Zalem the Drunk Blight

It was the lamia that understood how flexible the truth really is. That by disguising a secret invasion as a desperate plea for refuge, they could capitalize on the chaos and place themselves in positions of power. That by the resolute and skillful deployment of disinformation, even the Vast itself could be presented as if it were the Putrid Grove, and vice versa. Album, or rather its king, acted out of ignorance and paid a heavy price for it.
— Excerpt from 'Severed Nation'
  Zalem Joter Resha, also known as the Viashkin (Xivi: beg), Zalem the Evil, or the Great Cleanser, is an infamous historical figure in the Kingdom of Album. He is most well known for his life-long persecution of the lamia refugees from the Great Exile of the Witches in 333 MA. He was accused of being the ringleader of the many pogroms unleashed upon the lamias. Eventually, he became the founder of the Movement for the Restoration of Heofones Gates.      

Early Life

 
First, they worked to replace the essential roles Album's lower-class had previously occupied. This was done in an effort to destroy that which is the cornerstone of a kingdom.
— Excerpt from 'Severed Nation'
  Zalem was born at the turn of the fifth century in an impoverished district of Mavar. His parents were alkima street performers, and he was taught the arts from a young age. Together, they barely made enough coin to feed themselves after paying the king's taxes. Still, Zalem would go on to state that this vocation was the pride of his childhood.   Mavar - being the closest to Gallana Amon - was the first of the Nine Walled Cities to receive the lamia refugees upon their exile. Young Zalem was ten years old when the streets he grew up on suddenly filled with this new and mysterious race of masked witches.   As the lamias were not allowed to own property or engage in business transactions, many became street performers as well. Using their Tenuma trances as a medium for dream magic, they quickly captivated the public's heart. This pushed people like Zalem's family to the sidelines. Trying to keep up with the demand, his father drank himself into an early grave. His mother's health declined soon after, and he was left alone on the streets.   He remained an orphan on the streets of Mavar until his enlistment to the army in 426.      

Military Career

 
Their schemes were quite effective. They managed to convince King Albis himself that they were the victims. Restrictions were placed on the honest-working humans to eliminate 'destructive forms of oppression'. Of course, true Albians realized they were wronged, and together we retaliated. We understood a simple truth:   The only way to be free in this world is to become a warrior.
— Excerpt from 'Severed Nation'
  When the second civil war broke out, sixteen years old Zalem joined the Imansipata Militia, perceiving it as the side that was 'anti-lamia'. He was trained with the spear and was said to have shown great skills on the battlefield. It was there that he learned alkima's weaponized potential. It could do more than change bone-structure. He could transfer the alcohol from his body to metals around him and manipulate their form and range.   At the Battle of Bloody Tears, Zalem faced off against Goris, the Star of Mavar, in a duel to the death. Goris ruled the fight with his Giganta Thread, but was overtaken by Zalem at the very last moment. Catching Goris off-guard, he activated a previously unknown, untapped power of his alkima. Potent liquids began to rise out of his spear and unleashed on Goris, pouring down his throat and drowning him.   Eleven years after it had started, the war ended with a truce between the provinces. The Imansipata Militia dissolved, and a provincial army and government were built. Zalem's unit was suspected of possible war crimes concerning reports of a 'drunk terror' butchering lamia civilians. No arrests were made.      

Political Career

 
Lamias have attempted to mix with us. They bewitched our fellow ladies and gentlemen to birth their kind within us. Some of them even think they could become like us. Alas, they cannot escape who they are; witches from the Putrid Grove.
— Excerpt from 'Severed Nation'
  With a calm and warless kingdom, soldiers like Zalem were thrown back on the streets with no viable options to provide for themselves. Many had turned mercenaries or even bandits, crafting a decade of lawless unrest. However, for a man who had earned himself the wartime nickname of 'Great Cleanser', Zalem saw another opportunity - politics.   Zalem exhibited incredible charisma and excellent rhetorical skills, by which he managed to join the governor's close council and work his way up the ranks. In the year 442, he reached the title of second in command. His plans regarding the 'lamia problems' were enacted soon after. All 'witches' were made second-class citizens of Mavar, and stricter rules were put in place. Lamias were banned from several establishments in the city itself, and 'anti-lamia' content was spread on the streets to persuade the public of the cause.   He faced many obstacles and political rivals, such as the governor's younger brother, an advocate for minority groups. The young brother began to gain traction and was eventually picked by the governor to succeed him. On the night before the grand ceremony, however, his lifeless body was found in his quarters. The investigation concluded the cause of death to be asphyxiation.  
Propaganda
 
One cannot hope to educate the people with books and lectures. The majority will always be unintelligent and small-minded. Therefore, one needs to limit their message to a short, concise slogan and repeat it throughout their campaign until the last farmer in the corner of the kingdom remembers the words.
— Excerpt from 'Severed Nation'
Species
Ethnicity
Life
410 MA 458 MA
Circumstances of Birth
Born to a poor family of street performers
Circumstances of Death
Killed by a zolbi
Birthplace
Biological Sex
male
Eyes
Muddy brown
Hair
Bald with a long thick beard
Skin Tone
Tanned white
Height
1.54 m
Weight
103 kg
Other Affiliations
The Mortal Realm
 
Album's Second Civil War
  The 400s saw many conflicts in Album, yet the greatest one was undoubtedly the kingdom's second civil war. As tensions rose between provinces, the sovereignty of the king came into question.   Eventually, Album split into four main factions, each fighting for supremacy. All men over the age of fifteen were drafted into one military force or another.



Political Landscape
  After two civil wars in the span of a hundred years, the king's power diminished significantly. This gave way for each of the nine cities to gain their semi-independence in the kingdom. Borders were established between the provinces, and different rules were put in place by each governor. In the case of Mavar, the city formed an aristocratic electoral system.


Salem Poster.png

Anti-lamia poster Depicting Zalem holding the 'Spear of Hope'
lamiachartsm.png


Zalem and his supporters worked relentlessly to distribute of posters, pamphlets, and other media with xenophobic sentiments. They focus mainly on the lamias with extensive detail on the dangers of 'mating with witches'.   Posters with charts explained how every offspring that was 'contaminated' by lamia blood would turn into a zolbi and unleash terror around them. There were numerous cases of violence towards pregnant lamias during the time of the propaganda, often traumatizing the mothers and creating zolbis as a result.      
Discredit & Imprisonment
 
They attempted to silence my voice. I cannot blame them. If I were the gods' accomplice in the grand plan to genocide all humans, I would too. They were always masters of deceit, conniving in the shadows.
— Excerpt from 'Severed Nation'
  On the day of his supposed succession to become the new governor of Mavar, Zalem was thwarted by new evidence that came into light. The sources were anonymous, but the letter attached to the findings was signed with ancient Xivi sigils. The city found Zalem guilty on charges of murder and conspiracy. He was imprisoned shortly after. The governor stayed his execution only since he couldn't believe his most trustworthy ally could have had a hand in his brother's fate.   While in prison, Zalem wrote the infamous book known as 'Severed Nation'. The book contains commentary on the centuries that followed the humans' loss of immortality. It focuses on the civil wars and other factors that divided the kingdom, pointing to the 'lamia problem' as the root of it all.   Eight years after his imprisonment, Zalem escaped captivity. Although he was deprived of all alcoholic beverages, he was brought to the infirmary one night due to a sudden injury he sustained on his head. The only surviving nurse claimed that as soon as he was brought in, he grabbed the rubbing alcohol and swallowed it whole. His Alkima Metta burst out of scalpels and other tools in the room. He massacred all the working staff and all who stood in his way.      

The Movement for the Restoration of Heofones Gates

 
It is as valid for us today as it once was for the Children of Avava. The only response against this threat is to take up arms.
Rock the nation until all who do not belong have fallen off.
— Excerpt from 'Severed Nation'
  In the years after his prison break, the streets of Mavar were filled with wanted posters of Zalem and his new cult. Sympathizers of his cause flocked to him in support and created an underground organization with two aims - 'to cleanse Album of the non-human and raise back the mortal barrier'. Heofonists were primarily located in Mavar but carried out violent attacks in many parts of the kingdom.   They would strike villages with a lamia population and 'cleanse' them with the alkima magic taught to them by Zalem himself. They continued to spread anti-lamia speech, though this time through unauthorized channels. Public opinion on them constantly shifted but they steadily grew in numbers over time. At one point, there were rumors that their covert support influenced many powerful officials.  
Nights of the Drunken Blight
 
My spear has accompanied me since the days of the war. It is the Spear of Hope, for it brings upon the change humans seek in this world.
— Excerpt from 'Severed Nation'
  For three nights during the spring of 452, lamia houses and Waken Forests all across the Album were broken into, destroyed, and burned by Heofonists. On the last night, the rioters appeared on the streets of Mavar with Zalem at the helm. In front of a massive audience, eight lamia community leaders were taken to the city center and murdered by his Spear of Hope in full public display.      

Death

 
In life - our doom
In death - our salvation
  Thank you
fjw
  After those attacks, Mavar's city guards took drastic measures. Anyone they found in connection with the movement was tried and solemnly executed. A couple of years later, a secretive group of lamias called Marevet introduced itself to Album. Their motives were protecting their population and avenging their fallen. Heofonists were killed in targeted assassinations and left with thank you notes signed in Xivi.   Zalem met his fate in 458 when he was flushed out of his hideout and taken by Marevet. He was brought into Gallana Amon, where he was fed to a group of captured zolbis. His body was cremated, and his ashes were spread in the Misera sea, so his followers would not claim his resting place.  
The Movement for the Restoration of Heofones Gates survived long after Zalem's death and has seen several reincarnations throughout Album's history. It has been named the 'Invisible Kingdom', operating from the shadows, only hindered by the counter efforts of Marevet.


Cover image: Album Cover by rikia

Comments

Author's Notes

* The art was made by rikia (myself), using assets from HeroForge.


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3 Apr, 2021 15:38

Syntaxe and Grammar:

as a desperate plea of refuge
Introduction quote - I would probably write “for” instead of “of” but I could be wrong
against Goris ,the Star of Mavar,
Military Career - I would add commas where I’ve put some, but I’m also a huge fan of commas so I’m biased
Goris ruled the fight with his Giganta Thread but was tipped in favor of Zalem at the very last moment.
Military Carrer - I feel like this sentence is two sentences mixed together? I get the overall idea but something about it feels weird.
It is as valid for us today as it once was for
Movement Heofones Gates - I think there is a word missing

Structure and Design

I find the article very well paced! The information flows well, and the divisions between each section feel very natural. You have a good use of the side-bar. The wide gap in the Propaganda section is a little awkward (mostly because its out of proportion with the other spaces) but not all that bothering - better too wide than tight!

Content

Introduction: Clear, concise, I know what I’m getting into, and the tooltips clear up any potential question I might’ve had!

Early Life: I’m curious to know more about the city itself- I can guess how its organised but I’m looking forward to a full article on the question! The prose is lovely, I particularly like this sentence “Trying to keep up with the demand, his father drank himself into an early grave.”. I’m very intrigued overall by the idea of alcohol magic- hoping you find the time to expand more on that subject!

Military Career & Political Career Once again, very interesting sections. Nice use of the sidebar to bring more informations about the civil war and what happened after, it gives great context! I’d be curious to know what public perception of lamias is, as we only know of Zalem’s own thoughts on them (which makes sense, but also makes it hard to know how much of a radical he is compared to the norme).

That said, I really love the section you included on propaganda! Its a very nice and real touch :D. I’m quite curious about the book “Severed Nation” though- was it published? If so how, and by who? What was the public’s reaction to it? An additional sidebar section about the book itself could be nice ^^

The Movement for the Restoration of Heofones Gates What is Heofones Gates is my first question - is it a real gate, an ideological gate? - edit - I noticed a tooltip in the intro section that explains what it is. I would suggest adding another one in the title section, in case someone happens to miss the first explanation! (my general rule is to repeat a tooltip once every two sections).

Death Very curious about the Mavaret- I’m assuming they are the second half of this overarching conflict you mentioned. Excited to see where this will go in future articles, and how the situation has evolved in the present!

Author of Interarcanum and the Shakiraverse

Feel free to check out my latest work!
3 Apr, 2021 16:40

Thank you so much for reading and the critique! I already fixed the issues. All of your questions will have answers in future articles, for sure :) Glad you liked it.


Let us unite against the enemies of Album!
5 Apr, 2021 13:49

I really love how in depth your articles are. Zalem sounds like he was a fascinating man, and I enjoy that he had a legacy after his death in the continuation of the organisation.

Emy x   Welcome to Etrea! Please check out my peculiar plants entry! :)
10 Apr, 2021 22:08

Thank you, Dr! I'm happy to hear you like my articles :)) I know they are all detail-heavy, so I have to make sure they flow as smoothly as possible.   Zalem is the result of interesting character studies I did on real-life persons. Glad to know it clicked with you. I will definitely elaborate on his legacy in future articles.


Let us unite against the enemies of Album!