Bidawa Hadir is the island in the north east of Sobukand. It is truly a desert island as the majority of this land is covered by sand. There is only one established city on the island, and it is known simply as Oasis. There are small settlements and villages along the coast where there is water, but fresh water and food are too scarce to sustain more than fifty people at any one place. What makes the singular city possible is a natural spring that runs deep into the earth. It provides water to more than ten thousand inhabitants. The weather on Bidawa Hadir is mostly hot, although there is a short rainy season in what Sobukanders would call winter, a dry season that happens around summer, and a windy season between them. Bidawa Hadir has snakes, scorpions, and lizards that exist nowhere else on Sobukand.
Not much is known by anyone about the ancient history of this island. Bidawa Hadir first gained the interest of mainland Sobukanders during the Kings Wars. Through the worst of the fighting, citizens wishing for peace left mainland Sobukand in search of a home without war. Many of them landed on the island and never returned to their original homes. It is also rumored that deserters and criminals made their way to Oasis, or perhaps elsewhere along the coast. Since there were no known resources to be gained from Bidawa Hadir at that time, the island was largely left out of the Kings Wars.
Transition to Empire
Once the Empire was formed, delegates from Oasis came and pledged fealty to the Empire. The delegates swore that they would establish trade with the rest of the empire and offer fair prices.
The leader of Oasis is called the Neta. The current Neta is Devi Adri who acts as the head of the small government. The Adri family has produced the Neta of Oasis for the past three centuries. There is also a group of elders that aid with keeping order and peace in Oasis. The people of Bidawa Hadir are generally law abiding. The representatives from the empire believe that the smaller population keeps crime to a minimum. Another factor, however, is that there are very few places where one can escape to on Bidawa Hadir. The Elders along with the Neta create the laws, enforce them, and punish lawbreakers. They are seen as a fair and just government by all.
Industry and Trade
Bidawa Hadir is the leading producer of glass. Most of its direct trade is with Teyen or with the assistance of merchants from Teyen. They have a moderate technology level as they have discovered how to melt sand to make glass. The glass from Bidawa Hadir is the finest in all of Sobukand and is used for everything from spectacles to telescope lenses to fine jewelry. The reason this glass is so fine is because of the process used to create it. In addition to sand, a dried pereskia cactus is ground into fine powder and added. When the glass is made, the powdered cactus makes the glass the clearest and most flawless that exists. In addition to glass, they also export a number of cacti and succulent plants which are useful for healing and various ritual purposes.
Culture, Clothing, and Traditions
The cuisine of Bidawa Hadir includes fish, crabs, lobster, cacti, coconut, a hearty variety of mango, and spices that only grow around the Spring of Oasis. There is a small herd of goats in Oasis as well, but they are generally only consumed for holy days or festivals.
The inhabitants of Oasis celebrate Festival for the full week after the rainy season. During this time there are flowers and plants that are dormant during the hot dry months. These flowers, plants and other foods are gathered and prepared for display and feasting. All is shared among the community. Other regions like to make voyages to Oasis to sell their goods and trade with the locals during this time. Other Holy days include the Day of the Remembered, where the people spend three days honoring their ancestors by fasting, singing, and telling stories. The Solstices are not really celebrated because the lengths of the days do not change much during the course of the year.
Inhabitants of Bidawa Hadir dress in light flowy clothes and tend to cover themselves from head to toe. This is done to protect them from the heat of the sun and from blowing sands. Most prefer white or off white clothing during the day and will sometimes wear more colors during the evening. Even so, the colors of clothing tend to be very pale. Sandals are the footwear of choice.
The people of Oasis live in tall, one-story buildings. Most of these buildings have windows that begin just above the floor and go almost to the extra high ceiling. These windows are opened from the top and the bottom to create a breeze throughout the structure which helps maintain comfortable indoor temperatures. During the hottest part of the day, the people will retire to their homes to rest and keep cool. Once the heat has passed, they return to work, school, or socializing.
The music of Bidawa Hadir is mostly produced by glass flutes and chimes. Stringed instruments are a rare treat, but they are difficult to maintain in the hot arid climate.
Birth and Death - When a child is born, there is a week-long celebration culminating in the Naming Day. This is when the family picks the name for the child. Naming day celebrations are mostly a family affair, although close friends may be invited to participate. When a person dies, there is another week-long ceremony where the friends and family gather to honor the dead. At the end of the week, a ritual is performed to add the name of the deceased to the spiritual home of the ancestors. It is believed that this final ritual separates the spirit from the body and allows the spirit to join all the other ancestor spirits.
The Winds - The inhabitants of Bidawa Hadir practice listening to the winds. They describe winds that come from the East as a bad wind or an ill wind. Bad luck is said to be a visit from the ill winds. Another custom is that they always turn over and tap or hit the sole of their footwear a time or two before putting them on because scorpions like to hide in shoes.
Blood Debts - When a person saves the life of another, or performs a deed that is on par with saving an individual's life, a Blood Debt may be offered. The debtor draws a small amount of blood and swears a promise to repay the great favor that has been done for them, or die trying. This is usually done while shaking hands, and often the blood is smeared on the hand before shaking. If the blood debt is not resolved before the debtor dies, it will pass on to a family member and continue doing so until it has been resolved.
Sharing Meals - It is difficult to find well prepared meals when making trips into the deserts. With this in mind, it has become a tradition that when you are sitting and sharing a meal with someone that you cannot do wrong by them. Hospitality provided and received is a sacred bond between the host and the hosted. If someone is rude while receiving hospitality, that individual may make an enemy. This may be forgiven if they apologize before a sizable crowd, declaring how rude they were to the person offended.
Theft of Shoes - An individual who is no longer welcome in the home will find that they wake up without their shoes. They are usually thrown outside the tent, in two different directions, filled with sand, pebbles or refuse. This is to inconvenience the person so they do not misunderstand.
Offering a Debt - The people of Bidawa Hadir take their debts seriously. If they say they owe someone, or that they are in their debt, they mean it literally. A person will work to repay that debt as soon as they can. Those who willfully shirk their debts are said to “live in misery and can carry a thousand more debts” as punishment.
Offering Trinkets and Fabrics - The earliest explorers to Bidawa Hadir that were befriended by the first settlers were often given tokens of friendship. These tokens marked them as a friend, family member, or co-worker. These varied from small strips of colorful cloth with trinkets that hang from leather throngs, to elaborate bracelets or necklaces.
The King of Tchotchke - Similar to offering trinkets and fabrics, some individuals are given a gift meant to warn others they are not to be trusted. When this is given, the individual is told it is a badge of lesser nobility and encouraged to wear it openly as a free pass for caravan travel or other such things relating to the lost tribe of Tchotchke. Some common forms of this trinket are:
A stiff square piece of wood, covered in leather with an orange symbol of warning on it. It is worn on a string around the neck. Traditionally the symbol is two lines at right angle to each other.
A necklace with a wooden stick wrapped in orange string hanging from it.
Orange beads worn around the neck.