Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tales of the Cannadad Dei: Life in the Sabiri Tribes

Life in the Sabiri Tribes

Sabiri are migratory, and settle in specific locations several times a year. Most tribes have a region they consider properly theirs, through which the roam. Such regions can span the length and breadth of the Sabiri lands, or only a portion of it. As a rule, the largest tribes tend to migrate over a larger range of territory out of necessity.

On the outside it appears inexplicable, patterns of nomadic movement that may at best seem to follow the waterways and paths of the great bison herds. To the insider it is a mixture of sacred determination; the waterways and bison are placed along a path preordained by ancestors long gone and the communion of venerable and helpful spirits.

Most tribal paths make at least one round a year through one of the sacred ceremonial centers that have turned in to great “tent cities.” Zen Hettar and Uvalin are two of the largest such sites, a communical gathering center where chieftains can convene to discuss news and events, games are held, the trading of brides is made, and warriors can display their prowess. Trading is very common, and though the Sabiri enjoy the commodity of coin they are as likely to barter for and with good as they are gold.

Sabiri tribes focus heavily on preparing for winter. The winters last for several months, starting early in the fall on some years and creeping in to mid spring if the season is especially bad. As hot and humid as summer gets, winter is atrociously cold and snow can blanket the land for months. Tribes prepare accordingly, insuring that thick pelts and stored food is readily on hand. In the deep south some tribes, less affected by the weather at the closest stretches of Helios, tend to be more relaxed about the seasonal changes, and these are fiercely defended territories.

Tribes are divided in to four main units. There is the individual family, which has a patriarch and his wives, as well as all relatives under his protection and dominion. A group of families (from as small as two to as large as several hundred) comprise the tribe proper. Several tribes under a charismatic warlord constitute a Kaskir, or nation. Multiple nations can assemble in a loose unity under a sabirath, or dominion. The dominions are centered around one of the chief ritual centers, which right now consist of Uvalin and Zen Hettar. Dominions rarely have a ruler, though the greatest chieftains may form a council. On rare occasion they may elect a warlord to power. Northward is Madalios, which is regarded as its own dominion, though the settled relatives of the Sabiri are regarded, like all who have given up the nomadic lifestyle, as a people of less worth.

Sabiri Merchants: The Askartin

There are a few tribes that have developed semi-sedentary or even given up the nomadic way of life. A cluster of such Sabiri dwell around the great communal centers at Uvalin and Zen Hettar, small families of Sabiri who claim the regional “city” itself as their tribal land. These Sabiri are part of a unique sect described as askartin, which literally translates in to goat merchant. The Sabiri see these specific families as providing a necessary service that benefits the more traditional Sabiri ways. The askartin are the smiths and traders who have learned to sustain themselves year round by way of trade and commerce with he nomadic tribes and the Espanean colonials. Indeed, most of the indigenous Sabiri population that has settled around Fartheren belongs to the askartin sect.

Askartin are much like their nomadic brethren, though regarded as somewhat less important in battle. The askartin see themselves as no less significant, however, and have advanced their love of horses from the nomadic way to a more sophisticated pastoral approach, raising horses in larger numbers and selling them to the nomads and Espaneans alike. The askartin skill take steeds for their own, and still train in ritual warfare, but they do not roam.

Askartin have not attempted to domesticate the bison, though they have taken to raising the butu goats in the region; thus, the name “goat merchant.”

Next: Warfare

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