Qulaan Tribe

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THE WIKI BELOW IS OUTDATED AS OF 7/10/2017.
Check out our new Qulaani Lore Website for the current version!


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 Qulaan Tribe
Qulaan logo.png
In Character Information
Tribe Name Qulaan.
Meaning 'Wolf People' in Qulaani dialect.
Homeland Othardian steppes.
Territory Nomadic, the tribe wandered all across the continent.
Population Size Relatively small. (20-40)
Language(s) Xaelan (Native). Common (Moderate). Doman (Low).
Specialty Hunting and tracking.
God(s) Balanai, Goddess of Hunting.
Reputation Moderately well-known (past), reputation fading with tribal dissolution.
Out of Character Information
Status Active.
Roleplay Type Mostly heavy to medium.
Free Company None.
Linkshell Wolves of the Steppe, IC/OOC.
Website None.
OOC Leader(s) Jaliqai Qulaan.
Recruiting Status Semi-open. Please contact Jaliqai if interested in creating a Qulaani!

INTRODUCTION

THE QULAAN were one of the lesser Xaela tribes that roamed far and wide across the continent of Othard, often referred to as the Wolves of the Steppe by other tribes and Othardian peoples alike. Known for their exceptional prowess in tracking and bringing down prey, much like the wolves that they claim as brethren, the Qulaan revered the Hunt above all else. Never lingering in one place for too long, this tightly knit group of Auri trackers and warriors followed wherever the promise of worthy quarry led them. Yet the constant danger of their pursuits as well as the occasional brushes with larger, hostile Xaela tribes tended to keep their numbers small with little growth. Despite this, the cunning tribe compensated for their lacking numbers with traditions meant to breed and raise even stronger stock, keeping their bloodlines going for generation upon generation. Paired with their willingness to interact with, learn from, and trade with outsiders, the pack remained strong.

As the Garleans began to appear with frequency in Othard with the continent's subjugation in the year 1521, the Qulaan found their hunts and way of life stifled by these foreign invaders, as many other Xaela tribes did. It took them a good deal of time to adjust to the restriction in movement and availability of resources. Yet eventually, the tribe -- which had always placed a high value on adaptability and survival -- managed to learn how to carry on, finding ways to continue living and hunting without drawing the Garleans' attention nor ire. Still discontent remained, as it was wont to do, with only the barest of begrudging tolerance for the inconvenient presence given.

Roughly nine years ago, the other tribes, villages, and cities that the Qulaan regularly interacted and traded with began to notice the tribe's marked absence. After a few moons, rumors began to spread that the tribe was no longer. No one quite knew for certain what had happened to the Wolves of the Steppe, yet myriad theories were put forth. Some believed that the tribe had turned in on itself, erupting in battle that left them fragmented and easy pickings. Others suspected that another larger tribe, such as the Adarkim, subjugated and assimilated them into their ranks. Or maybe an attack by a hostile Dotharl tribe, who destroyed them as they did the Hotgo? Perhaps a hunt went terribly wrong, even?

Whatever the case, even if the circumstances were unknown, one thing was: the proud hunters were no more. For cycles afterwards, the once glowing reputation of the Qulaani continued to fade as they were forgotten. Yet with the recent mass exodus from Othard to Eorzea, surprising whispers have begun to crop up of Qulaani hunters roaming these new lands. However, it remains to be seen if there is any truth to be found in these words, or if they're just words invoking the ghosts of a tribe lost.

UPDATE LOG


October 2nd, 2015: Page created. Content heavily under construction. Basic formatting and placeholders completed. History page completed.


January 17th, 2016: Current Roster updated with all current (IC) Qulaan tribe members.
October 3rd, 2015: Religion & Beliefs, Life of a Qulaani, Social Hierarchy, and External Relations sections complete.


January 22nd, 2017: Current Roster updated with all current (IC) Qulaan tribe members.
October 4th, 2015: Hallelujah! The wiki is finished! May very well be updated, tweaked, or added to as time goes on. Yet for the most part, it is complete!


CREDITS & CONTACTS

The Qulaan are a player-made Xaela tribe created by Jaliqai Qulaan. All information presented here, unless otherwise noted, is of her creation. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please direct a message to her either in-game (Jaliqai Qulaan), on the RPC (Ephemerality), or on Tumblr (Jaliqai-the-Red or wittypungoeshere). Tribe logo was created by Jaliqai, with the howling wolf tattoo resource taken from FreeTattooDesigns. Wiki format template was created by Deirdre Ta'ea, then modified/mixed from Franz Renatus, Leanne Delphium, Bancroft Gairn, and Jaliqai Qulaan. Sidebar to the right is a modified version of Industrythirteen's RoeBox.

HISTORY


◢▮▮▮       CREATION MYTH       ▮▮▮◣
According to Qulaani legend, the tribe claims the favor of the goddess of hunting, Balanai. It is said that in the beginning, when the Dusk Mother created the Xaela, the other gods and goddesses took great interest in Her creation. Some even squabbled over which they would claim as their own, to teach them of their ways and to follow them. Yet the fair-haired, fair-skinned hunting goddess thought little of them with their brutish fighting and the irreverent ways in which they hunted, and instead gave her favor to the wolves that wandered the lands. To her, wolves were creatures even more perfect than the Mother's creation, with their cunning intelligence, deep loyalty to one another, and the fierceness with which they hunted their prey.

So much did Balanai adore wolves that she claimed a particularly strong and wise she-wolf as her own hunting companion. On one of their hunts together, the goddess and her companion crossed the path of an young Xaela child, injured and abandoned by his tribe. Weak and small, the boy would have made for easy prey. Yet as Balanai lifted her bow to end his lone suffering, the she-wolf came forth and wrapped her body around the child, protecting him. Reluctantly, Balanai spared the boy and allowed the wolf to return with him to her pack.

The she-wolf nursed the abandoned boy back to health, raising him as she would her own, giving him the name of Itakh. As time passed, the she-wolf taught the Xaela how to hunt, to be loyal, to be clever. He came to claim the wolves that he lived among as his family, as they did him. Yet even as they accepted him, Balanai still held a deep reluctance to acknowledge him and give him her favor. In her eyes, he was still but a man unworthy of her, not at all like the creatures that she held so dear.

As Itakh grew into a young man, he sought out Balanai to ask her to allow him to prove himself to her. The goddess agreed, and gave him the challenge to prove his hunting prowess to her by hunting down an elusive and strong tiger by the name of Khalja, whom even Balanai herself had tried and failed to hunt. She would allow him to take with him one companion of his choosing. If he could subdue the tiger and return proof to her of his successful hunt, Balanai would grant him with her favor. Yet should he fail, she warned him, he would be forced to leave the pack. Unafraid, Itakh accepted the terms.
For his hunt, Itakh brought with him a she-wolf by the name of Asena whom he had been raised alongside. Together, the two set out on a journey that spanned many moons, taking them across the land from the lowest valleys to the highest mountain tops. Over such a long time, through the many trials and dangers that tested them, the two developed a deep love for one another. And so, when they finally managed to find Khalja's lair, both were elated and more determined than ever to prove themselves and the bond that they had grown to share.

Confronting the tiger, a fierce and bloody battle ensued. Suns passed as both Xaela and wolf fought with all their might, giving chase each time the tiger made attempts to retreat and confuse them. Finally, when all were at their limit, the final battle commenced. Neither side seemed to give even an ilm until one misstep by the tired, injured she-wolf saw her pinned beneath the beast's crushing weight. With an angered, distressed howl, Itakh flung himself at Khalja and buried his spear deep into the tiger's heart. Yet as quick as he was to come to her aide, it was too late, the wolf succumbing to her injuries.

Injured as he was, the Xaela was forced to choose between his prize and his companion, unable to carry both back to the goddess. Yet as he came before Balanai, instead of the proof of Khalja's slaying that she had instructed him to bring, he instead laid Asena's broken body at her feet, weeping and howling in grief for her. As he explained how they had fought and brought Khalja low, he begged the goddess to return Asena to life and he would gladly leave the pack.

Impressed by his persistence, cunning, and strength, as well as deeply moved by his loyalty and sacrifice, Balanai agreed to return Asena to life as a Xaela woman so that she and Itakh might live together as both hunting companions and mates. Likewise, the goddess finally agreed to give him her favor, as long as he agreed to teach his children and his people their ways. He agreed, and swore that he and his offspring would continue to appease her with many trophies of their glorious hunts. Thus, from the union of Itakh and Asena, the tribe of Qulaan -- wolf people, in their tongue -- was born under Balanai's auspices.


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◢▮▮▮       NOTABLE HISTORICAL EVENTS       ▮▮▮◣
6th A.E., Year 1550 . . . The Garleans invade Othard. There are several conflicts with the new invaders, but the tribe eventually learns to adjust to the Garlean presence by choosing to give them as wide of a berth as possible.

6th A.E., Year 1570 . . . The Qulaani attack a Garlean encampment and are swiftly brought to heel, essentially putting the tribe to rest.

6th A.E., Year 1572 . . . The Calamity occurs in Eorzea.

7th A.E., Year 01(?) . . . Domans revolt against the Garlean Empire, only to be thoroughly defeated and see the city razed to the ground. Scores of refugees flee to Eorzea where they start a new life in a new land.


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◢▮▮▮       THE END OF THE TRIBE       ▮▮▮◣
As far as most know, what became of the Qulaan tribe remains mysterious. While the wandering hunting tribe disappeared from the steppes roughly nine cycles past, where they went and what happened to them is largely a matter of speculation. Theories have ranged from in-fighting to a hunt gone wrong. Others believe that they may have been massacred by a hostile tribe or absorbed into a larger one. Others still claim sickness or plague. All agree, however, that the way the tribe managed to disappear without a trace is highly strange.

The truth of their disappearance, however, is known to but a few. It began with an accident, when a much beloved tribesmate of the Qulaan and her hunting partner were trying to sneak past a Garlean patrol with whom their paths intersected. One misstep saw the men startled and shots fired, leaving the Auri woman dead. Her partner escaped and brought her home, where the tribe was struck with a deep grief that moved them to foolishly seek revenge.

The Qulaani tracked the patrol back to their encampment and caught the soldiers by surprise in the night. While the initial shock of the attack seemed to swing in their favor, the rebound and counter-attack from the Garleans quickly overwhelmed them with superior fire power and armor. The fighting swiftly turned massacre, yet by the time the tribe realized their foolishness, they were unable to retreat.
Many of the Qulaani died in the ill-fated assault. Yet those who were captured or found clinging to life were rounded up and placed in the backs of transport vehicles. Medical treatment wasn’t generally rendered and scarcely any food or drink afforded to the prisoners. Those that perished along the way were dropped unceremoniously on the roadside.

Those who survived the trip were taken back to Garlemald, where their fates would be decided by the leaders: whether they would be put to death for their attack, or if there was some way for the Xaela hunters to be used by the Empire. From that point on, what became of the tribe remains questionable. Whether the survivors were executed or somehow inducted into the military, even fewer know.

Those precious few who are privy to the knowledge of the tribe's fate have remained tight-lipped over the years. Perhaps the surviving tribe members of the horrid event were struck by fear of being hunted down, one by one without the safety of a tribe, by Garlean soldiers. Perhaps the Garleans themselves were either ashamed or wary to admit that a small tribe managed to get the jump on them, for fear of encouraging other groups to do the same. As for anyone else, it's likely reluctance to involve themselves in the battles of another.


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◢▮▮▮       A TRIBE SCATTERED, A NEW HUNTING GROUND       ▮▮▮◣
It has been roughly nine cycles since the Qulaani last wandered the Othardian steppes in search of worthy hunts. Their way of life has become a thing of stories and legends, if not a fading memory of a people that are now -- mysteriously -- all but gone. Yet with the mass migration to Eorzea, curious rumors have begun to pop up here and there across this new land. Whispers of scattered Qulaani hunters have started to trickle to the surface, though they've yet to prove truthful.

RELIGION & BELIEFS


◢▮▮▮       BELIEF SYSTEM       ▮▮▮◣
The Qulaan, like most other Xaela, hold the Dusk Mother as the creator goddess of the Xaela and thus treat her with all due reverence and worship. However, they also believe in the existence of lesser gods and goddesses, such as Azim and Nhama. In particular, they claim the favor of the goddess of hunting, whom they call Balanai, and revere her as the goddess who essentially created their tribe. While the Qulaan do not scorn the other lesser gods and sometimes even offer up prayers and offerings to them when appropriate, it is their devotion and avid desire to please the Goddess of the Hunt that drives their entire lifestyle.
Across the world in Eorzea, the Qulaani may have also begun to form opinions about the Twelve. While there is no general tribal consensus due to the currently scattered nature of the tribe, it is quite likely that the Qulaani view them in the same light as the other lesser gods and goddesses of the Xaela: they do exist and are due moderate respect and reverence, particularly when entering their domain of influence. Whether or not this remains true for all displaced Qulaani, or if they may have adapted to a more Eorzean way of life and taken up a new patron god, remains to be seen.


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◢▮▮▮       GODS, SPIRITS, AND SACRED CREATURES       ▮▮▮◣
The Qulaani have several figures that they worship, including gods, ancestral spirits, and creatures that they hold sacred. Below is a list.
LIST OF QULAANI SPIRITUAL FIGURES
The Dusk Mother, xaela creator goddess.
Domain: Xaela creator goddess. Goddess of motherhood.
Associations: Dusk, night time. The moon. Mothers and childbirth.

The Qulaani, as all Xaela are wont to do, worship the dusk mother as the creator of their people. They have a hefty amount of respect and reverence for her, as most of their religious rites and customs tend to be observed at the fall of dusk or during the night, under the moon. Expectant mothers also pray and give offerings to the Dusk Mother as well, in hopes for strength, guidance, and to give birth to a healthy child.

Balanai, lesser goddess of hunting.
Domain: Goddess of hunting and wolves. Qulaani creator goddess.
Associations: Wolves. Bow and arrow. Fair skin and hair.

Balanai is the patron lesser goddess of the Qulaani, from whom they claim their tribe was created. In their creation myth, it is said that Balanai far favored wolves over the Xaela people and claimed them as her followers instead of the Auri. However, her favor was eventually won over by the strength, fierceness, and loyalty of an Auri man raised by wolves, and the Qulaan tribe was created.

To this day, however, the Qulaani still view Balanai and a fickle goddess whose favor needs to be constantly won by engaging in challenging hunts and due reverence and worship. Most Qulaani are more than happy to pursue this.

Itakh & Asena, qulaani ancestral spirits.
Domain: The guardian spirits of hunting partners. Spirits of guidance for tribal leadership.
Associations: Hunting partners. Fierceness, determination, love, and loyalty. Leadership.

Itakh and Asena were said to be the first of the Qulaani. Itakh was an abandoned Xaela boy who was raised by wolves, and grew to seek Balanai's acceptance. Asena was a she-wolf that he had been raised alongside who accompanied him on the challenge that Balanai issued to him. The two developed a deep love for one another during their travels. At the climax of the hunt, Asena was killed. Sacrificing his opportunity to complete the goddess' challenge, Itakh instead brought the she-wolf's body back to the goddess and begged her to return her to life in exchange for his departure from the tribe. Moved by his sacrifice, Balanai brought Asena back to life as a Xaela woman to be Itakh's mate and gave them her blessing.

Now, Itakh and Asena serve as ancestral spirits to the Qulaani people. They are the reason that the tribe claims to have wolf's blood running through their veins. Hunting partners will often make offerings to these spirits before departing on a hunt together, asking for their guidance, strength, and good fortune. Likewise, tribal leaders will often pray to them, as they were the first leaders of the tribe.

Wolves, brethren.
Domain: Brethren to the Qulaani.
Associations: Loyalty. Group mentality. Cunning and intelligence. Bright golden eyes.

Wolves are a sacred creature to the Qulaani, as it is their belief that wolf's blood runs through their own veins. They embody the ideals of their lifestyle: loyalty to one another, fierceness in battle, intelligence and cunning, efficiency and deadliness in the hunt. They also are Balanai's favored creatures, the first that she claimed as her own.

In addition to believe that they are possessed of wolf's blood, it is also part of Qulaani belief that a fallen hunter whose trophies and hunts have pleased Balanai will be reincarnated as a wolf. Thus, they readily claim wolves as kinsmen, and any harm against them is one of the ultimate taboos worthy of exile and hunting.


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◢▮▮▮       VALUES AND TABOOS       ▮▮▮◣
◢▮▮▮   STRENGTH                                  
The Qulaani place a high value on strength, as a hunter who is not strong is a hunter who falls in a hunt or, even worse, starves when they cannot provide for themselves. Strength in a hunt pleases their goddess. While those unfortunate enough to be weak by nature of birth, injury, or age are not cast from the tribe, they are certainly not held in high regard or given much influence.
                                   BETRAYAL    ▮▮▮◣
There is no love or tolerance of disloyalty in Qulaani hearts. Even something so simple as a broken promise to a tribemate is highly frowned upon. Actual betrayals, such as attempts on another tribemate's life, are the ultimate sin. If the individual isn't immediately set upon and killed by their peers, then they almost certainly face exile.
◢▮▮▮   COMMUNITY                               
The benefit of the group and social harmony are important aspects of Qulaani society, reinforced by responsibilities shares between tribemates, such as hunting for food and child rearing. Burdens and boons are always to be shared willingly amongst the tribe. A selfish Qulaani that puts their needs and wants above the community is quickly scorned by their peers, and loses social status.
                              DISRESPECT    ▮▮▮◣
As stated, social harmony is very important to this tribe. To that end, there is a strict dominance hierarchy in place based upon strength, experience, and hunting prowess. Tribe members are expected to be mindful of where they stand in the tribal rankings, and to show proper obedience and deference to their social superiors.
◢▮▮▮   CUNNING                                   
Strength isn't the only trait that the Qulaani recognize as important in a hunt. While some may not be possessed of physical strength, the tribe also realizes that one must be clever and intelligent when tracking and strategizing how to approach a hunt. Cunning is placed on roughly footing with strength, as far as values are concerned.
                         BECOMING PREY    ▮▮▮◣
Another important taboo of Qulaani culture, on the same level as betrayal, is to become prey to another. The Xaela view themselves as top predators, and so to become prey to another creature or person is the ultimate shame. Even in death this remains true, which is the reason why Qulaani put much importance on funerary cremation.
◢▮▮▮   ADAPTATION                                 
Like most Xaela tribes, the Qulaani are highly nomadic. However, instead of wandering a set territory as some do, the tribe wanders far and wide across the continent, across varying places and climes, just to follow the Hunt. As such, adaptability is supremely important. Qulaani who cannot change with their changing environment do not survive in the tribe for long.
                                   CRUELTY    ▮▮▮◣
Hunting is not only a means of survival for the Qulaan, but is also a matter of religious worship. While in a way, it may be seen as hunting for sport, the tribe is quick to scorn unnecessary cruelty. Pursuing the weak or defenseless, unduly playing with one's prey, and causing undue agony and suffering are highly looked down upon.


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◢▮▮▮       RELIGIOUS CELEBRATIONS       ▮▮▮◣
◢▮▮▮   COMPETITION: Naghadum                             
Lit. 'Games' in the Qulaani dialect. Naghadum is a time of friendly competition between Qulaani tribe members, occurring during the middle of the summer. The celebrations span over a week, and the competitions test the members' skills and talents. Three competitions always occur: sparring to test one another's strength, archery to showcase one's aim, and the release of a sacrificial doe in the woods to see who is quickest in tracking it down. However, other competitions tend to crop up over the week as well, on anything from horseback riding to dancing.

While most of these competitions are friendly and in good spirit, Naghadum also serves as a chance for one to officially improve their ranking within the tribe by showing their strength, abilities, and skill. Likewise, the only time a tribe member may officially challenge the current tribal leader for dominance is during the final day of Naghadum. If the tribe member has made a good showing during the week, they can name their challenge to the current leader, with the winner taking leadership for the next year.
         FIRST HUNT OF THE SEASON: Anq-abala    ▮▮▮◣
Lit. 'The First Hunt' in the Qulaani dialect. There are four seasonal hunts, each with a name of its own: qabursi abala (Spring), junsi abala (Summer), namursi abala (Autumn), and ebülsi abala (Winter). With each changing of the season, the Qulaani prepare for a new hunting season, the change in weather and temperature changing the types of prey that they pursue. Shortly after the change of the season, the tribe will gather together and set out to find impressive prey to take down.

If they are successful, they celebrate as they dress the game, and offer up the first, most choice cut of meat, called degeji, in sacrifice to Balanai. The rest of the meat is portioned out to the rest of the tribe, starting from the top of the hierarchy, as its consumption is said to bring strength and good fortune hunting. Every part of the animal is used, whether its hide turned into leather or clothing, bone turned to weapon, or even just a claw or tooth kept as a small trophy. Conversely, if the hunt goes poorly, it is said to be an omen for the rest of the season. For the rest of the season, the best parts of the game will be left in offering, which can put strains on an already difficult hunting season.
◢▮▮▮   FULL MOON: Qulasar                                   
Lit. 'The Wolf's Moon' in the Qulaani dialect. Every month when there is a full moon, the Qulaani gather together for a celebration. It is typically a spirited, happy celebration with plenty of singing, music, dancing, and storytelling. The tribe also feasts that evening and wine and aireg, fermented mare's milk, flow freely. It is said that any child born during the celebration of a Qulasar will be especially blessed and grow into a very strong hunter.
                                NEW YEAR: Tsagaansari    ▮▮▮◣
Lit. 'White Moon' in the Qulaani dialect. The tribe celebrates the new year one month after the first new moon after the winter solstice. In the days leading up to this time, the Qulaan focus on preparing sacrificial offerings: choice cuts of meat, figures carved from bone, items made from fur or leather. During Tsagaansari, these are offered up to the Dusk Mother, Balanai, Itakh and Asena, and finally, to the tribe's fallen. Considering this falls during winter when the hunting is typically more difficult and resources more scarce, this is a very solemn act of sacrifice and worship.


LIFE OF A QULAANI


◢▮▮▮       BIRTH & CHILD REARING       ▮▮▮◣
When a child is born into the tribe, it is generally a cause for great celebration. A mother will be attended during birth by a number of other women from the tribe, typically others who have had children of their own, as well as her hunting partner. Children are not immediately given names, as it is believed to be bad luck, and are instead referred to as Nergui ('No Name') . Instead, they wait until the first Qulasar after the child is born. The only exception is if the child is born during a Qulasar itself, which is an extremely auspicious sign. Children born during the full moon generally have names somehow relating to the moon, reflecting this. Despite what day the child is actually born on, the day they receive their true name is the day they claim as their nameday going forth.
The first few moons after a child is born, the baby will stay with its mother while the father attends to the pair's tribal duties. He also makes sure to provide and take care of his hunting partner and child, though the rest of the tribe also assists in this. After the child is weaned, child care becomes more of a communal effort. During this time, they begin learning about their tribal responsibilities and skills. They're taught how to track, hunt, and fight. As they are learning, the children are watched and judged carefully by the older tribal members, to figure out what their strengths and weaknesses are. Not only does this help shape the direction of their training and learning as they continue to grow, but it also helps the tribal leader decide how to pair the children once they come of age.


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◢▮▮▮       COMING OF AGE       ▮▮▮◣
Once a child reaches their fifteenth nameday, they are ready to undertake their coming of age trial. They come before the tribal leader and ask to be given a trial to prove themselves, in the manner that Itakh once petitioned the goddess Balanai. If the tribal leader believes them to be ready, he will assign them a challenge: typically something that plays to their strengths, but will challenge them considerably. Examples include hunting certain creatures or tracking a particularly elusive beast to its lair. Other challenges may be more abstract, providing the child with a trial of the mind, survival, or resourcefulness.
Once this trial is completed successfully, the child is deemed a fully fledged member of the tribe and is able to take a suitable hunting partner, as assigned to them by the tribe's leader. If the trial is unsuccessful, the child must wait a full cycle to be able to petition the leader once again. They are given a maximum of three trials. If all three result in failure, the individual is not removed, but they are relegated to the bottom of the social hierarchy. They are not allowed mating rights, possess minimal influence, and are mostly charged with day-to-day chores while the rest of the tribe is hunting.


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◢▮▮▮       HUNTING COMPANIONS       ▮▮▮◣
A Qulaani hunter who passes their coming of age trial becomes eligible for mating rights, though their mate is selectively chosen for them by the tribe's leader. The leader makes these selections based on the two individuals' strengths and weaknesses. This act of selective breeding is meant to strengthen the tribe as a whole, as it is believed that this will help to breed out certain weaknesses and accentuate a pair's strengths in their children.

Hunting companions, referred to as arukhani in Qulaani, spend the vast majority of their time together. They hunt together, live together, eat together, train together. One's arukhani is supposed to become their most trusted partner, as these pairings are life long bonds that not even death is supposed to break. While they are not necessarily expected to develop a romantic love for one another, they are still expected to complete their duty to the tribe and bear children together.

A partner will not always be readily available as soon as one passes their trial. In this case, they may have to wait until another person suitable for them passes their trial. As a result, arukhani ages may be separated by a few years. However, if long enough time passes with no prospects for a match, the unfortunate tribe member may be fated to not take a hunting partner at all and lose out on mating rights and social status.

In the case of the death of a hunting partner, the surviving hunter is generally not paired up with another. However, on rare occasions if there are a number of unpaired tribe mates of prime reproductive age, the tribal leader may make an exception and pair these individuals together. However, the pair must undertake a hunting trial together. If the results of their hunt together are unsatisfactory, the pairing will be undone and the two individuals will have to remain unpaired or be paired with another.


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◢▮▮▮       THE WEAK, INJURED, AND INFIRM       ▮▮▮◣
Despite being a tribe that places such a high value on hunting and fighting, the Qulaan still take care of their own, even if they are unable to take care of themselves. Especially given the nature of their ways, injuries that can ruin a tribe member's ability to hunt are common. If the injury isn't so severe and extensive enough to warrant a mercy killing, the injured hunter will often take up duties back at the tribe's camp, such as caring for children, tending to food, repairing weapons and armor, and so on. Likewise, they may be even more driven to have children at this point, to make sure their bloodline continues. The same goes for those who fall sick, as long as the sickness isn't communicable.
However, for those who are born weak or ill, they also occupy a very low rung on the Qulaani social ladder. They are protected and cared for, but much like the omega wolf in a pack, they may take the brunt of their stronger, more dominant peers' anger and frustrations from time to time. It isn't typically a constant cruelty, but they can certainly feel the weight of their station. They lack breeding rights, have little voice in tribe matters, are the last to receive food and supplies, and they are often relegated the least desirable jobs about camp, such as cleaning up after the horses and gathering firewood.


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◢▮▮▮       OLD AGE       ▮▮▮◣
For the Qulaan, living to old age is something of a rarity. The tribe considers anyone over their fortieth nameday past their prime for bearing children. However, most still continue hunting until they are physically unable to do so. Those who do reach elevated ages after a successful youth, even once they lose their ability to keep hunting, retire to running the camp and assisting the tribal leader in making important decisions with the wisdom of their age and experience. Even if they cannot hunt, the social status in the tribe that they have earned during their youth typically does not fade.


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◢▮▮▮       DEATH       ▮▮▮◣
When a Qulaani tribesman passes, the tribe places the body upon a large funeral pyre and surrounds them with their weapon(s) and the armor that they typically wore. As day gives way to dusk, the pyre is lit and the remaining hunters gather around it to sing the customary grieving songs in their native dialect. These beautifully haunting melodies sound much like the solemn howling of wolves, and beseech their goddess of hunting, Balanai, to accept the offered trophies in her glory and to return the hunter to life as a wolf. After the flames die down, a part of the ashes are collected and the deceased’s hunting partner will mark their face with the ashes for the next moon.
The tribe takes funerary rites and cremation extremely seriously, as it is believed that if a body is preyed upon by another creature – whether through lack of burial or underground burial itself – the hunter is irreparably shamed and part of their soul is consumed by that which preys upon them. As such, with the soul incomplete, one is unable to be reincarnated. Likewise, a hunter’s trophies play a vital part in their funerary rites, as a Qulaani cremated without proper offering to appease Balanai and win her favor is not ensured reincarnation. In Qulaani culture, to not give a person proper burial is beyond disrespectful. Only the worst sort of traitor would be refused this rite.


SOCIAL HIERARCHY


◢▮▮▮       OVERVIEW       ▮▮▮◣
Much like the wolf packs that the tribe claims as brethren, the Qulaani have their own strict social dominance structure where those at the top hold the most power over those at the bottom. It is not a caste-like structure, where one is born into a role with no chance of advancement (with few exceptions). Nor is ranking hereditary from one's parents. It is instead a system that is based on one's hunting skill and experience, strength in battle, their cunning and wisdom, and their loyalty to the tribe. Each Qulaani must earn their rank within the tribe and, through enough hard work, skill, and determination, can improve their social standing relative to their peers. Finally of note, ranking is often shared by hunting companions.

There are seven types of rank in the Qulaani hierarchy. Going from highest ranking to lowest, they are: Darughur (Tribal Leader), Bilighur (Elders), Aughur (High Rank), Dunghur (Average Rank), Caghur (Children), Baghur (Low Rank), and Ghadaghur (Outsiders). There is also one more "rank" of sorts, called the Busaghur (Exiled), whom are exiled from the tribe.


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◢▮▮▮       DARUGHUR: Tribal Leader       ▮▮▮◣
Lit. 'Leading One'. The darughur is the single-most important and powerful individual within the tribe. While they may delegate some lesser decisions to the bilighuri or the aughuri, the final say in everything is theirs and theirs alone. All tribe members are required to show due reverence and respect for them and their hunting partner, who is given the title darukhani (lit. 'Leading Companion').

There is no sex discrimination in Qulaani leadership; either a woman or a man may take the role of darughur, provided that they first achieve at least the rank of aughur and then prove themselves capable enough to successfully challenge the previous leader during the final day of Naghadum. These challenges are not to the death, and defeated darughuri and darukhani are simply demoted down to the next rank of bilighur. Because of the nature of succession, darughur tend to be old enough to be rather experienced yet still within the prime of their life, both physically and mentally, to defend their position within the tribe.

The only exception to the rule of only being able to challenge leadership during Naghadum is when the darughur either dies or is removed for ineffectiveness or abuse of rule. In such a case, the highest ranking of the bilighuri -- oftentimes a previously defeated darughur themselves -- ascends as temporary leader until a trial can be held, in which any interested aughuri or bilighuri can compete for the role.


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◢▮▮▮       BILIGHUR: The Elders       ▮▮▮◣
Lit. 'Wise One'. A hunter that lives a successful life and reaches their elder years is typically promoted to the high ranking of bilighur. These are the hunters and trackers who have been around the longest, participated in the most hunts, fought the most battles. A previous darughur also becomes a bilighur once they are defeated. Thus, the bilighuri's experience and wisdom is invaluable, and so they offer their wisdom to the oftentimes younger darughur. Even though most bilighuri are past the age where they can hunt themselves, they are still highly respected in the tribe.


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◢▮▮▮       AUGHUR: The High Ranking       ▮▮▮◣
Lit. 'Strong One'. The aughuri are typically those in the tribe who are still sound enough of body to continue hunting, and whose exceptional prowess in hunting, fighting, cunning, and loyalty have earned them a higher station above the rest of their peers. They rank just below the bilighuri in terms of the hierarchy, but are likewise sometimes tasked with making lesser decisions by the darughur, especially when it comes to matters of the hunt.


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◢▮▮▮       DUNGHUR: The Average Ranking       ▮▮▮◣
Lit. 'Middle One'. When a Qulaani hunter has no special rank, they are assigned the 'default' rank of dunghur. They have some say in what happens to the tribe, but not enough to effect changes themselves. This is the group with the most members, as most hunters of average skill are placed here as well as all hunters who have only just passed their coming of age trial. The dunghuri also typically have other duties around the tribe's current camp when they are not hunting, taking care of tasks such as cooking, clothes-making, armor and weapon repair, child care, and so on.


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◢▮▮▮       CAGHUR: The Children       ▮▮▮◣
Lit. 'Little One'. This is a catch-all ranking for any Qulaani who has not yet passed their coming of age trial. They are expected to show due deference to their elders, as well as assisting them in whatever needs to be done around camp. They also are expected to be diligent in learning from their teachers. An unruly child will not be demoted to a lower overall rank. However, curiously enough, the caghur themselves seem to have their own inter-rank hierarchy that loosely follows the same ranking as the tribe as a whole -- almost like a tribe within a tribe. As such, particularly petulant children typically learn their lessons early on about social cohesion once they are pushed to the bottom of the caghuri.


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◢▮▮▮       BAGHUR: The Low Ranking       ▮▮▮◣
Lit. 'Weak One'. This is the rank of the weakest and least capable of the Qulaani. Typically, the bahguri are those that are born weak or ill, or those who are not able to pass their coming of age trial to join the tribe as a full-fledged member. They are not able to take a hunting companion, gain breeding rights, or possess any respectable level of social influence. While it is possible that a baghur of this nature could eventually prove themselves useful somehow and ascend to another rank, it is extremely difficult. However, this is not to be confused with a hunter who becomes injured or infirm after taking a hunting partner. In such a case, it is most common for that individual to become dunghur.

Likewise, the baghuri rank also house the individuals who, for some reason or another, disrupt the social cohesion of the tribe. Typically these are the tribe mates that cause problems, pick fights with their superiors, and so on. While most of the time this is a temporary shift in ranking for them, until they've learned their lesson, repeat offenders eventually stay locked within this lowest ranking.

While there are something dominance displays and posturing between the other social rankings as well, the baghur are most likely to feel the effects of their low position the most. While they don't live under constant cruelty from their superiors, they are like the omega wolves in a pack, where they often bear the brunt of their superiors' tempers and frustrations in times of tension. They are also the last to receive food and resources, as well as being assigned the least desirable jobs and tasks in the camp, such as cleaning up after the horses, gathering firewood, and so on.


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◢▮▮▮       GHADAGHUR: The Outsiders       ▮▮▮◣
Lit. 'Outside One'. This is a rather strange rank, and a rare one at that. On occasion, the Qulaani will allow an outsider to join their ranks as a ghadaghur. Generally speaking, this is someone who has proven somehow that they can be trustworthy and that they will contribute positively to the tribe. Their skills can earn them the respect of their peers and even some minor levels of tribal influence, but they will never officially ascend to a higher rank. As to be expected, a ghadaghur is not given a Qulaani hunting partner, and thus no has no breeding right. Finally, in times of famine or hardship, ghadaghuri will always be the last to eat and receive supplies, even after the baghuri.


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◢▮▮▮       BUSAGHUR: The Exiled       ▮▮▮◣
Lit. 'Betraying One'. When a Qulaani commits one of the tribe's cardinal sins, despite their social ranking, they face exile from the tribe. That is, if the severity of their offense doesn't merit immediate death at the hands of their tribe mates. As is custom, the offender is given a day's supply of dried meat, a hunting knife, and a full waterskin. They are set loose on foot in the night and the tribe rests up for the next day's hunt. As soon as the sun rises, the tribe sets off in pursuit of the busaghur. They are hunted for three days. If they are found, they are killed. If they survive, the tribe no longer pursues them, but they are no longer welcomed back and would be killed on sight.

If a busaghur's hunting companion is found to be in leagues with them in their betrayal, they are held for a week and then also given a trial by hunting. If they are not, they still end up bearing the shame of their partner's betrayal, and are brought down to the rank of baghur with little to no hope of ever ascending the ranks again.


THE HUNT


◢▮▮▮       TYPES OF HUNTS       ▮▮▮◣
To the Qulaan tribe, hunting is not only a means of living, but it is also a means of entertainment, challenge, and ultimately religious worship for the goddess of hunting. To this end, the Qulaani have two words for these different types of hunting: Abachin refers to the everyday type of hunting for meat, furs, and so forth. Abala, on the other hand, refers to the Hunt as a tribe, where challenging beasts are sought out for the Qulaani to prove themselves to their goddess. While the tribe has specific laws for hunting in general, the Abala is much more ritualized.


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◢▮▮▮       LAWS OF THE HUNT       ▮▮▮◣
◢▮▮▮   EASY PREY BRINGS NO GLORY NOR HONOR                                  
One might think the Qulaani so predatory that they would actively hunt and kill anything they are able to. Quite the opposite, the tribe takes no pride in hunting creatures that would be considered easy prey, such as the young, injured, or infirm. A hunter who boasts the killing of such quarry is themselves seen as weak, that they were unable to hunt anything stronger, and thus gains only derision from their tribe mates. The only exception to this is in Abachin during times of scarcity of prey, where the desperate need of food, furs, and hides outweighs pride.
◢▮▮▮   NEVER STEAL PREY FROM ANOTHER HUNTER                                
To steal the kill from another hunter is something that the tribe very much looks down upon. It is seen as an act of weakness and selfishness. Fights occasionally break out when adrenaline-filled hunters break out into arguments over whose right it was to make a kill. While seen as a breach of hunting law, infractions are generally only treated with scorn from the tribe for a time. Only repeated breaking of this rule would potentially earn a hunter ousting from the tribe.
◢▮▮▮   ALL PARTS OF THE CREATURE MUST BE USED                               
It is Qulaani belief that the soul is contained within one's body and flesh. Thus, once quarry is brought down, it is believed that consuming the beast's flesh will confer unto them part of the beast's strength or cunning. Likewise, items made from the hide, scale, bones, etc. of these creatures are imbued with their soul and essence. Different parts of a beast are said to have differing properties. The heart is said to grant a beast's courage, and the blood its longevity. The brain confers their knowledge, and the tongue their wisdom. Legs grant swiftness, wings grant lightness on one's feet, and tails grant balance. Bone and scale carry the creature's strength, while hides and furs bestow upon the wearer its ability to survive and thrive. Eyes improve sight and aim, ears improve hearing, noses improve smell. Claws and fangs carry within them the beast's fierceness and fighting prowess.

That said, Qulaani make a point to use every part of the hunted creature. Not only would doing otherwise be extremely wasteful, but it is extremely disrespectful to one's quarry. The Qulaani believe that by consuming the beast and making armor, weapons, and other items from the rest of its body, the spirit of the animal lives on in them and gains some measure of immortality. The only exception to this is in the occasion that a person is the quarry. In such a case, the body is burned so that the spirit released for the gods to judge. To consume the flesh of man is seen as an atrocity, and would result in exile from the tribe.
◢▮▮▮   SPOILS ARE AWARDED ACCORDING TO RANK                                   
Any hunter that participates in the hunt is entitled to their share of the spoils, regardless of their rank. To deny a hunter their due reward is taboo. However, the choosing of what spoils one takes from their quarry follows the order of rank. In the case of Anq-abala, the first hunt of the season, what the tribe's leader deems as the most valuable part of the beast is offered to Balanai. Otherwise, the darughur and darukhani are the first to pick their spoils, and it goes from there. Anything left over after all those involved in the hunt have taken their share is shared amongst the rest of the tribe.


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◢▮▮▮       HUNTING SEASONS & TRAVEL       ▮▮▮◣
The Qulaani observe four distinct hunting seasons, each following the changing of the actual seasons. The first hunt of each season is called anq-abala, with each season's first hunt having its own name in particular, and is said to predict the fortune the tribe will have in the rest of their hunts. As such, this is a very important time for the Qulaan tribe, as a poor showing during anq-abala will result in poor hunting until the next season.

Likewise, the changing of the hunting season sees the tribe packing up and moving to a new hunting ground. These migrations generally follow where the promise of worthy prey leads, as discovered by their own trackers and the leads they've heard from other tribes and peoples that they have traded stories with. As such, the tribe does not necessarily go to the same hunting grounds year after year. One summer season might see them in the steppes, while another may put them in the desert. They follow no set route, only the route that the darughur believes the best prey can be found. That said, a number of sequential poor hunting seasons back to back reflects poorly on the darughur's judgment and is often grounds for removal from leadership.


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◢▮▮▮       ROLES       ▮▮▮◣
Within the tribe, individuals can usually be broken down into one of four primary roles: hunters, trackers, riders, or caretakers. The role that a Qulaani belongs to is not always static and can change with a change in social station, physical or mental ability, and so forth. Likewise, the boundaries are not always black and white. For example, a tracker might also be a skilled fighter, and likewise, almost all tribe members have caretaking responsibilities from time to time. Nor is role inherently tied with social ranking. While hunters and trackers tend to rank higher than their rider and caretaker counterparts, an especially talented craftsman might socially outrank them.
◢▮▮▮   HUNTERS                                  
Broadly speaking, everyone who participates in a hunt is a hunter in Qulaani culture. However, there is a more specific term -- baighur, lit. 'Fighting One' -- that refers to those members of the tribe whose specialty is the act of fighting and battle itself. These are typically the stronger members of the tribe who are most gifted with weaponry, typically several different kinds. In intertribal conflicts, the baighur are also most responsible for the tribe's defense.
                                   TRACKERS    ▮▮▮◣
Likewise, there are members in the tribe who excel more at the tracking down of quarry than actually subduing it. These individuals are called daghur (lit. 'Following One'), and their chief role is to scout out potential prey, watch them and learn their ways, and then lead the baighur back to them for the hunt. While a daghur might have some fighting ability, they typically are not as skilled as baighur.
◢▮▮▮   RIDERS                                      
While not quite as prestigious as a role as the baighur nor daghur, the riders -- unghur, (Lit. 'Riding One') -- act as liaisons between the Qulaan, other tribes, and other settlements. They typically aren't overly skilled in fighting, only so much as to be able to defend themselves during travels. Their skills rather lie in their charisma, knowledge of other peoples and languages, and knack for trade and compromise. They are in charge of the trade of goods and information between the tribe and outsiders, and often seek to bring back leads of potential prey for the daghur to check into. Likewise, when conflict arises with outsiders, the unghur are usually the first to try and come to a peaceful resolution.
                              CARETAKERS    ▮▮▮◣
Finally, those who lack the ability or skills to fit neatly into another role are typically relegated to the role of caretaker, or toghur (lit. 'Unmoving One'). They typically aren't strong enough to fight or hunt, or have lost the ability to after an injury or illness, and so they are instead placed in charge of the upkeep and day-to-day chores of the camp. They have the responsibilities of cooking, child care, tending the horses, repairs, and so forth. There are also toghur who are skilled in a craft such as carving, weaving, leatherwork, or so on. A craftsman who can turn the spoils of a hunt into useful items, especially arms and armor, is an extremely invaluable and respected member of the tribe.


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◢▮▮▮       WEAPONS AND ARMOR       ▮▮▮◣
In general, the Qulaan tend to favor weapons that have a long reach to them, securely keeping them out of the grasping claws and snapping jaws of their quarry. Melee weaponry such as greatswords, greataxes, and spears are common. While these weapons can be rather hefty in size and weight, the Qulaani prefer to minimize extravagance for efficiency, and train their bodies to be strong enough to properly wield them. Likewise, that isn't to say the other shorter range weapons are not entirely unheard of. Situationally, they even prove more useful in a hunt or fight than their longer reaching peers. Still, they are uncommon.

Truly ranged weaponry is also highly favored. The bow and arrow is the most common and highly valued means of ranged hunting and fighting, as it was the bow that Balanai herself hunted with. Being a skilled archer is seen as a great blessing. Other ranged weapons, such as hunting javelins or slingspears, are also uncommon but still occasionally used.

As far as armor is concerned, the Qulaani are highly adaptable. They favor no one specific type of armor, but rather outfit themselves according to what type of hunt they are undertaking. For example, a beast known for its sharp teeth and claws and its strength would likely see the hunters outfitting themselves with heavier armors. However, a creature who is quick or prone to fleeing might see them in lighter armor, so that they might better give chase.

Overall, the Qulaani armory is mostly crafted by traditional means by their own craftsmen using natural materials such as bone, scales, horn, and hide collected in their hunts. However, trading with outsiders also saw the tribe gaining access to more 'civilized' types of metal armor and weapons over time.
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◢▮▮▮       THE HUNT       ▮▮▮◣
An abala typically begins with the rumor of a particularly worthy beast or beasts that reaches the tribe through the unghur, or riders. Once this lead is found and the darughur names their quarry, the tribe relocates if necessary if they are not close enough for the pursuit. Once settled, the darughur will typically ask for Balanai's blessing and, if all signs seem positive, the abala will officially begin.

After the official commencement of a hunt, the responsibility shifts to the daghur, or trackers. They seek out their quarry and watch it for a time once found, learning its ways. This process might take suns or even moons, depending on the skill of the daghur and the elusiveness of the beast. Likewise, riders may continue to make contact with outsiders to inquire about the beast as well. Information on their prey is reported back to the tribe, where the darughur and the aughur strategize, and the craftsmen of the toghur begin making the appropriate preparations.

Once preparations are made and enough information is gathered, a hunting party is chosen by the darughur based on the individuals' skills and ability. This party will typically consist mostly of hunters (baighur), as well as a handful of trackers and riders who know the most about the quarry and can lead them to the beast. Sometimes, if a hunt is expected to last for more than a sun or two, a small handful of caretakers will also be brought along to tend to the horses and the temporary camp.

In the hunt itself, the darughur and the hunters lead the fighting. Capable trackers and riders may also participate if allowed by the leader, though caretakers are obligated to stay back at the camp. Fighting can be fierce, and can span over several suns. Likewise, victory is not assured, and there may be casualties. In such a case, the Qulaani are careful to collect and care for their dead, but typically do not relent in the hunt unless losses are too great or the trail goes cold.

When an abala is successful, the slain beast is brought back to the Qulaani's encampment. It is there that the quarry is divvied up between tribe members. If this is an anq-abala hunt, the darughur will determine while part of the beast is the most valuable or potent. This will be the part offered to Balanai. After that, the hunting party takes their share of the spoilers, starting with the darughur and darukhani. Once all who participated in the hunt have their spoils, the next in line are the caretakers who accompanied the party on the abala, if applicable. Finally, whatever remains is fair game for the rest of the tribe to share until nothing is left.


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◢▮▮▮       TROPHIES       ▮▮▮◣
It is Qulaani practice to not only consume the flesh of slain quarry, but also to keep a part of the beast as a trophy. These items are called tabigh (lit. 'Offering') in their tongue. as the main purpose in their collection is not only to showcase one's hunting experience, but also to be offered up along with the hunter's body at cremation when they pass. It is believed that a Qulaani must make this offering to Balanai when they pass in order to gain her favor and be reincarnated as a wolf.

As with other resources, tabigh are distributed in regards to rank. The darughur and darukhani will typically receive the most notable of hunting trophies that will win them the most glory and honor. Other choice pieces are often selected by higher ranking members to be made into weapons, armor, or items such as instruments or containers. By the time it reaches the bottom of the social ladder, there may be only small trophies left: smaller bones, scales, feathers, or maybe a tooth or claw if they are lucky.


OTHER NOTES


◢▮▮▮       APPEARANCE       ▮▮▮◣
Qulaani have a few distinct physical features. The first is their build. Years of selective breeding have seen most Qulaani develop builds that readily gain sleek musculature when kept trained and honed. Qulaani men are of average height for Xaela, though the women tend to be a bit on the taller side. Second is that their canine teeth tend to be a bit more pointed than normal. They may be quick to point this out as proof of their wolf's blood. However, chances are, it's just the result of selective breeding of this desirable trait over generations. Finally, the Qulaani tend to be of a medium to darker skin tone, mostly from spending so much time in the saddle traveling.

There are also a few physical traits that the tribe finds particularly auspicious. First, a child born with bright yellow-gold eyes, referred to as qulatei or 'wolf's eyes', is a very lucky sign. Likewise, a female tribe member with light colored hair and skin is said to be blessed by Balanai herself, as the goddess is depicted as being a fair-skinned and fair-haired ethereal maiden and this genetic combination is quite rare.


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◢▮▮▮       LANGUAGES & WRITING       ▮▮▮◣
The Qulaan are predisposed to speak several different languages, by virtue of their penchant for travel and interaction with others. Their native tongue, of course, is Xaelan. They have their own dialect which they call kel-Qulaani (lit.'Tongue of the Wolf People'). While mostly intelligible to other speakers of Xaelan, there are some words and grammar aspects that are completely different and can lead to breakdowns in communication that have to be worked around. It is also easy to pick out as a dialect due to the harsh, almost growl-like tone it is often spoken with.

In addition to kel-Qulaani, the tribe in general is also able to hold their own in the Common tongue, which they call kel-qumugha (lit. 'Tongue of Everyone'). Outside of their native dialect, it is most useful to them as a catch-all language, given that most non-Xaela they interact with, as well as some of the other tribes, seem to speak the language. Finally, there are some in the tribe -- typically those who interact the most with outsiders -- that have a basic grasp of Doman. This language, called kel-Domani (lie. 'Tongue of the Domans'), tends to give the Qulaani some trouble. Not only is the sound of the language dissimilar, but the two grammars are night-and-day different. Qulaani who do speak some Doman tend not to master the grammar, but pick up faster on vocabulary.

As far as writing is concerned, the tribe does not have a strong written tradition. Tribal history, culture, learning, and so forth is all passed down orally. Carrying endless written scrolls and books just aren't practical for a tribe that is always on the move. As such, Qulaani are often illiterate. Some do pick up bits and pieces of other writing systems, but it's more of the exception than the rule.


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◢▮▮▮       THE ARTS       ▮▮▮◣
The arts definitely have a solid place in Qulaani culture, from everyday life to religious worship. While these talents aren't typically placed on a level equal or higher than one's hunting skill, those who are artistically gifted tend to receive a bit more respect and adoration from their peers.
◢▮▮▮   MUSIC                                        
Music is very important to the Qulaan tribe, who often make their own instruments from the hide and bone of creatures they have hunted. Traditional Qulaani instruments include: the tsuur (an end-blown flute with no mouthpiece), limbe (flute with mouthpiece), bishguur (end-blown wind instrument with a wide bell), tuur (shamanic drum), yatga (zither), morin khuur (two-string violin).
                                       SINGING    ▮▮▮◣
Just like musical instruments, singing is highly cherished in Qulaani culture. There are several types of songs: Uqiin duu, also called long song, feature slow rhythms, long melodic lines, and no fixed rhythm. Qula duu are very similar to uqiin duu, yet the haunting melodies sound more like a wolf's howling. Tuuli are stories, legends, and histories that are put to song. Magtaal are songs sung in worship of the gods.
◢▮▮▮   DANCE                                       
The tribe has a less rich dancing tradition than musical, though it still plays an important role. It is broken down into two categories: bij (folk dances) and tsam (religious dances). Bij range from slow, careful dances of the upper body with elegant hand movements to spirited jigs. Tsam are learned dances passed down through generations and typically accompanied by magtaal, often featuring certain dress, masks, and face and body paints.
                                     PAINTING    ▮▮▮◣
Painting is surprisingly prevalent in Qulaani culture, though not in canvas form. Rather, the artists tend to use natural, handmade pigments to paint scenes from myths and stories onto items such as pots, drums, and so on. Occasionally, artists will leave behind paintings on large stones or cave walls, especially if something notable, such as an especially noteworthy hunt, occurred in the area. Body and face painting is also common, especially during ceremonies, festivals, and celebrations.


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◢▮▮▮       REPRODUCTION, ROMANCE, AND SEXUALITY       ▮▮▮◣
Unlike in most cultures that consider reproduction, romance, and sexuality to be inherently linked, the Qulaani have quite the opposite view. In their culture where reproductive mates are chosen for them for the betterment of the tribe, childbearing is a duty rather than a product of romance. One is not necessarily obligated to form a romantic bond with their hunting companion, or arukhani. Yet regardless of their romantic feelings or lackthereof, a Qulaani is still expected to put their personal feelings aside and bear children for the sake of the tribe's future. As this is the culture that the Qulaani were raised in, the vast majority do not take issue with this. In fact, upon encountering cultures that differ in this respect, the tribe member is more likely to be confused or conflicted by the concept of 'getting married and having children'.

On the other hand, Qulaani are permitted to form romantic relationships with whomever they choose -- from within the tribe. Romantic relationships with outsiders and ghadaghuri are looked down upon. Most romantic relationships occur between individuals of similar rank in the tribe, but this isn't a hard and fast rule so much as a tendency. The type of romantic orientations among tribe members is also fairly diversified. Some form romantic relations with multiple individuals, some with only one, and some none at all. Jealousy sometimes crops up amongst members, but is usually either self-resolved or mediated by the darughur. Naturally, however, a romantic relationship that forms between arukhani is seen as the most deep and pure love. The Qulaani also have a word for this, calling them amarkhani (lit. 'love companions').
Sexuality thus occupies an odd space in their culture. First and foremost, sex is seen as a means to produce children. This has its own term in their dialect, which is daghkeli, or 'duty mating'. However, sex between romantic partners is also common and has its own word as well: amarkeli, or 'love mating'. Finally, there is sex just for the sake of physical pleasure -- ondukeli, or 'nothing mating' -- which is rather uncommon and heavily frowned upon.

Only the act of dahgkeli is permitted to produce offspring. In the case that a child's conception comes from a relation outside of that with one's hunting companion, the parents are shunned and relegated to baghuri until the child is born. The tribe will not readily assist in the raising of this child, and sometimes parents have been known to leave these unwanted children out to die of exposure out of shame. If the child is kept, it will never exceed the rank of baghur and is likely to face much discrimination. Many of these children eventually leave the tribe of their own volition when they grow old enough.

Finally, in the matter of sexual orientation, the Qulaani seem to have little issue with either opposite-sex or same-sex relations as long as one still upholds their duty to their arukhani and tribe to produce offspring. In fact, there are more than a small handful of Qulaani that lean homo-, bi-, or panromantic and/or sexual, as these types of same-sex relations are promised not to result in accidental, unwanted children and the stigma that comes with them. Same-sex relations are called adalamar (lit. 'same love') in kel-Qulaani.


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◢▮▮▮       LOW AETHERIC CAPACITY       ▮▮▮◣
Aetheric manipulation, or magic, typically isn't prevalent amongst the Qulaani. Perhaps as a result of their selective breeding favoring physical prowess over aetheric, not to mention that there is hardly any use for magic in their hunts, individuals who are born with the requisite aetheric reserve and aptitude for its manipulation are few and far between. This is something that had little consequence in Othard, but would likely be more keenly felt in Eorzea due to the high amounts of magic and the numerous uses and applications of aether in this new land. Yet for most Qulaani, even something as simple as aetheryte travel may be difficult, and leave them far more prone to aether sickness or weakness than their peers.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. Occasionally, Qulaani may have been born with the talent for magic, though this was not something that was too favorably looked upon by their peers. Magic was also absolutely taboo in contests of strength, seen as an unfair advantage. Likewise, in this new land full of odd contraptions, potions, and methods, it is possible that even a Qulaani with low aetheric capacity could eventually learn how to expand their aetheric reserves and manipulate it effectively.


QULAANI DIALECT


◢▮▮▮       THE QULAANI DIALECT       ▮▮▮◣
The Qulaan tribe's native tongue, of course, is Xaelan. However, they have their own dialect which they call kel-Qulaani (lit.'Tongue of the Wolf People'). While mostly intelligible to other speakers of Xaelan, there are some words and grammar aspects that are completely different and can lead to breakdowns in communication that have to be worked around. It is also easy to pick out as its own distinct dialect due to the harsh, almost growl-like tone it is often spoken with.

[ OOC Note ] The vocabulary of this language is very loosely based on Mongolian. I say very loosely because I have absolutely no knowledge of how to speak Mongolian in real life. Most of my words are pulled from this Mongolian dictionary and modified slightly to suit my purposes. It's also been a few years since my college linguistics classes.. So fellow linguists, please don't tear me apart because aspects of this pretendy-times language don't make sense. This isn't meant to be a complete constructed language. All this section is for, is flavor.


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◢▮▮▮       SAMPLING OF VOCABULARY       ▮▮▮◣
Aan: Person.
Alternate Forms: -an (suffix).
Often appended to other words to create meaning such as "People of ___." i.e. Qulaan, 'Person of the Wolf.'
Abachin: Hunt.
Alternate Forms: aba
Refers to a hunt of standard game for means of survival.
Abala: (case)
Alternate Forms: N/A.
Refers to a ceremonial tribal hunt that is a means of testing hunting prowess and religious worship.
amaghur: (Romantic) Lover
Alternate Forms: N/A.
Refers to a romantic partner who is not one's arukhani.
Amar: Love.
Alternate Forms: ama
Refers to romantic love, typically that which forms between individuals who are not arukhani.
Dagh: Duty, obligation, responsibility.
Alternate Forms: dahk
Refers to one's duties and responsibilities towards the tribe.
Ghur: One who..
Alternate Forms: khur
Typically appended to other words to create descriptive titles. i.e. Darughur, 'One who leads'.
Kel: Tongue
Alternate Forms: N/A.
Literally the tongue, but also used to denote language. As such, it is a prefix to the peoples' name. i.e. kel-Qulaani, 'Tongue of the Wolf People'.
Keli: Mating.
Alternate Forms: kel-
Refers generally to the act of sexual intercourse, even that which is not necessarily intended to produce offspring.
Khani: Companion, mate.
Alternate Forms: -qani
Can be used singularly, but is more often appended to another word to specify types of companions or titles. i.e. arukhani, 'life companion'.
Qula: Wolf.
Alternate Forms: -khul
Irregular from the standard Xaelan word for wolf because it is said Qula was the name given to the wolf that Balanai herself hunted with.
Sara: Moon.
Alternate Forms: sar
Literally refers to the moon itself, but can also be used to refer to a month's time.


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◢▮▮▮       SAMPLING OF PHRASES       ▮▮▮◣
Sain (baina) uu? ( Hello. )
A general greeting, the baina can be omitted informally.
Taaba bainu? ( How are you? )
Literally translates to 'How is your hunting?'.
Sain maaba bainu. ( I am well. )
Literally translates to 'My hunt is good.'
Muu maaba bainu. ( I'm not doing well. )
Literally translates to 'My hunt is poor.'
Sain aba. ( Goodbye. )
Literally translates to 'Good hunting.'
    
 


Intertribal & Non-Tribal Relations


◢▮▮▮       FRIENDLY TRIBES       ▮▮▮◣
The Qulaan tribe was not only very social within its own ranks, but it also frequently sought out other tribes intentionally or made contact when paths happened to cross. They were quite involved with intertribal trade and the exchange of knowledge, and were always more than happy to assist friendly tribes by hunting down especially problematic beasts that were haunting their territories.
LIST OF FRIENDLY TRIBES
Tribe Description: A small tribe that earns its living by collecting the dung of the beastkin herds which roam the steppes. The dung is dried, turned into charcoal in temporary kilns, and sold to other tribes.

The Qulaani had decent working relationship with the Bolir, making purchases from them when the two tribes' paths happened to cross.

Tribe Description: A tribe which largely remains unseen, hunting goats in the mountains for nine moons of the year. The remaining three are spent at the foot of the great north range, where they survive off the dried meat they stocked.

Fellow hunters, even if the Qulaani find their choice of game rather limited and lacking in excitement. They have a decent amount of respect for the Khatayin and often sought their advice on how to traverse the mountains, the best places to hunt prey other than goats, and trading stories, weapons, and supplies.

Tribe Description: Master trainers of the wild horses which populate the majority of steppe. It is said that the horsewives of the Noykin can break any beast if given but a week.

The Qulaan were not especially gifted with the taming and training of horses, but still required them for transport. As such, when the tribe was in need of new horses, they would seek out the Noykin to trade with them.

Tribe Description: Household duties such as cooking, cleaning, and childrearing are handled by the males of the Dazkar who, other than when on the move, rarely ever leave their family's yurts. Female Dazkar are tasked with hunting, and are known across the steppe as being some of the most accurate archers in the realm.

The Qulaani have a great deal of respect for the women of Dazkhar and their own hunting prowess. The tribe generally enjoyed encounters with the other tribe, taking the opportunity to trade and to try and learn how to better handle a bow from the masters of archery.

Tribe Description: The warriors of this tribe all wear complete suits of armor crafted from the bones of steppe tigers which they kill with their own hands upon their coming of age.

Qulaani hunters have the utmost respect for the tiger-killing warriors of the Qerel. They took particular interest in their armor-making methods, seeking them out to learn their craft, so that they might apply it to the spoils of their own hunts to craft stronger armors.

Tribe Description: Unlike most of the Xaela, the Kha live on the fringes of the Xaela lands, actively seeking contact with non Auri peoples, introducing many aspects of those cultures into their own.

The Qulaan tribe always found the Kha oddly interesting with their non-Xaela ways. While other tribes may have scoffed at such a thing, the ever-learning, ever-adapting Qulaan tribe shared in the philosophy of pursuing the knowledge of others. Thus, their exchanges with the Kha were generally pleasant, if not very informative.

Tribe Description: In addition to the standard language used by most of the Xaela in cross-tribe communication, the Geneq employ a complex system of whistles and clicks which resemble the cloud- and wavekin of the steppe.

The Geneq's mimicry in their speech patterns greatly intrigued the Qulaani, who occasionally sought them out to better learn the sounds of the cloudkin and wavekin for use in their hunts.

Tribe Description: The Gesi are masters of the slingspear, a mid-sized javelin carved from mammoth bone which, instead of being thrown by hand, is flung with a leather sling to improve range, speed, and killing power.

Qulaani favored weaponry with long reaches and ranges, and so it is no surprise that they took a great deal of interest in learning how to craft and use the slingspears of the Gesi.

Tribe Description: This mountain-dwelling tribe is one of the few which instead of hunting, mine the precious ores of the peaks and trade them with the steppe tribes for food.

Naturally, the Qulaan do not readily understand any tribe who does not hunt for themselves. However, the Ura were possessed of a resource that they needed, and vice versa. Interactions were amicable enough, but typically only lasted long enough for the trade of food and metals.


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◢▮▮▮       HOSTILE TRIBES       ▮▮▮◣
Likewise, there were a handful of hostile tribes that the Qulaani encountered in their travels. The smaller tribe mostly tried to avoid unnecessary conflict with their fellow Xaela, and often favored retreat when avoiding a fighting with a larger tribe was inevitable. Despite their preferred tactics and small numbers, however, the Qulaani were a formidable foe when pressed as their continued existence over many generations was proof of.
LIST OF HOSTILE TRIBES
Tribe Description: The largest of the Xaela tribes. While not the most skilled at battle, they overwhelm with numbers, taking losses in stride, knowing that a future victory over a weaker tribe will replenish their ranks.

The Qulaani most certainly gave the Adarkim a wide berth. While their fighting prowess definitely tended to outweigh that of the other tribe, the Adarkim vastly outnumbered the smaller tribe and thus would have put them in an almost certainly unwinnable position.

Tribe Description: An all-male tribe which only increases its ranks through battle and kidnapping.

Because of their genetics, male Qulaani children made for attractive targets to Buduga kidnappers. Suffice to say, the Qulaan do not appreciate their children being taken.

Tribe Description: The second largest Xaela tribe. Mortal enemies with the Kharlu, the Jhungid will spend the greater part of the year subjugating smaller tribes to swell their own ranks in preparation for an annual battle with the Kharlu--the winner gaining control over a large part of the eastern coastlands.

Much the same as the Adarkim, the Qulaani made all efforts to avoid the much larger Jhungid that actively hunted smaller tribes such as theirs to subjugate.

Tribe Description: The third largest Xaela tribe. Mortal enemies with the Jhungid, the Kharlu will spend the greater part of the year subjugating smaller tribes to swell their own ranks in preparation for an annual battle with the Jungid--the winner gaining control over a large part of the eastern coastlands.

Much the same as the Adarkim, the Qulaani made all efforts to avoid the much larger Kharlu that actively hunted smaller tribes such as theirs to subjugate.

Tribe Description: An extremely violent tribe with members who revel in massacre and are taught from a young age not to fear death. While they are quick to attack other tribes, mortality rates are high, ensuring that their numbers never grow too high.

The bloodthirsty tribe is one that the Qulaani never enjoyed encountering, as each meeting always resulted in fighting. While their numbers were similar, the Dotharl's lack of fear of death tended to give them an edge. An encounter with the Dotharl, when not avoided, typically cost the tribe at least a handful of members.

Tribe Description: A tribe which sees all beastkin as equals with man, therefore refuses to eat or use them as beasts of burden. As a result, the diet of the Sagahl mainly consists of steppe shrubs and vilekin.

While relations between the Qulaan and Sagahl were never quite violent, their clear ideological difference often put them at hostile odds with one another. The Qulaani view them as pathetic and weak, and sees their lack of hunting of beasts as an affront to Balanai. Still, encounters between the two were more likely to end in fistfights and heated words than bloody massacres.


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◢▮▮▮       OTHARDIANS       ▮▮▮◣
Just as the tribe actively sought out friendly tribes to trade with, the Qulaan also enjoyed a decent relationship with the Domans. They enjoyed a good amount of trade with them for meat, skins, bone, and other such items that they had in abundance. They also employed the strategy of hunting down problematic creatures for villagers in exchange for items such as clothing, weapons, and grown foods. Overall, the relationship was very much mutually beneficial.


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◢▮▮▮       GARLEANS       ▮▮▮◣
As opposed to the Othardians, the Qulaan held nothing but deep resentment in their hearts for the Garlean invaders. Their initial arrival in the land some generations back was met with a great deal of fighting and bloodshed before the tribe finally figured realized that they were not going anywhere any time soon. As such, they learned to adapt to their presence, and treated them like they did any other large and violent Xaela tribe: by giving them their space and avoiding confrontation when possible.

Of course, all it took was one unfortunate incident and a few generations of forgetfulness of the Garleans' might for the tribe to be foolishly pushed towards revenge and, ultimately, destruction at their superior armor and firepower. Attitudes towards Garleans nowadays depend mostly on one's situation and what happened to them after the battle: fear, anger, sorrow, or perhaps even loyalty..?
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◢▮▮▮       EORZEANS       ▮▮▮◣
Until very recently, interactions with Eorzeans were very limited. In fact, the only knowledge that the Qulaan had of lands and peoples beyond Othard came from the rare interaction with foreign travelers, merchants, and sailors in cities and coastal villages. As such, the tribe didn't have a unified attitude towards Eorzeans. Nowadays, a Qulaani's opinions on Eorzeans are personal rather than communal, and largely dependent upon how they came to new lands and what their experiences have been after.


CURRENT ROSTER


TRIBAL STATUS LEGEND
Darughur Bilighur Aughur Dunghur Caghur Baghur Ghadaghur Busaghur Deceased Status Unknown NPC


LIST OF TRIBE MEMBERS
Saraghul Qulaan, the "chosen". ( )
Character's Role: Darughur. Hunter (baighur).
Character's Quote: "Insert CHARACTER’s quote here.."

Short character bio.

Qadan Hotgo, the fury. ( )
Character's Role: Darukhani. Hunter (baighur).
Character's Quote: "Insert CHARACTER’s quote here.."

Short character bio.

Jaliqai Qulaan, the former. ( )
Jaliqai's Role: Bilighur. Tracker (daghur).
Jaliqai's Quote: "The Goddess saw fit to return my tribemates to me. I will give my life before I allow us to be pulled apart again."

Jaliqai was twenty-four when the Qulaan tribe was defeated by the Garleans, gladly joining the grief-stricken, blood-thirsty Xaela warriors in the assault. She was heavily injured in the fighting, but managed to survive. She escaped Garlean capture by playing dead, thrown out with the rest of the discarded bodies. After being nursed back to health by the Doman farmers that found her on the roadside, Jaliqai struck out on her own. She put her skills as a Qulaani tracker and hunter to use, taking up creature culling and bounty hunting with a good deal of success.

In more recent times, she has relocated to Eorzea with the rest of the mass Othardian exodus after the razing of Doma. Up until recently, she thought herself the only survivor of the ill-fated attack, yet has heard rumors that others of her kin may just be wandering these new lands as she is. Hearing this, Jaliqai set out to find them, with little success. Instead, she employed the opposite strategy: establishing a Hunter's Guild, and hoping that the guild's spreading reputation -- along with her name -- would see her kinsmen seeking her out in turn.

The strategy appears to have worked. Already, she has been reunited with a small handful of her previous tribemates, with hopes to continue gathering more to them. As such, she's found herself in the de facto position as darughur, the tribal leader. As someone of middling rank before, she's unsure how exactly to navigate her profound new responsibilities, especially in a land far different from the Steppes. Yet it doesn't change the fact that she is fiercely protective of those she calls her own, and will do anything to keep them safe.

Altai Iriq, the advisor. ( )
Character's Role: Bilighur. Hunter (baighur).
Character's Quote: "Insert CHARACTER’s quote here.."

Short character bio.

Nogai Kha, the broken. ( )
Character's Role: --
Character's Quote: "Insert CHARACTER’s quote here.."

Short character bio.

Medekghui Qulaan, the shaman. ( )
Character's Role: --
Character's Quote: "Insert CHARACTER’s quote here.."

Short character bio.

Batu Qulaan, the forgotten. ( )
Character's Role: --
Character's Quote: "Insert CHARACTER’s quote here.."

Short character bio.

Maqali Qulaan, the garlean-raised. ( )
Character's Role: --
Character's Quote: "Insert CHARACTER’s quote here.."

Short character bio.

Nasyamar Qulaan, the dancer. ( )
Character's Role: Darukhani. Tracker (daghur).
Character's Quote: "Insert CHARACTER’s quote here.."

Short character bio.

Sargerel Qulaan, the breathless. ( )
Character's Role: Tracker (daghur).
Character's Quote: "Insert CHARACTER’s quote here.."

Short character bio.


JOINING & CHARACTER CREATION


◢▮▮▮       JOINING THE TRIBE       ▮▮▮◣
Woah! You actually read all of this mess and thought 'Hey, this sounds pretty cool. I want to get in on it!'? You might just be certifiably crazy, but I would be more than happy to talk to you about creating a character for or otherwise joining the Qulaan tribe! Before you commit to that, however, there's a couple of things that I would like to make clear up front!
◢▮▮▮   THIS RP GROUP IS NOT A FREE COMPANY                                             
Not only is my baby Qulaani herself already settled comfortably in another free company, I wanted to leave this group open to as many people as possible without requiring free company membership. Reason being that, given the scattered nature of the tribe, it's likely that characters could vary greatly and not all fit well under one umbrella any longer. (But that's one thing that could make a reunion scenario that much more intriguing!)

However, there is a linkshell by the name of Wolves of the Steppe that I plan to use for both IC and OOC communication. If you do join the tribe, I would highly recommend having a LS spot open for it as it will be our primary means of communication and whatnot. (Though depending on interest, something like a Skype or Discord chat might be a possibility for out of game communication purposes.) Please also note that I plan to make LS chat rated 18+ in case any off-color jokes or mature subjects are brought up, so be aware. Still, if anything makes you particularly uncomfortable, mention it and we will try to veer the topic away if we can.
◢▮▮▮   CHECK YOUR DRAMA AT THE DOOR                                                         
I would like to keep this group as free of drama and craziness as possible! Ain't nobody got time for drama in their happy fun pretendy times. Disagreements and occasional arguments are to be expected from any group. However, repeated hostility, passive aggression, and anything that generally and consistently disrupts the harmony of the group will lead to warnings and finally, dismissal from the group. You can keep your Qulaani, if you wish, but you will be handwaved/written out of any future potential tribe plots ICly.
◢▮▮▮   POTENTIAL FOR PLOTS AND EVENTS IN THE FUTURE                               
Right now, there is only one player Qulaani -- me! However, if more people wish to join and/or create characters, I would be willing to put some effort into holding occasional events -- such as periodic hunts, Qulasar celebrations, or maybe even a week of Naghadum competitions in the summer -- if there is interest. We could also potentially look into getting plots going. And if anyone else that joins either can think up a plot for the tribe or would like to drag them into an external plot, that is also welcome!
◢▮▮▮   I LOVE DISCUSSING HEAD CANNONS WITH PEOPLE                                  
Seriously. I love it. If you decide that you want to join in the fun, feel free to come at me any time with questions, suggestions, ideas. In particular, the Qulaani dialect tab needs some love, and I would be more than happy to work with someone to flesh it out. Got an idea for an aspect of their culture? Or maybe a holiday they observe? What about something they find particularly auspicious or a bad omen? Come at me with your head cannons!
◢▮▮▮   PLEASE CONTACT ME BEFORE YOU MAKE A QULAANI                                  
This tribe is semi-open, therefore meaning that I would like people to speak with me before they make a Qulaani character. This isn't a means of a power trip, and I will certainly never try to lord my creatorship over anyone. Nor does this mean that your character has to join the new tribe (if one forms). Basically, I just like knowing who is who, love seeing what kind of Qulaani are made, and starting up a clear line of communication in case there are any questions, concerns, etc.

The quickest way to contact me, if I'm online, is to send me a /tell in game. My IGN is Jaliqai Qulaan. If I am not online, you can try to either drop me a note on the RPC (my username is Ephemerality) or on tumblr (jaliqai-the-red). Don't be shy! I promise that I don't bite! ♥


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◢▮▮▮       CHARACTER CREATION       ▮▮▮◣
I tried to make it possible to create a character in almost any way that you wish, and still fit in with the Qulaani. Truly, if you have an idea that you aren't sure will totally fit, feel free to talk to me and see if we can't figure out some way to make it work somehow. Granted, there's some limitations that will unfortunately have to be placed, but I will try to be as accommodating as possible while still maintaining the integrity of the group as a whole. Just try to keep the character believable and at least somewhat adherent to the tribe's lore, and we can likely find a way to work with it!


This template was created by Deirdre Ta'ea, then modified/mixed from Franz Renatus, Leanne Delphium, Bancroft Gairn, and Jaliqai Qulaan.
Feel free to use and edit this template to better fit your needs. However, please be sure to leave all credits in place. Thank you!
For a blank copy of this template, complete with ease of color scheme customization, click here.