Dark Days in Sion
Katanese have yellow-hued skin, but are usually more tanned then Caishians. Their hair and eyes are almost always dark, with exceptions frowned upon as ‘impure blood’. Men can grow beards but not usually of any great length until they grow old. Samurai in service to a lord always keep their hair tied in a top-knot.
Katanese are fiercely independent, often to the point of Xenophobia. They will never submit to a foreign ruler, a fact the Emperor of Caishia learned to his dismay 2,500 years ago when his armies were tossed back into the sea.
Katanese are born survivors, a pragmatic and warlike people. They only respect life that has a purpose, and are thus quite hard-working and industrious. They also appreciate self-discipline, respect, and honor above all.
Women in Katanese culture are treated respectfully, but not quite as equals. It is unheard of for a woman to be a lord, although some lords are known to be ruled by their wives. Women are forbidden to serve a lord as samurai, but some are known to take up the sword as ronin, or master-less mercenaries, fighting battles for coin instead of honor.
Katanese appear highly reserved and respectful towards strangers, but are known to carouse quite roughly with those they know well and consider their equals. Their favorite drink is rice-wine, or ‘sake’, best served warm. It has a mellow taste and is thus easily underestimated for its potency.
Katanese; Verbal and Written. Katanese is a symbolic language similar to Caishian. It doesn’t use a traditional alphabet. Instead each word has a symbol. Few Katanese bother to learn foreign languages unless they are traders or explorers.
Ari Period – 3,500 years ago
Primitive Katanese lived in wood stilt houses or pit dwellings and wore furs as weaving was still unknown at the time. They were capable of making rope and pottery. Having next to no contact with demihumans on their storm-tossed islands the ancient Katanese were independent and proud, fiercely territorial and self reliant, to the point of xenophobia.
With the advent of writing, weaving, metal working and rice farming, quality of life on the islands grew considerably better. The Katanese were the first people to work with Iron and steel, which made superior tools and weapons.
Taku Period – 2,500 years ago
The islands did not have a central government or emperor until the very end of the Taku Period. Instead there were dozens of warlords, largely in conflict with each other. It wasn’t until the Caishi Emperor invaded that they united under their own emperor.
Zoku Period – 1,500 years ago
The Zoku period saw the formation of strong military states, each concentrated around powerful clans. Traditional, political and economic practices were now organized through a rationally structured government apparatus that legally defined functions and precedents. Lands were surveyed and registered with the state. A powerful new aristocracy emerged. This aristocracy controlled the state supported by taxes and slave labor.
The government built great public works, including government offices, temples, roads and irrigation systems.
Having cut their teeth against the Caishian invaders, Katanese Samurai were all too eager to bring the fight to them and so they invaded Caishi. The Katanese invasion was more successful then that of the Caishian, but their armies were also much smaller and they had no hope of spreading very far onto the Caishi continent.
Towards the end of the Zoku period, the Angul Empire began to spread across Sion and war was soon declared with the Islands of Katan. No further expansion was possible as the Katanese were put on the defensive from then on.
Kusa Period – 500 years ago