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The Razmani are a hardy and ingenious people of Idiri whose permanent dwellings are carved into cliffsides and built on ledges. While enclaves of Razmani may be found in the great cities of the Sirdabi Caliphate, they more usually make their homes in the interior of the central and eastern Hazari Desert, in places where rivers have cut deep paths through canyons and crops can be grown along the banks. Many of their settlements serve as trade entrepots along the harsh desert routes and are valued by caravaneers and travelers as a place to rest and restock supplies before proceeding on through the desert. The Razmani's skill in carving and laying stone are second to none, and in urban areas they often find work in architecture, construction, and various visual and mechanical arts. They have a reputation for being a hardworking and practical people, with an easy-going nature.


Razmani typically speak Sirdabi, along with other languages common to the other north Idiri peoples around them. They do have their own language, Ruzur, but speak this almost strictly among themselves. Interestingly, the name of their native language is the same as that of the type of grain which they are best known for raising. Ruzur also has its own unique script which is most often seen on stone monuments dating from the ancient Rassi period, and some unusual names in places like the city of Omrazir may well have roots in the Ruzur tongue.


Razmani tend to be shorter than most other Idiri peoples or the Sirdabi, with a stocky to plump physique. Their skin comes in various tawny or dusky hues, and their hair ranges from straight to curly in texture and from brown to black in colour, with reddish tints not uncommon. Their eyes tend towards various earthy tones, from mossy green and hazel to deep brown.


Razmani tend to dress in a simple, down-to-earth style that matches their pragmatic attitude towards life. Men and women share similar garb, generally consisting of a long shirt or tunic over trousers or leggings. Such clothing allows the Razmani to easily navigate the stairs, ladders, and steep paths of their traditional cliffside homes. They prefer practical materials as well, particularly cotton fabrics woven from the fruit of their own crop, and zharalhide from their herds. Although they do not mind wearing zharalhide in its more rugged state, they are also skilled at working it into a more refined material that reduces the coarseness while retaining its durability. When out in the elements Razmani may don a hooded burnoose or wrap a veil loosely about head and face, but there are no customs demanding such coverings for either sex. Women and men alike can often be seeing sporting the classic Razi hat, a conical felt hat with a flat top and no brim, often accented with a tassel.

Razmani hairstyles tend to be equally simple, and individuals of any gender may wear their hair loose or simply tied back in a ponytail. Women also like to wear their hair in braided coronets, sometimes looped around the base of a Razi hat. Men most typically go clean-shaven until their older years, when many will grow out a beard that marks their status as an elder. At this stage in life, beard ornaments such as carved stone and metal rings are popular, along with strings of beads. Jewelry more generally is popular among Razmani regardless of sex, and much of this ornamentation is produced by the Razmani's own superlative jewelcrafters and metalworkers.


Outwardly the Razmani are a simple people, content to exist peacefully in the background of the Caliphate. Although they get along well with non-Razmani and have a live-and-let-live attitude in regards to cultural differences, they tend to keep to themselves, and even in cities often live in enclaves apart from people of other heritages. Razmani display little interest in warfare or feats of arms, and are seldom found serving in the armies of the caliphate, even in the local provincial forces. Most prefer to be engaged in the productive pursuits of agriculture, construction, and various crafts, as well as serving as provisioners and middlemen of the trade networks that span the desert. They are overall a people with strong ties to earth and stone, and it is said that their temperament reflects this.

The Razmani are found across the eastern half of the Great Hazari Desert, where their settlements are usually clustered in canyons and perched on sheer cliffsides. Whether due to upbringing or some innate trait, Razmani show no fear whatever of heights and in fact prefer to live high above the ground. Their homes and pathways can be seen carved into the living rock of the desert's massifs, often strung out overlooking riverbeds such as that of the River Tamrasset. Though most such waterways do not actually flow above the surface for most of their length, the Razmani show great cleverness as engineers whose skill in constructing canals, terracing, and other hydrologic works has served them well in their arid homeland. Rumor claims that secret societies of elemental magi also play a part in their success. Whatever the case, the Razmani have proven capable of raising relatively high yields of grains and fruit on a pittance of water, besides keeping their small stocks of goats and domestic zharal well cared for. Their agricultural specialty is the large-seeded grain known as ruzur, but they have a talent for breeding and raising plants of all kinds.

Razmani architecture varies from place to place, depending on their surroundings and locally available building materials. Where easily worked umberstone and sandstone predominate, Razmani will carve many of their dwellings directly into the rock, shaping doorways, windows, and elaborate facades from the soft stone. But they are also masters of drystone architecture, capable of building quite tall structures from blocks of stone so carefully shaped and fitted that they require no mortar at all. Many of their homes and enclaves are additionally surrounded by attractive stacked stone walls, likewise laid so skillfully that standing portions of such walls still remain in places abandoned for centuries.

Along with their love for heights, Razmani are also unusually untroubled by claustrophobia and seem equally fond of places beneath the earth. Many of their cliffside dwellings extend far back into the rock, even descending into extensive complexes of subterranean chambers. Razmani are excellent miners and quarriers, whose native endurance and keen eye for materials combine to help them delve for some of the highest quality stone, gems, and precious ores in the caliphate. While some of these materials are exported raw, Razmani crafters often make use of them locally, refining and shaping them into fine pieces of jewelry, tableware, and small statuary. They are less occupied in more ephemeral crafts, and traditional Razmani work is designed to last the centuries.

Most Razmani are also noticeably less interested in the style of poetry and music that dominates much of Sirdabi and Tessouare culture around them. They do however have a great love for epic poems that tell the stories of legendary Razmani heroes from ages long past. Recitations of these poems are often accompanied by the uztigi, a native instrument similar to a lyre. Simple end-blown flutes, usually carved from the longbones of antelope or even goats, are also enjoyed, and their melodies can often be heard echoing plaintively down through the canyons of the Hazari interior.


Razmani religious practices are mixed, and regardless of the particular faith they follow zealotry holds little place among them. Their worship tends to be simple but sincere, and it is even considered a little unseemly to make any kind of display of one's faith in public. Razmani places of worship, whether mosque or temple, tend to be somewhat austere on the outside and simply but beautifully decorated on the inside, with detailed stonework and delicate inlays of metal and precious stones. Most such religious buildings also contain small chambers or niches separated from the main hall of worship, into which the individual may withdraw to pray or meditate in solitude. Many private houses contain these spaces as well, which in Azadi households are also used during the holy fortnight of Solitary.

The chief religions among the Razmani are Azadi and Nirzali worship. While their observances are fairly orthodox overall, there is a tendency among some groups to fuse reverence for the Prophet Azad and his wife Adwa with worship of Nirzali and her consort Nthandu. Many Razmani follow Tessouare practice in according respect and reverence to holy women and men called marabouts, whose place in north Idiri society is something like that of saints among the Kalentoi. Nirzali worship also remains strong, particularly in her role as a goddess of rainfall. Less commonly, there are some Razmani who still follow the ancient Children of Dawn and Dusk, or -- some say -- gods still older than they.


Those known as Razmani today are the descendants of the Rassi people of antiquity, whose trade networks brought them great wealth and influence in the days of the Marzum Despotate. The Rassi's homeland lay within the modern-day Sirdabi province of Raziya, where the largest population of Razmani still dwells today. Besides building the spectacular canyon city of Alheri which now serves as the center of Razmani culture, the Rassi also founded Omrazir itself in the eleventh century B.D.

See also