The natural setting of the Southern Swamplands also make it difficult for the Emperor to invade. His military advantage rests in his owning the only mounted troops in the Empire, but the natural canals of the Ni’jal homeland neutralize this advantage and make it next to impossible for the emperor to overcome the Ni’jal.
The 7 Tribes of the Southern Swamplands
The Southern Swamplands are made up of 7 Tribes. A tribe is a territorial bounded social group composed of one or more “communities” under the overall authority of a chief or combination of chiefs who are under the political authority of no one else anywhere. A community consists of 2 or more “clans” who reside near one another in a discrete cluster of households and who on occasion interact with one another in institutionalized cooperative ways. A clan is 1-20 “households”, never more. Composed of persons believed by themselves to be descended from some common and in most cases remote ancestor, along with persons fully adopted by or otherwise kin assimilated to such descendants. A household consists of two or more “families”, who reside together in a distinct set of buildings and pool-share in the production and consumption of food. These families usually involve at least 1 married couple and their own or adopted offspring plus grandma/grandpa. Often there was one or more additional relatives as well.
Delf is a member of the tribe, Tanoa. He is the son of Chief Manuarii. Delf’s sister, Tami is pregnant and holds the key to, possibly, the strongest unification of Ni’Jal tribes that their history has ever known.
Delf’s sister actually slept with princes from Napalili and Papunea. She then became pregnant and married the Prince from Aviu. In Ni’Jal culture, it is believed that her pregnancy is a result of all her sexual exploits, meaning that when her child is born, the offspring will either have ruling rights (if it is a male) or land ownership rights (if it is a female) to all four tribes — Tanoa, Napalili, Papunea, and Aviu. The tribes of Napu’a and Giki are not comfortable with this unification as it would create, for the first time in Ni’Jal history, a “super” tribe. The balance of power would be lost and Giki and Napu’a would become the weakest tribes. While Napu’a is not happy about this, it is Giki that is taking steps to make sure this does not happen.
Tami is a woman marked for death. Giki is an ancient tribe that continues with many of the most ancient practices (including cannibalism) and they will stop at nothing to make sure that Tami’s child is not born — perhaps even making a treaty with the dreaded Emperor.
In the middle of the three tribes (Tanoa, Aviu, and Papunea) rests Rivcairn. Originally the tribe of Rivcairn was birthed from the tribe of Giki. However, disgusted with Giki’s stance on cannibalism and warfare, the tribe of Rivcairn broke free and became a pacifist tribe. Originally numbering 1, 663, they were hunted by the other tribes and killed off until currently only 101 remain. Now they are highly respected among the surrounding tribes and protected both by those tribes and the Crimson Warriors. Though neither of these agree with Rivcairn’s ways, they do respect them for taking a stance and see them as the bravest of all tribes.