Average Lifespan: 8 Tam'nýer—a''n Years /240 Earth Years
Age of Maturity: 4 Tam'nýer—a''n Months / 14 Earth Years
When it comes to the Khah' and their age of maturity being 14 earth years/4 Tam'nýer—a''n Months, (low in comparison to our earthly modern standards), this marks not only the age of maturity when it comes to sexual relations but those of responsibility and business as well. The Khah' tend to raise their young as a community, which offers a child to get a feel for what crafts and trades they might be interested in pursuing at a young age.
In fact, thanks to this, Khah' children usually have a basic understanding of things such as sewing, cooking, and gardening by the mere age of 9 earth years (roughly 3 Tam'nýer—a''n months). They have a strong start, so to speak, when it comes to skills that will help them through their long lives and it is most definitely invaluable.
Aging Process: Khah' mature at a similar rate of humans only more quickly than you might imagine. Their childhoods are usually much faster by taking to learning their parents trade and life skills to prepare them for adulthood at what we would consider an early stage in life.
Reaching the age of 4 Tam'nýer—a''n Months, a Khah' is expected to be independent, managing on their own. However, they can always lean on family when need be and keep those familial bonds as we do. Physically, Khah’ are fully developed at 14 Earth years. This all being said, by no means are Khah' at 4 Tam'nýer—a''n Months still considered children.
As Khah' grow older, you will notice they have an exceptionally long lifespan. Their aging tends to take a halt between 4 Tam'nýer—a''n Months and 6 Tam'nýer—a''n Years, but this can also vary in slight between each Khah'. After 6 Tam'nýer—a''n Years an adult Khah' will show similar stages of aging to humans by way of wrinkling around the hands, eyes, and mouth. There are no signs of balding within the Khah' people. Darker haired Khah' will begin to lose their fur and hair pigmentation, but rarely do they go completely white. Those who are born with white fur and hair generally gain a slight grey hue to their hair and fur that is not to be mistaken with silver, but instead a mousy grey tone.
Khah' names usually only consist of one proper name. The family name is the beginning of an individual's name and their personal name is separated by a simple apostrophe.
For example: Paș'laõ
Paș is the Family name and laõ is the individual's name. However, you will notice that 'laõ' is not capitalized. Khah' names are written like this because the family unit is the thing that ties everyone together and is therefore deserving the honour or recognition of being first. Without family an individual is little.
That being said, when a Khah' is addressed, their full name is regarded as their 'name'. There is really no conscious difference between a family name and an individual name, because together they represent that person as a whole. To only address one by a single part of their name would be viewed as an insult.
If a Khah' decides to refer to themselves only as their individual name, it most likely represents that they have forsaken their family.
Beautiful, alluring, mysterious, Khah' are instantly recognized for their long lush fur tails, fluffy large ears, and cultural tattoos. Both females and males are usually lithe in build, but have a natural strength throughout their bodies. This is unlike us, Humans, where the males have more of a natural upper strength, and females have a more naturally pronounced lower strength in comparison. However, all the same, a Khah' could choose to work on one over the other, based on personal desires and need.
Height wise, the Khah' average 5 feet to 6 feet, and their tails measure ¾ their leg length. Taking their hands into mind, the Khah' tend to have sharp long nails, but never to a thin point. Think short stiletto nails. When it comes to their hair and fur, (which share the same colour), white is the most common, and red (or ginger) is the rarest. And while Khah' fur tends to be more commonly 'fluffy', some can be quite coarse. If anything, with their builds, and their tails, the Khah' are considered a 'lover race'. Their aesthetic and inherent sexuality also makes them a desired commodity.
That being said, most brothels, including those in major cities are usually run by a member of the Khah' species. Knowing this as part of their reputation makes it less surprising that the Khah' have a certain knack above all other races for their care of, not only base sexual needs, but the environment, and ability to co-exist with some of Tam'nyer-a''s most dangerous species be they flora or fauna. A good example of this is their mutual relationship with the Lopikăş , a large ominous-looking flying creature. The Khah' living high up in the jungle rarely travel to the jungle floor unless in big groups usually strictly for moving, hunting and marriage ceremonies. The Khah' feed the Lopikăş the bones of their kills, and in essence, use them as a live-in garbage disposal, and the Lopikăş get a free meal.
Concerning their teeth, Khah' have two sets of canine teeth. These teeth cannot and do not grow any longer than what is provided in the example image, even when crossbred with other races. While there are Khah' who participate in a vegetarian lifestyle, their teeth are far more ideal for meat eating.
As noted in the image the front set of canine teeth are generally larger than the set behind them. It is also important to remember that Khah' do not act in a way to bare their teeth as a threat, and we continue to discourage animal-like behaviour.
EYES, HAIR & SKIN
*You will notice that right in the corner of potential eye colours that there is a hint of blue; this is more green than blue type of colour, as Khah' cannot have true blue eyes or red eyes.
*A Khah's fur colour should be the same as their hair colour. To be clear, "fur" refers specifically to the hairs growing on their tails and ears. It's important to note that Khah' tails have some variance to them. The length of fur on the tail of a Khah' can vary from a course, very thick fur to flowing long fur. Khah' tails cannot be smooth and short haired like their cousins in the mountains, they will always have a thick volume to them.
*While Khah' tattooing is considered a ritual, it is also most likely one of the very first things you will notice about any Khah' originating from their homeland, so it is being listed here under Physical Attributes.
The Khah' have a rich culture aside from their co-existing with the various species be they flora, fauna or other races. Truth be told, much of their magic comes from their tattoos, which for those of them that understand, are also a Khah's story. Each Khah', if following with their peoples tradition, have marked, or 'tattooed', faces. Each facial tattoo will vary as the patterns and placement on the face make a difference in meaning, ergo, no two facial markings are the same. However, some Khah' also have markings around their wrists and ankles. This cultural practice however is being slowly assimilated by humans, distinctively in the large capital of Püertagœ, and being added to the 'every day' beauty standard, despite the extreme pain and and meanings being lost, taken more as 'pretty designs'.
The Location on the Face & Meaning
Forehead: Because the Khah' are born as humans are, head first, the forehead tells of the bearer's status at birth.
Nasal Bridge: Depicts their signature. This symbol is given to a Khah' during a sacred ritual where upon smoking an herb, they go through a journey venturing into the sky; the graveyard of the Gods. A God will eventually come to the Khah' who seeks council, not out of belief & following of them, but in order to garner knowledge from the God of Its mistakes. In this council of guidance, the God will reveal to a Khah' a symbol to guard it from bad or impulsive decisions. That symbol becomes their signature which they will use just as we do here on Earth; a drawing of our name. Adding the significance that their symbol/signature is their bond.
Temples: Denoted marriage(s) as well as children. Note: Left side represented the number of wives and the right, children.
Cheekbones: Signify the highlights of the Khah's personality; the jokester, detail-orientated, compassion, stern, etc.
Cheeks: Indicate the nature of their work.
Chin: Shows their prestige amongst the community in the middle, and family on the sides (to match the temples' markings). It's placement being the chin is in reference to two things in particular; 1. Your prestige is determined after all your work and near the late period of your life, and 2. Dependent upon time & others' perceptions it may be construed differently. The second point is an allusion to the growth of facial hair, although it should be noted that in the areas of where the markings are made, hair will no longer grow there due to the dermatological damage from the tattooing process.
Jaw: One of the last markings a Khah' will receive as it is a telling of their status/rank and the gifts they have given during their lives be it guidance, wealth, empathy, etc.
Neck: Because the tattoos are done when living they will heal. The neck is marked solely upon death as it is a raw wound and will not heal because the Khah' is deceased. The markings are made to illustrate their path to the Land of the Dead to join their ancestors & family, what they shall receive, and whether their journey there will be a smooth one based upon the story indicated on their faces.
Patterns & Meaning
*These are only some of the patterns.
Beads on a String: The pattern is meant to resemble the building of jewelry. It represents aptitude whether it be to build, learn, dance, sing, have heart, etc.
Weaving: The symbol of the weaving threads tells of empathy, connectivity to those around them and also implies leadership.
Rain: An interpretation of mingling raindrops is indicative of being a teacher of some kind, mostly in the form of having knowledge or expertise and passing it on.
Fence: The fence pattern is indicative of an individual that is guarded, shy, and possibly so far as aloof. Despite this, they may also have wisdom, as they are usually the watchers in the back of a gathering.
Khah' speak, for the most part, C'eröd, Tam'nýer—a''s universal language. There are some leftovers of their traditional language that lingers, such as in rituals performed by a Storyteller (a spiritual leader of the Khah'), and in endearments. Otherwise though, it is mainly lost. The Storytellers learn the old tongue, and pass it onto future generation Storytellers though. So, in some very strict and ritual format, it still exists, but to the rest of Tam'nýer—a', it remains unknown.
Although during their lifetime, an individual may study the remnants of ancient/lost languages, or try and learn a specific dialect of Ãoni as well.
Khah' religious views speak to their stereotype of being a lover race; accepting of all things. It also echoes how they live in their homeland of Uwhang, by co-existing with Tam'nýer—a''s various creatures and plant life in a symbiotic way.
Khah' view each other, plants, fauna, and other people (despite race) as equals. Of course, lovers and family have a special place, but the move with the tides of life and understand that everything has a place and purpose. If anything, the Khah' are how the majority of our world (Earth) understands Buddhists. However, they kill for food, thus necessity. But they constantly give back, and understand that they are merely
a speck in the universe and part of the natural cycle. With this in mind, the Gods are, in turn,
examples and guides.
Storytellers spread this by teaching Khah' of their histories and moral stories, similar to
Aesop's Fables and the tales found throughout the various religions on Earth. These stories
always come through as a doctrine to abide by, and speaks of peace, letting life flow through you.
Now, some of you may be thinking 'Sounds like the Khah' are like the Z'sa'Ză-'Bäa.' However, the Z'sa'Ză-'Bäa are more like hippie children. The Z'sa'Ză-'Bäa simply are, and don't bother with thinking about philosophies or actively being at one with the world that surrounds them. They simply live in peace. The Khah' actively seek out to co-exist and ways to do so, with forgiveness as a high priority when conflict occurs.
Patterns Left to Right: Beads on a string / Weaving / Rain / Fence
Talismans are a type of magic that essentially are summed up to simple good luck charms, albeit they are usually very pretty. Crafted mainly by the Khah', they are usually worn by workers in affluent brothels, who sport them not only for look, but make for good marketing as a man can purchase one for their lover back home as a heartfelt token he got for them on his travels. Another usual place to find a talisman would be as an heirloom in a Khah' family, passed down through the generations.
The talismans are usually imbued with protection spells, or words promoting good fortune, luck in love, beauty and wealth. But, if the charms mean little to you, they make for a lovely little piece of jewelry.
The charms tend to be made from glass, metal, carved bone or sealed wood as well as being adorned with bits of shell and various dyed furs or threads to make the tassel that is indicative of a talisman. Needless to say, this is the main form of Enchanting magic.
Now Enchantment can be taught, but mainly Enchantment is primarily done by the Khah'. That being said though, Talismans can be bought rather easily, so if your character would like a good luck charm to protect them whilst traveling, it is simply to obtain one without being able to enchant themselves.
The Khah' are a very open species when it comes to sex. They don't really care about gender, homosexuality is not an issue, and making love isn't shameful before marriage. In fact, Khah' would rather go into a relationship knowing that they have sexual chemistry before approaching a Storyteller to get married. So, basic dating is quietly, but expected to include some sexual exploration. That doesn't mean that it's a free ticket to go have sex openly, where ever and engage in orgies though, so don't get too ahead of yourself. Monogamy in a relationship, whether merely boyfriend-girlfriend or married, is a necessity to not be shamed.
Khah' pregnancies are extremely short in comparison to some races, as their pregnancy terms are only 12 Tam'nýer—a''n days, 2 days short of a full Tam'nýer—a''n week. Khah' can produce 1-2 children per pregnancy.
Reproduction: The Khah' can reproduce with themselves, Humans, Z'sa'Ză-'Bäa and Nkhya'jra.
*Please note that if you do wish to write a crossbred character that in Tam'nýer—a' the child will always take after the mother more.
**If your character's mother is a Khah' or Z'sa'Ză-'Bäa your crossbred character must have a tail. The only time that a mother's tail will not pass is if the mother is less than half Khah' or less than half Z'sa'Ză-'Bäa.
Khah' diets vary; some are vegetarian, choosing to embrace nature more, and as a means to try and help maintain the ecological balance, and some take part in eating meat from the various animals of Uwhang. No matter what though, even if a Khah' is a vegetarian, all Khah' take part in feeding the 'pets' of their homes, the Lopikăş, as they eat the bones and help nature with its natural cycle.
As a side note, some coastal living Khah' communities actually take to the sea, rather than harvest solely from the jungle. But it's not necessarily to fish, but rather to capture Grásh to eat. This may be surprising since the Grásh are a creature that are held in high regard to the citizens of B'hărăbû, and most pirates. But to the coastal Khah', the Grásh are a staple.
Their homeland Uwhang, is recognized as the sole lasting jungle continent (not to be mistaken for rain forest, as the density of vegetation on the ground and in the canopy is notable in comparison). Uwhang, to the rest of Tam'nýer—a', is more commonly known as the Sky-Coral Sea, and is like a different world. In all of Tam'nýer—a' where water is abound, in the depths of Uwhang, everything whilst being wet, seems a stark contrast to the bright, water-bound land masses. Uwhang is loaded with tall trees, and dense vegetation. Looking up you very quickly realize that above the jungle floor are webs of living bridges connecting a metropolis in the trees.
The Khah' make homes within the trees as well as large fungi bubbling around the outer parts of the trees, so that the trees do not have to be sacrificed in order for them to have a place to live. If the Khah' do live in the fungi, without carving out a tree, they tend to feed it so that it does not eat away the tree.
With their affinity for nature and need to socialize though, the Khah' are a race that have intermingled highly with the rest of the world even to the point of being 30.6% of Püertagœ's population (1,499,400 out of 4.9 million), despite it being the main human capital. This also tells of their good bedside manner be it in a brothel sense or that of a healer. Truth be told, Khah' healers are only second to the Ãoni doctors, but the Ãoni tend to specialize in midwifery.
With the multitude of cultures, races and destinations, clothing can have a major impact on your character. Hence, clothing etiquette and knowing before you travel is probably best.
Now, considering the close connection genetically of the Khah' and the Z'sa'Ză-'Bäa you might expect more similarities. However, their clothing styles highly set them apart, as do their cultures. While Z'sa'Ză-'Bäa wear very little to permit movement, ease and focus highly on accommodation, they have fur all over their bodies to help deal with the temperatures at high elevations. The Khah' though, living in the jungle, have lost most of their fur, exposing skin through evolution to deal with the humidity of the jungle.
To deal with the changing temperatures with the extreme seasons in the jungle, and considering the humidity freezing with winter, the Khah' wear clothing that covers the majority of their bodies that is breathable but easy to alter and layer during colder temperatures with furs from the animals of the jungle.
Most of the year, the Khah', regardless of gender, wear baggy trousers, made tight at the ankle to discourage bugs from crawling up into unwanted places. The shirts as well are much the same, and tuck loosely into a thick band of colour fabric/silk.Vests may also be worn and tucked in as well.
The colours of their clothing represent multiple things, just like their traditional facial tattoos. Although while their tattoos tell of the individual and their life journey, the clothing tells of their personal beliefs or morals.
Black signifies the earth/soil, noting that the individual is grounded and does not believe in impulsive judgement. They hold patience in high regard and are willing to let things come in due time.
White signifies a clarity of mind, as the clarity of water. The individual is analytical and believes in looking at all sides of the coin, hearing every individual out. There are no singular truths. This also entails an ability and need to look oneself in the mirror and acknowledge their own faults and behaviours.
Green represents honesty, as the world around them is and grows. It cannot betray its design, it cannot lie about what it is. The individual holds authenticity in high regard, and is an open book, believing that this is a truer way of being.
Red is of the heart. This individual is passionate about whatever they set their mind to. They may even be a mother or father of many children, or a caretaker of the community. They believe in love, kindness and acceptance above all else. They are the nurturers.
Purple tells of an individuals creativity. They see inspiration in a sunset, and in the lives of those around them. Everything gives them an idea to create, to better or enhance life.
Yellow tells of an individual's determination to see things through to the end, no matter the consequence. It speaks volumes of a person's ambition, motivation, and signifies that they are more than likely the first to take any initiative.
Shoes for the jungle tend to vary upon individual preference, however, the two main styles both tend to be considered traditional and that is either for boots of differing lengths, albeit when going hunting they are usually over the knee. The other main style is akin to the Z'sa'Ză-'Bäa's shoes which are tough leather scraps wrapped around the feet to enforce strong natural padding/callouses that these cousin races have.
As stated before, boots when traveling outside or hunting is the usual, even above the simple leather scraps. But because of their versatility, strength and offered protection from scrapes, and potential cuts, Khah' styled boots can be found massively throughout B'hărăbû as well for mercenaries and the like. These boots generally have ties or sashes to keep them tight for the same reason why their pants cinch around their ankles. You never know when there might be bugs and insects and it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Khah' jewelry is quite distinctive as it is primarily made from semi-precious stones, with high quality pieces including pearls. Albeit, these pieces may also be reserved for notable persons in the community. That being said though, Storytellers will usually not wear jewelry unless it has been passed down to them, or inherited, rather than indulging in buying themselves items.
Khah' jewelry can be incredibly intricate, and is held together by using sinew as thread. It is an art-form within itself, and Khah' jewelers tend to double as tool makers as well.
It should be said that some Khah' do not wear this type of jewelry and simply settle for the more commonly associated Talismans, or none at all. Either way, none are viewed as a defining a difference of social status aside from pearls.
Keeping in style with Khah' jewelry, their earrings are solely made out of gemstones. Heavy, yet stunning plugs of finely carved and polished stones tend to sit low on the outer sides of their ears, and the ears are the sole acceptable place for piercings to the Khah'.
As is custom with their clothing, Khah' if pierced, get plugs of gemstones that an individual feels the closest to on a spiritual level. This is not simply a thing of having a favourite colour, so do keep that in mind.
Clothing borders on a sacred thing to the Khah' as the colours of their vestments are a part of their identity, and representation to the outside world. Though the Khah' are well aware that there are different cultures out there and foreigners are privy to whatever they wish to wear, Khah' generally do not reveal a lot of skin. This is not only due to the importance and symbolism of clothing, but also because of their climate, the bugs and insects that co-exist with them and so on.
If a Khah' wishes to walk around partially undressed they are more than welcome to within their familial homes, whilst working, during rituals and celebrations. In fact some rituals and celebrations may call for a sharing of nakedness. However, in general though they should be fully clothed.
As you might already be assuming, the Khah' do not traditionally partake in beautification by means of make-up. This is primarily due to how beautification is more represented by one's life story as told by their facial tattoos, and colourful braided threads in their hair. One could say that beauty to the Khah' is not how you look but who you are.
Khah’ courting rituals are surprisingly sweet but deadly. Most relationships tend to start out by being asked to meet at as Braiding Tree, a native tree of the Sky-Coral Sea that grows long, heavy strands decked out in delicate flowers. However, as a relationship progresses and gets serious, Khah’ couples tend to embellish either their hair, tails or both with colourful braided threads. The more braids denotes the longer a couple has been together.
Ah, but where does the deadly part come in? When a couple gets very serious, their relationship is tested by a Storyteller, a spiritual leader for the Khah’. One of those tests can be to ask a couple to go hunting together (or merely one individual to do so), and for the head of whatever beast they conquer to be boiled, cleaned, dried and carved into. This is to have a physical representation of their valor, and the symbols carved into it? Those are determined by the Storyteller once she has approved the kill to be a proper tribute and will translate as the markings to be tattooed onto the couple to represent their marriage.
Skulls can be passed down through the generations as well, as are regarded to be protection of the home, as well as the bond, be it of the marriage or of blood once children have been born.
Khah' marriages are a really big deal. Not only are the families of the bride and groom involved, but so too can the community be. The big test is getting your marriage approved by a Storyteller, (information about them is located below under 'Khah' Specific Professions'). It does not matter if the man or woman asks the other for the hand in marriage, what matters is that the Storyteller approves. They will put the couple under a handful of 'tests' and make their decision.
If the Storyteller does approve the match then everyone gets to work. The families get together and make the bride and groom their wedding clothes. This symbolizes that the couple have the support and love of their families, and will be there if they have need. The Khah' also get married at night when the jungle floor comes alive. But wait! Don't the Khah' usually avoid the jungle floor due to the dangers that lurk below? You're right, they do. Getting married at night show an uncompromising amount of trust, faith and a desire to work through whatever comes their way together. In reality, it is the final test of the Storyteller. If one chickens out though, that partner who does not show, may never get to be married at all. The Storyteller remembers.
With the ceremony being at night, family and friends can choose to be on the ground with the couple and Storyteller during the ceremony, or watch from above. The whole thing is lit up by the various fungi and flowers that have bioluminescence, and the flame that the Storyteller carries with them, which is green. The flame is important, because the bride and groom must bring with them something from their childhood to burn, throwing away their innocence and melding it together. Essentially, this is a symbol of them mating publicly and declaring each other their own.
If however, the Storyteller does not approve the match, the couple must break up. Even if they don't want to, the only way to continue their love is to elope and never come back. Storytellers hold a lot of power and families follow it. If the couple do not succeed during the trials to prove their match, the Storyteller denies them, and the families will pull them apart to ensure that this ill fate is avoided. After all, everyone wants the best for their child.
The dead are generally used to feed the jungle as a compost or fed to the Lopikăş in a sacred grove. The surviving relatives of the deceased carry the corpse and deliver it to the Lopikăş. The Lopikăş are then summoned by a wooden instrument made from the Rus–lim' tree, as it is just the right density to produce the required note.
Despite bringing the bodies to a singular sacred grove, every family tends to have a tree where they honour their dead. Similar to their marriage tradition of the families making a couple's wedding attire, the family of the deceased will make a tapestry to honour said person. It will then be attached to a part of the tree to flow in the breeze to mark their passing. These tapestries come in all shapes and sizes, but usually look akin to that of an intricately embroidered table runner. These funeral cloths though, thanks to the drive for economy, sometimes get made to be sold to unknowing tourists.
In addition to this, and of course once again thanks to their attachment to nature, there is the belief that every thing is connected. Furthermore, every thing has a second life in and through nature to the Khah' people. Their passed on loved ones watch over them in creatures that scurry about but also, whenever visiting a loved ones grave tapestry, they bring garlands or simple bouquets of flowers as they believe that the spirits of the dead live off of the flowers by eating/absorbing them until Uu'krievan takes them to be reincarnated. This extends to, if seeking guidance from a loved one that has passed, that spending time or sleeping under their familial tree as well as bringing offerings & incense may bring on a spiritual journey/connection where you can talk to said person. One may even go so far as to gently caress that dead individual's favourite plants in the wild and follow them by sight to touch them, as if giving them company on their path after life. This is reminiscent of "Uu'krieuvan's Path".
Uu'krieuvan's Path: Uçî
These bio-luminescent wee beauties are quite common in Tam'nýer—a'. Uçî are mostly found sprouting from dying moss or decaying leaves on the ground. Because of this, Uçî are also known as "Uu'krieuvan's Path", said to mark where the God walked before his untimely death. Uçî prosper in humidity.
The main instruments of the Sky-Coral Sea (Uwhang) are the Flute, Duduk & the Bandura
Khah' music is serene, peaceful, and connects the nature loving species to the world around them even more. It's ability to bring peace of mind spreads to the trees themselves as it echoes softly throughout the canopy. Khah' traditional instruments are a mix of flutes, strings (made with sinew) and drumming. Certain notes on specially made flutes are also the same way the Khah' signal to the Lopikăş to come and fetch a free meal.
Khah' dance is a tad bit more lively than their traditional music, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have it's slow parts to represent their tie and ear to nature's needs. With their colourful clothing, and talismans dancing with them, Khah' dance is a tribute to their connection with the earth and the beings around them.
Please enjoy the example video of what is considered to be a traditional dance amongst the Khah' peoples. This particular dance is usually performed at weddings, in defiance of the dangers that lurk on the jungle floor.
Dispelling Anxieties & Bad Fortune:
Common practice among the Khah' is to go into the jungle to gather wild flowers and tree branches when feeling bogged down by depression, anxiety, or feeling plagued by bad fortune. The point of gathering them is to then perform a small ritual of brushing them against your body as you think of all these doubts and negative thoughts and dance. The point of this act is to release all the bad and adhere them to the flowers and leaves, essentially cleansing yourself. Once you have finished cleansing, you burn the flowers, leaves and branches, disposing of all the negativity that was once weighing you down.
KHAH' specific professions
A Storyteller is not only a solely Khah' profession, but a position. To help one understand the importance and status of being a Storyteller, Storyteller's are a mix of a matchmaker, as well as spiritual leader. Most large villages have one, while lesser settlements nearby must wait for the Storyteller of that area to do their rounds throughout the year. It is a highly looked forward to time as Storytellers offer guidance, bless new babes, and oversee matches as well as marriages. They also bring concerns of the area(s) that they serve to the Empress of the Sky-Coral Sea (Uwhang).
Another thing that further separates Storytellers from any other Khah' is that they're the only Khah' that have tattoos all over their bodies, not merely on their faces. This is to mark the legends of their people that they know and tell by heart, the Khah' history, and most importantly the Khah''s traditional language, which over time has become something of a sacred thing that only Storytellers now have the privilege of learning and knowing. This is much like the Church knowing Latin to set them apart from the common rabble. Storytellers are also taught how to use Scorch Marks, as it is a vital tool used to communicate sensitive topics with the Empress.
When chosen to be a Storyteller, you are chosen at a young age to then be the current Storyteller's apprentice. Only one can be chosen, so it is a great honour. However, in order to be one, you must swear to leave your family behind, and while you may hold them in your heart, you must hold all other Khah' under your care in the same way. Bias is a thing that must be eradicated from heart, as well as mind, in order to fulfill one's training.
Storyteller's Little Helper: Vîkaţ
Did you ever find yourself asking how Storytellers actually relayed messages to the Empress of the Sky-Coral Sea? I mean, one can't have Khah' simply standing around, hovering like a shadow – especially when Storytellers impart important communiqués via Scorch Marks. That wouldn't be good to have permanently attached to ones flesh.
Admittedly, the Khah' have help from a well kept secret, and this secret has little issue with avoiding the dangers of the jungle floor. Lopikăş, however, yes.
The Vîkaţ are small creatures that live 4-7 per 'house'. The term 'house' is used loosely, however, because these houses could be more explained as mini-castles. They prefer their homes to be attached to branches, outside in the cool air where the elements are still close-by. In exchange for their messaging services, a Storyteller houses their home outside of theirs and provides food and warmth for them during the winter season.
Vîkaţ are of course are held in high esteem by the Khah' peoples, and children have been known to play with them, or be watched over by them as they sleep. It is considered a blessing if they visit you or land on a finger. But this domesticity does not lessen their importance. They are key in keeping the Empress apprised of what it going on throughout the Federation she rules over, as a mother does to an egg.
Vîkaţ measure up to be 8-10cm (2.75-3.5 inches) in length, so they are very small, hence why Lopikăş tend to eat them, if they can catch one, but it is usually by accident as they don't even serve as an appetizer for the large carapaced animals.
Each Vîkaţ that lives with and is under the protection of a Storyteller wears a particular colour and intricate design of tassel. Every Storyteller has their own colour configuration and style so that everyone receiving a Scorch Mark delivered by a Vîkaţ will know which Storyteller is communicating with them.