The Songari


The Songari, sometimes pronounced Sothgarin in their own tongue, are the people of Umbigal‘s East, living amongst great canyons and red sands. Although descended from the same voyage as the rest of Umbigal’s people, the Songari are quite isolated, practicing their own culture and speaking in dialects distinct from those used in the West.

Many outsiders who venture through the central realms of the Songari leave with the impression that they are nomadic. They see people living in great tents made from sturdy textiles, farming hardy, quick-growing crops while constantly moving from one patch of arable land to the next, and assume that their lives are similar to the pastoralist Ruki of Umbigal’s West.

This is only part of the story, however, for hidden in the canyon walls are thriving communities filled with people and trade. These communities are connected to aquifers that refill during the Flooding Season, allowing for year long inhabitance, in addition to periods of cycling occupancy by semi-nomadic farmers. Political power tends to emanate from these towns and cities, with the nobles that rule them also serving as ladies and lords for the connecting lands. Although control of the urban center is most important to a noble’s rule, it is also vital that they maintain a connection with the rest of their lands, lest they lose legitimacy in the eyes of the people.


Most of the Songari are of the nassu species, who have light skin streaked with dark patches the color of desert varnish. The skin between these dark patches is almost always colored with pigments, often ochres, giving the Songari people as a whole an intensely colorful appearance. The frequency with which this practice is performed has led to the phrase “the color of a nassu” to be used when referring to an unknowable secret, for it is rare to see a Songari who has not painted themself.

(Source) Songari often carry several pots of various pigments in travel, both for self-decoration and the performance of certain rituals.

Unlike the Lu’egal and Ruki in the West, the Songari are entirely resistant to any form of imperial rule, seeing Umbigal’s empires as alien entities, completely foreign to their own society. Attempts of imperial conquest come from both the West and the East, with Umbigal’s empires seeing the land as a natural extension of its own, and Ithri city-states frequently laying claim to the land in an attempt to regain a lost glory from the past. The strait separating the Red Desert serves as a border between these two spheres of influence, but it has not separated the Songari, who remain as one.