The Factions: HIGH FACTION ANDAN
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HIGH FACTION ANDAN
Emblem: The Kniferose
Motto: Petal-sweet, thorn-sharp
Colors: Blue and silver
Center of Government: The City of Inverted Gardens
The Andan dominate culture and finance. Most of the dramas that are so popular with hexarchate citizens are Andan creations. The Andan are also responsible for first contact and diplomacy with foreign powers.
The expectation is that prospective Andan are beautiful, or wealthy, or create beautiful things—all three, for preference. While nepotism is frowned upon in the other factions, among the Andan it is seen as only good sense. Andan often marry other Andan. This way, resources can be concentrated in the hands of known and trusted families. Classes at the Andan academies focus on comportment, ways to build wealth, and the arts. Perhaps the most notorious class is Introduction to Seduction. The Shuos teach their own version of the class, but Andan-certified courtesans are widely regarded to be superior to those trained by the Shuos.
Enthrallment is the Andan faction’s most potent technique. It allows an Andan to hypnotize a social inferior in physical proximity and bind them to their will. The effect diminishes with repeated use; nevertheless, the threat of its employment often drives Andan to elaborate ploys in search of greater status.
The Andan consider the Vidona to be an essential tool for maintaining social control, not least because the Vidona’s blunt methods contrast usefully with the Andan’s more subtle ones. The Nirai are easily manipulated and no threat, while the Rahal are too wrapped up in the letter of the law to adapt to circumstances. The Kel are a hammer in search of a nail, but even the Andan acknowledge the usefulness of the military. Their real rivals are the Shuos, whose spheres of interest overlap theirs. Andan strategies for dealing with the Shuos range from trying to outmaneuver them to outspending them.
Andan Zhe Navo
Although best known as a rare Andan general, Andan Zhe Navo started her career as a poet. She specialized in memorial verses to commemorate the heptarchate’s military victories, and as such had a reasonable familiarity with Kel practice. In modern memory she is feted as one of the hexarchate’s greatest historical generals, and at the time she retired even the Shuos respected her. There is speculation that she rivaled the notorious Shuos Jedao in skill, but the two never crossed paths; she died of old age during Jedao’s childhood.
Her early career was rockier than most people realize. She was given command of a Kel brigade and tasked with putting down a heresy, not due to her military acumen—she was not yet established—but because her older brother, an Andan courtier, had offended a powerful official who also bore a grudge against the Kel. It was expected that Navo would suffer a humiliating loss. Instead, she prevailed against the heretics and negotiated a successful peace.
Navo continued in military service partly because she had earned the respect of the Kel, and partly to redeem her brother’s honor. Historians speculate that her scapegrace brother used Navo’s growing prestige to further his own political career, with decidedly uncertain results. If Navo ever resented this, no record of it remains.