Five hundred years ago, a warrior brute named Taius united the fractured Martial clans, and swept down from the north, crushing the Scholar Empire and taking over most of the continent. He named himself Emperor and established his dynasty. He was called the Masked One, for the unearthly silver mask he wore to scare his enemies. His legacy still rules today.
A class of people once renowned for their knowledge, the “Scholars” crumbled beneath the Martial invasion, and have lived under the Empire’s rule ever since. They are forbidden from reading and writing, owning property and attending school, and even the mildest transgressions result in enslavement. In recent years, a Scholar resistance movement has grown in power, and is fighting back against the Empire’s oppression.
Blackcliff Academy sprawls atop Serra’s eastern cliffs like a colossal vulture, a jumble of buildings enclosed by a black granite wall. Initially built as a school to prepare and identify the future Emperor, Blackcliff is now a training ground for the Empire’s deadliest soldiers—the silver-faced Masks.
The Scholar Resistance is a movement dedicated to battling the Empire’s violent rule. The Resistance leaders are the best and the bravest of the Scholars. Elusive as the rebels are, they’re the only weapon the Scholars have against the Empire and its soldiers.
Named for the eerie silver masks that cover their faces, these soldiers are the Martial Empire’s most ruthless enforcers. They fight with speed and skill that is almost inhuman. Martial children destined for Maskhood are taken from their families at the age of 6, and trained at Blackcliff Military Academy for 14 years.
The Augurs are a group of 14 Martial holy men and women who are believed to be immortal, and who are revered as advisors and seers.
Kauf Prison sits in the frigid Northern Reaches of the Empire. The Martials send their most dangerous criminals, as well as any who defy the Empire, to die in Kauf’s infamous and oppressive dungeons. Those who enter the prison grounds rarely, if ever, emerge.