As one of the widest and most varied ethnicities on the face of Zheng-Kitar, the Ssarin people are not a central ethnicity in the normal sense - they are a disparate and scattered people and can be found all over the continent, outside the reaches of civilization. Every barbaric or uncivilized creature can be found here, as well as some other creatures who exist beyond the definitions of other ethnicities. That does not mean they do not share a common origin - the Ssarin people all carry a mother language that they all have in common, as well as a shared history that has seen them spread from their people's homeland of the Yudao Rainforest and their former capital of Ssarizzax, now left to rot and crumble in the humid rainforest.
The Ssarin people can have a great variety in their appearances, as they can be found all over the continent - they have little in common but their mother tongue and their style of dress, which often sees them dress in furs and other simple barbaric forms of clothing. They dress lightly and for flexibility, often wearing pelts or skulls or some barbaric mixture of them both, and often do so to display proofs of their recent or most proud kills or other such tribal traditions, sometimes also to show their skin and the tattoos they might draw upon them.
Their faces rarely have anything in common, but often tend to be brutish and rough, with squared jaws and sharp facial edges, though those Ssarins who are closer to their roots might have more serpentine features - long and slender snake-like faces and features which might even have serpentine slitted eyes and patches of scales or a forked tongue. These serpentine Ssarins are often called 'Purebloods'.
The Ssarin were not always a people with a common history - originally, they were not an ethnicity at all, and instead were nothing more than a collection of tribal and barbarian peoples from all over the continent - they shared no origin, features, or culture. It was not until the rise of the Tyrant Cao Lu during the Age of Apostasy slightly under 3000 years ago, when he came to control all the churches of the six Spirit Kings
, that the Ssarin people formed.
With Cao Lu's rise, he required enforcers of his sadistic will upon the continent, and so the call was sounded - all the barbaric tribes of Zheng-Kitar were rounded up by force or by persuasion and gathered in his new capital of Ssarizzax, and under his watchful eye they were given training in the ways of his desired methods of war, and given a common culture - their old ways of life and culture were stripped from them and they were given a new common tongue to make their service in his name even easier. This was when the "Purebloods" were made as well - Ssarins that were experimented on and spliced with the genes of the ancestral High Lamia
to form a 'ruling caste' in Ssarin Society.
Their ways of life were unified and codified beneath his rule, and it was in his service that their common 'ethnicity' formed - from their tribal ways and common language to their appearances and style of dress. And with the eventual fall of the Tyrant Cao Lu, his barbaric hordes, absent their charismatic leader and unifier, returned to their disparate ways and became barbaric tribes once more - carrying the language, ways, and culture they learned beneath Cao Lu back with them as the last living relics of Cao Lu and his tyrannical rule.
Ssarin culture is a varied thing, and though they can trace their history back to a common point as the millennia have worn on their culture has diverged greatly, meaning each tribe of Ssarinites might have an entirely different dialect of their mother tongue than others, and though speaking the mother tongue(Wastetongue, AKA Ssarin) will let one communicate at least in a basic form to all Ssarinites, the exact culture of the Ssarin people has diverged so greatly it is no longer entirely centralized. Instead, there are still 'hallmarks' of Ssarin culture that remain as standards across them all, listed below:
- They exist outside the reaches of civilization, whether as a barbaric tribe or underwater township or otherwise. They exist on their own as a simple people with a simple lifestyle, and shun the more complicated trappings of civilized life.
- They dress lightly and in furs and pelts, with skulls and other barbaric symbols being common among them. They often inscribe important life events and histories upon their skin, but different cultures might have different reasons or methods for this.
- They tend to have cultures centered around the notions of martial might, and/or 'Might makes right'. Might is often chiefmost in these cultures, whether they prioritize men, women, or are equal. What exactly is 'might' might differ from tribe to tribe, and in some tribes 'Martial Might' could even be 'Magical Might' or some other form of strength they deem worthwhile.
- They are often nomadic, and many live in tents or in abodes that are easily movable. Their societies are often based on hunting and gathering, or raiding other civilized areas or even other tribes and villages.
- They tend to eschew the worship of specific Saints and focus more on paying tribute to the Elemental Lords and the Spirit Kings themselves. They tend to be more spiritual and shamanistic than many other cultures, and believe heavily in omens and prophecy.
- Their respect can often only be earned, and is rarely freely given. They may not be specifically hostile against outsiders, but many are suspicious of them and do not easily give their trust or faith. However, once earned, Ssarins are often friends for life. Many Ssarins also believe heavily in the notion of a Life-Debt - that is, serving one who saves their life or who performs some great deed for them that they believe is worthy of their life. These life-debts are often sacred things almost never broken.
- They often venerate Ssarin 'Purebloods' - those among them with more snake-like features, as above in "Appearances" - in some form or fashion. In some tribes they might rule it as high priests of some brutal faith, while in others they might be honored elders. In yet others their birth is seen as an omen of providence, and a boon upon the tribe and they are treated like barbaric royalty and raised to rule the tribe.