The Ge'Za are a nomadic tribe that has its origins in the north-western regions of Zoniza. They've tried numerous times to invade Abun during its millenarian history, and they still represent an active threat for them, especially due to the alleged support received by the Zonizans.
The origins of the Ge'Za are still a mystery to most scholars and historians. According to the Ge'Za themselves, they are a very ancient tribe who came from a very far country, after a huge environmental disaster forced them to leave their homeland, becoming nomadic. But it's considered more as a legend, as evidences of their past have never been retrieved. Most of the Ge'Za seem to be Anu'Dar and Tokaya, but there are also Hatran and a Emer minority. It's believed that the original tribe was made by Anu'Dar, but other races joined later, after other tribes were merged with the Ge'Za.
The Ge'Za name comes from their language, and means "The Wanderers" emphasizing their nomadic nature.
The Ge'Za have a well-defined hyerarchic structure. The supreme leader of the tribe is the Kal'Em, who's chosen by the shaman after a ritual involving the usage of a particular liquid called Eter, that gives to the shaman a trance-like state, allowing him/her to talk with the spirits.
The Ge'Za society is splitted in three different social classes. The first ones are the Skelhat, the "nobles" of the tribe. Their families have ancient origins and they're usually the ones who own most of the horses, possessions and wives. In order to preserve the lineage, the Skelhat tend to practice incest.
Then, there are the Und'Mosa, the Shamans. A tribe member can become a Und'Mosa without needing an initiation ritual. Instead, according to them, it's up to the spirits to choose which one should become a Und'Mosa by coming in his/her dreams. After that sign, the chosen one will be instructed by another Und'Mosa about the secrets of the Spirits and how to prepare the Eter.
The third and last class is made by the Danwas, which comprises the majority of tribesmen. Being made by commoners, the Danwas cannot become Skelhat, so they can't rule the tribe, but they can become Und'Mosa, if the spirits chose one of them. The Danwas are also the ones who fight for the tribe, since the Kal'Em and the Und'Mosa cannot do that. It's strictly forbidden to different classes to interact with eachother, since the Skelhat and the Und'Mosa have the blessing of the Spirits, and so they must not have any kind of contact with the Danwas.
Religion and beliefs
Their beliefs consist mostly in a direct relationship with the spirits of the Earth, Wind, Fire, Sea and Blood, the supreme elements that control people's life, according to them.
A peculiar aspect of their spiritualism is that these elements must be in perfect equilibrium in order to assure them a long and prosperous life both on Nakti and in the Afterlife. So, in order to assure this prosperity, they need to practice human sacrifices. Usually, two young Danwas boys and girls are used for the sacrifice, and after their death their soul will be considered holy and will be worshipped like the Supreme Spirits. The sacrifice requires the Und'Mosa to poison them to death and take their heart out and burning it, as a way to offer it to the Spirits. According to what the Und'Mosa sees during his trance, more than one sacrifice might be necessary to please the spirits and assure a perfect balance between elements. And this is one of the reasons behind the Ge'Za's militaristic organization.
The Ge'Za believe that war is a thing that pleases the spirits, since they consider it a way to purify their souls, letting them to go in the Afterlife in a honourable way. According to them, dying on the battlefield is one of the most sacred ways to access the Afterlife. During wars, it's important for them to protect the Kal'Em at all costs, as just a wound or the death of the Kal'Em would be considered an unforgivable sin, requiring the sacrifice of all the soldiers who failed to protect the chief.
The most important religious authority is the Und'Mosa, the shaman of the tribe. Each tribe has one, or more than one, and he speaks with the spirits by drinking a potion called the Eter, made with a mix of herbs that grow in Zoniza. The Eter induces a trance-like state, making the shaman hallucinate for an hour. During this state, he's able to speak with the spirits and hear their voice. An attendant draws on a tablet what the Shaman's saying. The Ge'Za pray the spirits two times per day: during the dawn and the dusk, asking for their protection at the beginning and the end of each day.
While they don't have an alphabet, the Ge'Za have many ways to express their concepts, mostly with the usage of pictograms and drawings made on tablets or pots, or with body art. The markings they apply on their face and the rest of their body is used as a sort of code which identifies their social class, and their status. The pattern and the colours of the markings change according to the meaning. Their language consists mostly of monosyllabic and trisyllabic words, that combined with eachother form a particular phrase.
Marriage as an institution doesn't exist among the Ge'Za. Instead, the women of the tribe are just "abducted" (sometimes even violently) from their family tent, staying for one week with their future partner, as a way to familiarize with him. After that week, the partner will be impregnated, and the bond will last for the entire life. Women who already have a partner can't be abducted. If someone does so, both will be killed by the respective families, since parents have the right of life and death on their children.
The Ge'Za also have their own ritual of passage to adulthood. Practiced when the tribe member reaches 15 years old, it requires them to walk on three cows, as a way to introduce the boy/girl now adult to the three phases of life: youth, maturity and old age. It's important to not fall off the cows during the walk, otherwise the youth will be casted away from the tribe permanently.
Despite their attachment to the tribe, there's no racism among the Ge'Za. Indeed its members belong to different races, mostly Tokaya, Hatran and Anu'Dar. This is due to the wars they fought with other tribes in the past, which led them to merge their tribe with the ones they defeated, assimilating their members and making them adopt their culture and lifestyle. Everyone who's part of the Ge'Za is considered automatically a "brother" or a "sister" by them.
The Ge'Za usually dress in a very simple and primitive way. Mostly wearing loincloths or simple skirts made in fabric or animal pelts, and they ornate themselves with simple hand-made necklaces, bracelets and headdresses, mostly made with feathers, coloured stones, minerals and glass-paste. Usually they walk barefoot, although some, especially the Kal'Em and the Und'Mosa, wear very basic footwear made with Mewar leaves. Women often keep their chest bare, but some might cover it large and heavy necklaces. Tribesmen of both sexes tend to rub their bodies with a perfumed oil made by the sap of a local plant, the Gudan, in order to make them more attractive and make their skin softer to touch.
While they have a violent and militaristic nature, the Ge'Za are also known for being skilled artisans too. They make refined earthenware pottery, often decorated with daily life scenes, they can make richly decorated fabrics and their armours made from Kimuhat carapaces are renown for being highly resistant to attacks.
Their economy consists mostly in trading their crops, animals and products with other tribes and wandering merchants. Their Kimuhat armours are usually their most expensive goods, since they have a secret way to properly clean the carapace of those insects and avoid the foul smell of rotting meat coming from it.
The Ge'Za don't have a currency, instead they prefer to barter their goods for something that has a similar value to what they're exchanging. They also barter people with other tribes, mostly young girls to be given as brides, if there aren't enough women to abduct.
One of the countries they mostly trade with is the Hexarcate of Zoniza.
Relationship with other countries
The Ge'Za have an important partnership with the Zonizans. They trade with them, have them in their army and the Ge'Za usually are willing to fight for them in case the Zonizan army can't expose itself. One of the countries they repeatedly fought against is the kingdom of Abun. They tried officially five times to invade it:
- Year 1874 (of the Abunese calendar)
- Year 2008
- Year 2100
- Year 2191
- Year 2226
In year 2226, the Ge'Za attempted an invasion of the Faywar province and they raided many villages located on the border. The Abunese army, that quickly reached the province after it was displaced in Faza, due to the recently-ended war against the Zonizans, put a massive resistance against the Ge'Za, who tried to force themselves into the eastern border of Abun, as they wanted to conquer the capital of the province, Gha'En. During those skirmishes, the Abunese queen Kaliendra killed the Kal'Em of the Ge'Za, Akula, severed his head and put it on a pole at the gates of the Abunese stronghold in the eastern border of Faywar.
After the death of their Kal'Em, the Ge'Za quickly retreated and sacrificed the ten soldiers who were in charge to protect him.
Digger families in Zoniza and the surrounding regions have interesting arrangements with frequent Ge'za Visitors. Generally any large tribe that frequents a Digger family's territory will have inevitably acquired a 'emissary' wife, and thanks to the digger lifespan she will inevitably stay with the tribe for generations. Any Ge'za tribe with such a 'wife' can be certain of shelter, aide and trade with her family. She can assure them of safety in her home territories and generally will also put the weight of her family forward as a way to sweeten deals that the tribe is attempting to negotiate with outsiders.
Particularly far ranging Ge'za tribes can acquire several of these wives, who politely refrain from murdering each other out of respect for diplomatic relations with the tribe but avoid if at all possible having to directly interact with one another.
Ge'za men in tribes that frequent digger lands will usually avoid abducting women that wear ornate and beautiful masks out of fear of grabbing a digger wife.