The O'sairi People of Sunar
Imperial Peoples: The Osairi People
The O'sairi Nomads
Possessing a warm caramel colored skin tone, the O'sairi are considered to be part of the Great Drumidian race, relating them to their eastern neighbors the Drumidians, and other people groups. Despite this proposed racial connection, the two peoples differ greatly in on the matter of height, leading some to theorize that the O'sairi may not be related after all. Instead, these people argue that the O'sairi may have traveled north out of the largely un-mapped south in a primeval time, before coming to reside on the edge of the receding Sunarian plain. This idea is further embellished by the fact that it is not exactly clear just how far south the O'sairi have traveled, with their maps and geographic knowledge being a closely guarded secret known only to them. Most Sunarian officials discourage this idea, though, and simply identity the nomadic desert men as an offshoot of the Drumidians, crediting them as going no further south then the arid plains of Ukhumbi. As mentioned the O'sairi are a remarkably short people with their tallest coming in at no higher than 5'4. O'sairi hair is usually a dark brown color, although myths and legends of fair skinned, blonde O'sairi are fairly common in their historical myths. An interesting result of this is that the O'sairi hold a special fascination and awe for blonde foreigners, and consider them, and the hair trait especially valuable among slaves.
Population and Geographic Location
Dwelling on the periphery of the Sunarian Empire, the O'sairi are a nomadic people who make a living on the edge of the vast Sunarian Sea. Contrary to popular belief, they rarely venture to far out into its sands, as the central desert is quite large and lacks any reliable oasis. Instead they prefer to living within a short distance of the imperial border, where it is far easier for them to make a living, or find water. Holding sway over a truly massive expanse of land, the nomads can be found dwelling from the Salt Coast, down to the southern lands of Ukhumbi,where they trade with the native tribal clans quite regularly. This is all made possible by their highly mobile lifestyle, and mastery of the camel and horse, which gives them the capacity to move swiftly down the empire's border. Because of this vagrant lifestyle though, actual population statistics are impossible to derive for the O'sairi, however, it is estimated that they number at about 600,000 people.Language
The O’sairi are usually fluent in Imperial Sunarian for the purpose of conducting trade with non nomadic peoples, as well as their own tribal languages.History and Influence
The O’sairi have been an ever present, if minor, actor in Sunarian history going back millenia. Ultimately their greatest achievement would be the the Taariqid Dynasty, which was a ethnicly O’sairi family of emperors who ruled the empire following the assassination of Nipeter, and just prior to the Cusireen takeover. Remembered today for its controversy, the era is notable because of the Taariqid support for slavery in the Salt Coast, and their desire to legalize the practice inside the empire. Utterly insulting to the Sunarian common folk who despised the Taariqid’s, this attempt to enforce slavery would fail spectacularly and see the Taariqids overthrown by the Cusireen Cult.Citizenship
Most nomads lack any official status, and as such are categorized as non-denizens by the Sunarian Empire. Despite this, the O'sairi are often ignored by the empire, and as nomads who do not purchase property, are allowed to dwell largely outside the sprawling urban slums of the empire's cities. They are further given free reign to cross the empire's western border without needing to report their cross to the imperial government. The only catch to this freedom is that they remain upon the western bank of the Sun River and do not cross to the wealthier eastern side of the empire without obtaining permission from the government. This rule is not heavily, enforced, however, and O’sairi frequently travel as far afield as Nebtka to trade, without any sort of government permission. The main reason for this ambivalence from the empire, towards the O'sairi, is that the government views the effort of controlling them to be more trouble than its really worth. Often doubling as bandit raiders, most O'sairi are well trained warriors, who are armed constantly. As such, any attempt to stifle their freedom, by forcing them into the slums, would result in a bloodbath. Furthermore, if left to their own devices to travel and trade throughout the empire the O'sairi rarely get into serious problems, and usually keep their banditry isolated to the remote western borderlands. Few in number and nomadic as well, the O'sairi do not tend to remain in one place for to long and as such are not a lingering, or major problem for most communities in the empire who while angry when they are around, soon forget about them until the next tribe passes through.Work and Economic Level
Different from the bulk of Sunar in their tendency to practice slavery, the O'sairi have established themselves as a pivotal part of the Sunarian salt trade. Running and often times supplying the salt mines with fresh slave laborers, the nomads are one of the biggest security threats to the settlers of Sunar's western border lands. Preying on these helpless citizens of the empire, the O'sairi target them in their raids and lead them in shackles off into the desert, never to be seen again. This fact is frequently overlooked by the empire's leadership though, as O'sairi slave mined salt has given the Sunarians a monopoly over one of the world's largest supplies. Paid less for general labor they are often only able to find legitimate work as mercenaries, guides or caravan guards, and most, for this reason, frequently engage in banditry and raiding to supplement their lifestyle. This causes a rather circular problem where mistreatment and an inability to find work drives the O'sairi into criminal behavior, which further bolsters their image of barbarity in the minds of the Sunarian majority.Religion
Religiously, most nomads practice Traditional Sunarian Polytheism, and provide worship to a number of patron desert gods. Lacking any core priesthood or temple structure though, it is not as organized a religion, and does not play too big a part in the average O'sairi's life. A small minority have also embraced the foreign faith, known as the Children of Fire, which originates from the Hasarine Desert in the far, far west, across Nebka. Brought to Sunar by Hasari traders, the religion took off among the O'sairi who saw in the Hasari a very similar culture and people. Despite this conversion though, religion remains a very minor aspect of these nomad's lives. The branch of the faith worshiped by the O'sairi is as such far removed from the structured faith of the Hasari, with the worship of fire, the sun, and the desert being essentially the only similarities.Sunarian Perception of the O’sairi
Because of their endemic raiding, tendency towards slavery and nomadic lifestyle, the O’sairi are largely looked down upon by the empire’s population, who see them as savages from the desert. This perception is not unique to the Sunarians, however, and the Drumidians, Nebtkans and Valoni all agree that the O’sairi are a truly despicable race of greedy thieves. Whether this image is true varies greatly in reality, as the O’sairi often take up honest work as mercenaries or caravan guards, as well as guides. In these fields they are furthermore considered experts of their profession.O’sairi Perception of Sunarians
The O’sairi view the Sunarians with a hesitant admiration, as they respect the empire they have maintained for millennia, but see the individual Sunarian as an easy target. Behaving as predators, most O’sairi seem to be willing to engage in slavery or murder at the drop of a hat and seem to perceive themselves as culturally superior to their settled cousins.Intermixing and Interbreeding
Intermingling between O'sairi and Sunarians doesn't happen all that often within the empire, as the nomads often avoid urban centers in favor of the more remote borderlands. When they do make the trek to a city, though, they rarely venture to far within, and instead set up camp outside the city with only a few tribesmen ever going in. The O’sairi are also generally seen as a barbaric people by Sunarians, who view them as a lesser race of men. For this reason deliberate interbreeding between the two peoples is quite rare. Because of the prevalence of slavery, banditry and raiding, in O'sairi society, however, rape, and unfortunately sexual slavery, are disturbingly common.