The 13 Allies of Human Sacrifice
The Alliance of Human Sacrifice, which is just one of many names since the language barrier and people in different places giving the same new things different names is very much one of the annoyances present in the Afterlife, is mostly exactly what it sounds like. Human farming and sacrifice is by far the best way to produce tonnes of magic and use it for enhancements such as life extension, growth of new body-parts or changes to pheromone production for seductive reasons. For this reason, some states have formed that do exactly this to the majority of their population, usually ensuring compliance through use of religion and actively removing or recruiting (as those who come into the Afterlife through death start out with a large amount of magic in them, meaning they have a lot of potential as weapons if they're snagged up before they burn through that magic escaping dangerous situations, as well as this magic just making them a bit more difficult to kill in general) anyone who enters the Afterlife through actually dying on Earth rather than just being born in the Afterlife due to the threat they pose if they're ever opposition. But why are 13 of them in an extremely powerful alliance? Because it's mutually beneficial to just not engage in wars and instead trade around humans with diverse genes that they collect to reduce inbreeding among their stock, and it works better for the religion they adapted from their old one if they're not infighting. There's also a lot of history of them doing stuff together, and there's a thing of "don't marry or screw someone who ain't in a noble clan" so getting rid of the other clans is a bad idea if anyone values the avoidance of incest.
Farming of humans and other humanoids for sacrifices, and using their labour along the way, to live lives of immortality and decadence. Some actual pride and whatnot in this developed later on but the real reasons behind it are "sacrifice = life extension + when done carefully can alter the body in more positive than harmful ways" and "we can make them make stuff before we sacrifice them."
At the time of dissolution the 13 clans collectively had a population of 143 million adult civilians (including both humans and captured humanoids that were also farmed for sacrifice), roughly 1 million professional soldiers in their military (all of whom were thoroughly trained and modified by sacrifices), their ruthless aristocracy had about 100,000 "people" within it. Growth of any nation is always slow and comes with many setbacks because if the Afterlife is heaven or hell it's definitely hell and rarely reaches this kind of peak without having to massively alter its very nature.
Originally, there were just 40 or so little clans in the Twilight Isles constantly at each other's throats, using human sacrifice to enhance their military abilities, their lifespans, and for food (both the kind you steal and the kind that is suddenly in front of you once you've killed someone). One day, however, an upstart clan formed by a disagreement between twin sisters over who inherited the clan (ruling together not being considered optional as they also hated each other for other reasons) gained useful knowledge of the lands beyond the Twilight Isles, specifically which areas were hospitable to large-scale human occupation and which ones weren't. Considering the general shortage of people to sacrifice in the Twilight Isles, a common consequence of everyone sacrificing everyone, this was useful information. All she and her raiders in 5 ships had to do was not die, which the sailors of exactly 2 ships succeeded in, find a coastal settlement and sacrifice the inhabitants. They seized the town using their superior strength and low-level magic abilities and begun sacrificing the townsfolk. Ultimately they took only a single death to sacrifice and kill 700 people. That was 14 sacrifices per raider. Their Queen, as she now dubbed herself after seizing the town mayor's meagre copper head-ring for herself, decided not to bother going back. She'd taken the entire clan except the children and a few who were left to guard them with her and didn't particularly care about those she left behind, and then killed any among her raiders who protested this. They continued moving along the coast, sacrificing thousands of people over the course of a few years until the clan leaders back in the Twilight Isles heard of this from a deserter of her forces. Helmak made an alliance with 6 other clan leaders and, each leaving a third of their forces to defend their territory, they went to the Sacrificer Queen. Helmak seduced her, tied her up in her sleep, sacrificed her and then seized control of her warriors, having to purge a fifth of them who wanted to avenge her. Helmak and the clan leaders came together and plotted. Their plan was to farm the people of the coast, seizing the settlements and making them pay tributes in people rather than just razing them to the ground and slaughtering all the inhabitants. Over time, other clans were either wiped out or added to the alliance, more often the former, to remove any threats to territory back on the Isles so they could comfortably focus on the farming of people along the coasts. Over more time, they formed a religion, built not least on how physically altered the clan leaders and their families were by the bounties of sacrifices - easily crossing the line of what can be considered human - and their abilities, and they expanded beyond the coast and into the land. They eventually became powerful enough to slaughter the sea monsters between the Twilight Isles, which came to take on a more ceremonial role as the site of more important sacrifices and some traditions, while most running of their 15-clan alliance (reduced to 13 in a civil war) took place in a coastal city they built where most monuments incorporate the bones of those who've been sacrificed before. The clan leaders each have equal portions of value in terms of the territory they hold, although this is constantly argued about, and the leader of the alliance is generally determined by whoever can convince the other clan leaders to support them, which means frequent civil wars when things are too evenly balanced or someone is too stubborn to budge unless forced to by military power. This is obviously a terrible system that was only held together for about 500 years due to how little need of infighting the clan leaders saw there to be, not really caring who the de facto leader was so long as they got their sacrifices. After that Rekunna did some stuff.
Turned into a 1-clan state by Rekunna in what we'd consider to be 1832 through a mixture of assassination, 2 civil wars, carefully planned marriages (including some incestuous ones) and drugs. Members of the other clans have been forced into submissive positions in marriages to members of the main clan.
1297 - 1832
None of them are very nice.
Shamans for aristocracy, Servants for the normal peeps
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