Xaela

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The Xaela tribes live a nomadic life on and around the western steppes of Othard.

The Xaela (ゼラ族, "Zēra Zoku," meaning "Zela Group") are said to be the children of the Dusk Mother Nhaama, the moon goddess of Auri creation.[1] Unlike their sister clan, the Raen, the Xaela are free spirits who roam the vast western steppe of Othard in close-knit tribes hunting, gathering, and warring as their ancestors have for countless generations.[2]

History

Auri creation myth tells of a world formed by the Dawn Father Azim and the Dusk Mother Nhaama. These two deities came to quarrel over which should rule the new world, and created mortals to serve in their war by proxy. These were the first Au Ra—the Raen, children of the Dawn Father, and the Xaela, the chosen of the Dusk Mother.[1]

Though they waged a bitter struggle in the name of their creators, they eventually put aside their differences and learned to love one another, giving birth to a new generation. On seeing this, Azim and Nhaama returned to the heavens, leaving the world in the custody of their children.[1]

Among the peoples of the Far East, it is believed that the Au Ra of the Azim Steppe were the first to keep livestock. They initially tamed horses to serve as mounts, and it was this achievement which led to the Au Ra's decisive rise to dominance over the plains. When the Raen subsequently departed their ancestral home, they took with them the knowledge of rearing and riding horses to the lands beyond the Steppe. After the horse, the Au Ra turned their hand to taming the yol, and these new mounts saw them expand their dominion to the skies above the Steppe.[3]

The Xaela have to this day not abandoned their ancestral home, living a nomadic life as hunters and gatherers on the vast Azim Steppe. With suitable grazing land sparse, conflict between individual tribes is common, with tribes forming, disbanding, and dying off in a ceaseless cycle of war and bloodshed.[1]

At last observation, Xaela tribes numbered fifty-one, though there is a high likelihood that recently splintered or merged tribes have rendered that count outdated.[1] Of late, rumors swirl of a swelling of tribes who pledge spiritual allegiance to the Dusk Mother, and the abductions that have followed.[4]

Not all Xaela dwell upon the steppes, however. In 1557 of the Sixth Astral Era, some among the Xaela who lived in frontier towns of Othard fell under subjugation of the Garlean Empire. When they arrived at last in Eorzea in the year 1562, they found themselves drawn to the plains of Coerthas, and hoped to adopt the nomadic ways of their ancestors, only to be masssacred by the people of Ishgard.[5]

Physical Attributes

The Au Ra are unique among Eorzea's races in the extreme height disparity observed between genders. While male Au Ra can reach towering heights of over eighty ilms, females are short and slight, averaging no more than sixty. While their size and stature is almost identical to that of the Raen, their physical strength, hardened by generations of war and conflict, far outstrips that of other races.[1]

Their hardened skin and scaled tails, too, distinguish them clearly from other races.[1] The ancestors of the Xaela believed their veins to run thick with the blood of Nhaama—their lustrous black scales and fiery wills serving as proof of this divine lineage.[2] It is difficult for the tail or horns of an Au Ra to be removed, and they do not fall off periodically, instead growing continuously until they reach a certain size and length. If damaged, whether it be in a fall or in battle, the horns will regrow and repair themselves.[6]

The Au Ra take great pride in the majestic horns that protrude from the sides of their head, which also serve to enhance their hearing and sense of spatial perception.[1] This does not make their hearing better than a Lalafell, and their hearing is generally as good as the average Hyur, but they hear and process sound differently, through the vibration of the air within their horns.[6]

Culture

As nomads, a Xaela tribe is only as wealthy or prosperous as the size of its herd. From horses to dzo to the great winged yol, preferred breeds of livestock vary from tribe to tribe, but nonetheless the herd—both its quality and scope—symbolizes the strength and status of the tribe as a whole.[1][3]

Meat, fur, skin, bones—the Xaela let no part of any beast go to waste. In this way, the herd provides not only food and clothing, but even shelter from the elements in the form of the tents that serve as temporary housing.[1]

The Xaela are known to consume not only the flesh of their animals, but their innards and blood as well. They are also known for their dairy products, including an alcoholic beverage made from beasts' milk known as kumis. Those who have partaken of this drink beneath the yurt of a Xaela can take pride in knowing they have been accepted as a friend—at least for the moment.[1]

The fiercely tribal Xaela cling tenaciously to their nomadic way of life and largely shun relations with other races, even viewing strangers of their own kind as potential enemies. As such, they are typically regarded with suspicion and hostility. On the steppes which they call home, the Xaela speak the old Auri tongue to this day.[1]

On the final day of Tsagaan Sar—the Xaela lunar new year—the Xaela hold an annual ceremonial battle known as the Naadam to decide who will claim dominion over the vast steppe for the coming year.[7] This often also involves reigning on high from the Dawn Throne, though the victorious tribe is allowed to waive this right should they choose to.[8]

To even qualify for participation in the Naadam, young Xaela must undertake a rite of passage at Bardam's Mettle, running a gauntlet of fearsome foes to reach an ancient altar, the oldest in the land, and tame a yol, a giant cloudkin. In so doing, one earns recognition as a warrior of the steppe and the chance to emerge from the battle as khagan.[9]

Nomenclature

Xaela names are relatively unorthodox, composed of a given name and tribal name. They are unique, however, in that they were passed down as sounds instead of letters, as the Xaela did not develop a written language until comparatively recent times. As such, upon coming in contact with lettered cultures, individual Xaela are forced to come up with spellings of their own devising, leading many to perceive their names as needlessly confusing and nigh unpronounceable.[1]

The Xaela, being nomadic, live lives that are one part solitary—when traveling as a clan—and one part community—when they interact with other clans they come across in their migrations. Because of this, similar names are used throughout the Azim Steppe, but they often feature slightly different spellings due to evolving separately in isolated clans. The male names "Jagadai," "Chaghadai," and "Tsagaday" are all, essentially, the same name. However, in Othard, they are considered unique.[10]

Xaela names are based on Mongolian words and names used around the 15th century.[10]

Female Forename Examples

Alagh, Alan, Alt, Altani, Altun, Alun, Anggir, Bagurchi, Barghujin, Baugurchi, Beki, Berude, Bodo, Boljigchi, Boragchin, Borogchin, Boroqcin, Borte, Botokhui, Caalun, Caur, Ceceyigen, Chabi, Chagur, Chakha, Chambui, Checheyigen, Cherbin, Chotan, Cirina, Cota, Cotan, Cotota, Dagasi, Doquz, Dorgene, Dorgono, Doyi, Ebegei, Eji, Eke, Emegen, Gergei, Ghoa, Gorbeljin, Gurbesu, Guua, Hoelun, Hogelun, Holuikhan, Hujaghur, Hujaur, Ibakha, Jaliqai, Khadagan, Khatun, Khogaghchin, Khojin, Khorchi, Khorijin, Khugurchin, Khulan, Koko, Maral, Mergen, Mide, Narengawa, Nigen, Nomolun, Ogelen, Oghul, Ogul, Oki, Orbei, Orghana, Qatun, Qoyar, Sadu, Samga, Sechen, Shar, Sokhatai, Sorkhaghtani, Sorocan, Surkukteni, Suvd, Tacchotan, Tarqun, Tegusken, Temulun, Togene, Toragana, Toregene, Tsenxer, Turakina, Ucugen, Ujin, Ulan, Yesuntei

Male Forename Examples

Abaka, Achujim, Adarkidai, Adkiragh, Agasiletai, Agsaldai, Agujam, Alchigh, Alghu, Amasandji, Amasar, Ambaghai, Anarba, Arabuccha, Aragibal, Argasar, Arik, Arslang, Aruktai, Baatu, Baavgai, Bagaridai, Baidar, Baidur, Bardam, Batacaciqan, Batachikhan, Bayan, Bayar, Begugtei, Bucharan, Budjek, Bugunutei, Bujeg, Bujir, Bukidai, Bulqadar, Bultechu, Bultger, Bulugan, Buqatai, Buyantu, Caragai, Chaghadai, Chaghagan, Chanar, Charakha, Chidukhul, Chigu, Chilagun, Chiledu, Chilger, Chiluku, Chormagan, Chuacenur, Chulgetei, Daidukul, Delbeg, Dorbei, Emlig, Esugen, Guyug, Hooshal, Ilugei, Iturgen, Jagadai, Jamugha, Jebei, Jebke, Jelme, Jenkshi, Kaishan, Khaidai, Khal, Khalja, Khuchar, Kishiligh, Kuyuk, Kuzhuk, Ligdan, Luvsan, Maqali, Masgud, Mauci, Munglig, Ogodei, Ozbeg, Qoribucha, Shilugei, Shiramun, Sidurgu, Sukegei, Tamachag, Teleboge, Tordung, Tsagaday, Uchikin, Udutai, Yabuqa, Yerentai

Known Xaela Tribes

Tribe Characteristics
Adarkim The largest of the Xaela tribes. While not the most skilled at battle, they overwhelm with numbers, taking losses in stride, knowing that a future victory over a weaker tribe will replenish their ranks.
Angura A small tribe which keeps mainly to the mountainous region of northeastern Othard. The glare reflected by the everlasting glaciers upon which they travel has rendered this tribe's skin color a deep rusty tone.
Arulaq A tribe thought lost 200 years ago, only recently discovered once again living in a secluded valley in the mountainous north.
Avagnar Though defeated and absorbed by the Adarkim, several of the proud tribe's members still secretly use its ancestral name, knowing that it could mean death if they are discovered.
Bairon A middle-sized tribe of the southern deserts and masters of survival in the driest of climes, the Bairon are all trained from a very young age to collect and drink their own bodily fluids, allowing them the ability to venture deep into places no other tribe will.
Bayaqud A tribe of the steppe's western edges. Women from the Bayaqud tribe will traditionally take several husbands, as did the tribe's founding matron 2000 years ago.
Bolir A small tribe that earns its living by collecting the dung of the beastkin herds which roam the steppes. The dung is dried, turned into charcoal in temporary kilns, and sold to other tribes.
Borlaaq A tribe of all women. While breeding with men from other tribes is allowed, if a male is born into the tribe, he is given up within a year of birth.
Buduga An all-male tribe which only increases its ranks through battle and kidnapping. They recently formed a pact with the Oronir, believing that an alliance with the preeminent tribe would see their numbers swell.
Chaghan An offshoot of the Qerel tribe, these warriors enter a berserker rage known as the Will of Karash, which they believe to be a blessing from the Dusk Mother. They commit all manner of heinous acts when Karash takes hold, and some would even slay their own kin and claim it in the name of Mother Nhaama.[11]
Dalamiq One of only a few Xaela tribes which has abandoned the nomadic lifestyle and built a small village on an islet in the middle of a two-malm-wide span of the great inner river. It is said they once worshipped the now-fallen lesser moon.
Dataq The Dataq cover quite possibly the most area in their migrations, for they rarely stop in one area for longer than a few bells. Sleeping is all done in the saddle, and tents are only used when the rains are heavy and unbearable. This is, however, less a hard rule and more an ideal for which they strive, even if they do indeed travel further and longer than any other tribe.[12]
Dazkar Household duties such as cooking, cleaning, and childrearing are handled by the males of the Dazkar who, other than when on the move, rarely ever leave their family's yurts. Female Dazkar are tasked with hunting, and are known across the steppe as being some of the most accurate archers in the realm.
Dhoro An elusive tribe that avoids contact with most other tribes. Lookouts are posted all about their camps with orders to flee given the moment an outsider is spotted.
Dotharl An extremely violent tribe with members who revel in massacre and are taught from a young age not to fear death. This is because the Dotharl believe that their fallen warriors are reincarnated within a year of their death.[13] While they are quick to attack other tribes, mortality rates are high, ensuring that their numbers never grow too high.
Ejinn A river tribe that chooses to swim from place to place rather than walk or take boats. It is said that members of the Ejinn can hold their breaths for up to a quarter bell, and will often migrate while almost completely submerged in order to avoid contact with hostile tribes.
Geneq In addition to the standard language used by most of the Xaela in cross-tribe communication, the Geneq employ a complex system of whistles and clicks which resemble the cloud- and wavekin of the steppe.
Gesi The Gesi are masters of the slingspear, a mid-sized javelin carved from mammoth bone which, instead of being thrown by hand, is flung with a leather sling to improve range, speed, and killing power.
Gharl Before each migration, the Gharl will fill a sacred urn with the soil of the place they just camped. This soil is then dumped upon arriving at the next location. This tradition has been carried out for thousands of years, leading people to believe that most the steppe is now all of one soil.
Goro The Goro believe horses to be perfect beings, and each male and female, upon their coming of age, is married to a horse of the opposite sex. Reproductive mates are chosen by lots. It should be noted that because a horse's lifespan is far shorter than that of a Xaela's, one is likely to be wed to several horses over the course of his or her life.[12]
Haragin The legends of this coastal tribe tell of a group of their ancestors who crafted a giant ship and sailed out across the endless eastern ocean. The explorers are said to have returned with tales of a terrible island covered in massive grey monoliths and inhabited by fire-breathing steel demons.
Himaa For reasons unknown, one out of every three pregnancies amongst the Himaa result in twins. As a result, over half the tribe's members have a doppelganger. This can prove an advantage during attacks, as it confuses the enemy into believing the dead have risen.
Horo To those who live the meager lifestyles of the steppedwellers, being overweight is a symbol of affluence and power. To appear heavier than one in their station, the members of Horo will drink copious amounts of water to bloat their bellies.
Hotgo A tribe recently massacred by the Dotharl. The only members surviving are those who left the tribe to travel on their own and were not present during the killing. The Hotgo were known for their vibrant face paints which members would constantly change depending on their current mood. Members of the tribe ventured to Eorzea, where they were almost all slain summoning Alexander in the Dravanian Hinterlands.
Iriq A tribe that follows the Borlaaq, taking on any male children given up by the female warriors and raising them as their own.
Jhungid The second largest Xaela tribe. Mortal enemies with the Kharlu, the Jungid will spend the greater part of the year subjugating smaller tribes to swell their own ranks in preparation for an annual battle with the Kharlu—the winner gaining control over a large part of the eastern coastlands.
Kagon The Kagon are a nocturnal desert tribe who worship Nhaama, goddess of the moon and mortal enemy of Azim, god of the sun. Instructed by their goddess that to step into the sun is to succumb to the evil of Azim, they spend the daylight hours in their tents, only emerging to hunt and migrate at night. The result is an uncharacteristically pale skin for a group of people living in an almost eternally fair-weather locale.
Kahkol A tribe made up of orphans and refugees from tribes defeated or destroyed. Many choose to combine the name of their old tribe with Kahkol. Recently, the tribe's settlement was destroyed by the Buduga, and the remaining population was decimated by disease. Ironically, some of the scattered survivors now live among the Buduga.
Kha Unlike most of the Xaela, the Kha live on the fringes of the Xaela lands, actively seeking contact with non Auri peoples, introducing many aspects of those cultures into their own.
Kharlu The third largest Xaela tribe. Mortal enemies with the Jungid, the Kharlu will spend the greater part of the year subjugating smaller tribes to swell their own ranks in preparation for an annual battle with the Jungid—the winner gaining control over a large part of the eastern coastlands.
Khatayin A tribe which largely remains unseen, hunting goats in the mountains for nine moons of the year. The remaining three are spent at the foot of the great north range, where they survive off the dried meat they stocked.
Malaguld One of the only tribes that accepts people of the Raen—those that have been exiled, or those who have fled persecution—into their circle.
Malqir A western steppe tribe characterized by its unique leader-choosing ritual which, instead of the usual test of brawn, is a game of Kharaqiq—a chess-like game played on a circular board divided into three rings.
Mankhad A costal tribe which fights with blow-darts made from bones dipped in the poison of the pufferfish. So practiced with the pipes are the tribe, that they can disable a target from 200 paces.
Mierqid A desert tribe which, over the course of a year, travels between over a hundred secret buried caches of supplies restocked with each annual visit.
Moks A tribe invisible for the fact that its members are spread out across many different tribes (unbeknownst to those tribes). Communication between its members is done on the rare occasion when two tribes meet, through an ancient set of hand signals only recognizable by those who know what they are looking for.
Mol A small tribe of devout worshippers of the elder gods, the Mol will consult with their deities (via a shaman conduit) before making any tribe-related decisions, from the direction of their next migration, to the beasts they will hunt each day for food. Unlike the crimson clothing of most Mol, these udgan wear white as a symbol of purity and are forbidden from taking life.
Noykin Master trainers of the wild horses which populate the majority of steppe. It is said that the horsewives of the Noykin can break any beast if given but a week.
Olkund Selective breeding has seen the average height of the central steppe-dwelling Olkund tribe males reach over two and a half yalms. The females, for whatever reason, remain of an average height.
Orben A tribe that rides up and down the great inner river on boats woven from reeds and reinforced with scales from their own skin.
Orl Members of this (possibly defunct) tribe fled Othard in the wake of Garlean occupation. They and other refugees found their way to the highlands of Coerthas but misconceptions of Au Ra being of Dravanian descent led Ishgardian soldiers to slaughter them indiscriminately. There is only known to be one living survivor of this tribe.
Oronir All members of the Oronir tribe believe themselves to be direct descendants of Azim, the tribe's god of the sun. The strongest tribe in the region, the Oronir currently occupy the Dawn Throne, having won the right to do so in previous Naadams.
Oroq The Oroq create sleds made of reeds dipped in horse fat to help move their possessions and young children about the inner grasslands.
Qalli Also known as the songbirds of the steppe, the Qalli communicate through song, attaching a melody to their words to further add emotion to the meaning.
Qerel The warriors of this tribe all wear complete suits of armor crafted from the bones of steppe tigers which they kill with their own hands upon their coming of age.
Qestir This tribe refuses to speak, believing that all words are lies, and that a man's actions are the purest form of communication. They founded Reunion, a trading hub where peoples of the steppe and even foreign merchants may trade freely.
Sagahl A tribe which sees all beastkin as equals with man, therefore refuses to eat or use them as beasts of burden. As a result, the diet of the Sagahl mainly consists of steppe shrubs and vilekin.
Torgud This desert tribe does not wear any clothes, choosing instead to cover their bodies almost entirely in a white paint created from mud, lime, and bone meal. The paint helps to reflect the relentless desert sun.
Tumet The children of the Tumet, upon seeing their tenth summer, are tied to a sacred tree while the remainder of the tribe packs up and moves to their next location. Those children who manage to break free from their bonds and catch up with the tribe at that next location, are given a name and allowed into the tribe.
Ugund When members of this tribe die, their heads are removed from their bodies and placed in a jar of fermented goat milk. Once the liquid has been drunk by the head (in other words, evaporated), the head is then buried under an anthill so that the tiny workers can carry the spirit to the afterlife. The journey is thought to be a terrible one, the road filled with ghosts of the damned, so ensuring the spirit is drunk helps ease the journey.
Ura This mountain-dwelling tribe is one of the few which instead of hunting, mine the precious ores of the peaks and trade them with the steppe tribes for food.
Urumet This desert tribe has the queer custom of travelling with their elders carried upon their shoulders. It is believed that in the flat desert, this gives the tribe the advantage of being able to see farther.
Uyagir One of a handful of Xaela tribes which have given up the nomadic lifestyle. The Uyagir reside in a system of limestone caves on the northern edge of the southern deserts which are believed to have been dug by a race of giant oliphant-like beetles which were placed on the land by the gods to punish the elder tribes that had grown too greedy.

[10]

Notable Xaela

Notes and Trivia

  • Though it is entirely possible to create an Au Ra of either clan with a wide variety of skin colors, it appears that Xaela NPCs are more prone to uncommon skintones such as blues, greens, purples, and grays, whereas Raen NPCs tend to follow more natural skintones found in humans.

References



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