This is the first of a series of articles attempting to explore the truth of possibly the most confusing of factions, The Sani Sabik.
What makes a Blood Raider a Blood Raider. What’s the difference between a Blood Raider and a Sani Sabik? So how do you know if you’re a Sani Sabik in the making or if you’re off on completely the wrong foot? This reporter strapped on her rubber apron and went looking for the answers from someone who knows: Mebrithiel Ju’wien.
Ms Ju’wien described herself as not exactly a teacher of the Sani Sabik, but as someone who is respected among many sects for her depth of research and strength of will. This latter appears to be a very important quality in a Sani Sabik. The young Sebiestor explained:
“Sani Sabik has many core principles, to be honest. Firstly there's the divinity of will, or to break it down, the idea that the strong of will and person should lead the rest. What this comes down to is usually a hierarchical structure not unlike the Amarr Empire, but with the right people in the right places.
“Secondly, there's the search for eternal life. This is an old difference that, from my research in ancient texts is probably one of the sole principles that separated Sani Sabik from the original Amarr faith.
“Finally, Sani Sabik believes in the strength of blood - a biological indicator that ties in both the previous principles and is espoused in various formats throughout each cult. The Blood Raider Covenant, Omir's lot, take the more literal path, one Cyshade follows quite closely, as do I. Then there's the strength blood has on your destiny and ability, a route I believe Miss Neferis takes to heart.”
These, then, are the points of commonality between the Sects… But what qualities do they look for in a member? Miss Ju’wien had this to say:
“Being a pod-pilot is almost deity. We have immortality in our reaches and the control of the stars, but every pilot does.
“In Sani Sabik, your force of will is the big decider. You'll find the older Sani Sabik and Blood Raider loyalists tend to be prominent figures throughout the pilot community...they also tend to be the more vocal, although some of us prefer to not draw attention unless it's desired, like Cyshade.”
“My first experience in Sani Sabik was with Blood Inquisition. Before that, I was just another girl in space.”
Mebrithiel herself started out flying in the Glamour Bunnies, an entertainment corporation, but something that is a commonplace experience for many pilots, was a life-shaping moment for her.
“I think it was getting shot down in lowsec by a few pirates that flicked a switch in me. Instead of ranting and raving, I recognized the dominance of these killers and decided it was a path I would take.
“I researched various factions and pirate groups and found that the Bleak Lands and the native Blood Raiders appealed to my tastes.
“I met Hira'razhir and Gogo Yubari and they kind of raised me to [be a] pirate. I guess that's when I began my faith in earnest.”
And here we get to the key of it – the way faith (or philosophy for some) shapes the daily life of a Sani Sabik. For there is more to it than dusty tomes and a lot of plastic sheeting, and it involves every pilot’s second favourite thing: guns.
“The best answer to that would be asking my corpmates and friends about my doll house, but put simply, I'm a killer and I preach my faith through my guns. I don't mind ransoming, as it's my corporation’s operation style, but if they don't pay for the pod, their corpse is mine.”
Mebrithiel goes to some pains to assure me that she is not, however, some sort of corpse-molesting deviant.
“I have almost complete dibs on the corpses we expose through our work, but my use is completely innocent:
“I drain the corpses of the blood for ritual purpose and then I keep them... as dolls. I guess I'm more hands on with my rituals. I do them myself for me and my followers. I use my ritual practices to enforce my position among my followers and to keep them fanatically devoted, as they should be.”
Even knowing about the hierarchical nature of the Sani Sabik, finding out that Mebrithiel has followers came as something of a surprise, as she flies for Veto, a Guristas-affiliated corporation. I pressed her on this, and she said:
“The Guristas are an unusual lot. While the Blood Raiders are friendly with them, I believe, although Omir would have to back me up on this, that it's a survival pact more than anything.
“While the Serpentis and Angels have business relations, the other three main pirate empires are alone in practice. The Nation is a wildcard, but seem to get along with the Guristas through what each like and dislike - they dislike everyone. But the Covenant have no desire to work with anyone and most of their prominent figures perhaps even dislike the Nation and Guristas because of their lack of faith or sheer weirdness.
“I'm a little more practical and find my friends to often be of such ideological alignment as the Nation and Guristas. Veto Corp support the Guristas and Izzychan's Naqam are our friends and a strong supporter of the Nation, if not an actual voice of Sansha, if you believe the rumours.
“I do however have fellow 'blooders' among Veto's ranks, with Leon026 being my favoured. That man kills like it's an art form and practices the more diplomatically astute form of Sani Sabik - you could speak with him, if he's not busy killing something, another time perhaps...
“...and he still owes me a date.”
So there we have it. Being a Sani Sabik isn’t about who you fight, and isn’t about who you fly with.
It’s about being who you are. And being that person just as hard as you can.