Friday, March 22, 2013

Kindred: An Overview

by John Belliston



“These Frozen Elves from the North. They say their divine blood lets them rule us. I say, blood is red water the earth drinks. Would you be ruled by wine? Would you make a beverage your master? We were ruled by our flesh and our blood in the Old Days. What did it grant us? Slavery to the Frozen Men for a hundred generations. Look into the eyes of those that stand around you. Those that kill with you. Those that die with you. Are they less your brothers? Does the wine of their blood make them less worthy of love and respect? No. NO! They have proven the worth of their blood by spilling it. They prove their flesh by the scars that mark it. Troll, minotaur, abira, human, these mean nothing. They are hollow titles given us to strip away the strength we wield together. Today. In this battle we become brothers, become a new Kindred that cannot be sundered. The Elves are naught but fragile ice and hollow lights. We shall smash against them as a wave of Earth and Fire! Their blood, the blood of the traitorous Frozen God, this is their strength. That is the might that lets them claim their rights of conquest. Let us make the ground slick with their strength! Let the earth grow drunk on their splattered might! A Kindred Born! A Kindred Born! A Kindred Born!”

The chant spread. A thousand thousand fists thrust into the air. A thousand thousand voices rose into a warcry.

The Nameless One's death gave them life. The dragon Ancreoro's sacrifice gave them purpose. For two thousand years slavery hammered them against the anvil of Empire. Finally the philosophies of the Five Glorious Transcendent drew them forth as a blade, to reshape the world. These are the Kindred. Their birth is the story of this new dawn. What they have become brings hope for the future.

Your worth is not in your blood, but in the worth of your choices and your actions. In order to understand the Kindred you must understand the difference between being a blood orc and being a True orc, or Orkhan. When a Kinsmen speaks of an orc, troll, goblin, minotaur, or ogre, they refer to the khan they have chosen, rather than the blood they bear. It is quite common to see humans, lizardwomen, gren, or even elves all bearing the Marks of a particular khan. In the eyes of Kindred and the law there is no difference between a human Orkhan and an orc Orkhan.

All peoples start in the world as Tur’id, a word with the dual meaning of both "child" and "baby teeth." In the eyes of the Kindred, Tur’id can be protected and guided to find their True Parent or “Khan-mik,” who will initiate them into adulthood. Only then do you find your Kinship and place in the culture.

Orkhan

The Orkhan are the mouth of the Kindred. They act as the face to the outside world. They are by far the most social of the Kindred and the least offensive to those outside the Kindred society. Those that seek to become Orkhan are usually charismatic individuals of any type, and there are even elves who have taken the Orcmark. They serve the Kindred as diplomats, singers, and storytellers. To create the Orcmark a heated iron chain is put around the prospective Orkhan’s neck and left to cool, to symbolize their stolen voices.

Trolkhan

The Trolkhan are the hands of the Kindred. They are the War-shamans, scouts, and healers. Of all the Kindred they have the most Fire in them. Their natural regenerative capacity stems from their natural fire burning the wounds away. Those willing to do whatever is necessary strive for the honor of the Trollmark. Any individual seeking to push the boundaries of society will be found worthy. The Trollmark is created by thrusting a red-hot knife through one hand, reminding the Trolkhan their hands were useless during the Empire.

Gobkhan

The role of the legs rests on the Gobkhan. They are shock troops and the physical labor base. A blooded goblin grows slightly more slowly then other Kindred, but unlike the others they never stop growing. After a certain period of time the only options they have available are to wait for their heart to explode or to die in glorious combat. Their limited life spans make them more and more driven the older they become. Many abiran "lizardwomen" and a handful of stubborn humans bear the Goblinmark, which is created by heating iron cuffs around the potential Gobkhan’s ankles and letting them cool. This is symbolic of their role as the legs of the Kindred but also acts as a reminder of the chains which once cut into ever-growing flesh.

Minokhan

The Minokhan are the smiths, artisans, and masons, serving as the arms of the Kindred. Their strength turns the destructive impulses of the Kindred into a force of creation and beauty. Of all the Kinships this one has the most members who are not blooded minotaurs. As part of their Rite of True Parenting a Minotaur crafts the brand they choose to bear for the rest of their life. The Minomark is a brand on the arm, symbolizing that they were considered less than people, traded as cattle.

Ogrekhan

The Ogrekhan are the backbone of the Kindred, the historians and mystics. It was on their hide the old Fleshreaders secretly carved the histories of their people. Without them the teachings of the great dragon Ancreoro would have been lost. To create the Ogremark, the potential Ogrekhan has a heated iron yoke placed across his shoulders, reminding them of their place both current and past.

If you are willing to make the proper sacrifices, then all that the Kindred have to offer is yours. If not? In their eyes you will forever be “Tur’id,” less than even a child. Amongst the Kin no difference exists between Tur’id and an outsider. Under the law all who have not chosen a khan are considered children. This mindset has on occasion brought about serious tensions with some of the longer lived races. No matter the nature of your birth, any child can choose to pay the price and become an adult, with no exceptions. This is perhaps the truest strength of the Kindred. Blood is red water the earth drinks, so anyone can be your family as long as they are willing to prove it.