Based on yesterday's post, you might suspect that I'd be choosing the Torchi as my favorite people, but oh ho, you would be incorrect. The Torchi are definitely up there on my favorites list - I spent as much time creating the Torchi as I did the actual place - but they're not my #1. That goes to the Amir'Chavi.
Okay, this is all very convoluted, but I'm going to try my best to explain how I came to call them Amir'Chavi. Originally, they were called the Gargoni, but then I started reading those maps about what people call themselves in their own languages - like the Japanese call themselves Nippon or Nihon - and I thought, "What if that is what outsiders call them? Because of a misunderstanding that just stuck?" I came up with the idea that easterners met one that kept referring to himself as Gargoni - that was his name - so the ignorant foreigners just thought that is the name of the people, and by the time any linguist figured out what was going on, the damage was done. But I couldn't figure out what their name really was, until I remembered a name that I had used back when I was a teenager - the Amir'Iivi. It didn't fit the people because Iivi sounds so similar to "evil" that I just put it on the backburner as I came up with their culture, and then BAM. Amir'Chavi just came out of my mouth and I knew. It was almost like they all heard me, smiled, and gave me a bunch of fist-bumps.
Amir'Chavi translates into "children of the Mother" in Trade, the common language - while Amir'Iivi (what they call any Legion) means "theft of the Mother*" - and the definition sums up the people very well. They're not necessarily matriarchal, but they do worship the earth as a mother goddess, called Mir, and view all things on it as belonging to her, only lent out to those who might be able to use her gifts. They are very tribal in nature, separated into different nomadic clans, and because of their religious beliefs, they have no cities or permanent settlements**. Instead, they roam throughout Amir'Hevi ("body of the Mother"), uniting for one month-long festival that celebrates the coming of a new year, where they destroy what possessions they had used throughout the year and trade for what they will need in the next. During this festival, the Amir'Chavi celebrate with a giant feast those they have gained through birth with a giant feast and a magnificent bonfire those who have returned to Mir in death.
Clan membership is not hereditary. After children reach the age of ten, they join the clan of one of their parents, and at age seventeen (a sacred number for the Amir'Chavi), they can either choose to stay with that clan or be initiated into another. Most adult Amir'Chavi change clans at least once or twice in their lives, usually due to age or burn-out; the hunter, warrior, and beast-taming clans have a high-turnover rate because of the energy and physical capabilities required, but one is not looked down upon if they choose to leave.
Which brings me to Aperthai. Aperthai is a city-state just outside of Amir'Chavi borders, and it is populated by the descendants of Amir'Chavi who wanted something more permanent than their tents. The city-state is fairly new, having been founded around five hundred years prior, and it has a lot of the same customs as their progenitors, such as the month-long festival (celebrated a bit differently, since they don't torch everything) and a modified form of Mir worship. However, they aren't nearly as reclusive or aggressively protective of their land as the Amir'Chavi are, which I'll get to in a second. They are actively and almost progressively communicative with city-states that are in close proximity, and they are well-known for their animal handling and husbandry skills, which are also traits they share with the Amir'Chavi. Their relationship is strained, obviously, but Apertheans are very protective of their forefathers and foremothers and will angrily argue with anyone who speaks in a derogatory manner about them.
As a group, the Amir'Chavi are very xenophobic and territorial. There are several clans whose entire purpose is to patrol their borders and ensure outsiders do not enter. They do have exceptions for specific individuals - such as Viji from Torch - but even they are treated as suspect. Much of this stems from the first meeting the Amir'Chavi had with those from the east, at the very beginning of the First Empire, when it was merely a few allied city-states. Almost immediately, they started trying to conquer the Amir'Chavi, who retaliated fairly quickly and expelled them from their territory. Diplomats from the Second Empire initially began peaceful communications, but the empress at the time became impatient with how slow things were moving and sent an insultingly small army to "convince" the Amir'Chavi to allow them to annex them. This went about as well as you'd expect, and the Amir'Chavi sent the head of the general back to her via his horse.
The Amir'Chavi are a bipedal, near-human species with bigger and more wide-set eyes than humans and generally more angular features. While it's not necessarily considered camouflage, their skin color does change with the seasons: they tend to have duller and grayer skin during the late fall through the early spring and then more golden skin throughout the rest of the year, a color closer to the tall grasses that cover most of their territory. Their clothing is much more utilitarian than anything, but they do accessorize with bracelets, necklaces, hair ornaments, etc., as long as it doesn't interfere with whatever work they are doing. Their hair is also also styled intricately, usually with braids and twists, and also dyed with natural dyes.
Basically? These guys are based on African lions. They're not feline in appearance or anything, but I really liked the idea of smaller, individual "prides" that protected a set piece of land. So here you have it: the Amir'Chavi.
BACK TO CHALLENGE
* A Legion becomes a Legion after they die. This can be from natural causes, murder, accident, whatever. No one knows exactly how or why this happens, and not every single person that passes away resurrects as a Legion. Because a Legion is brought back to life, the Amir'Chavi believe that some magick or evil is being used to steal them from Mir, and as such, they distrust them even more than other outsiders.
** The only semi-permanent settlement is the one where the children are raised. Children under ten are raised by a group of adults in the child-rearing clan that tends to stay close to the sacred grounds where they hold their festival.