Something is Rotten in the State of Amarr

2016-09-14

On September 27, YC118, Lady Catiz Tash-Murkon is expected and anticipated to be crowned Empress Catiz I of the Holy Amarr Empire. She will be the third female ruler that the Amarr Empire has ever had—succeeding the second, Empress Jamyl I (may she rest in the eternal peace of God)—and the first ruler of Holy Amarr from the Tash-Murkon family. The latter has proved to be a bit of a sticking point as an armed insurrection has risen up declaring Lady Tash-Murkon too impure for the Sacred Throne.

This insurrection calls itself the Purity of the Throne. They are decently equipped with combat ships of Amarrian design, and they are large, spread out across the cluster. This is a far cry from the inept terrorist attack that killed 246 slaver hounds in Kehour VIII on September 6. The Theology Council and the Ministry of Internal Order has declared the Purity of the Throne organization heretical—surprising absolutely no one—and encouraged capsuleers to kill them where they stand.

AN INSURRECTION?

The crux of the Purity of the Throne movement is that Lady Tash-Murkon is of Udorian blood and therefore unfit to rule the Holy Amarr Empire. To explain why requires a bit of background.

The Amarr—bless their heart—are racist as a culture. So much so that the people descended from Amarr Island call themselves True Amarr. Everyone else in the Amarr Empire is just Amarr, and depending on their race, they have their own place in society. The True Amarr are the leaders; it say so quite clearly in the Amarrian Scriptures.

“Our Lord visited his flock and saw that all was not good.

Blasphemy and heresy ruled the land.

The Lord punished the sinners and drowned them in their own blood.

But the people of Amarr lived righteously and in fear of God.

Thus they were saved and became God’s chosen.”

– The Scriptures, Book II 2:1

The Amarrian Scriptures are really Old Testament in tone. Their god is vengeful. If you cross him, he will fuck you up. However, since the True Amarr are the righteous ones, they get to reclaim all creation, enslave the unwilling, run the show, and eat grapes from between a slavegirl’s breasts. It is good to be True Amarr.

At the founding of the Empire, three main racial groups lived on Athra, also known now as Amarr Prime: the True Amarr, the Udorians, and the Khanids. The True Amarr were the smallest one with the least territory. Since god had told them—no doubt through someone living very large being god’s messenger and all—that they were supposed to go out and reclaim, enslave, and rule the universe, they did just that. The True Amarr started to conquer the Athra. The war didn’t go quite so well at first, but through perseverance and allying with the Khanid, the True Amarr conquered all of Athra. Just to show how awesome they were, the True Amarr renamed the planet after themselves. The Udorians were enslaved; the Khanid that didn’t bend the knee were enslaved; and everyone was happy. Except—presumably—the slaves.

It is at this point that the Udorians stopped existing as a distinct race. They committed genetic suicide by interbreeding with the True Amarr to the point where there was no real difference. Except, of course, to the true True Amarr. They were the ones untainted with Udorian blood in their family. Realistically, by YC0 very few True Amarr could claim this. In fact, no official Imperial organization makes any distinction between True Amarr and Udorian.

The sticking point is that the Tash-Murkon family has some acknowledged Udorian ancestry in its past. While the house was founded and run through the millennia by True Amarr, there is no doubt that some Udorians were part of marriages. To make matters a little rougher, House Tash-Murkon doesn’t deny this. They don’t exactly embrace or shout it from the rooftops, but they don’t deny it. The true True Amarr, and the super conservative element of Amarrian society, apply the Amarrian version of the “one drop rule” and say that House Tash-Murkon is Udorian. Since Catiz is Udorian, she not True Amarr and unfit to be the Empress of Holy Amarr. I told you they were racist.

THE ISSUE IS NOT THE ISSUE

Like so many times, the issue is not the issue. The fact that Lady Tash-Murkon has some Udorian blood in her family thousands of years back is just window dressing for what’s actually wrong. The first issue is House Tash-Murkon itself. They are the newest royal house. When Emperor Heideran VII took the throne, Garkeh Khanid did his best Thukker impression and left rather than commit ritual suicide. Emperor Heideran had a power problem. The newly styled King Khanid II left the Amarr Empire weaker and in a state of a Sitzbürgerkrieg—a civil war that didn’t actually involve any fighting, like the Western Front from late 1939 to early 1940. Emperor Heideran needed support and to do that he tapped the fantastically wealthy House Tash-Murkon to replace House Khanid. Whatever the Amarish word for simony is, it was almost certainly said frequently behind closed doors.

This happened three hundred years ago from EVE Online’s present day. For the Amarr, three hundred years is nothing. That’s the reign of Emperor Heideran VII plus thirteen years. And the only reason why Emperor Heideran died so soon was he was sick. The Amarr live a very, very long time. There are plenty of people alive in the Empire who were either there, or learned this from people that were there at the time—including King Khanid II, who is scheduled to commit suicide at the coronation. The stigma that the Tash-Murkon family brought their royal seat is prevalent and certainly doesn’t sit well with many True Amarr.

The second issue is how House Tash-Murkon acts. Simply put, they do not act like a real noble house should. All the royal houses are fantastically rich and powerful, but House Tash-Murkon is extremely mercantile, much more than any True Amarr house should be. That aspect of civilization is just not done by the nobility. There are other classes who do that. The feeling that “House Tash-Murkon just isn’t like us” has to be strong in Amarr.

House Tash-Murkon is also amazingly liberal by Amarrian standards. The best example of this is their endorsement of TransCranial MicroControllers, or TCMCs. TCMCs are mind control devices that are used as slave control. With a TCMC the slave can forget they are a slave and do whatever their master tells them without any whips, chains, or crucifixions. (Sansha Kuvakei endorses this message.) The sticking point here is that slavery in the Amarr Empire is actually supposed to be about reclaiming unwilling cultures and turning them into righteous Amarr. Eventually, all slaves should be freed to become good, productive citizens. This is Lord Ardishapur’s argument against TCMCs. If someone is a mind controlled technozombie just working, there’s not any actual education going on and no reclaiming. However, to the Tash-Murkon family, TCMCs improve productivity and the bottom line. There’s a reason the unofficial player nickname for the house is Cash-Money. I did say liberal by Amarrian standards.

Filthy Udorians chasing after mammon. . . .

The last final objection follows along these same lines, but is aimed at Catiz herself. When she was younger, she struck out on her own. Catiz formed her own mining venture and made an incredible amount of money. Again, this is just not done. Unlike the rest of the royal heirs who were sitting in their fancy palaces eating grapes from between a slavegirl’s breasts, Catiz got her fingers dirty. Her own fingers dirty. Somewhere on Kador Prime, there is a True Amarr lady clutching her pearls and fanning herself at the impropriety.

I HATE BEING RIGHT

A year ago, on this site I wrote:

“There are three relatively safe choices for the Empire: Lord Sarum, Lord Kador, and Lord Kor-Azor. Lady Tash-Murkon is slightly more of a controversial choice as empress, given her Udorian blood. The final two, Lord Ardishapur and Lord Khanid are two halves to a critical mass of fissionable material. So far, it has only been Empress Jamyl that has kept them from exploding. Should either one of them ascend to the Sacred Throne, expect fireworks.

There has never been a Tash-Murkon emperor, so if Lady Tash-Murkon does win the trials it will be a first for her family and it is not entirely sure she will be accepted as such. The only house that is likely to outright oppose her is House Ardishapur, though. So, her ascension should be mostly undisturbed, but her reign opposed politically by the new Lord Ardishapur and possibly new Lady Kador. That probably will not matter too much as her wealth, combined with the position of empress, means Lady Tash-Murkon would have a lot of friends both inside and outside the Empire.”

This calculus hasn’t changed. If anything, Catiz’s position is stronger. House Ardishapur has made no moves against her and the Succession Trials have been legitimized at the highest levels of Imperial government and society. The Purity of the Throne movement are incompetent morons. In two weeks, Empress Catiz I will be crowned and the Empire will move on.

INCOMPETENT MORONS?

Step one of any insurgency, coup, or rebellion is to kill the person in charge. Operation Valkyrie didn’t succeed because a table kept Hitler alive. The recent coup in Turkey failed because step one was not to kill Presiden Erdogan. Granted, exceptions can be made if distance is a factor, but that is not in play here. The Purity of the Throne is trying to overthrow the Empress in Holy Amarr, not trying to secede from the Empire. They have to keep Catiz from sitting on the Sacred Throne on the 27th and they just cannot. The Purity of the Throne tipped their hand too early and screwed whatever chance they had. Hail Empress Catiz I, we salute you because those that want us to oppose you are too stupid to organize an orgy in a Gallente pleasure hub.

It is a shame that the coronation is getting a two week and done event. A, longer storyline of political machinations might have led to players actually choosing to side against her, but it seems that CCP’s bandwidth for lore is already maxed out.

ALL THE NEWS THAT’S FIT TO PRINT

On the issue of CCP’s bandwidth, players have seen CCP’s lore team of CCPs Falcon, Affinity, and Delegate Zero do some amazing arcs. From a storytelling and performance perspective the arc leading up to the death of Empress Jamyl was par excellence. However, now that players have seen how good they can be at it, players will expect it. This Purity of the Throne event has had absolutely no build up. There was exactly one in-game news story about a terrorist attack before the Purity of the Throne event started. Everything else was kind of there, but only to players super tuned into Amarr lore. I know almost all of them. It’s not a big number. The average player was almost certainly unaware.

As of the night of September 13, there have been zero in-game news stories relating to the Purity of the Throne event. There was a devblog, which is great, but not exactly lore focused. There is an entry on the EVE Updates page about it that might be considered written from an in-game perspective, but discerning that is difficult. There are some entries on the EVE Updates page that are not in-game perspective at all.

Something would be nice. It doesn’t take that long to write a 500 word news hit.

There was also a bug with the event, but that is not the lore team’s fault and has been resolved.

FC WHAT DO?

The actual event sites themselves are fairly straightforward.  Warping to the site puts the player directly into combat. Unlike the sites for the first Serpentis or Crimson Harvest events, there is no acceleration gate for ships to go through. Instead, the player warps in and begins killing. The site spawns a few waves of Amarr ships, all in the new pure white colors. Once these waves have been destroyed, the final battlecruiser spawns.  This NPC drops a Purity of the Throne SKIN, randomized for almost all Amarrian ships.  As of yet, no other notable drops have been reported.  The event is very easy, and can be soloed in a Confessor-class tactical destroyer.  As with all Amarr-based NPCs, when fighting these new targets, a player should tank for EM and thermal damage and do the same.

LOOKING AHEAD

Empress Catiz’s I coronation is on September 27. Although it’s unlikely that the actual coronation will be in space, unlike the coronation of Emperor Doriam II, there will be something in Amarr Prime for players to see. Whether it will be a fleet of static ships as large non-collidable objects or event actors with controlled NPCs is uncertain, but there will be something. In her first act as Empress of Holy Amarr, she will order the other heirs to carry out the ritual of Shathol’Syn: ritual suicide. After that, it’s up in the air what will happen to Amarr. CCP has stated that they want to see a four way faction war, so tensions between the Empire and the State might heat up. Given that Empress Catiz owns half the State in the form of debts, interesting times are ahead.

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