The Factions: LOW FACTION KEL
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LOW FACTION KEL
Emblem: The Ashhawk (or “Suicide Hawk”)
Motto: From every spark a fire
Colors: Black and gold
Center of Government: The Aerie
The Kel serve as the hexarchate’s military and specialize in kinetic operations. They tend to be conservative, conformist, and hierarchical.
The Kel’s greatest contribution to the hexarchate is their exotic training, comprising two techniques: formation instinct and formation channeling. Formation instinct is a form of brainwashing that induces a Kel to find solace in obeying orders from their superiors. It’s not foolproof—“crashhawks,” independent-minded Kel with defective formation instinct, can be found on occasion—but as a rule, the Kel military is built around the expectation of unquestioning obedience.
Formation channeling allows groups of Kel in specific geometric configurations to summon exotic effects, everything from force shields to fire lances. The most spectacular examples are suicide formations, in which the Kel in the unit burn up in order to destroy the enemy.
The stereotypical Kel recruit is strong, loyal, and brave. While many foreigners don’t realize it, the Kel are a volunteer army. Those who apply to the Kel academies understand that they may well be ordered to sacrifice themselves as formation fuel. Officers are additionally selected for a certain minimum of mathematical ability, to handle the rigors of calendrical warfare. Higher-ranking Kel recover some degree of autonomy, but Kel Command itself is composed of a hivemind, and is widely regarded to be psychotic thanks to centuries of ingrained paranoia.
Because of the possibility for abuse inherent in formation instinct, Kel are forbidden to have relationships with other Kel. As a result, they must marry outside the faction. Group marriages are the norm, especially among Kel who plan to raise children.
The Kel often get along with the Rahal, who share their conservative mindset, and grudgingly acknowledge that the Vidona carry out a necessary function in preserving the hexarchate. They also have strong ties to the Nirai due to their dependence on Nirai military innovations. While the Kel work closely with the Shuos, who provide strategic guidance and intelligence, the relationship is an ambivalent one at best; few Kel ever feel entirely easy around one of the foxes.
In recent times the faction the Kel despise the most, however, are the Andan. For one, the Andan role in pursuing diplomatic relations outside the hexarchate makes them suspect. The average Kel doesn’t distinguish much between heretics within the nation and foreigners without. They also dislike Andan flexibility and willingness to compromise on social mores.
No one thought at first that Kel Dessenet was going to amount to anything. He scored in the bottom third at Kel Academy Secondary and was best-known, if the records can be believed, for cutting class to gamble. The death of a comrade during his first assignment sobered him, however, and from then on he became an exemplary officer, eventually rising to general. His career ended in tragedy or glory, depending on your point of view. In order to halt the advance of an invading fleet, he destroyed his entire swarm of over 300 warmoths in a suicide formation called Wildfire Over the Aerie. The maneuver worked, but Wildfire Over the Aerie has been proscribed by Kel Command ever since.