Skirting The Dodgy Path
The Tsurani are the dominant race of the planet Kelewan.
Life and death and reincarnation in the Wheel of Life, and the winning of glory according to the code of honor, are a subject central to the Tsurani civilization.
The Tsurani culture is based on a feudal hierarchy. Every individual is born into a specific station with the main hereditary classes being slave, freeman and Ruling Lord. The Great Ones, the Master Magicians of the Greater Path, are an exception to this; they can be any individual with observed talent towards magic and therefore can be drawn from any class, even slaves.
Social status is extremely important to the Tsurani culture and there are many fine divisions of these class distinctions; they are maintained with reverence since they denote one’s fate as chosen by the Gods, usually judged by his/her previous life: a poor man should remain a poor man as a punishment for being honorless in his previous life.
Soldiers, field workers, household staff have sworn fealty to a Ruling Lord who are the feudal master class, in return for protection and shelter, as well as slaves who are considered property. The Ruling Lords have hereditary homes and estates which compose each province of Tsuranuanni.
The Ruling Lords are allied by Clan and by Party. Tsurani culture places a high value on tradition and family values and the Clans can be thought of as cousin Lords banding together. Lords will also ally themselves by political affiliation.
Each Clan nominates a Warchief, who commands their military forces.
The Lords of the Five Great Families can nominate one of their members to be Warlord, the supreme military commander. The Warlord is seen as second in command only to the Emperor, the Light of Heaven; in practice the Warlord usually has more power than the Emperor, who is more of a spiritual leader and his duty is to pray for his people.
Any noble and soldier knows his bloodline back several generations. When two Tsurani meet for the first time, an inquiry after the health of relatives begins, until backgrounds and histories are exchanged and the two strangers know who stands socially higher.
Tradition requires that only a relative of a soldier already serving can join a household’s garrison; this is limited to second or later sons since eldest sons tend to assume the same loyalties as their fathers. First sons of soldiers serve under their fathers’ Lord as well, but second and third sons are allowed to join the service of any other House.
Soldiers usually decorate their helmet and armor with relics according to personal feats in battle or hunting.
A sub-class of Tsurani that falls beneath even a slave is that of the Grey Warriors, former soldiers of dead or disgraced Lords, who as a debt of shame to their former house, are not permitted honorable death.
Clans and families
A Family or House is the main social entity of Tsurani life. Ruling Lords are responsible for the fate of their House and the individuals who belong to it, be they kinsmen or simply servants or soldiers. Each House has its own color(s) and insignia. They follow the will of their Clan and in turn, the political Party they affiliated with.
Alliances and intrigues were part of the Game of the Council, during which many crimes could be done to ensure one’s (House’s or individual’s) ascension to honor and authority; provided that the actor could show a honorable face and back up his deeds with acceptable and irrefutable excuses.
Clans and their families:
Keda† (Scarlet and grey; alt. – red and black)
Minwanabi† (Black and orange)
Anasati (Scarlet and yellow; triangular sigil)
Bontura (Violet and white)
Tonmargu† (Black and green)
Xacatecas† (Purple and gold or yellow)
Acoma (Green; shatra bird sigil)
Poltapara (Deep blue)
Pechta (Orange and blue)
Jinguai (Yellow and red trimmed with black)
Lujan (Grey and green)
Hanqu (Scarlet and brown)
† One of the Five Great Families
With the destruction of House Minwanabi, House Acoma became one of the Five Great Families (and Clan Hadama one of the most powerful clans), although Clan Shonshoni continued to exist.