The School of Akhl’xarak began with the subrace of Kathar known as the Bakrathar, but has since expanded across the entire Race and into the Haat-Maraya. Wielded by both gladiators and shock troopers, and featuring three forms of distinct combat, the School has seen great success over the years since its creation. Its founding family of Bakrathar was uplifted to their current status as a Great Kaahl on the back of creating the School, and the professional military, as well as entertainment of the Dread Empire, has much to thank them for as a result.
The School of Akhl'xarak is a more recent development, at least within the realm of the Dread Empire. It came about shortly after the capture of Eronidas from Daen and their eventual transformation into the Bakrathar when their former keepers, the Shenathar Khaal Qormeiaan, sought use for them. The Dread Empire itself had a solution, and many of this new subrace was pushed into the gladiatorial pits, where their strength was tested and their excellence in physical power was brought to light. In these early years, the Bakrather gladiators used all manner of weapons but one famed fighter, known as Gisgo, was discontent. In private, he began to train his fellow warriors in the ways of what eventually became Akhl’xarak, primarily for the entertainment of the pit’s patrons. However, the Qormeiaan soon noticed Gisgo’s efforts. Rather than allow what could become a dangerous revolution to break out, they instead patronized him to grow his style of combat into fully-fledged schooling, and to teach others, free of a life of gladiatorial matches. This eventually led to the formation of the Khaal Doumat, the only Bakrathar Khaal in the Dread Empire, and Gisgo’s heirs and successors carried on his legacy. It was his son, Gisgok, that first transitioned the School out of the arena and into the field of battle, expanding and some would say enhancing the School through the embrace of a greater variety of weapon usage. He was the one to form the Disciplines breaking up the different weapons wielded into separate classes, while also giving distinct identities to each. Today, the School of Akhl’xarak is widespread across the Dread Empire and has taught some of the best gladiators, shock troopers, and thugs in the Kathar world their form of conflict. In the Dread War, while rarely seen, the School’s students did still make an impact onto whatever field of battle they were unleashed onto, and many Altalar, Regalians, and Avanthar have yet to forget these wicked foes.
- Pit of Gisgo: The renamed origin place for the entire School, the Pit of Gisgo is wholly operated by the Doumat in the modern-day, and features gladiators trained in Akhl’xarak dueling until defeat for the pleasure and excitement of cheering crowds once every two weeks. The facility is located in the capital city of Paärthalaär.
- Arena of Dydola: Founded by Gisgo’s daughter, the Arena of Dydola was initially unsuccessful, but when its training halls were opened to non-Bakrathar, Shenathar rapidly took to the School. This facility ultimately became a major contributor to the opening up of the School to other Kathar subraces.
- Barrow of Pain: The Barrow of Pain is found in an isolated region south of the city of Gygalla, and was built out of the remains of a long collapsed and exposed Meraic ruin. Ghastly and alien for its bone adornments mixed with the ancient site, this was the first arena to train Haat-Maraya, who proved wildly popular with the crowd.
Code of Conduct
The School of Akhl'xarak has no true system of belief or code of combat. Due to Kathar beliefs around a lack of rules to govern fighting, beyond that of skill winning out, the School does not emphasize any regulations itself. There is, though, the general notion of glory and power, and showing off for the crowd, at least when in a gladiatorial setting. Pleasing the audience and appealing to future wealthy aids is often emphasized, though this should never be done at the cost of effective combat.
The School of Akhl'xarak begins its training at any age above fourteen. The first weapon the wielders are instructed in is a one-handed blunt weapon, one of any number of flails, morning stars, or more that had been forged within the borders of the Dread Empire. This takes place for a year before the students are divided into one of the three Disciplines: Canak’bor, Duumankor, and Akhl’rahz. Each Discipline has a three-year education period, with one’s skills in a one-handed blunt weapon largely being sidelined into a backup weapon kept at an individual’s side. The School, oddly, does not directly teach physical exercise and techniques to its students but this is mostly because such skills are already possessed, or naturally developed over time in wielding the heavy weapons. Many still exercise in their downtime anyway and the gymnasium facilities of Akhl'xarak academies are often intense, constantly used spaces. Ultimately, the School teaches its students for a standard five years, before releasing them to serve in their desired profession. For gladiators, the proximity of the School’s facilities will often see them continue for a few more years, expanding their skillset. It is important to note that there is a “friendly” rivalry between each Discipline, so it is almost unheard of for a single fighter to learn two forms of the School during their time there.
Disciplines of Akhl'xarak
Discipline of Canak’bor
Those who follow the path of Canak’bor are often the most malicious and blood-loving of the School of Akhl'xarak. Wielding a type of greatsword known to the Kathar as a Canam’zor (or a Canam), these disciples seek to make huge, aggressive sweeping motions with their blade for a wide range of damage opportunities. They are led on by their momentum and are not afraid to throw a bit of hand-to-hand combat in while their sword is otherwise embedded or unable to be used. Their visuals draw heavily from bones, wearing ornate half and full helms with either real or aesthetic bones inlaid within it. They also frequently wear simple metal gauntlets, decorated similarly, though they keep their bodies generally unarmored or adorned otherwise, save for bones taken as trophies from others.
Discipline of Duumankor
Duumankor followers are wielders of greataxes, the wicked design of particular note being the Horned Axe, a double-sided weapon with some particularly harsh points adorning its shape. While not as bloodthirsty as Canak’dor followers, they are still savage, but more calculating. Their combat emphasizes well-timed swings and sudden action to keep someone off balance. Additionally, they often go for cleaving off the limbs of their targets to literally disarm them. To protect themselves from such an outcome, Duumankor warriors wear armor only on specific parts of their bodies. This most commonly manifested itself in the form of a single armored arm piece, along with horned helms which take visuals from the Shadow Bovine. However, there is a lack of armor on the rest of their bodies.
Discipline of Akhl’rahz
The last Discipline, and perhaps the simplest, is the Discipline of Akhl’rahz. Focusing on the use of heavy, blunt weapons, those taught in the School are some of the crassest and pragmatic individuals in the School. Many are gladiators, to an unusually high ratio, and so often compete for crowd attention, praise, and more from the general populace. Their form of combat sees their weaponry used just as it should be, as the ultimate cudgel of brute force and pain, most commonly aiming to slam into an individual’s chest. The Discipline takes its iconography from the Karall Mole, a form of life similar to the Norlda of Drowda, but instead inhabiting the Void-soaked regions of the Dread Empire. However, the Discipline does not have its combatants wear armor and instead, such iconography is only on banners and on the Akan Belt, a wide form of ceremonial decoration worn by followers of the Akhl’rahz techniques when in combat.
- The skills of the School have been exported overseas into Solstithar lands thanks to captured warriors from battlefields, as well as deserters and the spread of the Kathar in the criminal domains of the wider world.
- Hanno, the youngest son of the current patriarch of the Doumaat Kaahl, is an extremely proficient acolyte of the Akhl’xarak combat style. He is one of a rare breed of warriors to train in two Disciplines, Akhl’rahz and Duumankor. Yet, his extremely close relationship with another warrior prodigy, Bahzarneer of the School of Tarakhal, may lead to greater friction between their two families.
Antimreoir, Woodwork, MantaRey||
HydraLana on 03/24/2021.|
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