The Tribal Councils of Navokha

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The Tribal Councils of Navokha

Post by Navokha on Tue Sep 10, 2013 4:47 pm

The Tribal Councils of Navokha are a loosely governed anarchic society of Elysium based around a unique, primitive culture and spiritual philosophy. They have been described as reclusive, vicious, uncivilized zealots and barbarians. Their practices are often misunderstood as cruel and ghastly, and they are discriminated against heavily by most other industrialized or politically and economically developed nations. Although they haven't been proven to be native to Elysium, they are often considered to be an indigenous people due to their long history on the continent, adaptation to the wilderness, primitive society, and tendency to remain isolated from other nations. The most scholarly source of information on actual Navokha culture exists in documentaries and research, most of which fail to accurately convey true Navokha customs, causing Navokha to be one of the most misunderstood nations of Elysium since there is scarce information on them.

Population: No accurate estimate. Approximately 10,000 to 50,000.
Location: Swamplands of eastern Elysium, various small settlements throughout the continent.

Imports: Very limited. Food products such as meats and vegetables, weaponry, and textiles.
Exports: Limited. Medicines, herbs, toxins, alchemical ingredients, and unique animal byproducts.


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Geography and Settlements





The Navokha have evolved in what others would consider to be Spero's most inhospitable, unforgiving habitat - the murky, swampy wastelands within the deep forests of the northeast. This land is harsh, and often a death sentence. But to the Navokha, this land is their treasure, one of the most cherished aspects of their society and their lives. Most of the terrain is marshland, ranging from shallow, grassy meadows to rushing, gurgling creeks and ominously silent cesspools dotted with cattails, briar-thorns, crooked mangroves, and all manners of lethal flora and fauna.

Settlements are not named by the Navokha, due to their belief that only living things may have unique names and naming a man-made village would be disrespectful to the land. Instead, they are referred to by their location - for example, "east-of-the-creek" or "beneath-the-black-stone." They are generally built up from shallow areas in the swamps, incorporating natural formations like hills, stones, clearings, or large trees to construct wooden huts and inter-connecting ramps and walkways above the water. They may house anywhere from a few dozen to several hundred Navokha, and they are usually secluded from each other. Generally, there are several communal houses in a settlement, along with buildings to store food and supplies. More established villages often have small clearances for farming, but all Navokha settlements rely on the land to provide for their people. Some smaller villages are nomadic, and move from time to time in order to avoid total depletion of natural resources.


Economy and Trade

By outside standards, the Navokha are miserably impoverished. Most Navokha, however, live fairly comfortably (at least by their own perspective). They have a very weak economy, yet their general lifestyle puts very few pressures on them to provide for many luxuries or amenities. As such, the Navokha barely take time to evaluate their "economy". For their purposes, most Navokha don't desire much advancement. They have no singular recognized currency, although they have developed a multitude of trade tokens. Common tokens of trade might include teeth, claws, or severed heads - animal or human.

Small, traveling trade caravans are one of Navokha's only connections to any outside societies or economies. Misfit traders leave the swampy Navokha homelands, often in groups of a dozen or so, to trade their unique wares and resources that outsiders have no access to in order to barter for valuable imports that they otherwise have no ability to produce. This caravan system is still primitive at best, but it may be the only opportunity for other nations to have regular contact with the Navokha and share goods with them.


Sociology and Demographics

The majority of Navokha's populace is female, at least to a small percentage. Due to the recent civil wars and the large numbers of casualties amongst male warriors, many of Navokha's men were killed. Polygamy in Navokha is common, amongst both genders. However, it is more common for a woman to take multiple males than vice versa, due to their higher positions of power and prevalence in society. Fertility rates are incredibly high, although mortality rates are very high as well. The population of Navokha is seeing a steady increase in recent years due to advances in traditional medicine as well as more modern supplies from the outside world, and as such, their settlements are expanding and diversity is increasing.

The family unit in Navokha society is nearly non-existent. This is because young children do not form bonds with their parents, as they are turned out to the wild for their upbringing instead of brought up within a family. It isn't uncommon to see "packs" of children roaming settlements or the wilderness of the swamps for survival and companionship. Some children return to Navokha society as successful, productive, capable young adults. Some die. Others turn feral and abandon their society, preferring a life of solitude.

Most Navokha live as farmers, herbalists, traders, or craftsmen. A smaller portion of the populace makes their living as hunters, tamers, and warriors. Even fewer become Council representatives.

Culture

Really fucked up. More coming soon


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The Three Councils
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The Councils of Blood, Shadow, and Wild are the three governing bodies on which Navokha society is based. These Councils emerged from an ancient clan-based history, in which the groups of clans converged to create a single society. The Councils are constantly divided based on their beliefs and traditions, and frequently see conflict with each other for dominance and superiority to exert their control over the other groups. The Blood Council is currently the predominant Council, and their values are based on Blood worship, "survival of the fittest," advancement of Navokha as a whole, and the unification and incorporation of Navokha society. The Shadow Council, reserved to the belief that Navokha should remain in isolation and the clans should stay strictly separated, is currently the weakest of the three Councils after a conflict with the larger and more powerful Blood Council regarding proper spiritual worship. The Wild Council, which rarely makes contact with the outside world beyond Navokha, has resigned to complete anarchy and rejects all political philosophies, technology, and modern culture for their simple, traditional lifestyle deep in the wilderness. Most Navokha communities are a combination of members of each Council.

Belonging to a specific Council is not necessary. Usually, Navokha do not choose a Council, but follow the teachings of the dominant Council or the one with the most influence in their settlement. Navokha that do choose a Council do so on an individual basis, only being required to prove their worth and meet that Council's specifications and teachings. Councils are not determined by family ties.

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Blood Council

As believers in "survival of the fittest" and "stronger as many than as one" philosophies, they excel in warfare, strategy, and strengthening Navokha's otherwise frail social structures.
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An'Khoroth the Blood-Sun, Chief of the Blood Council

"An'Khoroth - the Sun is Bleeding - child of the tainted river, he who is pierced by poison and thorns; Our Word holds him high, he who rains blood storms down from midnight. Let our blood run with his name." - Quote from Ke'Astaroth the Seer

After a prophecy foretold that young An'Khoroth would take the leadership of the weakened and wavering Blood Council, he and a band of warriors took up the omen as a call to battle. He overthrew the existing Blood Council leadership, fulfilling the prophecy as he took over it himself and had nearly every Navokha who opposed his rule slaughtered and sacrificed. Even after this bloody revolution, he is seen as a great and noble leader of the Navokha people. He has brought prosperity and renewal to the Blood Council, reaffirming it as the dominant clan over the Shadow and Wild Councils, and the people of Navokha have seen much advancement and growth in his five years as Chief.

The advancement of Navokha is largely in his hands. He has played a significant role in the recent evolution of Navokha society to be more inclusive. Only time will tell whether he seeks to reach out and build peaceful alliances with the other nations, or plunge Navokha deeper into its traditional sense of bloodlust.

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Sen'Asthea the High Priestess of Blood, An'Koroth's Bride.

"He came to me with blood on his hands and took hold of me...his eyes were the color of poison, and his lips the color of Prophecy..."

When An'Koroth had overthrown the previous Chief, he earned the right to take a wife - any woman from any Council that he chose. He consulted Ke'Astaroth, who told him that the Prophecy foretold that he should choose a young Blood Priestess named Sen'Asthea. This Prophecy, like many others, was fulfilled when they met each other and married shortly after, making Sen'Asthea the most powerful Priestess of the Blood Council.
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Ke'Astaroth, Seer of the Blood Council

"I see the blood in the sky. Our Word is reborn through my voice - our most blessed, tainted gods. The world is only a drop of her blood and we are lost in the streams, and it is my life to foretell the tides."

Ke'Astaroth, the son of the former Chief of the Blood Council, was born into the position of Seer. He offers prophecies to all of the Councils and is one of the most highly revered of the Navokha people. His most important responsibility is speaking what the Navokha people refer to as "Our Word" which is the "word of the blood" - the interpretations of blood rituals, scrying, sacrifice, and prophecies.

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Khovakaa, the Poison Witch

"Yes, come. My sweet children - the snakes, the leeches, the flies...bless them all with our bloody, poisoned kisses..."

Khovakaa is the High Priestess' advisor. She handles some responsibilities of worship and is one of the leaders of the Blood Witches, Navokha's priestesses driven mad by power. She is a convert from the Wild Council, who was taken by the Blood Witches by force. Some say that she was already lost to insanity before she even stepped foot into a Temple of Blood, but her connection to madness offered her the foothold she needed to rise in power as a Blood Witch.

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Blood Witches

"Bathe us in blood, oh Seer, for we are your children. Our life, our flesh, our blood is yours." - Quote from An'Sendra the Forbidden, Blood Witch

The Blood Witches of Navokha are equally revered and feared amongst their people. They are said to hold unspeakable powers granted to them by the rituals of the Prophecy, driven to madness by their connection to otherworldly forces from which they draw their power. Blood Witches are chosen as young girls for their ability to commune with spiritual forces, and spend a lifetime in servitude of the Blood Council. Their word is law, and they are never to be questioned in Navokha society, as they are seen as the children of the Seer and among the most holy forces of Navokha.

Unlike some other cultures' ideal of a "priestess" or "holy woman," Blood Witches are quite the opposite. They are expected to partake in actions of the utmost depravity. Murder, promiscuity, deception, and other unholy acts are the foundation of a Blood Witch's position to advance her vile profanity and become "stronger in the Blood" of Navokha.

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Shadow Council

These mysterious Navokha live by darkness and death, preferring lives of solace. They are master assassins, tacticians, and saboteurs. They are said to live and die by silence.
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Atoth'Ki the Shade-Child

"Sweet mother, sweet mother, bring your child unto me, for the sins of the unworthy must be baptized in blood and fear." - Quote from Skyrim, the Dark Brotherhood.
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Ro'Athu
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Sy'roth
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Akai'thia
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The Reavers

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As the clan warriors of the Shadow Council, the Reavers are the protectors and servants of the Council. They vow their loyalty to the Shadow Council and fight to ensure its ways are honored. As a part of their beliefs and their dedication to Shadow, Reavers bind their eyes and cover their faces to be left in complete darkness. They hone their skills in blindness, granting them heightened senses of hearing, smell, touch, and perception. They train as assassins and warriors, mostly for single combat or scouting. More skilled and dedicated Reavers will voluntarily gouge their eyes out as a sign of their commitment to Shadow, and some stitch coverings over their faces permanently to block all vision and make themselves even more shocking and grotesque to their prey. They mount blades on their wrists and arms, sometimes grafting the bone, metal, or stone into their skin so that their weapons are a morbidly true extension of their bodies.



Khaha'trya'vo and Say'khaha'vo - Spirit Talkers and the Sacred Spirits

The Khaha'try'dra (literally, "spirit talkers") are the healers and the necromancers of the Navokha. They draw their strength and power through a zealous belief and devotion to spirits. As healers, they are able to mend wounds and cure diseases to a certain extent. A particularly powerful necromancer may be able to raise an individual who has already been dead for years or decades, but this is uncommon. Usually, the art of necromancy is used on those who have died recently - for example, Khaha'trya'vo are often brought along with war parties to heal or resurrect fallen warriors as Saykhaha'vo so that they may fight again.

The Navokha refer to undead as Say'khaha'vo (literally, "sacred spirited ones" - singular is Say'khaha'dra). However, in their society, the dead are not something to be feared or condemned. They are highly revered and respected, and the gift of immortality - even with such a price - is reserved for the finest of warriors. Through a series of ritual curses and alchemical secrets, some Navokha maintain an ancient tradition of raising the dead. It is incredibly difficult to preserve them for longer periods of time, but the effects of the necromancy can be effectively potent for a few moments - hours or days, depending on the circumstances of death and the condition of the particular Say'khaha'dra. Occasionally, particularly exceptional warriors will be collected after their death for preservation, where they remain in storage for a Khaha'try'dra to raise later when they are needed.

Depending on the state of decomposition, the ritual used in necromancy, and the skill of the Khaha'try'dra, the Say'khaha'vo take on slightly different forms. These may range from a zombie-like being who is nearly indistinguishable in appearance from a living human with somewhat predictable, controllable behavior to a ghastly, rotting, violent heap of flesh and bones that will attack anything on sight. They are most often used for combat or strategic battle tactics.
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Wild Council

Smallest of the Councils in terms of human followers, but perhaps the largest overall in terms of sheer size and force due to the vast array of beasts at their disposal. They often dwell in the deepest wilderness.
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Carrion Priestess He'aktha

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"We are the talons of the vulture - death carries us on her wings, and we are the claws to extract the flesh of life. Feast on the carrion, for it is our bounty today."

He'aktha is wise in the ways of the wild, and cares little for the petty affairs of humankind. She is the self-proclaimed "di Shata-shikiira'dra-Ny'Khaha'Navo'kha'nara," or the "Vulture-Goddess of the Navokha." Like many of the Wild Council, she speaks only Navokha, believing the language of the ekh'nara to be worthless. She has instituted a kill-on-sight policy amongst her Wild Council against ekh'nara, much to the chagrin of the Blood Council.

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Wild Seer Ashiia'vo'roth

http://fc02.deviantart.net/fs71/i/2012/001/1/4/swamp_elder_by_ogilvie-d4kyjhb.jpg

"He is the Howling One"

No one that does not claim Navokha blood has ever laid eyes on Ashiia'vo'roth. As such, very little is known of him. It is said he lives in the furthest reaches of the most unforgiving swamps of damnation, allowing himself to be seen only when one of his oracles comes forth to translate his mad, screeching howls into law for the rest of the Wild Council. The Navokha claim that he has lived for centuries by some secret of supernatural alchemy.

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Aksha'baat - Advisor

http://media.feedfloyd.com/post/thumb-2/7047e747bba4f6e8e6d22ba35dc0cc742cbd892c.jpg

At first, Aksha'baat gives the impression of a half-man, half-beast. His pale skin stretches over a hunched, bony frame, with protruding wings that seem to be a conglomeration of bat skin and the feathers of ravens, vultures, or crows. His hands and forearms are covered in thick, sharpened scales, belonging to the beastly Sii'vakhat. Sii'yak horns twist forth from his forehead, and razor-sharp, serrated crocodile teeth jut forth from his lower jaw. In reality, he has grafted all of these bits and pieces onto his body, stitch after stitch, sewing them into his flesh with sinew and branding them into his bones. He has taken the already extreme standards of Navokha beauty and cosmetics to an entirely new spectrum. He is appreciated by his people for his ingenuity, ferocity, and fearlessness, and yet he is still held in some contempt for his extremity. At best, he is a rebel, even by Navokha standards. In the Wild Council, he serves as an advisor and is highly respected. His allies claim that he has some part of every animal that the Wild Council cares for, which brings him greater wisdom in the ways of the wild. Whether or not this is true is questionable, but Aksha'baat is still an influential figure in Navokha society, regardless.

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Creatures of Navokha
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Ak'ashiia'dra (Howler)

http://th04.deviantart.net/fs70/PRE/i/2012/033/7/2/howler_by_dejano23-d4oevp4.jpg

Sii'ven (Wyvern)

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Sii'ra (Rat)

http://community.imaginefx.com/forums/storage/41/327776/Swamp%20Grat%20Rider.jpg

Rats are highly revered by the Navokha for the intelligence, skills in survival and scavenging, fertility, agility, and their (perceived) beauty. Rats, both large and small, are frequently seen throughout the lands of Navokha, both tamed and wild. In the swamps, rats can naturally grow to huge sizes, easily as large as a man. Through centuries of domestication and breeding, the Navokha's rats have been specialized for many tasks within their society. They may be kept as pets (guard rats are not uncommon), and particularly large breeds of rat can be trained and used as mounts for hunting or traveling through the wicked swamp terrain.

Sii'yak

http://www.mortalonline.com/image/mulva.png

The Sii'yak is a slow-moving, sturdy, thick-skinned creature suited for most environments, but especially the murky swamps of Navokha. It is a fur-less, herbivorous mammal that is slightly larger than a horse, but weighs almost twice as much due to its dense structure. Its skin is several inches thick, making it resistant to water, cold, and most physical attacks. It boasts two horns on the front of its skull which are used for defense, and these are sometimes sharpened or ornamented by the Navokha. They are a staple of Navokha society, as they provide low-cost mounts and beasts of burden as well as high-quality leather, bones, horn, and meat. The horns of this creature are heavy, dense, durable, and easily sharpened into heavy-duty blades. Some Sii'yak are herded in clearings and natural enclosures, not unlike naturally raised cattle or livestock. They are said to emit a distinctly potent odor, somewhat like a combination of rotting flesh and wet goat. The Navokha recognize and respect them for their strength and stability.

Sii'vakhat (Snake Creature)

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The deepest swamps of Navokha are home to a truly gruesome reptile, known as the Sii'vakhat. They are apex predators, but are extremely rare and hard to tame. They have four legs with wicked, curved talons at the front of their torso, a snake-like head with cloudy eyes and a maw full of razor-sharp recurved teeth, and the tail of a snake which can easily exceed ten feet in length. Some say that they are almost sentient, possessing the intelligence of a dolphin, the reflexes of a viper, and the hateful aggression that the Navokha have instilled in them. They are known to even turn against their own handlers.


Language, Nomenclature, and Communication

The Navokha have an entirely unique language that doesn't seem to share any roots with other official or widely spoken languages of Elysium. Most young Navokha do not speak any language other than their native tongue, but many learn it as adults in order to communicate with others. Choosing to speak a language that is not native is frowned upon by more traditional Navokha, but bi-linguists and translators are still appreciated for their usefulness in some situations. For non-Navokha who wish to learn the language, it is extremely difficult to find any accurate resources and next to impossible to find a teacher. It's extremely rare for someone other than a Navokha to learn the language with any sort of fluency.

In the Navokha language, which is filled with highly intricate syntax and grammar rules, the actual name of the Navokha people as a collective or nation is Ny'Khaha'Navo'kha'nara, which translates to 'we, the people, are the blood of the land' (more literally, "our spirit is our land is our blood") but this is simplified by outsiders and non-native speakers to Navokha, a corruption of the words meaning "land" and "blood." There is no differentiation between plural Navokha, the nation itself, or their homelands - in their language, it is all identified as one. The singular for a denizen is Kha'dra, or "one drop of the blood" (literally, 'blood drop').

Navokha names are often a combination of an individual characteristic with either a reference to an ancestor or revered person's name, an earned title, a role within their Council, or, perhaps most morbidly, claiming the name or title of another person that one has murdered. For example, the name An'Khoroth literally translates to "the sun is bleeding" which is corrupted by outsiders to mean "The Blood Sun." He takes "khoroth" ([it is] bleeding) as a reference to his Council, and the prefix "An" (the Sun) from the previous Chief who he murdered to usurp his position.

The language is highly evolved life and culture within the Navokha homelands, but has little influence from the outside. For example, the language has dozens or even hundreds of terms related to different types of flora, but has no equivalent to words that are common in other languages such as "computer" or "money."

Plural nouns are usually indicated with an ending of a'vo, while singulars are denoted by a'dra. A collective, as in referring to another specific group, pack of animals, or another nation, is 'nara. Usually, present tense is o'roth, past tense is o'ra, and future tense is o'rii. Phrases or even sentences are often combined as one word, with this conglomerate word acting as a singular noun. For example, rethio'roth'ak'ashii'nara, or "the running of the howlers" (literally "the running of many howling ones"), is a common euphemism. A negative is prefixed by e', such as ekh'nara which means "bloodless ones" (literally "no bloods").

Common Words

Blood - Kha
- Khoroth - bleeding
- Kha'dra - singular Navokha (blood drop)
- Kha'vo - plural Navokha (blood drops)
- Ekh'nara - bloodless ones (no blood, collective)

Dragon - Sora
- Sora'dra - singular dragon
- Sora'vo - multiple dragons (non-collective)
- Sor'nara - dragon pack (collective)


Howler - Ak'ashiia'dra (howling one)
- Ak'ashii'nara - howler pack

Land - Navo

Run - rethi
- rethio'roth - running
- rethio'ra - ran
- rethio'rii - will run

Spirit - Khaha

Sun - An

Ny'Khaha'Navo'kha'nara - the nation of Navokha, its land, and its people ("our spirit is our land is our blood," collective)

Navokha

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