The Yilgez


The Yilgez are the majority people of Kurgal, and are nearly synonymous with the grey-skinned species of the same name.  Although called Kurgal by outsiders, the Yilgez themselves prefer to call their homeland Duryilgar, its name prior to its fracturing centuries ago.  

Although common belief holds that the Yilgez came South from Umbigal in an unattested migration, the Yilgez themselves believe that they were made by the Carver, an artistic god seeking to create his own land and people.  The faith holds that Duryilgar (here referring to the common name for Kurgal and Kapo before they split), was carved from a faceless rock with great precision and intention.  They further believe that this process was repeated with the creation of the stone-faced yilgez, born deep within the caverns of Duryilgar’s mountains.  They clawed their way to the surface, and quickly scattered throughout its valleys and mountains.  There they found many different species of plant and animal, not created by the Carver but instead adopted to populate his creation.  The one exception to this are Duryilgar’s Aspen groves, which are treated as sacred by the Yilgez and believed to represent the Carver’s first act of creating life.

Aspens are sacred to the Yilgez, and to harm any part of one is seen as a terrible offense. (Source)

Acts of creative expression are very important to the Yilgez, and are believed to bring them closer to their creator spiritually.  The most important and ritualized of these acts is the tattooing of the face during the transition to adulthood.  Yilgez children spent much of their early years designing these tattoos, and receive them during the transition to adulthood.  The tattoos can be any color, literal or abstract, their meaning unique to each individual. Further body modifications such as piercings are also common throughout their lives.

The Yilgez are predominantly sedentary.  Stone homes with thatched roofs dot the countryside, and log cabins are dispersed throughout the mountains.  Crop farming is practiced where possible in Duryilgar’s arid valleys, making use of several durable plants, and is supplemented by pastoralism along the mountains.

Hunting is also important to the Yilgez, and serves as another supplemental source of food.  In stark contrast to the many nomadic peoples who surround them, the Yilgez prefer to hunt and fight on foot, in war making extensive usage of lightly armored skirmishers wielding javelins.  Many of the tactics used by the Yilgez in hunting are also used in war, and therefore learning to hunt is seen as an important part in a warrior’s upbringing, especially amongst the nobility.

Javelins are widely used by the Yilgez for hunting, sport, and war, and are often seen as symbolic of them. (Source)

The Yilgez are an isolated people, a reality reflected by the mountainous terrain of their homeland.  Although nominally claimed by Umbigal’s Empire, any Yilgez would balk at claims of imperial citizenship.  Local nobles call themselves kings, and their people do not see themselves as of Umbigal, but of Duryilgar.  Their faith holds that they are tied to the land by virtue of a shared creator, and to lose that connection would be to lose themselves.