The Yabantu Triumvirate is a decently-sized, primarily human country located on Faedrun. They value their natural resources and masterwork crafts above all else. They do not hold an invading army, but instead rely on a well-trained and even more well-equipped force of border defenders. The Yabantu’s main focus is on diplomatic and economic ties with their neighbors, primarily Vandregon and Aldoria. Their land holds very fine deposits of iron and precious metals that they will either barter with or craft into exquisite goods, armors, and weapons. Even the Syndar Kingdoms have come to know the supreme beauty of Yabantu steelcrafts.
Location: Southern section of Faedrun. North and West borders shared with Vandregon. East Border shared with Aldoria. The Yabantu lands at one point reached north to the May’kar Desert, but many of those lands were lost to a Ritchcrag Invasion. This invasion was pushed back to traditional Richtcrag lands once it came in contact with Vandregonian borders, but Vandgregon maintained ownership of the lands, claiming that if they hadn’t battled back the Cul’Claimete then they would have moved south and continued aggressions upon The Yabantu anyway. The Yabantu agreed to this relatively small annexation with the stipulation that their people be allowed to cross that border unimpeded and trade in the area without paying Vandregonian taxes. This strip of land connecting Vandregon and New Aldoria quickly became a bustling hub of trade and in the aftermath of the Cul’Claimete campaign. The Yabantu began to invest in their defending army.
Governing Structure: Unlike their neighbors the Yabuntu do not have a king. Instead they are ruled by a Triumvirate made up of individuals with each selected to represent one of the three main national interests. Through this the people can always be sure that the most important and sacred aspects of their culture are given adequate thought when decisions are made. Those cultural aspects are: The Spirits, The Crafts, and The People.
Religion – The Spirits:
The Yabantu are an animistic people. They believe that everything, from rocks and rivers to birds and people, hold an inherent spirit and consciousness. This belief is the center of their religion and has a direct influence on the way they interact with the world around them. With inherent spirit comes inherent worth and a belief that everything exists within its own right regardless of how it can be useful to people. This belief gives rise to a respect for the natural world and a desire to show gratitude to the spirit of any material worked with or any animal or plant killed for consumption. Counter to many human cultures that perceive their consciousness as existing within their head, behind their eyes, The Yabantu perceive their spirit and consciousness as stemming from their stomach. In this way the act of ingesting other creatures and plants is seen as a merging of spirit and in this way both the spirit and the body are nourished.
All things are seen as having an individual spirit, but related things are seen as having aspects of their spirit that are similar. For example, all lavender plants are individuals, but all of them share the name and essence of being lavender and thus share certain physical and spiritual traits. This gives rise to a culture of working with natural spirits in an attempt at reaching a balance. This is commonly seen in Yabantu people carrying sachets that they fill with various herbs and stones that are believed to work well with each other to promote certain outcomes and situations in life. For example, a person looking for love would carry a certain blend of herbs and stones in their sachet that will help promote finding love. Someone looking to draw abundance to them would fill their sachet with a different blend of herbs and stones. The individual herbs and stones in a person’s sachet would be carefully selected and meditated with to be sure that they carry an amenable spirit that is well attuned to the desired outcome.
Additionally dyes and cloth are selected and processed into clothing based on the spirits of the constituent parts. Wearing certain colors can be seen as an outward expression of what a person views as significant. Example: If someone wears silk robe dyed with indigo they would be expressing that they value the elements that are commonly seen in the spirits of indigo and silks.
This religious belief in inherent spirits is incredibly prevalent in the main driving force of The Yabantu industry; The Crafts
Industry and Livelihoods – The Crafts
One of the greatest positions a Yabantu can strive for is that of a Craftsperson. The Yabantu have the benefit of high quality resources, this fact serves to galvanize their belief in the spirits of materials as they believe their respect for these spirits is what causes them to be of higher quality than those found elsewhere.
The Act of Crafting is seen as both a material as well as religious spiritual pursuit. To take a material and make it into something more is to elevate its physical form. In working with the spirit of the material it is also elevated in its form. Great care is taken by Yabuntu Craftspeople to make sure the spirits of their materials are well cared for and respected during their transition into a new item. It is believed that through this process of ritualistic crafting the spirit of a finished product is closely attuned to it’s new identity and purpose making it significantly more effective in it’s new state.
The aesthetic choices of a Yabantu person are wide and varied as the clothes they wear speak to the spiritual elements that they choose to elevate. That being said there are some form choices that are common in various regions and nearly every region tends toward bright, full colors. In some regions it is common to see people dressed in loose flowing robes or dresses of light material. In other areas people wear things more akin to tunics with wrapped skirts. Some areas people choose to leave their chests fully or partially exposed. Across the country it is common to see people with brightly patterned shawls draped over one or both shoulders. Nearly every person wears an ornately decorated grigri bag filled with their chosen herbs and minerals.
Any person would be able to tell you the plants or minerals that went into the creation of each piece of clothing and there is a high expectation that clothing is well cared for and repaired immediately upon being damaged in anyway.
The Undead – The Fall
The Yabuntu were slightly insulated from the rise of the Undead to the north given the buffer that Vandregon placed between them and the rest of the continent. Given their lack of a full military The Yabuntu were not in a place to devote large fighting units to the cause and were well aware that should their allies around them fall that they would likely not last themselves, but they were in a unique position to churn out high quality weapons and armor to aid their neighbors. Unfortunately there came a time where the May’Kar turned on their living allies and began to focus their efforts on attacking the narrow strip of land that separated the Yabuntu from the May’kar desert. Though the Vandregonian army was eventually successful against The May’kar, the people of the Yabuntu Triumverate were quick to see the writing on the walls and many began an exodus, moving to the east and west away from the front and their non-militant home into the hearts of Aldoria and Vandregon. The staunch border defenders, now without a border to defend, joined the Army of The Grand Alliance. The artisans who made their way to Aldoria joined in the construction of ships and with their expertise were found to be invaluable in the construction of hearty sails and riggings.