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The shagans are an ancient people, and yet they keep no written records of their civilization. Everything is taught through word of mouth, through story and song. They keep no records of their way of life, for they feared what would become of them if Vendria knew the truth. Yet genocide came to them nonetheless, as one of the shagans discovered a way to live forever by stealing youth and by thieving bodies.

The shagans know how the Great Law came to be, how and why the advancements of science and technology were put to a stop. It is why they turned their back on the High Church and gave up the Vendrian religion. Rather than follow the Almighty God, they instead chose to find their answers in science. Of course, this was a secret among the shagans, as sharing their new ideals would label them heretics, and see them hunted by deathmonks, warriors of the open fist trained from birth to kill heathens.

The Vendrian High Church believes that the truth can only be found in Zenitonionism, the one true religion, and preach that technology was a dark gift from the Gmorgon, a seed of evil that would grow to cataclysm and destroy the world. That is why the Great Law came to be. Only Vendrian scientists are exempt from this law, which states, "that to study banned science and/or develop forbidden technology is punishable by death."

The shagans were once Vendrians, back when Ordawniel was king, during the golden age of science. When Vendria embraced the Great Law, those citizens who did not agree and refused to follow were silenced, put to death as heathens. The knowledge of thousands of years was destroyed, science no longer taught, and subsequent generations knew nothing of what came before them. In time, humanity lost its past, forgot what life was once like. But a few Vendrians escaped the city. Determined to keep their knowledge in tact and not forget where they came from, they started their own society.

In the centuries that followed, the shagans reincorporated themselves back into Vendrian society. They were no different than any other Vendrian, except they had spent their entire lives learning about a hidden world, learning about what lies just beneath the surface. They understood the science of how the human body worked, of how the world functioned, of how the universe was a place too vast for others to comprehend. They had studied the intricacies of the mind, built their own secret laboratories, experimented on animals, and concocted countless chemical compounds.

Many of the shagans took their knowledge of science and put it to use. Some found their way into the Vendrian government, becoming scientists or state officials. Others found their way into the lucrative black market, making and selling forbidden goods. It is thought that a raid by Vendrian deathmonks on one of the black market factions is what eventually led to the uncovering of the shagan people. The Iron Monks, also known as the Monks of Inquisition, are legendary for their brutal and inventive means of torture. It is said that given enough time, an Iron Monk can pry loose any truth from a man, even those he had forgotten.

Before the Mage Wars, magicians were respected, feared, and often earned substantial earnings. Many were employed by royalty, aristocracy, and wealthy or affluent travelers. An Archmage could even earn the pay of an entire army, as kings would often submit to an enemy whose forces were led by one. It was not uncommon to do so without a single man falling in battle. But after the Wars, and the many thousands of magicians that were killed, the Magi all but disappeared. Magic was seen only in the workings of the High Church in the form of healings, and in the prowess of the monks of the Holy Order, whose physical powers transcended human strength and speed. However, when the memories of what had started the Mage Wars faded, the shagans came out of hiding and brought with them magic.

It was not the same kind of magic practiced by the Magi, the Church, or even the Nama. In truth, it was not magic at all, or at least not magic in the traditional sense. It was mimicry, it was science. The shagans had spent their entire lives studying the natural world. They saw how animals used mimicry to fool one another, to escape predation or even entice prey. Only practitioners of magic understand the process by which their powers work. To everyone else it is a mystery. The shagans took these principles and used neuroscience, psychopharmacology, biology, chemistry, physics, and a host of other sciences to use trickery and mimic "real" magic.

Over several centuries the shagans refined their science-based magic, and developed two separate systems that are now commonplace today. Illusory magic, commonly known as illusion, uses many different methods to fool the mind into seeing something that does not actually exist. Airborne psychotropics are commonly used in illusory magic along with well established instruments and practices of physics-based science. Fallogaldor, meaning "trick sorcery", uses chemicals and contraptions to mimic magic. Fallogaldor is often elemental based, and most commonly imitates fire, water, and occasionally air magic (More on these magic systems later).

The shagans, like all heathens, are hunted by the Holy Order, and yet they continue to practice their illusionary magic, even within Vendria. To some, defying Vendrian Law is worth the risk of death. For others, it is a matter of pride. Thousands of years of honing their craft has made it extremely difficult, even for those in the Holy Order, to differentiate false magic from real. But false magic or not, the danger a shagan possesses is very real.

A shagan is always prepared to fight, and if need be, willing to stand against an entire squadron of deathmonks. Carrying deadly chemicals, corrosive poisons, explosives, and neurotoxins, a shagan mage can be a force to reckon with. Some of the most deadly occurrences within the city of Vendria have been from shagan mages confronted by Iron Monks. In the popular Vendrian historical chronicle Building an Empire, Uniting a World: The Rise of the Golden King there is reference to one such occurrence that resulted in the deaths of nearly three hundred monks and over two thousand civilians. The result of an extremely deadly airborne biotoxin. This is why huge rewards are given to those who report shagan magicians. Should one be caught practicing "false" magic, the consequences are death at the hands of an Iron Monk. These public tortures and executions draw small numbers nowadays, for few can stomach the barbaric brutality.

Check back later for updates and more about the shagans

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