Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Antaria: the Shamans

Southern Antaria is home to two entities: A vast expanse of desert known as the Tajik Wastes, and the Tajik peoples who have roamed the dunes even before the fall of the Obsidian Empire. The Tajikar -- as they are known -- are divided into four tribes: the Savage Tooth, the Searing Claw, the Severed Ear, and the Seeing Eye.

Out of these four, only those Tajikar educated by the Seeing Eye tribe practice sorcery, although the presence of such Shamans was not known until they began traveling among the more "civilized" nations. Shaman magic itself is versatile in its applications, and startling in its effect. Its practitioners have been reported as being able to run at blinding speed, bore holes in stone walls, and withstand sword blows to their naked chests. There have even been stories of Seeing Eye tribesmen parting the waters of the sea, and of sixty-foot-tall Shamans building mountains, but these are almost certainly apocryphal.

While the Shamans are almost universally recognized as a sect of mages, their loyalty lies first and foremost with the Seeing Eye tribe and the Tajikar. Accomplished Shamans are accorded a great deal of respect by any tribesman, and many a Seeing Eye wanderer will return to their home in the Wastes only to find the trappings of socio-religious duty being imposed upon them.

Few among the general Antarian populace, for that matter, have actually met a Shaman. Many peasants look upon the Shamans as barbaric savages, which reflects an overly fabricated notion of the Tajikar tribes. Those who have dealt with Shamans outside the Wastes find them to be possessed of endless curiosity as well as a code of honor that, sadly, does not translate well to the more "civilized" norms.

No comments: