The Assi are, according to popular myth, a collection of savage raider tribes located in the Nie Valley. This is, however, a misguided view at best. The Assi have deep connections with nature and are a very spiritual people. Their history and legends span centuries, while technologically they are not as advanced as the peoples of Arangoth and most territories to the west, but hold to a primitive way of life.
|Country of Origin:||Arangoth|
|Significant Populations:||Nie River Valley|
|Major Religion:||Assi Religion|
Behind the Name
'Assi' is most likely the name of one of the original tribes that settled the Nie River Valley that came to be applied to the entire group as an exonym, or the name an ethnic group calls itself. There is no known recording of the names of the original tribes that inhabited the valley to prove this theory, however.
In Arangothek, 'as' is a prefix (as in 'aspro', the raven) which refers to flight. Meanwhile, 'si' or 'sin' translates to 'together'.
Three theories have evolved regarding the origins of the Assi. In the first, the Assi are descended from a fierce tribe from across the sea called the Ta'Vaoi. The savagery of the Ta'Vaoi (being mainly a race of fierce warriors) could have possibly led to the many unsavory rumors surrounding the Assi. The second theory is that the Assi are descended from a race known as the Uresti, a tribe from what is now southern Aslar. The Uresti migrated north after famine in their original homelands forced them out. Finally the third, and most practical theory, is that somewhere along the line the Uresti and Ta'Vaoi met and mingled blending into the modern Assi society and settling in the Nie Valley.
From the union of the sons of one tribe and the daughters of the other, twelve new tribes were born. The Orussi, Kalathasi, Thorvasi and Arassi would ultimately settle the northern area of the valley. The Borusi, Venthine, Kintassi, and Umnsasi would settle the south, while the Trelvasi, Ylassi, Marousi, and Meiassi made the central area of the valley their home. Rumor has it that a thirteenth tribe once existed, but disappeared into the Elgar Forest and was never heard from again. The presence of a thirteenth tribe (Trí Déag) is regarded as little more than folklore.
Main Article: Assi Language
The basics of Assi grammar, Assi vocabulary, and useful phrases for those dealing with the tribesmen.
An average tribesman stands anywhere between 5'8" to 6' tall, regardless of gender. Though the overall appearance of an Assi varies from tribe to tribe, young warriors generally have a light and lean muscular build, with fair skin as well as hair. Eye color ranges from grey, to brown and green, or to a hazel shade that encompasses any combination of the aforementioned shades. Blue eyes and dark hair are both very unusual among the Assi.
The Assi have a primitive (by Arangothian standards), yet detailed system of laws which covers topics such as marriage, property, war, and the election of tribal leaders (the closest word in the Assi dialect is the word for king). The system is not written, but like the majority of their traditions, it is oral and handed down like their legends and lore by Mystics, or Ietsai (IT-sah) from one generation to the next.
The Assi also have a rigid class system into which one is born. Some classes wield more power than others but each one is given equal respect as they all fill an important role in tribal society. These classes are generally divided into two groups. The Seai (SEE-aye) or common tribesmen, and the Torai (TH-or-aye) or chieftains. The Ietsai are their own class, but observe rights similar to those of the Torai. The Seai are often farmers, herdsmen, and huntsmen. The Torai are the chieftains, warriors, skilled craftsmen and builders, and some scholars argue, the Ietsai.
Main Article: Assi Religion
The Assi legends and rituals are oral. Because of this it is difficult to find intact written versions regarding the history of their religion and any legends or myths. The bulk of the information here has been obtained from interviews with several Ietsai, or Assi mystics--a difficult task when considered how secretive they are with their rituals regarding outsiders.
See also: Assi Artifacts
The Creation Myth
Main Article: The Assi Creation Myth
The following legends are more or less accurate recordings (some changes have been made in the translations) from interviews with Assi mystics by Serisious Blendwythe, Scholar of History and Culture at the Arangothian Royal University, and trusted friend and advisor to King Kytharni daei'Cyasmai of Thorvasi. Completed on the Tenth Day of Sun's Dawn, in the year of 468.
War has also evolved into an art form of sorts in Assi culture. Before, during, and after battle several rituals are performed. Single combat is also common. In fact, many disputes are resolved in such a manner, whereby each party involved names its best warrior as a representative. This is contrary to the Arangothian notion that war involves armies on a large scale, but keeps the casualties down and allows tribal life to continue smoothly (i.e. a large depopulation of warriors results in a lack of organization and possible famine and other catastrophes). Assi warriors have a deep sense of honor as well; war and combat are governed by laws similar to those of marriage and property. Breaking any of those laws is a severe offence and disgrace for any warrior. Many would rather die than be shunned by their fellow tribe members. Fostering is also a common practice among the Assi, whereby children are exchanged among warrior families and trained in order to strengthen alliances.