Difference between revisions of "The Ehafsú"
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The Ehafsú is, in short, an order of assassins. While “based” in Thul Ka, their influence stretches throughout Mugroba and along the Vein. Operatives, even male and onjira, are referred to as Sisters.
What most of Vita knows of the Ehafsú is very little, if they know of it at all: they are quiet, they are effective, and they are to be feared. Rumor associates them with Slowwater and the onjira community, although many well-respected onjiri have vehemently rejected the association.
Nevertheless, the Ehafsú has strong roots in Slowwater, and nearly all of its operatives are female and/or gender-nonconforming galdori or imbali. The occasional wick has become a sister, but no humans, at present, have ever been a part of the Ehafsú.
How the organization has maintained its independence is largely a mystery, but their loyalties do not lie particularly with the Emperor or any of the prominent merchant or crime families of Thul Ka, and nor are they in service to Hawke or his competitor, though their services have been heavily utilized recently by Drain-connected individuals.
The Ehafsú can be thought of much like Thul Ka’s mercenary companies, albeit considerably more secretive due to their profession and the nature of their membership.
Organization and Ethic
The Ehafsú is organized in a hierarchy of cells called pico, or simply Houses. Each House has a varying number of sisters — some are very large and some, especially at the fringes of the Ehafsú’s sphere, are small and largely non-influential — presided over by a pico’juela, or house-mother.
It must be noted that all members of the Ehafsú are referred to as sisters and mothers, regardless of gender. There have been male sisters and mothers, though they are few and far between, and not all gender-nonconforming or onjiri sisters and mothers are referred to as “she”.
At the heart of the Ehafsú is Eyi’juela, or the highest mother. Eyi’juela knows the identity of every major house-mother, but only those directly beneath her know who she is. While not all Ehafsú operations are done at the behest of Eyi’juela, all transactions must be approved by her.
Only the sisters and mothers of a house know the identity of its sisters. Each region has its own úquwide, a sort of go-between among the pico’juela and eyi’juela; the úquwide can be thought of as a house-mother of house-mothers. Nearly all úquwide are imbali, and they are seldom involved in operations that would risk their capture.
It is understood that if one is caught, one dies rather than give away one’s sisters; and, of course, to forfeit sensitive information is a transgression punishable by death.
Not that it needs to be punished, for the most part. Most sisters would rather die than know too much and risk lying. The Ehafsú sees itself as separate from other criminal organizations; it values ohante above all else. The Ehafsú argues that it plays an important role in the balance of not only Thul Ka and Mugroba but Vita, and furthermore protects and uplifts vulnerable individuals.
Becoming a Sister
Contacting the Ehafsú is neither easy nor without its risks. Very few sisters are from outside of Mugroba, although it is not unheard of. Most sisters are galdori or imbali, and many were educated at Thul’amat or one of the other universities prior to whatever led them to find themselves accepted by a House. Many are disadvantaged despite the circumstances of their birth; some have been disowned by their families for one reason or another, and some have cut ties with their communities in favor of less conventional lifestyles.
Regardless, a sister is chosen carefully by a pico’juela, usually after months and even years of vetting in the form of patronage. Having discovered the talents of a potential sister, a pico’juela will often "take in" the individual, sometimes literally housing and paying their way in exchange for small jobs (running messages, usually, without asking questions) and teaching. The pico’juela decides when the potential sister is ready to be inducted into the House properly; there is an elaborate ceremony afterwards, during which they are introduced to their fellow sisters.
Regardless of how one joined, one does not leave the Ehafsú except through death.
The Ehafsú’s origins are unknown. The organization is thought to be ancient, but no proof of their existence prior to the twenty-fifth century exists. A few texts of dubious historical validity point to the seventeenth century onjiri poet Epúrah as a pico’juela, but there is no concrete evidence of this.
Little academic progress has been made, or even attempted, to trace the Ehafsú in Mugrobi history. It is believed that the Ehafsú has a presence in Thul’amat; those scholars who take too much of an interest tend to disappear.
They became more widely-known in the twenty-fifth century, with the semi-botched assassination of Emperor Un Irul (2492–2553). The emperor was successfully poisoned; however, the assassin, an onjira called Dzeza, was caught by the guard while attempting to exit Ashu’tei. The Prefect Esat pez Upe (2510–2594), a celebrated figure in Mugrobi history for his colorful life and prowess as a master perceptive conversationalist, is attributed with the interrogation of Dzeza. He spent his life investigating the Ehafsú, and its existence in the public awareness of Mugroba is commonly attributed to him.
The Ehafsú did what it could to suppress information and clean up Dzeza's “mess”, but it was too late. Some sisters see this as a blessing in disguise; the incident, while embarrassing, did not decrease the public's fear of the Ehafsú.
Nevertheless, the Ehafsú tightened security considerably after this. There is no known way to identify an Ehafsú assassin, and there have been no other large-scale assassinations proven to be executed by the Ehafsú, although there have been many whispers surrounding the recent murders of prominent Crocus party members, and Bulu Erlu Bandu is rumored to be paranoid about the Ehafsú.
- Asa Atúun is a prominent onjira philanthropist in Slowwater, known for their association with the One Sun Party and their quiet support of Thul Ka's vulnerable. There is a rumor that Asa Atúun is heavily implicated in the Ehafsu, if not Eyi’juela. Any attempts at investigating them tend to fail before they start, and they are venerated by their community.