Kermes

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Kermes is a raider group in the Maghreb desert in northwestern Africa. They are exclusively jackal, and generally bloodthirsty when it comes to raiding cities and permanent settlements -- though, paradoxically, their honor code prevents them from preying on desert travelers (and indeed, they are bound to help said travelers).

Kermes

Links

Basics

Statistics & Foundation

Primary Map

ADOPT A KERMESIAN

  • --
  • Location: Northwestern Africa (Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya)
  • Status: REQUEST. More Information
  • Demonym: Kermesian
  • Languages Spoken: Maghreb Arabic
  • Influences: Barbary coast, Arabic world, nomadic
  • Archetype (Group): Raiders, desert, harsh environment
  • Archetypes (Individuals): Vicious raiding vs. hospitality and honor
  • Foundation: ~1995
  • Species: Canis aureus (Golden Jackal); Canis adustus (Side-Striped Jackal)
  • Population: ~55 (100%+ Luperci)
  • Caliph (Leader): Khayri Gamal

Table of Contents (hide)

  1.   1.  Essentials
    1.   1.1  Geography
    2.   1.2  Climate
    3.   1.3  Flora & Fauna
  2.   2.  Culture
    1.   2.1  Species
    2.   2.2  Luperci & Shifting
    3.   2.3  Demographics
    4.   2.4  Languages
    5.   2.5  Technology
    6.   2.6  Structure
    7.   2.7  Practices & Traditions
    8.   2.8  Outsider Relations & Travel
  3.   3.  Significant Families
    1.   3.1  Current
  4.   4.  History
    1.   4.1  Influence on 'Souls
    2.   4.2  Kermes History
  5.   5.  Notes & References
    1.   5.1  Quick Reference Index
    2.   5.2  Etc.

1.  Essentials

The Kermes pack is a tribe of exclusively jackal raiders who roam the Maghreb area and attack permanent settlements. Small and quick, they move from small town to village, sometimes even hitting the larger coast cities (Algiers or Tripoli) for plunder. As they are nomadic, they do not have a permanent encampment and instead roam a specified area of northwestern Africa. They carry around tents and other small structures from one place to the next.

1.1  Geography

The traditional definition of the Maghreb -- historically the Barbary region -- includes the Atlas Mountains and the coastal plains of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya. The coastal cities and even small towns in this region are rich due to oceanic trade on the Mediterranean these eastern extremes of the Atlantic Ocean.

The Atlas Mountains

The Atlas Mountains stretch across the northwestern parts of Africa. They extend roughly 2,500 km (1,600 mi) through Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. The highest peak is Toubkal, with an elevation of 4,165 metres (13,665 ft) in southwestern Morocco.

The Sahara Desert

The Sahara extends across northern Africa from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. Its central part is hyper-arid and supports little plant or animal life. These parts are not trekked even by Kermes -- though the jackal raiders will cross the deep sands, even they do not venture to the deadly, hot heart of the Sahara.

Coastal Desert

The northern portion of the desert -- the Maghrebi coastal plain -- receives occasional winter rains. Much of the desert along the Mediterranean and the Atlantic is sheer desert, receiving no rain aside from these sparse winter rains. This coastal area still receives moisture from marine fog. This marine fog nourishes a greater variety of plants and animals -- though even this is still scant. Shrubs, grasslands, and meager succluent plants can be found in this area.

1.2  Climate

Wind, sand and dust storms, sudden coastal thunderstorms, years long-droughts beyond the Atlas Mountains -- all of this is customary to the Kermes canines. This part of the world is exceptionally dry, receiving almost no rainfall in some parts.

1.3  Flora & Fauna

2.  Culture

The Kermes raiders are a harsh people: they are Jackal-supremacists, though they accept all three species of jackal to their midst. They are misogynistic and do not treat women kindly. In addition, they keep slaves and and slave-wives -- and often kill the latter through mistreatment. Despite all of the above, the Kermes canines abide by a strict honor code. regrading travelers, the desert, and trade routes. This code, too, permeates their daily lives and dictates various beliefs and traditions amongst the Kermes canines.

2.1  Species

Jackals

Algerian and Senegal Jackals

Jackals of various subspecies dominant. The Kermes canines welcome any kind of jackal to their midst; they do not discriminate by subspecies.

  • Senegal Jackals (Canis aureus anthus) dominate, though the Senegal jackal is not native to the Maghreb area (they are from just further south). The original founding blood of Kermes consisted of Senegal Jackals, however,a nd their larger size than either the Algerian or the Side-Striped has ensured their continued dominance.
  • Algerian Jackals (Canis aureus algirensis) are also found in large number. The women of this subspecies, especially, are often taken for Fellah when the Kermes canines raid south their territories: they are a smaller subspecies, no larger than a red fox in Lupus form.
  • Side-Striped Jackals (Canis adustus adustus) are more rarely seen amongst the Kermes canines. The Golden Jackals are wary of their smaller cousin species, though not altogether unfriendly.

Non-Jackals

Kermes is not jackal-supremacist, exactly: a wolf traveling through the desert is given the same hospitality and honor a jackal traveler is given (this has caused considerable friction in Kermes before, as some of the jackal members are a bit less accomodating than others). The Kermes canines still won't accept anything but a jackal to their midst: they consider wolves, dogs, and any other canines (though they haven't heard of coyotes, dingoes, etc. much) to be barbaric savages.

In a raid, there's little picking-and-choosing of targets, in truth -- but some canines of Kermes will go after wolves and dogs almost exclusively. This is not a belief the Kermes Caliph and most of the canines would support; it is done entirely in secret and not discussed.

2.2  Luperci & Shifting

  • The Optime form is universally preferred in Kermes. Only slaves are seen as Lupus-formed canines, and only when their master orders it as such (it is a form of humiliation).
  • Delayed shifting in children is considered exceptionally shameful; a canine who has not shifted by a year might even be killed or abandoned in the desert.
  • Failure or inability to shift to Optime form is also considered shameful: an immune canine would not have a good time within Kermes, and would -- likewise to the delayed shifter -- be killed or abandoned.

2.3  Demographics

The Kermes canines do not settle in one area, ever, for longer than a few weeks. They may spend some weeks by the coast and some weeks in an oasis, but stays of longer than this period of time are incredibly rare. Their lifestyle is therefore absolutely adapted to the nomadic lifestyle: a Kermes canine will not take anything they cannot carry on their back or the backs of their pack animals (Fellah included).

2.4  Languages

2.5  Technology

Kermes does not have much in the way of advanced technology. Weapons -- spears, bows and arrows, and scavenged knives/swords -- can be found amongst these canines, but they are obviously stolen and raided rather than created. Whatever Kermes has, it stole from someone else first.

Companions

Horses and camels are both owned as companions by the Kermes canines. Both are precious resources, used for raiding, carrying goods, etc. The worst Ksar owns three camels and at least one horse. The Caliph may own as many as ten camels and as many horses.

Horses

The horses owned by Kermes are a unique breed, referred to as the Maghreb horse. They are not unique to the Kermes canines alone; they can be found all along the Maghreb coast, as their name suggests. These horses are descended from Arabic, Barb, and Akhal-teke horses owned by humanity. Hyper-adapted to desert lifestyle, they are a hardy breed. The Kermes canines have an eye for swift horses; these animals are amongst the first things stolen on a raid.

Camels

Just as important as horses are camels, which are used for long, deep-desert trekking (horses may be left with guardians along the coasts for a time, should the Kermes nomads wish to cross the deepest deserts). Though not as swift as the fleet-footed Maghreb horses, they are nonetheless valued for their abilities to trek deep into the sands and survive.

Style

  • Clothing: Wikipedia:Thobe, Wikipedia:Kaftan
  • Headwear: wraps, head coverings, turbans, keffiyehs, and anything else that can keep sand out of the eyes and face are highly valued and used frequently. Dust storms are not unheard of in the Maghreb.
  • Dyes: Dyes are common with the Kermes raider: red, especially, in the shade for which the clan is named, is often used almost as a war paint. Other shades are seen, however, and each color is thought to bestow a raider with certain characteristics:
    • White for capture of slaves, horses, and camels;
    • Purple for capture of Fellah;
    • Green for capture of food, trade goods, and other wealth;
    • Blue for water, water-carrying vessels, and anything else they helps with the pursuit of remaining hydrated in the deserts;
    • Black for death.
  • Jewelry and Piercings: These things are valued amongst the Kermes raiders because they are considered signs of conquest. Raiders -- when not raiding -- will adorn themselves with as much gold and jewelry as they can support. Piercings are considered a mark of being battle-tested. Having one's piercings ripped out elevates one's status as a warrior even further.

2.6  Structure

Leaders

  • Caliph: Leader. Women led the clan prior to the 2012 split; afterward, it is highly unlikely. Caliphs are generally picked; Khayri Gamal was able to take the Caliph seat by force.
    • Currently Khayri Gamal, 7 Majlis, 3 Fellah-Maj, 10 Fellah in his service.

Ranks

  • Mudiriya: Veterans. There are usually three or four veterans, and they act as elders, enforcing tradition and culture on younger members of the group.
  • Sidi: Veteran Raiders. Canines who have proven themselves capable by surviving hard years of service: one does not become Sidi easily. Women were barred from this part of the group following the 2012 split.
  • Ksar: Raiders. Canines who enter cities, towns, etc. and ransack, loot, pillage, kidnap, etc.
    • Women may still be Ksar, but tolerance for them is fast eroding. Most raiders are male, and a female raider risks rape and brutality as much as the canines she hopes to raid.
    • Men typically become raiders at some point after a year old; their father decides when they become raiders with the balgh. A father may delay his son's becoming a man for quite a long time if he feels his son is unfit; some old men are still considered boys within Kermes because they never became raiders.
  • Majlis: Women born into the group, new men to the group, young men, old men, disabled, etc.
    • Majlis women may task themselves to one of the following professions: child-reading, horse and camel care, slave breaking and training, plant gathering, or medicine.
    • None of the above jobs are considered fit tasks for me. A man who wishes to care for camels or break slaves may be mocked to the point of departing the Kermes group.
    • Majlis wives are more valued than Fellah-Maj wives. Raiders can only hold one Majlis-ranked wife, though Mudiriya and the Caliph claim many wives of these ranks.
  • Fellah: Servants, slaves, and women captured on raids.
    • Female Fellah are often made into wives, called Fellah-Maj.

Law & Justice

Justice is the sole realm of the Caliph. All disputes within Kermes must be brought before the Caliph (of course, this is not followed precisely -- canines can and do mete their own justice out). The Caliph is merciless when it comes to crimes considered potentially hazardous to the culture; the 2012 split and death of the previous leaders are well-remembered, and Khayri is quick to squash any dissent or questioning.

2.7  Practices & Traditions

Bayt — Family Groups

A typical Kermes familial camp: small, communal, and easily broken down.

Family units are bayt and often include siblings, uncles, etc. Family is extremely important and the "old blood" of the clan is able to recite their heritage twenty or thirty years back -- from memory. The greater tribe unit is next important, and all jackals following that. Honor to one's bayt and tribe, as well as guests of the jackal species, is of the utmost importance. Loyalty is highly valued.

Families do all things together, from camping to eating to sleeping. Though the raiders are one cohesive group and move together, the smaller bayt unit is more important. Camps are spread out, often consisting of several clustered bayt camps and individual families who prefer to keep a bit more distance from other bayt groups.

When a man or woman is married off, they begin their own bayt -- either as its leader (in the case of the man) or its matriarch (in the case of the woman). The bayt seeks to diversify: daughters are expected to become Majlis of men, sons are expected to work as raiders and dedicate themselves to a different task. Often, each son is given a different task: one is sent after jewels and other adornments, another is sent after slaves, a third is sent after horses. In this way, a bayt may amass various forms of wealth.

Balgh — Coming of Age

This coming of age ceremony marks a boy's passage into adulthood. His father decides when the balgh occurs. Upon becoming an adult, a son is given a horse, camel, wife, and weapon. He then forms his own bayt group. Women do not participate in the balgh; they are considered adults when first able to bear children. Thus, the wife is generally a fair bit older than the husband, who may be made an adult as early as 10 months old in some extreme cases. One year and two months to two years are far more common for the balgh to occur, however.

Zaffa — Marriage Ceremony

Marriage ceremonies are not performed for Fellah; only Majlis are permitted to engage in the marriage ceremony. Marriages include a zaffa, or wedding march. It involves music, dancers, and lots of fire: torches, bonfire, flaming swords. This announces the wedding within the Kermes group. Zaffa ceremonies are fairly rare: they are performed but once for each man as he becomes an adult (presuming his wife does not die later on). The Caliph and Mudiriya ranks, however, may have Zaffa ceremonies much more frequently -- and their ceremonies are always much more elaborate and wild than those for the lower ranks of Kermes.

Gender and Sexuality

  • Polygamy is practiced by the Caliph and Mudiriya ONLY. The Caliph and Mudirya may take as many wives as they please. Men of other ranks are restricted to one Maljis (true) wife -- though they may have as many Fellah-Maj (slave) wives as they please.
  • Promiscuity is not generally tolerated within the tribe, though males can sometimes get away with it if especially prestigious (or conversely, especially low-regarded).
  • Women are even less free, sexually: a woman's virginity and purity are very important in order for her to become a Majlis. Fellah determined to be virginal are sometimes even elevated to the rank of Majlis; conversely, Majlis determined to have been sullied may sometimes become a slave.
  • Intolerant of homosexuality, especially following the 2012 split.
    • Gays are cast out, if lucky, or turned into a Fellah, if not -- and sometimes even Fellah-Maj and used as women (the raiders hypocritically do not see their sexual use of a gay as homosexual). It is considered an unforgivable sin against one's manliness to be homosexual and accept another man's penetration or seed voluntarily.
    • Lesbians and women who engage in bisexual acts are killed outright. When one of these women is captured, the raiders most typically allow the other women -- from Fellah to Majlis -- tear her apart in A Handmaiden's Tale-esque ceremony.

Slavery

Fellah

Fellah are slaves. These canines do the worst work of the pack. The average Ksar holds at least one Fellah slave. Though Fellah are often poorly treated, they are never subject to the same brutality as Fellah-Maj, and tend to live a fair bit longer (one of the oldest, serving Khayri, is nearly nine years old).

Fellah-Maj

Fellah-Maj are slaves who have been made into wives. Fellah-Maj are valued far less than Majlis wives; they are often subject to the worst whims of their owners: few Fellah-Maj remain living more than a few months, hence Kermes' constant need to capture more canines. A raider typically keeps his Fellah-Maj around only long enough to whelp and wean at least one litter; he thereafter disposes of her, either by simply murdering her -- or, more rarely, tormenting her until she dies.

2.8  Outsider Relations & Travel

Oases -- even tiny ones such as this -- are the lifeblood of the Kermes canines.

Again, the raiders DO NOT lay claim to all of these areas. They are nomadic and roam from place to place. The following describes only areas that the Kermes canines prey on in raids, and only the very largest. There are innumerable small villages on these trade routes, tucked into the mountains, and even out in the desert at oases the Kermes canines raid.

Algiers

The Kermes canines dare attack only the outskirts of Algiers, and canines as they come to and from the city. Algiers is far too populous and well-guarded for the raiders to attack openly.

Oran

Lonely Oran sits between Fes and Algiers. Oran is small and sparsely populated. It is frequently visited by sea traders, however -- it is therefore choice prey for the Kermes canines.

Fes

The small trade city in the valley, Fes sits upon a great lake fed by an aquifer. Prosperous and large, Fes is often visited by canines heading east to west or vice versa. Though populous and well-provided, it is not well-protected or defended, and therefore falls prey to the Kermes canines most frequently of all.

Rabat

The sparsely populated former human city of Rabat -- the Kermes canines will gladly raid here.

Rabat is more infrequently visited by trading ships -- though they do land here, especially when heading north for the Strait of Gibraltar. Rabat, smaller than Casablanca to the west and inland Fes, is choice prey for the Kermes canines -- though they must tread carefully, as the canines of Rabat may receive forwarning should Kermes pass through Fes or Casablanca.

Casablanca

This coastal city lies between Marrakesh and Rabat, and often receives small ships from Lisbon to the north, for it is the easternmost port on the northewestern coast of Africa. With a small, bustling port and numerous crumbling buildings, Casablanca is not a target taken lightly by the Kermes canines. They are outnumbered here, and even worse when a large ship is in port.

Marrakesh

The Kermes canines have preyed upon Marrakesh many times, relying on its distance and isolation to take advantage of it. With the mighty peak Toubkal just 50 miles south of Marrakesh, visible in much of the city's backdrop, Marrakesh is tucked into the Atlas mountains securely, surrounded on all sides by menacing peaks. There are ways through -- over and under -- these mountains, however, and the former human city of Marrakesh is still populated by a few Luperci; it is occasionally visited by coastal traders, as well.

Outsiders

Guests and Hospitality

Hospitality is extremely important: should they find a traveller in the desert who is without food, shelter, etc., the Kermes canines will provide for that canine. The same courtesies are extended to desert caravans, etc.: while the raiders unabashedly raid a city and will slit the throat of the same merchant they saved from dehydration in the desert, they consider the desert a complete neutral ground. The harsh environment is dangerous for all; when the raiders venture in the southernmost extremes of the Maghreb, travelers and wanderers are given due respect and aid where necessary.

Guests are given a ritualistic "entrance" to Kermes. Should the raiders be attacked by another group, guests are protected as a member of the tribe; hence, the ritual "accepts" them into Kermes, though they are not formally accepted. A guest may remain up to two weeks with the tribe; a longer stay requires an invitation to join the raider clan.

Joining Kermes

Joiners are accepted rarely -- a jackal must be strong to remain with the Kermes tribe. Being born into the clan is far more common than a stranger joining up.

Goum — Other Traveling Groups

When resources are plentiful, the Kermes canines may travel with other groups -- even other raiders as a goum. This is especially true where a raider has departed the Kermes canines to start their own group, or where the relatives of a Majlis from another group is traveling (never a Fellah-Maj, obviously, as the slave-wife's relatives would probably try to free her). These groups tended to splinter again when a destination is reached or resources grow thin again.

3.  Significant Families

3.1  Current

Gamal

  • Khayri Gamal: The leader of Kermes -- vicious and still very much a raider. He has led the Kermes canines to glory and bloodshed, and grown their numbers considerably.
  • Samiah Gamal: Khayri's first wife, a Side-Striped Jackal of unparalleled beauty. She is fierce and dominates all other women within the clan -- though she still bows her head to every one of its men, from the lowest Majilis to her husband.
  • Lilia Gamal: Khayri's second wife, a meek woman almost Samiah's equal in beauty. Unfortunately, she is barren, and so has been relegated almost to Fellah-Maj status among Khayri's wives.
  • Five Wives: Khayri's other wives -- Soniya, Zahiya, Samar, Aya, and Souad -- each ride a beautiful horse and sleep beside the Caliph in his magnificent tent, though their faces are grim as Liliya's.

Lamis

  • Malik Lamis: A Mudiriya, Malik has no less than eight wives, and generally rotates out a crop of five Fellah-Maj of precisely two years old. His appetites -- for food, sex, and plunder -- are unparelleled. Though he has not raided for many years, Malik will talk endless of his raiding days. It is suspected he murdered his parents and pair of younger brothers in the confusion of the 2012 split in order to gain his father's household.
  • Imane Lamis: Malik's only daughter; he dangles her in front of many raiders in promise of marriage.
  • Four Sons: The four sons of Lamis have been held back from their balgh for many years now. It is suspected their father maintains their status for strength.

Navid

  • Radia Navid: One of the few remaining women-Ksar. She predates the split, and is as hard and merciless as any of the men. She has gelded numerous raiders and killed more than that, and tolerates nothing from anyone. She refuses all husbands, even the one her father arranged for her.
  • Rajya Navid: Killed in the 2012 split.

4.  History

4.1  Influence on 'Souls

4.2  Kermes History

1995 Formation

Kermes was a few enterprising jackals who banded together and picked on wolves. Eventually, their targets expanded to everyone, though the wolf bias remains to some extent.

2012 Split

In 2012, the Kermes clan suffers a split. In fall 2011, Machidael Lykoi had begun keeping canines as his playthings and killing them. Others joined him and the clan eventually fractured. This culiminated in a disastrous raid in which the then-Caliph Astarte was killed. Khayri Gamal took over Kermes thereafter, and the clan changed, becoming more misogynistic and even more predatory toward outsiders.

5.  Notes & References

5.1  Quick Reference Index

Geography

Atlas Mountains
The mountain ranges on the northwestern coast of Africa. Wikipedia:Atlas_Mountains
Sahara Desert
The largest hot desert in the world in central-northern Africa. Wikipedia:Sahara

Culture

Bayt
A family group, led by a man.
Balgh
The coming of age for a man in Kermes.
Zaffa
The marriage ceremony for any in Kermes.
Fellah
A slave, often long-lived.
Fellah-Maj
A slave-wife, often very short-lived.
Goum
A group of several travelers -- Kermes and not -- that band together.

5.2  Etc.

Status

  • Creator: Sie — see Wiki page for contact information.
  • Status: REQUEST.
    • I have approved characters from the area before -- however, please ask first. You will need to adhere to the information within this document and show me you have a strong understanding of the areas and culture in order to be approved.
    • There's no need to ask about characters passing through the area in the past, but again, please adhere to the information within this document. Your wolf character would be killed or enslaved, remember, so please play it realistically.
    • You can also check out Sie's Adoptions to see if I have any available characters from Kermes.

Inconsistencies

  1. Please remember these coyotes are not intended to be or represent Arabic people or African people or anything. Their culture is totally made-up and is not intended to convey anything factual about any religion, people, or group whatsoever. Thanks!

References

  1. Wikipedia:Maghreb
  2. Wikipedia:Barbary_Coast
  3. Wikipedia:Mediterranean_acacia-argania_dry_woodlands_and_succulent_thickets
  4. Wikipedia:Mediterranean_dry_woodlands_and_steppe
  5. Wikipedia:Mediterranean_woodlands_and_forests
  6. Wikipedia:Mediterranean_conifer_and_mixed_forests
  7. Wikipedia:North_Saharan_steppe_and_woodlands
  8. Wikipedia:Atlantic_coastal_desert
  9. Wikipedia:Bedouin
  10. [[Wikipedia:

Name Meanings

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