|Common Nicknames||Drake-kin, Horned Demons, Desert Darklings|
|Naming Customs||Similar to Mali found on Earth.|
|Distinctions||Half-Draconian descendants of the Desert Dragons|
|Eye Colors||Amber/Orange reminiscent of fire|
|Hair Colors||Jet black, crimson red, snow white or golden blond|
|Skin Tones||Very dark brown|
While this doesn't mean your character has to come from one of these places, it's recommended they do.
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In the far-off distant sands of Farah’deen stand the towering pearl cities of the Songaskian Masaya, home to the heirs of the Elders and the Great Old Ones. The Songaskian Empire spans the massive continent of Farah'deen and stands as one of the foremost threats to Regalian supremacy, equaled only by the Kathar Dread Empire. The Songaskians, who sport a turbulent and relatively recent history, do not have a very distinct mark on the world, but it would be foolish to not acknowledge their hand in nearly every modern event. Some of the last remaining remnants of the Dragons, the Songaskians have proclaimed themselves the inheritors to the guardianship of the world, a title once held only by the majestic winged creatures that roamed the skies and lorded over the mortal Races. Poised to strike from the great pearl cities built by their Sariyd forerunners, the Songaskians spread their proverbial wings across the oceans, gathering resources and manpower to achieve their own goals of world domination. Others yet continue to follow in the footsteps of their draconian ancestors, living lives of study,self-exploration, and development to become the worthy descendants the Dragons wished them to be.
The Songaskians are in all respects like the other humanoids of Aloria, closely resembling the Ailor in bodily proportion. However, some distinct features of their appearance set them greatly apart from the other races and tie them closely to their Draconian ancestors. Foremostly, in their natural form the Songaskians have a set of horns on their head, usually with some of curl or texture to them and in colors ranging from reddish-brown to beige or black. Their main set of horns usually grow out of the forehead and curl along the sides towards the back. Additional smaller horns usually form on the temples, but sometimes the main horns may also have smaller horns sticking out of them. These horns are stronger than normal bone (which makes them non-removable, unlike their Void based counterparts) and tend to grow out during a teenage period that lasts anywhere between age 12 and 25. Their hair color ranges are also quite unique. They have four main types of hair colors: either jet black, snow-white, crimson-red or golden-blond, with very little if any variation or discoloration in between, reflecting the colors of the Dragonscale once worn by their ancestors. They have amber colored eyes, which - much like the Url - appear like fire or a setting sun. Songaskian skin color, specifically the color of their pigment, is a trait that is very unique to their race. Songaskians have a skin color much darker than even the Qadir, similar even to the dark hues of a Sihndar, though more brown instead of a Sihndar blue. Their skin color can be described as so tanned that it almost resembles a dark chestnut brown and many even have skin tones darker than that.
Finally, all Songaskians also have a few other draconian traits, most notably a scaled tail that is in the same color as their hair, starting about arm-thick from their spine to pointy thin at the very end; the whole tail is roughly the same length as a leg. They may also have a number of scaled patches that are very similar to how the Slizzar have snake-skin patches. These patches aren’t very consistent and may occur on any place of their body, as long as they doesn’t cover more than 20% of the skin in any location and never appear on their head. These scales may, for example, appear anywhere from the backs of their hands to the tops of their shoulders, or only on their chest or along their spine, though many Songaskians don’t have any scaled patches at all. There is no real genetic inheritance among parents and children. These scaled patches are always in the same color as the tail and their hair and, despite their scale-like appearance, are not true Dragonscale. Unlike Dragonscale, which is notoriously difficult to pierce, the patches of scales on both the Songaskians' tails and skin merely appear as scales and serve the same function as skin. Thus, any weapon can pierce them like normal skin, and their feelings and sensation hasn’t been reduced in these areas as a result of their texture.
Songaskians tend to range taller than Ailor and their average several inches taller than most Velheim Ailor. Body Build wise, however, Songaskians are identical and have the same bodily limitations as the Ailor. Songaskians have either an extremely wide gender dimorphism or none at all. This means that there is great physical variation between their genders; sometimes the men appear smaller and frailer than the women and sometimes the opposite is true. Songaskians give birth to children in the same way as Ailor do. However, the carrying period for a Songaskian child is twice as long and the child is usually born with plenty of hair already on their head. Songaskian children develop rapidly for several months and gain the ability to stand, walk and talk quickly. Their development then slows between the ages four and ten and their puberty extends through age 25. They then tend to live to around 200 - 210 years old, and age proportionally (for example, they appear like a 50 year old Ailor at age 100). In all other respects, Songaskian Physical Characteristics are the same as the Ailor average.
These are all traits that the Songaskians have in their natural form. However, they can also shift to a more human-friendly form through an ability that they call the Elder Shift. To the Songaskians, they consider their horned form the Elder Shifted Form, while their non-draconian trait form is the Lesser Form. Sometimes the lesser form is practical for mixing with Ailor society because it reduces how much the Songaskians stand out, but they do pride themselves in their Elder Shifted Form, so many still choose to retain their normal appearance. In their Lesser Form, they lose their horns (which are simply replaced with hair) while their tail and scaled skin patches also vanish. This shift occurs without limit and within the blink of an eye.
Element shift is a purely aesthetic ability that the Songaskians have that allows them to physically adapt their top hair and facial hair (if they have any) to one of the four World Flows. The Fire Element World Flow allows their hair to take on the appearance of fire, gently dancing and flowing in the wind (it does not create light, heat, or harm anyone touching it, nor can it be used by any other fire-using or enhancing spells and abilities). The World Flow of Water gives their hair a ghostly and sparkling appearance while it remains in position. The World Flow of Earth extends the hair and makes it thick and strong, while the World Flow of Air gives the hair a brilliant shine and such flowing elegance that it cannot possibly be grabbed onto by anyone but the Songaski
Despite their cultural drive for world conquest and their support of slavery and a powerful military, Songaskians strangely enough exhibit one of the world's most laid-back worldviews on life. The Songaskians are averse to the very concept of killing anything living, from the highest sentient Races to even the most insignificant insects and critters. This however does not make them vegetarians (though many of them do end up living like vegetarians) as there is still room for the ritualistic, sustenance-validated killing of pasture animals. While there are certainly outliers that enjoy killing, these tend to be more the exception to the norm. Songaskians also have the seemingly contradictory mental trait of both feeling racially superior but still considering all Races, even slaves, to be worth investing in. The exception are the Isldar and the Voltalar, who they believe to be following a corrupted version of Dragon Dogma. While many Ailor have the mentality that the world would be better rid of the lesser races, the Songaskians seem to genuinely believe that biodiversity and racial multiplication and mixing is a good thing. This comes with the caveat that they must remain in control of the highest forms of authority to protect and guide the lesser beings towards a utopian world view. As such, the Songaskians are also the only Race that openly accepts Half Breeds, racial mixing and cross-race relationships, even if they aren’t always as productive as they would hope. They have a perhaps uncontemporary acceptance even of their own Race’s dilution, yet maintain a very strict approach to tracing their lineage to the Dragons and excluding those who have fallen too far from the main succession line.
Songaskians are always ready for a game of gambling or a drink with strangers and are equally jovial and comical in their response to ridicule. Most Songaskians don’t even feel insults and will tend to just send a quip back with a flair of kindness. This unique trait makes them both very much disliked by those who actively try to get under their skin and liked by those who can appreciate their snarky yet well-meaning attitude. However, when things get physical the mood of a Songaskian can very quickly turn. Their utopian lording attitude causes them to also be control freaks and vain in their appearance. Anything that ruins that, like a spilled Kaffee on a dress or a dusting of sawdust sprinkled into their well-made hair, will make them very upset. Songaskians are very passionate when their emotions flare up and are famously hard to calm down. They are angry for long, kind to many, warmhearted to even the most distant of guests, and more passionate and dedicated to their lovers, friends and family than most other races.
World Flow Powers
Because the Songaskians descend from the Dragons, they possess a very limited form of World Flow Powers that the Dragons once controlled. Dragons were known to cause volcanoes to erupt, to call forth great hurricanes, and to seed life where life could not possibly grow. Songaskians, in a limited form, have inherited some of the same elemental control of the Dragons. These abilities are shared by all the Songaskians and are active from birth but gain more sophisticated control in their teenage years. All Songaskians have roughly the same elemental control and, while it certainly could never measure up against an elemental Void mage, their World Flow Powers allow them to both entertain and perform simple tasks that make life easier for them. The World Flow Powers are divided over four main principles as outlined below. All of these powers require flowing hand gestures that are fairly obvious, and frequently mistaken for actual Magic, so most Songaskians are careful with public displays of abilities unless they can hide their gestures and conveniently get away with it. Generally speaking the more they use a power, the longer and bigger their gestures are. A simple Kaffee stirring gesture can be achieved with a single finger for example, while a ripple wave formation in a river requires both hands to make large 2 foot wide gestures.
- The World Flow of Water allows the Songaskians to gently affect the flow of water where it is present. For example, if they have a cup of Kaffee they might use their hand to stir the liquid from a distance. If they are near a river with slow-moving water they might use their hands to create ripples and shapes in the water that the flow otherwise would not. Furthermore, where water flows down a surface they might cause the water to flow back up the surface instead, using the same trail it came down with. The limitations of this ability are in the nature of the liquid. They cannot lift or otherwise displace the liquids from their sources or flow paths, nor can they turn it into projectiles. They can simply gently steer liquids around as long as the main content is water. This is also additionally useful by, for example, bending rain droplets away from one’s self to avoid becoming wet, or flowing liquids out of clothes after they have been washed, which speeds up the drying.
- The World Flow of Fire allows the Songaskians to gently extinguish or breathe more oxygen into a fire from a distance with gestures of their hands. They are able to slowly extinguish a flame (near instant for a candle, over 10 seconds for a fireplace, and exponentially more for greater fires), and can temporarily feed more oxygen into a fire to make it burn hotter and bigger, but only for a short period of time. This ability is limited to the presence of fire, and they cannot affect Magically produced or altered fire in any way.
- The World Flow of Earth allows the Songaskians to create formations and drawings in the ground (as long as the surface is sand or dirt) by flowing the sand grains in much the same way as they control the shape of water ripples. This ability is similarly limited by the fact that they cannot lift the sand off the ground or turn it into a projectile, and this ability is mostly used to enhance their dancing moves and artistic expressions.
- The World Flow of Air is perhaps the most potent of the Songaskian abilities, which allows them to create a funnel of Air in a manner of burst that is potent enough to knock someone off their feet or to cause them to stumble backwards. They can create only a momentary burst instead of a continuous funnel of air, and can generate one every twenty seconds on average. These bursts can also be reduced in strength and placed from another position. For example, it can also be used for more mischievous activities like lifting skirts with a convenient gust of wind, or during a dance routine where long silk ribbons are used to create beautifully unnatural dance moves through gentle bursts of wind that change the direction of the silk.
Songaskian history begins in an event recorded as the Great Storm at the heart of the Sariyd Empire. Farah’deen, the massive desert continent, was once home to the great Sariyd Empire, a large and mostly forgotten land owned by the Qadir, who were once the only people to live on this continent. Following the Cataclysm, the Dragons of the land had become unruly and unkind to the Qadir. While before Cataclysm many of the Dragons spoke with and aided the Qadir (while at the same time sometimes also abusing them and taking from them), these relations broke down soon after the work changing event for no seemingly clear reason. Dragon attacks on Qadir settlements increased, and the more the Qadir pushed back the more the Dragons punished. The Black Desert Dragons were particularly aggressive, though tales of destruction from the Golden Desert Dragon, the Red Desert Dragon and the White Mountain Drake are also recorded.
In 81 AC, an attack on a Qadir settlement that wiped it out entirely caused a definitive negative shift in Qadir society against the Dragons. For the next twenty years, conflicts would continue to become more bloody and savage with each passing year. Eventually, in 101 AC one of the cities developed a now mysterious and lost device called a Dragonkiller. This technology spread fast in the Sariyd Clockwork engineer classes, and soon all cities had weapons to destroy Dragons. It was during this period that the Qadir announced the Red Hunt, an event which was intended (much like the Dragon Hunt in the Allorn Empire) to eradicate the Dragons from the land which the Qadir had deemed berserk and beyond saving. It became clear to the Qadir that they were now on the winning hand, ploughing their way through the Dragon population like a hot knife in butter, and destroying many great Dragon strongholds and lairs. Around 110 the Qadir wiped out the Brown Desert Dragon and the Mountain Rock Drakes, driving the remaining populations to flee.
Then, in 121 AC, when victory seemed near, the remaining Dragons performed a massive magical ritual that called forth the furies of the desert in an event which would later be called the Great Storm. This Great Storm ravaged Farah’deen far more than any other natural event in history, even the Cataclysm, and had a profound effect on the Sariyd Empire and subsequent Qadir populations both physically and mentally. Massive choking sandstorms arose without warning, sweeping through all major Sariyd pearl cities. These furious, lethal storms wiped out populations and drove the remnants of the Qadir to the edges of the Empire to seek refuge. Desert oases were choked out and hundreds of species died either from thirst or suffocation. Entire jungles (which at the time were still found in Farah’deen) were lost and many of the massive viaducts that the Sariyd Empire had created collapsed, bringing to an end to their sophisticated logistical infrastructure. The Sariyd renounced their faith, believing their god had abandoned them. This pushed the Sariyd - who now officially became the Qadir - to devote more time and effort into clockwork technologies and to revise their spiritual identity. When the dust settled, the first Songaskians were born.
It is said that the first Songaskians came from what few Dragon eggs were still around. Pairs of Dragons would lay eggs, then die, for another Dragon to bless the nest, and then die with it, using a large number of Dragons to fuel the magical rituals. The Dragon population rapidly declined over a period of weeks while eggs gave birth to more humanoid Dragons, the first Songaskians. What little Dragons remained would shepherd these children, using their magics and knowledge to found their society and help them flourish in the ruins of the Sariyd Empire. Despite the suffocating sands mere months earlier, many of the cities’s structures had remained standing, well-preserved in coffins of caked sand and dust. Often only a new coat of paint was required, and the new Songaskian society quickly set to work remolding the pearl cities to their own blossoming, Dragon-shaped culture.
The exact motivation for what the Dragons did has remained unclear throughout history, as there is no real written evidence or narrative that describes the Dragons’ exact thoughts. It has been speculated that the Dragons suffered some sort of system shock after the Blue Feathered Dragons of the Regalian Archipelago disappeared, resulting in their erratic behavior. Eventually, sensing their ultimate doom at the hand of the sentient species of Aloria, they used their remaining magical potency to change their children to suit a new world that was quickly turning hostile to them, and was seemingly more suitable for the bipedal races of Aloria. Regardless of the speculations, eventually the last Dragons went extinct around 145 AC, when the Songaskian population was already massive (as numerous Songaskians would be born from a single Dragon egg). By this time, the first generation of Songaskians had become adults and the next generation was already underway, paving the way for a rapidly growing population that spread like wildfire in the ruins of the Sariyd Empire. The Qadir tried to retake some of their strongholds, even succeeding in the cities of Al-Alus, but their population had declined so rapidly that they failed to mount an effective offensive against the Songaskians, who had now taken most of the pearl cities and begun rebuilding the infrastructure of the old Sariyd Empire.
In the third century after Cataclysm, the Songaskians had properly founded their Masaya and had grown exponentially. Their numbers soon came to rival even the Regalians and eclipsed the now-tiny Qadir population. They soon came into conflict with the Regalians; this was a new experience, as during the Songaskian enslavement of other Races they had never before encountered determined, organized resistance. For decades, Songaskian raiders attacked Regalian shipping lines and Regalian warships retaliated by shelling Songaskian harbors. These events would eventually culminate in two wars starting in 302 AC which saw the first defeat of the Songaskians at the hands of the Regalians after a number of political and military stalemates.
Political instability also started to affect the Songaskians, as feuding within the Masaya’s royal family caused a fracture in Songaskian society, with some of them favoring a more hard-line anti-Regalian stance, because of the rule of a weaker child Massya, who allowed the generals to take more control away from the Spiritual message of the Draconian Utopia. They eventually restored order with the assistance of covert Regalian elements and the Regalian army. This happened at roughly the same time as the discovery of the first reborn Dragonblood in the Regalian Empire, and the sighting of the first Dragons to roam the skies in nearly 200 years. These events, in particular, drove the Songaskians into a closer relationship with the Regalian Empire, as the Songaskians intrigued by the existence of a Dragonsoul among the Regalians and drawn to it as a representation of their ancestors. This sudden policy reversal was jarring to some in Regalia, where racism against the Songaskians had become the norm because of their pre-emptive attack on Regalia some years earlier (where they accidently ended up killing tens of thousands of Regalians after setting fire to a series of buildings they did not know were laced with fireweed). This racism still runs rampant, though in modern times it is outwardly mostly confined to soldiers and the nobility, while the working classes have seemingly forgiven the Songaskians for most of their transgressions. Relations between the Empire and the Masaya remain strained. The Masaya supported the Nelfin during the Elven Wars with Regalia which caused a military, leading to renewed tensions. After a swift invasion, a pro-Regalian Massya was put on the throne, and an uneasy truce exists now. This allows, at the very least, a small exchange of explorers, visitors and frontier daredevils who try to establish a more positive relation between the Empire (which has embraced Dragons as something holy) and the Songaskians (who are descended from Dragons in their own folklore).
In the Songaskian Masaya, society is divided into three separate strata. The first and most common strata is the Farborn class. Farborn Songaskians are Songaskians whose parents were not particularly careful with their lineage and who have descended too far away from the main Draconic lines to lay claim to their heritage. These Farborn aren’t in any way treated any worse than Heritage lines, they simply put less emphasis on expressing their lineage and history and focus more with their daily lives. The smaller but usually more upper-class caste are the Heritage lines. The Heritage lines are those Songaskian families who chose to keep their bloodlines pure and close to their ancestor Dragons and who put a lot of emphasis on their history through their clothing, expressions and language. While it is true that Heritage line Songaskians are more commonly seen in the upper classes of Songaskian society, this is not particularly because a law demands this so but instead because the Heritage lines tend to be more focused on ambition than the Farborn classes. Finally, at the bottom of Songaskian society lies the slave castes, which can contain about 30 to 40% of their population at any time. Slaves are treated remarkably well among the Songaskians, but this factor is often overlooked by the other Races because the reduction of liberty always harkens back to the days of the Allorn Empire, and those memories are still too fresh to forget (especially for the Ailor, who still hypocritically engage in slavery themselves).
The Songaskian race is fairly consistently part of the Songaskian Masaya (with only splinter populations living outside of its borders or power sphere), where the Massya (Songaskian Emperor) is the ruler of the Masaya (Songaskian Empire). The Empire of the Masaya however doesn’t have as much absolute control as the Regalian Emperor and is often more a theological ruler than a secular one. While the weight of the Massya is important for the ethical stances and spiritual directions of the Songaskians, the real power of the Masaya lies with the generals and the military families. These military families tend to be of high-class Heritage lines who display great pride in their lineage (though some Farborn class military families exist too). These families tend to engage in cut-throat politics, very unlike the usual Songaskian attitude, which the common people abhor (instead of glorify, like in Regalia). Ultimately, Songaskian society considers this “weak should fear the strong” attitude among the martial families as a necessary evil to ensure only the most competent generals are ever appointed governors of the Pearl Cities to rule them as their personal fiefdoms. There is no birthright inheritance of nobility in the Songaskian Masaya. A noble family might fall if their patriarch or matriarch is a bad leader, but may regain it upon a child of theirs. Nobility is only ever granted during the lifetime of an individual and has to be re-earned after it is lost. Priests also wield considerable power in the provinces, much like the Generals do, and generally are also from the Heritage lines caste. Priests cover a wide variety of tasks that include judicial matters as well as spiritual matters. They often function as judge, jury, and executioner during court trials and preach their faith to the people. Public priests that administer justice are always the female priests, while the preaching priests who administer their faith the people are always the male priests.
Songaskians are a people of extravagance and sophistication with a house of thought similar to Ailor -- art is made to be beautiful, food is made to be delicious, fashion is made to be daring and gorgeous, and language is spoken with pleasure and tact. This can most obviously be seen in their mass cultivation of Opium on plantations. Mosaics of stained glass and precious stones tend to be popular as art pieces, with depictions ranging from contemporary Songaskia standards of beauty to the elegance and power of magic and magical prowess. Much of this is seen in reformed Songaskian architecture as well; the old buildings of the fallen Sariyd Empire have been remodelled and redesigned into elaborately detailed monuments of pleasure and living, with decorations that resemble scenes of magic and fantasy. Towers tend to frequently have huge bonfires on top of them, and many streets and avenues have thin canals of running water, usually sourced from massive fountains and waterworks built with the greatest of engineering skills. Songaskian food is a decadent assortment of dishes varying from delicious suckling pigs roasted lovingly by chefs to cucumber-mint soups chilled by the local Isaq’tilay, a clockwork device stolen from the Qadir that turns water into ice. Fashion is something the Songaskians love to express with vibrancy and extravagance; above all, it is as colorful as possible. Songaskian fashion uses sheer, thin fabrics and low-cut, cooling designs that are both practical and made to be beautiful. Often, it is through fashion that the Songaskia express their devotion to one another, their religion, or even schools of magic, but most notably of all they celebrate their Heritage lines.
Much of Songaskian culture is ultimately dictated by what Heritage lines the Songaskians belong to or - if they don’t have any fancy lineage - which Dragon they mostly associate with. There are a number of lineages and ideologies that have sprung up from the different Dragon ancestors, each with their own niches and cultural appeals. Below follows a list of all the various Dragons that represent the lineages:
- Kash-Tooral the Black (commonly called Kash) was one of the great Black guardian Dragons. Kash’s colors tend be black and gray, and his favor lies with the military and with spears. Kash followers tend to be more violent and have a preference for carnivorous diets.
- Birk-Marvahjr the Black (commonly called Birr) was one of the great Black guardian Dragons. Birr’s colors tend to be dark gray and light blue, and his favor lies with the builders and architects. Birr followers tend to be soft spoken but with an aggressive disposition.
- Kettrakh the Black (commonly called Kett) was one of the great black deceivers, one of the architects of the Great Storm. Kett’s colors are black and sand-yellow, and his favor lies with the schemers and plotters and rogues. Kett’s followers tend to be outwardly craven, but favor deception and deflection of attention to avoid being in the spotlight and revealing their intentions.
- Vult the Red (commonly called Vult) was one of the great Red destroyers who could block out the sun from an entire village with his wing span, and his favor lies with the intellectuals and the studious. Vult followers tend to prefer linguistic knowledge and absorbing the histories of other races and Empires.
- Veerthil Varhakhluur the Red (commonly called Veert) was one of the great Red destroyers who could destroy entire mountains, melting away stone with his fiery breath, and his fire lies with those who lose themselves in battle in berserk rage. Veert followers often dress with less than others, and only in the color red, while they are battle-loving and more prone to killing than others.
- Uttrakhar the Red (commonly called Utt) was one of the Red sleepers, who slept in the deep mountain caves and often did not wake during the killing until the Sariyd were upon them. Utt favors the lazy and the outcast, represented by the colors red and dark blue, the followers being more prone to idleness.
- Rakhaksaris the Gold (commonly called Rakka) was one of the Gold shapers, those who calmed the raging fires of the world and the gusting sands of the land. She favors the gardeners and farmers and pastoralists. Rakka’s colors tended to be yellow and green, while her followers took pride in creating the most beautiful gardens.
- Askaisyam the Gold (commonly called Askia) was one of the chief architects and the greatest of magical Dragons in Farah’deen. Askia was said to be the richest of all Dragons, possessing the greatest golden hoard as well as knowledge from the centuries of living. Askia is represented by gold and silver (lacking official colors) and tends to favor the ruling classes and authority. His followers are prone to self-enrichment.
- Songalay the Gold (commonly called Song) was the consort Dragon of Askia, but an immensely powerful Gold shaper Dragon who commanded the elements of the world. Song’s followers favor dark blue and white as their colors, while they become excellent and loved parents, grandparents and even great grandparents, as they tend to live wild, happier lives.
- Innil-Tarra the White (commonly called Inni) was one of the playful White Drakes who danced in the ocean tides under the starlit sky. Inni is loved by all those who are fun loving, represented by the colors orange and white, and giving flair and elegance to all dancers and entertainers that perform in her honor.
- Lleyvantrakh the White (commonly called Lley) was one of the caring Dragons who is commonly recorded as the reluctant dissenter among the Dragons during the Great Storm. She is the great lover of all things living, represented by the colors pink and gold, and her followers hold a great respect for all living things in life.
- Karkihs the White (commonly called Kark) was one of the Dragon sages who told tales of the past but could also predict the future. He is represented by the colors light gray and dark blue, but favors none and all at the same time. He represents arbitrariness and structure, order and chaos, and all randomness in between.
The official religion of the Songaskia is Shambala, the faith of the Sun. The Songaskia have no other form of religion and even Void Worship is almost non-existent among their people. This is largely due to their unwillingness to admit their faith is wrong, and because of the difficulty Planar Essence has in affecting the ruling classes as they do not fall prey to the seduction of the Void. The faith of Shambala dictates that the sun is a conscious being that is all-holy and all-powerful, the vessel from which the Dragons came, and the vessel to which the Dragons returned when their creation was complete. The sun shines brightly on those who worship her and burns and blinds those who turn away from her warm gaze. The Songaskia often build massive temples with so-called sun disk towers. These tall towers have bowl-shaped plates of polished gold used to focus the light of the sun into certain locations. When all sun disk towers of a temple are united in one location, they burn with enough brightness to combust any organic material and even melt light metals, a punishment reserved for criminals and convicts who no longer deserve to be among the living. The Shambala faith is supported by priestesses, a purely female caste of holy figures who cover their body in white tattoos and shave their heads bald. Every priestess without exception is a mage, as they use various fire and light spells to perform their judicial trials, but they also tend to be excellent warriors. Male priests also exist, though they are rarely mages and usually restrict themselves to the administration of spiritual needs of the people, away from the sundial temples.
Combat and Warfare
The Songaskian army is said by experts to be the strongest, most efficient army in the world due to its cohesiveness and manpower. The Songaskia have an army numbering in several hundreds of thousands of professional soldiers and slave fighters, led by generals who make warfare their entire livelihood. While Regalia focuses on naval supremacy, the Songaskia focus entirely on having the largest land army. Their army also employs a mixed tactics strategy with magic and conventional weapons. Curiously enough, the Songaskia armies lack artillery and sometimes even ranged weapons. Most Songaskia weapons resemble spears, halberds or various variations upon those weapons accompanied with a shield. The general Songaskia tactic is to use the slave regiments as cannon fodder before sending in the professionally trained shock troops to clean up the tired enemy. This tactic remained effective against any foe until the Regalians started using gunpowder artillery and Orcs in their armies. In modern times, the Songaskians have started trying to employ Magic in their armies to bolster their effectiveness in the field, eroding the temporary superiority of the Regalian forces.
- Songaskian army divisions often defy popular social beliefs in other countries, especially on the subject of brotherly love. Some women or men only battalions encourage romance between the soldiers, believing it strengthens their bond.
- Songaskians are immune from heat overexposure and can remain in the desert’s blistering sun for days on end. Dehydration, hyperthermia and eye damage however does still affect them, so even Songaskians use care to garb themselves appropriately in the deep deserts.
- The Songaskians were the ones who developed the art of dune-sailing, with their Dragonwing-like sails and boats (called “sandmaws”).