The Dakan are a cheerful and outgoing people, known for their sharp wit and cunning. They are the largest population in the Dakan Confederacy on the Northern Coast, and make up a significant minority in the Iumbu Empire. Their ancestors migrated south from the hot jungles of the equator, shortly after the Iburi drove out the Dragon Imperium, and established small kingdoms and city-states along the coast, where they became famous for their seafaring skill and adeptness at diving. Never a rival of the Iburi Empire, they traded freely with it and avoided integration in various ways for centuries until the ravages of the Magister War and the Lost Era nearly wiped them from the world. The Dakan had the worst of it on the Southern Continent during the war and the era that followed. Their cities were smashed, time become unchained, and then the Teminna Kingdoms appeared. Fearsome amphibian beings drove them from their jungles to their current holdings, and the conflict continues. Dakan are dark skinned, although lighter than the Iburi, with tight coiled dark hair they wear in ringlettes or dreadlocks, dark eyes, and are of medium height and build. The Dakan people organize themselves into family collectives around trades and skillsets, often marrying and forming relationships only with other family collectives in the same or related areas of expertise. These groups then join together to form interconnected settlements, which, in turn, form the basis of the Wadjiro, or "functioning community". Wadjiros elect leaders, who engage in political and trade discussions for the larger group. There is no king or central leader to all the Dakan people, and this system of alliances and relations between Wadjiro is why their lands are collectively called the Dakan Confederacy. Dakan names follow the simple pattern of family name, given name, and trade name. Trade names are used in public and official business (even among friends), and personal names are used only among family members. Deceptively easy going is a description that has been used to describe the Dakan, along with cunning, out going, and ruthless. The Dakan are a proud people; proud of their history and survival, and proud of their accomplishments. They are famous among their neighbours for their tenacity and ability to pursue and achieve goals that advantage them, their families, and their Wadjiro. This in part explains their reputation for ruthless behaviour. The other is that for several generations, their backs have been against the wall; defending themselves from the ravages of the Teminna Kingdoms who stole their lands, and in avoiding assimilation into the Iumbu Empire. These pressures have imbued the Dakan with a ruthless streak, with their goal being the continued existence and success of their people. Much like their neighbours, the Dakan prefer lighter armours, but have a number of armours made from the hides and scales of armoured fish and marine life that they have developed. These, along with padded armour and scaled armours, make the up the overwhelming majority of armour types for the Dakan. The ixwa is common among them as well, especially with Dakan in the Iumbu Empire or living in closer to the Northern Savannah, but they have a fine tradition of swordsmanship that they have retained along with several unique sword designs. Chief among those being the short kundu, which is often carried for protection and utility, and the heavier ida, a blade made for battle. The Dakan have embraced the spring bolter for battle, but still prefer composite short bows for hunting and shallow water fishing. Magic is viewed by the Dakan as a part of the natural world, but a part that needs to be controlled. Divine magic, miracles, are considered more socially acceptable than arcane magic, which is seen as dangerous in the hands of mortals because it does not have divine influence. Knowledge of how magic works is minimal in their society, but they do recognize the signs of aptitude. Dakans who are recognized as having magical talent are feted if their magic enhances their family's trade or skillset, or if it can be use din the defense of the Wadjiro. If it does neither of those things though, the family typically seeks to marry the caster out to a family where they can be useful. Religion among the Dakan is dominated by the Cult of the Four Dragons, and has a sizable number of followers of the Way of the Numena. The Followers of the Elemental Court are a distant third. This is directly because of the destruction of most of the temple sites and clergy of the Elemental Court among the Dakan when the Teminna Kingdoms were dislocated forward sin time and launched an immediate war on the mammalian life around them. The Cult of the Four Dragons, ancient enemies of the Teminna Kingdoms, surged out to aid the Dakan, and in turn the Dakan overwhelmingly accepted them as their new faith.
Personal: Ahanna, Daru, Chibuni, Udume, Zamuni Trade: Ah-komo, Da-fasa, Chi-uru, Ud-komo, Za-fasa
Personal: Nwazumi, Koroba, Nganzi, Okaru Trade: Nwa-kumu, Ko-fisi, Ng-oro, Oka-fisi
Personal: Inuna, Warumu, Ngumo, Chumoma Trade: In-kama, Wa-foso, Ng-ara, Chu-foso
Odoro, Gomo, Dumoma, Katumo, Duru, Irumu
Major language groups and dialects
Dakana used to have many dialects, but these have disappeared in recent years.
Culture and cultural heritage
Dakan foods are less spicy than Iburi foods, but deeply explore enhancing natural flavours instead. While they have no formal or religious food prohibitions, it is considered bad luck to eat sharks without performing rituals of thanks to the sea. Dakan seafood is famous, and their skills at fishing and mariculture were world renowned before the Magister War. Fruits, tubers, and seaweeds make the bulk of their vegetable intake, the latter so much so that they're known as "Seaweed Eaters" throughout the Southern Continent. Their drink of preference is fresh juice, and they make a cloudy cider like drink for celebrations and end of day bonding rituals. Recently, frogs and other amphibians have become popular menu items as a way the the Dakan to collectively thumb their noses at the Teminna Kingdoms.
Common Dress code
Dakan fashion ranges from roughly pragmatic while working or fighting to gloriously bright and flamboyant when celebrating, engaging in courtships, or in diplomacy. Men prefer baggy breeches or a kilted garment, and typically go topless while working (save for protective garments, they aren't foolish). When dressed to impress, they wear bright pantaloon like trousers, a thigh length tunic, and a wide sash across their waist. Women dress similarly to the men, but often add a in a wrap-around skirt, head scarf, with a shawl or shoulder sash in their day to day lives, and wear impressive and complex dresses and shawls for special occasions. Both prefer sandals or bare feet.
Art & Architecture
The Dakan approach to architecture is robust and grand. Mudbrick and limestone dominate their building materials, and everything is whitewashed against the heat and the weather. Each family builds and expands its own compounds, which then link via high walks and bridges over canals or rare roads to ensure the Wadjiro is a single body. The result is a chaotic but navigable arrangement. Recently, Dakan alchemists have developed a new type of cement using ash traded for from the Volcano Kingdoms, and it has already revolutionized their defensive walls and port facilities.
Coming of Age Rites
On coming of age (~15 years old), the Dakan undergo a ritual of entry into adulthood through a series of rituals overseen by their elders and a representative of the Cult of the Four Dragons. It culminates with their first tattoo, on their left forearm. Once the healing of that tattoo is complete, they are considered adults.
It is taboo for a Dakan to not have their left forearm exposed when entering another family's home. Dakan will not eat shellfish during a full moon, as it is considered unlucky.
The Dakan are flamboyant and experimental when it comes to beauty. Bright colours, bold looks, extravagant hair styles, and tasteful face painting are all part of it. Perfumes and scents are used sparingly, and the Dakan have a preference for lighter scents when they are used. A deep and well established tradition of tattooing is part of Dakan culture, and is purely decorative, using geometric patterns to create abstract versions of natural things, like scales, shells, leaves, and so on which, in folklore, embue the owner with those characteristics. Traditional tattooing in done on the lower legs, forearms, and in rare cases, the neck and head from the cheekbones down. The latter is usually reserved for heroes (level 4+) or people who have achieved greatness and prestige within their Wadjiro. These tattoos are always all encompassing of the body part they are on.
The Dakan concepts of gender are strong, but separated from sex. Broadly, they recognize masculine and feminine genders, and encourage their children to determine which they are. Gender fluidity makes them uncomfortable, although Dakan who live among the Iburi in the Iumbu Empire are developing an understanding of it.
Courtship and marriage are very much divorced from romance in the Dakan culture. Marriages and serious relationships are for building more powerful and influential ties at every level of society. However, this is balanced out by the acceptance of lovers outside of marriage. Courtships are formal in the extreme, and most families have them planned within months of the birth of their children. A good courtship is seen as one where the couple can tolerate each other, strengthen their families, and build a stronger Wadjiro.
Love and relationships are complex among the Dakan, since many are in formally recognized but loveless relationships with their spouses, and have one or move lovers on the side. The ideal relationship is seen as one where the members of it are attached and ultimately loyal to one another, but where they are free to satisfy their needs elsewhere if needs be. This attitude and ideology has been the cause of many issues in mixed marriages with spouses from other peoples.