Khune, The Dragon Empire
Aliases: Khune, The Empire of Khune, The Dragon Empire See Also: houses_of_khune
A harsh land Breeds a harsh people
The dry steppes of Khune are harsh and unforgiving, the soil alkaline and unsuitable for most agriculture beyond the herding of goats. The Great Lake Lis is in fact an inland sea, and while its waters do support life, they are useless for the irrigation of crops. With the scare resources the land provides, the Khundari should be a people made up almost entirely of fishers and herders, scraping out whatever meager existence they could in an unforgiving land. Yet the Khundari are so much more than that, so much greater. They are a poroud people, possessed of a massive citadel of learning and trade. Indeed, the many tiered capital of Liscora rises high above the plains, its thousands of hungry mouths fed on far more than fermented goat's milk and spiced fish. For it is magic that is the heartbeat of the Empire, and the foundation of that magic is the Great Houses.
Mother's Magic is Life Itself
Magic is a very strange thing among the Khundari. Like all peoples, any who wish to learn can master the basics of Ritual Magic. Evocation is more rare, but only just, for most woman born to Khundari blood is capable of at least a single Discipline. This means that the Khundari possess among them more Evocators than any other race of people. Yet while they possess it in great abundance, individually their magic is fundamentally weak. All but the very strongest Khundari Fire Dancer is barely able to summon more than a finger of flame, while their Stone Mothers serve better as architects and engineers than they do wielders of battle magic. With their magic being hereditary and maternal, Clan is everything to the Khundari. While the men of Khune are free to marry into whatever family and profession they choose, the women's path is determined by the Clan that she is born into. Still, magic is undeniably power, and thus Khune is a matriarchal society. Those within a Clan have the safety and protection of their name. Those without have nothing, and barely exist within the law at all. For many Khundari, it is better by far to sell oneself into slavery than to be Clanless. Only the gangs offer sanctuary to those outside of the Merchant Clans, and that could hardly be called sanctuary at all. Better to offer service to one of the Clans, or if possessed of Evocation, to join one of the Great Houses as a Dependent.
A Brisk Trade in Blood Debt
The Clan Matriarchs alone would not be sufficient to establish the mighty Empire, for while they are plentiful, their magic is not strong enough to reshape the land around them. Instead, the Matriarchs are the foundations of the Great Houses, who serve to condense the magic of the Khundari people and focus it to a razor's edge. It is the Great Houses who bring the rains which irrigate the lands, who modify the soil with their alchemy so that crops may be raised to feed Liscora's masses. Through their Oathsworn, they gather the blood and power of their Dependents, concentrating it and refining it into the potent power that the Empire is built on. The Houses are extremely competitive, a result of Khune's unique political structure, though they do not let such rivalries and intrigues carry over to murder and assassination. Such would incur a Blood Debt, with power lost on both sides, and only serve to weaken both Houses in the face of the others. Instead they seek to increase their networks of Debtors, strengthening the power of their Houses with every increasing arsenals of stored magic. Through this, the Oathsworn are capable of feats of Evocation only dreamed of by the Clan Matriarchs, and are the source of endless fearful rumors among many at the College of Mages. Indeed, the rumors swirling around the red and black jacketed Oathsworn are vast and terrible. While no Collegiate Mage would likely breath a word of it to an Oathsworn's face, muttered whispers of “Soul Eaters” follow them wherever they go.