Chiana herself.

The Banker and the Spice Khan, are of course, business partners.  She continues her strong relationship with the Banker, one begun by her father.  Both see Androids potential in trade overseas.  Both want to see more of them created.  But where the Banker is averse to risks, the Spice Khan takes them.  The Banker is fearful of her tendency to take up risky ventures, questioning those that seem doomed to failure.  This has never threatened their relationship, but all it takes is one venture that could threaten the Banker's fortune to change that.

The Chancellor of Crux always is willing to help the Spice Khan.  The Spice Khan is always curious, and asks her alma mater from time to time to supply her with samples of the best or most recent research.  She also funds some of the most extravagant expeditions and research projects.  Always out to find the next big enterprise, she always is listening or in communique with the Chancellor.  The Chancellor, for his part, does whatever he can to secure her constant funding for the ever-changing budget of the University.

The Tinkerer and the Spice Khan went to the University of Crux together.  Although Nikolai has aged since then, she sees the Spice Khan as a fellow alumni.  Even though the Spice Khan still maintains relations with the University, her willingness to fund the Tinkerer's projects and wondersmiths, without making demands on the Tinkerer herself, has keep their business alliance strong.  The Spice Khan does try to poach the best students the Tinkerer has.  The Tinkerer for her part ignores this, seeing it as another test for her students to endure to prove whether or not they are working wonders for money or for the sake of the work.

The Publisher has oft used minor squabbles or fights involving Janissaries to inflame anti-Maliphi protests in the Grand Bazaar from time to time.  Despite this, the Publisher does print ads for various ventures the Spice Khan controls.  She herself invites journalists to speak with her from time to time, posing for photographs that always indicate her scale.  She seems to enjoy the Publisher's fear of her, and otherwise thinks him of little or no consequence.

The Police Commissioner, appointed by the Ithic Senate, was also instructed to leave the Spice Khan and her people alone.  Like the legal ban against the Metropolitan Police engaging in investigations, the Commissioner chafes under this political order.  At balls held by the Banker, the Commissioner is polite with the Khan and her people, but he always is looking for some way to restrict her activities.  Any chance to make her respect the Law of Ith would make his day.

The Archbishop toes the Othebean faith, whose worship of the Twins is very different from that of the Maliphi.  As long as the Spice Khan and her people conduct heresy, the Archbishop disregards her at the least.  The fact that Ith formally recognizes her is seen by him to be a travesty.  Whenever her folk at in the streets, the Archbishop makes sure a Crow is listening.  Eagles always manage to find themselves fighting Janissaries in the Docks of Crux or near Palace Hill.  The Archbishop keeps testing, seeing if he can make the Spice Khan or her people slip...