|Leaders||Kaaral Kor Nal Askerok Kiaris|
|Races||Kaaradi, Slaveblood Ath, Human, Ogre, Dwarf, Death elf|
|Population||30 millions (10 millions Kaaradi, 20 millions Slaves)|
|Language||Kaarada, Slavetongue, Ashan, Ogre, Aingeleen, Dwarf, Old Täjaran|
|Capital||Galagrön (previously Malatohara)|
|Hostile||Imperial Dwarves, Those from Below, Shambala (tenuous cease-fire)|
Ukrin'daram, which could be translated from the kaarada as the Society of the Eternal Vigil, or the Organization (allowing to) uphold the Eternal Vigil, is the name that the Kaaradi gave to their Kingdom below the Earth, which is the sole nation in Kaarad and one of the very few civilizations of the Underworld.
The society of the Kaaradi is a unified society revolving around their eleven thousand year old goal: to prevent an invasion from Those from Below and keep their gods sealed. The Eternal Vigil of the Kaaradi is a mean to gather enough strength to kill those squalid Gods, leading to a society where martial prowess is held in high esteem. This explains why every Kaaradi is trained for war since the age of three. They are also enslavers of various other races, these slave, however, aren't deemed as tools or objects, instead being esteemed members of the community with political power to their name.
Communities of lifeEdit
The Kaarad's smallest communities are known as Gatherings, comparable to the villages of the surface. Normally, a newly formed Gathering is composed of roughly 200 Kaaradi and with around 400-600 slaves, mostly from martial Bloodlines, like the Children of Spears, the Axe Wielders, the Steelgrinder or Steelmasters. A Gathering usually has atleast 40 Diggers. The Kaaradi and their slaves are also known for imbuing their weapons with poison. Since Kaarad is a deadly environment, the use of poison is often a tool to survive and protect the life of the slaves, which is the duty of all Kaaradi who owns a slave (and every Kaaradi is gifted by a slave the day it is born). Each Gathering swears to assist its neighbours. The Gatherings are often well hidden, the entrances looking as small cracks in a wide cave, which leads to an apparent dead end to anyone but a Kaaradi or their Slaves. The inside of a Gathering is almost always a complex of caves linked together by the Diggers (and the others slave's Bloodlines, while the Kaaradi protect them; it isn't unusual for a new Gathering to lose Kaaradi's lives during the excavation, while the slave's end their work without a loss due to wildlife or Those from Below). The Gathering tend to evolve with the ages; some are still Gathering, but art and beauty bloom in their caves.
Others become Bastions, a small town with roughly 3000 Kaaradi and thrice as much slaves. A Bastion is often near at least ten Gathering and the inhabitants of the Bastion must help and protect the inhabitants of surrounding Gatherings. The Bastion named Nal'Pakir, hold of the Kaer Family, an old and powerful Bastion populated by 8500 Kaaradi must help and protect no less than twenty-five Gatherings. Each Bastion is divided in smaller a militaristic and administrative divisions known as Vaults. The core of a Bastion is still the complex of caves from the original Gathering, but as the population grow, the Kaaradi will extend their communities to the nearby wide cave and build powerful walls and reservoirs of fresh water (often with fish inside, one of the core components of the Kaaradi's diet).
So far, no known Bastion has ever turned into a City, since the five Cities of Kaarad were built for a purpose. Each City is divided in smaller administrative and military divisions known as Citadels. The Cities are:
- Galagrön, the First City, carved in a huge stalactite above the darkest abyss of Kaarad, the First City is the fiefdom of the Kiaris Family, whose members are said to be descendants of Kor ra Ath, the mythical figure who led more than half of the Ath to Kaarad at the end of the Age of Myths. The current Kaaral, the King (Raal) of Terror (Kaar), Kor nal Askerok is the head of the Kiaris Family. Galagrön's surroundings are the deadliest part of Kaarad, with thousand of Others from Below still haunting the maze of caves while their God was killed millennia ago.
- Téloa, the most northerly City, is often nicknamed the City under the Sky, since it was built in a dead volcano whose crater is so tall that it is said to touch the stars, visible from the City. Téloa is the fiefdom of the Irska family, an old ally of the Kiaris Family; the Irska claim that their mythical ancestor was Drana, the elder sister of Kor ra Ath who followed him under the earth. Téloa is famous for its beast-masters, who are able to tame even the wild Bilious Wyrms. The surrounding of the City is mostly made of mushroom plains and fungus jungles where a lot of mammal dwell. Those from Below are almost unheard near Téloa.
- Hartog, known as the Grim City, is the most easterly City of Kaarad; its sole purpose is to contain the Undead of the Horror Sea and the Misty Caves who launch yearly raids against the Kaarad. Hartog is the fiefdom of the Ralkish Family, which were often neutral (and therefore highly courted) in the great political scheming of the Kaaral's election in the past, but the Family has cast its vote to the Kiaris during the last election, a choice which shifted the throne to a new dynasty. Hartog is mostly known for its Chapter of Aingeleen knights.
- Chazra,, the Hold of the Alchemist, is the most southerly City and the fiefdom of the Ssatarkis Family, an old ally of the Turakas Family (the Bilious Wyrm Family). Chazra is renowned for its Alchemist Masters, who are able to create the deadliest poisons of Solcu and other incredible potions. Currently Chazra is in disgrace since the Dynastic shift revealed that this Hold was corrupted by the Turakas Family.
- Malatohara, nicknamed the Nest of Corruption, (previously Drakakur, nicknamed the City of Glory and originally Nagrund-räm, the Gate of Abydos) is the fiefdom of the Turakas Family, which ruled the Kaarad during 2998 years and lost the crown twenty years ago. It was the longest rule of all the Families, but it turned the Turakas and their City into a nest of corruption, where birth became the sole criteria for rising in the social hierarchy and where the driving purpose of all Kaaradi, the Eternal Vigil was almost replaced by a driving hate toward the Asha. With the revelations about the City's corruption, the Turakas Family won't be able to claim the crown of Kaaral for atleast a millennia.
Social organisation in KaaradEdit
The social organizations in Kaarad are dictated by the Eternal Vigil, a purpose which has led to a very complex relationship between the civilian and military organizations.
The Ukrin'daram is a monarchy whose Head is named the Kaaral, the Terror King in the Kaaradi language. While the Kaaral has a lot of power on his own (as the supreme commander of the nation), his powers are still restrained by the High Council. Composed of the High Priests of the capital (the City of the Family who holds the crown), the Heads of the Slave's Bloodlines (the ones that are recognized in the whole kingdom), and the Maesters from renowned profession, such as the Great Maester of Alchemy of the Capital, or the Great Maester of the Forge.
While the King as a great deal of power to the local affairs of his City, the Bastions and the Gatherings under his jurisdiction, he can't make a decision that would affect other fiefdoms without the support of the High Council. The same principle is applied to the Bastions, and even Gatherings, when important decisions must be taken by the Low Council and the Local Council. These political organizations are means to prevent corruption and the arbitrary whims of a possible tyrant. During the long reign of the Turakas Family, corruption has grown rampant in their jurisdiction.
The Kaaral is both an hereditary title (since the son/daughter of the previous king is often the unofficial heir of the throne) and an elected king: when the previous holder of the title dies, the Heads of the Five Families gather and elect a new King. Not even the Turakas Family could put an end to this tradition, which is the reason why they lost the throne 30 years ago, when the Kiaris Family managed to get enough political leverage to be elected.
At a local level, the Kaaradi organise themselves around lineages: the child of a blacksmith is expected to become one, however if a child wants to deviate from this path, they are encouraged to do so. The Kaaradi are often seen as strange and evil by other cultures, which is inaccurate even if such mistake is understandable: the Kaaradi are highly devoted to their Gods, which requires them to be hardened and without weakness to fight Those from Below.
Therefore, the Kaaradi are trained to fight and kill since the age of 3; cruelty and viciousness are seen as qualities, since the monstrosities that they fight won't be kind and honourable. It created a culture where prisoners deemed unfit to become slaves are tortured and maimed by young Kaaradi as a mean to teach them how those who dare to stand between the Kaaradi and their goal can be easily subdued and killed. The Kaaradi are also highly arrogant, since they believe that other species were made to be used in their war against Those from Below as their slaves. yet, the Kaaradi can be funny with their own sense of humour, often grim, and are able to create real bonds of friendship with others, from Kaaradi, to slaves, or even free members of other civilizations.
However, and in a direct contrast with their cruelty against enemies, the Kaaradi take great care of their slaves, for they believe that when the Eternal Vigil will end, when the last God from Below dies, the Slaves will be freed and made citizens of a new, beautiful and peaceful Kaarad. This belief help explains why beating a slave for no reason is an offence, and killing one, no matter the reason but an open revolt, is a crime, punished by the the Rune of the Severed Mind (In the Kaaradi language: Nalrkshi-taruk) the use of a rune carved in the forehead of the criminal, whose connection between his mind and body will be severed, leading to the creation of a mental prison where the criminal is trapped, while his body obeys to any orders given to him. Those criminals often end among the Vara'gol as a supplemental soldies.
However, while the civilian organizations are important, the military ones are most important to the everyday of the Kaaradi.
The military organization is the most important feature of this society: every Kaaradi and slave belongs to the army and must be trained in the art of war, but also have some civilian skills (in alchemy, blacksmith, etc). The hierarchy is complex, each Gathering is supposed to have the military power to defeat all but the most terrific threats. Bastion and Cities have their own troops and often act as the protectors of the realm, often from the greatest enemies of the nation. Their primitive level of technology is visible in their weaponry. Every Kaaradi warrior has runes carved in its flesh, with lower ranks having weaker runes, while the upper ranks have stronger runes carved in their flesh, weapons and armours.
The upper ranks can only be earned and isn't based on heritage or genders. The ranks are the following
- The lowest rank in the military is the Soldier. A soldier isn't allowed any other weapon than bronze knives with barbed blade and the Skadra, a straight blade of roughly 60cm fixed on each forearmb, both which are poisoned. The Skadra are used as both lethal weapons and a tool to compensate for the short stature of the Kaaradi: a soldier can use his skadra to literally climb taller enemies to cut their throats. The armour of the soldier is made of leather (usually from a Kiaris) which protect his groin, his hands, his legs and his heart, leaving the rest nude since the Kaaradi favour speed and agility in a fight rather than the ability to endure damage. The soldier is also capable of using a bow.
- Just above the rank of soldier is the rank Tel-Aräm,, the highest ranking that can be granted to the military leader of a Gathering or a Vault. The Tel-Aräm commands the soldiers and the slaves and is well trained in both physical combat and tactics. If the soldiers are the limbs of the Kaaradi army, then the Tel-Aräm are its heart, knowing how to use their soldiers at their best. They use the same weapons as the soldiers, but their armours are made of Ralkish's leather instead of Kiaris's, giving them a better protection at the cost of some agility. A good Tel-Aräm can use hit and run tactics to avoid direct combat. The Tel-Aräm from a Gathering are supposed to be outranked by the Tel-Aräm of a Vault, but in practice it is more common for the leader of a Gathering to have more field experience than the head of the Vault, which can lead to some tensions.
- Above the rank of Tel-Aräm exist the title of Kor-Lan, the Champion of Fury, a title usually held by the leader of a Bastion and the Head of a Citadel. The Kor-Lan wears full armour made of leather and bronze, enhanced by Runes, a bow, the usual knives and the Udra, a curved sword (usually made of bronze) whose blade is ribbed, allowing the poison used on it to be equally present on the whole surface of the weapon. The Kor-Lan's primary missions is to coordinate the actions of all the Tel-Aräm under his jurisdiction and lead most of the military operations of the Kaaradi. The Kor-Lan from a Bastion and from a Citadel are of equal rank and the most seasoned will take the lead.
- The Kor-Lan is outranked by the Kor-Than, the Master of Fury, a title wielded by the Head of a City. Since there are only four Kor-Than, each one wears armours and wields weapons to their liking. To become a Kor-Than, a Head must have proven his worth in the previous ranks, from soldier to Kor-Lan. The Kor-Than manage the defences of their fiefdoms and are only outranked by the King of Ukrin'daram.
- Finally, the highest rank is the one of Kaaral. The Terror King is the head of the military for the whole nation. He is the one who coordinates the defence of the whole Kingdom, the Eternal Vigil and the war against other species (such as the Asha).
There are also two "ranks" which aren't part of the traditional hierarchy. The first is the Nadra-Vara'Gol, the Order of the Varaguard, the second is the Nadra-Kishan, the Order of the War Alchemists.
The Vara'Gol are composed of the most dedicated among the nation. Their sole purpose is to prevent, at all costs, the liberation of the Gods from Below and, if possible, to put those monstrosities to the blade. The Varaguards are the only Kaaradi which wear heavy armour, made of bronze and Vara, an ore which is nearly impervious to magic. They use the usual weapons of the Kaaradi soldiers with the exception of the Skadra, useless because of their armours, which is replaced by a shield and a spear. Every member of the Order has Major Runes carved in his flesh and equipment.
The Nadra-Kishan are just as revered as the Vara-Gol, but for different reasons: the Order of the War Alchemist creates the deadliest poisons of Solcu and uses them in combat. The Order has developed ingenious weapons which spray poisons with a wide scope, but most of these weapons are still in a experimental stage and are dangerous to their users.
Finally, there are two Covens of assassins, composed only of Kaaradi born with the Sigil of the Unholy Child. The Coven of the Merciful Sleep, which uses seduction and deceit to kill their targets in their sleep, the Coven of the Sorrowful Life, which uses more direct tactics and terror to kill their targets. The Covens usually take their orders from the High Priests of Shal'vrral, but are also found working to other groups, like the government of the Commonwealth, often in exchange for new slaves.
Slavery and BloodlinesEdit
Relationship between slaves and mastersEdit
- "The power goes only dressed."
The Kaaradi (and Urshari in Täjara) and their slaves have a very peculiar relationship, which often baffle other species, especially the Ashan and Ashtari, being really different than the usual relation between a slave and his master. The Kaaradi believe that the slaves belong to their masters and that the masters must protect their slaves at all costs, leading to an almost symbiotic relationship.
Each Bloodline of Slaves is dedicated to a single task and in these fields, the Slaves have the political power and an obligation to obey their masters; outside of those fields, the slaves have the same rights that the Kaaradi have. Each Kaaradi is gifted with two slaves at birth, slaves who can be of any bloodlines and have a greater social position than their masters (such as the Living Gods or the Head of Bloodlines).
All the Bloodlines share a common feature with their masters: amethyst pupils allowing them to see perfectly even without any light. This mutation come from the Drullir, a fungus at the base of the Kaaradi's diet and their slaves. The slaves of the Ushari in the Windlands and Täjara are also born with these pupils, but they are increasingly more rare with each generation.
Tha Ath are supposed to be the progenitor of the Kaaradi, however some Ath were enslaved by their former brothers and sisters. There is actually three Bloodlines hailing from the Ath, probably being the nearest from the original Ath. It has been noted that those Ath share a lot of common features with their Kaaradi masters (eight canines, pointy ears) but also have a lot of differences (smaller stature and pink skin despite the thousand years of existence in Kaarad).
Among the Urshari living in the Windland, the Ath are known for staying close to the families of their former masters, but they also service the Wind Elves.
- Keeper of the Home
This Bloodline is tasked with the protection of Kaaradi's homes inside a Gathering, Bastion or City. They are trained in combat, as a last line of defence against invaders, and chores such as cooking, cleaning or taking care of young Kaaradi. The Keepers are renowned for their protectiveness toward their masters' homes and family, going as far as slicing their throat before revealing anything to potential enemies. On average they are slightly smaller than one meter.
The Keeper aren't fit to participate in the war effort against Those from Below (and to a lesser extent the Asha until the ceasefire, and now the Dwarves) that is the driving force of Kaaradi society, but thanks to their service, every Kaaradi is able to participate in every mission.
One of the more of the more renowned bloodline with the task to tame the dangerous creatures inhabiting Kaarad. Despite food shortage, every Gathering tames some creatures, usually Irskas and Kiaris, to ensure the flow of communications and ease of hunts. The Beastmasters size average between 1m05 and 1m15.
The Beastmasters are known for their ability to tame even the mighty Turakas, adding the ferocity and strange abilities of this apex predator to the Kaaradi's armies. They also managed to tame the Kiaris, Irska, and Ragamu.
The duty of this Bloodline is to collect the resources necessary for survival in Kaarad. An extremely dangerous task in the early stages of the creation of a Gathering, having to venture into the most fertile and deadly caves of Kaarad. Once A Gathering as excavated the Wombs, a system of artificial caves where the Kaaradi plant the edible fungi of Kaarad, the Collectors must take care of them and protect these crops.
The life of a Collector may seem harsh and unrewarding, but the members of this Bloodline know better: without them and their hard and ungrateful work, their Kaaradi masters would starve to death and Those from Below would rule the Kaarad unchallenged, claim Abydos and Shambala and destroy the world. Because of this their masters reward them for their duty and loyalty.
The Kaaradi, once they settled in Kaarad quickly discovered that they needed to dig quicker than they could to manage to prosper or even survive in this land. The Ath weren't fit for this taks so they raided the surface world and kidnapped many human tribes that persecuted their Ath ancestors.
Instead of separating the tribes in proper Bloodlines, as they had done with the Ath's clans, the Kaaradi forced the humans to merge into a single Bloodline: the Diggers. The Diggers of today are renowned for their great stamina, their monstrous strength (compared to other humans) but also their placidity and even stupidity, thanks to the use of the Ruul in the early days of the Bloodline to enhance them and prevent revolts.
The Diggers are fiercely loyal to their masters, a behaviours which led to some problems for the Urshari in Täjara and the Windlands, because r the Diggers reacted with violence when these countries attempted to separate them from the Urshari, going as far as killing those who tried.
- Axe Wielder
An somewhat recent blooline that was created less than 2000 years ago and all of them have Täjaran descent. Among the Kaaradi and the members of this Bloodline, it is told that an earthquake led to the destruction of a Täjaran City near the Gate of Despair, trapping the humans in Kaarad. The inhabitant of the city were saved by the Kaaradi and enslaved in the process.
It was thanks to the Axe Wielders following them that Urshar and his followers managed to quickly learn the modern Täjaran. They are trained to kill since the age of three and devoted to protect their masters. This also helped the Täjaran acceptance of the Urshari into their Empire and offering the Aze wieldes freedom in Täjara.
In the modern days the Axe Wielders are often used in the fiercest fight against Those from Below but also to protect Kaaradi's merchants moving to the surface world. It is a great honour for those warriors to protect their masters in a world unfitted for them.
The Deathsinger Bloodline is an anomaly within the Kaaradi society. The members of this Bloodline are the only ones allowed to use spells instead of rune magic. They are praised for their grace and melodious voices and for their apparent natural ability to channel magic through spells and songs. This bloodline has very little difference from other Asha but their bodies are covered in runic scars because the Kaaradi believe that only by channelling their abilities through said runes will the elves avoid the corruption emanating from the Gods from Below.
They are trained to use singspells, combining the beauty of their voices with the deadly use of magic, since the age of two. Because of these wonderful melodies a lot of Kaaradi ended up learning the Ashan, because they felt that to translate these songs to Kaaradi would have been an insult. To the surprise of both the Kaaradi and Asha, some Deathsingers ascend to the state of Boddisatvha, a transformation which is seen as a proof of the natural connection between the elves and the mythical creators of the Ath, and another reason to lament when it come to the Asha and their most sacred place.
The Deathsingers are few among the Urshari in Täjara because of Wind elven raids and a low number of Deathsingers belonging to the Urshari; in the Windland, the Deathsingers left the Urshari to live in Wind elven society.
- Child of Spear
Just like the Axe Wielder Bloodline, this one is relatively new in the Kaarad, since it was created 2500 years ago. As their name state, these Asha use spears to kill their enemies and are trained since the age of three to use them. They are extremely skilled thanks to their long life.
The Children of Spears often compete with the Axe Wielders to impress their masters, but the members of this Bloodline are know for being the least dedicated to the Kaaradi among all the Bloodlines. This lack of devotion probably comes from the long life span of the Children, meaning that their enslavement is a lot less ancient for them than for their masters. However due to the devotion of the Deathsingers it is more probable that their way of life is to blame.
Just like the Deathsingers, the Children are fewer in Täjara and joined the Asha in the Windlands.
Steelgrinder This "Bloodline" only recently earned this title, since the second generation of Ogres born in Kaarad date only of four years ago, but this Bloodline is already well respected, even if they are very inconvenient due to their tendency to eat too much. They brought the techniques to forge iron and steel in Kaarad.
This Bloodline origin is also fairly recent, for it dates back to the creation of the Ogre Commonwealth, when the Kiaris family chose to improve the Kaarad defenses against dwarves encroachment from the above wit their connection to the Urshari in Täjara. Learning of the Commonwealth, the Kiaris Head, Askar, father of the actual Kaaral, broke a deal with the committee of Directors: in exchange of slaves made of dissenters, the committee would have access to Kaaradi's assassins for free, but couldn't be used against other members of the committee or the Prime Secretary.
The first year for the Ogres in Kaarad were hard, both for the new slaves and their masters, because their appetite is hard to satiate. It is because of this appetite that the Steelgrinders are so few in Kaarad. One of the second generation children is a Living God, called Karkga Galrag, She who crush the Stone.
This Bloodline earned this title less than two years ago, when the second generation of dwarves born in Kaarad was officially recognized. The Steelmasters are renowned for their stamina, low appetites, hard work and their knowledge over metals.
They are few in Kaarad but are slightly less rare than the Steelgrinders and one of the cheapest bloodlines to sustain. Furthermore they are restricted to the sole role of blacksmith, for the Kaaradi believe that the dwarves would attempt a rebellion if they were allowed to be both warriors and blackmisths.
The Steelmasters are even more stubborn than the Ogre, thus leading to the use of Ruul to keep them under control, even if it's noted that the dwarves are highly resilient to the effects of the fungus. Nonetheless, the Ruul allowed the Kaaradi to keep the Steelmasters under control, and the Kaaradi believe that in two or three generation this bloodline will defend their current way of life as fiercely as the free dwarves protect their own.
The Kaaradi's most distinctive feature is maybe their deep faith. Among the species of Solcu, they stand apart from most since their everyday live is deeply rooted in religion, faith and acts of piety. It is in fact near impossible for a foreigner to understand, or even learn, all the rituals, acts of piety and ceremonies hold by the Kaaradi, for almost each gatherings hols its own creed on some matters. However, the most commons, found in the whole Kaarad (and sometime even among the Urshari) are listed below.
In the long history of the Kaaradi, the Choice is a fairly recent addition to their religious behaviour. It was a creation of Kaaral Drakoris ssla Turakas, the grandson of the infamous Kaaral Drakan ssla Turakas, after the departure of Urshar and his followers to the surface world. Horrified by what he believed was a betrayal which could lead to the doom of the Kaaradi, and thus the doom of Solcu itself, Drakoris claimed that never more should the Kaaradi be able to turn their back on their Gods. Then with the High Priests of every God, from the Ancient Gods to the Monster-Gods, in the whole Kaarad, he created the Choice.
This ceremony was widely accepted by all the Kaaradi, and the Kiaris family, when she claimed the throne of Kaarad assured that the Choice would be preserved. In itself, this ceremony is extremely simple, but for the Kaaradi, known for their devotion and faith, it has become one of the most important religious ceremony of Kaarad: when a Kaaradi, or a slave, is 10 years old (kaaradi's years) he must choose a God who will be the owner of his or her soul. When the Kaaradi, or slave, will die, his or her soul will be claimed by the God and exist in the Realm of the deity.
Those who forsake their oath toward a God are damned in the eyes of the Kaaradi, for when they'll die, their soul will be sucked into the Realm of Terror, forever trapped with the Gods of Terror and their servants, a faith grim enough to insure that no Kaaradi would turn his back to his Gods.
During the ceremony, one parent of the opposite sex that the one of the child will use a ceremonial knife called Sakti to scarify the face of the child, using the Sigil of the God chosen by the young Kaaradi. Meanwhile, the child must hold a bowl were the blood will fall during the first part of the ritual, and which will be used during the second part. Crying or moaning with pain is seen as a great shame despite the suffering brought by this long ordeal, for the Sigils are complex and deep, since the parent carve scars in the face of the child.
When the scarification is complete, a priest of the chosen God use a dough on the scars, who will an icy blue tint, visible on all the colours of the Kaaradi skins. Then, the blood of the supplicant will be used to complete the ceremony, since the child must drink his or her own blood to seal the deal with the God who was Chosen. Those scars are the easier way for a stranger to know if he face a Kaaradi or an Urshari, since the latter don't scarify themselves.
The Dedication is one of the most oldest rituals of the Kaaradi, but also the most simple: at any point of her live, a Kaaradi could claim that she will Dedicate herself, and thus become a priest of a God. Once she publicly stated this goal, she ritually undress and give her belonging to those poorest than her, and then walk nude to the Temple of her God. There, the priests will cut their wrist and shower her in their blood, claiming that by this blood she is reborn as a new creature and that her old self died in the process. The new priest then take a new name and forsake her ancient life.
Maybe one of the most distasteful behaviour of the Kaaradi, which put them at odds with most of the sapient beings of Solcu, the diet of the inhabitant of Kaarad hold a great deal of religion weigh. Indeed, Kaarad is a harsh place, were food is rare and rarer the one which isn't poisonous. While the Kaaradi managed to circumvent some of these problems by creating pools of fresh waters in their Gatherings, where they put fishes from Kaarad, they still often lack enough resources, even with the hunt and picking in the dark caves of Kaarad, even cooking the poisonous mushrooms, fungus and insects of Kaarad weak enough to be eaten and creating a form of immunity to poison isn't enough to feed the whole population of Kaarad.
Therefore, food is seen as holy, and wasting it is seen as a crime liable of death in the most extreme cases. The complete their diet, the Kaaradi resorted since ancient times to the practice of cannibalism and anthropophagy, a behaviours obviously hated by other species, especially the elves. However, such practices are seen by the Kaaradi not only vital to avoid famine but also necessary to insure that the souls of the dead will reach the Realms of the Gods; the Kaaradi are terrified by the practice of species who bury their deads or burn them, believing that such treatment grant the dead to either the Undeads of the Underworld or other ethereal horrors.
These practices are ritualized to the extreme, for it is forbidden that a members of the dead family eat the flesh of one of them, therefore the body is cut in pieces gifted to others Kaaradi, his blood and others fluids granted to the Alchemists of the Gathering, Bastion or City to be used as a mean to create poisons or antidotes, thus allowing the dead to help the living by his flesh and his blood. The Kaaradi are also allowed to consume the flesh of all dead's slave, while the slaves are forbidden to eat the flesh of a dead from their Bloodline but can eat the body of other Bloodlines members.
Finally, it must be said that the Kaaradi don't have any alcohol, of any sort, and are therefore extremely weak to the effects of such drinks. However, they compensate it by the use of water infused with venomous fungus weak enough to clarify the mind of a Kaaradi and strong enough to make a Täjaran's organs bleed during three days. But even the consumption of such drinks are only allowed for religious motives, usually during a feast.
It should be noted that the Urshari in Täjara stil eat the flesh of their dead, while in the Windlands, the Urshari chose to burn their dead, believing that the fire would consume the remaining chains binding them to the Monster-Gods.
Ordrak Zogrän DurEdit
The Gods are Hungry. Such is the name of this ritual, which is both a sacrifice and a combat to the death. Odrak Zogrän Dur is practised only when insults of injuries so dire have been pronounced than any other course of action is void of meaning in the eyes of the Kaaradi. During this ritual, the two contestants, the abusive and the insulted, meet in an arena with only their weapons, no poison, no runes and no armours. They then fight until one of them is incapacitated; his opponent then open the torso of the defeated and eat his living heart as a mean to feed the Gods, then, the youngest Kaaradi in the community who watched the combat must eat the body of the defeated until only broken bones remains. The Kaaradi believe that by doing so, they offer both the soul of the dead to the Gods and a multitude of possibility for the dead to obtain glory trough the young ones who ate him.
This ritual is still practiced by the Urshari, in both Täjara (where it is called Odrak Zogra Duur) and the Windlands (where it is known as Oldak Zoglaan Dul) even if the Urshari among the Wind elves end their fight by killing their opponent without eating him.
In the Kaaradi faith, it is common to sacrifice to the Gods; usually, the sacrifice are animals, whose heart, blood and guts will be offered to the Gods, while the Kaaradi will eat their flesh. However, when a Kaaradi attain a very old age, and is then more a burden than a strength for his people, he often offer himself as a sacrifice to the Gods. It is also heard of prisoners of war too stubborn to be made slaves who are sacrificed to the Gods.
By doing so, the Kaaradi believe that they strengthen their Gods, offering them souls and thus warriors to stand vigilant in the Realms to stand against the incursions of the Gods from Below and their slaves beyond the reality of Solcu. For the Kaaradi, when an elder willingly chose to sacrifice himself, it is a proof of his devotion and the ancient is highly honoured and fondly remembered after his death. As for those deemed unworthy to be even slaves, well, suffice to say that they eschew slavery in this life and freedom in the afterlife for an eternity of slavery in the Realm of the God they nourished.
The Urshari in Täjara aren't practising sacrifices anymore, for they don't deem them worthy of Shal'vrral and the Täjaran Gods they now worship. In the Windlands, however, sacrifices are commons.
The priesthood of the Kaaradi form an highly revered cast among their society. Just like their brethren, they are formidable warriors before anything else. But they chose to forsake their previous live to devote themselves to the Gods, which is seen as an act of pure devotion for both the divine protectors of the Kaaradi and the life of all the inhabitants of Solcu, for the Children of the Monster-Gods. All priests must be ready to participate in battles, where their piety often make them the most terrific warriors.
Since the Kaaradi have a great number of Gods, each Kaaradi can discover the one for whom he will forsake his previous life. Usually, the Gods of Kaarad are divided in three categories: the Monster-Gods, the Ancient Gods and the so-called Ancestor-Gods
The Monster-Gods are the most important divinities among the Kaaradi, for they were the ones which helped and protected the Ath who followed Kor ra Ath when he moved to the Underworld with the majority of the Ath, to wage his war against Those from Below, a thousand years before the end of the Age of Myth, if the legends of Kaarad are true. The Monster-Gods are:
- Koraal, which is the main Goddess of the Kaaradi, whose name literally means Queen of Fury (often nicknamed the Bloody Crone). Koraal is the Goddess of Fury, Carnage, Violence, but also of Unity, Honour and Given word.
- Sta'geshal (whose name means the Soul Stealer, and which is often nicknamed as the Dark Elder), husband of Koraal, is the God of Magic, Soul-Trapping, Hatred, but also Wisdom, Writing and Knowledge.
- Kalan'fuelak is the daughter of both Koraal and Sta'geshal. It is a terrific Goddess, for she his the divinity who rule above mutilations, sacrifices and arrogance. Yet, as much of the Kaaradi Gods, she is ambiguous, since she is the Goddess who protect the home and its inhabitants, both slaves and Kaaradi. Her name mean the Dark Flame, a strange name considering her powers, but it could refer to the flame of arrogance. Her title of Grim Princess is more easily understandable, for she has a volptuous body (it is said by the Kaaradi that no other God has a body as beautiful as her) yet her head is from a Bilious Wyrm.
- Mandar'marli is the brother, and husband, of the Grim Princess. He is the God forge and crafting, and it is said that he was the one who taught to the first Kaaradi how to forge bronze weapons, a fact which explain why the Forge Master is highly revered among the Kaaradi, second only to his mother Koraal and his son, the Unholy Child. Yet, he is also the God of Horror and Disgust and nicknamed the Walking Horror, for his wonderful elven-like face is placed on the body of an atrocious and gigantic spider.
- Shal'vrral is the son of the Forge Master and the Grim Princess. Called the Unholy Child, he is the only God created by the faith of the Kaaradi and his thus more tied to them than the other Monster-Gods, a fact which explain why he is still the main God of the Urshari. He is a beloved God, for the Kaaradi believe that in death he bring peace and rest to the dead. This belief explain why Shal'vrral as the most numerous priests or Chosen after Koraal.
When a outsiders learns of the Pantheon of the Monster-Gods they quickly understand why the priesthoods of each divinity behave so differently. Furthermore, the Priests in the Ukrin'daram don't have a single ruler, but are semi-independent from authorities at a higher level, while ingrained in the social and political structure at a local level: even if there exists a nominal head of each cult, which siege at the High Council, under the titles of High Priests, they are only the chiefs among the Priests inhabiting the City where the Kaaral reside; if a Kaaral was designated among the members of a Bastion (as it happened twice) or even a Gathering, the High Priests would be the top-ranked priest in said Bastion or Gathering. The High Priests are able to shape their Cult at the level of the Ukrin'daram, but not as much as an outsider would believe, they are merely able to change doctrines of minor importance.
It is truly at the local level that the Priests possesses the greater power, since they have highly estimated roles in the Kaaradi's society, and it is there that they can develop the faith in their Gods; it should be noted that, contrary to some priests from the Overworld who worship their whole Pantheon, the Kaaradi's priests have to dedicate themselves to one God only, which explains the great differences between each cult.
The priests of KoraalEdit
As one could except from the most important Goddess, Koraal possesses the greater number of Priests in the Ukrin'daram, which also possesses a very important role, since they are the ones keep the Ukrin itself strong among the Kaaradi. Contrary to most of the other priests, who often separate battlefields and place of prayers, the priests who dedicated themselves to the Queen of Fury claim that there is no better place to worship Her than in the midst of battle, that there isn't greater offering to the Bloody Crone than the life of Her enemies. Such beliefs explain why the Priests of Koraal can always be found at the frontline of every battle where they appear, their great voices strengthening the wills of all around them.
But even outside the battlefield, the priests of Koraal have many obligations: they are the ones teaching to the infant Kaaradi the importance of unity, honour and given word, for they seek to preserve the unity of the Ukrin'daram as a whole, a goal which can be fulfilled only by educating each generation of a race prone to violence and arrogance. It is not an exaggeration to say that without the priests of Koraal, the greatest warrior-kingdom of the Underworld would have devolved into an immense number of little communities easily destroyed by their enemies.
The priests of Sta'geshalEdit
Contrary to the priests who worship his wife, the priests of Sta'geshal are calm and well mannered, preferring the silence of their temple-schools to the rumble of war. However, the ones who would believe them to be weak would be incredibly wrong, for they are terrific warriors when the need arises, when they take the mantle of their god's hatred to smite His enemies. However, it is for their great knowledge of magic, history and geography that the Priests of Sta'geshal are held in high esteem by the Kaaradi: without them, the kaarada, the common tongue of all the Kaaradi settlements, would have died long ago, leaving only dialects who would have grown separately, as it happened with the urshara, the tongues spoken by the Urshari, in only a thousand years, a mortal division for the Kaaradi who would have been unable to understand each other with ease and would have ended killing each others. It is them, alongside the priests of Kalan'fuelak, who instruct the young Kaaradi in the fields of language, culture, history and many others.
Above all else, the Priests of Sta'geshal are, with the Deathsinger Bloodline, the only ones allowed to practice magic in the Ukrin'daram, and even then, their magic revolve around the use of runes, for their Creed claims that the raw power of arcane is but a corrupted energy, which can be hijacked by the Terror-Gods to do their atrocious works; therefore, the arcane must be filtrated, purged and canalized in the shape of runes, carved in stone, metal or even flesh. It was the priests of the Soul Stealer who created all the runes existing among the Kaaradi, even the terrific Major Rune of Soul-trapping.
The priests of Kalan'fuelakEdit
As the priests of the Goddess of mutilations, sacrifices and arrogance, those who dedicated themselves to Kalan'fuelak are rightly feared for their psychotic behaviour, even for the fairly brutal and bloodthirsty usual behaviour among Kaaradi; they are known to mutilate themselves in their devotion to their terrible Goddess. And yet, when the very homes of the Kaaradi are besieged by hordes of the Undead or Those from Below, swarmed by the dwarves and eleven armies, the priests of Kalan'fuelak stand firm, never faltering nor giving up even a step, their roaring devotions boosting the will of the Kaaradi's defenders.
As strange as it could seems, the priests of Kalan'fuelak share a great part of the early education of Kaaradi with the priests of Sta'geshal; but where the priests of the Soul Stealer teach mainly spiritual and cultural knowledge, the priests of the Grim Princess teach the ways of war, how to kill an enemy and how to fight. For the Kaaradi, such knowledge is just as esteemed than the knowledge of ancient stories and legends, for they are warriors above anything else, every one of them able to be mobilized to fight the enemies of the Ukrin'daram, and it is those who underwent the Dedication to the Dark Flame who insured that this fact remained true in the long history of their people.
The priests of Mandar'marliEdit
The priests of Mandar'marli aren't great warriors or preachers, but nevertheless, them and their God are second only to Korral and Shal'vrral and their priests in the heart of the Kaaradi, for, contrary to all the other priests, those of the Forge Master don't live in temple, but only in little caves extremely uncomfortable and make a living out of what they can craft. Indeed, it is their sacerdotal duty since they are the priests of the God of forge and craft, and their mastery in such domains is almost without rival among their people, with only some Orders of crafts and blacksmiths able to compete with them Without the Priests of Mandar'marli, many knowledge would be lost for they don't seems essential to the endless wars that make the lives of Kaaradi, but how one could learn if the knowledge to create books is lost ? How one could rest and heal if the knowledge to create the dry and warm places were the ill are healed is lost ?
And yet, the priests of Mandar'marli posses a darker face, the one where they show why their tutelary divinity is called the Walking Horror, for they willingly craft hideous and disgusting masks and armours which make their enemies sick with a visceral disgust or flee in horror; furthermore, it is them who tame the most vicious monstrosities of the Kaarad, such as the Ravening Swarms, the Screaming Mantis and even the sickening Ssatukal. When their bestiary is launched against the enemies of the Kaaradi, all but the Undead flee away to avoid such abominations.
The priests of Shal'vrralEdit
The priests worshipping the Unholy Child are among the most calm and well behaving Kaaradi, and are in fact one of the main diplomatic tie with both the Overworld and the other civilizations from the Underworld. They are known for their capacity to smooth the transition between life and death, helping others to cope out with the loss of family's members or loved one. It is in fact almost a daily basis for Shal'vrral priests, since they devote themselves to both the Kaaradi and their slaves, believing that in death, all are rendered equal. Maybe because of this behaviour, they are often seen as living representation of the peaceful facet of the Unholy Child. Yet, those priests are able to take part in war, where their snake-like fighting style distinguish them from the more savage and ferocious behaviour from their brethren.
The priests of Shal'vrral also posses a far darker facter, for they are the ones ruling above The Covens of Assassins, the sacred order of dedicated killers marked from birth by Shal'vrral to accomplish His will. It is the priests who train the assassins, from the moment of their birth to their first kill, usually at the age of 6 or 7 Cycles the Laek'tal (roughly 3 years of the Overworld), for after this bloody ceremony, the older Assassins are put in charge of their younger "siblings". Therefore, the Priests of Shal'vrral posses a great amount of unknown power in the Ukrin'daram, even if they themselves can become the preys of Assassins should they be corrupted.
The Ancient GodsEdit
The Ancient Gods, or the Five, is the name for the five deities which were at the centre of the Ath religion, but which have lost most of their worshippers to the Monster-Gods, yet are still worshipped by all the Kaaradi, if only in indirect form. A Kaaradi can't choose an Ancient God during the Choice if he or she doesn't wish to become one of the very few priests of this deity, the reason why so few of them exist. These priests are an important part of the Kaaradi society, by preserving the ancestral traditions of the Aths since eleven thousand years ago, teaching the songs and dance of old and preserving the most ancient legends. They are the far-seers, death-speakers and mystics of the Ukrin'daram.
In many Gatherings, there will be only one priest who dedicates himself to one of the five Ancient Gods, sometimes with their apprentices, and they can't hunt or go to war until the apprentice as mastered its role. Because of their low numbers not all Gatherings can practice all of the rituals and events of these deities, so usually these priests travel with great escorts from Gathering to Gathering to strengthen the ties between the Kaaradi and reinvigorate the nation.
Some of the duties of the priests of the Five are healing the sick and performing marital and funeral rites (including consumption of the dead so they can move on to the afterlife). While their methods are considered outdated, when compared to those of the Alchemists, the faith that their fellow Kaaradi pour in them allows them to perform miracles when they do manage to channel the power of their Gods.
The Five Gods are:
- Tuam: The Kiaris God, an ancient form of Tiam, the Tiger God of Täjara, he rules over the Hunt and is a force of patience, cunning, stealth and decisiveness. In the Ath legends, Tuam is the one who taught them how to hunt with spears. In the Kaaradi teachings, he taught them how to use darkness as a weapon. His priests primary duty is to upheld all the ceremonies tied to hunting. Despite the importance of hunting in the Kaaradi's lives, Tuam lost most of its importance until the capture of numerous Täjaran survivors from the Fell of Kumbadaya two thousand years ago.
- Dura'turakas: The Great Bilious Wyrm rules over Destruction, Dreams, Hope and Fortitude and one of the most famous of the Ancient Gods. In the Ath teachings, he destroyed their enemies and the impure, while preserving the flame of hope and dream. In the Kaaradi teachings he is the wisest of the Gods and is able to foresee the future in his dreams, for he led them to Kaarad and the Monster Gods resting in the Slumbering Deeps. It is said that Dura'turakas now sleeps in Kaarad, trying to discover in his dreams a way to destroy Those from Below and their dark masters. His priests are the most mystical among those of the Five, teaching strange methods of meditation. Their domain is all which concerns the mind: they prepare the insane, the old and the frail for their sacrifices but also try to ease the brutal life of the Kaaradi with songs and dances.
- Gänagralda: The All-Mother was the most prominent divinity in the Ath Pantheon, but as of today, she is the less important of the Five, as she is said to rule over the Sky, Joy, Compassion, Harvest and Fertility. She has lost most of her worshippers, but once every Cycle of the Laek'tal, every Gathering, Bastion and City in the Ukrin'daram will enter into a frenzy of dance, sex, love and compassion, known as Gänagruda, the Day of Gänagralda. Minor offences are forgotten and prisoners of war captured less than the three months preceding it are released. It is the one and only occasion where the priests of the All-Mother appear in public to enact the old rites and sing the ancient songs, they tell the legends of the Ath and for the duration of a full Kaaradi day, they insure that there is no Kaaradi in the Kaarad, only Aths.
- Surkadal: The Prince of Lies, also known as the Spider is the Ancient God of Trickery, Lies, Secrets and Lore. The Prince of Lies wear many a face and a name, and it is said in Kaaradi legends that he travelled from one Ath village to the next under the guise of a wise old Ath, a strong and ferocious female, an enormous spider, a cloud of mist or any other of his thousands of faces. Surkadal was both loved and hated by the Kaaradi, for he brought either woe or bliss, but always change. To no surprise, his priests are the rarest of the Five priests, but they are among the most frightening Kaaradi that any can ever encounter, wearing highly stylised masks, and when they act as the sole messengers of their God, spreading words both true and false for no apparent reason but the sake of Change itself.
- Nuam'uamre: The Earth-Father is second only to Dura'turakas in the hearts of the Kaaradi, for he is the God of earth, rock, the places deep below the world, the secrets hidden way from the surface and therefore, an ever present deity for the Kaaradi. Husband of the All-Mother, the Earth-Father is said to be sick, if his priests are to be believed; they claim that the Kaarad itself is the corruption of Nuam'uamre body, that Those from Below and their masters try to infect the whole world to spread their sickness and that it his only the Kaaradi who stand between the world and its annihilation. In the name of the Earth-Father, his priests wanders deep into the Underworld, to insure that secret and ancient caves are still sealed, preserving the world of ancient horrors. Since the coming of the Dwarves above the Ukrin'daram and their tendencies to open such caves, the numer of those priests has grown a lot, for many secrets and treasures must be kept away from dwarven hands.
Since the Kaaradi consider genealogy of utmost importance, it is no surprise that they revere their ancestors as divinities. However, only the most prominent members of a lineage are deemed worthy of being revered namely, for the others are all lumped together in the form of an Ancestor with unidentified features. Contrary to the other forms of worship among the Kaaradi, the priests of the Ancestor Gods aren't technically priests, but more elderly and wise members of the lineage, who keep tabs of the marriages, birth and death in their extended family. To appease the ancestors, incense is burned and prayers are told before home-made altars in the houses of every member of the family. It is thus extremely common to see altar of both the father and mother Ancestor Gods if they aren't of the same family.
Even the Slave Bloodlines have the right to worship their Ancestors, in the same way any Karaadi would do, albeit with one variant : the Living-Gods, which became Great Ancestors after their death have to be worshipped by the whole Bloodline, for their merits and legendary actions managed to earn them the extremely rare title of Living-God, a fact which occur less than once in a thousand years for each Bloodline, and it has never occurred that two Bloodlines would have a Living-God in the same time.
The Lost AncestorsEdit
The Lost Ancestors is a common name for all the Kaaradi whose bodies weren't eaten after their death but it usually refers only to all the Kaaradi who died when Drakan ssla Turakas led the Great Army to Amrâvati to die in vain. Contrary to the Ancestors, the Lost are feared as it is believed that they hold a grudge against all the living and Ancestors alike. The Kaaradi believe that the leaders of undead hordes roaming in some part of the Kaarad are in fact Lost Ancestors who managed to befoul the corpses littering the twisted caves of the Land of Terror. Therefore, the Lost Ancestors do not posses any "priests", not even elders Kaaradi.
Since the grandson of Drakan, Kaaral Drakoris created the Choice, a Kaaradi only need to have even one part of their body eaten to avoid such a cursed fate, therefore it is not uncommon for soldiers sent in the most dangerous zones of the Kaarad to cut a pound of flesh before their departure, which is left in their home to be preserved thanks to runes and the natural conditions of the Kaaradi habitations, and eaten if news of their death reach their beloved family.
The Priests of Zaekus are the less numerous priesthood found in Kaarad, for serving He Who Sleep is a stringer commitment than any other: one must reject his own name and severe all ties with lay Kaaradi. They must devote themselves fully to the God of Justice. Most of the barely two hundreds Priests reside in the Cave of Light, one of the most sacred place in Kaarad, where they spend their time in prayer, theological debates and writing the Scriptures of the Awakened. Only an handful of Zaekus Priests travel in the Ukrin'daram, but these holy of men and women are revered as the living incarnations of their God, for the Kaaradi believe that only those that have transcended the mortal flesh can travel without dying trough Kaarad while blind.
This blindness, which comes from the constant illumination of the Cave of Light, is the most distinctive trait from those priests and another reason which explains their low numbers. Since Askerok Kiaris became the Kaaral, more young Kaaradi than ever before underwent the Choice and dedicate themselves to He Who Sleep.
The Elders are known as the keepers of knowledge and history of their species, so they take care of babies and children, teaching them what it is to be a Kaaradi. As for the Kaaradi who could live longer than a century (a rarity) they are known as the Ancestrals, but they are usually deeply affected by their old age and therefore have lost their minds. They are honoured because when they began to lost their memories, they are willingly used as sacrifice to keep the cells of the Gods from Below closed
Relations with other speciesEdit
The relation between the Kaaradi and the Leprechauns is, just as the one with the Aingeleen, born out of exceptional circumstances: the first contact date back only to 490 years ago, which is extremely recent in the Kaaradi history, and the Leprechans discovered were members of the Calth Bratrash, a cult of assassins bearing similar features in their belief and actions than the Covens of Shal'vrral. Furthermore, the Calth Bratrash were discovered by a patrol far outside of the Kaarad's borders sent there by prophetic visions from a high-priest of Sta'geshal, while the leprechauns were fighting Waldghast, creatures which were seen as a brood of Those from Below by the Kaaradi.
This is the fact that the Calth Brathras fought the monstrosities which led the Kaaradi to help them. While the language barrier halted the efforts of both side at first, the patrol managed to learn enough of the leprechauns tongue in two month to show them edible fungus, mushrooms and creatures in the surrounding. The Alchemist of the patrol did go as far as teaching some poisons to their little new friends, an action which was disapproved by his Order, but saluted by the rest of the Kaaradi, since it helped proven enemies of Those from Below.
Since this time, the Kaaradi kept contact with the members of the Calth Brathras, helping them when the leprechauns were in danger and when they could dispatch troops so far from their territory. Since the caves surrounding the region known as the Temple of Druuakalari, the name given by the Kaaradi to the leprechauns, are less deadly than the Kaarad, some Kaaradi chose to settle there, working with the Calth Bratrash. However, the Kaaradi don't have any contact with others leprechauns.
- Dru: Brother,
- Uuak: Little,
- Kalar: the High or Surface World,
- -i: suffix denoting the belonging to a territory or a faction (so, Kaaradi literally means "Those from the Land of Terror" and Druuakalari mean "Little Brothers from the Surface").
Among all the interspecies relations, the one between Kaaradi and Asha is probably one of the strangest, at least from the Kaaradi point of view. One could suppose that after three thousand years of war, skirmishes and invasions, the Kaaradi would have an old hatred and deep grudges against the Death Elves. And yet, it isn't true.
Indeed, most (if not all the Kaaradi) do not hate the Asha. Sure, some of them are angry at the elves from the Underworld, for they believe that the inhabitants of Shambala are blind to the dangers lurking inside their precious Amravati. But the main feeling when a Kaaradi talk about the Asha is respect. A fact easily explained: the children of the Monster-Gods created a warrior culture, probably the oldest of Solcu, and in this culture, a strong dedication to its beliefs and the strength to back them up is worthy of respect. Added to this, the fact that the first invasion of Shambala by the Kaaradi was launched out of religious terror instead of hatred prevented the Kaaradi to hate their long-time enemies.
The Asha, by not only surviving three millennia of war with the Kaaradi, but sometimes by pushing back through Kaarad itself have proven that they are strong, and thus worthy of respect. Only the Aingeleen are more respected than the Asha in the Kaarad. It is something strange, because such respect would usually prevent the Kaaradi to enslave the Asha, and yet they did; still this respect was what allowed Kaaral Kor nal Askerok Kiaris to obtain a cease-fire with the Asha which minimal concessions from his subjects (as an example, the liberation of all new slaves and their children, if said children hadn't sired themselves, was one of the concessions made by the Kaaradi).
However, a wise traveller would quickly understand that the reason behind such respect is mainly the fact that the Kaaradi believe that they are superior to any other species, stronger, wiser and deadlier than any; if the Asha were weak, it would imply that the Kaaradi themselves are weak, something intolerable for the inhabitants of Kaarad. Therefore, a wise traveller shouldn't badmouth the Asha, for it would be insulting the Kaaradi in the same move.