KHEMRI: THE ENDLESS ROAD

Roughly 450 years ago, a flotilla of hundreds landed on Brittanic shores from the far-flung land of Iskandaria. They called themselves Khemri. Those who made it to shore, dismantled the ships, fashioning the first brightly colored wagons that Khemri caravans are known for in their ever-wandering ways, even to this day. Exiles, cast out from their homeland, cursed to wander the Endless Road forever. They have wandered for nearly four and a half centuries, moving from place to place, unable to find what they long for, their Asl Ev [OZ-uhl Ehv] (‘True Home’).

5 Things to Remember About Khemri

Family First

  • No one understands ayilae [aye-ee-LEH] (‘family’) quite like Khemri do. Khemri are rarely, if ever, yetim [YEH-teem] (‘orphan’). Khemri consider each person of their entire ancestry to be of one family, even calling Khemri strangers “cousin”. They do not consider someone whose parents have died to be yetim; rather, a yetim is someone who has intentionally forsaken Khemri family and chosen to lead a solitary life, or one of the very few who has been cast-out. Khemri value familial ties so highly that, even on first meeting, they call each other cousin, aunt, or uncle; those who are only recently acquainted may call each other brother or sister. Khemri share everything they have with each other. 

Together, We Flourish 

  • While Khemri are born into a particular kabileler, they are neither restricted by nor bound to it. Khemri physically removed from their kabile [kab-ee-LAY] (‘tribe’) for an extended period of time find the idea of allying with a House or faction appealing, no matter what racial or cultural affiliation; belonging to a group is much like belonging to an ayilae; comforting to a lone Khemri who may feel isolated or like yetim during long absences. Allying with a group belays these feelings, making allegiance attractive to the Khemri, and useful to the people they join. 

Freedom to the Soul, Air to the Lungs

  • Loyalty is not slavery, so long as it is freely given. Khemri value their freedom almost as highly as they value ayilae. Children of exiles, Khemri are raised on stories of the oppression their ancestors endured as hamshari [ham-SHEH-ree] (‘slaves’) under the yoke of the Shah. The Iskandrian hamshari vowed that future generations would be taught of their struggle against the Shah, and how hard-won their freedom was, so their descendants would never take their freedom for granted. A Khemri who joins a cause, does so by choice. They would not tolerate being coerced or forced. 

Only the True Home Will End Your Wandering 

  • All Khemri feel a pull within them to find the place where the Endless Road stops, Asl Ev. Although they search, the land has not shown herself to be the Asl Ev they dream of where they live as strangers and outsiders, still unwelcomed. There are some Khemri who claim to have found Asl Ev, and yet, they find themselves corrupted, not living true to the Khemri. Beware the draw of those who claim Asl Ev has been found...

Trade is the Way

  • With the wandering life, Khemri caravans often find themselves in places where the acquisition and sale of items keeps the caravan moving. “For you, best price.” You will never find a better haggler than a Khemri. Beware the cards... 

Khemri Archetypal Heroic Virtues

(NOTE: These are not required for a player to take; these are simply the most common virtues among the Khemri culture)

  • INDUSTRY is a common virtue for Khemri because… they have learned that setting an example of hard work makes it easy to find your place within community.
  • HOSPITALITY is a common virtue for Khemri because… after four centuries of wandering Brittanis, they understand the value of an open door, a seat next to a warm fire, and a meal shared with a stranger.
  • HUMILITY is a common virtue for Khemri because… the tradition of tribe before self is deeply ingrained.

Clothing & Kit

NOTE: There are no body type, height/weight, hair color or or skin color descriptions for any ancestry in Brittanis. Costuming and kit are the way to demonstrate and roleplay your Ancestry. This is intentional. Play what you want to play.

  • Ancestry band: Khemri must wear an Ancestry band of white fabric with a purple stripe. These must be worn on the left forearm and may not be less than 3 inches wide.
  • Khemri lean hard on Egyptian, Arabic, Bedouin, Persian, and Indian Subcontinent kit and custom. They ARE NOT Romani. Don’t do it. Don’t perpetuate awful LARPer racial stereotypes. Don’t Be A Dick. 
  • Kit
    • Styles: Medieval Middle Eastern and North African, Azeri, Dornish, Persian, Turkish
      • See the Khemri Pinterest Boards HERE for inspiration!
      • Under the rule of the Shah, Iskandrian hamshari wore plain, unadorned shirts or dresses of white linen. Because of this, the Khemri consider white to be a taboo color that is only to be used in formal ceremony.
      • Despite their cultural history first as slaves and exiles, then unwelcome outsiders, Khemri choose to celebrate life in all ways. Their clothing is often as ornate and colorful as their purses allow. Favored colors vary by kabile, as colors represent who you are and ‘where’ you are from.
        • Avari, (performers & merchant caravans) favor reds
        • Kasuna, (sailors, voyagers, explorers) favor blues
        • Bo’jar, (merchants, tradesmen, craftsmen) favor yellows
        • Narai, (storytellers) favor greens
        • Yat, (priests, holy men, diplomats) favor purples 
        • Goruyuju (guardians) favor black with silver trim. 
        • Aghsaggal (Learned Ones) favor their original kabile color with a sash of white, trimmed in gold. 
        • The only universally favored color is gold; Khemri of every kabile revel in intricate embroidery, ornamentation, and banded decorations of gold
  • Weapons/Shields: Like their clothing and armor, maneuverability, dexterity, and speed are the keywords of Khemri weaponry. The Khemri favor spears and light, quick blades above all other weapons – it would be uncommon to encounter a Khemri that was not carrying a hidden dagger… or two.
    • Full-size Shields are not typically used; bucklers are in contrast quite common. Khemri shields are compact, quick, and maneuverable. Anything larger than a buckler would be considered too burdensome for a ancestry known far-and-wide for its speed and mobility. 
  • Armor: The Khemri value mobility and maneuverability, reflected in the armor they wear. Khemri armor is lightweight and dexterous, typically made of small leather or metal plates mounted on flexible backing. Khemri also tend to wear scale mail, or a collection of smaller leather armor pieces worn together (pauldrons, vambancestrys, and greaves).

Personality

As a people, the Khemri are brash and passionate. They sing out loud, love big, and fight fierce, for each man and woman among them knows the stories passed down at fireside, telling of what it was like to live as hamshari under the yoke of the Shah. They squeeze every last drop they can out of life, living each day to the fullest and letting next to nothing get in their way. Many see this as living in excess, but to the Khemri, it is an appreciation that there are no guarantees in life. 

Life Span 

Khemri enjoy the standard human lifespan for those who live in an age where magic exists, but likewise so do monsters. Most do not live past the age of 70.

Naming Convention

The Khemri have names that sound Middle-Eastern in style or are similar to those of Ancient Egyptian or North African tribes, but the Khemri themselves are far enough removed from their home culture that they have started taking on more clan like names. 

  • Typically, a Khemri has three names:
    • First/given name
    • Family/last name
    • The Tribe to which they belong

The use of all three names is more formal than the Khemri prefer – it would be considered uncommon for a Khemri to use all three of their names in day-to-day life.

Religion

A unique aspect of Khemri spirituality is the ability to see similarity between the gods of different peoples and cultures; to worship them under different names. The Iskandari god Sethra [sehth-RUH] is destructive and malevolent, who consumed his brother Ashaleth [ah-SHAWL-eth] and gained dominion over law and warfare. Khemri priests have declared that these entities are known as the Demon Princes Korseth and Rahvyn, and shun those who pay homage to such evil beings.

Recognizing these similarities allowed Khemri to adapt to Brittanic spirituality. The Three Sisters in the guises of Mother Isheth [EESH-eth] (Eldrea) and her two daughters Nephthia [nef-THEE-yuh] (Rhaine) and Kenanneth [keh-NAHN-neth] (Sarai). 

Shortly before the Red Death swept Brittanis, the Khemri learned that their culture’s walking of the Endless Road was tied to the gods of their ancestors. A tale now travels the caravans that the Khemri are a cursed people, for while they brought the goddesses of their people with them (Mother Isheth, Nephthia, and Kenanneth), when the Khemri fled Iskandria, they left the gods of their culture behind, who have since been forgotten. Despite the similarities, there is now considerable conflict within and between the kabile over this issue; presently the elders appear unified on the issue, but rumors whisper that this may not, in fact, be the end of the issue. 

Hospitality

Khemri assume hospitality lasts until the end of the next morning’s meal. 

Like all cultures, the Khemri use hospitality as a means of collective self-preservation. Knowing that you have at least shelter awaiting you at the nearest settlement, regardless of whether they end up as friends or enemies, facilitates travel and trade in a monster-haunted landscape.

Above all things Khemri value family. To be given hospitality by a Khemri is to become a ‘cousin’ for a night. Evenings of story and song await those who join them, and like any member of the family a guest would be expected to add something to the revalrie. As they are the great travelers the Khemri often find themselves seeking hospitality from others. From a Khemri guest you can expect glorious tales and perhaps enchanting songs. Though shrewd observers have noticed that the Khemri have a knack for embellishing on the deeds of themselves and others.

As a people who believe in loving life and living it to the fullest their version of hospitality is generally quite overt and welcoming. Dancing, gambling and other games feature prominently with Khemri hospitality as it is said that the best trade is between those who you entice to be your friend, rather than drive to be your enemy. 

Society 

Kabileler [kab-ee-LEHL-uh] (‘tribes’) -- The descendants of the seven kabileler whose ships landed on the shores of Siluria are the Khemri known throughout Brittanis today. Over the course of the last four centuries, five of the surviving kabileler have adopted Common names for outsiders (non-Khemri) are to use for the kabileler; the formal names of the Iskandrian tribes are kept close to use for formal occasions such as marriages, alliances, and ceremonies. 

For those who do not walk the Endless Road to use the formal names is to gravely disrespect Khemri culture. Outsiders are given such permission only rarely, usually along with formal adoption into one of the seven tribes.

The Goruyuju and Aghsaggal were nearly wiped in the generations after the Khemri landed on Brittanis-- as such they never developed informal names. There is no shame or disrespect for outsiders using the formal names for these kabile. The fact that they can be spoken aloud at all is a point of pride for all Khemri.

The Seven Kabileler

  • Avari [uh-VARR-ee] (informal) / Sanatchi  [suh-not-CHEH] (formal)
    • The Avari/Sanatchi kabile color is RED. 
    • The Avari/Sanatchi are performers and merchants; they compose most of the Khemri caravans. 
    • Those in Avari/Sanatchi caravans will go to many lengths to make a deal; they consider profit in everything and rarely, if ever, do something that will not benefit them. 
    • The Avari/Sanatchi serve and represent the CREATORS OF PROSPERITY of the Khemri people. 
    • It’s important to note that the concept of profit isn’t isolated to cash or goods-- information, influence, and favors are often just as valuable, if not moreso. 
    • As the most visible and well-known kabileler, the people of Brittanis often make the mistake of assuming the characteristics of the Avari/Sanatchi are shared by all Khemri.
    • This kabile prioritizes perpetuating culture over ancestry. 
  • Kasuna [kah-SOON-ahh] (informal) / Denizchi  [den-iz-CHEE] (formal)
    • The Kasuna/Denizchi kabile color is BLUE. 
    • One kabileler did not disassemble their ships to build wagons when they landed on the western shores – the Kasuna/Denizchi have made their living as sailors, voyagers, and explorers. 
    • The Kasuna/Denizchi serve as the SEARCHING EYES AND LISTENING EARS of the Khemri people.They have an extended network of contacts, agents, and spies all across Brittanis, and rare is the blue-sailed ship that doesn’t carry messages from one caravan in one port to another caravan miles away by sea. 
    • These seafarers have cornered the Brittanic fishing and shipping markets. 
    • Before the Red Death, it was believed that the methods used by the Denizchi during their rise to economic success over the last few centuries were less than reputable, perpetuating the Brittanic perception that the Khemri are pirates, thieves, and brigands.
  • Since the passing of the plague, Khemri ships bringing food and supplies are welcome and often cheered as they come into view. 
  • This kabile prioritizes perpetuating culture over ancestry. 
  • Bo’jar [BOH-jarr] (informal) / Tajir  [TAH-jeer]  (formal)
    • Bo’jar/Tajir kabile color is YELLOW. 
    • The Bo’jar/Tajir are merchants, tradesmen, and craftsmen. They are a hardworking and hearty people who rely on building and creating with their own hands, whether by blacksmithing, carpentry, or other crafting skills.
    • The Bo’jar/Tajir serve as the EVER-STRIVING HANDS of the Khemri people. Their skill, dedication to excellence, and craft are unrivaled among the kabile. 
    • The Bo’jar/Tajir pride themselves on being self-sufficient – producing most of the Khemri goods – and can tend to let their arrogance show, believing the goods they produce are the finest quality available anywhere in Brittanis. Humility is not a value that many Khemri hold dear. 
    • This kabile prioritizes perpetuating ancestry over culture.
  • Narai [nuh-RYE] (informal) / Naghilchi  [naw-GHoul-cheh] (formal)
    • The Narai/Naghlichi kabile color is GREEN. 
    • The people of Iskandar had a long and rich history, none of which was written on the page. It was believed that to try to remember one’s history through writing was akin to entombing the memory, allowing the memory to die – one’s history had to be learned and spoken out loud in order to keep the memory alive. 
    • The Narai/Naghilchi carry-on this strong tradition of oral history by acting as the SPEAKING, SINGING VOICE of the Khemri people. They seek to delve deeper into the magics carried by their people, and to tell the tales of the Khemri before their culture passes into the mists of history. 
    • The Narai/Naghilchi are storytellers who learn and teach the history of their people – a rich history that, with each re-telling, the people of Brittanis believe more-and-more to be nothing more than ‘folk tales’. 
    • This kabile prioritizes perpetuating culture over ancestry.
  • Yat [YAHT] (informal) / Kyahin  [KYA-heen] (formal)
    • The Yat/Kyahin kabile color is PURPLE. Before the return of the Goruyuju, the Yat sometimes wore white for formal occasions, but that custom has passed to the newly-resurgent Spirit Talkers. 
    • The Yat/Kyahin are the holy people of the Khemri. It matters not to whom an individual is faithful, for all types dwell within the caravans. 
    • Where the Aghsaggal serve as the mind and memory of the Khemri people, the Yat/Kyahin serve as the OPEN HEART & GUIDING PATH of the Khemri people. 
    • For the Yat/Kyahin, those of faith serve as counselors to leaders, and often times as leaders themselves. Along with these duties, the Yat/Kyahin are teachers, wordsmiths, and diplomats. 
    • The Yat/Kyahin are the face that most other cultures are accustomed to facing in developing trade agreements or resolving disputes. The Yat/Kyahin have made it their lives’ purpose to win Brittanic acceptance and trust of the Khemri. 
    • This kabile prioritizes perpetuating ancestry over culture.
  • Goruyuju  [GO-re-OO-joo] (formal & informal name)
    • The kabile color for the Goruyuju is BLACK, trimmed in silver. 
    • The Goruyuju are the guardians and protectors of the Khemri-- shield against harm, knives against their enemies. They serve as the GUARDIAN SHIELD and STRIKING SPEAR of their people. 
    • Soon after the Khemri landed on Brittanic shores, the Goruyuju and Aghsaggal all but disappeared, hunted to near extinction by the Tiberians. As such, neither kabile developed the informal names like the other five kabile. 
    • As the protectors of all the Khemri and the Endless Road, the Goruyuju were easy prey for the Tiberians who were specifically targeted in order to leave the Khemri unprotected; “Khemri hunts” during the last century of the Tiberian occupation nearly eliminated both tribes. 
    • In the Khemri’s native tongue of Iskandrian, ‘goruyuju’ means both ‘protector’ and ‘servant’. The life purpose of the Goruyuju was to serve the people – defending those that could not defend themselves and protecting the freedom they had fought so hard to win from the Shah. 
    • It has only been in the recent decades, and due to the direct action of the Heroes of the Golden Phoenix, that the Goruyuju were re-established in Brittanis. Their numbers are still small, especially in comparison to the other 5 kabile. 
    • This kabile prioritizes perpetuating ancestry over culture.
  • Aghsaggal  [ag-shah-GHAL] (formal & informal name)
    • The Aghsaggal wear the colors of whatever kabile they were adopted from, symbolizing that they represent all Khemri. Universally, the Aghsaggal wear a sash of WHITE, trimmed in GOLD, from the right shoulder or from the belt. 
    • The Aghsaggal serve as the Learned Ones, the Keepers of Knowledge. They are the QUESTING MIND & SEEKING MEMORY of the Khemri people
    • Until 36 years ago, the Aghsaggal were thought extinct-- not merely decimated and in hiding like the Goruyuju, but truly & completely wiped out. Then a single Aghsaggal was discovered, hidden by his parents in the Arcanum of Rendayn. His name was Tural, a Hero of the Golden Phoenix. 
    • Tural, through sheer force of will and hard work in organizing his Heroic allies, made both a name for himself and the name of his extinct kabile. Because of him, the Aghsaggal live again, and flourish. 
    • When Tural presented himself to the Khemri elders, they ordered him to rebuild the kabile, and Tural’s choice was to adopt other folk into the kabile-- even those not of Khemri blood and indeed even those who were not even human. This unique quirk continues within the Aghsaggal through to today-- as the generations pass, more “kabile born” Aghsaggal are born, but the majority are still adopted in from elsewhere. 
    • Regardless of adopted or kabile-born status, the Aghsaggal crave the lost lore of the Khemri people. Rare is the caravan without at least one Aghsaggal today, recording and learning and bringing their lore back to the kabile as a whole. 
    • Aghsaggal and Narai often conflict over the Khemri cultural taboo against writing stories down, but the rivalry is that of close cousins, not enemies. 

This kabile prioritizes perpetuating culture over ancestry. 

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