Cultures of the South
The Delzahn Horde
Delzahn tribesmen make up more than a quarter of the local population of Chiaroscuro, as such their traditions are the ones followed within the city, though they hardly expect foreigners to follow their code of honor. Indeed, the Delzahn don’t believe outsiders even know what honor is.
The outsiders that do come to Chiaroscuro are usually shocked to find that dueling and racing are the primary pastimes, and that nobles regularly conduct these events within the city. The natives see these events as great entertainment, readily accepting any challenge but outsiders are often disturbed to find they are not exempt from challenges. They may refuse to duel a Delzahn commoner, but when challenged by a noble it means one must leave the city or fight. These duels are mostly non-lethal, but ones sparked by jealousy or thievery are often to the death.
The Five Peoples of Harborhead
Harborhead is inhabited by Five Peoples, all are united in their reverence for Ahlat, and residence within the lands of Harborhead. Each of the Five Peoples has distinct traditions, appearances, and customs:
- The Totikari are nomadic cattle herders, live mostly in the hot interior and are similar to the Earth Maasai people. They value generosity highly, and will cheerfully give a guest just about anything they ask for, including a daughter to marry or the clothes off their own back. Imperial tax collectors have found that the Totikari are willing to give far more than the tax they owe if it is presented as a way to prove their generosity. The tax collector might gift the tribal chief with iron knives to defend themselves against the Fair Folk, for example, and then ask the chief to gift him with “the Empresses due” in return. The Totikari are the second most numerous native people in Harborhead, but due to being nomadic are also the most politically disenfranchised. They know they are exploited by the Realm and dislike the situation, but need a leader to unite them.
- The Brakhani are the smallest population and live by cattle herding and farming of wheat, cotton, oranges, bananas and other fruit. They are skilled bead workers, and often wear lots of colourful jewelry. Bravery is the most important trait to a Brakhani, and they send out young adults against dangerous animals armed with nothing but a knife, as an adulthood test. Brakhani worship the Unconquored Sun, as well as a wealth of other deities.
- The Izhalvi are both the most numerous and the most geographically scattered people in Harborhead, though most live in mountainous areas. They worship both the Unconquored Sun and Gaia, considering themselves the offspring of the two Incarnae. Respect for one’s elders is the most important trait for the Izhalvi.
- The Krantiri are found in the coastal regions, and they mostly live as fisher-folk. They are not well organised, and are often taken advantage of by the other peoples. This is surprising, as Krantiri value cleverness above all else. They are fond of dance plays and make masks and huge puppets of woven grass to perform historical stories. The coastal village of Hashumbii is an example of a Krantiri settlement.
- The Shayanti are clever merchants and currently the most politically powerful of the five peoples. Shayanti work together well and help each other out against outsiders, and many of the most wealthy individuals in Harborhead are Shayanti. They are known also for their poetry, and their wandering warrior-poets are dangerous to meet on a dark road. Shayanti believe that the bonds of family are the most important responsibility of any person. Most Shayanti worship Ahlat directly.
Varangians are known for its rigid caste system. A citizens’ profession and function is chosen at birth by Astrology. All Parents in Varang do their best to note the date and time of a child’s birth, so a Pandit Caste may caste their chart and determine what role the child is to fulfill in life. The Astrologer-Priests of Varang, known as the Pandit Caste, are the ruling caste of Varang. Society is built upon both Caste, and birth order. The older a sibling is, the more power and prevalence they have in the family. Every caste has a unique tattoo that is inked upon a Varangian’s chest at a young age and prominently displayed via the cut of their clothing. Also, the castes are restricted to wearing certain colors. The only castes permitted to break these taboos are the Performer Caste and the Spy Caste, for their function and purpose requires them to impersonate other castes.
Those children who’s parents did not note their birth time, or who could not afford a second casting because the original casting came back inconclusive, become Outcastes. They form the lowest dregs of society and are looked down upon by Casted Varagians as untouchable, and bad omens. They are required to wear grey or black, and their tattoos are a black square.
Djala, aka minikins were originally an independent race modified by Exalted in the First Age into a servant race. A large enclave exists in Varang City-States and form part of the slave economy there. In Varang the Djala are considered a “slave Caste” and it is illegal to free Djala from Slavery in the Varang City-States.
The Jackal Tribes
Jackal Tribes, open to outcasts of other peoples, have the largest herd of Simhata in creation. They wear red scarves and travel from Harborhead, Varang, and the Delzahn Empire. In Varang they are considered the lowest of Outcastes. So much so that even other Outcastes regard them with contempt.
The Dune People
Formerly an albino slave race created during the First Age and rescued by Lunar Exalted during the Usurpation. They have evolved into a tribal culture who sleep under the desert sand during the day. At night they hunt and raid human settlements to devour their flesh and drink their blood.