on a galactic scale
The Jin were a society that lived in the region of what is now the Jin Salts during the Perfect Darkness. They are believed to have disappeared sometime around the end of the Remodeling of Reality, probably as a consequence of the sudden appearance of light, to which they were not adapted. It is unknown whether any Jin still exist today.
Archaeological research on the Jin civilization Edit
On the basis of certain works of Jin art from the Nahkorian Caverns find, most archaeologists believe the Jin to have been bipeds, though this has not yet been established conclusively.
The Jin language is as yet undeciphered. It is believed to have been a highly agglutinating dialect of the language family that eventually developed into Peoplespeak. The major extant Jin texts are the Tablets of Solitary Thought, the undeciphered magical scrolls kept at the Library of Archaeology, and the Old Tomes in the Deepvaults at the School of Magic. Known minor Jin texts include books believed to be journals and diaries kept in private collections, certain Sonponosotan children's rhymes, and inscriptions on some Draconic artifacts.
Luissatta's work on the extent of the empire Edit
Jin artifacts have been found as far afield as the Kingdom of Sabeau, the Bonsua Peninsula, and Desa. Luis Luissatta, widely considered the foremost expert on the Jin, estimated that the Jin Empire at its height stretched north of the Mountains of Confrontation and most likely all the way to the Sea of the Deities.
Luissatta's proposed extent of the Jin Empire is widely controversial in the scholarly community. Skeptics hold that an empire could not feasibly have been managed over the Mountains of Confrontation and through the Domain of Dark and Treacherous Things; Luissatta countered that the finds at several key locations supported his theory, including the cliff dwellings of Mount Skoll, the Caves of Solitary Thought under the Sea of the Deities and also the Three Pillars South of Wisp.
Later research on the extent of the empire Edit
Some researchers since Luissatta have argued that the Magisary Domain may have been built on Jin ruins. If those structures could be attributed to the existence of the Jin, it would imply that they had the infrastructure capabilities necessary to support an empire of the size attributed to them. Among the major evidence supporting this claim, the most well-known may be the Tablets of Solitary Thought, written in the Jin language and found at the mouth of the caves under the weight of the Sea of the Deities. Skeptics criticize these theories as premature, though scholarly consensus holds even in the skeptical community that the Jin's trade network likely reached as far as what is now the Magisary Domain.
The Magisary Ruins proposal is sometimes attributed to Luissatta himself, but in fact the theory occurs only in passing in his surviving writings, and there is no indication that he ever entertained it with the earnest of the latter-day scholars that followed him.
Advancedness of the civilization Edit
Despite ongoing contention on the length and breadth of the empire, there is little argument about the sheer magnitude of it. The Jin are generally held to have had superior technology and magic to those of modern-day societies on Authlanis, as well producing works architecture widely considered aesthetic masterpieces.
Many adherents of the Jinist cult, which worship the civilization as gods, hold that the Jin's buildings were grown out of the ground like plants, but with stalks of stone and clay instead of wood and sap.
Regardless of how the Jin accomplished their the raising of their architecture, no one in recorded history has been able by any means to replicate the feat.
The Magisary has researched Jin magic extensively, but no conclusive results have been published. None of the researchers were able to replicate the known magical works, most of the spells could not be interpreted, and many began to fear that, as some folklore traditions relate, the magic carried the weight of gods.
The structure of their government and the conditions of life during Jin rule remain controversial. Jinists believe that their reign was perfection, and that for a period in history there existed a perfect, peaceful society. Few outside the cult accept this hypothesis, however, as it is contradicted both by archaeological evidence pointing to war in many Jin sites and also by several Sonponosotan myths of war with the Jin, notably the War of Darkness.
There is no scholarly consensus regarding which identity of Life the Jin had attained. Popular opinion generally holds them to have been Wizards or Deities, though there is also significant popular support for the idea that they might have been merely People. Folk rumors that they may have perceived Cosmologically are universally dismissed by credible scholars.
The Jin civilization in myth Edit
Because the Jin language has been lost, the primary written account of the Jin is inaccessible. The only other major source of information aside from archaeological finds, therefore, is the Sonponosotan oral tradition. Although the Sonponosotan elders were alive at the rise of the Jin in the Perfect Darkness, very few facts have surfaced.
It is known that the Jin had godlike or nearly godlike power and were able to conquer any foe effortlessly. Indeed, in nearly all versions of the tale of the War of Darkness, the survival of the Sonponosotans is due only to the Jin having expanded their empire so far as to wholly satisfy their own need for resources, so that the Jin simply stopped driving forward the battlefront.
The extinction of the Jin Edit
Perhaps the most striking feature of the mythic record of the Jin is the account of their extinction. Traditional mythology describes the event as a simple cosmological oversight, but modern interpretations often read it as a Cosmological intention. After Perfect Darkness, when the Cosmos decided to introduce Day to the earth, the Jin were obliterated. According to Sonponosotan myth, found in the epic tales of Sebastian the Sauntering Soldier, the very moment Arnasia first lit the Hilrah Lamp, the Jin civilization erupted into blue flame:
A burst of sun, a flare of blue,
A world unmade, a world made new.
The Jin with eyes of darkness burned,
Their buildings, homes, and temples turned
And crashèd valiantly down
With tremorous and roaring sound.
The tropic life was brought to halt
And all the south was turn'd to salt.
Later interpretations, notably that of the scholar Oandra in her Myths of Southern Arnasia: A New Compilation and Commentary, often argue that the Jin had plummeted and taken immortal power without a y'ton, and that their destruction was an act of the Cosmos to balance The Way Things Are. Other scholars, including Luis Luissatta, have held that no one -- not even the Cosmos themselves -- could forsee that the Jin and all they touched would be destroyed at the First Dawn. Still others, including the Morbid sect of the Jinist cult, believe that the Jin still haunt the remains of their empire as demons, destroying those that linger by their desert tombs.
The Truth Edit
The Truth was created by the Cosmos very soon after the Unveiling of Reality. The Way Things Are was meant to regulate the flow of Reality, while The Truth was the store and record of all that happened in Reality. If one could see The Truth, one would attain Cosmological Knowledge: greater power and knowledge even than all the gods and goddesses together. One would be on a level with the Cosmos themselves.
Naturally, such a powerful artifact has been the subject of many quests and searches since the beginning of time. Most suspect, however, that the Jin kept it, enabling their nearly impervious reign. The belief has disseminated so widely, in fact, that even a Sentran, the now-famous Hassil Jikan, traveled two thousand miles across the sea with a crew of over three hundred and fifty people on a quest to find it.