|“||Through knowledge, transcendence.||”|
–The Scholar Creed
The Scholars are a race of oppressed people who once ruled the land that has since been occupied by the Martial Empire. They were once renowned for their knowledge and arts, and were a generally peaceful people.
The Empire of Scholar arose from the successful accord between men and the fey. The efrits showed men the paths to greatness, granting them powers of healing, fighting, swiftness, and fortune-telling. The Scholars were the strongest among men and they were dedicated to their creed: "Through knowledge, transcendence." What they had achieved, nevertheless, was not enough to surpass the boundless knowledge owned by the jinn. In attempt to learn the secrets of the jinn, the Scholars sent delegations to negotiate with the leader of the jinn, the King-of-No-Name. They received a gentle but firm response, "We are jinn. We are apart."
The Scholars attempted countless ways of negotiation, but the response was still the same. Soon, hard times struck the Scholar Empire. Famine and plague took whole cities. The Scholar Emperor believed that if they had the knowledge of the jinn, they could rise again. Thus, he gathered the finest Scholar intellectuals into a Coven to master the jinn. The Coven allied with some of the fey. From these creatures, the Scholars learned to trap the jinn. They tormented the jinn but still failed to secure their secrets. Enraged at the evasion of the jinn, the Coven no longer cared for fey secrets. They sought now only to destroy the jinn. The Coven used the knowledge given to them by the fey to create a powerful weapon called the Star. They used the weapon to corner the jinn and lock them forever in a grove of trees.
The power unleashed by the jailing destroyed the Star and the Coven. Though the jinn were defeated, their leader was not. The failure to save his people gave rise to the dark side of the king. He was then given a new name, the Nightbringer. He plagued mankind for hundreds of years, then allied himself with the Scholars' ancient enemy, the Martials. The Nightbringer whispered the secrets of steelcraft and statecraft to them. Within a few generations, the Martials managed to bring down the Scholar Empire. The Scholar Empire fell quickly, its people enslaved and broken.
Five hundred years after the Martials' invasion, the Scholars live in oppression and enslavement. Scholars who are not enslaved work menial jobs such as farmers, cleaners, and dockworkers. Free-women cook, clean, dress hair, press clothing, make soap, wash dishes, and barter. They do not get paid reasonably for the laborious jobs they do. Some of them turn to thievery. For those who rebel, they join up the Resistance.
The Scholars cannot own property, attend school, read, or write. Even the mildest transgression leads to enslavement. The Martials treat them horribly. They raid, jail, and even kill, Scholars who hoard grain, smuggle books, or teach Scholar children to read. Anyone who collaborates with the Resistance will be executed. Since the invasion, the Scholars do not have the privilege to learn steelcraft. The Martials guard their weapons secrets stringently and sentence to execution any Scholar who enters their forges.
Izzat is a code of honor as old as the Scholar people. It is in Old Rei, the language spoken by Scholars before the Martials invaded and forced them to speak Serran. By definition, it means strength, honor, and pride. But recently, it has come to mean freedom, courage, and proving yourself. Izzat usually comes together with an image of a closed fist raised high with a flame behind it.
- Unlike the Tribes, Scholars do not always believe in ghuls and wraiths.
- Scholars do not use last names because it makes them more difficult to track down. So they end up being identified by cities or neighborhoods, like Laia's parents, who are referred to as "Mirra and Jahan of Serra."
- The sigil of the Scholar Empire was a purple quill and an open book on a green background.
- The Scholars are the "sparrows" in the prophecies.
- An Ember In The Ashes: pages 343-346