Chlendi

The Chlendi are a frail olive skinned people who came by sea to the northern coast of Rhiat around 2500 years ago. They were well accustomed to the swamps and damp forests that fed the mouth of the Minkush River and were content to build small villages for their first few centuries. The histories read that the leader was the younger son of the distant royal family, and came here to start his own kingdom, and claim title as the wearer of the “Black Lily Crown”. The people organized into small familial clans, most worshiping a few patron spirits. The most prominent of the still extant clans are: Mourning Legions, Everlasting Bog, Spider Trees, Marble Hammer, Bronze Blade, Violet Glory, Noble-light-people, and Mottled Bull. They spread south to conquer Heteri tribe in what is now Vensat, and had many decades of conflict with the Maetah.

The Chlendi enslaved whole towns of Maetah peasants as laborers, and eventually united with other populations of both Heteri and Maetah against the advance of the Mindat. The massive bureaucracy could not maintain a network of such diversity, and began splintering before it could reach a millennia of age, as smaller states and split began self-governance in their own interest. Nowadays small villages of Chlendi dot the western Rhiat, but the only significant populations are found in Ramush. However the clans are reuniting in other larger cities and seeking out their heritage in the swamps and misty hills of the north.

In ancient times, the Chlendi lived off the swamps, eating shellfish, snakes, swamp rats and fowl. Philters and herbal concoctions were made the from the plants and fungi. A potent incense from the toxic black algae was used to conjure spirits.

Physiology

Chlendi are tall and thin, with long spindly limbs and appendages. Their hair is thin and dark, though often hidden beneath a turban. Facial hair is sparse and rarely grown. Skin tones occur in a varying shades, but all have an olive cast, indicative of any intermixing since arriving the Rhiat. Chlendi eyes are brown or hazel, with the rare blue or purple.

Social Structure

Clans

The Chlendi hold a measure of strict fealty to their lineage, and through that to the Clan of the Black Lily Crown, which holds the royal line. The Chlendi term for clan, “qod”, has seem use in recent, though most “clans” were simply lineages of higher status. In the time of the Chlendi dominated these clans were almost exclusively owners of lands, rather than the lineages of peasants and serfs that worked the lands.

Cities & Towns

Major populations of Chlendi still exist in Ramush and the polities of the Minkush River Valley. Throughout the swamps and foothills near Asklor, small villages of the olive skinned folk still live an isolated existence, uncaring of the rise and all of the Chlendi monarchy.

History

The Chlendi Homeland

The Pox

Settling in the Rhiat

Despite initial attacks upon Maetah communities, divinations turned their focus to the swamps to the west and their rocky outcroppings of amberite. As they moved through their new territory, they left sinkholes in the largest landmasses and idols to their spirits at each step. The swamplands were the mystical destination foretold by the same prophecies that warned the Lily Crown Clan of the pox.

The Eskla Empire

Ramush

Religion & Magick

Chlendi cosmology describes the creation of the world as an Ex Nihilo event in the universe. At the time of creations spirits from across the planes and universe were drawn to the infant sphere. The formation of the sphere created lines of omnessesence (similar to ley lines) between the Rhiat and (the continental region) and other stars, The confluence of these lines formed around the constellations, creatng numerous gates, engulfing and transporting spirits to the sphere.

The Chlendi were polytheists and animists in the broadest sense. Spirits were everywhere and in everything. Priests and shamans wrote encyclopedic theologies and hierarchies, noting spirits of various powers. Some were nearly deified, why others were ectoplasmic slaves to be ordered about by any within and inkling of magickal skill.

The Chlendi bury their dead in subterranean tombs of stone. Because this is not practical in the swamps, individuals are submerged and covered in cairns of stone, often nearby deceased family members. Chlendi faith posits that the dead dwell amongst the spirits, ofetn working for them in the spirit realm. The most renown of Chlendi mystics and warriors people objects of worship themselves. Ancestors and favoured spirits are idolized in small clay or metal figures that are kept at home or carried by travelers.

They mastered the arts of summoning and astrology building shrines along veins of mystical ores. Their most prized material is amberite, a golden translucent rock which is carved into jewelry, idols, and other religious object.

Pantheon

See Chlendi Religion

Magic

See Chlendi Sorcery

Death and Burial

Material Culture

The staple of traditional Chlendi garbed is a colourful perfumed turban. The scent is engineered to hide the musk of the swamp as well as repel the abundent insects. The colors are a matter of fashion, and the pin or broach holding it in place is the most prominent symbol of ones economic status. Common colours are Indigo, mossy greens, and browns. Bright colours attract insects. Blue and purple are the signs of wealth or status. For important occasions the turban will be decorate with colorful feathers of local birds.

Snake, fowl, swamp rat, fish, and shellfish, as well as the variety of fruits and vegetables in the swamp form the basis of the diet. They are masters of finding the edible algae and fungi of the region, and aren’t above partaking in the delicacy of large beetles on occasion. Common beverages are a distilled liquor from swamp reed “marrow”, herbal concoctions and aromatic teas from the bark and leaves of swamp trees.

Traditional Chlendi “table-ware” is a pair of double-ended tools with prongs on one end, and small knife edges on the other. They are used for both eating, serving, and food preparation. Use of these a refined skill a step beyond the use of chopsticks, and being able to eat a fine meal without betraying etiquette is considered a sign of maturity. Imagine what the Chlendi think of Heteri barbarians eating with their fingers!

In the swamps, most homes and small buildings are raised platforms on stilts, with wooden structure and thatched roof. Large building are constructed and large stone plazas which rise out of the water and level off swampy ground.

The original homeland of the Chlendi did not have horses, and with most of their communities in the wetlands, it was rarely practical to adopt them. In the swamp variety of flat bottom boats and skiffs are used for personal and commodity transport, the largest of which are pulled by ibisis, a species of large tamed amphibious beasts.