The Zodiac Cabal
The Ascending Flame aspire to rule. Their vision is for Khavayin to become a magocracy, with a potent sorcerer set up over each city-state. So far, only one city — Izir, City of Flame — has accepted the Rule of the Wise. The remainder of the Ascending Flame’s most powerful adepts are called the Uncrowned, those who have yet to take their “rightful” place upon the thrones of Khavayin.
There are almost as many schemes to power as there are Uncrowned. But four of them share a common vision — to reunite the Zodiac Jewels and bring about the Conjunction that will expand their own power. They do not openly advertise their plot, but their Uncrowned brothers and sisters who have learned of their objective — and agents of the Immortal Sage — call them the Zodiac Cabal. There are four members of the cabal, and fifteen Zodiac Jewels; it is clear that if and when they retrieve all the stones, they will have to make some adjustments to their arithmetic.
The four members of the cabal are:
- Akhman al-Ifrim, also called the Brazen, also called the Son of the Ifrit. Akhman is a summoner with skill in genie magic. He is most distinctive; he wears a firebrass gauntlet to conceal his right hand and a firebrass mask to conceal his face. Akhman is a rival of the elementalist Zufar al-Calsir of Hamaji, and is said to be Zufar’s former pupil. He is a severe master, and dispatches elemental janissaries to complete his most vital errands. By last count, he already possesses the Thunderbolt and Phoenix stones, and aspires to claim the Ouroboros.
- Hadlaq the All-Seeing. The wily Hadlaq is a diviner, who might well have uncovered more of the Zodiac Jewels by now if he wished to empower his fellow Uncrowned further. Hadlaq has an old antipathy toward the City of Thieves, and schemes to subdue them. By last count, he possesses the Antelope jewel, and is reaching for the Owl, Fox, and Chariot.
- Nehedza the Shrouded Moon, necromancer and binder of souls. Nehedza is not the only woman among the Uncrowned, but she is the only woman among the Zodiac pact. Her true form is not known, as she interacts with her enemies mostly through a seductive ghost projection. Her motives are unclear, but she has shown an interest in Zamaas, City of Echoes, and undoubtedly is wary of the Ghul Queen’s actions. By last count, she searches for the Mourner, Crow, Maiden, and Behemoth jewels.
- Unnat al-Shim, the Shackler of the Tides. Unnat is a hydromancer and seafarer, who no doubt aspires to rule a fine port city such as Adwa or perhaps Hamaji. By last count, he pursued the jewels of the water signs: the Dolphin, Crocodile, and Dragon Turtle.