Ways of the Seven
The Darjii Nation
The Darjii nation stretches from the northernmost tip of the continent to the foothills of the Mistveil. It is approximately the size of the Imperial County of Alkonost.
Administration – The Darjii are ruled by a Sultan, who is a hereditary ruler drawn from the nobles of the warrior caste. Subjects who earn his favor (typically through military service or circumstances that demonstrate administrative capability) are made satraps of a small area of land. Satrapies are small – one small city or about 50 acres of farmland – Rajanapra has three. Satraps act as judges (when cases merit their attention) and are responsible for compiling monthly reports on the state of the satrapy, which are stored in the royal archives. Important issues are culled by royal scriveners and presented to the sultan for his decision.
Aside from this system, the Darjii way of life is largely governed by an ancient caste system. Peace is kept based on traditional laws and punishments. One’s caste is determined by one’s birth, although it is possible to marry into a higher caste, and the Sultan has the exclusive power to assign a caste to a citizen, although this rarely occurs. There is a degree of upward mobility within each caste, and it is possible for members of low-ranking castes, especially merchants, to amass large amounts of influence and wealth.
Military – The Sultan’s army consists of members of the warrior caste. Warriors typically live as landowners when not at war, though some are adventurers, mercenaries or explorers. The Sultan has a personal guard, the Singh Warriors, chosen from the most distinguished warrior families. Every seven years, a great combat tournament, the Ahranapsh, is held to determine the greatest fighter in the land. The winner is known as the Saladin (“Defender of the Faith”) and serves as the Sultan’s right hand. The Saladin can be recognized by the ceremonial armor he wears, which is said to have been worn by the semi-mythical hero Ramuh over 800 years ago. Only three times in the recorded history of the Ahranapsh has anyone but a member of the warrior caste won.
Religion – The Darjii believe they have a more personal relationship with their gods than the Valuans do with theirs. The Darjii gods are seen as more prone to human foibles and emotions, and there are many myths about their exploits. Priests tend to worship the entire pantheon as a whole, offering prayer to specific gods as is situationally appropriate. Many priests, because of the high status given to them by the caste system, live privileged lives and wield considerable power. A growing number of priests, however, abstain from the acquisition of worldly power, living as itinerant wise men. Any priest must be treated with the utmost respect.
Notes on the Darjii pantheon:
Prithvi – Queen and leader of the Pantheon, she is the most powerful Darjii deity. Her chief aspect is as the Goddess of nature – specifically, plantlife. Along with Indra and Kali, she forms the triumvirate of nature gods in Darjii mythology. She is also the goddess of birth, life, family, love, and the harvest. The Darjii call her “Mother of All Things” and “Earth Goddess” and revere her most prominently amongst all the Higher Powers.
Savitr – God of the Sun, he is the husband of the earth goddess Prithvi. Though a powerful deity in the pantheon, Savitr does not figure prominently in Darjii mythology; most creation myths center on the conflicts between Prithvi and Indra. Savitr is also the god of physical beauty, and is the patron saint of handmaidens.
Indra – The second of the three nature gods, Indra is god of the animals, and generally regarded as the second most powerful deity in the pantheon. Indra was married to Prithvi from the start of creation, and most of Darjii mythology centers on their romance, children, Indra’s betrayal of Prithvi, and their subsequent battles and interactions as Indra vied for the throne of Heaven. Indra is the patron of conflict, and the chief saint of both the merchant and military castes.
Krishna – Krishna is the god of justice, law, and learning. In Darjii mythology, he receives universal respect from his fellow gods. Krishna and Prithvi are the most commonly worshiped deities amongst the poorest castes.
Kali – Goddess of the Moon. Kali is the child of Sun and Earth Goddess. She is the third of the triumvirate of nature gods; her aspect is weather. Kali stands as Princess of Heaven. She is the youngest of all gods.
Prajapadi – God of Art and passion (not necessarily love). Half-Brother of Moon Goddess. Vaguely incestuous relationship. Great emotions in all things. Jealous of Moon Goddess’s status as Princess, while he is not in line for the throne, despite being older. Resents mother and Sun God but admires (incestuously?) Moon Goddess.
Rudra – “The Feared One,” God of Death and Magic. Brother of Earth Goddess. Small, quiet, loner.
Agni – Goddess of water and fire, especially waterfalls and volcanoes. Godess of inland water, lakes, rivers, streams, waterfalls. Goddess of fire, volcanoes, lightning, and stars. Goddess of the unknown. Romantically involved with death god.
Magic – After clerics, the most common types of spellcasters in the Darjii are sorcerers and shamans. Native Darjii are said to have magic in their blood, and the percentage of individuals who manifest sorcerous powers in Darjii lands is significantly higher than in Valua. Skilled sorcerers are called swami and claim to use asceticism and mental fortitude to control the primordial forces of the universe. They sometimes act as teachers, or gurus, to younger aspiring sorcerers. Shamans, colloquially referred to as hedge-mages or witches, are typically female and serve communities by providing healing, divination, and control of animals. Shamans are usually viewed with a mix of fear and respect.
There are very few schools of wizardry in Darjii. The practice was introduced by the Valuans during the Age of Exploration, and some intellectuals and scholars readily embraced the study of magic. The majority of Darjii, however, view wizardry as trickery or as a forbidden art. Swami in particular are outspoken critics of wizardry, claiming that arcane power should only come from within, as a result of self-mortification and contemplation, rather than from books and formulas. Practically, the low literacy rate and lack of institutionalized learning in the Darjii nation prevents wizardry from spreading.