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Shjar'ael

 (Desert Elves)


"In search of our History, Legends and Renown.
To War is to Live, to Challenge is to Game."

 

Desert Elf Traits:

 

Desert Elf traits as following: + 2 Strength, –2 Charisma.

+2 racial bonus to Ride Checks.

Proficiency with a Scimitar and Double Scimitar.

Automatic Languages: Shjarereth (Desert Elven), Possibility of knowing Sereth.

 Favoured Class: Swashbuckler.

Level Adjustment: Does not change from base elf +3

 

History, Personality
Practises and Basic Appearance

 

The Elves of the north were not always of the desert. There are tales told, legends known of when the north wastes were once lush plains of sweet grass and wild blooms. It was a time when the Shjar'ael were simply known as the Roc'ael, (Horse Elves), because of their renown skill with horses. Time has not been fair to these people who followed their brethren into the north lands; banishing those Elves who had murdered their own and mankind into the far northern mountains where they would come to be known as Nanqael (Dark Elves). The Shjar settled in the plains below the mountains vowing to never allow the murderers to see the light of day again. With this vow came a passion, an intense hatred for the Nanqael that has never died, and war bands are formed for the distinct purpose of killing any surface Dark Elves.

A large portion of the history of the Shjar has been lost, as if erased from their very books, blank pages where words had once been. It is unknown as to why this has occurred to all of the history books and with near fanaticism they wish to resurface that unknown past, and re-find their legends and valour. During that time it is suspected that the plains began to change rapidly, it taking only a few millennia for the once lush lands to turn to a sandy wasteland. The water found within the mountains that sheltered the capitol of Plehona was the only source they had, and so they suspect much of their population began to die.  The capitol Plehona is the only city the Shjar'ael have now nestled into the corner of two mountain ranges converging at the city's back.

Shjar society is dependent upon it's elaborate system of slavery, the slaves are the backbone of the Shjar society and without them it would most likely fall to ruin. Although this is so, the slaves as long as they do not make a fuss and rebel are treated quite humanely by and large and for those humans who have lived in Dire Cry there is no wish to escape. Slaves are taught to read and write regardless of previous station or race, which means that the Shjhar society has the highest level of literacy on Camar'a. Slaves can own businesses though fifty percent of their profit goes directly to the crown, not to their owner, and the last percentage is their own.

Any that are not Shjar are slaves, even other sub races of elves, and different jobs and races are worth more as slaves. Fellow elven races are worth more then humans, females worth more then males except in manual labour. Pleasure slaves have been and will continue to be the most expansive slaves as the form of beauty and training required for Shjar'an pleasure slaves is hard to find and difficult to train. But slavery can be bought out of through service or coin. Each slave has a cost upon their head and in the recent five hundred years Tarcel Zoras (Picture above)  lowered that cost substantially from the original cost to buy the slave to half of that. Those who gain their freedom are allowed to come and go from Shjar given the respect for their services and freedom. They will never be viewed as full Shjar'an citizens as they are not of Shjar'an birth but they are free and treated as such their after. Children born during slavery are slaves, even half Shjar elves are slaves if they were had with a slave, and they too must buy their own freedom.

Desert Elven society has become harsher with the plains disappearance and the deserts harsh climates. The society is a Matriarchy, female monarchy, through the line of the female. The Tarcel (Princess) is the chosen daughter of the last Tarcel, and they must have a female Shjar'an consort, but may never marry. The Tarcel is chosen by family and may at anytime be replaced, making her in essence a puppet and having very little real political power. Because of the gift given by Sila Vor, Lady of the Stars, the Tarcel prays to Sila Vor to become pregnant by her partner, and without the need of male, their place has fallen in society. Power must stay in the hands of one woman, and one woman only for fear of political influence and manipulations.

Female Shjar are the only members that can gain political power through nobility and military. Males are unable to go up in rank in the military or politics, distrusted and feared by the women, and in turn angry and hateful of the women. This has caused the society to become quite corrupt and the sense of equality the slaves have is viewed oft by the males as being more then they themselves, full Shjar'an's have! This causes deep seated resentment, and the women who hide themselves behind veils and robes because they fear the men will desire them for their bodies are only proven right because of their degrading of the men. The females of the royal family in an attempt to keep power passed a law behind the Tarcel to outlaw marriage between a man and a woman throughout the kingdom, a move that caused outrage through the levels of the society. Slaves are the only who are outside of this new law.

Having children with other elven sub races or slaves is uncommon and marriage outside of their own is also very uncommon, love is a concept that is not easily understood by a society that is so rigid in it's laws and customs. Tales and myths of love are even less frequent and to find someone who is in love is nearly an impossible task. Although it is said that Tarcel Zoras has a Wood Elven female Knight as her consort, and that by the more romantic members of the Nobility that Tarcel Zoras is in love and refuses to take any other consort. That she fights for the rights and equality of the men and has stirred up quite a bit of political fire in the castle. The female nobles are waiting for when she gets pulled from power and a less liberal Tarcel takes her place...

However the Shjar’ans are a martial culture. Members of a war band are always searching for glory. To them war is an art and a game. Their horses are worth more than fifty slaves to their owners, breed for centuries to be the quickest, brightest horses in the world. It is said that the Shjar are born in the saddle and will be in the saddle the day they die. A Shjar’ans horse is half of their very soul, and to lose it, is to lose one’s own honour, glory and respect within society. When fighting a weak foe, the Shjar may engage in straightforward battle to eliminate the enemy quickly before moving on to more challenging enemies. When dealing with a challenging opponent, however, the elves take their time, stalking, weakening the enemy, and enjoying the game. This is true on all levels, including politics, which is why political strife, and in wars can last for centuries.

The predatory nature of the Shjar’ans is reflected in all aspects of life. Whether they are engaged in a philosophical debate, bargaining with a merchant, or searching for an ancient treasure, the elf always views the situation from the standpoint of hunter and prey, weakest and strongest. There military is divided into war bands, tied together by family bonds these war bands work in tandem and scour the deserts for treasures, slaves and Dark Elf scouting groups to kill. Their soldiers prefer light armour and rely on speed and skill as opposed to pure force. They are renowned for their cavalry; and the thunder of their mounts hooves has been known to strike terror into their enemies. While they are best known for their cavalry, they also take great pride in skill with the scimitar and double scimitar and it is the weapon of choice among all Shjar’ans.

Telling the Shjar apart from those around them is not that difficult, the Desert Elves all have black hair, brown, black or the less common, vibrant grey eyes. They typically wear loose, silk clothing and light armour decorated with elaborate engraving and embroidery. The common colors worn by all Shjar are light, pastels, browns and whites so the heat of the desert will not give them heat stroke. Women are covered from head to foot except for the eyes at all times. Men must wear clothing that does not show off any skin below the neck. This is expected of the slaves in society as well, though the free people can wear garments of their own culture and traditions.

Primary religious figures to the Shjar are Sila Vor Lady of the Stars and Elfkind, Nau'ar the jealous God of the Sun and Fire (He who made the plains to deserts) and Shyr'Vaero God of Vengeance and War (Though both are prayed to mainly by the males as these are male deities).

 

 

All Original names and references to the story they are from are Copyright of Nathanial Davidson. /span>

  Picture is not my own.