The Kshang, also commonly known by the exonym Rhododactyls, are an ethnic group and people who are native to central Rhododactylia, in the Rose River Basin and the Fire Hills, just west of the capital, Rose City.
The Kshang are a closely knit, strictly matrilineal society with a vibrant culture and a tradition of resistance to colonization and subjugation. Prominent Kshang individuals and families have played an outsized role in modern Rhododactylian history, including major politicians and revolutionaries across the political spectrum, as well as scientists, authors and entrepreneurs.
Although still loyal to their ancestral tribelands in the western part of the Rose River Basin (parts of the Prefectures of Great Wilderness, Zoltan and Oasis), in the modern era individuals of Kshang descent can be found in all parts of Rhododactylia, firmly rooted in both their adopted communities as well as their tribelands.
The name "Kshang" is simply a genitive of "shang," and means "of clay." According to their folklore, the Kshang people were made from clay by the demiurge Badongk for the purpose of ruling the world and the other peoples in it. The exonym Rhododactyl, granted by the colonists, refers to this clay too, which is a characteristic brownish pinkish color and lines the banks of the seven tribal rivers, which stretch up into the Fire Hills, like "rosy fingers." It is worth noting that the native name for the hills, Kwartidongk, is probably the origin of the name of the old colonial capital of Rhododactylia, Quwertieville.
Kshang are iconically divided into the Seven Tribes:
- Tribe Fnordpot
- Tribe Fpokstrt
- Tribe Fwetx
- Tribe Fmoongo
- Tribe Fdotillouz
- Tribe Fbrongk
- Tribe Fhoghedabawrt
The tribes are named for the Seven Rivers (see below) - the "F-" prefix is an old matronymic which now essentially means "tribe or clan." About 30% of Kshang (though not all) use variations of their tribe name as a surname in broader society, hence the strange preponderance of last names starting with unpronounceable F's in Rhododactylia.
Each tribe has a matriarch, who is elected, and a head shaman (priestess), who is traditionally "discovered" by her predecessor. Within each tribe are various subgroupings, but these are quite fluid and not bound by tradition.
The Kshang tribes are grouped into two larger clans: the Bone House Clan (Fbloniksbhag) and the Blood House Clan (Fdundelsbhag). These names represent actual physical houses (the Bone House and the Blood House) where certain social activities such as weddings and funerals take place. In the pre-colonial era, the two clans would tend to fight a kind of ritualized (but nevertheless quite bloody) war on a nearly annual basis, which would end in a choreographed cannibalistic feast. In contemporary society, disputes between the clans are generally resolved by friendly cricket matches with a great deal of shouting and beer.
There are four other "houses" which serve other tribal social and political functions. The War House is the center of political life, where the seven tribal matriarchs meet and make governing decisions. The Dream House is the center of religious life, where the shamanic priestesses interpret dreams and give quests. The Rock House is a place for collecting knowledge and telling stories. Each year the "songs festival" is held at the Rock House, and in general the surrounding village has developed an atmosphere almost like a small university town. Finally, the Wood House is a place of exile, where tribespeople who have violated strictures that are not subject to external laws serve penance. It is a bit like a monastic retreat.
Native Landsmap) are a kind of semi-autonomous, self-governing "living museum" west of Rose City. Within the Native Lands, Kshang attempt to live in a traditional lifestyle, but there are certainly concessions to modern life, including excellent healthcare, electricification in most settlements, and indoor plumbing.
The Kshang Seven Rivers are:
- Brongk (Rose River)
Around each of the "houses" have grown towns of various sizes. These are the so-called "house towns" which are also the main concentrations of population within the Native Lands:
- Kbloniksbhag (Bone House)
- Kdundelsbhag (Blood House)
- Kzametsbhag (War House)
- Koorkasbhag (Dream House)
- Kdaghisbhag (Rock House)
- Klamoongksbhag (Wood House)
The largest towns are Kbloniksbhag (about 14000 residents), Kdundelsbhag (about 12000 residents) and Kzametsbhag (about 9000 residents). The house towns are also formally exempt from certain rules, such as general prohibition on motorized vehicles and the prohibition on non-tribal residents. In recent years, these house towns have seen an influx of tourism and non-Kshang permanent residents who are drawn to the Kshang lifestyle in one way or another or who provide various services.
About 60% of Kshang practice their traditional shamanistic religion at some level. Another 20% are members of the Rhododactylic Charismatic Movement, a fairly new, syncretistic "church" that blends traditional Kshang beliefs with elements of several other religions.
Traditional religious activity within the Native Lands is focused in Koorkasbhag (Dream House) and in various smaller "dream houses" which are scattered throughout the native lands. Outside of the native lands, Kshang religious activity tends to either be out in nature at known sacred sites, or in people's homes or small storefront "meetinghouses."
One component of the traditional religion is the annual "walkaround." There are four sacred trails totalling 440 km that everyone attempts to follow each year (not everyone at the same time), with camping and feasting at stopping points. A standard daily leg on the walkaround is about 40km, which can take a healthy person 8-9 hours, while the elderly will sometimes make more frequent overnight stops. Thus the minimum walkaround time is 11 days, while for some sick people it can take up to a month. Recently some athletic Kshanga have developed a new tradition of running the trails, since each day's leg is about a marathon length.
- Kblonikrooda (Bone Trail) 40 km
- Kdundelrooda (Blood Trail) 40 km
- Kzametrooda (War Trail) 200 km
- Koorkarooda (Dream Trail) 160 km
|This article is incomplete. It will be expanded soon.|
There is one family which stands out as being the fount of a large number of famous Kshang: the Fnord Family. The modern Fnord Foundation is immensely wealthy, and this wealth supports the tribes because of the very high rate of voluntary tithing. Indeed, some have said that without the Fnord Family, the modern Kshang would not exist as they do today.
Notable Fnords include:
- Fnoogas Fnord (Fnugas denga Fnordpot Okshably) - b. 1777 - military, business
- Lemuela Fnord - b. 1809 - business
- Rapunzel Fnord - b. 1838 - business
- Rapunzel Fnord II - b. 1868 - business, politics
- Evangeline Fnord Thompson - b. 1870 politics, business
- Alice Fnord Zaharia - b. 1875 - philanthropy
- Jeanette Fnord Zaharia - b. 1899 - politics
- Rapunzel Fnord III - b. 1900 - politics
- Esther-Alice Fnord - b. b1931 - religion
- Valentina Fnord Yamauchi - b. 1933 - business
- Gregory Fnord Thormley - b. 1956 - military
- Fnoogas Yamauchi-Fnord - b. 1965 - entertainment, sport
|This list is incomplete. It will be expanded in the future.|
A listing of important Fnord business ventures and non-profits include:
- Fnord Bank - a global top 20 bank and one of Rhododactylia's most well-known businesses
- Fnord Consolidated Manufacturing - various manufacturing ventures
- Fnord Trading Company - a wholesaling company, and parent company to several of the others
- Brown Trapezium Brand - various consumer services and retailing ventures
- Fnord Foundation - nonprofit supporting Kshang worldwide, but also running hospitals, educational institutions, and charities
Other Notable Kshang Individuals
In addition to the Fnord Family members listed above, other notable Kshang include:
- [Annabelle Roark Fbrongk] politician
|This list is incomplete. It will be expanded in the future.|