Elmira of Aktau

Elmira of Aktau (16 August 1103 – 2 December YE 49) was the Nyridia leader of the Hycathic city of Aktau from 1131 until her death. She re-shaped the city’s structure, and her reforms contributed to a growing economy and better quality of life under her rule.

Early Life

Elmira was born in Aktau to a politician and a social worker. Being a Nyridia, Elmira received specific attention in school, where the local Hycatha teachers helped her reach her full potential with her magic. She was an accomplished student and soon became part of the city’s Oculus, which at the time didn’t have a leader.

Leader of Aktau

Elmira was not only a clever politician; she was also full of ambition. The council recognised her talents and offered her a seat when she was only twenty years old. Within two years, Elmira reorganised the entire society of Aktau. Her reforms brought a better quality of life and better organised education, for which she was widely respected. In light of her popularity, the council proposed to pronounce her the Leader of Aktau on the condition that she would let them remain in a position of power and rule by her side. Elmira agreed, and she was promoted to leader of the city in 1131. During this time, she appointed another Nyridia, Zoraida – who had emigrated from her home city of Valencia – as her deputy leader, creating the first city-state worldwide with multiple Nyridiae in positions of power.

Alleged Covert Practices

Elmira’s Aktau was a place of advanced science and knowledge, and this has brought with it rumours implicating her in intense experiments into Hycathic magic; most theorise that she consented to such experiments, but some even have her presiding over or engaging in them herself. Historians such as Dr. Victoria Flood have explored the theory that Hycath Relics were being reverse-engineered so that the magic within them could be transferred to other, non-Hycathic, humans.

No concrete empirical evidence of any such experiment currently exists, though this has not stopped the rumours from persisting and providing the impetus for both art and more thorough investigation.


Role in the First Hycath War

In 1138, Elmira received a deputation of refugee Hycathae from Constantinople, among whom were a young orphan, Nuray, and a woman she had convinced to come with her, Roosmarijn Doolaard. Elmira accepted these Hycathae to Aktau on the condition that they assimilate fully and contribute to the community.

Roosmarijn was a Dutch-English Cyntha from the court of Empress Matilda ‘Maud’ of Anjou, then waging the First Hycath War against her cousin, King Stephen of Blois, in protest at his usurpation of her rightful claim to the English throne. Roosmarijn was on a mission from Maud to recruit a Nyridia to join their ranks, from which she had already strayed by diverting to Aktau, and she attempted to persuade Elmira to join. Elmira, however, brought her into Aktau and gave her access to its vast libraries, giving her the resources with which to observe and educate herself on Aktau’s Hycathic society.

After three months, the records show that Elmira departed Aktau with Roosmarijn after a second and more successful entreaty, though the exact reason/s for this are lost to time. Flood has suggested, in her book An Odyssey of Fire, that Roosmarijn may have discovered evidence of rumoured experiments under Elmira’s rule and confronted her with it, stating her intention to report her findings to the English Hycathae. Flood goes on to suppose that Elmira, sensing the harm that Roosmarijn might do to the English cause with misinformation and inexperience with higher magic, took control of the situation by agreeing to return with her and take responsibility for instructing Maud’s Hycathic army. She left Zoraida to rule Aktau in her absence.

Elmira also successfully convinced Roosmarijn to divert her course further in search of Tanoute of Damanhur, another Nyridia and a former acquaintance of hers who had travelled west from her native Egypt. Eventually locating her in Ouadane, West Africa, the two used their combined experience to persuade Tanoute to join them.

Elmira arrived in England with Roosmarijn and Tanoute in September 1140 and was inducted into Maud’s court and gathering forces. On Roosmarijn’s recommendation, she was given responsibility for instructing the Hycathae among Maud’s number in advanced magic for use in combat, skills which would be deployed most effectively at the climactic Battle of Lincoln in February 1141, which brought Maud victory in the war and ushered in the First Age of Hycath. Elmira herself served on the battlefield, leading a flank of the army comprising Margaret Loxley – soon to be Countess of Huntingdon – and her soldiers. Maud wished to reward her with the newly-created Marcdom of Exeter, but Elmira instead chose to return to Aktau, leaving custodianship of the knowledge she had shared, both in Aktau and in England, in Roosmarijn’s hands.

Later Life and Death

Upon returning to Aktau, Elmira would supervise the mentoring of Nuray, who had been left there by Roosmarijn in the 1130s for her own safety. Nuray would rise to high office in the Oculus of Aktau and gain the title Nuray of Aktau.

Elmira ruled over Aktau until the end of her life. She always remained one of the most famous and highly respected individuals in the city’s history. She spent most of her late years training her daughter to take over her position. She died of old age not long after her 86th birthday.

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