The Ankala People Ethnicity in Faelon | World Anvil

The Ankala People

It started with a trickle of people breaking from the woodline on the road. Little dots of flamboyant pink, dazzling yellows, and vivid blues resolved into people walking, laughing, and singing.    Ten-year-old Ari was in the yard of her parent’s farm, supposed to be picking early Mesharpel leaves but giggling wildly as she chased a young hen around the small homestead.   Ari noticed the people begin to walk by on the road below the house, their brightly colored clothes, bronzed skin, and dark hair mesmerizing her. She had never seen anything like it. They waved as they passed. “Thaba!” Their greetings were exotic, spoken with an accent that she couldn’t place but that was warm, friendly, and infectiously exciting.   Her sisters and brothers burst from the house, running down to the gate as if they had missed something spectacular. They ran, jostling and pushing each other to be next to the entrance.   But it had only begun.   Over the next hour, hundreds of people passed. Some were walking, some leading bleating goats or lowing cattle. Others were in strangely shaped wagons with colorful awnings and exotic wares hanging from the exteriors.   The road dropped west down the low ridge where Ari’s family homestead sat and extended for about a mile into the small village of Symlon. When Ari looked, the procession of wagons was already pulling into the Varis’ fields.   Ari’s mother came out, probably wondering where all her children had gone and why they weren’t doing their chores. When she saw the last remnants of the travelers pass, her blues eyes lit up, and the dour grimace that had promised scorn for not doing their work broke into a wide smile. Her face now wore the same wonder, amazement, and excitement as her children’s.   Ari looked up at her mommy, watching the last of the procession head down the ridge toward the Varis farm.   “Who are they, mama?” She was nearly jumping up and down in excitement. Raucous laughter, wild applause, and singing was reaching their ears, carried on the wind from where the wagons circled.   “They are Ankala, sweetheart.” Her mother was almost ecstatic. “Boys, go find your father. Tell him the Ankala have come.” She knelt, excitedly put her hands on Ari’s shoulders, and grinned broadly. “Tonight will be a night you will remember for many years.”
    The Traazorite rebellion against the Krai Jan was ruthless. In a few decades, the peace and prosperity that Empirical trade brought the Krai Jan came crashing down as more subjugated peoples rose against their former political masters.   The Traazorites led that rebellion and established themselves as the dominant power in the Southern and Northern Continent. Their merciless advance on the battlefield extended off the battlefield too.   As the armies of Traazor and their regional allies surrounded the homeland of the Krai Jan, more and more of the people tried to escape. The Krai Jan fled to all compass points in Ryshael, the southern continent. While the peasantry and ordinary folk were decimated, the upper echelons of society did everything they could to escape the enclosing jaws of their enemies.   Priests, government officials, merchants, magicians, and the upper crust of Krai Jan society fled. The Traazorites and their allies captured most, but many escaped, seeking refuge wherever they could. There was no shelter for the former rulers of an indulgent and often cruel empire.   The Scattering, as the Krai Jan would later call this period spent on the run, lasted for years. The Traazorites hunted them with prejudice, rounding up as many as possible and sending them by boat to the inhospitable islands off the northeast coast of Ryshael. There the Traazorites figured their prisoners would face certain doom but patrolled the coastlines to ensure they couldn’t escape their new island home.   The rest of the Krai Jan stuck to the shadows, hiding in every nook and cranny they could. The first few years for the scattered Anakala were harrowing. Hunted at every step, turned in by those whom they sought shelter from, their journey scarred and changed them profoundly. During this time, the Traazorites that hunted them referred to the Ankala as the Haldahirai, literally those that leave fast, because they were always one step ahead of the Traazorites.   Many found their way to the most inhospitable parts of the Southern Continent, hiding in the ruined places of their ex empire. Many found their way to Azarim, where they played themselves off as refugees from the fighting in the north. Others hid among the long-abandoned ruins of Izchakan cities. Most made their way northeast into the twisting valleys of the Manaros Kabal Southeast of Hadayda.   In the temporary shelter of the deep valleys of the Manaros Kabal, the Krai Jan re-adopted the name Ankala, which means people of the valley. Many years ago, before the Krai Jan Empire was born, the people who lived in the Krai Jan heartland were called the Ankala.   The Central location, copious farmland, and numerous natural resources allowed them to become more than just a people and Kingdom, and the Krai Jan Empire was born. In the valleys of the Manaros Kabal, those survivors of Empirical collapse learned how to be Anakala again.   The real heroes of the Anakala’s story, surprisingly, were the Mershael. The Mershael came to the shores of Ryshael just as the Traazorite rebellion was underway. In exchange for their military prowess, the Traazorites promised the immigrants a piece of land if they cleared it of the Traazorite’s enemies. Eager for a place to weigh anchor, the Mershael agreed and went to war against the Krai Jan in what is now their adopted homeland, the Kingdom of Mershael.   When they had defeated the Krai Jan there, they pushed south, east, and west until they had cleared the Jubarah Mish and the Tar Mish. They occupied all the ground north of the mountains of the Manaros Kabal and northeast of the Harpanar.   This sudden onslaught from the north was a complete surprise to the already foundering Krai Jan. Their victory allowed the Traazorites to shift their focus to the heart of the Krai Jan empire.   While the Mershael were happy to help defeat an engorged and morally corrupt empire, they already suspected a new one would form in its wake. Even as they pushed the Ruby Empire from their lands on the northeast coast, the Mershael ensured they did not end up as the next victims of the Traazorites.   The Mershael had no grudge against the Ankala people. They watched haplessly as the Traazorites punished their enemies by shipping them off to the Islands between the two continents. The Mershael had investigated the islands and knew what awaited the prisoners.   Instead of helping the Traazorites hunt and destroy the Ankala as they were asked to, they funneled the fleeing Ankala into the new Kingdom of Mershael. From outposts throughout the Tar Mish and Jubarah Mish, Mershaeli Kajun, or herders, would guide these refugees across the burning sands and into Mershaeli territory.   The actions of the Kajun imprinted on the Ankala culture. Ever since then, the Anakala have always been fast to help those who ask for it. They go out of their way to take in refugees of any kind. Many Ankala communities can quickly turn into aid stations when the need arises. Mobile Ankala communities will often follow armies into battle, taking in casualties and refugees from the areas affected by war. Ankala healers help with casualties from both sides of a conflict.   Ankala are also very anti-slavery. The Ankala people do not take sides in geopolitical conflicts. Still, they are well known to disrupt any slaving operations and are not welcome within the borders of Kandor. They are also part of a highly secretive network of operatives smuggling magic-sensitive children and adults out of Varkraal.   The Ankala were welcomed by the people of Mershael and allowed to stay there as refugees. It was a role the Mershael would not turn their backs on, as they knew too well what it was like to run from a great evil.   The Ankala lived among the Mershael until the Faeler migrations pushed the Traazorites from the northern continent. Feeling emboldened and looking for a new place to call their home, the Ankala struck out from Mershael and into Koronna, where they were mainly welcomed as fellow Chalers.   However, not everyone in Koronna thought they were a good addition, and the Ankala refused to bow the knee to the moon god and goddess. Ankala are Ga’al worshippers at heart and had built their culture around the worship of the nine creator spirits.   Some of the Ankala stayed in Koronna, and others spread into the vast space of the northern continent. To this day, Ankala can be found in almost every Kingdom on the Northern Continent, except Kandor.   The Ankala on the Southern Continent still survive to modern times as well. There are Ankala communities in Izchak, Azarim, Mershael, and Sunnadai, and one very secretive but large community in their old enclave deep within the Manaros Kabal.    

Demography and Population

  Most Ankala are nomadic, living in small communities of extended family groups they call Saya. Saya means body in the Chaler, which is intended to convey the idea that an Ankala community is a living, breathing organism made up of its members. Each member is a vital part of the Saya; without them, the Saya suffers.   The Ankala call those who leave their communities Yafa or orphans. There is great sadness when a member of the Saya goes. Still, it is increasingly becoming a rite of passage for younger Ankala to see the world independently. Many will later return to a Saya.   This type of thinking and culture was undoubtedly a product of their time on the run from the Traazorites. Every Saya carries with it an oral history of the Ankala people. The Traazorites wiped out the Krai Jan capital and, with it, almost all traces of the Ankala culture, so what survives with each Saya is all that remains of Ankala history and its people.   Each Saya is led by Kalai or Living Heart. The Kalai is always the eldest Ankala in the Saya and can be either Male or Female.   The Ankala almost deify age and wisdom and honor their elders as leaders and knowledge repositories. The Kalai is responsible for passing their knowledge and understanding onto the next generation so that when they die, everything that makes up the Saya is in good hands.   A few Ankala Saya have roots in larger cities around the Northern Continent. They retain the same traditions as the nomadic Ankala. Even though they have settled into an area, they still tend to live in the same neighborhood and sometimes in the same building. They are respected as good citizens and members of their communities but keep their unique culture and traditions.   Most Ankala are Chalers, but they have no qualms about adopting people from other races and cultures into their communities. People are invited to sojourn with an Ankala Saya for as long as they want. Some become full members of the Saya, adopted as part of the Ankala.    


  Mainly being nomadic, the Ankala have no actual territories, nor do they care about ever having one again. The terrors of the Krai Jan overthrow scarred the Ankala in many horrific ways, one of which was their forswearing of any land ownership. Even those Ankala that settle in cities never own the buildings they live in, preferring to rent even for a lifetime.   You are prone to finding nomadic Ankala in almost any country. Still, there are clusters of Ankala that have also settled into cities. You can find them in the great southern continent port city of Terezret, in the Free City of Tehradim, and in the following towns of the Northern Continent and Southern Continent:   Falkaar: Baramar and Tarenna   Haradel: Arsmouth, Hercourt, and Erladan   Thormenal: Ideralis, Altanos, and Raalin   Symidia: Phraxazar, Hroluzark, Xarmungkor, and Krixlakh   Koronna: Mulaslen, Abashai, and Aseldam   Mershael: Bellamere, Ardanol, Erarias, Delanus, and Thanfel   Because of their position on slavery, the Ankala are not welcome in Kandor. However, many are active there against the authorities’ wishes. They tend to stay away from Varkraal, as their use of magic makes the Varkraalans uncomfortable at best.    


  The Ankala are Ga’al worshippers and celebrate the nine entities into which the creator split itself. The Ankala were Ga’al worshippers long before they established the Krai Jan Empire.   Many of the Ankala that initially escaped the Traazorite destruction of their people were priests. Hence, the Ankalan Ga’al traditions were well preserved. Because the Ankala don’t have a home, neither do they have temples. Each family has a shrine on which they set carved representations of the Ga’al. They leave small offerings to them at different intervals and pray to them often.   Each Saya has a leader when it comes to religion as well. Because the priestly class was so well represented in the Scattering, the role of the priest was kept. Daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly rites were preserved, even if it was fundamentally changed without the temples that adorned their cities before the destruction of their society.   Ankala religious leaders are called Irasid, which means guide in Chaler. Those priests who survived the great calamity refuse to refer to themselves as priests anymore. They believe that part of their Empire’s downfall was due to their people abandoning the principles of the Ga’al and only seeking to enrich themselves. They have vowed that until they can atone for those actions, they can not claim the traditional title of Priest or Hinpa.   The Ankala consider the ability to use magic as a gift from the Ga’al. Their Saya usually includes a lot of casters of all energy types. Ankala are also prone to be born with Spirit Magic, usually a mix of preservation, fate, and life magics.   The Ankala believe all things are linked by energy and spirit magic. The combination of those two is the power of creation. According to the Ankala tradition, all things have more in common than they don’t. The Ankala try to live according to these beliefs.   While many cultures see themselves as above nature, the Ankala view themselves as a part of it. This was another lesson that the fall of their Empire taught them. The Krai Jan set themselves as lords over all peoples and lands, deluding that they genuinely controlled what they claimed to rule. The Ankala have reverted to living with nature and other people, vowing to never again try to rule anything other than themselves.          

Agriculture and Industry

  Because Ankala Saya take on so many different characteristics and are in so many diverse places, there are very few hard and fast facts regarding their agriculture and industry. Whether they have settled or are nomadic, their economy can look very different.   Nomadic Ankala usually keep a fair number of herd animals in their caravans. Goats, sheep, pigs, and even small cattle breeds are herded along with their convoys. They forage and munch on the wild spaces. Their keepers do their best to keep them out of farmers’ fields. Still, the animals will occasionally wander into a farmer’s field as the Saya passes by, sometimes leading to altercations with local farmers.   Ankala history has been one of diaspora since the destruction of the Krai Jan Empire. They spent much of their existence on the run from an enemy that wanted to enslave, imprison, or kill them. The Ankala have always survived with the help of the members of the Saya.   Each member is expected to pull their weight on behalf of their community. Despite their reputation for leading carefree and somewhat hedonistic lifestyles, they are very hard-working and industrious. The people must provide everything they need.   Ankala crafters have unique traditions carried over from their long and storied past. They are the last of their kind, and their artistic practices are critical to them.   Ankala craftspeople supply almost everything the Saya needs. They also earn extra money or bartering power (preferred by the Ankala) by offering their goods and services to farmers, villages, and the people of the cities they pass through.   An Ankala Saya can offer many things to the people they meet on their journeys, but perhaps the most treasured are their stories. Being nomadic people with a rich but broken heritage, they carry their history inside them. This is their most important job, and much of Ankala culture revolves around their history being passed from one person to the next.   The songs, poems, and stories they tell incessantly are part of that tradition. To them, it is the language of their culture, a key that opens the gate to everything the Ankala have been and are today. To those around them, they are the stories of an Empire long lost, of tragic love that brought about the downfall of entire continents, and of life on the run redeemed by the goodness of others.   One thing that the Ankala have noticed is that people love stories. They are enthralled by them, united, and instructed by them. This is the same binding of their own culture, and the Ankala intrinsically understand that it can bring together and bind other cultures. Stories are the one thing that the Ankala have that is plentiful.   The Ankala are well known for their storytelling. Ankala are bards, poets, and raconteurs all over Isarshael. Many Yafa will take up the mantle of storyteller during their time of sojourning away from their Saya.   The current bard to Bort Nathuk, Warden of Arsmouth, is an Ankala Yafa named Lysra Zashim. Nathuk is known for becoming bored with his bards and requires new material for daily entertainment. Lysra has lasted much longer than most of Nathuk’s bards as she pulls from the entire history of her people.   Symidian Nobles have taken to offering large sums of money for the storytelling abilities of the Ankala. The Ankala are required to live in the nobles’ home or palace, entertaining them and their guests. This seems like a great life for many Ankala Yafa, but it is often a path to losing the personal freedom that the Ankala so cherish.   A few Ankala Saya have devoted themselves to the art of storytelling entirely. They act as theatre troops who rove from town to town. They perform theatrical productions of their cultures’ most important stories, such as the Three Jesters or the Tragedy of King Rakai.    


  All trade is local for the Ankala, as they have no homeland or nation. There are no rules or regulations except each Saya’s community standards.   The day an Ankala Saya pulls into town can be exciting. There is the promise of stories, songs, epic poems, and exotic goods handmade by the Ankalan Craftspeople. The places they draw camp often take on a carnival atmosphere and are every bit as attended as a weekly market.   Most Ankala accept money as payment for their goods. Still, they prefer to trade for things their Saya needs to make or procure regularly. The Ankala do not have a money economy as they have no nation or government. They will use the local money if needed but far prefer barter.   The Ankala have one thing in high demand all over Faelon: Magical items. They procure, trade, and create weapons, rings, talismans, and clothing imbued with magic. Instead of using magic the ways many other cultures do, they have a long tradition of crafting beautiful and valuable magical items.   It is considered great luck for an adventurer or a freeband to encounter Ankala while executing a warrant. A freeband leader with forethought will often negotiate a higher provisioning price in case an Ankala Saya is located along the way.   The Ankala have quite the reputation for selling potions, enchantments, and magical charms to the locals of the places they also pass through. Their hedge witch traditions developed over long years of nomadism. They became expert herbalists, alchemists, and enchanters, needing those skills just to survive. They are happy to barter those skills for things they can’t make to the people they come across.    

Foreign Relations and Views on Other Peoples

  The Ankala tend to keep to themselves, and they are primarily nomadic and preserve their traditions, values, and laws. As a people, they are not aggressive. Still, more than one group of bandits has fallen upon an Ankala Saya, mistaking their non-aggression as pacifism and paying heavily for it.   Because they have no country, the Ankala are not a political power to speak of. They have no embassies in foreign cities, and their political and cultural influence seeps no farther than the boundaries of their Saya.   The Ankala that settle in cities hold themselves to the laws of the city and country only so long as they don’t interfere with the traditions and customs of their Saya Kalai. The Ankala are pretty peaceful and cause very little trouble for local authorities.   As a whole, the Ankala look upon other people with goodwill and trust. Once that trust is broken, however, it remains broken, and it is challenging to win back the trust of an Ankala.   The Ankala hold the Traazorites to be the enemy. You will never convince an Ankala that the Traazorite Empire is nothing less than the Kehinnin returned to Faelon.   Most Saya are happy just to avoid them, living their lives on Isarshael. They tell stories of the past abuses of the Traazorite Empire (They’ll also make up stories about current violations). However, some Ankala are not content to merely tell stories about them.   There are many Saya that are supporting the Traazorites’ enemies. Not all of this is done militarily because, at their heart, the Ankala are a peaceful people. Many Saya have rules forbidding any violence except that done in self-defense.   Ankala in Tehradim, Terezret, and in Mershael lend material aid to the Eclipse Sisterhood. Many make accouterments and even smuggle weapons abroad to help the growing rebellion. Others give money they earn toward the insurgency. Money has little value to the Ankala, but they know it can buy many things that the Eclipse cells need.   There is a growing trend amongst the Ankala to swear off their pacifist ways and become more involved in the outside world. This can be seen in the anti-slavery efforts of Saya in Kandor and in the more militant overtures of Saya that are actively combatting the Empire. Most Ankala look upon these Saya with weariness or sadness because their ways have deviated from tradition.   The Ankala who have forsaken the pacifism of their forebears are not sorry, however. Their Kalai believes that the time has come to combat the evil they see in the world actively. Most of these Saya are those on the Southern Continent, where the danger of being discovered and destroyed is still genuine.   Saya in Terezret use anonymity and the loose Traazorite presence to strike against the Empire, causing “accidents” and sabotaging small targets to preserve their safety while still making a difference. The Traazorites are afraid to move against them because of the popularity of the Ankala in the town.   Saya living in the border cities of Mershael, often volunteer to help guard the border and have also been active in raids against Traazorite supply trains. These Ankala have been living among the Mershael for generations. They have become more ingrained in Mershael - Traazorite border politics. They still remember that the Mershael gave them a way to escape their enemies when they were pursued to extinction.   Striking from a base hidden in the Ap Shir Anar, some Ankala Saya and their Mershael allies disrupt supplies to and from Zenvot, Skaizar, Faz Alreen, and even Agazos. The Traazorites call these raiders striking from the dusty hills Patomadatel or bloodflies. Patomadatel are aptly named blood-sucking insects that are a plague all over the Southern Continent. In swarms, they can even be deadly.   The Ankala Saya fighting against the Kandoran slave trade have set themselves up in the Kingdoms surrounding Kandor. The Kandorans have become very serious about keeping Ankala out of their borders. They have struck at known Ankala enclaves because they have proven to slow the trade of slaves back into Kandor.   These Ankala live in Thormenal, along the mountainous border with Kandor, and make their homes in the villages of the Trilian Reachers north of the Paz Zar. They call themselves Atalai, which means herders in Chaler. They take the name of the Mershaeli that risked their lives to rescue them when the Traazorites hunted them on the Southern Continent.   The Ankala Atalai take many different measures to rescue those being sold or stolen into bondage. Some Ankala Saya, especially those in Raalin, will patrol the passes between Thormenal and Kandor, attacking any roving group of slavers they come across. Other Ankala Atalai will first offer to purchase people out of slavery, believing that the offer of non-violence must first be made.   Ankala operatives, often non-Chaler, work within Kandor, risking their lives to buy as many enslaved people’s freedom as possible. It is rumored that the famous tobacco merchant of Kra’Xa Teex, Dola Tresik, is an Ankala Operative. Whether there is truth to the rumor, she and the Anakala seem to operate with the same goals.   The Ankala Atalai living among the Trilians take a bold approach to their work. The Kandorans have long been interested in Trilian slaves. The rumors of the abuse and torture these Trilians undergo are the stuff of nightmares.   Ankala Atalai and their Trilian allies actively monitor the Paz Zar for any sign of Kandoran slavers, especially the dreaded Dusk Cartel. The Dusk Cartel keeps a walled hideout on the southern slopes of the Ikkendrach Danar called Skyshadow. From its well-hidden walls, they ride north through the Paz Zar and other hidden passes to raid Reacher villages and carry their people off to Kra’xa Teex for Zral Ghum.   The Ankala and Trilians wage war against the Dusk Cartel. The Cartel’s brutal fighting skills and dark magics are often more than a match for the village militias and Trilian Border guardians. They have even been so bold as to raid northern Kandor. Still, even pursuing the Dusk Cartel through the Paz Zar, they have never been able to locate the stronghold of Skyshadow.    


  Because there is no Ankala Government, there is no military either. Most of the Ankala Saya are pacifists, but even then, all Ankala are taught to defend themselves. Their years running from the Traazorites have informed the philosophy they carry into modern times: Pursue peace but be ready for war.   Ankala take nothing that isn’t theirs, especially by force. This is something they do to atone for the years of Empire their people inflicted on the people of the Southern and Northern continents. As much as they can be, they are peacemakers now.   Their peaceful nature concerning those around them is often mistaken for meekness. They are sometimes set upon by bandits, con people, and local governments looking for magical items but unwilling to pay for them.   The Ankala are more adept at fighting than they let on. Just because they hate to use weapons does not mean they aren’t capable. Ankala will learn to wield a sword and a spear, and many will also learn to use the bow, if for nothing else, to hunt.   Those looking to steal from the Ankala usually meet a shocking end. Those local nobles who seek to find out just what is protected by an Ankala caravan are often laid to rest in a forest where none but the wild animals will find them.   Many Ankala Yafa find themselves as mercenaries and fighters in freebands worldwide. Ankala casters make great combat mages and are much sought after if they can be found. Ankala are also noted for their knowledge of the world and navigation capabilities. Ankala Alchemists are prized for their creativity. You can name your price if you’re Ankala and looking to join a freeband.    

What is vital to the Ankala

  The Ankala value community more than anything else. Their terminology and culture are riddled with words equating communities to bodies and members as parts of that body. They celebrate new people coming into their community with an adoption ceremony and mourn those who willfully leave, declaring them Yafa or orphans.     Through stories, songs, and poems, Ankala tell of a time during the Krai Jan Empire when the bonds of the community had been lost. Rampant individualism and the growing need to provide for oneself over the needs of those around you led to the Empire’s downfall. These lessons were learned well but bought with much suffering. Now, the Ankala culture celebrates altruism over every other character trait.   The Ankala jealously guard and keep the history and culture of their people. They do so by any means necessary, but their primary method is orally transmitting their stories from one generation to the next.   Some Ankala are so concerned with preserving their people’s knowledge that they have sought out The Archivists to pass off their knowledge. Over the years, The Archivists have roamed the countryside looking for Anakala Saya to record their knowledge and wisdom. Local archivists talk to the Ankala whenever they are in town.   Some see the congruence between what the Archivists do for Faelon and what the Ankala do for their people. They devote themselves to the cause of preserving all knowledge. Local Archivists are often Ankala that have settled into a city or an Ankala Yafa who has decided to pursue the cause of wisdom and truth.   Lastly, though the Ankala intrinsically understand that their forebears awoke the sleeping goliath of the Traazorites, they also wish to free the Southern Continent of the Empire’s yoke. Significantly few Ankala Saya will go to war with them, but almost all will donate to that cause.   Some fight, from The Saya of Terezret to the very militant followers of the Elder of the Sunsands still thriving in the Manaros Kabal. The Mershael-Ankala forces raiding supplies in the Jubarah Mish and those fighting alongside the Eclipse are other examples of this.   Those that won’t fight out of respect for Ankala traditions will often donate to those that do. Many enchanted weapons, armor, and other accouterments find their way into the hands of the Eclipse, especially in Tehradim. Magic items and other material aid also find their way to the Koronnans. They find themselves fighting the Traazorites every few years.


Please Login in order to comment!
Powered by World Anvil