al'uma jumh nisi
the jumh, the fallow
he youngest of the Tnaremi nations, Nis was born from the region's involvement in the South Mercian War. Nis functions much like it did prior to its founding, though they are now afforded a seat at the economic and political tables of Tnarem. In the centuries that followed, Nis and Mercia have influenced one another's cultures immensely along their extensive shared border, giving birth to a child language that they both share. It is undeniable that the two nations share a close relationship despite their war-spotted history.
Freedom (despite their robust slave trade) is paramount in the Nisi Jumh. Theirs is a society that values work, dedication, and savvy. The worthy rise to the top while the unworthy are lost to their own failings in life. Because of this, there is a reverence for those of high social standing and the assumption that they have somehow earned that power. That idolization is a double-edged sword for the powerful, however, as they are expected to engage more heavily in the workings of Nis, political and otherwise. Anyone assumed to be uninvolved will quickly find their reputation eroded. The same standard is held for the everyday man, however it is more heavily felt among the ever-visible aristocracy.
Views on the Al'uma Jumh Nisi
An air of mystery and exoticism surrounds the Nisi people, though this is both beneficial and detrimental to their place in foreign courts. Traditional Nisi practices such as multiple spouses and slavery are not thought highly of in the northern parts of Tnarem, while being more tolerated, and even accepted, by the southern parts of it. Despite their reputation as foreigners among foreigners, the stereotypical Nisi prowess with money is something that all seek to take advantage of, and many put aside their distaste for the chance to dip their fingers into the deep pockets of powerful Nisi.
With the lack of a robust ruling class, Nis' middle class flourishes. The gentry is disproportionately large and influential in the Jumh, and the common man is elevated by the addition of a slave class that is unique to the nation. The lines between commoner and gentry blur as do those between the top tier of gentry and the few nobility that rule over Nis.
There are only three noble families left in the Jumh--a far cry from the dozen that existed in its early inception--though their tree branches have grown immeasurably broad and cast welcomed shade across all of the Jumh. Tradition created the nobility of Nis and tradition maintains it. The belief that the nation should be ruled by those who are best equipped (a nebulous term that means different things to different Nisi) maintains al'effendis
near five hundred years after its inception. These families are the states. They are who taxes are paid to, they are the lawmakers, the bureaucrats, the trade princes who oversee the fendi fleets.
The percentage of a population that makes up the gentry of a nation is usually fairly small, though that is not the case in Nis. With booming trade and ample natural resources, the ambitious easily find footholds that help them climb the ladder to wealthy and influential. These successful businessmen, politicians, scholars, and craftsmen are the Nisi fendi
. The fendi of Nis own land, though they pay taxes on it in addition to their citizen taxes, and slaves. These are the employers of Nis and the primary force of trade.
As with most hierarchies, the most abundant class in the Jumh is the common man, the rijadi
. Comprised of skilled laborers, skilled builders, farmers, bankers, guardsmen, and petty craftsmen, the commoners of Nis enjoy a life of comfortable citizenship. While they do not own land, they do often own residents or businesses that allow them to produce their wares to sell at vacars or to larger merchant companies to be traded abroad. The income earned goes to maintaining their home and paying their taxes. Hard, mindless manual labor such as sowing a field or mining is left to slaves rather than a paid workforce. In the Nisi citizen's mind they are above such things.
The Nisi are swarthy and lithe, taller and thinner on average than any of the other people of Tnarem. Typically men stand from 5'10" to 6'3", and women stand from 5'5" to 6'0". Their features are broad and soft, often lending them an elegant and regal air. Depending on where in Nis a person hails, their features will vary in shade, though they remain the darkest of all the Tnaremi people. In the southernmost parts of Nis and throughout the Tehmman territories, the people are tallest, their skin ebony-like and their hair tightly curled to save their bodies the extra heat in the harsh sun. In the northern parts of Nis, namely in Grevilla, tight curls loosen to thick, lustrous waves and inky skin lightens to something closer to the olive-toned Mercian people, testaments to the long-standing relationship between the two nations.
Loose and light are the best way of describing the Nisi fashions. Silks, muslin, and other airy fabrics are common in a wide range of colors. White and pastels are the most common, with the heavier colors being used more for accents than the main body of an outfit. Gowns are loose fitting, and usually corseting is not done as it is burdensome and hot. Both men and women are able to wear robes, though the fashions differ depending on the sex. There are commonalities between the two, though: layered, light fabrics with a brighter color underneath and a sheer white or complimentary pastel overtop, drooping necklines, with the collar exposed, as well as brooches and heavy jewelry accents. Leather-soled slippers are the choice footwear of both sexes, and usually a man's pants, which are tight around the ankle but loose elsewhere, fit snugly against the tops of the slippers so no bare leg is visible. Naked arms are acceptable, but it is also common for women to use shawls to hide such. Large swaths of fabric used as accent belts are among the more prominent fashion accessories in Nis, too.
Cleanliness is of the utmost importance to Nisi people. They bathe regularly, regardless of social class, making use of the public bathhouses and water sources in and around Nisi cities and settlements. These spaces are not separated by gender; men and women bathe and swim together with no social consequence. Nis is also the only region where it is expected and customary to wash your hands before partaking in a meal and your feet before entering another's home. Even slaves are expected to bathe, although not as often as citizens and only if they are not meant for manual labor. Out-of-house slaves are rarely afforded enough water with which to bathe as well as drink.
The Nisi also prize the scents of aromatic creams and deodorants made with petals, oils, and spices. Over the centuries, wearing different scents has come to mean different things -- cinnamon, for example, implies interest in sexual acts, while jasmine is the scent of both love and mourning.
With the freedoms that Nisi women are afforded, their role in business and politics is far more substantial in the Jumh than elsewhere. A woman is able to own her own lands, head her own business ventures, inherit in her own right, participate in the political arena, and possess a harem. Women are still the property of their family until marriage, though their ownership is not transferred to the husband, but rather dissolved upon marriage. There is no code of conduct within a marriage that is specific to a certain sex, instead, both spouses are beholden to the general laws of the Jumh.
Women and men in the Jumh are held to the same standards of chastity (in that they are not held to such standards), civility, and usefulness. It is by far the most gender-blind of all of Tnarem.
Slavery is a thriving industry and practice in Nis. Slave-owning, however, is something limited to those who are able to afford to buy and keep them. Despite this, its influence extends far beyond those lucky few elite. The slave trade does not stop in Nis, but continues further south and across the eastern sea, making the trade a multi-national endeavor, and pushes the profits higher with each passing year. Many slavers do not belong to the wealthy stratas of Nis, and many slaves are not obtained through legal means, though this does nothing to hinder the buying and selling of them.
The cities of Nis are built on the backs of these people, the farms are tended by them, crops collected and sowed by them. They are the foundation of labor that the Nisi citizen feels that they are above. They also fill more domestic roles within the household as maids and servants. The uses for a human are infinite, and Nis is not lacking in ingenuity when it comes to how they utilize their slaves. A slave cannot be armed and used in war, however, Jumh law prohibits it.
Bustling centers of trade and commerce found in each Nisi territory's prominent cities, vacars are known for their exotic imports, valuable products, and scores of pickpockets. As much a spectacle as they are a market, thousands of people come from all over Nis and even from across Tnarem to trade and sell their wares. Performers -- acrobats, musicians, theatrical troupes -- all present their craft for the masses and solicit tips, while gambling games (often scams) entice those looking for easy coin. The crowds mill in fluid masses, and between customers, vendors, carts, and animals, it makes for a cacophonous, claustrophobic experience. Nevertheless, Nisi people of all social classes and ages seem to enjoy the colorful and rich atmosphere.
The vendors of vacars carry various goods. Spices and dyes are displayed in great conical mounds on individual dishes, presenting an eye-catching array of color. Bolts of silk and linen are laid out on carts. Jewelers are common due to Nis' plentiful gem mines. Street food is sold on many corners. Vendors and their customers ought to be careful, however -- the pickpockets are not out only for those wandering the stalls.
The dominant religion in the Jumh is Yalmaanism
, which reads more as a religious philosophy than a strict religious doctrine. It preaches tolerance and ultimately a monotheistic deity, Vhal. His most revered holy text, the Yalmaa, features heavily the theme of dualism--Vhal exists to both aid and hinder, and he does so through his many faces. This breeds a culture of individualism, you must help your fellow man but you must also harden him to the world, make him capable so that he can create his own fortune. Worship is done at quiet temples that can be simple or ornate. Like the people it sculpts, praise is given quietly and individually; one's relationship with Vhal is private and sacred.
Read more about Yalmaanism here.
Rawhbi - Spirits
There is no battle between good and evil in Nisi culture, but rather the coexistence between good will and ill will. All have the propensity for both, and both are essential in a well-rounded, functional being. Every action and word is accounted for in one's overall balance, it creates their own personal energy. This energy, cumulated throughout a person's entire life, is expelled from the body upon death and becomes a spirit, or a rawhb. Rawhbi roam the world, acting much as they did in life -- some are kind, others are mischievous, others are cruel. Nisi folklore is full of particularly powerful spirits, older than the settling of Nis at times, that help or hinder mankind.
While the Jumh does not have the history with witches that the Imperium does, they are wary of casters nonetheless. The region's close relationship with Mercia has caused the anti-magic superstition to intermingle with Nisi tradition, inundating the population with fear and mistrust of what they now consider to be unnatural abilities. There is no outright hatred like one would find in Mercia, but neither are witches a common or usually welcome sight. In more recent decades, the Augury has established an Athenaeum in Mebeda, extending its influence further South than it has ever before, a sure sign of the catching fear of magic.
IMPORTANT: All witches in Nis must submit to the will of the Augury, meaning if your character is able to cast magic, they will have to incorporate the Augury into their story in some manner. You can read more about the Augury here.
Because of its distance from the rest of Tnarem and its touch and go trade relationship with them, Nis boasts the largest base-speaking population on the continent, meaning that the majority of the population speaks the base language instead of the secondary (spoken) one. In the southern parts of Nis, only the lucky elite are able to speak anything aside from the Nisi mother tongue. The further North one goes, however, the more likely the population is to be bi- or multi-lingual, with the predominant language in the region of Grevilla being the secondary language and the base language being rarely if ever spoken.
Script (Base) - High Nisi (Arabic)
Spoken (Secondary) - Common Nisi (Mozarabic Spanish), Common Merician (Italian)
A name in the Jumh is comprised of two parts: the surname (family name) and the given name. The surname will always proceed the given name when addressing a person formally, and given names are used in more informal situations.
IE. Oxuna Faysal
"Oxuna" being the surname and "Faysal" being the given name.
The superstitions of the Jumh usually lead to the people naming their children for conditions of the world or circumstances surrounding their birth. For example, the name "Hediye" is popular among baby girls, and is quite literally the Nisi word for "gift." There are no middle names in the Jumh; Nis does not observe given middle names of any kind.
Common Nisi Male Names - Adil, Amador, Amir, Eliseo, Faris, Firdaus, Haidar, Ilyas, Issa, Juwar, Murad, Ozan, Rahmi, Rais, Rasim, Tahir, Umit, Ural, Yaser, Zeki
Common Nisi Female Names - Amaya, Amina, Belen, Chavela, Hediye, Merve, Nimet, Sabah, Sadiye, Safiyya, Tasnim, Yamila, Ulviye, Vahide, Yesim, Zehra, Ziye
In Nis, a child is given the additional title of tifl min al'rabb
. IE, Rami agha, tifl min al'rabb. This denotes their standing in Nisi society and also their bastard parentage.
Common Phrases & Expressions
|Ash'kren||Thank you (formal),|
My deepest thanks
|Sh'kren||Thank you (informal)|
|Ahnum Fiwan||You're welcome|
|Vhal Hudanum||Goodbye (formal),|
Vhal guide you
Sex and romance for the Nisi are common topics of conversation and something to be coveted. Sex is not something meant for only marriage, and it is not something meant for only those you love; instead, it is a means of pleasure meant to be enjoyed by any and all with whomever the person pleases.
The concept of sexuality is foreign to the Nisi, viewed as a northern construct meant to constrict and alienate. Same-sex couples are common and not thought to be any different socially than heterosexual couples. Because of this view, harems are comprised of both male and female mahzi
(concubines), and both are treated equally in the eyes of Nisi society and law. Marriages, however, are reserved for heterosexual pairings simply because their purpose is one of procreation.
Multiple spouses and harems are common among Nisi gentry and nobility, the difference between the two being thintended function: a spouse is chosen to give legitimate heirs to the familial wealth, mahzi are chosen for equal parts political reasons and for romantic reasons, and divorce is a fairly common event in Nis because of this.
Of all the nations, Nis has the highest average age for marriage. Those ages being 20-24 for males and 18-22 for females. Those of higher social status will marry considerably earlier, on average, than those of lower social status. Arranged marriages are extremely common (to the point of being expected for nobility) in Nis, however, they are not often carried out until the parties have reached adulthood. Mahzis can be chosen as early as 14, and are not factored into this average, which only pertains to legitimate political marriage.
Pregnancy & Childbirth
Pregnancy is a thing to be celebrated, though, for the nobility, it is preferred that it occur within the legitimacy of an arrangement, marriage or concubinal in nature. If a woman finds herself pregnant outside of an official arrangement, there is some stigma, though it is minimal. A woman carrying a bastard is not forced to go elsewhere to carry out her pregnancy, instead, she is kept comfortable in her own home, and cared for by her family in the same way they might care for her was she carrying a legitimate child.
Bastards are common among the Nisi nobility, and they are treated as family, and the mother's indiscretion is largely overlooked. A bastard child is always cared for by a parent, whether that is the mother or the father. It is most common for both parents to have some claim and influence in the child's life, though it is not always the case.
Divorce & Annulment
Nis does not recognize annulments, nor has it ever truly practiced such. With the subjects of parentage and the separation of couples being more relaxed than in other places in Tnarem, there is not much need to deny a marriage occurred in the Jumh. As a result of the de-stigmatization of divorce, the rates at which they occur among the Nisi, even for the nobility, is exceptionally higher than the imperial provinces or the Reiux.
Love & Romance
Love is revered in Nis, treasured, and considered a difficult emotion to obtain. Romances are common, practiced with abandon, and wholly public. So much is this view a part of Nisi culture that the wealthy keep harems for the purpose of keeping objects of affection close and comfortable. Courtships are elaborate and public, performed by both men and women in equal parts, however, always with the intention of marrying or adding the object of desire to one's mahzi. To court someone else's spouse or mahzi is considered offensive to both the spouse and the object of affection. However, to lie with someone who is married or part of a harem is not considered taboo, only the act of courting them is.
It is expected for all spouses and mahzi to be faithful in their love. They are not to accept romantic advances of another or pursue anyone other than the person they have entered into a union with. This expectation mixed with the Nisi liberal attitudes toward sex lead to many heated romantic conflicts.