- Alin Magic
2006 real time strategy computer game"", the race uses magic for both civilian and military needs. This article will discuss on the topics involved in this subject.
At the heart of the Alin society is magic, an all-powerful source of energy that the Alin people have come to embrace since time immemorial. Without it, the Alin would not have crafted the civilization that they have today; and ironically, it was magic that gave birth to Sawu’s legion of Dark Glass creatures, and resulted in the eventual burial of the legendary city of Mezekesh under the sands of the
Kalahese Desert. Magic on its own isn’t inherently good or evil – it merely follows the user’s own will. So far, three distinct branches of Alin magic have been identified – Sand, Fire and Glass Magic - each branch having a following of users known as Mystics, and every creature and unit in the Alin army is associated with one of the three branches. Each unit is summoned to the battlefield by means of magic Circles of its associated branch, which can be summoned literally anywhere in the field, provided there are no obstructions in the way of the desired site.
The most common of the three branches, Mystics of this form of magic use sand as the basis for their spells, and are able to use it to their advantage. The most notable of these is the Alin’s own National Power, Summon Army, of which warriors are spawned out of the desert sands and arise to fight the enemy. Alin structures are also constructed from sand magic, slowly rising out from the desert as fully-functional buildings. Even the cities of the Alin themselves are suspended above the desert sands by use of spells that keep them floating above the ground.
Units that fall into this branch include:
Ethereal miners of Alin who use magic to harvest Timonium from deposits in the desert, Spirit Miners are extremely weak and have little or no defense against attackers. These are vital to a commander’s war effort, for it is Timonium that the Alin use to drive their everyday magic.
scarabbeetles that carry Wealth earned from trade. They are slow and extremely vulnerable to attack.
Foot soldiers of the Alin Kingdom, Desert Walkers are warriors experienced in the intricacies of the desert itself. They are clad head-to-toe in
plate armor, and wield dual “"suarang"” blades with great skill and precision. Ofttimes they goes into a berserker rage that astounds even their enemies as they fight with the ferocity of a desert beast. As they engage more and more often in battle, they are able to throw their swords with ease, and even become one with the desert – disappearing with the blink of an eye, and reappearing at the next.
Young potentials that possess extraordinary abilities are chosen to be candidates for Heartseeker training at a tender age. Trained in the arts of sharpshooting, they become skilled in their arts, and emerge as warriors capable of slaying men from an astounding distance. Their namesake derives from the way they often aim for their enemies’ hearts, and they stride into battle on top of adult Desert Mantas, gliding their way into the fray to seek fresh prey for their crossbow bolts.
Grown from varieties measuring only three feet in length, the 7-foot tall giant Scorpions bred by the Alin are deadly on their own; but combined with the skill of an experienced Scorpion Rider the two become a lethal killing machine. With two pincers and a stinger oozing with fatal venom, it is a formidable foe in combat. Make no mistake that as powerful as it is, even the best Rider and his steed cannot defend themselves against a strike from the heavens – not even the beast’s poison can reach an opponent that is up in the sky.
Gigantic flying lizards known to exist for thousands of years, the Sand Dragons make their home in an area of rocky cliffs and mountains known as the Nests of Dragons and are led by the legendary Sky Inferno, Thuran. Generally peaceful creatures, they will retaliate when provoked, sending bolts of burning sand at the assailant. Recently, the Dark Alin have corrupted the Nests of Dragons with Dark Glass, causing some of them to mutate into fearsome Glass Dragons, while many others were either killed or imprisoned in Dark Glass (Thuran was a victim of the latter, but escaped after Giacomo wiped out the Dark Alin guarding his prison). The survivors and the freed later aided Giacomo and Thuran to a bid to retake the Nests from the Dark Alin.
Giant burrowing insectoid creatures that live under the desert sands, Sand Horrors have been known to lure many an unsuspecting traveler to their eventual doom as they travel across lands inhabited by them. Dahkla has been known to use them against his enemies, and an entire swarm of them guard a treasure stash near the Sand Spire where the Key of Sand is held. Sand Horrors can be easily detected by the trail they make when moving across the sand. They are extremely powerful foes, using their forelegs to rip the living daylights out of a man then devouring them whole. The only known way of defeating a Sand Horror unscathed is taking them out directly from the air.
Known Users of Sand Magic
*Belisari, Queen of the Desert
*Dahkla, Warden of Sand
*Mekarrah, prior to his transformation into Sawu.
Using the power derived from flames, Mystics of fire magic are able to rain fire upon their enemies, or call upon creatures born of embers to destroy whosoever stands in their way. Though fire is commonly viewed as a destroyer of sorts, it can also be called upon whenever protection is sought, or to hasten production.
Creatures known to fall into this branch include:
Phoenix-like birds that serve as scouts for the Alin forces (though some have recorded to be released, and then shot by Heartseekers, exploding them into a fireworks-like display in the tome "The Pleasure of Kings"). They have no form of attack; even if they do, their burns only cause minor damage to the enemy. Further upgrades allow them to use the Fire Gate ability.
Feminine in appearance, an Afreet has only rudimentary mastery over fire magic, and are thus weak in offense. Their speed though more or less makes up for this weakness, rendering them perfect for hit-and-run attacks. Later upgrades allow them to use more powerful versions of fire spells, making them even more effective in skirmishes. As individual Afreet are weak cannot hold out long if left on their own, when grouped together a band of them can form a formidable force.
A species of fire-breathing terrestrial lizards native to the Kalahese Desert, Salamanders are nocturnal by nature, often posing a problem to travelers traversing the desert particularly during nightfall. They often live in nests led by Queens, and reproduce through laying eggs, often in clutches of more than ten. A Salamander usually goes through three stages of life – Juvenile, Adult and Elder – each more dangerous than the next. Though common in the wild, the Alin have taken to taming youngsters as support troops in warfare, but even they find it hard to contain the Salamander’s feral nature. One Vinci scientist living in Sanbar Flats is eager to study the creature’s anatomy, but lacked the courage to catch one, pestering Giacomo to bring one to him instead.
Queen Salamander (Master Unit)
The matriarch of a Salamander nest, the Queen – though large in size – is rarely seen in full as she is bound to her nest, guarding her brood from attackers. Even if she does retaliate, she may only do so in an 180o arc in front of her; hence, leaving her back vulnerable, especially to aerial attacks. Three have been recorded to be in existence in the Southern Dunes, but all were promptly slain after Belisari pleaded Giacomo to end the Salamander threat towards her people.
Creatures from the Plane of Fire, Fire Elementals have long been the subject of argument of many scholars – disputing its existence as a single creature or one composed of multiple similar organisms. Either way, this creature – which bears the mandibles and thorax of ant with a tail of scorpion and wings – is a dangerous opponent, even more mindless than the fragile Fire Scout bird, but far more powerful.
It is said in the "Chronicles of Si Baba" that the birth of the first Rukh took place in front of Si Baba in the desert, when he was meditating by a fire. Sparks of flames shot up to the sky, and a spirit of fire moved him until the Rukh finally took form. In truth, Rukhs were first summoned to Aio from the Plane of Fire millennia ago, but their fiery beings were so potent that they could not be effectively used in battle. Slowly over the centuries, they have been bred and tamed with magic to the point that they resemble a bird crossed with a large flying lizard. Even so, mere legends and facts cannot deny the sheer magnitude of the Rukh’s powerful attack – the creature first dives head first onto an enemy, and explodes in a cataclysmic shower of flames. Just as it is thought to have perished, consumed by flames, it suddenly reappears in the sky, reconstituted from magic, ready to unleash its fury once again. It is truly the ultimate form of kamikaze, and only aerial attacks are able to put an end to the Rukh’s malevolent assaults.
Besides the Glass Golem, the other known species of Golem are the Fire Golems that thrive in areas of volcanic activity. Much smaller than its Glass cousin, the Fire Golem is nevertheless a worthy adversary in combat. A living body of burning magma and ash, the Golem is fearsome in close combat situations, its body able to withstand severe punishment before finally succumbing to its fate. It is even able to rip fire from its body and throw it at aerial units, making it a fearsome all-purpose unit.
Elder Fire Golem (Master Unit)
This is a larger version of the dreaded Fire Golem, possessing more powerful attacks than its younger brethren. Only one has been known to exist, acting as the guardian of the Fire Key in Damanhur’s realm, the Hellforge Mountains.
Known Users of Fire Magic
*Arri, Dark Glass Hunter and Princess of Azar Harif
*Damanhur, the Desert Flame
Probably the least understood of the three branches, Mystics of Glass Magic are few and far between. This may be due to the fact that it was banned after Sawu’s defeat at Mezekesh, or not many have used it since that time in history. Even so, the Alin have managed to create living weapons out of this form of magic, and the results have proved quite devastating in battle. A sister branch, Dark Glass magic, was the product of Sawu’s tampering with the Talisman that fell on the night of the death of King Fassari the Wise. This has also led to the creation of more fearsome and dangerous beasts that have been harassing the Alin in recent years.
Known units of both branches include:
Rubik's Cube-shaped boxes that act as supply units for the Alin. They also have the ability to conjure Magic Whirlwinds to ferry soldiers into the heat of battle. They are extremely essential for any Alin commander to succeed in combat.
The staple unit of the Dark Alin armies, corruption from the Dark Glass has mutated unlucky Desert Walkers into fearsome Dark Walkers, giving them an appearance similar to that of the giant Glass Golem. They also attack in a similar fashion – throwing boomerangs of Dark Glass towards enemies, causing them to be corrupted by the Glass as well. Groups of Walkers have even been known to storm cities. Individual Walkers are easy to defeat; but when grouped together in large numbers, they form a force to be reckoned with.
As with the Dark Walkers, many Heartseekers in the Alin army became prey to the corruption of Sawu’s Dark Glass. In time, the Glass mutated them, giving them more power than before. Even so, there is no difference distinguishable between a regular and Glass Heartseeker, as both are merely the same unit.
Even Scorpions have been made prey by the Dark Glass, corrupting them beyond the verge of sanity. As with Glass Heartseekers, Glass Scorpions too do not show much distinction than regular Alin Scorpion Riders, with the mere difference of the presence of diamond markings on the Scorpion's body.
Marid Geniesof the Alin corrupted by Dark Glass, Marids serve as commanders of the Dark Alin forces, often from behind the frontlines because of their weakness in close combat. However, they do possess strong magical powers, and thus serve as fire support for their soldiers, covering fire for them as they charge into the fray. For a full list of Marids and Dark Alin Genies, see the Dark Alin Geniesarticle.
Utilizing the harmonic properties of glass, the Alin have managed to create a siege weapon capable of sundering buildings and men alike. The Cannon is triggered when vibrations caused by the striking of the gong at the back are transmitted through a tube of Dark Glass, which in turns sends a cylinder of glass hurtling with great force towards the target, exploding on impact with a sonic burst. It is interesting to note the Cannons move across the desert much like squid and octopi move through water, but far more importantly, these equipment are fragile and must be constantly guarded to avoid from being lost.
Unlike their namesake, Glass Spiders do not quite actually resemble real spiders. These are four-legged creatures that can easily rip a man to shreds and possess a potent toxin capable of poisoning and even killing prey. The life cycle of the Spiders are not known, but juvenile and adult forms of the creature have been known to exist (the former found commonly in the wild). Dark Glass varieties have occasionally been found in Dark Alin armies. It has also come to light that adult Glass Spiders can be ridden as mounts, but such cases are rare – the only one known is that of
Andromelekwho is known to ride one decorated with plate armor after his exile from Azar Harif.
Giant Glass Spider (Master Unit)
Unlike its lesser brethren, the Giant Glass Spider bears a more arachnid-like appearance, and towers over them as well. These usually serve as queens of the hive, reproducing through eggs to ensure the hive’s survival, though they will not hesitate to use brute force should anything dare to threaten their young. Only one such creature – Bazek, who was slain in her nest in Mezekesh – was seen to have existed, though Sawu was also known to be able to conjure up these beasts in combat (this was replaced with a Glass Dragon in the single-player campaign).
A hulking monstrosity of glass and rock, the Glass Golem has earned a reputation as one of the most feared creatures in the Alin army. Born out Glass magic, the Golem is a versatile warrior, throwing
boomerangsof glass protruding from its back with incredible accuracy. At any given time, though, they will not hesitate to utilize brute force to cut through enemy ranks. Powerful as it is, the Golem is still a slow and lumbering creature, and can still fall easy prey to any unit quick enough to catch on to it. It is not clearly known of the Glass Golem life cycle, though mature forms of the creature – known as Elder Glass Golems – have been recorded to exist. It is believed that they undergo a form of metamorphosiswhen developing into Elder Glass Golems, but none yet know of the truth behind this transformation.
Elder Glass Golem (Master Unit)
A fully mature Glass Golem, these massive humanoids resemble nothing of their younger kin. Instead of a conglomerate of rock and glass, Elder Glass Golems possess bodies made entirely out of glass. At this stage of their life cycle, many lose their ability to throw glass boomerangs, but this compensated by the immense amount of brute strength and hardiness, making them even more dangerous foes than before. What’s worse, when an Elder Glass Golem falls, it splits into two lesser versions of itself, which can still be a threat if not finished off swiftly. The only instance of an Elder Glass Golem to exist is in a lair in the ruins of Mezekesh, and even this one was destroyed by Giacomo and his men after disturbing it from its slumber while searching for Sawu.
Glass Dragon (Master Unit)
Powerful creatures as they are, even the mighty Sand Dragons are not immune to the corruption of the Dark Glass. Should they be corrupted far enough, the end result is a fearsome monstrosity that strikes even fear into the hearts the bravest of all mortal men. Surpassing the might of even Thuran himself, the Glass Dragon shoots shards of molten glass, sending waves of searing pain throughout the battlefield. This abomination is the pinnacle of Dark Glass corruption, one that is nearly impossible to even wound, let alone kill. Only with the might of ancient magic or another Glass Dragon might one dream to slay this beast.
Elder Glass Dragon (Master Unit)
If the Glass Dragon was all powerful, then the Elder Glass Dragon would’ve made its lesser brethren look like a mere pinhead. Scarred by the many wounds received over the years, Elder Glass Dragons are larger, stronger, tougher, more experienced, and ultimately – more a challenge than those of a much younger stock. It literally makes mincemeat out of all who stands in its way, cutting a swathe through all opposing forces as if they were merely blades of grass.
Known Users of Glass Magic
*Andromelek, Vizier of al-Rukh
*Sawu, the Dark Alin and many of his followers.
Through the use of Sand Magic, the Alin are able to mystically make buildings rise out of the desert sands, slowly molding them into shape and eventually becoming fully functional structures ready for use. Even their Cities seem to float in depressions formed in the sands, supported by the sheer weight of magic. Common Alin buildings include:
Built over a Timonium deposit, the Spirit Mine trains Spirit Miners to harvest raw Timonium and further processes it for various uses. It also increases the yield of nearby Miners and has a weak poison attack as a means of defence.
Each Element of Magic has its own unique Magic Circle to summon units onto the battlefield: for example a Circle of Sand summons Sand units and so forth. These are virtually immune to attrition damage and can be placed anywhere on the field within a line of sight (there is a price penalty, of course). However, take note that the Circles are extremely vulnerable and can be easily destroyed. Crafty commanders would favor putting Circles near enemy encampments to ensure a steady stream of attacking forces while using defences to keep the Circles protected.
A research building for Sand units as well as a ground defence tower. A single spire of sand that fires bolts of sands at hostile units.
A research building for Fire units and a powerful air defence turret. Essentially a giant torch that fires bolts of flames towards any enemy air units.
A research building for Glass units and a versatile defence structure. An immense, hulking mass of Dark Glass that launches a flurry of lethal and poisonous Dark Glass shards at enemies.
Floating Castle (Master Unit)
Once thought to the stuff of legends, this literally flying fortress was spotted on the outskirts of Azar Harif. Giacomo and the Narr Saghir forces under his command managed to capture the Castle and turn it against the invading Dark Alin forces. Has powerful defensive capabilities and can summon an army of either Element for a hefty price.
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