The Tll-Ikish are a tribal people. They came from the north 1500 years ago to escape overcrowding, and displaced the aborigines. There are 19 tribes, some larger than others. About 9 of them have settled in the fertile river area. Here they have learned to garden leeks, peppers, garlic, and onions. later on they will harvest wheat, sorghum, and alfalfa. The tribes are led a chief, who selects two or three males from other families to be his right hand men. Leadership is hereditary, and only males can lead a tribe.
Tribal war is not uncommon among the Tll-Ikish. Usually these last for about six weeks, have a very low casualty rate, and are ended when one chief submits to the others demands (which are usually trifling). War is more about taking prisoners than killing, and is usually started over something petty, like a stolen goat or an insult to a right hand man's family.
Despite their tribal nature, the Tll-Ikish have a strong ethnic identity, and quickly ally one another to meet an external threat. For example, while they have strict inter-tribal rules on the treatment of Tll-Ikish prisoners of war, they show no qualms about sadistically abusing aboriginal ones.
Pre-civilized Tll-Ikish, wore a cotton robe, and maybe a thin hide overcoat. Chiefs and other high-ups might have colorful scarves, usually a patterned blue with maybe a few extra colors. They go barefoot, having not yet invented the sandal. At this point women's and men's dress is basically the same
At this stage they have both copper and tin, but haven't yet learned to make bronze. Most of their tools are either made out of wood or obsidian. They have no contact with any beasts of burden.
Regional plants include palm trees, fig trees, apricot trees, pear trees, cedar trees, cypress trees, sagebrush, and various orchids, as well as some rock mosses. River plants include algae (some of which is edible), lilies, wheat, sorghum, alfalfa, cattails, and one or two other reedy plants. Animals include coyotes, foxes, eagles, vultures, gerbils, wildcats, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, quails, owls, swifts, pigeons, toads, tortoises, lizards (including gila monsters), vipers, shrews, (venomous) spiders, bees, ants, grasshoppers, and a strange creature called a niqus that is to a starfish what a tortoise is to a turtle. River animals include a small population of riverfish, snails, crocodiles, antelope, hyraxes, hedgehogs, boars, and anteaters.
All Tll-Ikish shepherds carry a "ku'hih", a knobkierrie. This they use to guide their herd, to ward off threats like coyotes and wildcats, and as a last resort weapon. Many also carry a knife. In war, they are more likely to use obsidian spears and knives, atlatl javelins, and slings.
The Tll-Ikish religion is a complex subject, so I will simplify and expound upon the subject a later day. There are 5 major gods and about 16 minor ones. They were birthed by the Father Sun and the Mother Water just the same as humans, and as such should be worshiped only when they deserve it. The Tll-Ikish also believe in "Yunhhu-Ikish". This could be translated as ghosts or spirits, but those Tll-Ikish who are fluent in English almost unanimously insist on angels as the proper translation. Almost all Tll-Ikish claim to either have had a personal experience with a Yunhhu-Ikish, who they claim have their own society just like humans. They are aloof, unpredictable, ethereal beings. Coming into contact with one can be both enlightening and dangerous.
When a Tll-Ikish dies, they believe their spirit leaves their soul and is compelled to set out on a great journey to the north, to Deathcave, the hub between the land of the dead, the land of the angels, and the land of the Ikish. There, they are judged by Hhllus, Lord Gila Monster, the god of death. If Hhllus finds the spirit unworthy, he eats him. If he is worthy, he may either walk down to the land of the dead, or may live on earth for 60 more years, able to observe the world but not directly interact with it, so as to learn what they couldn't in life. After that point, the spirit goes back to Hhllus, and may make the same choice again (though it is best not to try Hhllus' paitience by staying too long). Many spirits do decide to stay on Earth, and there are entire spirit villages and societies just like ours.
Relations to the AboriginesEdit
The Tll-Ikish are the new people in the desert. Further south lie the aborigines, who the Tll-Ikish call the Drs-Ikish, and who are divided into hundreds of tribes, all sharing one language family seperate from the Tll-Ikish. The Drs-Ikish are intensely xenophobic: almost every encounter between them and the Tll-Ikish has been hostile. Thus, little information about them is available at present