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Roumanhi and beyond

The world of...

The world of 'Liberation'


Roumanhi

Roumanhi was a beautiful country, heavily forested and filled with streams and spring fed pools. A wide river used to dominate the centre of the country until it was dammed by the Navennáns. Now, after years of deforestation and lack of water supply, the centre of the country is dominated by an expanding desert, bordered by plains and rolling hills. Even areas of the remaining forest have been cut by to make way for transport craft and fires have also burnt tracks of land. Roumanhi is bordered on all sides by mountain ranges, cutting it off for the most part from other lands. Although passes do exist, journeys are difficult and forest dwellers are generally loath to leave the shelter of their beloved trees.

The forest dwellers live in enclaves, rather like villages. The groups living within these enclaves are called Clans, although this does not mean they are all related to each other. Indeed, bonding with people from other enclaves is often encouraged to keep the blood-lines strong and to retain harmony within the land. They live mainly in sapling houses and small huts when above ground, but many also live in snug burrows dug out of the rock and earth.


Each Clan is led by the head of the Clanmeet - a Roumanhi council. It is for the head to cede this role to another when they wish to retire. This can only be overturned if the whole council votes to do so. The council is normally made up of twelve to fourteen important members of the Clan e.g. the chief healer, craftsman, scouts, foragers etc, people who represent all the different roles within the enclave. Only the chief cook is omitted; they are always too busy.

Before the Kházakha entered the land, Roumanhi was ruled by a Castan (King) who determined the law with the help of Clan law keepers. This role has been passed down the generations since the time of Caelcáladrim and is the most revered title, demanding loyalty and compliance. However, even the Castan can be over-ruled if all the Clans vote to do so.

Roumanhis do not read or write; their language is verbal. Ritual and tales are vital to their education and the continuation of tradition. Tales are a source of joy and children are taught history from an early age, learning stories from the past word for word. The Roumanhis also have a natural ability to learn languages and retain knowledge of numerous tongues, even ancient and seldom used words and phrases.

Roumanhi men have a strange life cycle. Once they reach a certain age as a youth, they are given permission to engage with females. If permission is granted by the parents of both parties, the youth may become intimate with the girl in order to practice and perfect mating. The rules are quite specific: the male may only engage with one female at a time and several days must separate engagement between one female and another. Permission must be sought each time. If no parents are living, then the head of the Clanmeet will decide. (Hollam often flouted these rules and got himself into trouble many times.) However, once the male comes of age - the age at which this happens can vary considerably - and becomes capable of bonding, he will become chaste until he finds the female he wishes to bond with for life. This can take many years. Once bonded, the couple are linked spiritually for life. The bond can only be broken by the Clans and is extremely rare and difficult. Females do not have the bonding hormones and are free to lie with whom they choose provided the male is unbonded.

Roumanhi males do not grow facial or chest hair. They are fairly light skinned and their skin contains natural protection from the sun and will change a tone or two darker all over on exposure. There is no such thing as a t-shirt tan in Roumanhi. They prefer to let their hair grow long and in general are not a vain race. They seldom decorate themselves or wear jewellery, preferring to remain natural. Decoration is mainly ceremonial. They also have excellent eyesight and can see fairly well even in very dim light.

Roumanhis revere all nature, especially trees and none more so than the mighty
Silhvran trees which hold a place in their history and mythology, and which provide havens for weary travellers - at least those that know the incantations to reach the frets within. Roumanhis are also vegetarian - they do not believe in killing, although their ancestors were quite violent, but they will use items no longer needed by the dead, e.g. bones, feathers and horns.

Whilst they do not like technology and shun many forms of advancement they were, when they were allowed to use it, skilled metal workers, producing beautifully crafted knives and swords, buckles, tools etc. Now however, the skills have mainly been lost and most of the metal items have been confiscated.


The Kházakha

They are considered the enemy and for good reason. Invaders from when Briar and Negram were still young, they took over the land, enslaved the people and destroyed the Roumanhi monarchy. They still break up families, decimate the forest, bully and torture the people and pollute everything. They are also far more advanced technologically, although most of their technology is now old and failing.

The Kházakha is the name used by the people of Roumanhi (pronounced Hah - zak - ha - see language page) and is derogatory. They are originally from Earth but are products of Navenná, the planet founded and ruined by their ancestors.

The Kházakha are headed by Santovin, the High Lord Procurator, an albino who rules with an iron hand and is inherently cruel to the Roumanhis and his own kind. He governs from his Palace in the city and is always surrounded by android guards.

The Kházakha have black hair and green eyes and are products of genetic manipulation - they are outcasts expelled from their own world by the leaders, considered too imperfect to remain.


Kalkassian

Also known as the Great-Divide, Kalkassa is the country to the south of Roumanhi, lying behind the Kalkassian mountains. There is a pass linking the two countries.

The Kalkassians are secretive and little is known about their customs and ways of life. They are a coastal people, sea-farers, and an ancient race, honoured and respected in Roumanhi. Even the Kházakha don't dare to raise a hand against their people. The Kalkassians are also protective of their own language, and like the Roumanhis have a natural ability to speak many tongues.

Tall, elegant and often somewhat stern, the Kalkassians maintain a small presence in Roumanhi, sending students to learn healing techniques and to keep relations strong. Roumanhis are seldom given leave to enter Kalkassa, however.

They wear light clothing and can endure the cold far better than the heat. Most have grey or blue eyes and they are generally dark haired. The females have a tendency to decorate their clothing and hair with shells, beads and anything pretty they can find.

They also have people who are called Jaidus. The Roumanhis don't know exactly what being a Jaidus means other than it is a title of high esteem and seems to give them the uncanny ability to sense other people's emotions. Breeze is a Jaidus, but she hasn't even divulged the full extent of her abilities to Hollam.


Saxskotnaks

The Saxskotnaks are figures from Roumanhi's past and were the race that was considered to be barbarous raiders from beyond the mountains to the north. Tales of battles waged are well known and contain the history of the lands greatest hero, Caelcáladrim. Little is ever told about where the Saxskotnaks came from or why they decided to invade Roumanhi, but they are still considered to be the enemy. Fortunately for the now peaceful Roumanhis, the enemy race appears to have died out.


Harouks

The Harouks are also figures from history but rather than enemies, they were allies of Roumanhi and fought alongside Caelcáladrim in the battle against the Saxskotnaks. Fierce and proud, this dark skinned race introduced the strange troumaloks into the land and it was the Harouk gods, the Grish-Grish-Gûri, who gave Caelcáladrim the ability to defeat the Saxskotnaks and pronounce himself as the Castan.







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