Hipparion Tribe (Sagolii Desert)
- 1 Tribal Details
- 2 Lifestyle
- 3 History
- 4 What outsiders see
- 5 Members
- 6 Family Tree
Location: Deep in the Sagolii Desert
Clan: Seekers of the Sun
Tribe Indicator: K' (Pronounced koo)
Tribe Beast: The Mighty Hipparion
Tribe Leaders: The Council of Elders
Tribe Size: Approx 75 Heads
Breeding Nunh: K'yohko
Tribal Traditions, Rituals and beliefs
This is a largely perfunctory ritual but still important. Children who reach their fifth year are taken by the nunh who fathered them to the tribal Elders. There, their name will be spoken to Azeyma, the Warden, Keeper of the Sun as an assurance that there will be many more sunrises in their future.
Learning the Hunt
Around age 7 or 8, a child will begin to accompany the huntresses and hunters of the tribe on hunts at regular intervals. At first, they are brought on simply as observers, encouraged to ask questions when the hunters are not actively engaged, and may be asked questions themselves. Over time, they are taught how to hold weapons, how to aim, how to track, corner, and manipulate the intended prey. These lessons continue for a number of years.
At age 10 they have to recite all they have learnt from the verbal lessons.
The Trial of Adulthod
When a child sees their sixteenth nameday, their lessons culminate in a ritualistic first kill. The children accompany the huntresses just as they always have, but this time they are expected to take down a beast for themselves, landing the killing blow. If they succeed, they return marked as an adult. However, a number of youths fail every year. Should that be the case, they are sent on a foraging, tasked with searching the desert or nearby regions for something useful to the tribe as a whole: new hunting grounds, a new town to trade. If they cannot succeed in this, they are not allowed back.
Death is a fact of life for the Hipparion tribe, as the Sagolii Desert is uncompromising in its brutality. As the tribe is nomadic, they have no established burial ground, nor are the ever-shifting sands conducive to consistent burial. Because of this, members of the Hipparion tribe have developed a ritual of burning the bodies of their dead. Elders may speak a few prayers to Azeyma and Nald'thal, and the body is often burnt with a few totems - carved sun and Hipparion figurines, and one or two personal possessions that the tribe cannot repurpose and wants to send off with the deceased.
In addition to a ceremonial burning, the tribal shaman is responsible for administering certain rites to transfer the dead individual's spirit into the next realm. The rites involve a sun-like pattern drawn in the sand, circled by old bones of hunts past kept by the shaman for this specific purpose. Sage is rubbed and burned while the shaman speaks the following words over a personal article of the dead:
"As the Warden consumes, so does she shelter.
From birth, to Hunt, to love, and to death.
From first breath to last.
From destruction to renewal.
Her Flame welcomes and protects, punishes and brings to an end.
Into the Warden's warmth I send you, to be reborn,
To rejoin with those waiting,
And to wait for those yet to come."
It is said that the shaman makes a brief, metaphysical connection with the spirit of the dead during the rite, that they can see the aether of the lost loved one gathered and guide it to the flame. To outsiders, though, it may simply look like an outdated tribal practice.
The Hipparion give thanks and make offerings to Azeyma on the longest day of the year. A great fire is lit and the tribe's esteemed fire dancers move in ancient patterns with fire-lit staffs around the pyre. It is a time of great celebration and hope. The festival has deep meaning to the Hipparion tribe and it is not permitted for outsiders to participate or watch.
The shaman of the tribe share many similarities with the conjurers of Gridania. They perform a number of important roles within the tribe, one of which is they act as the tribes healers. They apply their own brand of medicine to clean and mend wounds, ward off sickness and splint broken bones. It involves a blend of alchemy, spiritual prayer, more standard medicinal treatments involving herbs and other materials available in the desert, and a unique method of aetheric manipulation. The latter is a well-kept secret.
The shaman may at times entreat the various elemental spirits to protect or otherwise not harm the tribe. If the shamans placate the spirits with offerings then the tribe will be safe from sandstorms and other such desert dangers. They also speak to the water spirits to help the tribe in times of drought.
The tribes shamans are also the keepers of the tribes oral history and traditions. These have been passed down, shaman to shaman since before the great migration. The shaman are the ones who see to it that the young of the tribe understand their past.
Initiating a Hunt
The huntresses and hunters of the Hipparion tribe would never venture out without the blessings of their Elders and the spirits at their back. The details and length of this ritual vary throughout the year, expanded upon to mark times of significance (such as a recent ceremony marking the first hunt in the tribe's new home in Eastern Thanalan), or shortened for routine. Fire is central to the ritual, either a small campfire or a great bonfire depending on the significance of the time, as are the Elders. For these ceremonies it is they who speak to the spirits of the land, rather than the tribe's shaman, though the contents of their prayers vary from hunt to hunt. It typically involves invocations of past huntresses, nature spirits, and of course Azeyma's wisdom and strength.
There may only be two active Nunh at any given time. Ideally, each Nunh would have at least ten females. Following the decimation of the Calamity, the tribe lost one of their Nunhs, leaving K'yohko as their remaining father. Hipparion Nunhs are responsible for the care-giving of children and the elderly, and when not busy with that they will assist in maintenance of clothing, shelter, tools, and food around the tribe's camp.
The heads of the tribe's family "government" are the Elders. They may hear counsel from other respected family members but ultimately their word is law; there is a deeply ingrained respect towards the Elders taught to every member of the Hipparion tribe from birth. Currently the Elders are K'deiki Nhyt, K'jhanhi (former Nunh), and K'takka Jihm.
Beneath the Elders, the tribe's structure branches outward to fill a number of roles. The huntresses and those rare Tias who choose a hunting path are often seen in the same light as many military heroes are in other cultures - glorified for strength and might, admired for the way they provide for their family, though they can just as quickly be taken down if they prove a failure in the field. The hunting group is typically led by a single Head Huntress, who achieves that rank through repeated demonstration of leadership and skill. K'iara Thalen took up the mantle of Head Huntress after the Calamity decimated the tribe's population.
The spiritual leader of the tribe is the shaman, who also typically has a small number of students assisting him or her, studying to be their replacement when their time comes. They act as mental, spiritual, and physical doctors, as well as keepers of tribal history and lore. They play significant roles in many Hipparion rites, from birth to death. The tribe's last shaman, K'piru Jhanhi, abandoned the tribe without fully training a successor. K'zhumi Bashir has done admirably in filling that gap and has melded the tribe's traditional practices with knowledge gained from an expedition to La Noscea to study from arcanists in Limsa Lominsa.
One or two trusted individuals act as enforcers of the Elders' decrees and are responsible for meting out punishment when applicable. K'ile Tia has been one such enforcer for many years.
Firedancers hold a unique position in the Hipparion social structure. They could be huntresses or caregivers, a shaman, or even a Nunh. They earn their title by proving themselves spiritually worthy enough to earn the blessings of the Elders, who bestow upon each Firedancer a single, small stone containing the knowledge for a single spell: the spontaneous summoning of fire. Their role lies primarily in participating in various ceremonies in a theatrical, artistic, and spiritual manner. Their dances can be beautiful or terrifying and require years of training to perfect. The battle at Carteneau and the following Calamity killed all but one of the tribe's trained Firedancers.
Leaving the tribe is considered a severe offense resulting in shunning, this is different from the Foraging that adolescents are required to do in their rite of adulthood.
All heterosexual sex outside the tribe is forbidden. Homosexual sex outside the tribe is technically allowed, but looked down upon quite severely and not discussed. Homosexuality within the tribe is allowed, but heterosexual sex is strictly only between a female and her chosen Nunh. A female can change which Nunh she wants to mate with but its forbidden for her to be mate with both. If a Nunh is found to be lacking in his attentiveness to his females he will start to lose the support of his females. Tribe members are allowed to consent to sex at the age of sixteen.
Violence against fellow tribe members is forbidden, unless for the purpose of training or ritual combat to settle mating rites or disputes.
Ritual combat to settle disputes is generally to first blood and can be between any two recognized adults of the tribe be they male or female.
Challenging a Nunh
Following traditional tribal Miqo'te culture, only particular males in a tribe, called Nunhs, are allowed to pass on their genes. The other males of the tribe are Tias. It's important to note that the distinction between Tia and Nunh is not one of greater or lesser rank; they simply have different duties the the tribal family. Many Tias, however, may wish to become a Nunh to continue their own lineage. To do this, they must either found new territory for the tribe, or they may challenge one of the current Nunhs.
In order to challenge a Nunh, the Tia must both have the support of at least one female from the tribe (representing his ability to successfully carry out his duties), as well as provide the tribe with a feast. During this feast, the challenging Tia and the Nunh engage in ritual combat before the tribe that, while brutal, should not end in the death of either. There is a certain amount of personal shame in losing, but the act of challenging a Nunh is part of the way of life for Tias, not a behavior looked down upon as an act of defiance. Rituals such as this also serve to reinforce a Nunh's personal strength and vigor, showing him as suitable to the position of furthering the tribes lineage. A Nunh having been beaten well become a Tia and join the rest of the tribe once more. Nothing prevents a Nunh from attempting to regain his title and breeding rights.
A Tia may only attempt to challenge a Nunh once a moon, this is to prevent the Tia's of a tribe from disrupting the Nunh's duties. In times of war a Nunh's position may not be challenged as there are other more vital matters to attend to, because of this a breeding Nunh is not able to declare or sustain a war to prevent himself from being challenged.
The Hipparion also make use of the giant worms that live in the Sagolii desert. Their larger teeth are used for spear heads, and those of a smaller size become arrowheads or are carved in decorative ways. The skin of the worm is light but tough, and and has been used to make tents and clothes, while the armored scaled plates are made into protective armour and bowls. The flesh they carve up and provides them with a major source of sustenance. The blood is also utilised by emptying large guts and filling them with the blood. They then carry this around their neck to drink when they are thirsty
The light spear favored by the Hipparion has allowed them to take down vultures and other large birds mid flight; taking careful aim, a practiced huntress can drop a bird from a fair distance. The feathers are highly prized for decorative purposes.
Although the spear is the chosen weapon for a large number in the tribe, a few favor the large two handed axe - similar in design to those found in Limsa Lominsa. These miqo'te rush in and hack away at the flesh of their prey, while the rest of the tribe keeps their target busy with their spears. The axe is able to break into the toughest worm plating revealing the bright flesh underneath.
A small number of Hipparion who have journeyed from the tribe have picked up the skills of archery. Although not common among the tribe, its uses are quickly being adapted into their hunting style.
When the Calamity struck five years ago, the supplies and gathering ability of the tribe was decimated. Skills with hunting, skinning, and tanning had provided the Hipparion Tribe with a decent stock of leather from the beasts of the Sagolii, and they have since begun to rebuild these supplies. Their skins would mostly be uncomfortable and tough: the Sagolii wildlife boast mostly scales and hard bony plates. Wurms have spikes on their body, which yield vicious-looking patches of hide. Smooth leathers can be made but they would be firm, not soft. Items of comfort made from leather would be rare.
The drought from the Calamity also left the ecosystem frail and diminished, greatly reducing the tribe's ability to procure medicinal and edible plants. While the geological upheaval did reveal certain metals and mineral resources for use, very few in the tribe possess the knowledge and skills to take advantage of this, and the seclusion makes it difficult to trade such goods for items of more tangible benefit.
Music and Dance
Prior to the Calamity, the Hipparion Tribe boasted a number of Fire-dancers, who would perform complicated ritualistic dances in honor of Azeyma many times throughout the year. Fire-dancing featured prominently in many non-religious activities as well, and members skilled in fire-dancing were seen as an asset for this skill. The Elders of the tribe possessed a small number of red stones which were given to chosen fire-dancers. These stones, worn on the wrist, bore a blessing of Azeyma and were thought to increase the dancing skill of the wearer, and also provided the ability to magically light fire to certain kinds of wood through physical contact. These may be soul-stones which contain only the one, very simple spell. The Calamity killed off all but one fire-dancer, who currently possesses all five stones.
The Hipparion are a tribe of Sunseeker miqo'te who have dwelled within the Sagolii Desert since the migration across the frozen seas into Eorzea.
Before the Great Migration
Before the great migration south into Eorzea, the tribe made extensive use of their namesake: the hipparion, a majestic striped horse-like creature with horns. They followed the migration patterns of these creatures, and eventually took to herding them, riding them, and using them for food. Their most popular use was to ride hipparions in small groups while hunting, skillfully utilizing their added speed and mobility to hunt large prey.
The Hipparion was a chief source of food, and items such as cups, decorations, crafting tools, knives and clothing made from the animals flesh, hide and bones. The tribe would follow the seasonal grazing and migration of the animals
The tribe lived in tents made of tanned skins of the hipparion. They dry the flesh in the sun, cutting it thin like a leaf and when dry, grind it like a meal to keep it, and make a sort of sea soup of it to eat. It would be seasoned with fat which they always try to secure when they kill a hipparion.
After countless generations of using the hipparion in their daily life, the tribe was unable to keep them alive during their great journey south and across the ice into Eorzea, and the tribe was forced to adapt. In it's place, they began to utilize the chocobo, a giant native bird of Eorzea. They quickly broke a number of wild flocks, and the Hipparion tribe has has been riding them ever since. A series of ancient territorial disputes pushed one sept of the Hipparion tribe deep into the Sagoli Desert, where they adapted and established their own customs unique to a nomadic way of life in the deep desert. As generations passed, they fell largely out of touch with the rest of Eorzea, save for occasional forays northward.
The Calamity and the Aftermath
In the year leading up to the fall of Dalamud, the tribe experienced a broadening of its cultural awareness, though to a somewhat limited degree. It was enough, however, to motivate a significant number of its members into joining the fight against the Garlean Empire. Both of the tribe's nunhs, along with more than a dozen huntresses and tias, set off with high hopes to protect their land from Garlean invasion - a threat they only somewhat understood, but knew well enough to know it was a great danger.
When Bahamut broke free from his prison and laid waste to great swaths of Eorzea, his fire reached all the way into the isolated Sagolii. The tribe fled to hide in the cliffs, but in the ensuing chaos, many were lost. An entire bloodline perished in the flames, including many young children and revered elders.
Those who returned from the Battle of Carteneau found the tribe they had left in tatters, only to have to give news of even more loss from the war. Their family was decimated, and many were crushed by the loss. Although some could not handle it and instead fled, most of the tribe managed to begin to pull itself back together. The effort was a great challenge, however, as the fall of Dalamud brought about strange changes to their roaming lands. The food grew both more scarce and more dangerous to hunt; Amal'jaa attacks, which had always been something at the back of the tribe's mind, became an almost constant threat; their sources of water had largely dried up. The tribe was suffering and in desperate need of a solution.
It was then that several of its younger members took it upon themselves to find such a solution. After much debate, it was agreed that the tribe could not continue on as they were, and a scouting party was sent northward to search for a potential new home. Should they succeed, the tribe may find a way to enter a more prosperous age and finally recover from their losses.
The Second Migration
What outsiders see
- "Look, just telling you what I saw. Guts and blood all over the place and they were dancing some ritualistic kind of thing. Just make sure to stay clear of 'em, is all I say."
- "I heard that one of their women can carry two grown chocobos without any help. With the birds trying to get away!"
- "I was once honoured by being invited to one of their hunts. They tracked something I couldn't even see for days. Their patience was incredible."
- "Saw them catch up to a sand worm once. They went from quiet tribesman to frenzied killer so fast I thought they'd snapped. They ripped it apart."
- "Their shaman are like Gridanian Conjurers, I've heard. They heal and control the hunts. I guess the hunts are rituals, huh? They'd be sacred."
K'jhanhi (former Nunh)
Antimony Jhanhi (formerly K'piru)
D'aijeen Thalen (formerly K'aijeen)
Louree Canaan (Desfosse)
Below is the Hipparion tribe family tree. Note: this diagram does not show every NPC in the tribe, it just links PC's and NPC's important to their individual stories.