The Sharadda TerithThe sharadda are a desert dwelling people whose civilization is in decline. Once the rulers of a vast empire, a series of wars and disasters have left them scattered and weakened, living in the shadowed ruins of their past glory.
Sharadda have skin in various shades of red, from a dark pink to a reddish brown. Their hair is usually jet black or various shades of brown. In some instances a hint of red, blue, or purple will appear in their hair. The hair of both sharadda men and women is thick and curly, becoming a veritable mane. Their eye color can be red, brown, violet, or amber. Sharadda have a cat-like grace and ferocity.
Only one in ten sharadda children is a male, resulting in traditions and gender roles that differ from most other terith tribes. Sharadda males practice polygamy, each taking half a dozen wives and concubines. Even so, many sharadda women never marry, or must marry men of another tribe. It is not unusual for the sharadda to forge political ties with other tribes by marrying their daughters to foreigners. Meanwhile, sharadda women are often found in societal roles more often filled by men in other tribes. For example, female soldiers, leaders, and craftsmen are very common among the sharadda. In fact, the sharadda practice a form of matriarchy, where the older women typically hold the highest political positions in a community – called sheikhas. However, only males are allowed to serve as religious leaders among the tribe, and the sheikhas will often defer to the authority of these male priests in times of great need or conflict.
The sharadda people were once great builders. They built massive cities, complete with giant stone monuments, gardens, temples, and palaces. Such accomplishments have since been reduced to ruins. Lacking the resources to rebuild, the tribe now makes its home among the rubble of their ancient strongholds. The sharadda have become scavengers, taking what little sustenance they can find in the desert and selling their services to other tribes as mercenaries and entertainers. Many sharadda also make their living as thieves and bandits.
The sharadda are a very pragmatic people. They view this as necessary for their survival in the harsh deserts where they live. Because of this, they have become known for their resourcefulness and cunning. The sharadda are natural predators, both in the physical and social arenas. This is not to say that all sharadda are merciless or cruel, but they are more inclined to seek their own advantage than that of any other individual or group.
The sharadda practice elementalism – the worship of elementals. Elementals are sentient creatures composed entirely of the elements the gods forged into creation. Some believe that these creatures were the first servants of the gods, while others believe they were a failed experiment. While the gods are remote and a bit removed from the everyday happenings of people, elementals are present and directly involved in the world. So, to the sharadda mindset it makes good sense to curry the favor of these beings.
That’s it for now. I mentioned a number of different tribes in an earlier article. If there is one in particular you would like to read more about, leave a comment below and I’ll make it the topic of the next Design Journal.