The City of Nasherat
At first those visiting the home of the Thalerith might not find it welcoming. Buildings are made of
sandrock, the ground left bare to help keep dwellings cool or warm as needed. There is a fine sand
dust that seems to cover most everything, and the architecture is certainly a reflection of the
rough lifestyle of its people.
The two largest buildings found in the cavern system that the Thalerith call their home are the Warlord’s Spire, which doubles as both the home of the current leader and the barracks for their warriors and hunters, and the Flame Chantry, which houses the secretive Flame Seers.
A large open plaza can be found at the center of the city, serving as a gathering place for the Thalerith. Several cultural events take place in this plaza, some more violent than others.
The Thalerith have adopted a form of meritocracy when it comes to selecting their leaders, with the strongest
of body and mind expected to rise to leadership positions and help guide the kinship.
Warlord - The Warlord is the ruler of Thalerith society, having earned the position by overthrowing their predecessor. However, the Warlord does not rule alone, as they are supported by the Warlord's Council made of the General and the spiritual leader, the Flame Speaker. Both the General and the Flame Speaker have a subtle, but very strong influence in the governance of the Thalerith people. In the case the Warlord is unable to make a decision, the General and Flame Speaker together are able to do so in her stead.
General - When it comes to matters of War, it is the General that the Warlord turns for counsel, and during open warfare, it's often the General who actually leads the armies and not the Warlord. The General also acts as the enforcer of the Warlord's law.
Flame Speaker - Civilian and spiritual matters often have the Flame Speaker weighing in, and it's common for the Flame Speaker to offer an opposing view, in order to encourage debate. While final decisions involving civilian life are still the purview of the Warlord, it's rare for them to take place without the Flame Speaker being involved. The Flame Speaker also serves as the leader of the Flame Seers.
Should someone feel as though the Warlord is doing a bad job of things, they can challenge her to a duel. This duel is to the death or whoever yields first. The challenge must be confirmed by the General and Flame Speaker as valid. If there is a split decision between the two, the Warlord will decide if she accepts the challenge or not. If one of the challengers is the Flame Speaker or General, and their counterpart agrees it is a valid challenge, the Warlord will decide if she accepts or not. A Warlord didn't take her place by being weak and not accepting a valid challenge can look very bad to the people. Should a challenger defeat her, they will appoint their own General and Flame Speaker. Usually, after a Warlord ascends to power there is a period of one year to allow for stability to form before a challenge to the new warlord can be issued, the exception is if both the newly appointed General and Flame Speaker agree the Warlord must be replaced. Challenges to a Warlord are also suspended during times of open warfare with the other Kinships, again, unless the General and Flame Speaker agree there's a need for replacement.
Once a General and Flame Speaker have been appointed, it's very hard for a Warlord to appoint new ones, unless there is undeniable proof that the current one has committed a serious crime worthy of being removed from the position. The removal of a General or Flame Speaker without reason is seen as a sign of weakness in the Warlord by the Thalerith.
The Warlord is protected by a group of bodyguards known as the Blade Sworn. The Blade Sworn are not an active part of the government, and are not involved in decisions or counseling but often also acts as agents of the Warlord, carrying her will and acting on her behalf. Being ask to become a Blade Sworn is a great honor, but carries with it an oath to never challenge the Warlord for leadership as long as that individual remains a Warlord. Once this oath is taken, only a Warlord can release the subject from it.
Finally, the political importance of the Heads of Family in Thalerith society should not be underestimated. Kinlectors and Kinlessas can be very influential in the government by supporting or denying the Warlord, or members of the Warlord's Council in their decisions. So is often a good idea for new Warlords to work with all the families to ensure their support.
“Vi achareth, thalien. Vi thalien, brunar.”
“In struggle, strength. In strength, life.”
The Thalerith, are a hardened people that value and welcome struggle into their lives. They tend to favor Rithor as their patron, although some of the more spiritually oriented members also honor Acharon as the god of raw passion and energy. They have made their home in an extensive cavern system found under the desert of the new world, and have adopted a nocturnal lifestyle. When they venture out under the heat of the scorching sun of their homeland, they make sure to cover themselves completely, wearing wraps that have been specially treated with plant ointments to help mitigate the effects of the intense heat.
At night, those same wraps, and the trapped heat in the caverns they call their homes help keep them warm during the chilly temperatures that are prevalent at such time.
When sun or potential dehydration is not threatening to kill them, the predators that call the desert and the caverns their home, certainly try to. But that is just fine with the Thalerith, they welcome the struggle, the challenge, as they feel it helps them become stronger. To the Thalerith, strength is life. Strength is what guides them, what leads them. Strength brought them to the New World, and strength will let them master it.
Media and Real World Inspiration
Dothraki - The belief that you must earn your keep is an important part of this society, and is the
main aspect borrowed from them. Merit matters, and earning what you get is more honorable than something
inherited. Their mistrust of those that have not proven themselves is another trait in common. And while
the Dothraki are quick to discard the infirm, the Thalerith see it as a duty to honor and protect those
that have sacrificed their strength for the kinship.
Dark Sun - This setting is known for using the desert as a metaphor for struggle, and that is certainly true for the Thalerith. Life is hard, but rather than reject this idea, the Thalerith embrace it. The struggle proves that they are alive and it helps toughen them and prepare them for future trials. The setting provides an excellent visual reference as well.
The Horde - The tribal nature of the Horde, their connection to the land they have claimed, the leadership of their Warchief, these are all traits borrowed from this inspiration. The story of the Horde is that of surviving in a land that seems intent to destroy them, and that story is very similar to the struggle the Thalerith experience and embrace. The concept of Honor is an important one in the Horde as embodied by some of their heroes, and is also an important one in Thalerith culture.
Arab Culture - Social loyalty is an important aspect in both Arab and Thalerith culture. Family is an integral aspect of society, with an emphasis in self-reliance and responsibility. The needs of the group are more important that the needs of one individual, and traditional cultural values are to be respected. Finally, poetry as both an artistic expression and a way to share stories of achievements and defeats is typical to both cultures.
Thalerith law is determined by the Warlord, with the Flame Speaker influencing civil matters and the General
influencing Military matters. With honor being a guiding principle in the kinship, the breaking of the law
often carries with it, loss in honor. Most offenses are often punished in a manner that lets the offender
make reparations and regain some of the lost honor. The most grievous of offenses lead to exile, with crimes
considered very damaging to the kinship as a whole allowing for executions.
Judgments are passed by the Warlord, with the advising of the Warlord's Council. A trial often has the Warlord sit and listen to the crime be described by the accusers, and the accused gets a chance to then speak for themselves. The Warlord's Council then offers their recommendations, publicly, and the Warlord makes the final decision.
It is the right of any Thalerith to call for a trial by combat or wits when facing a judgment from the Warlord. If they win, they are cleared of any and all charges. If they lose, they are exiled, given to the sands for the desert to determine their fate regardless of the seriousness of their crime, unless they were to be executed. While the accused must face the challenge themselves, the Warlord can designate a champion.
The Thalerith value strength of both body and mind. Most of their culture revolves around the day to the day
struggle of living in such a dangerous land. Rather than lament their status, they celebrate it and embrace
it. They feel struggle leads to strength, which in turns leads to life. This lifestyle often pushes them
to the limit and requires an an able body and a keen mind.
Physical contests are very common among the Sand Kin, regardless of they are warriors or not and most people engage in these without hesitation or reservation. They're also particularly fond of riddles and puzzles, as these help keep their minds active and engaged. They put a lot of value in action, for it's through action that a person can support their words. Their word is extremely important to a Thalerith, but acting on that word is what gives them weight and keeps them from being swept by the desert winds.
While the Thalerith can be very reserved when dealing with outsiders, most Thalerith aren't outright hostile to them and welcome interactions with all the Kinships. Still, they often require strangers to prove themselves before fully accepting them in their society. Honor is paramount to the Thalerith, and one of their most important guiding principles. While the strong are often expected to lead, they're also expected to guide and protect. All Thalerith are raised to contribute to their society, and those that are unable to do so because of previous sacrifice for the kinship are still honored and held in high regard.
In Thalerith culture, there are no gender roles. The women and men both are valued for their strengths, and who stays home and takes care of the children is a duty that is mutually shared by not only both parents, but the city as a whole. The responsibility of raising the next generation of Thalerith falls on everyone, and everyone takes it quite seriously.
The Sand Kin tend favor the Deity of Fearlessness and the Hunt, the Beastmaster Rithor and honor the raw emotion and agent of change that is Acharon, but the other gods still find many worshippers among the Sand Kin. The spiritual leaders known as the Flame Seers are valued for their preservation of the Thalerith’s oral tradition, however they are not related or connected to any particular god, nor do they claim to be divinely guided. They often serve as spiritual guides in the day to day struggles of the Thalerith, leaving theology matters and worship to the priests of a given faith. They dress in fire-tinged light robes, and even scar their pale skins with fire burns. Most Thalerith, even as a nocturnal culture, have developed a somewhat bronze skin. However, those that undergo the initiation of a Flame Seer often grow as pale as the whitest of sands, and the oldest of Flame Seers are known for losing their regular sight at very advanced ages.
Flora & Fauna
The flora is very typical to both the desert and cavern systems. The are a number of edible fungi found in
the caverns that helps compliment the mostly meat-based diet of the Thalerith. Also typical are cacti,
wild flowers, and shrubs.
The sandrock caverns and desert both are full of predators, and it’s only through cunning and strength that the Thalerith find themselves at the top of that ecosystem. The krilkar lizards are the most common found predator around Nasherat, with a very varied range of sizes depending on age. Other common animals include, coyotes, desert foxes, armadillo lizards, camels, small wildcats, desert lizards, hares, snakes, scorpions.
Stereotypical Thalerith View of Other Kinships
Aeran - They have been hardened by the crashing of the waves of their waters, but it is that much water
that can make them also a soft. Still, they proved resilient enough and useful enough during the Third
Migration, so their strength can be an asset.
Lorandi - What good is their finery? Does it feed them? Does it keep them warm at night? They seek to order us around, but they have yet to earn that right. Perhaps when they do, we will begin to listen.
Duindar - They are clever, good. However, they spend too much time studying, too little time living. Strength comes from able bodies and mind, one without the other easily leads one to be forgotten in the sands of the desert.
Faenor - They have faced struggle, we must give them that. Their mountains are as dangerous a place to live as our sands. But they are unchanging, unwilling to learn embrace their emotions, to gain strength from their passions, which holds them back.