|Common Nicknames||Black-Skin, Grandpa-hair, Desert-Snakes|
|Naming Customs||Similar to Mali found on Earth.|
|Distinctions||Mysterious dark skinned race with a past shrouded in legend.|
|Maximum Age||110 years|
|Body Types||Often Average or Toned, though maximum Muscular. Females are often Curvaceous or Femmefatale|
|Height||5'6 - 6'6 (Varied based on subrace; see Racial Heights)|
|Weight||120 - 220 lbs|
|Skin Tones||Very dark brown|
In the distant sands of Farah’deen, the Songaskians gave birth to a multicultural and multiethnic Empire called the Songaskian Masaya, a massive continent-spanning state with a wild and mysterious history steeped in legend. The vast majority of the Songaskians live in the continent of Farah’deen, home of the desert sun, the Shambala faith that they worship. Rivals to the Ailor, the Songaskians have had a long history of competing over world hegemony with their lighter-skinned Ailor cousins, though to refer to them as fully Human would be a mistake. Somewhere in the mysterious past of the Songaskians, magic and beast were involved in their sudden and violent appearance, bringing about the destruction of the Sariyd Empire in a matter of weeks, before supplanting the once proud Qadir as the new major regional power. While the Regalians constrain and control magic, the Songaskians revel in it like the Elves did in the past. Their Songaskian Masaya is led by a highly magical yet religious elite that even the Elves cannot rival.
The Songaskian race is one of the few races with internal classifications for sub-races. As such, to provide clear distinctions between them, each sub-race will be highlighted. The general term “Songaskian” refers to any and all of the subraces, which can usually be told apart from the more similar-looking Qadir people. Songaskians have the darkest skin of any Ailor or Nelfin species, similar even to the dark hues of a Drowdar if their skin wasn’t blue but instead brown in pigmentation. Their skin color can be described as so tanned that it almost resembles a chestnut brown, and some may even have skin tones darker than that. Proportion wise, Songaskia appear nearly identical to the Ailor, though their appearance is often less rugged and harsh, and more elegant. It would be accurate to say that their anatomy covers a delicate balance between Nelfin and Ailor, being able to attain some muscle mass that is common among the Ailor, but barring them from the highest of strongman builds due to their more elegant appearance. The Songaskian caste system exists to segregate the various subraces of Songaskians into tiered social ranks. It is important to note that this caste segregation is inescapable. None of the Songaskian subraces can reproduce with one another for an unknown reason, while some of them may reproduce with other races for equally unknown reasons.
Ashanti Songaskia are the highest ranked on the Songaskian position of their caste system and are often synonymous to the ruling classes. Number-wise, Ashanti Songaskia are the smallest minority of the Songaskia sub races, though all of them are either related to the ruling family of the Songaskia Masaya or distant relatives of governors and princes. Ashanti Songaskia are what most foreigners assume Songaskians to look like, having snow-white hair and slitted golden eyes, while retaining that dark skin that all Songaskians are predisposed to. Aside from the color of their hair and the color and shape of their eyes, Ashanti differ by some other factors. Ashanti Songaskia cannot learn or cast Magic at all. Additionally, Ashanti Songaskia are never born as Silven, nor can they be demonically possessed. Despite these inherent immunities against various Planar Essence effects, Ashanti Songaskians are not immune to any form of Magic or Magical effects. Ashanti Songaskia are unable to reproduce with any other sub race or race on Aloria for unknown reasons. There have been a few rumors of sporadic cases where an Alt-Regalian was able to reproduce with an Ashanti Songaskia, but none of these stories have ever been verified.
Hassal Songaskia are the second highest ranked on the Songaskian position of their caste system and are often synonymous with the religious elite and the upper aristocrats. Similar to the Ashanti Songaskia, the Hassal Songaskia are considered to be what foreigners think all Songaskians to look like. The only real noticeable difference between the Hassal Songaskia and the Ashanti Songaskia is that the Hassal Songaskia do not have the slitted eyes that the Ashanti Songaskia have. Besides this superficial feature, the Hassal Songaskia are capable of casting magic, being possessed or otherwise affected by Planar Essences. Hassal Songaskia, like Ashanti Songaskia, cannot reproduce with anything but their own.
Rubah Songaskia are the third highest ranked on the Songaskian position of their caste system and are the core of the Songaskian military. Rubah caste members either work for or are incorporated into the army structure. This caste, while being the third tier, also has an internal conflict due to the vast majority of the Songaskian slaves belong to it, who despite being slaves, still enjoy the third caste rights and privileges. Rubah Songaskians are usually more physically adept than the other Songaskian subraces, on average standing two inches taller and being the only Songaskian sub race able to attain strongman physique. Even among the races that usually require physical activity to attain some muscle mass, Rubah Songaskia are predisposed to being Toned. Additionally, Rubah Songaskia are born without any body hair save for their eyebrows, which is Mahogany in color, and will never grow any body hair or top hair. They are bald for the entire duration of their lives. Rubah Songaskia also have gold colored or mahogany or other red-tinted dark brown (which often causes them to be confused for Vampires) irises with normal pupils. Why some Rubah Songaskia have gold irisses while others have dark brown ones is unknown. Rubah Songaskia cannot reproduce with any other race but their own, and cannot reproduce with any other Songaskian subrace.
Jenne Songaskia are the fourth ranked on the Songaskian position of their caste system, and are the core commoner population of the Songaskian Masaya. They represent the citizens, craftsmen, merchants and the pasture goatherds as well as scribes and entertainers. Jenne Songaskia look identical to the Hassal Songaskia, except for the fact that they have black or dark brown hair and dark brown eyes. They have no other further physical difference that sets them apart, and are usually considered the more average of Songaskians. Jenne Songaskia, while not being able to reproduce with any other Songaskia subrace, are able to reproduce with any and all races which Ailor are also able to reproduce with.
Wolor Songaskia are the fifth ranked on the Songaskian position of their caste system, and are generally considered outcasts. To be a member of the fifth social caste means to be outcast, and the Wolor Songaskia certainly are. Wolor Songaskia look identical to the Jenne Songaskia, save for a few physical features, most notably their hair, eyes, and ears. Wolor Songaskia hair is fair in color, ranging from a gold to a dirty blonde, though some light blondes have also been seen, platnium blonde falls outside their spectrum. Their eye colors are always a very light gold. Finally, their ears feature an ever-so-subtle pointed shape to the top. This is not enough to even consider them Half-Elf by Human standards, but is certainly pronounced upon closer inspection. Wolor Songaskia cannot reproduce with any Songaskia sub race or other race on Aloria. Wolor Songaskia are usually found outside or on the fringes of Farah’deen based societies due to their outcast lifestyle. Sometimes, a Wolor Songaskia can also have a slightly lighter skin tone than that of the other Songaskia races, though never as light to become the same as an Avanthar or tanned Daendroque skin color.
Songaskia are considered one of the most collectivist races that have the uncanny ability to unify under any circumstances in the advent of great threats to their people. This unwavering nationalistic mindset and the utter disregard of other races (arguably even more so than the Ailor, who actually believe other races to be inferior yet useable and tolerable) makes slavery an easily-excusable asset to their Songaskia Empire. The Songaskia strongly support magic, much like the Ch’ien-ji and Elves. The priests to their Shambala religion are often mages, while their leadership are powerful wielders of void magic, with every family seeking to have at least one prodigy in some form of magic to stand out in society. What is often considered a flaw in the Songaskia psyche is their tendency to ignore or otherise avoid uncomfortable situations and things in their lives which they cannot control. For example, a Songaskia may have some doubts with their religion, but rather than questioning their faith or talking with others about it, the Songaskia would rather spin tales or hide in leisurely activities to achieve escapism. This makes Songaskia society appear very leisurely and laid back, though in reality they are simply pursuing the need to avoid feeling anxious.
Songaskia history starts almost immediately at the collapse of the Sariyd Empire in 121 AC. Seemingly appearing from nowhere, the Songaskia marched forth from The Great Storm, a series of destructive sand storms that ravaged the continent of Farah’deen. This destroyed the Sariyd cities and Palaces complexes after the Sariyd tried to eradicate the White and Red Desert Dragons. Armies of Songaskia poured from the inner deserts which were assumed inhospitable, marching to conquer the remaining ruins of the Sariyd cities and urban centers. In a period of 10 months, the Songaskia conquered nearly all of the Qadir cities, bar from a few towns which eventually became abandoned. Thus, the Songaskia had effectively replaced the Qadir as the dominant race of Farah’deen, establishing the Songaskia Masaya with their Massya as a religious and political ruler. Shortly after the establishment of the Masaya, the Songaskia established the faith of Shambala, a sun worshipping cult which eventually became state religion.
In the following decades, the Songaskia continued to measure strength with both the Essa Empire and the Regalian Empire. None of the countries truly wanted to go to war, but all wished to become the prime political and military power of the world of Aloria. The Songaskia as such focused mostly on magical progress, teaching various forms of magic and pioneering new forms for the benefit of their great Masaya, while also building the world’s largest slave army. Tomes were brought in from the Elven lands and many Elven instructors were invited to live in riches while sharing their magical knowledge with the locals. The Shambala faith meanwhile was attracting more traction among the Songaskia, eventually taking on more brutal tendencies and practices such as sacrifices through gruesome, sunlight-burning rituals.
In the latter half of the third century AC, the Songaskia came into repeated conflict with the Regalians over shipping, more notably the Regalian merchant fleets trading with Ceardia which would often be hijacked by Songaskia pirates. Between 270 AC and 302 AC, an effectively unspoken war existed between the Regalians and the Songaskia, where the Regalians sent warships to destroy Songaskia shipping while the Songaskia continued to try and seize Regalian merchant ships. Several realized wars followed, and eventually a civil war as failure against the Regalian Empire caused dramatic shifts of loyalty among the Songaskia generals and their Masaya. The Songaskia continue to govern an unstable yet large and competitive Empire, the only true rival of the Regalian Empire.
In more recent times, Regalia has formally declared war against the Masaya, though never officially won the war. The war set a stage set for the ousted Massya to try and re-seize the throne with Regalian support, thus effectively starting a civil war in Farah’deen that still rages on today.
Songaskia society, much like Ailor society and more so specifically Regalian society, is very centered around urban living, and has heavy religious and military undertones. Nearly all Songaskia live in one large nation, the Songaskia Masaya, while large populations of Songaskia also live in various smaller states to the north of Farah’deen. Songaskia society is one largely fueled by slavery, which is the very cornerstone of the Songaskia construction industry and even their army. It is supported by their five-level social caste system that divides their sub races over various fields.
The Songaskia, much like the Regalians, follow a strict caste system dictated by the Ashanti Songaskia, the Massya and his inner court. The Massya is comparable to the Regalian Emperor in power, though while an important religious figure, he does not have divine status among the Songaskia. His rule is simply enforced by the will of the sun, though he is not a representation of the sun. Below the Massya are the Saleh, regional princes and autarchs of the Ashanti caste that rule as governors. They are the only static nobility in the Songaskian Masaya, as each caste below that holds any military office is elevated and removed from nobility based on military prowess, and nobility is non-hereditary. While a Saleh will rule a specific region in theory, in practice the generals manage the day to day businesses of rule while the Saleh and their many relatives simply reside at the palace to receive guests and host parties. Due to their first hand work in maintaining order in a province of the Masaya, the Generals end up cementing their strongholds and banner armies around their home cities. This makes the Masaya deceptively unstable, as disgruntled Generals often revolt or simply refuse to be replaced. The Generals are always from the Hassal caste. Priests also wield considerable power in the provinces, much like the Generals do. They are also from the Hassal caste, though all of them choose to shave their heads bald. Priests cover a wide variety of tasks including 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. Additionally, within the Songaskia Masaya it is very illegal to cast magic without being a priest of some kind. 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.
Permeated in mystery and a certain mythical wonder, the Songaskia people are a marvel in themselves. Birthed from whirlwinds of sands, it is likewise easy to see the culture of the Songaskia as something of unseen magical exoticism. Hubris and self-glorification are unwritten tenets of the Songaskian identity, and the likewise self-perception tends to favor any Songaskia seeing themselves as the superior being in all parts of life and even divinity. Better still, much of the commonplace school of culture is the collectivism of the Songaskia -- the greater purpose of the Songaskia of the whole is integral, and almost innate. Magic is also key to Songaskian life and culture, often to the point of public glorification or worship in association with Shambala. However, in areas of more tangible culture, the Songaskia 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 edifices of the fallen Sariyd Empire remodelled and usurped into elaborate and opulent monuments of magic, pleasure, and living. Towers tend to frequently host huge bonfires atop them, and many streets and avenues often feature thin canals of running water, usually sourced from gargantuan fountains and waterworks bordering engineerical marvel. Songaskian food is a decadent assortment of dishes varying from suckling pig roasted lovingly by culinary chefs to cucumber-mint soups, chilled by the local Isaq’tilay, a clockwork device stolen from the Qadir that turns water into ice. Fashion, to the Songaskian people, is a thing of adored excess. Sheer, thin fabrics and low-cut, cooling designs 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 school of magic. While much of what the Songaskia do and create in ways of culture is unique to themselves, what perhaps is foreign to them is their own language. Sofaal is a language that appeared out of nowhere, yet sounds culturally opposed to their flexible lives. As a language, Sofaal sounds rigid, crude and extremely reliant on pitch to express the differences in an almost lacking vocabulary. Songaskians have to often compensate by making their sentences exceptionally elaborate or redundantly long not to sound crude. If anything can be said of the Songaskia culture, it is that it is a culture of formed necessity as opposed to cultural formation.
The official religion of the Songaskia is Shambala, the faith of the Sun. The Songaskia have no other form of religion, even void worship is almost non-existent among their people largely due to their unwillingness to admit their faith is wrong, and 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 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 reflect and 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. 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 a combination of fire and light spells to perform their judicial trials. Male priests also exist, though they are rarely mages and restrict themselves to the administration of spiritual needs of the people. Shambala worshippers find wearing anything on their head a religious crime and often fear having any head covers, afraid it will bring the ire of the sun down on them. Songaskians thus also never wear helmets.
Economy and Technology
The Songaskia economy is one based on self-sustenance and anything that they lack is seized from others through piracy. The entire Songaskia infrastructure is supported by slavery, a practice that is almost central in the Songaskia society due to nearly every employment being involved in slavery one way or another. Slaves operate the plantations, build the ships, serve the Songaskia and even serve in the army. The slaves are usually captured in Farah’deen itself, being Qadir slaves, but Allar slaves are also extremely popular and even some Ailor slaves are known to be held. Songaskia slaves are also held, Rubah caste slaves can be taken if they fail their military duties, and any child born from a Rubah slave is automatically also a slave. Songaskia technology is very low, especially when compared to for example the Ailor and Dwarves, and even primitive compared to the Qadir. They have no knowledge of clockwork, steam or even more advanced metal casting, and usually get by with plundering Qadir works, but only understanding some of the barest essentials of how to make them work.
Combat and Warfare
The Songaskia army is said to be the most functional and strongest in the world, simply by manpower numbers. The Songaskia have an army numbering in several hundreds of thousands of slave soldiers and professional soldiers, led by generals who make warfare their entire livelihood. While Regalia focussed on naval supremacy, the Songaskia is focused entirely on having the largest land army. Their army also employs a mixed tactics strategy with magic and conventional weapons. Curiously enough however, 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, which has remained effective against any foe until the Regalians started using gunpowder artillery and Orcs in their armies.
- 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.
- The Black and Red Desert Dragons were not the last Dragons in Farah’deen. The Songaskia hunted numerous other Desert Dragon species to presumed extinction.
- Some theorize the Songaskia are intricately linked to the disappearance of the Red and Black Desert Dragons, hypothesizing that an entire race cannot just appear out of nowhere as an entire Dragon species disappears on the same day.
- Normal Songaskians rarely if ever have body markings like tattoos. To the Songaskians, marking the body with tattoos is ruining a natural beauty that cannot be recreated after it has first been made with the power of the sun.