Nomadic Tribes

Outside of Kihoa city and the villages and towns that lie along the trade road Kihoa is an extreme environment occupied by nomadic and semi-nomadic people. Each village, town or city has several semi-nomadic tribes (they are legally the same as Houses within the Kihoan government) which roam during the rich growing season before returning to the settlements to survive out the lean harvest season months.

The semi-nomadic peoples tend to mostly follow Su'ndari social structures although they are touched by the Kihoan tribal traditions. They practice raiding traditions, in the format of games, and teach their youths the importance of horses, water and kin. They tend to rely heavily on livestock - goats and sheep in the main.

The truly nomadic peoples, who come into Kihoan settlements but rarely, tend to have very different traditions indeed. In these tribes raiding stops being a game but becomes something very real indeed. These tribes are usually reliant on their horses more than anything else. They keep two types of horses, a resiliant breed that they use for meat, milk and such and the kihoan horses which are used almost exclusively for riding and war.

There are a few traditions that come from the tribal roots:

The Proving Raid

When a youth is considered an adult he/she goes on a proving raid. If they perform well they are welcomed into the tribe as an adult. If they do not perform well they have to wait another year before trying again. In the true Kihoan tribes this raid requires that the youth steal a kihoan horse from another tribe. This horse will then become your own personal mount. The better the quality of the horse the greater the portents of the raid. In the tribes that are more su'ndi than Kihoan the proving raid is a game where they have to ride a horse through a group of challengers. Reaching the finishing line represents success.

Raiding for Livestock

Livestock raids are a very serious business indeed. In the Kihoan tribes your livestock is your wealth and livelihood. The philosophy held by the tribes is generally that hardship should be dealt with by going out and increasing the herds. As a result most raiding happens during the lean harvest season, when every head counts, and is almost non existent during the growing season. In the true Kihoan tribes these raids are things of violence with death uncommon but far from unknown. There is a level of honor in this raiding - captured foes will be tended and then returned. The tribes that have melded into su'ndi society have a mounted game that grew up from this tradition. Two teams of horsemen attempt to get a goat or sheep to their side of the field. Generally, in these civilised times, the goat/sheep is slaughtered before the game starts.

Raiding for Women

Raiding for women is a time honored kihoan tribal tradition. It is not taken as seriously as the livestock raids for these raids are a way for a tribe to enrich its bloodlines. These raids are almost always pre-planned. One tribe raids another with the goal being the kidnap of one of the tribes women. The women must be captured at a full gallop and swept into the saddle cleanly. The prizes are then taken away to an area set up in advance where they will be kept for two full days and nights, to be enjoyed by their captors, before being released back to their family unharmed. It seems a hard, barbaric custom that encourages rape but the women are not unwilling participants in this ritual. Kihoan women are tall and strong and it is fairly common for a woman to sweep her captor from his saddle or to evade him amongst the tents should she be truly uninterested in him. Children that result from this are considered full members of the kihoan tribes. It is considered inappropriate for two members of the same tribe to mate and legitimate married lines are rare - something introduced solely to enable the tribe to have full su'ndi House rights in the region. The kihoan tribes do not place any value on virginity.

Kihoan Bards and Spirit-Mothers

The true Kihoan tribes still follow the old ways and the old gods. The Kihoan Bard and Spirit-Mother are both relics of these outdated traditions and beliefs. They believe that there are spirits that create life and the spirit-mother and Bard can manipulate these spirits through various rituals and vibrations. Music in particular is considered to be a very powerful tool for their manipulation. Manipulation of these life spirits can have dramatic results according to legend.

Equality

In the true Kihoan tribes women and men have almost no differences in duties or activities. There have been many famous female raiders. The conditions are considered too harsh to enable the women to slack off on lighter duties. Only children, elders and women close to giving birth are given relaxed responsibilities within the tribes.

Kihoan Horse Lore

To a kihoan tribesman the kihoan horse is the center of his world. This steed makes him a full member of the tribe. It enables him/her to raid. It carries him/her from place to place. Without this steed he would be reduced to begging a ride in the wagons like an old man/woman or a child. As a result a desert horse is a man or womans true wealth and thus they are highly revered.

The kihoan desert horses are brought into the family tents and blanketed against the cold desert nights and winter winds. They are given the best foods that can be found, including grains, animal proteins and fat. The studs are selected through their performance in raids and other important events. Where the su'ndi have prevented the customary raiding traditions the desert horses are tested through racing and other games. A kihoan tribesman will also have one or more inferior (not desert) horses that he uses for most labour. The kihoan desert horse is reserved only for battle, raiding and similar important events. Kihoan desert horses are never gelded and they are never ever eaten - although a Kihoan has no issue with the meat from other horses. These horses are never mistreated, to do so would bring great scorn upon the owner. The lineage of each horse is well known and they are always bred with care.