The Freedmen's Fists are a tightly knit, global, and religious unofficial organization composed entirely of former Voshi slaves. They are "led" by a "Mansa", a religious figurehead who is said to be in communion with a deity known as Wisdom. Although they practice staunch anti-imperialism, fervent anti-slavery, and anarchy, politics take a backseat to the fostering of Voshi brotherhood following centuries of hardship and oppression, and follow a doctrine of physical fitness, vegetarianism, and the Yaki martial arts. The group is very hostile to outsiders, though Kilranian surveyors put their numbers at a dozen thousand Aquila-wide, centered around the Darv territory in northwestern Kilran.
Issa Imamu Folami (Founder, Mansa)
The founder and current Mansa of the Fists. A large man with an empty crevasse with his left eye should be, his imposing physique masks a softer, fatherly interior. Not much is known about his past, other than that he is from around Agadir, Voshe. Great with animals, and lover of blue orchids. Never seen without his blue vest.
He fled from Vicis in the early 4,660s AE, and at the age of 14, journeyed to Thel Olihim on horseback with his comrade, Maha, both feasting on nothing but the carrots they could find. Upon arriving at the western coast, he founded a settlement known as Darv, naming it after the fabled Darvish Commune of Voshe, rumored to have been one of the few parts of Aquila unconquered by Xolumir millennia prior. There, he founded the Brotherhood, and began recruiting nearby Voshi who had made the same journey. With them, he dreamt of a Voshi brotherhood free of the oppression of the past. He thought their meeting destined, and so established the organization as a follower of "Wisdom", a benevolent deity he had heard of in the damp, wooden halls of the Vicis slave houses.
Co-founder and head of the Freedmen's hospital in Darv. An older woman of average build, her most striking features are her gleaming emerald eyes and vivid ecru hair, which have stood against time. She met Folami on a slave ship at the age of 8, after having been taken from Bastion, Voshe, and sold off to a wealthy Kilranian official. She can't remember her real name; Maha was given to her by the Fists for her eyes. Fan of rose bushes. Always seen with her cerulean bandanna.
Together with Folami, she fled her Kilranian masters in Vicis at the age of 13, traversing the length of northern Kilran to the banks of Darv. There, she and Folami met a destitute, starving, and disease-ridden population, and she vowed to aid any Voshi brother in need, setting up the town's small yet very successful hospital, and putting together a works project to build massive farms replete with carrots and beets. Thanks to her efforts in giving life to the town and uniting the Voshi, she is looked up to as the mother of the brotherhood. Says she spoke to a wise fairy on the banks of a lake.
Ekon (creator of Yaki)
Creator of the Yaki martial arts. While insanely tall and muscular, he is very lively and jocular. Of his childhood, he remembers not even his own name, but vividly recalls gazing at the moonlit Gulf of Mes Raina while his village slept.
He escaped from a slave stronghold north of Vicis when he was 14, in the early 4,660s AE. He wandered the lush plains of northern Kilran aimlessly as a nomad for two years, and swears to Wisdom he saw demons leering at him in his sleep once or twice. Eventually, he wound up in Darv, then a fledgling yet still suffering commune. Eager to aid the slender populace, he trained anyone who sought to protect the commune in the Yaki arts, a name which he made up on the spot when asked what they were called. He knew the commune needed iron defense so as to not see once more the haunting kidnappings that defined life in Voshe, and was eager to fight should Vicis come knocking. His leadership fortified both physically and spiritually a once meager people, and led to the immediate formation of the Freedmen's Fists.
Amare Jaz Jelani
An energetic young man who only recently joined the Fists. He is of slightly above average height and build, and bears the same gleaming emerald eyes and youthful ecru hair as Maha. He is from Pauper, Voshe, and was kidnapped in the early 4,680s. when he and his friend Jamila were found exploring a cave. From there, they were sent to Serveu, where they were sold off to a wealthy Kilranian landowner for 3 gold ingots apiece. Amare would never see his older sister, his last family member, again. Wears a plain white shirt, olive green pants, and comfy leather shoes. Gets along well with Jamila, Nailah, Azibo, and Bisa; has a particularly strong understanding with Nailah.
The two escaped from captivity in 4,699, at 16, when Amare was able to break the wooden bars holding him prisoner with a jigsaw he made using fish teeth and spider string. He successfully staged a slave revolt, freeing all prisoners in his building before burning it down. From there, he and Jamila journeyed westward for three months, arriving at the booming Voshi town of Darv at the brink of starvation. Following a talk with the Mansa and meeting the other Freedmen around the town, they decided to join the Fists; however, while Jamila would see to the expansion of the crop farms, Amare, free as the wind, would follow an adventurous agenda of his own. Has punched a few ancient demons in his career.
Jamila Imari Ife
An affable girl who only recently joined the Fists. She is of average height an build, and her green eyes and flowing ecru hair shine a little brighter than the other Voshis'. She became a childhood friend of Amare in Pauper, and was kidnapped alongside him when they decided to go spelunking.
In Northern Kilran, Jamila worked day and night as a serf on a massive carrot farm, but managed to steal a tiny bit of produce nightly for herself and Amare. She escaped with him in 4,699, making sure to take a supple load of crops with her. Whilst exploring, she was able to piece together some of the words written on a script she had uncovered in the Voshe cave, which, from what she could decipher, told of a mythical godslaying blade. Within a couple months, the two reached Darv, where Jamila joined the Fists and used her experience as a serf to maximize farm produce and feed her Voshi family. Tries to keep the lively Amare in line, to no avail.
Nailah Furaha Baako
A quiet and stoic young woman who is the oldest and most experienced of the newer Fists. She is of above average height, and bears solemn emerald eyes and straight ecru hair. She was born in west of Pauper, in a now-destroyed village, to a poor family. She had a younger brother who was captured in a bandit raid alongside her, but that's the last she's heard of him. Has become close to Amare, her most frequent customer.
From Serveu, she was sent to be trained as a nurse in Vicis to heal wounded soldiers. She escaped from behind wooden bars in 4,698, using a worn scalpel she managed to smuggle into her cell. Although she attempted to free her fellow serfs, they were all mysteriously gone. From Vicis, she journeyed westward to Darv, stopping for a week or two along the way to set up "traveler's rests" for any future escapees, and loading them with crops, shelter, and instructions. Upon reaching Darv, Maha recognized her medicinal talents and she found a place in the prosperous commune as a beloved physician for ailing comrades. She says that while setting up a traveler's rest, she came upon a gravely injured man in a purple mask, whom she rescued from death's doorstep.
A curious and fiercely intelligent young man with a pronounced interest in redstone mechanics. He was born into slavery in Ancbold, from which he was transferred to Serveu and then sold to a wealthy scientist. Easy to find in the Darv library.
While working for the scientist, Azibo became well-versed in the inner machinations of redstone devices, a talent he uses today. He escaped from the scientist in 4,698, after having studied his cell's redstone lock mechanism for years and having easily constructed a redstone torch to deactivate it. From there, he journeyed to Thel Olihim, having heard of mythical robotic constructs there during his imprisonment. However, he was ruthlessly attacked by a vicious demon with a freakishly long neck, and would have died had a man in goggles not shot it down with a mysterious crossbow. The man did not give his name, but nursed Azibo back to full health before sending him on his way with a healing potion. Upon arriving in Darv, he became accquainted with Folami and Maha, who invited him to the Fists. He accepted, and has lived in the library ever since. Teaches some of his tricks to Amare and Bisa, who use it to wreak havoc on the unexplored world.
The youngest member of the Fists. She was born in Agadir, Voshe, but her intense curiosity led her away from home and into the maws of a bandit group, who took her to Serveu. From there, she was sold to a wealthy fisherman for a few hundred samples of salt-coated cooked salmon - and some pufferfish for "relaxing". Big friend of Amare.
She escaped from a rural area near Vicis in late 4,699, after stealing the keys to her cell from an unsuspecting, slumbering guard. From there, she trudged westward towards Darv. During her travels, she was almost shot from afar by an odd leather-clad man who somehow mistook her for game. The man gave her supple helping of carrots after apologizing, then continued on his way. Upon reaching the banks of the the Thel Sea, she joined the Fists, and quickly ingratiated herself with the older Voshis with her childish antics. Her job is to help Amare blow stuff up in the countryside! That'll look good on her resume.
The desire for an all-Voshi brotherhood has been present since the days of the Xolumir Khaganate, which owned most of Voshe, but was dismissive of its internal struggles, such as starvation and crime. At the same time, tales arose of the "Darvish Commune", a beautiful town looking towards the horizon on the south sea, with fields replete with wheat, carrots, potatoes, and beets as far as the eye could see, where every man was equal in worth yet free to decide his own fate. It has never been confirmed whether this utopia actually existed, or if it was a mere fever dream of a desperate people.
The nationalist sentiment would strengthen tenfold during the Great Desynchronization of 4,415, in which southern Kilran, a beautiful yet harsh quilt of savannahs and deserts, broke off from the imperial mainland and drifted southward into the Gulf of Mes Raina as an island. However, the realization of the dream was crushed once more; within a few years, bandits, usually descendents of the new southern Kilranians, consolidated power and established a booming slave trade connected to Occa, Audax, and Kilran; northern Kilran, in particular, was eager to see this thrive.
And so countless families, virtually all already penniless and starving, were torn apart in the name of adding to the wealth of the Ancbold oligarchy. The rest of Voshe was left untouched, its remaining people left to face the dreadful beasts and the scorching heat all by themselves, often barely surviving through subsistence farming. This would continue for centuries, as the internal misery of Voshe and the island in general were neglected and even unheard of throughout most of the world.
However, beginning in the latter half of the 47th century AE, the slave trade accelerated twofold, and as it did, cracks began to open in the defenses of the lords-of-the-manor in Vicis. Individuals escaping would become a regular occurence, and as the trade began bleeding money, other serfs were emboldened to attempt their own escapes - often, as in the case of the legendary Voshi Faraji, mass escapes. The slave trade faced a recession, and the escaped serfs ran westward through Northern Kilran - the "Trail of Hope" - in search of a home, pushing through demons, beasts, starvation, and cruel weather alike.
Many thin skeletons dot that landscape today.
One of the first Voshi to arrive at the fabled West Bank was Issa Imamu Folami, a boy who, at 14yo, had seen his family be half murdered, half enslaves, and had travelled tens of thousands of corpse-littered blocks to find a home. There, he and dozens of other Voshi formed their Brotherhood and their commune, each vowing to service it whichever way suits them best as an individual. Ekon, who would arrive two years later, introcued the populace to the art of Yaki, which emboldened them physically and equipped them well against the prospect of a threat. Soon, beautiful mosaics of oak, acacia, and cobblestone lined the walls of impressive buildings. Fountains and lamp posts dotted the commune, and dojos and small parks with energetic young Voshi training became common.
This city, the first time in history the Voshi could look inward with pride, was called "Darv" - after the Darvish Commune.
By the end of the 4,600s, Darv had a sizeable population of just over ten thousand former Voshi serfs, and a strong defense force - the Fists - to boot.
The otherworldly events of the early 4,700s, which saw Zoomer Strife - known to his comrades as Amare Jelani - a Voshi, be at the head of the crusades against returning evil gods, marked the beginning of a golden era for the Brotherhood. Amare had cast a bright light on the problems facing the island of Voshe and its residents worldwide. The news spread as wildfire through the world, you could say, as papers everywhere told of the legendary former slave - something you'd only read in epics, the average Aquilan thought. Vicis came under strong public scrutiny by Kilran, and the bandit government of Voshe was facing some resistance for the first time in two centuries when tales of the famous hero reached even the secluded island.
The Fists - and Zoomer himself - marched into intertwined and uncertain, albeit hopeful futures.
Codes and Practices
The Fists practice a doctrine of physical, emotional, and intellectual strength, as well as staunch vegetarianism, anti-imperialism, and anti-slavery.
At the core of their beliefs is a love for all life, be it a human or a chicken or even a meager silverfish. At home, they are virtually anarchic, as every man and woman is free to live his own life so long as he pledges himself to the future of the Voshi and of humanity.
An interesting tenet of the Fists' culture is an optional pilgrimage to cleanse themselves of darkness, hate, and greed. This trip northward carries them through plains, forests, and savannahs, before they arrive at the hallowed Temple of Sky.Then, they brave the treacherous, hellish depths of the ancient temple. Demons and deadly contraptions alike await whoever seeks spiritual cleansing within. In the temple's endocardium, the person must then face the "Hulm" - the "Dream", in which they must probe their own unconscious and excise the evil from within themselves. According to Folami, the first person to undertake the pilgrimage, the dreamscape is shaped by the person's deepest memories, be they good or ill, before they are finally taken to a vast hellscape, with a dark deep crimson sky enveloping a seemingly endless expanse of dark gray rock. Here, the must face their shadow; first in physical combat, and then in an emotional duel in which the traveller accepts the shadow as part of himself before vowing to overcome it.
Of the dozens who have undertaken the spiritual journey, only one has failed. Their name and the consequences are yet unknown.
Anyone who successfully braves the depths of the temple are awarded the title of "Faraji", and are crowned as elders.
In summary, the Fists are driven by strong physical and spiritual discipline, which in turn is driven in small part by their allegiance to Wisdom and in large part due to their desire to break away from a past stained in blood and dotted with shackles.