Burnithak

Burnithak is a land of grain, gold and bloodshed. One of the greatest agricultural producers on the continent, it has been inhabited from time out of mind by human farmers, herdsmen, and the two winged races: the Akora and the Akoru. Human tenants will prostrate themselves in prayer when the white-winged akora who once ruled the country in the name of the Divine come to land. But they'll shy in fear from the fierce black wings and bronze armour of the Akoru, who will not hesitate to kill should they feel disrespected.

 Note From The Authors: We've drawn much of the design astetic for Burnithak from the Hittite Empire, and loosely modeled the Akora and the Akoru along the lines of Athens and Sparta after The Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.)  If you get a sense that things look familiar, you're right, and probably a history buff ;) 

Exports and Trade

Burnithak is a warm country with subtle seasons. This makes it the perfect growing place for an endless variety of crops, especially those in the cereal family. Wheat, sorghum, millet, and oats pour out of these fields, as do all manner of root crops. In the slightly cooler north, vast fruit-tree orchards stretch. Vineyards and olive groves line the hillsides between the towering hoodoos, tall thin spires of rock with flat surfaces at their tops. These are more common in the West, ancestral homeland of the winged races. In the west, the warm wind forever blows between the cliffs. Paintings of these haunting natural spires are often exported with the grains. Coal deposits were laid down heavily in the center of the country, and much of it is dug to ship to Amova, Raou and Oura, though this trade is swiftly falling away as Al Zhuro exports technology that turns sunlight into power. 


Society and Religion

The last century has not been kind to the Grain Lands. Akora and Akoru have nearly torn the country apart in the decades since the Black Uprising, as Akoru rebelled against Akora rule sixty-five years ago. The rebels' stated goal was to reclaim the ruling of the country that the Akora had held for the past three hundred years, since an Akora-illegetimately, according to them- poisoned the Great Kestrel King and replaced black wings with white on the throne.  The decades since have been rife with battle to seat one side or the other on the throne of Dulshana. Only in the past twenty years has a shaky peace been struck.
But that peace could easily shatter...

The vast majority of Burnithakian humans follow the Akora religion. Turning their eyes upward, they pray to Lavin On High, eschew meat in their diet and  'impropriety' in their lives, and do their best to live lives of virtue and purity of spirit. 
There is a belief in the Lavanite Faith that the outer body reflects the soul. Following this doctrine, the white-winged akora belonged on high, marked by visible blessing. The dark-skinned humans native to Burnithak belong to the Earth, and kinder Akora praise the strength, blessed industry and way with plants that humans have. Less generous Akora tend to see humans as slightly dirty, in need of guidance and reedeeming. While they aren't impressed with human worth, they're happy to trade the produce of the fields and orchards they own for human money.
The blackness of Akoru wings makes them unclean in the eyes of the Akora. The religious prejudices that result have not made for good relations. 

The Akoru turn their eyes only to the Night Sky, and the stars. In the pattern of the stars they read the acts of the Lords of the Heavens. In the distant past, they offered blood sacrifices to the Lords of the Heavens to bring rains and bountiful crops at astronomically important dates. Story and some archeology show that a number of those sacrifices were sentient beings. They value physical strength and perfection, a steadfast manner, clan allegiances, and deeds worthy of being remembered in the stars. 

There is one over-arching law that both religions adhere to: What Touches Heaven Must Not Touch Earth. Intermarriage between winged and non-winged people is strictly forbidden, punishable by death.



Abilities
 

The average Akora or Akoru man stands at about 5’, but their folded wings can easily stand another two feet over their heads. When an adult’s wings are spread, they are between twenty-two and twenty-five feet in spread. Women come in a little smaller, at 4’5” and with a wingspan closer to twenty feet. This small size, along with their hollow bones and cartilage plates rather than teeth in their mouths, allow the akora and akoru both to fly for long distances, especially in areas where ground-thermals rise. Akora tend to be more slightly built as a rule, which gives them a speed advantage. But for precision and spatial awareness, the Akoru will always have the upper hand. Either Akora or Akoru people can easily outdo most humans in spatial awareness. With brains geared for flight in crowded enviroments, both akora and akoru have reflexes that few other species can match without some sort of advantage. Which is a good thing, because in a bare-knuckle fight a heavier species can very easily shatter fragile Akora or Akoru bones. These people were built for swift attack, not a boxing ring.

Built for soaring flight, the two races have similar abilities to see long distances, though their eyesight is missing some colors from the human spectrum. They’re also uniquely gifted in the magical arts, and nearly every akora and half of the akoru population have an innate tendency towards magic. 



Internal Organization And Customs

The society of the country reflects the division between the two dominant religions and ideologies. The country is strictly segregated between black-winged and white-winged folk in all but the merchantile areas, with humans allying themselves as tribes under one of the two groups. The Akoru are organized in seven clans, and insulting one of them is deemed an insult to the clan itself. This means that when an unwary person picks a fight with an akoru in a pub, thinking that they can break a few bird bones without much trouble, they may end up with ten akoru carrying rapiers taking the insult out of their hide. 

The capital of Burnithak is Dulshana, an intricate city designed as three concentric circles built around a hill. The three circles are known as the First Tier, Second Tier and Third Tier. In the white-stucco and gold First Tier at the top of the hill, the Palace resides among the homes of the great and the good, the rich and the white winged. The Second Tier, painted in every shade of blue, is the home of merchants and craftsmen. This is the area where the most mixing occurs: everyone needs to buy bread. In the lowest, brown Third Tier, unpleasant tasks such as tanning, soap-making and slaughter occur, and those with little money must live. Badly built structures hang over the narrow streets of the lowest Tier, making flight difficult. There are only four gates from the Third Tier into the Second, and the guards turn away those who appear too impoverished or too sickly to enter the merchants' Tier. 
The winged folk prefer order and regimen in many areas of life.

Gender relations are as carefully controlled as species relations. In the Akoru religion, women have a duty to support, obey and bear strong children to their husbands. As the man is expected to defend the home from visible enemies, women are expected to defend the home from pestilence and famine. There is a strong sense that women should devote themselves to nursing the weak, caring for the home and the children they will bear, and nothing else.

The white-winged ladies are in a similar situation. They are expected to embody virtuous fertility and piety. An Akora woman is expected to act as the kind hearts to the household in which their male counterparts are the heads. Neither race allows women to own substantial property in their own names.
Same-sex relations are found to be a perversion of nature, and deeply frowned upon. Foreigners can do what they like in Burnithak, but anyone falling under Dulshana’s law will pay a price in lashes or plucked pin feathers for being found to act ‘unnaturally’. Foreigners who encourage what’s seen as immoral behavior are deported.