“The path of the Gecko ” – A guide to the Jahmori Gecko clan inhabiting a remote jungle basin in south central Vasniss.
The Jahmori Gecko clan inhabits an extremely rich and fertile jungle basin known as “the crater of plenty” which is near the source of the Ssaliktor River, overlooked by the peaks of Sas-Ketah. The jungle basin itself is a source of many tropical fauna and flora as well as jade and many other gemstone deposits.
The Jahmori have inhabited this area for as long as any race can remember and their existence in this area is a mystery to most races as the human populations on this continent are made up of only immigrants. The Jahmori have explained this in their myths which revolve around their primary deity – Llahgorah (The divine lizard – a god of temperance and fertility). The myths are passed down by word of mouth through generations and start with Llahgorah carrying his people away on his back from a great cataclysm across the sea. The elders say that Llahgorah swam across the great ocean and up to the source of the great Ssaliktor River to deposit his people where they would be safe – always. He guided them to settle in the Crater of Plenty and the Jahmori have flourished ever since. The clan now numbers upwards of 500 members.
The people of the Jahmori Gecko clan lead a secluded, highly traditional lifestyle based stringently on what they call ” The path of the Gecko “. This revolves mainly around how chieftains are selected. When the current chieftain is nearing the end of his 100 moon rulership period all young men must leave the tribe for a full 20 moons and quest to find any knowledge and resources to help the clan prosper. Upon returning to the clan the candidates gather the following spring and are judged by the elders of the clan according the gifts they bring back, this is viewed as a rite of passage and also serves to determine future status in the clan. Only the best candidates are then selected to face Llahgorah’s challenge :- The candidates must head into the dark heart of the crater and find the egg of the Gorah lizard (An extremely rare species of lizard only living in the crater about the size of the komodo dragon, many Jahmori believe this creature to be the incarnation of Llahgorah). This is an extremely dangerous quest as the dark heart of the crater is inhabited by many species of poisonous reptile as well as many much feared mutant lizard men.
Once an egg has been found it must be taken back to the clan and preparations for the Great Gorah’aan festival begin. The festival is the conclusion of the current chieftainship, the beginning of a new clan leadership era and fertility ceremony all in one, and is the most holy festival of all for the Jahmori.
The Gorah’aan festival is a ten day long festival where the gorah egg is slowly heated over a fire in the great chamber for the duration of the celebrations until the climax when the gorah hatches. All prospective chieftains line the walls of the great chamber waiting for the hatching and may not move until the newly hatched gorah lizard has touched one of them, who then becomes the next chieftain. This symbolises the “shedding of skin” for the tribe and is believed amongst the Jahmori that this ceremony is how Llahgorah selects the next king.
The old chieftain must then take the hatchling back to the dark heart. Llahgorah then passes judgement on the ex-chieftain through his gorah lizards – if the chieftain has ruled justly they leave him alone (possibly only marking him as blessed) or if his reign was unjust or evil they will devour him to punish him for his actions. This symbolises the tribe “losing its tail” and serves as a deterrent to unjust rule. This is the path of the gecko and is how it has always been.
The tribes people live according to rules governed by the path and have many smaller cultural traditions all linked to the “divine lizard”. The gorah lizards seem to have a mutualistic relationship with the Jahmori as its eggs require fire to hatch and due to its rarity and very prolonged mating rituals and gestation periods this leads to a small sustainable population of gorahs in the crater. (Coming soon stats for the gorah and mutant lizardmen of the crater of plenty).
As to the history and politics of the Jahmori nation, the Jahmori are a peaceful nation who have had only minor contact to the outside world and only ever clashed with the snake-people of Vasniss. The coming of the Onyx Empire to Vasniss found the Jahmori in a perfect place to trade with the Giss and due to their bias towards all things lizardly the Jahmori immediately made peace and accepted protection from the Onyx Empire. With the lucrative gemstones, jade and medicinal herbs trade heading up-river into the empire, Jahmori – Onyx relations are on an all time high and the Jahmori have of late experienced a huge boom in technology and knowledge. They are up to date the only human population to have herds of war trained land dragons and now even have an elite unit of mounted warriors working within the emperors legions.
This article was initially published XX November MMII