by Max Barry

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A Quick Overview of the Great Kiu

Undergoing a bit of a short revamp atm

So, if you're reading this factbook, you likely want a view of Kiu Ghesik without really reading too much, and so I'll oblige. One, two, three, here we go.

Kiu Ghesik, translated as the Nation of the People of Ghes, is a nomadic society made up of a number of clans, each of these subdivided further into tight-knit bands of no more than fifty individuals. These clans have recently, as in the past thirty years, been unified into a single nation by Oloughin son of Kemoughin, after his appointment as Caller and subsequent leverage of that position's influence and his strength of arms to bring the clans to heel. It is a nation that is teetering on the edge of the Bronze and Iron Ages, wielding bronze tools acquired through trade and fighting with javelins and compound bows, and has tamed and utilized horses for the purpose of labor, as beasts of burden, and as weapons of war. The people of Kiu Ghesik are an ethnically homogeneous group (excepting fringe populations) that claim to descend from the mythological figure Ghes, who descended into a broad, empty steppe basin most commonly and simply known as the Basin in everyday parlance accompanied by his wives, children, relatives, slaves, and horses, where he fathered the people who would become the Ghesites. Essentially, he's their Abraham, but not an exemplar of the morals of Abrahamic faiths. These people sort-of understand agriculture and fishing, having picked it up from the subjugated and assimilated people living by the inland sea, though they disdain it for a nomadic lifestyle travelling between the established cities of the region in their clans and bands.

The Ghesites live in the Kiu Ghesik Basin, a region of flat steppe rolling down from the foothills of great mountains in the west to an inland sea in the east. The Ghesites prefer to roam largely in the west of this region, though in the past three hundred years since the subjugation of the Alechi agriculturalists living by the sea they have migrated east to be closer to their dependent "allies". To the north and south lie trading cities and trade routes with other peoples, though the Ghesites do not settle here, only occasionally coming and going to trade goods and wares. However, these places are host to some interplay between their own culture and the cultures of foreigners, and so the cities and trading posts in the north and south of the Basin have developed syncretic traditions blending the Ghesite way with that of others. Many traditionalist Ghesites find this repulsive.

The faith of the Ghesites is called Sky-Worship (bad name), and is centered around the belief that the sky is home to a sacred mother-deity and that the winds and clouds are her children and messengers. Differently-shaped clouds are viewed as bearers of signs and are anthropomorphized as as figures of good or ill omen, bringers of rain or of drought, of storm and cursing winds or of sun and blessing winds. The winds likewise are viewed as the Sky-Mother's agents on Earth, who carry out her tasks, who blow the rain from place to place as she demands, who carry up souls or scatter their essence in their gusts, and who light the stars, moon, and sun in the highest heavens each morning and evening. Their psychopomp is the Flensing Wind, a Grim Reaper-esque figure whose breath extracts the soul from the body, weighs its worth, and either carries it up to the Mother's bosom or blows it away to the ends of the earth to scatter as a metaphysical dew and constitute new bodies and souls.

The Ghesites are somewhat stuck between a rock and a hard place, though, as they are threatened by empires and "civilized" states encroaching on them from the north and south, who they simply do not have the population dynamic to oppose, and who their unification indirectly antagonizes. There are a few options, then, facing their society: They can adapt, lose their culture, and join the grave heap of failed civilizations, they can lash out and hope for a few years of conquest and dominance, or they can try to find a middle ground. They seem to be going towards the second of the three, as in recent years the Council of the Clans has confirmed as Caller the successor of their nation's founder, Ari daughter of Oloughin, who has so far shown that she views the Council as a weapon she can wield to strike at her people's enemies.

And that's it. More to come, sorry for the wall of text, but here's the quick overview done.

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