The factions: HIGH FACTION SHUOS
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HIGH FACTION SHUOS
Emblem: The Ninefox (or “Eyefox”)
Motto: The more eyes the better
Colors: Red and gold
Center of Government: The Citadel of Eyes
The Shuos are marked by two traits: fetishization of competence and a tendency to take the long view. The rest of the hexarchate knows them for their cunning and obsession with games of all kinds. It’s said that the only people a Shuos really hates are incompetent Shuos. A Shuos will never make a move on one gameboard when they can instead make one on three at the same time. The faction would be more dominant if not for its extreme instability: a Shuos hexarch usually claims the seat by assassinating their predecessor, and a good one is lucky to last a decade. The rest of the hexarchate puts up with the accompanying paroxysms mainly because they’re afraid of what would happen if the Shuos pointed themselves in the same direction for more than a generation.
The stereotype is that every Shuos has assassin training, but that’s the public image more than the reality. In truth, they are responsible for strategic planning and intelligence-gathering. Their work wouldn’t be possible without the less glamorous contributions of bureaucrats and analysts.
Shuos cadets are selected for their deviousness, interest in games, and pragmatism. Their academies make extensive use of games and game design in training. As a side-effect, Shuos often insist on “explaining” things to others using games instead of saying things straight out.
While individuals receive no faction-specific exotic training, the Shuos did contribute an exotic weapon, the shouter. Its effect is to drive people who hear it to submit to the conquerors’ sign. Considered crude and heavy-handed, it is rarely used anymore.
The Shuos are most closely allied with the Kel, although their view of the Kel is somewhat condescending: “You distract them with the guns so we can get the real work done.” They tolerate the Rahal and scorn the Vidona.
The Andan, however, the Shuos hate with a passion. This has its origins partly in history, as the two factions used to be one (it’s a matter of controversy whether the Shuos splintered from the Andan or the other way around). There’s also professional rivalry: Andan and Shuos specialties overlap a great deal, except the Andan have much better public relations. The Shuos, competitive by nature, find this infuriating. And even worse, while the Shuos are perennially juggling budget shortfalls, the Andan are rich and don’t mind showing it off.
Heptarch Shuos Estrekor
According to Shuos records, their first heptarch, Estrekor, was the older of two twins. She was fabled for her beauty, her odd sense of humor, and her refusal to take a lover, although she liked collecting poetry written in her honor. One surviving note, said to be in her hand, claimed that there is no entertainment so fine as bad poetry—and that all poetry is bad when it’s love poetry. Depending on whether you believe the Shuos or the Andan, her younger twin betrayed her and ran off to found the Andan, or saved the heptarchate from one of her treacherous plots and forced her out of the Andan to found the Shuos. A great deal of the bad blood between both factions dates back to that time.