This region is defined by the mountain tops and rocky slopes on both sides of the Sorjfell Mountains. This mountain range extends across almost the entire southern part of Sobukand, beginning in the middle of the west coast, just south of Edevane, and ending on the southern coast, just below Fyellbyen. To the people of Kairn Handia this mountain range is simply known as The Spine. Kairn Handia occupies the northwestern portion of the Sorjfell mountains. The people of Kairn Handia are predominantly of Mamac ancestry though all ancestries can be found throughout. There is only one city: Kairn Handia. Even so, the entire mountain range has clusters of families and small groups of ten to fifteen members, as the rocky terrain allows.
Ancient HistoryKairn Handia was not really ever a kingdom, it was just a collection of people who lived in an area together. For many years, this region was inhabited solely by Mamac. Once the Kings Wars began, there was a slow integration of other ancestries as Sorjunders sought to cross the mountains to fight with the North. Refugees from Feldland also made their way to Kairn Handia seeking shelter and protection from war. The outsiders were not trusted at first, but eventually the interlopers were able to integrate with the Mamac. They quickly adopted the rules of the city and surrounding settlements. Outside of the city each home has its own rules. If you visit another home you follow their rules. Homes are run by the eldest family member, and Ancestor worship is a very strong practice. Multiple generations often live together on a single piece of property. Sometimes there are multiple homes, sometimes just one home with twenty or so people living in it. Change doesn’t happen quickly in the mountains. Families live in the same home for many generations. Practices become habits, and habits become traditions. It is said that countless generations ago the land below was empty and had good hunting. The lake waters were still and no smoke rose from the horizon. But the ancestors tell of a time when the skies were darkened with smoke and the horizon burned. The outsiders came from both sides, one in fear of burning, the other in fear of starvation. The Ancestors say these peoples were not welcomed. There were times of peace among the outsiders and times of fighting. None of the outsider troubles touched the people of Kairn Handia.
Transition to EmpireDuring the Kings Wars, people of Sorjund arrived from the frozen lands, and they made offerings to obtain passage through the mountains to gain better war positions against the kings of the North. They traded fabrics and trinkets and asked for guides to good hunting and the ways through. The Mamac showed them the ways, for a price. Then Shogboteth the Just made a deal with the Sorjund. In exchange for one hundred cannon, the Sorjunders would gain use of the lake passage for one hundred winters. On the day the cannon were delivered, the Spine got its teeth. When the Kings Wars ended, some of the refugees from Feldland returned to their homes, others settled amongst the Mamac and became integral to the small communities. The people of Sorjund returned home and very few of them stayed in the mountains. The Empresses sent delegates to sign a treaty with Kairn Handia which guaranteed peaceful trade relations. Although the treaty was signed with no objection, the people of this region rarely involve themselves with affairs outside of the mountain.
Present DayThe rocky, mountain top, terrain of this region makes simply living here a difficult endeavor. The whole regions is dotted with homesteads where enough open area can be found to build and plant a small garden. Each homestead is run as a family unit, though family does include more than just blood relatives. They hunt, work, learn, teach, and live together. Some families use existing caves to extend their home, but Kairn Handians traditionally do not dig down. The people of the region trade with those who travel through the lake pass. They sometimes will venture out to the nearby towns in Sorjund and Feldland to take goods to market and bring goods back home. Most children are taught within the home by their elders or older siblings. Typically each homestead member does some kind of work that is for the betterment of the homestead as a whole. Many of the people of Kairn Handia are admired for their gracefulness in moving over and through the mountains. They are also lauded as expert weavers and leather workers. Some of the blankets and tapestries produced here are quite exquisite.
IndustryAlthough the Kairn Handians live a generally lower technology life, they are not without resources. They will gather minerals that are easily found on or near the surface but will not do any mining. These minerals are used to make tools, craft trinkets, and trade with the Northerners. Many make their profession at gardening, domesticating and herding sheep, or hunting with birds.
Culture, Clothing, and Traditions
FoodThe rocky terrain is not great for growing most things, but potatoes and root vegetables do very well. All homes have some kind of garden to produce food. In addition to root vegetables, wild berries and grains do relatively well and are popular in a majority of home gardens. Sheep and goats are raised and live well off the sparse vegetation. Birds of prey are kept as hunting animals and are often employed to hunt small game such as rabbits or other birds. In the spring, groups will make trips to the lake region to catch fish which is a special treat as it is not available year round.
HolidaysThere are two major holidays celebrated in Kairn Handia along with the normal solstice and equinox celebrations. The first is Foundation Day. This is when each family celebrates the day that their home was established. The greatest home is the city of Kairn Handia and everyone celebrates its Foundation Day, which is the first of Spring. The second is Pass Day. This celebration marks the day that the deal was struck with Sorjund, allowing their people passage through the mountains during the Kings Wars. Depending on how the year has gone, this can be a day of mourning or a day of celebration. Many think that it was a mistake to allow the Sorjunders through. Some may admit, privately, that things could have gone much worse if the Sorjunders had not been let through.
MusicThe music of Kairn Handia is largely percussive accompanied by wind instruments including flutes, whistles and pipes. Wind chimes are popular in many households. Stringed instruments are rare, but not unknown to this region.
ClothingBeing in the southern part of the continent and at higher elevation makes for cold days and colder nights that require warm clothing. The sheep and goats of this region provide a very warm wool. Sturdy pants and shirts made of tanned hides and wool along with fur lined boots and jackets are common. In the most recent century, the finer wools from the North and the South have become popular and can be found as pants, kilts, jackets and cloaks. Dress tends to be utilitarian, consisting of breeches, long sleeves, hoods, scarves. The people of Kairn Handia prefer the colors of grey, tan, and white for clothing, flags, etc.
EntertainmentWhen the people of Kairn Handia are not working, they will participate in a game where there are two teams of five or so players. Each is armed with a stick (in some instances a sword) and they have a largish bag (about the size of a head). At either end of the playing area, there is a bucket. The players fight over the bag. The first team to get the bag into the opposing team’s bucket wins. This is quite the sport to watch and has even started to become popular in the southern edge of Feldland and some of Sorjund. Some of the less vigorous pastimes include Mancala, a game of moving stones around in small holes in the earth or a wooden board, and stone balancing.
NamingNaming in this region is thus: children are named after ancestors who have a birthday near to the child’s. Sometimes folks are also named after their home if it is prominent. For example, Froglak of Two Ledges, who is named after his great-great-great-grandfather Froglak South Peak who shares the same birthday.
DeathWhen a person dies, the entire household comes to sing and tell stories of the deceased. Once the final story has been told, the separation ritual is performed. This removes the Ancestor Spirit from the body. The body is then placed on a pyre and burned. The ashes are allowed to be scattered by the wind in the mountains.
Traditions“Your home is your life,” is the phrase by which many Kairn Handians live. Even so, this does not mean that the people of this region never leave the mountains. Since the establishment of the Empire, more of the younger generation have begun to travel to different regions. Some return, and others do not. They do not dig down into the mountain because they feel that this is disrespect for the place that has given them home and shelter for generations. While they will not dig into the mountain, they will utilize natural caves often as part of their dwelling. Stone balancing is practiced by nearly all Mamac. In the front yard of each home is one stack that is never moved. These are the Ancestral Stones. Each eldest family member finds the flattest rock possible and adds their rock to the stack when they take over as the elder of the family. This stack is very useful when contacting Ancestor Spirits.
- Location under