Yanaka

Elysia Island is inhabited by a race of wolves that has been collectively referred to as "Yanaka." This crude term is in fact their name for Elysia, and does not truly reflect the vast diversity of the many ethnic sub-groups. Though sharing a common ethnic ancestor, they are vastly different today and have been for many centuries.

Like their real-world counterparts, these wolves have highly complex social structures. Imagine if wolves, with all their pack behaviour, had ascended into a sentient, upright-walking society, and you have the Yanaka. Generations of experimentation with their social structure has been undertaken. Some scholars have speculated, astonishingly, that the modern Yanaka and all the wolves of the world share a common prehistoric ancestry, however solid proof has yet to be unearthed.

Though not rigid nor regimental, their society is highly social, with heavy emphasis on the common input of the community in all affairs. By upbringing, Yanaka generally have an innate respect for the social order, and for their elders. They are some of EC's most interesting characters. You might just want to play one!

The Tribes

Specific Yanaka tribes are numerous, but seem to fall into language groups who resemble each other culturally as well. They have been classified according to these groups by Colonial observers, but now tend to use this terminology to describe themselves in a general sense. They are as follows:

The Lufin
Mostly in Glassy Glade, it’s easy to mistake the Lufin for an extremely primitive society. They are found in four major forests of Elysia, though sadly their numbers have dwindled to a fraction of what they used to be. With a very peculiar style of dress and adornment, they have been at times mistaken for jungle elves. However, the Lufin are far less xenophobic; if anything, they're a bit jaded to outsiders.

Though they are slightly hierarchical, ranging from proud chieftains to skittish hunters, it is mostly a free and laissez-faire society, and the least collectivist of all the Yanaka tribes. Traditionally, the Lufin were notable for wearing no clothing save jewelry and body paint, owing to the warmer climes in the Northwest of the country, yet unusual compared to the other more modest Yanaka tribes. Some scholars postulate that the Lufin are in fact not a separate ethnic group, but the result of a splinter group that left a larger Yanaka tribe, apparently in search of a more libertine lifestyle with less social rigidity. It is not uncommon to see them this way still, but the Lufin are in fact far, far more accustomed to post-Colonial life than they seem.

Many Lufin leave their tribes to join colonial civilization, and are sometimes well received due to the stereotype that Lufin wit and humour is renowned among Colonials.
The strange, somewhat enigmatic Lufin have prompted some Colonists to notoriously join the tribe in search of their secrets. It is generally considered unwise to do so; while the Lufin generally accept newcomers to their lifestyle, they tend to "initiate" such individuals for years, as the butt of elaborate jokes.
One such fellow was Jackson Medaglia, a prominent Auffestran Scholar, who spent 5 years in their tribe and wrote a series of well-received books on his experiences. Here's an excerpt from "Lufin Stock" from Kensen Press:

The tourists looked on with rapt attention. Before them stood a gaggle of tribesmen and their women around a pit of low embers, babbling noisily in a tongue they didn't understand, and all of them were most noticeably and irreprievably naked.

When the sun finally sank, and the tourists could no longer safely converse with the savages (well-kempt Colonial interpreters as a go-between), they returned to their caravans and made their way back to the camp in the suburbs of Auffester. The naked ones stood in a close group and waved enthusiastically, looking for all the world like a far too exemplary clan of almost proto-yokels. When the caravans of Colonials finally disappeared, the crowd broke nonchalantly; they returned to the nearby huts, retrieved their Elysian clothes, and collapsed the huts into portable pieces. As I stood dumbfound, I was approached by the "Chieftain" and his wife, whose bare bodies I had been observing for hours prior dressed in middle-class finery that I judged to be of the most recent sort. Removing various bits of jewelry-tackle from his ears and lips, he spoke to me in perfect, unaccented Common: " Could use a pint. Coming along, city-boy?"

These books can be found in libraries and stores in the humour sections.

The Kankori
Contrary to popular belief, the Kankori are not a separate Yanaka tribe, but more a separatist or terrorist organization comprised of Yanaka from many different groups. They have been, at times, public enemy #1 for the Elysian government, as well as a source of bad reputation for all Yanaka nations. In recent years they have moderated somewhat, abandoning their old tricks of civil unrest on Yanaka tribe reserves and the use of child soldiers. However their presence still strikes fear, and has been a source of great frustration for law-abiding Yanas.
Their leader is called Luka, whose cruelties are too vast to be contained in folklore. His name generally inspires fear, a Bugbear for colonial Elysians. Kankori attacks are usually swift, wild, and unmerciful, though they tend not to have the means to attack cities. Rather they target small settlements, ranches, farms, and travelling convoys. Luka has a significant bounty on his head, however is in hiding currently as more moderate-seeming top brass control the Kankori faction for now.

The Kirun – By far the most populous group of Yanaka in Elysia, their numbers account for nearly 50% of the total Yanaka people. They are found in most of the Elysian regions, and have the most trade contact with Colonial citizens. Highly religious, their society was originally very easy to offend, and there have been major conflicts between them and both the Novari and the Elysian government. They have secularized considerably in recent years.

The Partition Treaty of 1522 gave the Kirun a large allotment of space to cultivate as they traditionally had, though by this time many of their had already become highly curious about colonial lifestyle. Some have speculated that the partition was not the correct solution to the problem. These days, the Kirun are headed by one central High Chief, the shaman Dagdah. All Yanaka tribes faced severe persecution during the occupation, and this High Chief was instrumental in breaking Novari control, first near Elysian City and then through inspiration of the other Kirun groups. As a result the Kirun High Chief has become something of an unofficial spokesman for all the other Yanaka groups who lack much interest in Elysian politics. There is a Kirun Yanaka representative on the national assembly who reports to the Queen and speaks in parliament.

The Aupaki - Mountain-dwelling tribe that inhabit the Eastern mountains south of the city of Aesir. Specializing in the herding and nomadism of the mountains, these are a weather-forged people, known for their peaceful agrarian society, and stubbornness. More than a few accounts of mountain travelers indicate stories of skillful rescue in regard to the Aupaki, who ride atop great shag-furred beasts and wear flowing robes, animal hides, face masks, and fabric boots on their paws to protect themselves from the elements. Some say they have even constructed huge, magnificent wooden cities with lumber carried from hundreds of miles away. Regardless of conditions, the Aupaki had been observed as unwilling to move from their mountain homes, leaving only when absolutely necessary. The Aupaki were once thought to be an immortal race by ancient mythology, responsible for the safekeeping of the heavens and their operation. A famous Elysian laureate once wrote: " The Mountain-dogs watch the stars/ And hold up the heavens/ And guard the closing of the eye each night/ And its emergence each dawn/ High above the reach of the mortal world/".

Many Aupaki are known to become Brauma; devotional monks, in a sense, that administer to the needy in search of enlightenment and piety. They have a special relationship to the Kirun, who are highly religious and regard the Brauma as a sacred aspect of Yanaka society. Brauma are known to be selfless, administering aid, counsel and comfort to anyone; Colonial, Yanaka, Novari or otherwise, sparing no effort or distance to offer their services.

The Yor - A tribe believed to be extinct, or near to it, villified by legend by almost all of the tribes and the Elysians alike. Evidence indicates customs such as cannibalism, torture, furre sacrifice and the worship of bloodied idols. The knowledge of these ancient cultists of dark gods has sparked very much controversy and confusion in the scientific world. It is widely speculated that they were annihilated by an alliance of other tribes, who had become enraged at the complex cruelties of the Yor. It is speculated also that this event resulted in the creation of the Kankori tribe, however Kankori leaders generally deny this idea. Most Elysians, Colonial and Yanaka alike, consider the Yor something of a "ghost story" used to scare children. Most fears about spooky occult furre sacrifice are usually associated with the Yor, regardless of evidence. Some rumours and superstition are still very strong to this day.

Some scholars try and downplay the existence of the Yor in history, claiming that some use and bolster their example to vilify Yanaka and sow fear for political gain.

Tribal Landholdings

Yanaka at one time populated all of Elysia quite densely. The arrival of the Novari Expeditionary Force saw their numbers and tribelands reduced to a fraction in a matter of years. Even after the expulsion of the Novari following the Revolution, however, the Yanaka still did not fare well. They progressively lost more and more of their ancestral lands to the expansionary needs of the Colonists, who required large tracks of farmland to survive rather than untouched wilderness to hunt and gather.

In time, the need for the Yanaka Land Treaty arose, and the document was signed by King William (another of the very popular monarch's lasting legacies) late in his reign. The treaty stipulates that the area immediately south of the city of Vanir was to be ceded to the Yanaka Tribal Council, a body of chiefs from the many groups of Yanaka at that time.

Most of that area and the Western Ruins around which it sits still belongs to the Yanaka, however many still live in the passes of the Eastern mountains, and in the marshlands of Glassy Glade. This is generally considered the political "centre" of the Yanaka people, however, and most disputes and official services are rendered there.

The Royal Yanaka Corps

A special division of the Queen's Army, recognized and made distinct by edict of the Queen herself. While part of the main Elysian Royal Army, they remain a degree of independence. The RYC contains its own Peace Keeper precincts on tribal reservations.

Furthermore, the RYC administers the Yanaka Law Code - a distinctly difference justice system than the traditional Elysian one. In Yanaka Law, for instance, much emphasis is put on criminal/victim reconciliation. In the Yanaka social structure, shame and the loss of face plays a strong role in discouraging criminal behaviour. Offenders are made to face their victims, and it is highly taboo to lie when faced by a tribunal of the community, even in your own defense. Though Elysian Law overarches all municipal and provincial systems, the Royal Court strongly favors the Yanaka Law Code on tribal land.

This is a reflection of Queen Gia's generally proactive attitude toward the Yanaka people. Before the war, she frequently toured their lands and engaged in Yanaka customs. She has taken great pains to extend her hand to them.

The Yanaka and the Ancient Ruins

There have been many implications of the relationship of various Yanaka tribes and the prehistoric ruins found throughout Elysia. Though there is a large degree of evidence to support a religious and spiritual connection to these ruins in the past, it is widely agreed that Yanaka painstakingly avoid any worship of them now. There appears to have been some event somewhere in the Yanakan past that has discouraged the use of these ruins in ritual or culture.

The Yor, the fabled and monstrous cult-tribe of some controversy, are said to have had a strong connection to the ruins, particularly those near Malevin's Cap in the East. Some evidence suggests their heavy use of archaeological sites, and some people are still living who have claimed to have witnessed terrifying events at those locations.

Most associations that modern Elysians have with death cults and other ritualistic, violent mythology is highly superstitious. Generally, the ruins are thought of as having some deep occult power, harnessed potentially for good or ill, but in the recent past only sought after by the evil and nefarious, such as the Yor.

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