The Her’zai are a race of nomadic humans inhabiting the northern tip of western Cientia, once called Her’za. These people are of a dark, tan skin color and are barbaric combatants. They believe little in magic, assured their gods will protect them from their enemies if their cause is righteous.
The Her’zai speak a tongue unknown to most of the world, but the alchemists of Cientia have gone to great lengths to translate and understand their northern neighbors, though they otherwise stay separated.
When written, the Her’zai language consists largely of pictographs and simple symbols to represent thoughts, ideas and names. Each great dahl, czar, and owl all have symbols specifically created to represent them in written language.
Customs and Practices
The Her’zai ride horses into battle and for nearly every other purpose. From young ages, the Her’zai are taught to shrug off the pain of enemy attacks and fight with falchion and bow while mounted. Their favorite meat is that of the horse, though they hunt for other animals as well, often consuming each raw.
Between one another, Her’zai have a strict honor code when dealing with one another, though it is oft-ignored in matters involving outsiders. The honor code prevents Her’zai from attacking another while unarmed, shedding blood during holy events, or following a leader who cannot wield his own weapons deftly.
High-ranking members of the Her’zai keep their heads shaved bald so as to show dominance. When a Her’zai warrior defeats a prominent opponent (generally a dahl, czar or owl), the victor will shave their head and the symbol representing their opponent will be tattooed onto their skin. If a leader should lose in man-to-man combat, he must begin to grow his hair until the day when he defeats another in combat. This rule only applies to respected members of the Her’zai, and most warriors are required to continue to grow their hair long.
Clans and Hierarchy
The Her’zai are separated into a great many clans spread all across Her’za. The greatest of these tribes is always known as Her’zai Prime, while others most often go by the name of their leader. Leaders of clans, known as dahls, sometimes adopt the name of their previous dahl when the become leader of their tribe. Dahlhood is traditionally passed on from father to son or brother to brother, but any member of a clan may challenge a dahl in combat for the role.
The leader of the Her’zai Prime, and therefore the defacto leader of all the Her’zai, is known as the czar. This position is hereditary, though if the previous czar has no heir, it passes to his brother. In the absence of brothers, a trial-by-combat is required to determine the new czar.
In addition to the czars, Owls are wise men who give advice and administer medicine to the warriors of the tribe when needed. While women warriors are accepted, an Owl must always be a man. Owls possess a certain shamanic magic, giving them powers of healing which they use in concert with herbs and knowledge of the body to mend wounds.
The Her’zai worship their own gods and have generally kept to themselves on their island. Recently, this all changed with the eruption of the long-dormant Mount of the Herald. They believe that the newly formed land bridge is a sign of the gods and Czar Gorthok of the tribe Her’zai Prime has sent a call to all Her’zai tribes, attempting to unite them to conquer the newly accessible land.
Great Tribes and Leaders
- Her’zai Prime
- Dahl Ochar