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The Irzali are the original inhabitants of the Sirdabi Caliphate's eastern province of Irzal, a land long conquered but with a distinct and highly cultured tradition. In ancient days they possessed a great empire of their own, a distinction they have never forgotten despite having lived the last several hundred years under a succession of different foreign rulers.

Science, philosophy, and literature have long flourished here, and some of the greatest wines of the caliphate are produced in these lands. Irzali have an independent and sometimes rebellious streak that often makes them obnoxious to their rulers.


Having long existed at one of the great crossroads of the world, Irzali present a varied appearance blending traits of western Ruleska with the lands to the east. Southwestern Irzali tend to have more aquiline and angular features, while those from the northeast often have rounder faces with small noses and occasionally almond-shaped eyes. Their skin is generally lightly tanned to olive or sallow while their hair is largely on the darker side, though lighter browns and even dark blond and copper are not unheard of. While their eyes also tend to be dark, they represent nearly every color from inky blue to deep violet or chocolate brown.


As members of the Sirdabi Caliphate, the typical apparel of Irzali can vary somewhat depending on which province they live in and the dominant culture there. But wherever they reside Irzali are known for having a sharp sense of style, and they have a love for fine fabrics and vibrant colors that shows up most strongly in their home province of Irzal.

Both men and women typically wear multilayered clothing, with long shirts, tunics, or dresses over the loose fitting sirwaal that gather at the ankle. Women also commonly wear skirts in place of sirwaal, with over- and underskirts layered upon one another, and side slits or hems of varying lengths to display the different layers. Vests are common as well, whether sturdy tooled leather or luxurious silks and brocades. Both sexes often wear wide sashes as belts. Women's headgear typically consists of colorful headscarves, short or long, and often tied at the back of the head. Men wear turbans, plain or patterned, or the much beloved kolah namadi, a rounded and brimless hat of felt. Wherever possible, Irzali prefer patterned fabric or eye-catching combinations of colors.


The native language of the people of Irzal is also called Irzali. Use of the language was repressed in the early days of Irzal's joining the Sirdabi Caliphate, since it was deemed of such great importance to understand the Song of God in its original Sirdabi form, and also because Irzali was deemed a subversive element used to undermine the hegemony of the caliphate. However, the language survived and was later allowed to flourish again. Attached as they are to their own tongue, nearly all Irzali people also are well versed in Sirdabi and can typically both speak and read it fluently. While Sirdabi is the language of government and the sciences, Irzali remains the language of literature and poetry.

Although Irzali was once written in a script of its own, it has used the Sirdabi alphabet ever since Irzal became a part of the caliphate. The Irzali have embraced the script with more enthusiasm than the Sirdabi language itself, and have played a large role in elevating calligraphy to an art form.


Irzali tend to have a conservative outlook towards the world, and love novelty more than change. They exalt the past over the present, and their ideal future is a return to the things of the past -- the reclamation of past honor and glory, the restoration of old traditions, and, of course, the restoration of the mighty Irzali empire, which is typically painted in the rosiest of light. Most Irzali, particularly in the middle and upper classes, will wax eloquent about the ancient empire, and even the poorest Irzali often feel some pride in the province's great history. For the typical Irzali, however, this is simply a nostalgic fancy or a source of inspiring rhetoric against the Caliphate, which goes unaccompanied by any concrete plans or concerted effort for change.

See also