Embyr: The Fifth Age
To the west and south of Asham can be found the jungle kingdoms of the Manziri. These kingdoms are fiercely independent and competitive states ruled by tradition, ceremony and religious observations set in place since time imemorable.
Although the various kings within Manziri are numerable, there is a single High King who rules from within the capital city of Edenka. While the High King technically has preview over the lesser kings under him, he rarely interferes in how they handle their own affairs. Each lesser king is expected as a point of honor to pay an annual tribute in a ceremonial show of respect to the High King. So long as this public declaration of fealty is displayed, the king in question is free to rule his own lands as he sees fit. Otherwise an offending king who fails to recognize his allegiance to the High King may find himself deposed by violence and his lands redistributed.
True warfare between rival kingdoms of the Manziri is a rare thing. Instead, hotly contested issues are settled by a ‘trial of champions’ where two armies meet and begin shouting challenges at one another. After a time, a divine champion from each army will step from the ranks and be acknowledged as the one who will fight for his king. By tradition, this champion is never chosen ahead of time, but rather is singled out by the gods and urged to step forward before the sun sets. These chosen ones then do battle. Once there is a clear victor, the contested issue is considered settled and the respective kings meet at dawn on the following day to execute the will of the gods. On the rare occasion where no divine champion steps forward, it is considered that the gods have found neither side as worthy. To win back the favor of heaven true war is fought at dawn on the following day.
The Manziri are seen as Khinai by the Asham because despite their vast cultural differences the Manziri have never in all of history invaded the Golden Lands to the east.
Manziri are universally dark skinned and dark haired though there is a staggeringly wide variety of cosmetic alteration in the form of tattoos, skin etching and hair coloration. Eye color is most commonly brown, but there are those born with blue, green and gold eyes from time to time. These individuals are always seen as blessed children, and are usually placed in the company of a wise shaman for advanced training.
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