Known for their Starstaffs and Kaos tattoos, the Akari have been at times, both the greatest threat to Lyra and its most powerful protectors.
Dating back millenia, the Akari are a religious order dedicated to the mastery of Kaos (color magic to the uninitiated). Known for their Starstaffs and Kaos tattoos, the Akari have been at times, both the greatest threat to Lyra and its most powerful protectors.
While magical creatures (Sprites), species (Elves), and magic individuals (the shamans of multiple cultures) had always been a part of life on Lyra, and while many seekers spent their lives in search of a greater understanding of magic, it was a humble Kyran, known simply as Kaidu, who was the first to give a name to magic (Kaos) and understand its workings at the fundamental level.
In his enlightenment, Kaidu gained the ability to manipulate the Kaos from which “all life and form is born and will return.” He preached restraint in this practice though, stating, “Kaos is infinite, yet static. Perfectly in balance. For every action is a reaction. For every creation there is destruction. For every life, there is death.” Based on the power of his teachings, Kaidu’s apostles accrued a legion of followers in Kyra who became known as Ak’Rai or, “The Open-Eyed,” which was later condensed into ‘Akari.’ In time, the teachings of the Akari spread throughout the provinces of Kyra, and eventually, reached the shores of Illum.
Following the original doctrine of Kaidu, these first eastern Akari, known as Kaiden, rejected the use of Kaos to change the world and remained focused on the search for enlightenment and oneness with the Balance. The Western Akari, meanwhile, felt the Kaiden interpretation of Kaidu’s teaching was too extreme. They allowed Kaos manipulation, but with limitations, and began to change the world around them in order to reduce the suffering of the unenlightened.
The use of Kaos to help those around them, began to attract devout worshippers to the Akari. In time, by offering greater gifts and pleasures, the philosophy of the West became the dominant belief, even in most of Kyra. Calling themselves the Akari Order, they built Akari Towers across Lyra, in order to read the mysteries of the stars, temples to channel Kaos through meditation, and Academies, where they taught children with a “connection to power” in the ways of Kaos. Within their studies of Kaos, the Akari Order discovered they could use Starfall crystals to build Starstaffs that could focus and amplify their channeling abilities. Starfalls were rare on the Mainland, so the staffs were extremely precious and granted to only the most powerful members of the Order.
The Akari Order were still mindful of Kaidu’s teachings of balance. They believed that their way was not a rejection of his teachings, but an improvement, and that with training and caution “one could raise the overall Kaotic Balance.” The Order taught that only Kaos which brought color and light to the world should be used, while Kaos that worked in darkness and shadow was taboo. It was in rejection of this belief that the Nai emerged. The Nai were a group of Akari who believed the mastery of Kaos was a gift granted to the chosen and freely utilized all forms of Kaos without consideration of its effects on the Kaotic Balance. These differing beliefs fractured the Akari, dividing the Order into two factions, Akari and Nai..
Thus began an era of war between Akari and Nai that spread to every corner of the Mainland, causing incalculable casualties on both sides and across the civilian population. It all came to an end at the last battle of the War of Shadows, where the Nai were decimated. Since then, there has been heavy surveillance for any remnant Nai but nothing has been found, though some believe that followers of the Nai keep their dream alive from within the shadows. Since the fall of the Nai, the Akari Order has become increasingly politically and economically motivated – a change which has disillusioned many of the Order, leading them to become wandering staffs-for-hire who, while not part of the Order, still claim the Akari title.
Also removed from the Akari in all ways but name, is a small number of monks and hermits, colloquially known as the Monks of Kaos, who keep alive the way of the Kaiden – seeking peace within the Balance,
Though Akari of all denominations can still be found across Lyra using their magic to help those most in need, the damage done by the crimes of the Nai and the wars of the past have had a lasting effect. And so, while once they were worshiped and seen as the embodiment of hope, the Akari are now just as often targets of distrust and fear, and in some corners of Lyra, even hunted.