are known as the cavalrymen and horse breeders of the
Empire of Korweyn at the continent of
honourable and brave warriors that drive their herds of cattle,
over the vast plains of central and eastern Korweyn. In many respects they provide
the military backbone of the empire of Korweyn and are as a tribe the second
in rank in the empire and the Korweynite's closest ally.
Appearance. The Kassites are a tribe of cattle herders and horsemen. They have a fair complexion and grow considerable tall and are in some way the counterpart of the Korweynite. They're usually of strong build, man and women alike.
A Kassite woman praying for a lost comrade. Pic drawn by Koldar.
The straight hair is worn
long, only the warriors cut their hair as sign of submission to the codes of
war in shoulderlength and wear it in the traditional warrior tail. The Kassites
are usually very proud of their hair and weave various jewelry from painted
bones to pearls and gold wire into it, a tradition only warriors refrain from
doing for practical reasons. They're even forbidden to wear any kind of jewelry
openly so the soldiers - despite build and height - look more or less the same.
In some clans it is even common to dye the hair in one common colour, often
black, sometimes blonde or red. Priests live an ascetic life as hermits away
from the main settlements. They completely shave their heads as sign of complete
submission to their God or Goddess and live only from what the worshippers bring
them to honour them and their Gods.
Coat of Arms/Sign. The Kassites' shield shows two black stallions fighting on the green plains. Since the rise of the second Empire the shield also contains the Korweynite sun eagle rising behind the horses. The individual clans put certain symbols and objects on the ground to the feet of the horses.
Territory. The origin of the Kassites is lost in the mists of the past. Only that they came to the lands of Korweyn during the second war between Korweyn and the second Shadow Realm. They were greeted as welcomed allies and they received the wide but dangerous plains east of the Sohon Mountains as their new grazing grounds. Today they're split up into three great factions that settle around Kormendale, between the Ranesh and the Espesh and in the borderland to the Jerrah.
People. The Kassites are a warrior tribe and in their traditions follow many rites to ensure the war-readiness of their tribe at all times. The Kassites educate their children - girls and boys alike - in groups of five to a dozen from the age of four to ride and fight on the horseback. They became great with the bow and the lance and are said to be nearly unbeatable when fought on their horsebacks in their own plains.
The training in groups is meant to ensure a feel of comradeship among them and create strong bonds beyond childhood. Later these groups became own squads that will fight together on the battlefield. While more than comradeship might evolve from such yearlong comradeship it is seen as rather indecent to marry someone from the same squad. The Kassites believe that it would destroy the bonds of comradeship and bring bad luck upon the soldiers of these squad. In a more practical way they don't want close bonds to hinder someone to obey to necessary orders. Also the squadmembers are usually the first ones drawn to military service, ensuring that no married couples are among one squad so that always one member of family is staying behind with the children and someone is tending the ranch.
In Kassite terms all members of a squad and their affiliates are considered "family". That makes talking to a Kassite about family business a rather complicate task, as this includes the own family, the ranch and the business of any other squadmember. Marrying always means that one side gives up its position in a squad or clan and steps back to some kind of home reserve. While about any grown-up Kassite is capable of fighting, those that are members of a squad are the most likely to go to war on behalf of the Empire. The rest is there to ensure that there are always replacements and that the ranches and herds are tended well, even in war. Of course that means that clans can be very disappointed to lose capable warriors over a marriage and thus great sums - from money to cattle - can be demanded to replace the loss. This is something resolved by the clans, not the immediate family members, which are always interested in maintaining a stable base of warriors of any side. Clans make up more as military units, not as social ones and thus marriages between clans are not a problem for Kassites. Indeed the rational process that lies behind arranging a marriage also leads to a great fluctuation between the different clans making them feel as one tribe as nearly any Kassite shares distant relations to any other clan.
The clan hierarchy begins with the eldest generation living as the first squad of a clan in an own house, usually the biggest ranch of the clan as sign of respect and deepest trust. It is also used as meeting hall of the clan and to resolve any issue about the clan or trades with outsiders. The age of a squad is what determines its rank in a clan and its importance. Elder squads are usually assigned to be officers at war and take greater responsibilities than the younger ones. The families group squad-wise in own houses obeying to the oldest squad which elects the chieftain and the general of war. Squads decimated in war join others or are regrouped with others with similar losses. The ranches and grazing grounds of any given clan are distributed freely among their squads to ensure that they're used to the greatest advantage of the clan. So ranches are never abandoned for long with new families taking the place of those that left or died.
This military structure is very effective in war but is seen as a bit stubborn by most during peace times. However, for Kassites in peace this is only a continuation of their strong family bonds where anyone within a clan can trust anyone else starting with his squad. The Kassites follow close codes of honour in all their ways based on these traditions and especially courage and truthfulness are valued high and someone not living up to this standards is punished with the worst of Kassites' punishments: exile.
Housing. In ancient times the Kassites lived in leather huts, that were no more than just stable tents. Today with fixed grazing grounds their homes are usually built like domes made of clay. The domes are often placed around a central ground and serve different purposes from homes to storage rooms and guest rooms. Several of these domes form a ranch inhabited by one squad and its families.
A living dome consists of one great room with one big fireplace that also serves for cooking in the center. The central room is reserved for the eldest of the ranch as the sleeping place. It also is used as as the dinner room and for the councils – usually held during dinner. The rest of the family lives along the walls of the dome in own niches sometimes separated from each other with hides, carpets or wooden panels. These domes are in general ten peds wide but can reach up to 30 peds on rich and prosperous ranches or at homes of clanleaders.
Clothing. Most clothing of the Kassites consists of leather or crude wool. They commonly wear a woolen tunic and a leather vest. For important events these vests are decorated with silver or brass and the tunics have bright colours. Completing their outfit they wear long coats of wool with a leathern collar similarly decorated like their vests against the cold when camping outside to guard the herds or on the battlefield.
Diet. The Kassites mainly feed from the cattle and sheep herds. Thus meat and milk is their main source of food. They also make cheese and other products from milk which they consume. Sometimes they add grain, either found wild on the plains or bought from the Korweynites.
Weapons. The most common weapon among the kassites is the “Tsubar”, a longsword with twohand-hilt and a curved blade. About every adult Kassites has this weapon either inherited from his ancestors or made for him for adulthood. Most Kassites wear light leather armor eventually enstrengthed by bracelets and kneelets. The helmets are crowned by a long horsetail. More seldom are scale or chain mails. Bow and lance are their weapons of choice on horseback usually only with a circular shield to dodge enemy sword strokes.
Occupations. Among the Kassites anyone does any job necessary for the ranch. The children usually tend the sheep while the adults care for cattle and horses. While growing up the responsibilities increase for the kids and slowly they grow into the community of the ranch. The only exception to this are the smiths. They usually live isolated in towns along the tradelanes or near iron mines to produce tools and weapons. While easy repairs are done on the ranch for weapons and armor the Kassites seek the help of a master smith.
Government. Any clan is ruled by its oldest squad which chooses the leader, who can be male or female. The squad around this leader makes up the set of officers that'll usually lead the clan into battle. The leaders of all squads of the clan meet in a great council should the need arise. Important decisions can be only made with a majority of this clan council though the leader can demand the clanmembers to follow his or her honour which means more or less that the leader demands their loyalty and trust in his/her own honour. Should the leader abuse this right or lie to get this right the only punishment known is death. Other than that the different squads govern their family businesses alone with anyone having their own rights to speak though the final decision has the squadleader, the most capable or oldest warrior. Within the Empire this autonomy is earned by swearing loyalty to the Empire and the readiness to follow the Emperor into war whenever he should call for their aid to defend the realm. For this honourable goal the Kassites are more than eager to serve.
Production/Trade. The Kassites produce mainly leather wares and meat which they also sell to the nearby towns or settlements. They also produce cheese and all kinds of milk products and they know how to brew an alcoholic drink from mare milk. Other things they sell is wool and sometimes hide but as they are a tribe of warriors it is enough for them to be self sustained.
Natural Resources. The Kassites don't have much raw materials in their lands, and if there were, they wouldn't dig for it. Most of their materials originate from the animals they breed.
Holidays, Festivals and Observances. While the Kassites have a religion of their own, it merged with the gods and systems known from the Korweynites. Today about half of the Kassites worship Ghal as their highest God, the God of Justice, and follow his code of honour.
Information provided by Koldar Mondrakken