Eshtari have brown skin, large wide set grey eyes and long tangled manes of dreadlocks. Clothing is light, typically white or tan, and eshtari often go barefoot. Eshtari have very little body hair on their smooth, tan skin. Warriors typically fight with bladed staffs and wear light versions of leather, scale mail, ring mail and chest plates. Goatees are common with the men. Women are renowned for their beauty.
A typical eshtari male.
The ehstari are a very bright, vibrant and active people. They are optimists, generally happy and easy going. They take life one day at a time. In general, the eshtari dislike rules, bureaucracy and formal proceedings.
The eshtari worship a single god named Vadalahaj - Lord of the Esh. Esthtari have one main religious festival called Dalahajin once a year, in early spring, which lasts nine days. It is celebrated in every town and village.
Not many eshtari have great magical ability. Less than 1 in 5000 choose to pursue arcane study (compared to the human average of 1 in 2500). Only a handful of skilled sorcerers can be found throughout all of Eshtari. Perhaps the eshtari are too laid-back for the disciplined study needed to master magic.
The coastal cliffs of Eshtar are rich with white sandstone. The eshtari mine this stone in great quantities. This stone is used in some eshtari architecture. Their land has very little iron. The only metal mined from this area is copper.
Metal weapons are rare and highly sought after in Eshtar. Noble eshtari often show off their wealthy be wearing copper jewelry, copper weapons and even copper breast plates.
Esthar is on the south western coast of Aggradar. Eshtar is mostly coastal grasslands and rolling hills. Eshtari is swept by seasonal storms each spring. It has warm, dry summers and autumns and cool rainy winters.
The eshtarr dwell in many small farming communities along the coast. These communities average less than 1000 in size and are generally non-mobile.
There are no racial subdivisions within the eshtari.
Eshtar, the spoken and written language of these people, is a distinctive, rapidly spoken tongue with an energetic rhythm and rhyme that many find pleasing to listen to. Eshtar consists of long, graceful sweeps and curves written from right to left.
Eshtari music is very lively. Percussion and rhythm are more important than melody. A combination of large wooden drums, steel drums and wood xylophones. Taiko drumming.
The eshtari have good trade relations its neighbors and exports much upine fruit, copper metalcraft, sandstone carvings .
The Importance of the Upine Palm Tree
In Eshtar, there grows a tree called the Upine tree. The upine is an extremely tall tree with cluster of leaves and fruit and sap at the top. They grow by the tens of thousands in the Eshtarian land. It is a hugely important part of their diet and lifestyle. Trained men climb trees with special harnesses. The tree provides sap, fruit, huge fronds, bark, wood, and roots. Every part of the tree is used. The tree is almost sacred to the Eshtari. One caste, the upine harvesters, are responsible for climbing and harvesting the trees. Another caste, the upine caretakers, are older men, usually former harvesters, who are responsible for replanting.
Upine fruit is very refreshing. From harvesting upines, the eshtari acquire lumber, rope, cloth, string and twine, nets, thatch, drink, food, firewood and perfume. The roots, boiled, make a pain killing tea. Nothing is wasted.
After eating the juicy outer flesh of the upine fruit, the hard woody core is buried for six months. Once it sprouts, some are allowed to grow while other are dug up as food. The cores are roasted and eaten. The sprouts are boiled and eaten.
Eshtari fisherman are skilled sailors. They sail in reed boats made from the upine tree. The ocean to the west of Eshtar is known as the Koramandu Sea to the Eshtari. Net mending is an ancient skill practiced by the fishermen in community groups. It is tradition that sailors carry a ball of rock and mud with them to remind the boat to find land again.
1. Using large nets dragged behind boats.
2. Huge nets over a mile long drag the ocean floor and pull up lots of food. Requires about 50 men and 5 hours for one drag. The poor can find work pulling nets. These huge floor dragging nets bring in sardines, crabs and shrimp, mackerel, prawns. The catch is divided among the pullers and the net owner.
3. Small nets that you drag behind you with a wooden frame. For catching smaller crabs, a species unique to that area.
Much of their architecture (town walls, homes of the wealthy, public buildings) are made with the white sandstone. Most common buildings (peasants homes, taverns, inns, shops) are made of upine lumber and thatched roofs.
The eshtari harvest byssus silk from a specis of giant oysters. This thick, glossy, black thread-like material is remarkably strong and lightweight. The eshtari use it in clothing, rope, nets and armor.
The eshtari tame dogs, keep monkeys as pets and use a variety of llama native to the region as pack animals. The eshtarin jaquar is often tamed as pets and used in hunting and war.
The eshtari use oxen who pull carts for transporting heavy loads. They have more llamas than horses, but for the Jau'Ryn elite warriors, the nobles and the clergy, horses are available.
Inheritance follows paternal bloodlines. Most internal transaction in eshtari society involves trade and barter. There is no state currency and debt and credit are personal, informal matters resolved between friends.
Men and women in eshtari society share the workload equally but traditionally do different kinds of work. Men fish, hunt, make war and tend the upine trees. Women cook, clean, make repairs, raise the children and tend various other crops. It is a patriachial society and, in most matters, men are superior.
Marriage system is polygamous. A husband may take as many as six wives depending on his wealth.
When guests come to town, the host offers his wifes for them to pleasure themselves. The guests are usually expected to reciprocate with their women as well.
The man works, the wives tend the household and teach the children.
The birth of a child is accompanied by a large social gathering in which friends, family and even neighbors celebrate the new life. The closest friends and family each bestow a gift upon the new child. Such parties usually begin at dusk and continue until dawn.
A typical eshtari family will have between 2 and 6 children. Larger families are common. Children learn traditional skills from the parents and grandparents. Girls are taught gardening, herbalism, cooking, sewing, dancing and traditional eshtari song. Boys are taught fishing, hunting, woodworking and the crafts. Trade and craft skills are passed down from father to son. The son of a fisherman almost always grows up to be fisherman. Only the wealthy can afford to have their children schooled in the fine arts of reading, writing, history, religion and magic.
The dead are mourned in a celebration of life of the departed. This celebration involves a full day of feasting, dancing and remembering the dead. The size of such a death fest varies depending on the number of family and friends of the deceased.
Each eshtari citizen has a single personal name. However, their full name is given in three parts. Eshtari men give their personal name, their father's name and their grandfather's name. Eshtari women give their personal name, their mother's name and their grandmother's name. In most day to day circumstances, only the first part, the personal name, is used.
This society is divided into castes - that is, occupational specialties. Every person is expected to specialize in one thing and do it very well. The castes form a social pecking order. There is a definite ranking to the castes based on the difficulty of the skills involved. In order from lowest rank to highest, the castes are:
The eshtari have a surprisingly unregulated political system. They have no central government and no sense of national unity. It is only race and religion and tradition that binds these people together. They govern themselves by region. Each province tends to itself. Each town and village supports itself. This tends to isolate the eshtari somewhat. However, villages and towns always come to each others aid.
There is a special class of fighters among the esthari. These are known as the rojin. They are the elite paladin warriors of the eshtari. They wear precious metal armor, wield bladed staves and use martial arts. They are virtuous, noble, honorable and brave. They are somewhat related to the faith as they often pray, attend religious gatherings, serve the priests and more. The rojin are excellent warriors. They have special duties - guard the High Council, etc.
Saralla has a grand celebration once each year in mid-summer called Upine-Kar. It is a celebration of the upine tree and its great cultural importance. It is held at Saralla, the largest town of Eshtar. This celebration is centered around a single upine tree which is planted in a large wooden tub and wheeled about the city upon a wagon for one week. At the end of the week, the tree is taken to the next largest town and the celebration moves with it. Each town, in turn, celebrates for one week when the tree arrives. After the tree has visited every town of significant size, it is taken back to Saralla and planted along the Avenue of Years with all previous celebration upine trees.
This website was last updated October 5, 2021. Copyright 1990-2021 David M. Roomes.