"I have ridden from the Broken Coast to the Icy Mountains,
and found that only this land entire is expansive enough
to house the spirit of my people."
~Resuto Hojari Rinimi Teruso Obalose
Companion to Bimear Sasharr during the Prophet's Tale
Custom Price: 150$USD
Preconjure Price: 80-125$USD
Koholeans are the descendants of racial mixing (Speritanians, Lisdanese, and the Muzina combined to make this race). They are the largest race in Ul-Zaorith and are sometimes called giants because of it. They are also a strictly matriarchal society, the leader of which is a fearsome gladiator champion. This race calls Teridi Koholo home, a vast expanse of steppes and plateaus across which many herds roam.
Koholeans live typically to 120 years, however, because of how heavily warfare plays a role in their society, many seek an honourable death by combat while far younger. Teridi Koholo has a standing army, and every citizen is trained in basic combat and medicine from an early age.
Koholeans have charcoal-black skin, brown eyes, and white hair. Even their muscles have muscles, and they are the strongest race in Ul-Zaorith. The men can range between 6’5”–7’5”, while the females are 7’5”–8’5”. Many Koholeans bare scars. Because of how dark their skin is, Koholeans tattoo by scarification and skin bleaching. Females will also brand their bellies every time they give birth with a unique design.
Not only are they tall, they are also thick and filled out. Their bodies are naturally muscular, and if this is worked, they can be ripped and ropey like bodybuilders. While flabbiness is almost unheard of in this heavily physical race, some men develop something they call "Erudido Manaku" or "Liver Gut", which is a protruding, rock-hard belly. They have broad, flat noses and deep-set eyes. They have broad full lips of a dull grey-pink colour. They can have body hair which is sometimes sparse and wiry and sometimes thick and carpeted over their chests, forearms, legs from the hips down, and occasionally on the buttocks, back or stomach. Their pubic hair and underarm hair is thick, though they keep this closely trimmed for hygienic reasons.
Fashion in Teridi Koholo is typically utilitarian, made of leather, canvas, and linens. Despite their cold northern climate, Koholeans are well insulated and hot blooded and so will often bare their arms, stomachs, or legs. They will otherwise line their clothes with fur or fill them with feather down. In construction, they traditionally wear jackets and vests similar to the Muzina's traditional tuzi. They do not often create patterned fabrics or spend the time to embellish their clothes, but accessories made from clay, pounded metal, or bone are common. While hair is often kept short, those in positions less likely to see combat may wear elaborate styles with braids, knotting, or dreads. Leather or cloth wrappings in the hair are common to keep it back from their faces. Facial piercings and stretchers are also common in noses, ears, and lips. Most of the clothing colours are quite drab and natural, partly to better blend into their windswept environment, and partly because not many bright pigments can be easily found in Teridi Koholo. Those that can gain access to imported goods such as merchants, gladiators, and travelers, may wear brighter or patterned clothing, though they are seen as intellectuals or dandies, and are mostly found in the cities. Footwear ranges from open-toed but insulated sandals to metal-toed calf-high boots, and all depends on the type of labour the Koholean plans to undertake.
Teridi Koholo has a ranked caste system, though rather than being born into a caste, it is merit based. All Koholeans begin as Biyin which is their conscript rank. As children, Biyin begin training in the supportive military roles of scout, medic, and infantry. Once their training is complete, they can choose either to continue in the caste ranks or take external work.
Uyuda are the captains. Each Uyuda will be assigned a unit of Biyin to govern. When not in war, this becomes a sort of overseer role. They keep in touch with all those under their command, helping to maintain order in the region, settle disputes, and assist their charges with non-military careers. They are one part confidant, one part big siblings, and one part magistrate.
Resutos are generals and each one will have a unit of Uyuda and all their Biyin under their command. While they play a similar role to the Uyuda as the Uyuda do the Biyin, Resuto have the additional responsibility of inter-regional communications and diplomacy, studying tactics, history, and political affairs. All Resuto report directly to the Empress.
Turenin are mercenaries. They first must achieve the rank of Resuto before they can branch off onto this path. Instead of being anchored to a specific region, the Turenin can travel to be hired or assigned to any region that requires aid. Because of this, they act as impartial outsiders, able to settle feuds and long standing disputes while also having the impartiality to make difficult choices for the greater good.
Henadi like the Turenin are a branch of the Resuto training, but rather than becoming nomadic warriors, the Henadi focus their skills for martial mastery. They compete in gladiator tournaments (both in smaller regional competitions and in the annual Empress' gladiator competition [men cannot compete in the Empress' gladior competition]). Henadi are celebrities who often gain large followings that support and follow their careers, however, they risk their lives every time they step into the ring.
Gorutaku, the Empress. There is only ever one Gorutaku at a time (with rare exceptions). She is chosen from the annual gladiator competition and her prize is governing the entire country until the next year's competition. The Gorutaku serves her people with the Resuto acting as her advisors, the Turenin acting as her ears on the ground, and the Henadi serving as the goad to strive for perfection.
Beyond this mandatory service, many choose to continue up the ranks and find positions of power. Women inherently hold on to the most powerful positions of government, social influence, and military rank. Despite this heavy emphasis on the military, to a Koholean, nothing is more fearsome than childbirth and mothers are the most revered members of society. In fact, Koholean women choose their partners. To have a woman request a man as a mate is a high honour. Men who refuse (either out of pride or sexuality) often find themselves severely beaten or worse, so it is wise to capitulate.
Koholeans don't have rigid ideas of sexual attraction, and separate pleasurable sex from procreation. As motherhood and baring children are so highly honoured, they stand above as more important than any personal sexual preference. Thus, a woman can take her pleasure with other women, and this will have no baring on her obligation to some day bare a child. Likewise, men who prefer men (if they are appealing enough) are still likely to be requisitioned.
It may seem that the Koholeans have strict gender expectations, but it would be more accurate to say they prize women and all things associated with them above all else. While there are trans women in Teridi Koholo, there is a higher desirability placed on woman who can bare children. Koholeans have a difficult time wrapping their heads around the trans male perspective, as Koholeans believe woman to be the superior gender. That said, if you can still prove yourself to be a contributing member of society, at the end of the day such personal matters have little baring on social standing.
Marriage is a transient contract and can easily be formed and annulled as needed. It is more a status of co-habitation than any religious institution. Marriage is most commonly between a woman and a woman, or a woman and a man. Marriage between men is not typically recognized, especially if they are both still within the military. As they share communal beds of up to eight people, marriage has nothing to do with whose bed you share in. Instead, it is an oath similar to someone's second in a duel where they become responsible for acting on your behalf if you are injured, ill, or proxy. Property and businesses can only be owned legally by women and since a marriage involves the stewardship and governance of these institutions, two men cannot legally control these assets. Instead, male/male unions are referred to as Brotherhoods (which is a term from the close unions formed in military life). To clarify, it's not that men cannot be together, it is simply that the benefits of a declared marriage to not confer to male/male unions.
Children are typically raised by their biological mother. In the case of their biological mother not being around, they would either be raised by her proxy, or by her nearest female relative. At a time, Koholeans can have 1-3 children, though some especially prized women can have more. Large families are preferred, and as they live in multi-generational households, it is not uncommon to have as many as 14 children in a family. Adoption can be done by any gender, though adoption organizations put priority on bonded pairs.
Young children remain within the home, raised among their siblings and grandparents. When they turn eight, they will begin their Biyin training, and after this point they are largely raised by the community.
Coming of Age
Biyin training typically lasts six years, but can be as quick as four, or as long as ten. Once the Koholean graduates, they are considered a fully fledged adult. At this point, they are given responsibilities that will affect their community or tribe.
There is not a lot of differentiation between genders when it comes to coming of age, except that family planning is obviously different between them. While it is solely the woman's choice over whether to keep a pregnancy, and any child she has is her responsibility, men are taught how to use contraceptives so that if his female partner does not wish to conceive, he is equally prepared to be responsible.
When a Koholean woman becomes a mother, she will get a Kosate Unisa - a ritual scar which is branded into the skin around the navel. They can have many designs, but consist of a half circle underneath the navel and three branches from it, as well as two pips spaced between the branches.
Death is a complex aspect to Koholean culture, and on the whole is considered honourable. However, there are certain kinds of death which are more admired or feared.
- Death in the Gladiator Ring; considered the most admired, as those that distinguish themselves in the ring find a place in Rulamian (a similar concept to Valhalla)
- Death on the Battle Field; those who die defending their community, tribe, or country have fulfilled the ultimate service and Koholean can, and their families will be honoured and taken care of.
- Death in Defense of Another; if one gives their life to protect another they are beloved of the Gods, leaving a lasting blessing on the one they have defended.
- Death in Childbirth; those who die in childbirth are mourned, and some consider it to be a failing, however their surviving family are not shamed or ostracized.
- Death by Disease; generally to be feared. Koholeans traditionally bury their dead, and those bodies with illness in them are considered to be cursed.
- Death by Suicide; if this measure is taken to prevent the worsening of a disease, the loss of faculties, or to head off the body's decay, it is considered the honourable thing to do. However, such measures should be taken with the full knowledge and consent of the family. Suicide during combat situations is considered cowardly.
- Death by Old Age; considered shameful, as one has found no duty to perform in service of others.
Because the Koholeans believe so strongly in every citizen doing their part for the betterment of their nation, those that can no longer contribute, including the elderly and the infirm, are considered burdens, so most will choose an honourable way out rather than become a drain on their family.
The Biyin serves as the public education system, and ensures every citizen is literate, has a working knowledge of first aid, cooking, and transport. Beyond these basics, martial arts, comradery, and history ensure that they develop a unified and competent foundation. Specialist training is done through mentorship with a master of the skill one wishes to learn. These pair ups are typically organized by a friend or family member, and last at least until the student develops mastery, but most often for a life time. While Teridi Koholo does not have any universities per se, they do have training schools for specific martial skills, crafts, or studies. Students can enlist with these masters on shorter terms basis in order to gain access to techniques, literary collections, or restricted knowledge.
Most traditional Koholean cuisine is intended for travel, and so cured meats, chutneys, flat breads, and preserves make up the bulk of their dishes. For those not needing to travel, most cooking is done communally, either within a family grouping or at large cookhouses that serve neighborhoods. These dishes are often prepared by multiple people in massive caldrons, and are sometimes based on the previous day's leftovers that are added to and padded out. Stews, rice dishes, and hardy soups are common. They have coarse bread that is typically dunked into sauces. Wild and fresh spices are prevalent, and their dishes always have a rather exquisite and aromatic profile.
The Koholeans also like to preserve alcohols and have a wide and strong range of liquors. Between fermented grains, gourds, and river plants, the Koholeans like to drink and with their hardy constitutions they can drink a lot. Ales and ryes are considered good social drinks, while wines and tequilas are usually reserved for celebrations or competitions. Their wines are fortified and are strong, both in potency and in flavour. While Koholeans do not rely on magic, it is often present in their liquers, as this will give a more lasting buzz than straight alcohol.
Intelligence: 9/16. The Koholeans are about as intelligent as humans, but a bit more understanding of energy lines than we are. They are not great casters, but their medicine is highly advanced, their knowledge of their limits and how far they can push them superb, and their hard work ethic, and cooperation with others one of the best in the world. They pride warfare, not as a point of destruction, but as a point of valour, courage, skill, prowess and ethics. They have a solidarity as a people that is unmatched.
Wisdom: 12/16. In Wisdom, the Koholeans have a great reverence for life and the spirit. Death is not taken lightly for them, and for this reason they have honed their martial prowess to such a fine art. They have a respect and appreciation for all creatures, and understand the web of support between species on the planet. Their concepts of the cycle of life as used in their medicine, funeral rites, and even their law make them far more balanced and reserved in judgment than human beings.
Agility: 6/16. The Koholeans are big, heavy, sturdy and tough. But this makes them unagile. They have little capacity for turning quickly, slow reflexes and are lumbering and cumbersome in movement. Their dexterity with detail and fine implements is greatly hampered by their thick fingers and even their writing is composed of hard, mostly straight lines for ease of execution. Their perception of physical damage is dull, making them resistant to both extreme heat and extreme cold, but can become an impediment when it comes to bites, infections and injury.
Strength: 16/16. They are one of the strongest races in the world, and combined with also being the largest, they easily are the most physically intimidating. They are densely structured, tough-skinned, with thick ropey muscle, dense bone structures, reinforced tendons and cartilage. Physically they are the toughest of the sentient races, able to take a huge amount of damage before being slowed - which is only heightened all the more by their Racial Ability called the Tageni Sele (aka, War Cry, which can shake the nerves of their enemies, create tremors through the earth, stack the force of their attacks, can call animals to their aid, delay effects of their wounds, can survive killing blows, and enter a berserker state). Koholeans are able to lift as much as a Speritanian - about 2-3 tonnes, and create forces up to 5 tonnes.
Resistance: 16/16. The Koholeans have the highest resistance. They are almost impossible to budge once they get rooted, and can withstand forces upwards of 8 tonnes of crushing force - such as falling debris, compression and blunt trauma. They are highly resistant to poisons, infections and are almost immune to many strains of aggressive bacteria. Their bodies take more than twice as long as any other to begin to decay - almost three weeks (27 days in Ul-Zaorith). Their skin has a consistency that makes them a little resistant to frost or burn damage - but only if the exposure is of short duration. Cuts do not generally penetrate deeply into their flesh, and their lymphatic fluids repel detritus and foreign particles from entering the wound or bloodstream.
Recovery: 10/16. In recovery, they are marginally better than humans, healing well, and often fully regenerating from damaging injuries like torn ligaments or strained muscles. They do tend to scar easily and often, but this is considered a point of pride for the Koholeans and no attempt is made to prevent or treat them. Largely, their bodies rely on their heavy defenses to prevent them from taking ill. Often the viruses or parasites that manage to get past those defenses are the most vicious of diseases and are extremely hard to expel, treat or cure. Their largest concern is internal malfunctions like organ failure, organ diseases of the heart or liver are most common, and cancers which their bodies have a hard time recognizing and countering until they reach a critical point past the ability to heal.
NMP: 2/6. The Koholeans, as stated, are poor casters. They rarely maintain a stable enough connection long enough to cast magics. Their massive defenses cut them off from a large flow of Manna Weave and Huskline that arise from external sources. This makes them very good at channelling and resisting psychic trauma, and gives them a stability against being sucked into Realm Gates. However, they largely make up for their lack of casting magic by focusing on the simpler, 'innate' forms of magical energy - aura reading, manipulation, charisma, fortune telling, etc.
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