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THE KONCHAKS

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INTRODUCTION

The Konchaks (also known as the ljósvány, Khartes or as the Kadaksleri in their native tongue) are an ethno-cultural group, tracing their roots back to the early proto-turkin tribes. Their history can be traced back to the advent of the Subudai’s hegemony over the nomad tribes of the orient and the wars waged by them against the settled descendants of Horen, existing as subservients and tributaries to their foreign masters. Despite the collapse of the horde, the Konchak tribes failed to unify into any substantial entity and a confederation seemed like a far-cry to past glories and the mythos of Kadaksleri folklore. Obscurity had become their fate, for a chronic inability to muster a united front to facilitate their nomadic raider lifestyle up until the ascension of Begovars, a Konchak prince of the lordly clan Csertan. The first Konchak to take on the mantle of Qan for over three hundred years, Sytzigan Qan as he came to be known unified the tribes under his banner, reestablishing the Konchak Confederation. A unified force, they briefly served beneath an ascendant candidate for the Duchy of Adria, Dima Ratispora, before falling into obscurity only to reemerge into their conflict and subsequent swearing of fealty to the Grand Duchy of Vasiyeva.


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ORIGINS

The Konchak term Kadaksleri originates from their mythical forebear, Kadak, referring to the ‘people of Kadak’. The word Konchak itself is thought to be derived from the Kadaksleri language, the word Koncha referring to a pale or fair complexion (which was notably uncommon among the derivative peoples of the Farfolk, a trait prevalent among the Konchak tribes). This is a trend seen amongst the other terms used to describe the Konchak tribes - see Khartes (Akritian) or ljósvány (Old Carnatian).

 

The true origin of the people known as the Konchaks is one of obscurities; lost to the constant migratory cycle of the peoples of the earth, and to their own lack of codified written language and record-keeping. Nevertheless, a strong oral tradition prevails, and one tale is a constant among the disparate tribes of the Konchaks - the mythos surrounding their genesis. It is said that the first Konchak to take to the saddle was the mortal avatar of the Turkin god Tigir, known as Kadak. To his banner flocked eight tribes, of whom he took the Csertan as his own. The Kül-bey, Erdim, Küğel, Djarajogli, Yetevychi, Tergobichi, Urosogli, and Csertan. For their willingness to abandon the decadence that had afflicted the early proto-Turkin tribal federation, he bestowed to them the gift of metallurgy and led them into a vast and fertile land - what would become the mythical Konchakia, where the early Konchak tribes flourished and their herds grazed for centuries of peace and prosperity.

 

Yet, as the children of Kadak grew and prospered, and his descendants and the many tribes became numerous upon the steppe, the malevolent god Erlig grew jealous of Kadak and the praise he received through the Konchaks. It is said that Erlig took the form of a rabid dog and entered into the camp of the Csertan tribe. Biting Kadak, the divine unifier of the Konchaks fell ill and bedridden, and within ten nights, he succumbed to his sickness and perished. With his death, the misfortune Erlig sowed took the Konchak tribes in its grip, and brother was pitted against brother in a bloody fight for the seat of Qan. There would be no victor in the civil war that ensued, and it left the tribes broken and disunified. Tigir became so disgusted with his children and the senseless destruction that they had wrought, that he was dissuaded from returning to walk among them ever again, and thus were the Konchaks deprived of divine providence lended to them by Kadak.

 

After a century of unending bloodshed, the Csertan clan had prevailed, but their crown was a hollow thing and all they had to show for it was a mountain of their people’s skulls. Csertan Baydča, great-grandchild of Kadak, took the mantle of Qan and immediately set out to the recovery of his people. For all the ill-deeds and kinslaying committed during the civil war, Baydča issued a decree to the tribes; that for their sacrilege against Kadak’s decrees and against the heavens, they were to mask their shame, cast their faces in iron and only show themselves in the sanctity of temples and their households that only their gods and their families would know the burdens they carried. This would establish the tradition of the Konchak funeral masks which continue into the modern day. Little is known of the period that followed, but eventually, the Konchak tribes spread out across the world and the unity Kadak brought with him ceased to be.

 

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APPEARANCE

The Konchaks are atypical among the myriad tribes of the Farfolk in regards to their appearance. Owning a complexion more familiar to the Highlander peoples than their cousin tribes, they are widely regarded in near any-and-all written accounts as being fair skinned, blond-haired and blue-eyed. This lends to a unique appearance as an unsettled, nomadic people that break the mold of what is considered typical of groups such as the Subudai or Azghari. For what they lack by way of average height, the Konchaks make up in their builds. Konchak men are large by every standard, with an oblique sazhen for shoulders and bodies like a haystack; broad and sturdily built, life in the saddle has made them a robust people built for the toils of labor and war. 

 

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CULTURE

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RELIGION

While the indigenous religion of the Konchak people is the proto-turkin shamanistic faith, it has been long abandoned by the vast majority of their people in favor of monotheism. The most prominent faith is a schismatic branch of the Al’iiman Rashidun called the Al'iiman Mutahawir. Mutahawir differs in several aspects from its parent faith as a gnostic theology of spiritual versus material, albeit with other key differences; firstly, it’s adherents do not acknowledge Availer as a Prophet, and in general, discard the majority of the Aengudaemonica as false messengers sent to corrupt the divine word by Iblīs (who they regard as Erlig), and reject three of the four brothers as Prophets, only recognizing Krug for his virtue and incorruptibility when faced with the temptations of the Shai’tan. The first and last prophet since the days of the Four Brothers is considered to have been Abu Siddiqi Al Ansari, a farfolk descendant of Harren who received divine providence from the Creator and decried Availer’s teachings, taking with him his followers to spread the true word of the Creator among the desert tribes. 

 

He was slain by his brothers who had fallen sway to the lies peddled by the Wandering Wizard, and through his sons was the divine word carried on. The Mutahawir recognizes his progeny as the rightful inheritors to the thrones of the Prophet. Beyond the various Qalasheen tribes who claim lineage from Abu Siddiqi Al Ansari, three Konchak tribes claim matrilineal descent, the Erdim, Csertan and Yetevychi yet only the Csertan have claimed the Imamate in any official capacity. Beyond these core doctrinal separations, the Mutahawir engage in multiple different practices. Among them are the consumption of pork and alcohol, the prohibitions of which they reject as the lies of the false prophet absent in the messages of the divine. In the place of these taboos is one on the keeping of dogs in the presence of men. They consider canines to be servants of Iblīs, and thereby unclean in the eyes of god. Another quality is the use of the mükir, a clay tablet used in prayer where the devout place their foreheads against it in prostration before god. This signifies their connection to the earth they were created from, and is a requirement in indoor prayer among most Mutahawir schools of theology.

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BLOOD OATHS

Word is considered sacred among the Konchaks, however, a blood oath, or kunəhd, supersedes all and to break one is considered to be damned in the eyes of men and God alike. The practice of blood oath stems from the same events that brought about the custom of funeral masks. It is said that Heshkin Qan forced the princes of each tribe to cut their palms and bloodlet over the severed corpse of a dog, that they and their descendants would adhere to his command for the sake of their people’s legacy. As such, blood oaths are typically reserved for only the most severe of occasions. This includes the ceremony in which Konchaks are blooded and brought into the tribe, declarations of war and grudges, and other such circumstances which would call for it.

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FUNERAL MASKS

Kadaksleri Funeral Masks, the Cənazə üzlük in the native tongue, are a tradition that can be traced back to the origin myths of their people. Csertan Baydča, the man who would become Heshkin Qan, issued a command to the Konchak tribes following the century-long civil war that broke their people. For their crimes committed against the gods and the shame of their kinslaying, they could mask their faces from the eyes of Tigir so that he needn’t look upon the world with disgust. Their name is derived from the fact that they are worn throughout their lives and into death as a part of Konchak burial rituals. The masks are generally incorporated as visors on helmets, and vary from person to person in the decorations, though they are universally mustachioed in accordance to Konchak tradition. Funeral masks are to be worn at all times by blooded Konchak tribesmen and women, with the exception being in social settings (such as communal yurts, taverns and so forth) or in their personal households. Children are exempt from this, and a Konchak will not receive his mask until he has completed his coming of age trial. The tradition has been carried on post-conversion, with it being viewed as a means of rejecting the material earth and safeguarding oneself against the poison of earthly creation.

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FAMILY

The Konchaks adhere to a strict patriarchal family structure, with men being placed before women in all circumstances. This does not necessarily entail that women suffer underneath the rigors of Konchak culture, but it is almost unheard of for them to hold positions of power, as tribal chieftains and princes are strictly comprised of men. Men and women maintain equal footing on the battlefield, and women are expected to endeavor upon the path of martial prowess to the same degree as their husbands and are seen on the battlefield just as frequently as them. Marriage exists as a loose system among the Konchaks, where polygamy is a common practice. Konchak men will often take multiple wives or concubines, wherein the children of any Konchak-born woman takes precedence over a man’s other sons. Divorce is unheard of among the tribes, though it is not uncommon for men to discard their wives and for them to unofficially remarry without issue.

 

Konchak children are brought up in the saddle, and most will go on to die in it. From the age of three and onwards, Konchak children are made to be around horses, to live and sleep with them, and familiarize themselves with their companions. From the age of six, they are taught the martial skills - how to ride, shoot a bow from the saddle and to wield sword and lance. Upon their coming of age, they are sent out onto the steppe with a party of other unblooded raiders and sent to wreak havoc and plunder whatever is unfortunate enough to fall in their path; villages, merchant caravans, etcetera. On their return, the survivors are blooded as true Konchaks and given leave to take wives (or husbands) and participate in the tribal structure of their people.

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MUSIC

The Konchaks have a vibrant musical culture, much of which plays into their oral tradition which had long been their means of preserving history and record until more recent decades. Overtone throat singing is prevalent among Konchak poets and storytellers who recite the epics of their forebears in such tones, what are widely considered unpleasant and foreign to outsiders. Alongside this are the use of instruments unique to their people, such as the stringed long-necked dumbyra or the şañqobız, a wooden jaw harp used to produce notes that are considered equally as strange as the Kadaksleri tonal singing and other such practices found among their poets and musicians.

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ATTIRE

Their attire walks the line between austerity and luxury - where the lordly princes of the Konchak clans tend to bedeck themselves in lavish silks and other such fineries, the clothing of the typical horseman is much the opposite, comprised usually of heavy wool and leather. A luxury near all Konchak riders possess though is the Funeral Mask. A helmet typically adorned with an iron faceplate, the masks are decorated with pieces of banded metal to form mustachios, eyebrows, noses, cheek ridges and other such details - to wear a face over one’s face, and what other cultures might normally reserve as battle attire is worn at all times, one of many cultural nuances that set the Konchaks apart from their other tribal cousins. Konchak men tend to wear their hair either extremely short, and long hair is widely regarded as a sign of immaturity or femininity, as children and unblooded Konchaks are not allowed to shear their hair until they come of age and complete their trials into adulthood. Moustaches are considered a sacred thing in their culture, and men are required to maintain them lest they be considered social pariahs among their people. The cutting of the moustache is generally considered a punishment reserved for the lowliest of criminals - kinslayers, traitors and usurers. 

 

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TRIBES AND HIERARCHY

The Konchak Confederation is, at its core, an entity comprised of semi-autonomous tribes who all swear fealty to the Qan. Each tribal banner is represented by an animal, totalling eight including the royal tribe of Csertan. The following tribes constitute the current confederation of the Konchaks:

 

Csertan - Royal Tribe - Lion

Erdim - Princely Tribe - Snake

Urosogli - Princely Tribe - Falcon

Djarajogli - Princely Tribe - Stag

Yetevychi - Princely Tribe - Bull

Kül-bey - Princely Tribe - Fox

Küğel - Princely Tribe - Leopard

Tergobichi -  Princely Tribe - Horse

 

While the Confederation exists as a political entity unifying the Konchak people, it is not a physical construct, given the nomadic nature of the tribes and a lack of desire to assert their influence outside of their pastures and grazing lands which tend to shift as seasons come and go. The Confederation is currently dominated by the Csertan, who have reserved the right of dominion over the Konchak people since time immemorial, and have been the only family to claim the title of Qan.

 

The Khuralmak is the official tribal gathering of all princely leaders of the Konchak tribes. There are two occasions in which a Khuralmak can occur. The first is to address the question of succession within the Confederation, wherein a successor is elected to replace the previous Qan on his death or deposement from the eligible men of the Csertan tribe, or if for a lack thereof, from the leaders of the princely tribes, known as Begs. The second occurance is by the whim of the Qan, who can summon the Begs to council to discuss matters of pertinence to the Confederation, such as mercenary contracts, migration, dynastic disputes and so on. Succession within the tribes themselves is conducted in a similar fashion to the Khuralmak, though on a smaller level. The sons of the previous Beg are brought before the elders of the tribe, whose seniority is the deciding factor in the election of their new patriarch (and were often previous candidates themselves as siblings, uncles and cousins of the previous Beg).

 

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HOW TO JOIN

Making a Konchak character is easy, as we are inclusive to most anyone who are interested in getting involved with the group. Either seek us out in roleplay, or contact myself on the forums, discord (yeagerist#8938) or ingame to receive an invite to the community discord. We are more than happy to assist with character creation, in terms of concept development or providing skins, so do not be afraid to inquire if you aren’t able to easily handle those things yourself. The same goes for any inquiries in regards to the culture or any aspect surrounding it.

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