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The Tengri-aan: The Xaela of the Qirikha Tribe


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The night terrors and fever dreams of Othard’s western steppes conjure tales of witchmen who in their hubris offered up their hearts and souls in service to a great devil. Now in darkened yurts, mystics and warriors alike commit themselves to rituals both strange and hideous. These are the heathen children of the Qiri-aab (“Crowfather”), a clan contrived from smoke and murder and brought forth through war. In piety, their foreign and eerie tongues fill the night sky with screams and the howling of beasts in the name of their strange father-god. He is a ferryman of souls and a harbinger of change and his whims are frightening and incomprehensible while they promise a night that will never end.

 

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In the shadow of the crow-witches’ cairns, a beast stirs at the heart of the Qirikha. Among the clan, the chieftain is a creature of spiritual omnipotence, one degree removed from the Qiri-aab. He acts as the manifestation of the Crowfather’s will and where he steps the dirt and dust and ash become myth. Perhaps he is an incarnate, for who is to say what strange acts are done beneath the careful and dutiful hands of the witches who lord over him like misers and shape from his flesh a vessel that will render proper to house the spirit of God. He comes as both prophet and sovereign and his mandates and actions are given impetus like the wild revelations of their god. When he commands his flock, their bones rattle beneath each word.

 

 

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Precious as gems are the women of the Qirikha for their lot is not one of equality as much as varying degrees of possession. For most women among the tribe, theirs is a decorative and humble life in service to the patriarchs of their families. Refused the right to war, they are the gatherers and craftsmen, the diplomats and traders who will never know the prestige that comes with bearing the spear but for a seldom few, their birthright will mark them with destiny and a path seldom trod. These are those who bear the “divine gift” of magical craft and who will be made to crawl on their bellies through ash and fire between the eye of a needle. They will rise from their trials of anointment as the soothsayers and witch doctors and sacred concubines of their god or they will die doing so. These are the crow-wiches of the Qirikha’s spiritual caste and it is in their black hovels and by their blood-soaked hands that defenseless male babes are murdered for bearing the “feminine” gift of magic and it is by their tongue that their unworthy sisters are sentenced to death for failure in their trials. Of all of their works, though, none is as sacred as the rite of succession: the process by which a simple warrior of the tribe is selected and molded into the next sovereign of the clan.

 

A warring and jingoist tribe, death is perhaps one of the most prevalent themes among the Qirikha, and the Chieftain does not absent himself from this and so goes all who live by the sword. Upon the passing of the sovereign, a period of thirteen months follows where the crow-witches act as the official regents of the tribe as they commune with their god in search of the next replacement. Upon the day that the Crowfather at last speaks to his children, a number between one and five witches, selected randomly through divination and acts of black magic, are chosen to leave the safety of their community in order to lead the supplicant and a small war party through the Tengri-aan (lit. “Godswalk”): a pilgrimage intended to shape the chieftain-elect’s body and soul into a vessel with which the divine essence might be rendered. There is to be a great letting of blood, the destruction of the warrior’s ego, the reformation of his chapel which is his heart, and at last the imbuement of divinity. This process can take several moons and upon their return, the new chieftain is announced and the crow-witches, being already wed religiously to their God, are presented as his First Wives. Due to this and their divine nature, it is considered a great insult to lay one’s hand on them unbidden.

 

 

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To the Qirikha, it is believed that the noblest life is one lived in the agency of war. It is a trade all men love and to them there is no other way to live and die but with the spear in hand. At the age of seven, the male is plucked from the warmth of his mother and sister’s gentle hands and he is forced beneath the tutelage of his father to learn the art and way of war. When he is fifteen he will walk his rite of passage to victory or to the grave.

 

In the early days of autumn, during the mating season for the indigenous aurochs, the young and unblooded of their fifteenth year are sent out each with a single, seasoned male to bring back one of the felled beast. On horseback they will cut one from the pack just as they were sent out from their tribe and either the warrior will return to his family or the auroch will return to its own for a beast is always a beast and knows the nature of the world which is to shed the blood of another or in turn shed yours. The plains will run red and the skies will again fill with the howling of triumph and agony in equal measure and they will make their first mark on the world. The candidates will return with their hauls and there will be feasting and drinking and festivities in that night. The newly-anointed warriors will bed, and if they choose, claim their first woman. This is ritual and the smell of their communal debauchery and drunkenness will choke back the air and should a child be born from this union they will be considered a blessing for the girl’s family for among the Qirikha the tribe is of one father, brothers and sisters all. This night of pleasure is a pretense for the ages to come, but each son knows that they will celebrate a life of carnage in service to the tribe for the rest of their days.

 

It is spoken true that war is as natural part of the Qirikha’s life as breathing. From the day that they hit seven they are weaned on violence and bred for one task. When they are taken from their mothers it is to shape from cold slag a machine that knows of nothing but how to kill. As a unit, their methods of war are no less brutal and merciless. When battle is determined, their only warning is a messenger sent encouraging surrender to the rival tribe. A scout will watch for a signal and if it is not given, the Qirikha will prepare to strike. When they descend on their enemies, it will be under the cover of night, warriors new and old bedizening their bodies in dark paints and festooning their armor in fetishes drawn together of bones and reeds and feathers like the strange and awful blessings of their god. They come down out of the darkness with a violent and otherworldly yammering like some heathen horde drawn up out of the hell-holes of oblivion. It is a sight unreckonable to Eorzea but known well as whispered bedtime stories to those who eke out their lives among the Steppes. They are a barbarous breed specializing in the use of spear and machete to terrorize and demoralize their foe, hacking and scalping and carving a lunatic’s path in their wake. They have the fight of desperate and wild animals, a slaughter that beggars the heart of goodness still left in the world and which brings the blood to curdle coldly in one’s veins. It is in this natural act that the awful grace of their God is made current in the world.

 

In victory, the surviving tribesmen are gathered in the center of their encampments and are forced to watch as one-fifth of their numbers are dragged away and their hearts carved out. This is punishment. This is tribute. This is a testament to the madness of their blood-slaked deity and when it is done the carnage is then held in great bowls and presented up to the sky so that the carrion birds and sun can pick away at it until all has returned to their God. The bodies of the dead are then cooked and consumed both by the tribe proper and their captives to bind them to one another and deepen the suffering and humiliation of their defeat. Surrender or not, the culture of the subjugated is abolished and the supplicants are forced into a fierce regiment of indoctrination imposed to ensure the complete destruction of their previous identity; those who cannot comply are likewise dispatched. To an outsider, this is what it is to be a Qirikha. It is to exist in a brutal and violent regime beneath the auspices of an otherworldly and pagan figure.

 

 

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Predating the worship of the Crowfather, the Qirikha nurtured a deep, spiritual connection to the aether of their ancestors, believing that those that came before them, if properly tended to and satisfied, would defend their progeny for generations to come. This ancient faith is seen in its influences on their funerary rites even today. Practitioners of excarnation, the witches of the tribe (overseen by the shaman, see below) elevate the body of a kinsman slain in battle by way of a makeshift platform to allow for carrion birds to pick the body clean (in much the same way as the heart offerings). Once the body is bare of flesh, certain bones important to the tribe are taken away and ritually "imbued" with the aether of their slain comrade before being presented to the family to be carved into implements of battle or scale-like pieces to sew into their armor. Whether or not there is any true magic work done here is debated, but it is believed that the ancestors carry on their noble work through these tools, protecting their children and those that would come after. The remaining bones are then ground and pulverized into dust and mixed into an herbal drink for the family to ingest to keep the fallen kinsman's essence within them. Men who die outside of battle are left where they passed as punishment for the ignoble death to wander the earth forlorn as apparitions. The bodies of women are burnt on a pyre so that their spirit might ascend to fall under the protection of the Crowfather.

 

Prior to the current faith, it is believed that women were expected the same war-like roles of men and would be handled in much the same way as their counterparts. The new paradigm suggests the more patriarchal rearing of this regime as there is no negative death associated to a female; an unflattering life is seen as a failure on the part of their male (the father or, if wed, the husband).

 

 

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For every generation among the Qirikha there is a single shaman. Where the chieftain or the crow-witches are the seat of power for the current dogma, the shaman stands as an icon to uphold the strictures and beliefs of the Old Faith. Before there was the Crowfather, the clansmen of the Qirikha were a simpler folk who saw spirits in everything. They believed that the heavens and the earth were thick with the presence of these natural phenomenons and that many of them could be communed with in order to claim their blessings. Although the granting of boons is now primarily the territory of the ruling creed, it is not uncommon for warriors among the tribe to seek out the shaman before a battle to "double-up" on good luck. For every other benevolent spirit, though, there is an equally wicked one who seeks to undo the works of the people. For this reason, childbirth is frequently carried out by the shaman or a proxy of the shaman in order to ward away these malevolent daemons and ensure a successful childbirth. If a particular family has had issues with healthy children or childbirth, a shaman might suggest a name that is conventionally unflattering for the babe. This is believed to confuse evil spirits from tampering with and bringing ruin on the child.

 

 

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Qirikha loosely translates to “Crowchildren” or “Children of the Crow,” implying that it was not their original name. It is believed to be a term given to them by a rival tribe at some point in their history in reference to their uncanny faith; it was a way to say “not us” or “other,” often derogatorily and superstitiously. They might have previously gone by "Khunai" meaning simply "the people" in their native dialect, but in today’s time, the Qirikha have embraced the mythos that this new name carries.

 

 

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Currently, the tribe proper is not being role-played. Instead, the lore is being used as a framework for the chieftain-elect (Qulan Qirikha), a handful of crow-witches, and their gathered war-party as they embark through Eorzea on the Tengri-aan. The purpose of the Godswalk, in conjunction with the various rituals and ceremonies conducted by the crow-witches, is to prepare the leader-to-be for his new role by giving him experience in a wide variety of skills without the sanctuary of the tribe to coddle him. Under this goal, the war party is capable of getting involved in a wide plethora of duties and tasks including mercenary work, the trading of culture and goods, and anything else judged worthy by the spirit guides to give the chieftain the well-rounded perspective needed.

 

If interested in being part of the war party (by creating a Qirikha Xaela or figuring out some other way) or getting involved with them, do not hesitate to contact me via PM on this site, messages in game (Ja'rhem Khalaa, Qulan Qirikha, Elijah Ashworth, Nashu'li Nyaeb), leaving a comment in the section below, or via my Discord username at Murderhouse#3480. Thanks and we look forward to hearing from you. :3

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...holy shit, the coincidence is uncanny. Though I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.

 

Expect a PM. I need to get an alt of mine in on this, or involved at the very least.

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...holy shit, the coincidence is uncanny. Though I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.

 

Expect a PM. I need to get an alt of mine in on this, or involved at the very least.

 

Aaaaaaah, exciiiiting! It sounds like I have a counterpart soul in you. :3 I look forward to the PM! We are always happily accepting people who want to make members of the tribe or just get involved in any way! :D

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  • 10 months later...

We dropped off the face of the earth there for awhile, but I just went through this post and took a hacksaw to it, nixing this, lifting that, stretching taut these pieces and have this concept much more fleshed-out, well-rounded, and better written. There's a lot more lore that I'm choosing not to add at the moment because this seems like it's a perfect amount to digest to get a feel for it! Please feel free to contact me at the various places listed in the final section of the opening post if you're at all interested in getting involved as an actual member of the tribe or someone we can associate and/or antagonise on our travels. :3

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Cool to see old BDO folks here :) If you have any questions or need help getting a feel for the community, toss me a poke!

 

Just coasting along. I'm sticking to BDO as well a little because I'm pretty much in love with the lore I've created there, but I wanted to try something more light-hearted out. Nice to see an old face and I'll definitely take you up on that offer. :3

 

edit: not that this shit above is light-hearted at all, but the general atmosphere. xD

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PM sent! Apologies for not contacting you last year, real life kind of reared its ugly head and I had to wrestle it back into some semblance of normalcy. :lol:

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