When the Sun rises, the weak are blinded. --Common Devkarti saying.The Devkarti have long stood as a testament to humanity's adaptability. They live upon the seemingly inhospitable land of Devkarth; an enormous landmass renown for its vast, seemingly endless desert and dry, arid wastelands. Unlike most nations in the world of Veska, Devkarth is far large to be classified as an island. Devkarth is a true continent, one of the largest remaining lands found in the world. Once ruled by several tiny city states, the Devkarti are the culmination of humanity managing to band together through their harsh environment, and have long since flourished as one of the most powerful human kingdoms. Unlike most other humans, the Devkarti worship a unique Goddess. Many often consider this Goddess to simply be Aine, but as a woman. However, this Goddess is far more wrathful than the benevolent creator God that most of humanity has come to know; the Devkarti believe that the Goddess is what holds the sun in the sky, providing them the warmth they need, but also incinerating those foolish enough to defy her. Most of the Devkarti built their cities upon the ruins of other civilizations that had long been drowned by the shifting sands. The Devkarti are noted for being a very matriarchal society. While most human kingdoms tend to veer towards either a patriarchy or value equality over others, the Devkarti is one of the only kingdoms that truly view the fairer sex among the two. Women are the rulers; and have a say far beyond any man. Outside of soldiers, men are often always assumed to be regarded as a lower class than a woman in all ways.
Seelah, Rhosyn, Nadia, Amondi, Zareen, Samira, Panim, Nura, Rashida, Roshnara
Amadi, Rajj, Ditan, Kader, Abdul, Shadi, Parviz, Rashad, Iskander, Behnam, Mansur, Kurosh,
Miraj, Selim, Jamil, Ehsan, Nihal, Karam, Almas, Rahat
It should be noted that family names receive the name 'Ra-' before their prior last name if they have achieved the status of nobility. With that said, most of the mentioned, important names below will have that similarity.
Important FamiliesRa-Ashim: The current ruling noble house of the Devkarti people, Ra-Ashim rules from the capital of Devronde. Ananda Ra-Ashim, the current Queen of the Devkarti people, is the head of the house. Like many other houses, Ra-Ashim has earned its positioning in Devkarti nobility thanks to the family's combat prowess. Both feared and revered, it is often said that 'Ra-Ashim is carried upon each grain of sand', claiming that they are always watching, and always ready to sweep over those who wrong them. Ra-Hesslar: The current heads that rule the northern Kingdoms, deep within the deserts of Devkarth. Ra-Hesslar is lead by the only true patriarch in Devkarth; the only reason for such a thing is due to the disappearance of their previous heir. The heir's father currently stands at the head. His prowess in combat is measured as invaluable enough to allow such a thing, until his next heir assumes the mantle. The Ra-Hesslar army is legendary for its disciplined fighting force. Ra-Tehran: A family that rose to prominence not through military might, but through inventiveness and clever engineering. It is the Ra-Tehran that have allowed them to have rudimentary power for their homes, and it is the Ra-Tehran that have granted them clockwork machines that function without jamming from the ceaseless sands of the desert.
Family Name ExamplesAs mentioned before, Ra- is a prefix for high-nobility. (Kings, Queens, or direct members of a noble house) Rao- is also a prefix for an accomplished general or warrior. Finally, slaves actually do not have a prefix, but are simply stripped of their prior last name, and given the name of 'Grain'. It is both as an insult, and to compare their value to food, or in some cases, a grain of sand. Terrani, Ghazz, Jain, Shiraz, Namir, Rostami, Singh
Major language groups and dialects
Common: A recent development, and considered a secondary language. Common tongue is often only spoken by nobility. Their accent when speaking common is known for stretching out words somewhat; th's often turn to d's. Their r's are also often silent. Devkarti: The Devkarti language is the preferred language of their people.
Culture and cultural heritage
The Devkarti is a very matriarchal society that lives through a caste system; men are generally always looked down upon, while the women are generally elevated in importance and status. While there are some exceptions; such as house Ra-Hesslar, the men generally have little sway over Devkarti nobility. They worship a Goddess, often seen as a parallel, female version of Aine. This Goddess is named Amelia, and she is heavily associated with the sun; it is in fact said that she is the sun itself, and is so beautiful that she blinds those who stare upon her. All women are said to have been created in her image, hence their importance. Quite simply, women are valued due to them sharing the same gender as the Devkarti Goddess. The Devkarti value valor and combat prowess over all else. A soldier may easily rise through the ranks in time; and though the system typically leaves most families to be limited to hereditary lines, anyone is capable of being granted the privilege of nobility should they prove themselves enough to the Devkarti Queen.
Common Etiquette rules
It is a common courtesy to help others -- no matter the gender, in whatever task they're doing if you are not busy at the time. Keeping busy is important to Devkarti culture, and although it isn't expected to go from stall to stall to set up a bunch of merchant stands, stopping by to help at least one person is important. A 'Good deed for the day' is a very common thing for the Devkarti people; committing at least one kind act towards anyone at least once a day is expected. Men are expected to not touch a woman without her permission. To do so risks dismemberment of that limb, or worse. Slaves are generally expected to be ignored and treated as if they were livestock. To treat regard them with any higher treatment does not lead to scrutiny, but is often likened to the idea of being easily amused.
Common Dress code
Swaddling silk robes are common for the Devkarti people; to keep safe from the oppressive heat. It isn't a necessity, but it is simply a convenience. The heavy clothes prevent the body from losing too much water, and allow someone to safely walk without rusk of the sun. It is also said to preserve the beauty of a woman, hiding it away from the eyes of the unworthy. There is no real dress code; women are in fact encouraged to dress in less. A woman dressing in less clothing is a method of showing authority and power over others, and is seen as 'sharing one's beauty for all to see.'
Art & Architecture
Devkarti architecture typically relies on chiseled stone bricks. The stones are carefully created and set by a skilled workforce; most buildings have a somewhat sloped or dome appearance, while those who are well-off or have wealth over others typically have one or two towers amidst their homes. These towers serve as the primary area for sleeping chambers, while the remaining rooms serve for dining areas or lounging. The Devkarti employ various stone cutting and sculpting methods, and are fond of using paints to help decorate and elevate the appearance of their creations. Buildings or sculptures also often weather and wear away over time. The Devkarti often either simply build, or paint over any damaged statues and buildings.
Common Customs, traditions and rituals
Saying one's name: A common observation practiced by Devkarti soldiers -- or anyone capable of accomplishing what they believe a good feat. The Devkarti have a tendency to announce their full name so that all onlookers may have their attention turned their way, so that others may know their name when they accomplish or attempt a difficult deed. Blooding: The Devkarti are very deliberate; they often count how many men they slay during a battle. If they make it from the battle alive, they dip their fingers into the blood of their enemies, leaving tally marks over their bodies for each kill. The Devkarti are very fond of doing this in the midst of battle if they have the space to do so, as an intimidation tactic for their foe. Bright Queen's Hallow: A gigantic masquerade to celebrate Amelia's radiance. The Bright Queen's Hallow is a very debauched festival that is typically isolated within a specialize district. Masked soldiers stand guard over the parameters of the Bright Queen's Hallow, while the citizens outside are given a mask to wear during the celebration. The Children are escorted towards a special play area, far away from the other section. They are often treated to a feast, and watched over by eunuchs. Those engaging in the Bright Queen's Hallow all wear special masks and stay within their district, indulging in fine food and feasts, and committing debauched acts that are otherwise considered taboo. It is in essence, a masked orgy where everyone but the slaves are invited. Although recently being outlawed by many noble houses, slaves or low-born citizens are often lured into the Hallow to be tortured or abused for the amusement of the nobles. This celebration is annual. Gladiatorial Games: An important thing to the Devkarti people are the gladiatorial games. These games are hosted with both slaves and prisoners drafted to serve as fighters to entertain the crowds. Gladiators whom prove their worth in the fighting pits are actually granted freedom if they were slaves, and potentially offered a spot among the Devkarti military.
Birth & Baptismal Rites
The Devkarti often celebrate the birth of high-ranking children with feasts and holidays. A successful pregnancy is considered to be blessed by Amelia, while miscarriages are said to be a curse brought upon them by her great enemy, Lamashtu. It is often said to be a punishment for their past misdeeds.
Coming of Age Rites
Branding:Sometimes a baptismal rite as well; young children often have brands pressed upon their bodies to sear a mark that reminds them of their born title. While this is optional for nobility, slaves are always branded for life. Blooding:A rite often given to soldiers, mercenaries, or others that are part of a trade involving fighting. Blooding is quite simply, celebrating the first kill. Sometimes, ritual scarring is etched into the person to serve as a reminder of who -- and what, their first kill was.
Funerary and Memorial customs
The Devkarti practice special burials for various reasons. Those whom are part of nobility or are high born citizens are placed upon a high vantage point -- typically a special cactus that grows very high, and are left to rot there. This is known as a 'sky' burial, and is said to place them closer to Amelia when they pass. Those who have committed crime, or are part of the slave caste, are typically buried beneath the sands in mass graves. Cremation is also a common method of handling the deceased. It is especially important to nobility, whom generally like to have a piece of ash to remember their loved one. In the case of a married individual, ash is also preserved in a special gemstone or piece of jewelry for their spouse.
Touching a woman without her permission -- no matter how harmless the intention may be, is a serious offense to the Devkarti people. Those that would violate this law are often swiftly dismembered of their hands, or even emasculated and enslaved. Turning away from a situation, showing any sign of retreat, is potentially grounds to brand that person as a coward for the rest of their life. Cowardice is not tolerated in Devkarti culture, and fleeing a battlefield is punishable by slavery. A slave lying with a woman is often scoffed and looked down upon. It isn't forbidden, however.
Common Myths and Legends
Sand Wraith: Sand wraiths are a fearsome thing that all Devkarti fear; they are said to be living, sentient masses of swirling sand that scours the flesh of those they pass through. These weathering storms reanimate the bones of any victim that waded through the sand, and are forced to follow the wraith for the rest of their life. Nangal: A dreadful creature that is said to be born from the burial of a dissatisfied woman. Also often called a Tikki Tikki for the 'ticking' noise they produce, these creatures are said to raise from their grave should their burial and wishes not be met. While they take on the guise of a normal woman in the day, the night reveals their true, horrible nature; their upper body rips from their legs, taking flight on a pair of sprouting wings. They fly in search of prey, using a long, piercing tongue to drink the blood of their victims. The Nangal are jealous of newborn life, longing for a chance of regaining their youth, they seek out the blood of infants over all else. Their long tongues slip into cradles, draining them of their blood. Striga: Similar to the above, the Striga are high-class men that have been left dissatisfied with their deaths; typically from being buried beneath the sands rather than given the respectful burial they deserve. The Striga are known to have become hairless, their fingers eroding to expose the bone, which deform into long claws. They prowl at night, in search of living flesh.
Ananda Ra-Ashim: The current empress of the Devkarti people. Empress Ra-Ashim is known for being among the longest-lived of the Devkarti empresses. With about fifty five years to her name, Ananda is often vehemently called the 'Crone Queen' by her enemies; though none are bold enough to state these names to her face. She is a just, yet harsh empress. Laws under her rule are notoriously quick and harsh, and though it is a rule lead by fear, very little crime happens when Ananda walks within one of her city walls. Assassinations were made on Ananda twice. The first attempt lead to the would-be killer's corpse being found crucified upon the walls of her castle, while the second was orchestrated by a hired killer within the markets. Ananda, always escorted by a hand of guardians, was famously restrained from killing her assassin by her personal guard; but later ordered the killer's eyes be gouged, before reduced to the position of a slave. Ismat Ra-Hesslar: Ismat is the current head of the Ra-Hesslar house. Unlike many other kingdoms lead by the Devkarti people, Ismat is a man. Ismat's heir disappeared during her 13th birthday, leading to Ismat being kept as the current head of his house until another suitable heir is present. Once a great war general, there are many rumours that surround his skills with the spear; tales involving him hacking dragons to bits, and slicing boulders in two. Nagi Ra-Hesslar: Famously dubbed the 'little conqueror', Nagi was the original leader of the Devkarti people. She began her rulership from the very young age of 14, passed upon her when her mother died in battle. Nagi was a bold and fierce leader, renown for incredible courage despite her young age. More importantly; she was also exceptionally kind and open-hearted to the woes of her people. To this day, Nagi is widely revered as not just the first empress of the Devkarti, but one of the greatest as well. Azandi Ra-Ashim: Azandi was one of the first Empresses to serve from house Ra-Ashim; and unlike many other houses, Ra-Ashim had begun as a small, lesser known family. At the time, Azandi was simple 'Azandi Ashim', she served as a contracted killer. Azandi made an attempt on the life of a renown general, but was not only caught in her act, but exiled later. During her exile, Azandi was forced to live in the harsh emptiness of the desert, where she earned her nickname of 'Azandi the Striga' Azandi reportedly attempted to poison herself, what happened instead was her body slowly built a tolerance over the poisons she consumed. In time, Azandi found herself nearly unkillable through poisoning, and in a last ditch effort to end her life, tried sickening herself to death by devouring the corpse of rotted nobles prepared for sky burials. Her immunity to poisons and disease had lead to her instead surviving and thriving in the desert, while the otherwise deadly cactus juice had turned her skin from tan to grey, her lips blushing purple. Azandi returned to her family shortly after, a new woman. Her new appearance had allowed her to live in secrecy among her people...and shortly after, the general had passed, found with suspicious bite marks at the neck. When the Ra-Hesslar empress died, and no heir was available, house Ra-Ashim was called upon to provide an heir. Azandi stepped forth to take the mantle, her revealed identity had only served to strengthen her claim to the throne; the first queen to pick oneself up from exile.
The ideal man in Devkarti culture is typically muscular or strong; a soldier that's capable of holding their own strength in combat. It matters little about other things, unless they are fair skinned(detailed below.) To be overweight or fat is heavily shunned in Devkarti society; if only because it shows laziness in the individual. Women are generally always seen as beautiful, no exceptions. To call a woman ugly or insulting her appearance, is to potentially risk execution if you are a man. Women are often encouraged to show however much skin they like; they have a very 'see, but not touch' culture regarding women. And yet, women that swaddle their entire bodies in silks are seen as a lovely aesthetic to the Devkarti people, for it implies that their greatness is hidden beneath the silk. White or fair skin is typically seen as 'exotic' to the Devkarti people; due to their countries environment, white skin is quite simply never seen outside of foreigners. White hair is also viewed as the same; many men or women may dye their hair white.
A woman is to be royalty, with almost little to no exceptions. Women in slavery are seldom seen and often have criminal backgrounds, serving more as a form of indentured servitude than slavery. All women are above men in just about every possible way; if a woman is to request a position of power, they will hold precedence over their male counterpart. A woman, is quite literally, said to be a direct descendant of Amelia herself, hence their importance to Devkarti culture. Men, are often soldiers, slaves, or simple craftsmen. Men are meant to be submissive to every woman in Devkarth and are expected to treat them with the utmost respect. To stare at a woman is to warrant an apology for 'gazing at the sun'.
The Devkarti relationship is rather simple; follow the caste and hierarchy, and things will usually flow smoothly. Aside from that, Amelia actually teaches the standard wholesome ideals of loving oneself and all creation beneath the sun as well. Although romance doesn't necessarily limit the man, the Devkarti culture often leaks into these as well; women are generally considered to be the responsible for all decisions made within the relationship. While this isn't ALWAYS true, women get quite a lot more leeway in terms of relationships; Men, for example, are expected to always be loyal to whomever they're promised to. Leaving a relationship is allowed, however, doing so for the sake of entering a new one or committing adultery is punished by gelding. Women, on the other hand, are free to choose from, and in fact encouraged to, select from multiple suitors. Royalty is often given a wide selection of suitors and sometimes even includes multiple partners within the relationship, so long as the woman remains at the center of the attention.