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Shanari Description

The Shanari are ethnically related, but vary in culture and lifestyle from tribe to tribe. The tribes in the north are primarily nomadic herdsmen, and those to the south practice some agriculture and live in semi-permanent villages. Even those with village life migrate with the seasons, however, and when planting season is over, they travel to winter grounds.

Most of the groups are made up of about 50 to 100 individuals, fewer generally in the fully nomadic groups, and more in the sedentary ones. These are loosely familial, and cross-tribal marriage is the norm. Men take more than one wife, generally, and the tribes do raid one another for livestock and wives. This intertribal rivalry has lasted for as long as anyone remembers, and has effectively kept the Shanari from being anything more than a nuisance to their neighbors.

The family groups are ruled by a patriarch called a Sanouk, and each group has one. This man is generally an elder, and rules his family absolutely. Things have begun to change, however, for a group of seeresses, the Alb-Shanari, have emerged among the nomadic tribes. These women claim to be inspired by a new god called Sin-Alb (he who sees all), who dwells in the Shadowlands, and the floating city of Annaeyana is his home. The seeresses wear black robes and veils so that no part of them is revealed, and glimpsing a seeress' skin is punishable by death.

The Alb-Shanari have convinced a powerful Sanouk, Hisinvol, of their faith, and he has used his charisma and familial connections to convince many other of the nomadic Sanouki of this new faith. He is growing in power with his allies among the nomads, and has called for a conclave of all Shanari Sanouki, something that has not happened in living memory.