The Heresy Wars were a series of religious conflicts between the Kushan clans on Kharak, primarily between the Gaalsien and Siidim kiithid. The 300 year conflict would engulf the entire planet and lead the Kushan people to the brink of extinction.
While there had been many conflicts between the various clans on Kharak for hundreds of years, many were more minor affairs spurred by territorial considerations, religious dogma and the subjugation of smaller kiith. The Heresy Wars would become the first and only major conflict in Kharak’s history up until the Homeworld War.
The main reason for the conflict was the divide in religious opinion between two of the major religious kiithid in the northern temperate zone.
Kiith Gaalsien was one of the most ancient and powerful clans on Kharak in terms of size, wealth, political and spiritual power. The traditional Gaalsien view was that the Kushan people had been created by Sajuuk to suffer, and that any deviation of this view or the rituals that went with it was considered by them to be heretical arrogance. This view was challenged by Kiith Siidim, another powerful clan, whose own theology was officially changed in 462 KDS. By the Siidim Council’s decree, only the Siidim were of divine origin, whilst all other kiithid were natives to Kharak. Being of Kharakian origin, these non-Siidim kiithid were considered inferior and tainted by the corruption of the sands.
In 520 KDS, this divide spilled into all-out war.
A World at WarEdit
It is unclear which side struck first. The start of the conflict itself has no clear definition, but it is generally agreed that the Heresy Wars started proper in 520 KDS. Small skirmishes between the two kiithid increased gradually. While the majority of the conflict has been lost to history, a few events during this period have survived in historical documents and among historians.
One of the earliest of these events was the migration of Kiith Paktu towards the southern zone. While the crossings of the great desert were initially ignored by the warring kiithid, the devastation caused by the fighting bit deep into the two kiithids’ resources. Considering the migrants to still be vassals, and therefore owing them land and tribute. Three crusades were launched to conquer the southern kiithid between 652 and 700 KDS, the last of these was the most successful, with Liam Gaalsi’s army managing to arrive at the Majiirian Sea intact in 698 KDS. After a long and bloody battle with the Paktu, the Gaalsien army was defeated, and no such crusade was launched again.
Apart from this period, the southern kiithid were spared from the horrors of the wars. A great number of atrocities were committed by both kiithid during those three centuries of war.
Probably the most memorable is the one committed against Kiith Manaan in 513 KDS, in which an army of Siidim marched down and slaughtered the Manaani celebrants at Ferin Sha, beginning a hundred year blood feud between the two kiithid. Although the act was committed before the official start of the conflict, the feud ran long into the Heresy Wars.
The Heresy Wars caused a great deal of suffering for the Kharakian people. Kiith Somtaaw, a long time religious kith, lost a great deal of revenue from pilgrims attempting to walk the famous ‘Shimmering Path’ among the Khontala Mountain range that the Somtaaw called home. The wars effectively closed the Kasaar Road, and there was little in the way of goods that Somtaaw had to offer to keep the road open. The discovery of a huge iron ore deposit in Red Creek Valley spurred a greater interest in the kiith’s holdings, and both warring factions offered incredible amounts to buy the mines or the ore. Somtaaw however refused, and instead struck a deal with Kiith Soban to keep the Kasaar Road open in exchange for the high-quality weaponry Somtaaw steel produced. The Somtaaw would never be subdued by either Siidim or Gaalsien throughout the conflict, as many other smaller kiithid had been.
The three centuries of religious warfare almost destroyed civilisation on Kharak, and indeed almost lead to the extinction of the entire Kushan race.
Thankfully, it was the intervention of the small Kiith Naabal in 810 KDS that would finally bring about the peace that many Kharakians so desperately wanted.
The Naabali had always been a primarily scientific kiith, and was decades or even centuries ahead of the other clans in terms of technology. Steam powered vehicles, rapid-firing guns and explosives made the Naabal unmatched in warfare, and within twenty years the Heresy Wars were at an end and the Time of Reason had begun.
The wars destroyed the old religious kiithid. Somtaaw had shed its role as a religious kith after the discovery of the ore at Red Creek Valley, and by the end of the conflict had become a mining kiith. Kiith Siidim most likely collapsed and dispersed amongst the other clans, while Gaalsien’s own power was destroyed, being down to only 30 vassal families by 717 KDS.
The end of the conflict saw the end of religious rule on Kharak, and the beginning of a new time of logic and technological and scientific progress. Infrastructure that was devastated by the three centuries of constant warfare was rebuilt and a new planetary government was established at the Naabali capital, Tiir.
The Time of Reason would bring about many scientific progresses that would benefit Kharakian society as a whole.
Within a few hundred years of the wars’ end Kushan science had discovered a disturbing lack of genetic similarities between the Kushan and the majority of life on Kharak, which would lead to the XenoGenesis Theory and eventually the conclusion that the Kushan were not native to their world.