The Kasumarii (Kar-ii or Kar'ii) are a human tribe of the southeasternmost Cyhalloi, the island of Guldor. Thanks to a centuries-old vendetta against the orcs of the nearest island, Dorolak, they have become extremely adept in the arts of warfare and are very good fighters, not to mention the best assassins Caelereth has ever known. They are also often referred to simply as the Kar-ii, which is in fact is a simple abbreviation.
Picture description. A Kasumarii assassin surveying the region and pondering upon his next move. Pic drawn by Quellion.
The native Kasumarii lean towards the slim and short (about 1.65 to 1.8 peds),
with wiry muscles covering their slight frames. However, as several of the
mercenary schools of Sarvonia pay a
great deal of money to have their students educated there, it is possible to
find people from all over Sarvonia
on this tiny island, and many a mix. Granted, a good third are usually
corpses, but still. Few but the native Kar-ii can successfully withstand the
coldness of the territory in which they live.
Aside from the other details, the Kar-ii also have a rather pale to yellowish skin tone, due to the cold of the environment they have lived in for so long. Also, they are able to withstand bright lights better than other human cultures because of living in a land where the sun is so often reflected off of the white of the soft snow and ice.
Hair is often of a light color, rarely dark, and being born with pure white hair isn't a very uncommon thing among the Kar-ii. The Kasumarii tend to have short hair, as longer hair is easier to be spotted and easier to tangle in something, which is not of advantage for a fighter-tribe. However, some have invented rather ingenious ways to put their hair, to either keep it concealed or to conceal weapons and suchlike within. Many is the time that an unsuspecting assailant has met a dagger in the gut as the attacked Kar-ii quickly pulled a knife from the confines of his/her hair.
Coat of Arms/Sign. The coat of arms varies for each of the sects of the Kar-ii:
The most representative Coat of Arms for the Kar-ii is the one of the Nightsons, a violet moon over a black rose. The rose itself is over a dark red snow textured background to symbolize their way of coming to their home in the snow - through the plague of Nyermersys that killed many of their retreating people. The rose is prickly and bent to the right, and along with the violet moon, symbolizes the Nightson sect. The entire symbol is contained within a wavy-sided circle, which has two layers, an inner, red layer, and an outer black layer. Both are outlined with white. The rose and moon are replaced when used by different orders. The Nightson sign is also seen as the "official" Kasumarii coat of arms, though it's only the one of the main order/sect of this human tribe.
The Korenjaan Coat of Arms is that of a black silhouette of a moonblade, sticking straight out of the snow background, splotches of red on various parts of the blade. The blade is titled diagonally to the right slightly, not far from sticking straight up. Due to foreshortening because of the bird's-eye-view of the picture, not much of the sword is visible.
The Stormson Coat of Arms shows instead of a blood-red snow background a blood-red watery one. A black fish-scale lies on top of this watery visage, covering most of the picture.
The Greendeath Coat of Arms depicts a variety of different herbs and bottles strewn all over the background, a dark green gaseous substance slightly emerging from one of the overturned bottles.
The Echiilianni Coat of Arms is the similar to the Korenjaan one, except that instead of a moonblade, it has the double-side moonblade as its sign, and it is lying flat on the ground, rather than sticking out. The entire sword is a bright red silhouette. The sword lies diagonally from the bottom left of the image to the top right.
Last is the Darkpriest Coat of Arms, which depicts a spirit hanging ominously over the bloody snow background. This shadow has its hands outstretched, as if it were trying to suck the very life out of the viewer.
Most of the Cyhalloian island of Guldor and a tiny portion of Dorolak are under
the control of the Kasumarii, but no mapmaker could ever pin the boundaries
down; they change almost every day.
The island of Guldor itself is a desolate, snowy tundra. Diverse of many resources, only the hardiest survive. The Kasumarii are among the hardiest. There are many low sweeping hills covering adding complexity to the terrain, and a few forests dot the island, though not enough that their wood resources shouldn't be used sparingly. Kar-ii and orcs often fight over these few precious sources of lumber, along with what few other natural resources exist on Guldor and Dorolak. The sea is all but the Kasumarii's alone. Their fleet is much more advanced than that of the orcs.
People. Thanks to having centuries to perfect their skills, the Kasumarii are experts at all the various arts of infiltration, assassination, stealth... One of the few survivors of the brutal "student exchange" system between Guldor and Santharia, Galos Scarknife, said that the greatest assassin of Nyermersys would be no more than a foot soldier in the armies of the Nightsons.
|Image description. Here a Greendeath Kasumarii, his hair darkened as part of his simple disguise, has just completed his deadly contract on an unsuspecting victim. Picture from the game Magical Empire™, used with friendly permission. Illustration drawn by Faugar.|
Kasumarii assassins are very valuable, and it costs quite a lot to hire one, due
to their superior skills in the shadowy arts. However, their work is unmatched,
even by the elves, who are renowned on
having superior dexterity and agility than the
humans. Though in a head-to-head duel, a more highly trained warrior will
usually win, on exception with Echiliani masters, Kar-ii will triumph if they
can use shadows and darkness to their advantage, hiding and sneaking about to
deliver a fatal stab to the heart by slipping a thin dagger or moonblade through
the ribs, or a quick slit to the jugular of the throat.
The Kasumarii are one of the best human warrior tribes, and unofficially and undisputedly the scariest.
Religion. The Kasumarii have a unique religion, which reflects the importance of fighting in their lives. The worship of Queprur is the only remnant of the culture they initially came from, all other Gods of the Kasumarii are completely their own. Unique in their belief is especially that nowhere else the Gods of Darkness are seen so eminently good as here.
A lot of information on these Kasumarii Gods was provided by Galos Scarknife, one of the greatest assassins of Nyermersys, who was trained by the Kasumarii for many years. In the Religions section you can read more details about Kasumarii beliefs.
Anything mobile. The typical Kasumarii lives in a tent-esque structure called a
carryhome, so named because of the fact that this three-person structure can be
carried on one's back, while the other two in the group can carry weapons and
Towns are something that are there one day and gone the next. The Kasumarii rarely stay in any one place for too long, and even their largest buildings are designed to be able to be taken apart for traveling. As with most everything of the Kasumarii, the buildings are white, to allow them to blend in with the snow in which they are set against.
Clothing. Despite the bitter cold even this far south in Cyhalloi, Kasumarii are taken to wearing tight camouflaging clothing, knowing that the more clothes that are worn, the greater the chance of detection is. However, three groups violate this general rule. The Nightsons wear wooden armor, the Stormsons wear suits of sealskin that protect them from the icy waters around Guldor, and the Darkpriests always wear flowing black robes.
The camouflage that the Kasumarii wear depends on their location on Guldor, but is generally pure white. When nearer to forests, the Kar-ii are known to put black splotches on their clothing, to better allow them to blend in with both forest and snow. Tight-fitting white masks are also a common article of clothing worn by Kar-ii, both being warm and helpful for concealment.
Diet. If it's edible, Kasumarii will eat it. From regular fish to orc flesh to Tscoi-an to even cáeh'fish, the Kasumarii don't discriminate. Galos, in his memoirs, wrote that the first thing every student learned to kill on Guldor was their gag reflex.
Regular meals of the Kar-ii are most often fish, as those are the main and one of the only natural resource available on their frozen continent. Orc flesh is a treat heavily despised by the Kar-ii, and whilst they do eat it, the consumption of it is considered to bring bad luck and to bring upon a curse on one's self by Greimnpor. Along with that, the flesh of orcs is also very tough and leathery, and has a disgusting taste. All other options are considered before even the thought of eating orc enters the Kar-ii mind. Though, this is probably an opinion shared by many a culture.
Weapons. From poisons to throwing stars to the unique Moonblades to the deadly double-bladed of the latter, the Kasumarii excel in this area. Below are a few:
A small throwing dagger, unique in that it has a groove running along the center, perfect for applying a "sticky" poison. This groove is also used for throwing, on the side opposite of the intoxicated side. The dagger is shaped like a pear, though thinner than many a knife, especially at the center where the grooves are. The weapon is balanced around the lower portion of the grooves, just above the handle, directly center of the dagger to keep its air capabilities at their peak. These do not have a guard, and the handle is flat and has a series of four holes through it in a line from the blade to the end. These daggers can be completely bisected - both sides are exactly the same in design. This is a favored weapon of the Echiilianni.
No Stormson would be caught dead without at least three of these throwing stars, and they are standard issue for nearly all the orders. Seastars can have either three, four, or five spikes. Also, the Nightsons and Korenjah often use a type of Seastar that is in the shape of a sharp-edged disk, known as a Moonstar. Each Seastar besides the Moonstar has a single hole in the center, and is incredibly thin. Like the throwing daggers, they can always be bisected, as no Seastar is different on one side than it is on the other, to allow air superiority when thrown. Seastar tips are usually coated with tyrsam, the water-activated poison harvested from the tyrscaru, though they can be coated with other poisons as well.
The Armoured Fan
The Armoured Fan is a weapon that consists of metal plates, each containing a sharp edge, that slide together so that it may be folded or unfolded with the snap of the rest, making it a small, compact defense weapon. The Fan is a weapon used more often as an actual weapon by the Kar-ii than most any other people, and the Kasumarii have excelled in its usages as an assassin's weapon, and many of their lighter support orders commonly carry this weapon. The orders that commonly apply this weapon to field use are the Greendeaths, Darkpriests, and Nightsons [read more].
Modeled after the legendary sword given to Kasumar by Korenjah, these are possibly the most feared blades to the Sarvonian population. Slightly curved, slim, and exceedingly sharp, these blades are a match for any ever produced by the forges of Dzulmir, and better than most.
The Double-sided Moonblade
A true horror upon the battlefield, these 2 ped+ weapons are longer than even flamberges, and much faster and sharper. They are simply two Moonblades connected at the end of the handles into one weapon. Used a lot like a quarterstaff, except that the grip area is extremely small. These weapons are often commented on being more dangerous to the user than to the opponent, as only the most skilled master can fight without injuring himself from the blade on the other end. Slower than a Moonblade, but faster than many two-handed weapons, these are a terror upon the battlefield, even if they are rarely seen. Many doubt their existence, but those who know of these frightening weapons know them to be the most dangerous weapon available, even more so than the already feared Moonblade. While not stealthy or easily concealed like many other Kar-ii weapons, these are their most dangerous, in more ways than one. This weapon is used only by the most skilled members of the Echiilianni order - the leader of the sect himself, and those who wish to try and replace him.
Orders. There are six orders of the Kasumarii society, each dedicated to a particular service.
The "True" Kar-ii. The Korenjaans are nearly invisible at night, and often the only sign one has been on a location (besides the dead target) is the violet crescent on the murder weapon. The Korenjaan moonblades are feared even beyond their home islands.
The Korenjaans are the most heavily trained in the arts of stealth and subterfuge, and masters of those fields. Where an Echiilianni will charge in to slaughter and a darkpriest will quietly chant a spell of the shadows, the Korenjaans are already behind the enemy lines mopping up foe after foe as they sleep. A common interpretation of the Korenjaans by other cultures is, "You will never see it coming. Just SLASH! and you're dead!"
Followers of Tscoiaru, these Kar-ii ply the seas, harassing shipping and destroying transports. They are master survivalists, capable of living at sea for months on a mere longboat. Known to some northern Sarvonians as the Black Wave Pirates.
While not as skilled in combat as the Echiilianni, Nightsons, or Korenjaans, the Stromsons can hold their own in battle when they enter it. This they do quite frequently upon the open seas. Their main skill, however, lies in ship-to-ship combat. Even the Crimson Blade pirates, undisputed kings of the waves, have problems with these skilled and deadly adversaries, though the two rarely meet, as their fleets inhabit entirely opposite sides of the Sarvonian continent.
Followers of Kruu-an, they are masters of poisons and healing, of plants and animals, and they are the greatest "support" troops of the Kasumarii. Several of these have found their way to Sarvonia, rumored among them the heroine Lyla (see Dygan Heartswind). The Greendeaths are less commonly known as the Kasumarii clerics/druids, though they are more on the lines of being both, and not either as well.
A sample of the potent powers of these would be deadly poisonous gases that are contained within larger moonstars that open up upon impact with any solid thing. Upon opening, the gases spill out into the surrounding area, where they choke, suffocate, and burn the lungs of their victims. The Greendeaths have also developed different varieties of these gases, many being invisible to the eye and some have other diverse effects, such as inducing sleep.
Followers of the minor deity Echiilan, this small sect's followers are more vicious than the Korenjaans, and a great deal more violent. They are masters of combat, and it is only to these that the Korenjaans defer on the battlefield. While none deny their prowess, even among these cold killers the Echiilianni are given a wide berth.
The Echiilianni are the most powerful of all the Kar-ii orders in combat, and can hold their own, if not do better than any fully-trained warrior of another culture. While not as heavily trained in the arts of stealth as the other sects, they still possess more knowledge of the shadows than another culture's warrior.
Some have referred to the Echiilianni as beasts, because, like animals, they are kept held back until the need to release them forth to cause chaos and disorder. In full combat states, this sect has sometimes been known to actually turn on their own in the need to kill.
The elite of the Kasumarii, the Nightsons are adept in all of the areas of Kasumarii lore, and are always personally trained by the Master of the Six Orders. They are fully devoted followers of Queprur, and believe most devoutly in their mission to bring oblivion to all those who disobey the divine will of the Queen of Death.
Excelled in combat by only the Korenjaans and Echiilianni, the Nightsons more than make up for this in their knowledge of all the arts of the Kasumarii. They can tell lore and history, dabble in magical and herbal arts, and enter into combat and assassinations. The Nightsons have an expansive knowledge of all the arts of the Kasumarii. All Nightsons are chosen to be Nightsons by their abilities in their original sect, and only the best from each sect are given a position as Nightson. The Nightsons are chosen from the losers of the governmental competitions, for each that competed, though may not have won, are known for their skills by having managed to even enter the competition, and thus are acceptable for the Nightson sect. After being chosen, each Nightson is then trained in all the arts of the other sects. Generally the Nightsons stay away from combat, as their numbers are small and are needed for other matters.
The Nightsons are the primary leaders of the Kasumarii, and are represented by a greater number in the Council than the other sects.
The mages of the Kasumarii, the Darkpriests, are also, thanks to Korenjah, endowed with the clerical gift of Shadowmancy, the art of manipulating shadows. Darkpriests are, in a change from the human norm, valued members of the Kasumarii society, and are treated equally to the other sects. They are both feared and honored, as the art of Shadowmancy is quite a scary thing to behold - seeing a figure clothed in black suddenly disappearing only to reappear behind the orc that had snuck up behind you and slit its throat.
Those who dabble in Shadowmancy learn how to bend light around them, to cloak themselves in shadow, and have the frightening knowledge to turn the very shadows around an individual into spiritual ghosts that have the power to literally suck the life out of the one whom they have attacked.
Shadowmancy is also very comical, however, and is one of the Kasumarii forms of entertainment - playing with the shadows of an individual, turning them into dancing figures and reenacting tales. Only the caster needs knowledge of the play in order to perform it correctly with the shadows.
Kasumarii are usually not sexist, the chronicler notes that the Darkpriests,
Echiilianni, and Greendeaths are predominantly female. The reasons for this are
as of yet unknown, though it is rumored that Kasumarii women are more potent
magi, in the fields of the Darkpriests and Greendeaths, however, why they are
more common place in the Echiilianni sect is a mystery, perhaps because
Echiilan is female as well. The
Kasumarii refuse to let any knowledge out of this, or do not know it themselves.
Government. Quite simple: The strongest among the Nightsons is the leader of the Kasumarii, the Master Assassin. The leaders and representatives of the other five sects form a Council that selects the Master Assassin, and also acts as an advisory body to the Master Assassin. These are given the respective titles of the Moon, Storm, Vengeance, Black Rose, and Shadow.
In general, each sect is given a host of representatives, along with the leader of that sect, that decide what to do on issues that occur within the Kasumarii society. The Nightsons have the most representatives at ten, and the Shadow has the next highest at seven. In order of amount, the Moon have five, Vengeance and Storm have four, and Black Rose has only one.
Each representative is in the Council for up to six years before required to step down, however, representatives may leave whenever they want after serving one year. A representative's family is given an easy life, where they are required to do nothing, during the course of the representative's term.
Election of each representative is determined in a gladiator-type match of sorts, where each representative must undergo an intense competition of their sect. The Korenjaans have a competition of stealth and assassination tactics, the Stormsons have a bout on ship-to-ship combat, each representative is given a 3 ship large fleet, the Greendeaths on healing and clerical skills, the Nightsons on knowledge of Kasumarii lore, and the Darkpriests on magic skills. The Echiilianni have only one representative, that being the leader of their sect. He is chosen by combat amongst the most skilled of his sect. Each wield a double-sided moonblade, and whoever survives the massive free-for-all is declared leader of the Echiilianni sect.
Production/Trade. Guldor, not having much in the way of resources besides life and death, the Kasumarii have only one thing to trade: Knowledge. They exchange students with some of the finest mercenary guilds, so as to both spread the Kasumarii over Sarvonia and receive vast amounts of bartered goods. Very profitable.
Transportation-wise, the only port city that communes with Guldor is Carabrand. All ships that make their way to and from the Kasumarii island come from this city. Except, of course, for secret Stormson convoys that, when needed, transport various military leaders and armies through their own routes. Though the Kasumarii have never entered war on the Sarvonian continent, they are prepared to should the need arise, and are known to send ambassadors to many Sarvonian governments to ascertain their value as allies or enemies. These ambassadors are also commonly spies, and in their time spent with these governments, work out on finding every weakness that their tribe could exploit should it need to.
Natural Resources. The Kasumarii, on their icy continent of Cyhalloi, have hardly any natural resources. The sea is where most of their resources come in, mostly in the form of fish and seaweed, which is their primary diet. Orc and other animal parts are also a resource, the bones and fat of these large mammals have a variety of uses, from carryhome support to leather wraps for the handles of blades.
Holidays, Festivals and Observances. Not being the most celebratory people, the Kasumarii have only one true holiday, the Day of Kasumar. On this day the hero's band attacked the orcish fortress of Dzulmir, and finally showed the Hiding that they could fight back against the vile orcs. In celebration and memory, on this day the Kasumarii re-enact the attack and, in general, party.
History. Below you can find a short survery on Kasumarii history: