The Kachiri Isles (Len-Dore)
The Southern Isles of Audalis
The islands to the south of Audalis' mainland are called the Kachiri Islands by the mainlanders; however, to the inhabitants of the islands, they are called Len-Dore, which means "People of the Sea." They worship Chi-Len-Thol-Ma - often referred to affectionately as We-La, literally "Give home" - (known elsewhere as Cardista, goddess of the sea) and have a distinct society of their own. The name "Kachiri Islands" is a misunderstanding from when the first traders came to the islands and asked the name. They were told Kachi-Ri, meaning the island upon which they were currently landed. Mainlanders stuck to that name stubbornly, and the Lendoreans don't worry about mainlander's "confusion."
The Islands: There are eleven islands that make up Len-Dore, with four of them being noticeably larger than the rest. The western most island is Tabla-Ri, (cities of Rog-La and Catt-La), The centre island is Kachi-Ri, (city of Mal-La), and the southeastern island of Caya-Ri (Cities of Zen-la and Quin-La). The large island north of Kachi-Ri is Bani-Ri (city of Tere-La). The remaining small islands are Fols-Ri, Win-Ri, Uban-Ri, Onta-Ri, Olan-Ri, Yami-Ri, and Zodl-Ri. None of the smaller islands have trading cities. The Lendoreans bring their goods to Mal-La or Quin-La in order to trade.
Description: The people have dark hair and eyes, with very few variants. Their skin is a reddish hue, and they tend to wear their hair long and tied by a simple leather thong in a single braid. They are not a tall people, with heights ranging from 5' 2" to 5' 6" for the women, to a maximum height of 5' 9" for the men. All islanders are born in water and can usually swim before they can walk. Lendorean never wear clothing when swimming (this is a custom that mainlanders enjoy, and is uncomfortable). Lendorean people are considered quite beautiful by mainlanders, and it is rare to see a Lendorean that is not in top physical shape.
Dress: Islanders dress in very colorful, light woven clothes. They favour floral patterns for women and animal designs for men. Metal is extremely rare, and is never used in dress. Clothing is tied, usually designed to be wrapped around the body. Necklaces, rings and earrings are made from shells, bones and pressed flowers.
Culture and Society: In Lendorean culture, women and men are equal, but serve different functions in society. Men are the protectors, the hunters, the farmers, the spiritual leaders and the keepers of "ways." Women are the political leaders, the barters, the mothers and keepers of "self." Lendoreans live in family based clans called Shal-Le. The residents of the multiple islands have band together for mutual protection and trade, which has lead to a formalized government. Family names are traced through the mothers, and knowledge of lineage is passed from mother to child. Every clan has a woman as leader called the Chu-Che. These Chu-Che choose a leader from amongst themselves, called the Thol-Che. The Thol-Che holds the title for life, but can have power removed from them by the Chu-Che council (called the Con-Che). The Thol-Che can choose a small group of women to help her rule and share her power; these women are referred to as the Lin-Che.
Cities on the islands are mostly trading posts set up to serve as a central point for mainland traders. There are six cities: Quin-La, Tere-La, Catt-La, Rog-La, Zen-La and the main "Capital" city of Mal-La. Mainlanders are called Pik-Chi-Len, which roughly translated to "Lost Souls on Sea." Lendoreans are very friendly to mainlanders, provided that they stay within their laws. Thieves and lawbreakers are punished severely on the first offense, and outright killed if they offend again. Punishment can be as menial as cleaning all of the shells off of a beach, to as harsh as whipping-posts. Lendorean life is more spiritual than religious. They observe the goddess Cardista every day before the hunt, work the fields, or battle. They have many festivals, which are elebrated with large banquets of food and drink. Marriage is a huge event in Lendorean society, as is the birth of a child. Funerals are a celebration of a life more than a grieving of a death. This highly social lifestyle has lead many mainlanders to believe the islanders are hedonistic pleasure seekers; nothing could be further from the truth. When forced to defend themselves and their homelands, invaders have never been able to hold a portion of the islands for longer than a day. Many decades ago, a pirate king named Yorkic the Mad, who fancied himself "The God-Emperor of the Sea," attempted to annex the islands by force. He arrived in Mal-La to find it deserted. He and his men moved into the island to search for people hiding, yet found no one. When they returned to the beach, their ships were all burning. The survivors had swum to shore on to be attacked by the forces of the Hart-Na-Len. They were slaughtered to the man.
Men learn to fight and hunt from an early age. They receive their first "Glabb-Na" during the rite of manhood at the age of ten. The Glabb-Na is a white shirt woven from the scales of a particular sea serpent called a Chi-Len-Ma (roughly, "Soul Sea Mate"). This shirt is as tough as chain mail, but weights no more than heavy cloth. No mainlander has ever been able to find, buy or acquire a Glabb-Na. There are three recorded attempts to steal one in Len-Dore history, and all three stories are told to Lendorean children to frighten them from the dangers of stealing. The Glabb-Na is the only article of clothing a Lendorean will wear in the water, and only when fighting. Once a boy becomes a man at ten, they begin spiritual training as servants to the goddess Chi-Len-Thol-Ma. The boys must serve Chi-Len-Thol-Ma for three years, after which they must decide whether they wish to serve her for their entire life. This is the only time they have the choice. A man who leaves the temple cannot return as a spiritual servant. Spiritual leaders are called Tesch-Wa, and are highly regarded in society. The men who leave the temple can go on to become farmers, hunters, or seek the highest rank of Lendorean society: A Hart-Na-Len (Defender of Sea, or Aquatic Knight). see the related article on the Hart-Na-Len.
Trade and Commerce: The people of the islands love metals, especially steel, copper, and iron from which they fashion cookware, weapons and tools. The women will barter hard for metal items and raw metal but have no interest in gold or jewelry. Metal is only good to them if it serves a purpose. They also trade for Sylvarian wine, dried meats and live chickens. The island produces many spices such as Salt, Pepper, Cayen-Ne, Topa-Mi and Hatas-Ha, which are widely sought by the people of Antaron. They also make a liquor they call "Poln-Twa" with is very potent, fiery, and warming to the inner body. Dwarves are especially fond of this strong drink, as are some Humanoid races. The people are accomplished glass-workers as well. The Lendoreans prefer to trade via barter, and do not accept the coins of the mainland; gold is a useless metal to them. Originally, acurrency of the islands did exist within a glass bead system of promissory note. These "Atta-We" - A glass bead, clear, with three coloured bands are given between women to represent an amount owed. The amount owed varies from person to person but the general rule of beads is a single bead is worth "a half of one day's catch." The Lendoreans later adopted a currency, once they became influenced by mainland traders. There is a Fole-We which is a coral ring of many colours and represents their smallest currency. A Fole-We would get you a cooked fish at a market. The Galo-We is equal to 10 Fole-We, and is carved Scal-Lo shell (similar to the oyster, but smaller. It is mauve and purple). The Atta-We remains as the equal to 10 Galo-We. Men do not participate in trade at all, referring to it as "woman's work."
Values and Taboos: The people of the islands are very proud of their homeland. The thought of someone taking a part of it away when it has not been offered fills them with rage. Theft is a major crime to Lendoreans and is punishable by death. Murder is almost completely unheard of in their society. There is a high degree of rules and beliefs that are learned from birth and ingrained deeply with Lendorean society. Mainlanders that are invited to festivals or banquets by the Lendoreans are given a young child to sit with them as a guide to what is polite and proper. Some mainlanders think this is insulting, but it is meant as an honour to the child chosen to be the guide for someone who does not know the rules. It is strictly forbidden for one clan member to marry another clan member, even if there is no blood relation between them. All marriages are between clans, and the man always leaves his clan to become part of his wife's clan. Tesch-Wa are allowed to marry and have children. Lendoreans have a strong oral tradition of storytelling to teach of the social structures. The men are keepers of the "ways," which are the stories of heroes and legends. They teach other men these stories, which are usually moralistic and tell of one man beating the odds or dying to save the islands. The women are the keepers of the "self," which are stories of the women behind the scenes, who sacrifice desires and needs for the good of the clan.
Unique Items: The Khat-Tal is a device made from wood and the dried guts of a particular sea turtle. It is similar to a crossbow, but is designed to function underwater. It is long, about 3 feet, and holds one harpoon within its casing. When fired, the Khat-Tal has a range of 30 feet underwater (S: 10 M: 15 L: 20+) and can do 1-12 points of damage. Reloading a Khat-Tal is a feat that cannot be performed underwater, and takes 4 rounds in even the best of circumstances.
Language: The Len-Dore language is different from those of mainlanders, and consists of many short words that are hyphenated to form other words. The language is difficult to learn as it has no plurals, and makes no distinction between past, present and future. Therefore saying, "I will be going to the beach" is the same as "I have gone to the beach" and "I go to the beach."
Thanks to Roger (Alacrity) Briant for this contribution!