The previous night, the Bear Etiki that stood in the ornamental garden had been banished and the stone form smashed with hammers. Even now the flowerbeds were littered with the crossbow bolts of the Regent’s guard. The raiders had swept across much of the North Town, but they were little more than a distraction. They had served to allow the Devoted to explore the palace undisturbed.
There were eight of them, as in any normal cell. Devoted Marhun was their nominal leader, but they did not serve him. Together they served Dornade. No, not even him in truth, but his vision of a world free from tyranny. That vision brought them this far, to a fortified manor in which the Triform Etiki was said to stand. And yet, they had searched the previous night and not found it. The Etiki was said to be huge and as Marhun stood in the courtyard disguised as a monk, he cast his gaze once more over the buildings, searching for any space large enough to hold it that they had not already searched. As he did so, he had a revelation.
A young woman walked to the well and drew up a bucket to fill her pitcher. She paid no attention to Marhun and he none to her. Then, when she was gone he ran to the well and climbed as swiftly as he could down the rope. It was dark at the bottom and he had none of his equipment with him, but there in the shadows he could see the Etiki’s hulking form.
That night, they would destroy it.
The Devoted of Dornade are a revolutionary cult dedicated to overthrowing the political influence of the Etiki and, where possible, destroying them. Dornade himself was a notable scholar at a young age, then a political activist until he became frustrated that his every scheme failed. He became convinced there was a world he could not see hidden behind the visible facade of daily life. He sought knowledge obsessively, learned as many secrets as he could and gradually worked towards the solution of the mystery which haunted him. Through dedicated study he amassed considerable power as a mage. Using these secrets, he discovered the existence of the Etiki.
Dornade spent the rest of his life fighting against the Etiki, but whilst he was formidable he was no match for them. He therefore, over many years, recruited like-minded people to his cause. These people he instructed and guided and eventually they began to win small victories, freeing remote areas from Etiki influence. Dornade became more and more obsessed in later life and accumulated more and more power, a mixture of learned secrets and stolen artefacts. By the time of his death he was a demigod figure leading a large force of scholars, warriors and revolutionaries. He was very old by this time and succumbed to an illness, but his followers, convinced the Etiki had set it upon him, continued his work.
The Devoted never quite succeeded in destroying all of the Etiki, but certainly the succeeded in diminishing them from the invisible rulers of the greatest empire in history to a small number of lurking beings hidden in remote locations.
Historically the Devoted arose relatively late, with Dornade himself born only two centuries or so from the end of the Epoch of Kings.
The two forms in which the Devoted are most likely to be encountered are either as scholars and mystics, seeking to piece together the links of Etiki power, or as Etiki hunters actively hunting down Etiki to banish.
The destruction of a stone form is relatively easily accomplished, albeit a lot of hard work. However, if the secrets are not known to exile the Etiki itself then it may well find another form to inhabit sooner or later. Nonetheless the crude destruction can be worthwhile since it may become much harder for the Etiki to gain access to those it formerly influenced.