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The Yehani are a learned and enterprising people whose island homeland in the middle of the Adelantean Sea was destroyed several hundred years ago by the eruption of Mount Elemnis. They can now be found spread across the known world, generally settling in urban areas. The largest concentrations of Yehani are found in coastal cities, which they favor not only on account of the opportunities for trade and generally more tolerant cosmopolitan attitudes, but also because their love for the sea has not waned even in the centuries since the loss of their island home. However, a great many Yehani can be found living inland as well, particularly in large towns and cities along major trading routes.

The Yehani were the first worshipers of the One God, whose favored people they believe themselves to be. They are known for performing animal sacrifices to the One God and for living their lives according to a number of intricate religious stricture, and are generally distrusted by other peoples. They receive more toleration and acceptance in the Sirdabi Caliphate than elsewhere, but they still often dwell within specific enclaves separate from their neighbors. In addition to being daring sailors and traders the Yehani frequently perform unpleasant jobs that are forbidden to other peoples due to religious restrictions, but they are also famed for their physicians and scholars.


Like the Sirdabi peoples to whom they may have some distant relation, Yehani generally have aquiline features, brown or black hair, and a middle range of skin tones. However, due to their extensive travel and contact with other peoples over at least a millennium, some groups particularly in central Ruvera and Altaruleska may have fairer hair and skin such that they only stand out slightly from their indigenous neighbors. Wherever they are found Yehani are distinctive for having eyes in all the varied colors of the sea, including pale pink.


The Yehani mode of dress varies somewhat depending on the dominant culture and climate within which they dwell, but certain styles and articles of apparel are considered characteristic. Women traditionally wear a calf-length dress-like tunic, layered over an undertunic or shift, and pantaloons or loose leggings. Men's dress is similar, save that the tunic garment is usually shorter, falling only to the knee or mid-thigh. For both women and men, the sleeves of the tunic may be either close-fitting and simply cut or loose and bell-shaped, with the latter most typically used for formal occasions and temple visits. Both sexes also wear the characteristic Yehani cap when they go out, which may come in two forms: one a simple brimless skullcap, the other a similar cap that conforms slightly less to the head and features a small rolled brim. Women's caps may also include light veiling which they can use to cover their face.

Yehani men are most often clean-shaven, and men and women both often wear their hair long. They also signal their maturity and marital status by how they braid their hair. Once a Yehani comes of age, which is typically at fourteen years for both sexes, they begin to wear their hair with a single thin braid to one side of the face -- the left side for women and the right side for men. When they marry, both husband and wife will wear two thin braids, which are then pulled around the temples and tied or pinned at the back of the head.

All Yehani, young and old, carry with them wherever they go a vial of sea water collected from the Adelantean. Called the memlevi and usually worn suspended from a chain or thong and resting over the heart, it serves as a cherished connection to their homeland and their past, as well as to the One God whom the Yehani still associate most closely with the sea.


The native tongue of the Yehani is Yash, but from living and trading widely among other peoples they often speak a variety of other languages as well. Yash has its own alphabet and script, and literacy on at least a basic level is relatively common.


The Yehani have always been a seafaring people, and their great love for the ocean colors their attitudes and beliefs. As long as they have existed as a people, the Yehani have made their homes on the islands scattered throughout the heart of the Adelantean Sea, as well as living in towns and city-states along much of the coast. They have always been among the best mariners in Avaria, as skilled at building ships as piloting them, and they possess a deep knowledge of the sea that comes from generations of collective experience.

Yehani dislike being parted from the ocean for any great length of time, and those Yehani who reside far inland make pilgrimages to the nearest sea whenever they are able, with preference given to the Adelantean itself. The greatest pilgrimage of all is one made to the outermost reaches of what used to be the archipelago of Yashalen. Although the area is now simply open sea studded with sunken shoals swept by hazardous currents, it is the closest any Yehani can come to a return to their beloved homeland. Only attempted by the best sailors and the most dedicated of the faithful, it is a voyage never attempted by any other people due to the dangers involved and the immense skill needed to navigate them.

For all their love of the sea, it is belief in Elu-Hani as the One God that is the chief defining feature of being Yehani, accompanied by the conviction that the Yehani are the God's chosen people. Not only did worship of the One God begin with the Yehani, but they think of themselves as a priest people whose lives and worship -- as well as their trials -- set them apart from the rest of the world. There are numerous rules governing a Yehani's everyday life, encompassing such things as prayers and days of rest, blessings said over daily activities, rules of dress and manners, and prohibitions of certain types of food, drink, and work.

Unlike the Kalentoi and Azadi, who also worship the One True God according to their own traditions, Yehani do believe that other gods, or rather lesser beings more like demigods, do exist. However, they believe that the God they worship is the One True God, creator of the world and all peoples in it, and that it is the Yehani themselves who have been singled out to act as God's particular representatives on Avaria. Other lesser gods are assigned to the other peoples of the world, as caretakers who suit the temperament and culture of each people. It is a perpetual thorn in the Yehani's side that Kalentians and Azadi both claim the One True God as their own god as well, without following the proper customs of worship -- though in fact what is chiefly infuriating is these faiths' insistence that it is they that have received God's final and perfect message, and that the Yehani have foolishly gone astray and wilfully persist in error. Unlike the Kalentians in particular, most Yehani do not see the God as either masculine or feminine in character, but rather as mutable as the ever-changing sea.

Although Yehani as a rule do not proselytize, being unconcerned with whether other people recognize the supremacy of the One God, they do accept converts to the faith. Anyone wishing to enter into the covenant with Elu-Hani must formally join the Yehani community and thereafter faithfully observe all the rituals and proscriptions applying to the One God's people, because the life of a Yehani in all its intricacies of permissions and prohibitions constitutes in itself the proper worship of the God. Yehani of either sex are not permitted to marry outside their faith, and if they choose to do so anyway they are considered to be permanently severed from the Yehani community. It is however allowed for Yehani and non-Yehani to marry, so long as the non-Yehani converts and fully joins the community.

Since education is valued among the Yehani for the purpose of studying the Song of the Sea, a fair number of both women and men achieve basic literacy in Yash. Youths who show a strong interest in their studies are encouraged to pursue additional learning, as having a scholar in the family is considered a thing of great prestige. These scholars may focus solely on theology, or they may branch out into additional studies in law, medicine, geography, or other subjects. There are more mystical traditions as well, which may include such pursuits as alchemy and divination. But though Yehani are well known for the calibre of their scholars, most people follow humbler trades. Some find great wealth as merchants and moneylenders, others great adventure as ship captains and sailors. Others work in the lowliest trades of all, slaughtering beasts, tanning hides, or dyeing cloth, and scorned by those whose dirty work they do.


The origins of the Yehani are uncertain; as long as anyone can remember they were simply the native people of the islands of the central Adelantean. The Yehani's own traditions state that they were created by Elu-Hani, later known as the One God, from sand and seafoam. From the earliest days of their history they were in fact known simply as the Yemel, meaning roughly "People of the Great Sea". Beginning as humble fishermen, the Yemel developed into savvy and adventurous traders whose mercantile pursuits spanned the length and breadth of the Adelantean.

Over the centuries their towns and cities likewise spread out around the entire Adelantean basin, founded along the edges of the shore on lands generally occupied by other peoples. Here they would sometimes rent the land for their new towns from the locals, while other times they might purchase it outright where the desired location was of little value. Being totally uninterested in war and conquest, and bound more by shared origin and interests than by the structures of a formal state, the Yehani's only empire was one of commerce. Nevertheless numerous great trading cities grew to dominate the coast in some areas, including Selush and Yenatan in present-day Ensor, Tripu in Cadenza, Druth in Tessere, and the city called Inith-el whose exact location is no longer recalled. Perhaps greater still were the ancient Marzumite kingdoms of Mar'i, Sennathrab, and An-Halor, whose kings and queens are to this day renowned for their deeds as recorded in the Song of the Sea.

But down through all the centuries, and regardless of the glories of kingdoms and city-states, the Yehani's beloved homeland remained the archipelago nation of Yashalen, a collection of islands large and small clustered near the center of the Adelantean. These volcanic islands boasted shallow but rich soils and bounteous shoals full of fish, and though fierce storms scoured them from time to time the natural reefs and deep valleys of the islets sheltered the Yehani from the worst ravages of the elements. Thickly wooded slopes furnished timber for shipbuilding as well as a variety of fruits and nuts, and flowers brightened the landscape throughout the spring and summer. Dominating the archipelago even at its furthest reaches was the holy Mount Elemnis, whose lofty snow-capped peak was considered the throne of God.

Yashalen remained the heart of Yehani spirituality and culture, from ancient Yemelite times until the archipelago's calamitous destruction, and its people played the pivotal part in the adoption of the covenant with Elu-Hani, and Its recognition as the One True God. When the Yemel's Adelantean city-states became mired in protracted war with the people known to history only by the fearful name of the Malevoli, they enjoyed initial success due to Yemelite naval superiority. But when the Yemel attempted to press their advantage and secure both the safety of their cities and their dominance in the Adelantean, their greatest fleet was shattered in the horrific Battle of Havoc Shoals. The loss of both life and the Yemel's beloved ships was a crushing blow, and the incident is still referred to centuries later as the First Devastation. The Yemel of the Adelantean shores capitulated to the Malevoli under humiliating and equally devastating terms of treaty, and were left to reflect on their shattering losses. Meantime the people of the Yashalen archipelago had been left largely unscathed by the conflict, and they now sent emissaries and aid to their brethren around the sea. When they observed how the people of Yashalen had been spared, and witnessed their peaceful devotion to Elu-Hani and the favor that god had shown them in preserving them from harm, the other Yemelites became persuaded that Elu-Hani must be the true god and protector of the Yemelite peoples. Turning their faces from the other gods who had failed them, the Yemel pledged themselves to a new and eternal covenant with Elu-Hani, recognizing It as the One True God and themselves as Its favored people, and duly named themselves the Yehani.

The Yehani went on to see many centuries of overall peace and prosperity, and also to see the One True God adopted by many other peoples who forged their own new relationships and forms of worship dedicated to God. But when the holy mountain Elemnis erupted catastrophically nearly eight hundred years ago, it plunged the world into three years of darkness and sank all of Yashalen beneath the waves forever. Stricken with grief and numbed by shock, the surviving Yehani were left without a home and became a people of exiles. While they had often been envied by other peoples for their wealth, and distrusted for their often insular and odd-seeming ways, the Yehani became also feared and despised as Kalentians in particular blamed them for somehow defiling Mount Elemnis and thereby bringing on the Great Dark. But despite millennia of adversity, the Yehani have nevertheless adapted with alacrity to their changed circumstances and can now be found scattered throughout much of the known world.

Key Dates in Yehani History

0. Eruption of Mount Elemnis, and the beginning of the Yehani diaspora.

1225 B.D. The Marzumite kingdoms are conquered by the hero twins Ro and Karibad.

1810. B.D. The Yemel convert to sole worship of Elu-Hani as the One True God, becoming known thereafter as the Yehani.

1808. B.D. The Yemelite fleet is destroyed by the Malevoli in the Battle of Havoc Shoals.

1855-1810 B.D. The Malevoli-Yemelite Wars.

ca. 2100 B.D. Establishment of the Kingdom of Mar'i, the first of the Marzumite kingdoms.