Band of Reeds Ethnicity in TAHARJIN'S FLAME | World Anvil
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Band of Reeds


  ‘Band of Reeds’ is the collective term for the indigenous inhabitants of Arlok, and the loose organizational structure entailing the Opatu, Kih Ka, Sawjeh, Wengkt, Tuhulaagan, Jisadehou, and Qoûr tribes. While each group has its own system of governance – or indeed several, as no one tribe is homogenous – a mutual acknowledgement of shared identity, values, and goals, leads to frequent cooperation between them. The Band holds semi-formal assemblies at seasonal intervals to address its most pressing concerns, but resolves most issues through casual channels. Though it may not officially constitute a political or economic entity in its own right, the factual power the Band wields through association makes it one of the largest and most influential actors in the High North.


  Though their situation has been more or less stable for about two centuries, relations between peoples in the Band of Reeds and the neighbouring Farang emerge from a problematic history:   Prior to the arrival of lighter-skinned Farang peoples from the Rajan & Sakxa region roughly 4000 years ago, an event common oral traditions refer to as the Roll of Great Capelin, Band of Reeds tribes were distributed across the Arlokian continent. As these newcomers came to settle more and more lands, pushing inwards, native populations increasingly concentrated along Arlok’s western coastline, where they would ultimately found the modern nations of Msna, Aupek, and Jor. Displaced groups also migrated southwards into Rela, and east across the land bridge leading to Delhiza. Rela, always a melting pot, absorbed any trace of their presence, but the extreme insularity of later Delhizan cultures helped preserve the likeness to their northern ancestors – which, given an absence of archaeological evidence, is the only clue such a connection exists.   Tribes ceded their land for many reasons. Some were forcibly ousted. Others made deals with the Farang, though only some worked out to their advantage. A few, following the ways of ÁɦkumátúwoThe Great Path of Root and River – shared their territories willingly out of the belief that the land in truth belongs to no one, or to everyone. Unfortunately this notion was quite foreign to the feudally-minded Farang, who slowly but surely claimed more and more space.   Armed conflicts occurred in the midst of this, but were not the norm. Infamous outliers from modern history include The War of Red Knives, in Chalornok, which lasted nearly sixty years (UT 467-407) and the Five Fox War (UT 210), the most recent open battle between the two peoples. Five Fox, fought in Bimmentok, established an historic treaty requiring every state across Arlok with lands the Band claimed as ancestral to facilitate passage to native people travelling there for spiritual purposes, or to hunt and fish. These practical benefits were however outweighed by the symbolic win represented by the Farang’s widespread recognition of traditional territories, which continues into the present.  

Modern Day

  The relationship between Band tribes and the Farang is millennia old, and in this time, each group has learned a lot about the other’s culture and generally come to treat the other with kindness and respect. Msna, Aupek, and Jor are long-established nations, with a robust history of participation in continental developments, and tribal leaders are widely acknowledged for their contributions to the common good, especially in the area of negotiation. For example: Hú-téɦ-tímt, Grand Mother of the Opatu, was central to the success of trade talks between Draksineon and Ceweren after The Ruby Road reopened during the Sunset Empire (598-361), ensuring a windfall for all of Arlok and raising Msna’s status in the process. Msna and Aupek are also the only northern sovereignties the Relan nation of Qa opts to deal with, though the exclusive nature of their arrangement results in trickle-down boons for adjacent Farang communities.   Additionally, some Farang are not only grateful to their hosts, but seek to live according to their traditions, which the Band welcomes. This explains the proliferation of Rikaad speakers in Msna and Aupek.   Despite their long and well-established rapport, however, the two groups are not without their tensions. The Band of Reeds remains in talks with neighbouring countries over disputed regions on the borders of their lands, and smaller indigenous communities as far afield as Arlok’s east coast occupy regions they hold to be unceded, inciting arguments on both sides that unfortunately stoke the fires of racism, experienced only rarely by nations further west.   How these cultures do or don’t fit together is ultimately less germane than the quality of life within their spheres. The pronounced differences that underlie their respective ways of being make this especially true. Many Band tribes, for instance, still cleave to a semi-migratory existence, a commonly understood and accepted practice with legal protections in territories under their control, but which on Farang land would be hard to manage. And so, despite the many shining examples of cooperation that exist between groups, each ultimately prefers its own company, effectively making Arlok home to two separate worlds.

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