|Common Names||Clockwork Lords, Sariyd-philes|
|Classification||Qadir who seek to maintain ancient ideas of the Sariyd Empire|
|Social Classes||Priests, Engineers, Tinkerers, Merchants, Civilians|
|Major Cities||City of Mooriye, Fahrahhan, Daryan|
The Khaneh Culture is an offshoot of the mainline Qadir Culture, forged in the fires of constant warfare with the Songaskian Masaya who seek to push past their borders and fully engage with the Qadir heartland beyond them. They grew and now exist solely within the borders of Mooriye, a nation centered around the great City of Mooriye. Their society has reached a very high level of technology, driven by their military conflict but also their fanatical devotion to the Esrah Alwattah. They are also deeply obsessed with the Sariyd Empire and their Culture, wishing to emulate them as much as possible through maintaining their art and ideas. Alongside all this, their society is isolated, kept away from others due to their dislike of outside forces and their future as a radical force in Farah’deen is likely to continue.
- 1 History
- 2 Languages and Dialects
- 3 Laws
- 4 Lifestyle and Customs
- 5 Holidays
- 6 Religion
- 7 Literature and Folklore
- 8 The Arts
- 9 Recreation
- 10 Symbols
- 11 Trivia
The Khaneh formed in the aftermath of the destructive Great Storm that swept over Farah’deen in 121 AC. The natural disaster was a devastating force that affected many cities, but when it reached Mooriye something was different. It is possible that the massive structure was constructed differently to that of other buildings, or that there is truth in the claim by the Khaneh that the city used its advanced technology (which was more advanced than the rest of the Empire) to protect themselves and several other nearby settlements. Whatever the truth, the Qadir in the region were far safer than they were in other areas. In Mooriye, the first stirrings of the new ideology of the Qadir were born, and they sent missions out to the pearl cities in the south but also up the Almina Peninsula, where a Qadir heartland was quickly forming. But it did not take long for the Songaskia to arrive. At first, they were unprepared for the resistance that they faced, believing that the Storm had wiped out all opposition from the Qadir. But it soon became apparent that the City of Mooriye was still very much alive, and its technology was a deadly problem to the Songaskia seeking to push the borders of their Empire. Skirmishes turned into full battles, but Mooriye would not fall. Unfortunately, this negative and violent interaction with the Songaskia served as a radicalizing force for the Khaneh. The mainline Qadir Culture flourished in Al-Alus, while Mooriye became a dark cousin, obsessed with preserving the glory of the past and with protecting its nearby sister state. They became fanatics, and in 190 AC, fought a massive battle against the Masaya. Although ultimately a draw, the Songaskians retreated and sought other ways to manipulate Mooriye, while the Qadir collected the Soul Essence of the dead and settled into their existence. As time went on, the old royal bloodlines of the Sariyd Empire became mere figureheads as the priesthood of Esrah Alwattah rose to greater prominence. However, this branch of the Qadir faith was distinct from the variety now found across Aloria, thanks to political influence in the region and heavy focus on death.
Ultimately, Khaneh society became a theocracy, controlled by the priesthood who espoused whatever they wished about the outside world, often describing it in radical terms and turning the population into a suspicious, paranoid people convinced they were on the cusp of a massive invasion by the Songaskia. While for years this propaganda was fear-mongering, it ultimately proved true when the First Songaskian War broke out. While not aligned with Regalia, Al-Alus was, and so the Songaskians sought to crush the Khaneh once and for all as they moved to invade Al-Alus. The Khaneh, however, were the gatekeepers and again stopped the enemy from breaching too deep into the heartland of traditional Qadir society. They fought only a handful of skirmishes in the second phase of the war, as they did not seek to push much beyond the boundaries of their territory for fear of walking into hostile territory and ultimately came to a peace along with all of the other nations. Since then, the Khaneh have largely been in ascendant, despite their suffering due to a tyrannical religious-based society. The large-scale death in the surrounding region has given them ample amounts of Soul Essence, while the Songaskia have been forced to turn inward to repair themselves from the Songaskian Civil War. As a result, some make the bold claim that the priesthood is plotting to take the offensive to the Masaya, or of fully extending their territory to purge the minor and somewhat illegal supply towns growing up along their border at the behest of the Songaskians. But for now, the Khaneh remain as a radical Qadir society, worn but a proud and paranoid people about the outside world.
Languages and Dialects
While some Khaneh Qadir speak Faraddi, there are those that will only speak their native language Khanehi, which is much more flowing and focused on pleasing the ear than Faraddi to the point it is almost song-like. Its flowing nature, and relatively simple grammatical rules allow it to be spoken at swift speeds.
The Khaneh Qadir like to name their children after adjectives in their language, sometimes with nouns. Names like Shireen and Feredoon are common. They also name their children after various heroes and heroines in their folktales, hoping that their children will live up the great deeds of their namesakes. The children’s names are usually decided on long before the child is born, with one boy and one girl name being selected by the parents out of a belief in preparedness. Once they discover the baby’s sex, they apply the corresponding name--often, they will save the unused name for their next child. Surnames are taken after the male parent and usually relate to regions; for example, the last name “Mooriyi” means “of Mooriye.” The Khaneh do not require women to change their surnames, for these are considered signs of familial honor and the connection between families; instead, the husband’s last name is added onto the end of their maiden name. Some examples of names can be seen below:
The laws of Mooriye are strict and overwhelmed with propaganda and nationalism. In the pure sense of them, it is very difficult to come and go from the region, particularly the main city. All non-Qadir are low-class citizens and are often the subject of scorn by the government resulting in very few living in Mooriye. The people are expected to keep their focus on the Esrah Alwattah and are thus prohibited from many types of leisure, such as large public parties not organized by the priesthood. Songaskian prisoners are treated cruelly and are presented as enemies of every Qadir, who wish to enslave them and deprive them of the Esrah Alwattah, and are usually executed publicly before their Soul Essence is quickly extracted. Illegal marriages (such as those done without official paternal blessings or with two members of the same sex), “inappropriate” conduct (such as drunkenness and promiscuity) and anti-Qadir sentiments are all punishable by severe sentences of hard labor, prison time and working directly for the state (which is to say the priesthood). In reality, however, so much corruption exists within the government officials that with the help of a few bribes, one can accomplish a lot. When a guard comes to disrupt a secret party, all it may take is a few coins and a drink to send him on his way. For a bit more money, one can slip in and out of Mooriye and bring whatever luxuries back that they wish, so long as they can be decently disguised. This corruption is considered immoral by most, but it has been grudgingly accepted as a fact of life if one wishes to live their lives to the fullest without being hauled to jail at the drop of a hat.
Lifestyle and Customs
The Khaneh take great pride in their families and subscribe to the notions of honor and prestige based upon family names and titles. Despite this, Khaneh families are close-knit and very often loving to one another, as any alternative would be considered shameful. Children are doted upon, elders are given the highest honors, and relatives pay each other frequent visits. Khaneh do not usually have whole herds of children, most often capping off at three, with the average being only one or two. As a result, families are smaller and more tightly-knit. However, many get into the habit of considering close family friends to be their family as well, which expands the sphere significantly. Marriages happen when both parties are relatively young. While there is some choice amongst the men and women about who they court and fall in love with, there still exists the unofficial, but no less daunting “test” by each party’s parents to decide whether or not they “approve” of the match. It usually involves the opposing suitor/suitess to “impress” their lover’s family with their looks, education, personality, and social standing. If they fail to do so, the parties involved face various levels of estrangement, depending on how much the family can afford socially. The stakes are much higher for women, who will often be told outright they cannot marry their choice of husband.
In many ways, Khaneh society is a patriarchal one, with women being severely restricted in their rights and functions outside of the home. In what few things they can do, it is nearly impossible for a woman to partake in any sort of official dealings or transactions without there being proof that her husband, father, or even her son has approved of it. Men do not have such restrictions and are allowed to behave as freely as the law allows. On the other hand, within the realm of the home, women exercise much more power and influence, albeit in a more subtle manner. The more elderly women are well-respected and often revered figures, who do not hesitate to call out their sons or nephews on any topic. The wife, as the one in charge of keeping the household running, often does it as she pleases; chores are done to her satisfaction. Depending on the needs of each household, the man has two options: work and relax when at home, or be sent off to do various tasks around the house as the wife asks.
The Khaneh celebrate holidays based on the lunar calendar, and once also followed the solar calendar, but promptly discarded it upon discovering the religion of the Songaskia. The yearly eclipse, in particular, is a time of great celebration for the Khaneh, a highly symbolic event of victory over the Songaskia and a weird “light” future where such profane sun worship will no longer exist. In addition to the eclipse, the first few days of each season (known as “New Days” in Common) are also days of celebration. During these festivities, younger Khaneh visit their older relatives and close friends and spend time with them, often over food and stories in a large scale act of connection to their roots. The rules surrounding large parties are relaxed during Khaneh holidays, as even the government and priests understand that there’s little that they can do to stop such events. Besides, few can resist the great family feasts.
The Khaneh practice the faith of Esrah Alwattah, but the most radical version possible. They profess the same beliefs as most traditional Qadir, respect for the Almuttaq, the belief in the Esrah as a deity of technology and so on. But where they grow more radical is in the insidious details. They have become almost like a death cult, glorifying sacrifice, the end, and giving one’s Soul Essence up for use by the faithful in their fight to preserve both this, the bastion of true Sariyd knowledge and society, but also their sister Qadir in Al-Alus, “lost but able sheep” in the narrative of the Khaneh. Almuttaq, unlike in most Hadrityas, are seen more as beautiful sites of worship and points of connection to the past. While none who are not priests know how to activate one (technically anyway, if you are a non-priest and do open one, you are harshly punished), they still sit in reverence, free to visit the strange cubes of knowledge and pray for their family members. Their version of Esrah Alwattah also has figures which might most closely be associated with Herons of the Unionist faith found in the Regalian Empire. The Adanniš-Ištēn as they are known or “Great Ones” in Common, are a series of sixteen different great leading priests who were said to have been absorbed into the Soul Essence of the world, which is channelled through the Esrah Alwattah in Mooriye, who then dispenses them to the Almuttaqs of the world as the sixteen great voices of knowledge within each cube. It is even said that the priests can call upon certain Great Ones to give specific wisdom. The Great Ones are also added to, one every decade, carefully selected by the priesthood in Mooriye and announced to the wider nation by special messaging systems between the city and the other outposts of the priesthood across the state.
Literature and Folklore
The Khaneh society has limited literature, as while they are not a people lacking creative ability, their society is built in such a way that writing is not a primary focus for them. The only widely available works are about Qadir clockwork and technology, written by the priesthood and some highly notable non-priest engineers. These manuals are unfortunately largely only available in Khanehi, though some in Al-Alus have slowly been translating them into Faraddi for their own use.
The Khaneh people to most outsiders are seen as a society obsessed with death, technology, and the past to the point that they are detached from reality or any true humanity. The first and great tenant of their society is that they are right to do all that they do, because it has kept them alive, and it has kept the Songaskians at bay for so long. Their pride is enormous at what they have accomplished, which is often just given some of their technical marvels, but it also makes them extremely hard to relate to as even the lowest member of their society believes themselves better than even the nobles of the Regalian Empire. This is tied to their obsession with the past and the Sariyd Empire. Over time, their society in its visual sensibility has remained firmly locked on design and visual principles over two centuries old, from a time when the Sariyd Empire had great power and resources at their fingertips, which helped to build the southern pearl cities and the City of Mooriye which now make up the same-named nation. The Khaneh utterly glorify them to the point of godhood, to the point of tears, as they are fervent believers in the evils of the Dragons and their cruel obliteration of a society that was the most advanced in Aloria for paltry, vile reasons of jealousy and greed at not possessing such sophistication. They utterly ignore the Red Hunt, claiming it to have been a final act of self-defense by the Qadir and usually act as if it was both a fair fight and took place over a few months or years compared to the truth of the matter that it lasted for two decades.
Their society is also one deeply involved with death, as they have been focused on warfare for so very long, even when there were no fights between them and the Masaya for a decade or more. This familiarity with death has produced a people who value sacrifice, who are practically suicidal in defense of their society and who treat dead bodies with limited respect. They are not monsters, but they make limited attempts to identify the dead or to save the mortally wounded. They merely extract their Essence and then move on. This callousness can also lead to a disturbing chipper attitude when dealing with corpses, as some find themselves happy that these others have died and therefore given their Essence to fuel the fight. At the same time though, the Khaneh are also an incredibly closely knit society, with family bonds deeply important to them and constantly seeking happiness for others compared to themselves. This network of support has helped to maintain their people since the time of the Great Storm; while someone isn’t usually out to make themselves happy, they instead serve their friends and family and thus the Soul Essence within, encouraging others to do the same. In addition, when they love, they deeply love, and it is rare for a Khaneh to abandon a spouse unless killed, as the duty to care for one’s own is deeply engraved in their society’s code of conduct.
The Khaneh Qadir have many stories that make up a grand network of folklore, all aimed at promoting a more nationalistic vision of the Khaneh as a distinct Qadir people separate from Songaskians and their history. It includes various tales of heroes and villains fighting each other, though often it boils down to wit, not brawn, to save the day--although most, if not all, of the heroes, are brawny and bold. Very, very often, the main enemies are Songaskians with a small minority being Elven slavers or Ailor mercenaries. This is a nationalistic move done to get the Khaneh people to see themselves as strong Qadir and not Songaskian subordinates, as they were after the Great Storm. The lore is complex and constantly being retold and even created from scratch by particularly glib storytellers spreading their own renditions and add-ons, crafting an endlessly evolving oral tradition that is hard to keep track of. There are some common animals that do appear though, said to be creatures that lived on Farah’deen before the Great Storm and are they usually seen being killed off by Songaskians or having a single survivor saved by the Qadir hero. These include the Sand Lion, the Uššu, the Oryx, the Hu-bull, and the Serpent Lions.
Khaneh art exudes an ancient quality thanks to a variety of features. The most obvious one is that the Khaneh rarely ever create paintings, but instead are obsessed with murals and wall-art for the decoration of their homes, major squares, and centers of faith. The most obvious feature of this artwork is that it is often brightly colored, making use of deep dyes to create vivid blue gates, complex, colorful patterns, and pure whites contrasted against colorful backgrounds. These colors appear particularly vibrant in Khaneh tilework, often a sign of wealth beyond the confines of religious structures. The other feature is its distinctive visuals. Khaneh artwork often depicts people and scenes in profile, from the side, unless there is a major figure, who are represented from a head-on perspective. People are rarely depicted with mouths, attention instead paid to their eyes which appear large and obvious, along with distinctive noses. Their style is also known for its extensive copying and standardization. An image of a Sand Lion, for example, will largely by the same on every mural surface, replicated in precise detail. This is largely due to glorification of Sariyd structures that survived the Great Storm, with Qadir artists of Khaneh background copying their ancestors in reverence for them. These murals often describe or show the glory of the Khaneh, whether it is their military strength and victories over the Songaskians, their technology or their plentiful and well-controlled crops.
The only area where there is diversion is in their sculptures as little to no Sariyd works of this nature survived the Great Storm. Instead, the Khaneh have fully meshed sculpture and mechanics together, creating stationary but interactive constructs of stone, metal, and clockwork. To most Khaneh, it is a marvel, but to others, the large eyes of human-headed Hu-bull creatures shifting around is disturbing. Another unique piece of Khaneh artwork are their Seals. Seals are carried on the person of a member of a household, or in the case of the priesthood, of a temple. Each is unique, inscribed with symbolic imagery indicating age, place of birth, sex, marriage status, and other critical pieces of information. When arrested, not possessing one is extremely bad, as they are coated in a thin layer of ink and rolled out on paper to create a profile of the individual for state records. Lacking one indicates you are either an outsider or weak, both ideas offensive to the Khaneh.
Khaneh music is often upbeat and fast-paced, similar to their language, and makes use of both stringed and wind instruments. The hallmark of their music is its reliance on a drum beat, which is considered the center of a musical orchestra and shapes the tone, pace, and melody of a song. Though older songs that have survived from the Sariyd period are loud and joyous, present circumstances have forced many musicians to compose softer pieces, which has given rise to a new genre of ballads. Some music is punishable for playing, such as those that are deemed “anti-Qadir” or “anti-Eswra Alwattah,” for example those that reference the Qadir’s old faith system. Nonetheless, music remains diverse in its topics and a vibrant part of Khaneh life. Khaneh are also very much involved in group dancing, working as one united “machine” of movement and expression.
The traditional Khaneh wardrobe makes use of warm colors in their wardrobes with flowing, open fabrics, and tunics. The basic dress between the sexes is, as a result, often hard to distinguish; both men and women tend to wear neutral-colored base-tunics and pants, with various shawls and scarves draped over this. Women, however, tend to add a few accentuating jewelry pieces, while the men might carry a decorative weapon sheath--or a real one if they are a part of the military. Men, despite often being physically capable, rarely reveal their bodies to others unless they are seeking sexual attention. Men and women alike sport short hair, with men being forbidden from having heads of hair longer than an inch with beards being kept thin to nonexistent, while women’s head hair can reach only as far down as above the breast line. Khaneh women have been seen with cropped, although feminine hairstyles, and it is often a subject of scorn by other Cultures. In recent times thanks to increased dealings with Regalia, the Khaneh have begun incorporating various fashion trends from other Cultures into their own. They do not engage in blatant mimicry however, and instead blend the outside styles with those that are distinctly of their own Culture, such as wearing aspects of an Ithanian dress with some shawls and scarves overtop of it. This is thought to be people “improving” on the creations of others, though most Ithanians would be unlikely to agree with such a sentiment.
The Khaneh have inherited and maintained the designs of the Sariyd Empire to an extraordinary degree. First, despite many of their cities being “round” as they are pearl cities with rounded white and impressive walls built at the height of the Sariyd Empire, the rectangle is of extreme importance to the Khaneh. As a result, many of their squares are actually rectangular and what few aren’t are round, with streets going off in six to eight directions to mimic the gears of a machine. Their buildings are also often rectangular, longer than they are wide and most are at least three stories tall. They are structurally sound and warm, though the large windows with closeable shutters allow the cooler air of the evening to come inside. Their roofs are almost always flat and serve as a different way of transportation, connected together by simple wooden planks. The construction materials of their structures are a mix of brick, sandstone and other forms of rock one can recover from the desert or the mountains of Farah’deen. Only the large temple structures have deep intricacies; the most normal houses or structures get, is simple patterning around their windows. These temples possess square towers at the corners or are themselves giant singular rectangles. Their walls then proceed upward at an angle as opposed to straight up, with small areas pushed in, creating a pattern of symmetry in the work. Their roofs have small toothed crenellations and are similarly flat in design, though they are never hooked up with the roofs of nearby structures largely because they are that much taller. The City of Mooriye makes use of this wall-style extensively, as it is the style of their external walls.
The Khaneh take great pride in their food, which incorporates various herbs and spices as well as many different food groups combined into one dish. Homemade dishes are prized over all others, with many Khanehi families having cook-offs with each other. Meat is a common staple in the diet as are various breads and grains, all locally sourced from well-protected fields, greenhouses and animal pens. Khaneh food, often cooked in large quantities, is extremely healthy as well as tasty. Street food is widespread and beloved, with the owners of the stalls that sell it often building camaraderie with their loyal customers.
One favorite sport among the Khaneh is known as “Tokhm.” Similar to Ailor capture the flag, it involves four teams taking eggs, which the Khaneh do not usually eat, and pelting them at opponents in order to defend a chicken. The first team to steal all of the other teams’ chickens wins. As chickens are stolen and planted in the stealing team’s nest, the team who loses all their chickens firsts eliminated and must clean up the mess made by the game, which is often very intense labor in the heat of the sun.
The Khaneh love to talk with each other. Many a spare moment is used for conversation, debate, and reminiscing with each other. They also enjoy taking walks about their city or watching the children play. The Khaneh seldom spend their free time within the house and will mingle about the streets of Mooriye in great hordes during the lunch hour and the evenings. Because of the strict rules, many younger and more free-spirited Khaneh like to indulge in illegal pleasures under the cover of darkness. All Khaneh also enjoy looking up at the stars. While most are not professional astronomers, they feel the stars are the same bodies their ancestors looked upon almost two centuries ago and so the stars are their connection back to them. It is also said that each star represents a wonderful soul, and Soul Essence creates the beautiful illumination of the night.
The Khaneh Culture has many symbols in common with other Qadir Cultures, the gear, the Hadritya and so on. One of their most prominent symbols is a pair of wings behind a man, often existing in a circle around him. This figure is usually known as “The First,” and is viewed by many to be the first Khaneh, a priest of such great technological ability that he constructed a flying device. Some others believe it might be some bizarre reference to the supposed advanced technology of the Sihai of the Far East, but others believe it is purely a ceremonial, aesthetic symbol of the freedom of the Khaneh people.
- Many chefs from around Aloria have agreed that the Khaneh’s food is some of the best and richest cuisine one can find.
- There is one such underground painter and mosaicist whose code-name literally translates to “Colorful Lady” in Common. Rumored to be the widow of a wealthy priest, her paintings depict scenes from outside of Mooriye and are covertly circulated amongst those who seek them. There are also rumors that many government officials themselves own some of her paintings, although all official mentions of her (which are few and far between) refer to her as a non-Qadir male.