The culture of the Isharan Eisharat – also known as the Kingdom of Ishara – is a fusion of founding cultures of the original Isharan colony in addition to the cultural influences of conquered and allied worlds. With a history steeped in tradition, the Isharan culture is closely tied to the original world of Ishara and the first settled world Jawhira. With links to earth’s Islamic, Indian, Pacific Islander, and African cultures, the traditions of Ishara pull from these influences and meld together to form a diverse and textured society.
Table of Contents
- 1 SOCIAL STRUCTURE
- 2 CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS
- 3 LANGUAGE
- 4 ARTS AND LITERATURE
Isharan society has evolved and developed from the foundations of the various cultures represented on the first colony ships to arrive at the original Isharan colony. With influences from Arabic, Indian, and African states, the modern Isharan society drew on each of these unique cultures to become something entirely original while at the same time possessing clear and intentional ties to the cultures that founded the massive star nation.
THE JABAL CASTE SYSTEM
An entrenched caste system drives social structure of the Isharan people with roots in the early history of Ishara itself. In the wake of observing the near destruction of their intended home as well as nearly dying in the vacuum of space, the Isharan people developed their hierarchy out of necessity. Surviving on rapidly deteriorating starships, Isharans organized themselves in what started as military structure that slowly became hereditary. Parents would train children to do their jobs, and a sense of community grew into a larger sense of family. By the modern era, the Isharan people center their cultures around the great families – or Eisharats – that rule the semi-nomadic fleets that roam Isharan territory.
Termed the Jabal Caste System – Jabal meaning “Mountain” in Old Isharan – the modern hierarchy takes its name from its structure. At the peak, the great heads of the family – the Usara – head their Eisharat and stand proud. However, they are only as mighty as the lesser ranks that support them, and that structure is deeply ingrained into the Isharan mindset. The metaphor has intertwined itself into the culture as much as the rank system. However, despite its seemingly noble metaphor, the Jabal caste system has been a tool for numerous atrocities in Isharan history and it appears backward to many outsiders.
Meaning “family” in Old Isharan, the Usara are the highest ranking members of Isharan Eisharats. Considered “blood” members of the great houses, these are the direct descendants of the royal houses that have formed over the ages. Usara are denoted by facial and hand tattoos that mark their family name, and they are adorned with the Oracle rings of their great house – tools used to unlock the navigational computers of the great dreadnoughts at the heart of the Eisharat fleets.
As the highest ranking individuals in the Isharan culture, Usara have the shortest name format of any of the ranks – taking the format of Title, Given Name, Eisharat Name. Their title often centers around their role in the family. Eisharim’s are the head of the household – either matriarchal or patriarchal – while the Amir (a gender-neutral title for a prince or princess) serve as the envoys or deputies of the Eisharim. Other titles include the Saer’fiin – the non-military head of the family fleet, the Na’biin – the religious head of the family, and the Ra-jin – the non-military head of the family army – among many others.
Most Usara achieves their rank by birth or marriage into an existing Usara circle. However, in very rare instances, the Eisharim of the Eisharat can raise a member of a lower caste to the level of Usara. This “adoption” is a deeply ritual driven ceremony where marrow of one of the existing Usara (of a compatible type) is transferred into the individual to be adopted. The donor Usara gives up “the bones of my body, the blood of my veins” to bring the new member into the royal house and into the innermost circle of the family in a very intimate and private event. While the specific source of this tradition is unknown, many outside scholars assume it is tied to frequent bone marrow transplants the Isharans endured during the early days of their extended lives in space.
Just below the Usara are the Oh’anja. Derived from the Hawaiian word for family, it is more commonly translated as “friend of the family” in the Old Isharan tongue. These individuals maintain close ties to the family and serve in prominent roles within the Eisharat. More often than not, senior politicians, commanders, and scientist will be recognized for their contributions to the Eisharat by elevation to the Oh’anja caste. It is important to note, that Oh’anja titles are not hereditary and the individual contributions of a member of the Eisharat is the only way to achieve the status of Oh’anja.
The second highest ranking members of the Eisharat form their names as an amalgamation of their own family name, the Eisharat family name, their title, and the role they serve. The format follows Title, Given Name, Lower Family Name, Eisharat Name. Titles for Oh’ana are largely ceremonial or tightly linked with their military role. Admirals will take the title Rayiys, “Master” in Old Isharan while a politician might take the title Almasnin or “Elder.” An example of a Tamerlane politician would be “Almasnin Rajin Kadar Tamerlane.”
Oh’anja are fairly uncommon titles amongst the Eisharats. Frequently individuals deserving of the title are instead offered a permanent adoption into the family so that his children may enjoy the position. However, certain families will require the status of Oh’anja be received before that individual is considered for Usara status. Regardless, the Oh’anja are greatly respected among the Eisharats and frequently carry out political and military duties in the name of the Great Family they serve.
Taken directly from the Arabic meaning “Neighbor”, the Aljiran are considered the nobility of the great Eisharats. With many hereditary titles that are passed from parents to children, the Aljiran are often owners of at least several ships in the great fleet with some of the higher Aljiran commanding small fleets of their own.
As with the Oh’anja, the Aljiran take their surname from the Usara family they serve. In the case of the Aljiran, however, the lower family name and the Eisharat name are separated by “Khadim,” meaning servant to. Consequently, their name takes the form of Title, Given name, Lower Family Name Khadim Eisharat Name. As for the titles held by the Aljiran, they follow the titles of the western European powers of old earth closely. Ranks such as Duq, Albarun, and Faris mimic the titles of Duke, Baron, and Knight among traditional monarchies. However, these ranks are further supplemented by profession-specific titles such as Mustashar for the political ranks and Batal for the notable members of the military. These supplemental ranks are not hereditary but are often used as springboards for the children of notable Aljiran.
Where the upper casts form the backbone of the Isharan leadership, the Kathra – meaning “multitude” – is where the bulk of the Isharan people find their place in society. Soldiers, doctors, teachers, and workers of the great fleets are among the Kathra caste. The Kathra are almost always subordinate to a ranking Aljiran family and serve that family as well as the larger Eisharat to which they owe their fielty.
In the case of the Kathra, the people pull their name from their Usara family as well as the Aljiran or Oh’anja family they serve. In their case, their name is in the form of their Given Name, Nuclear Family Name, Aljiran Family Name Khadim Eisharat name. When appropriate, the Kathra will lead with a non-hereditary title appropriate for their job such as Doctor, Professor, etc. The Kathra – serving the many noble castes above them – will often serve in the military for a given period of time before starting their career, though many continue to serve the Greater Isharan military.
The Nasi are the lowest rank of the proper Isharan people. Meaning the “forgotten”, the Nasi are the outcasts of the great Eisharats. Exiled from the fleet under the Isharan justice code, the Nasi are relegated to the worlds – destined to work alongside the enslaved, indigenous populations of the conquered worlds.
The exiled members of the fleet find themselves among the Grou (see below) for various reasons – crimes against the Eisharat, failure to do one’s duty, murder, etc. – but the common thread among them is that their sentence (except on rare occasions) is for life. Despite having a position above the Grou in the hierarchy – with many Nasi serving as wardens of the planets – the Nasi are often viewed far more negatively among modern Isharan society. Upon their exile, Nasi abandons their family name. They are simply referred to as Nasi Given Name.
The Grou are a recent addition to the Isharan hierarchy and only became an officially recognized caste level one-hundred years ago under the reign of Eishatan Kau Tamerlane. Under his leadership, the conquest of the three-sphere nation – the Republic of Kashin – to Ishara’s galactic north – left the Eisharat with a huge, bitter, and embattled population. Looking to regulate and control the individuals, all freedoms to off-world access (except under close supervision) were outlawed. Entire populations were isolated to their planets. Shield walls were dismantled and the space elevators, spacecraft, and starships of the worlds were placed under direct Eisharat control, effectively placing the population at the mercy of the great fleets. Fear was used to subdue the planets and the atrocities of the Kashin Taming are a closely guarded secret among the Eisharat.
In the wake of this massive terrestrial imprisonment, the Eisharat chose to use exiled Nasi – hoping to earn favor with the Eisharat – as wardens of these worlds, naming the inhabitants “grounders” in the Isharan tongue. These grounders – or Grou – now serve the Eisharat. Only seeing the stars on the occasion when they are transferred to another planet, they are required to pay tribute to their ruling families often in the form of fuel for starships and raw materials for processing among other things. Beyond this tribute and interstellar isolation, Grou are allowed to maintain their own religions, maintain their own culture, and police their own state under the watch of the Nasi. However, despite this, the Human Continuity Project has deemed the state of the former Kashin Republic and treatment of Grou across the Isharan Eisharat as the largest, modern form of slavery and one of the biggest human rights violation in the galaxy.
The concept of family – as previously noted – is a vital part of Isharan culture. It is important to make the distinction between “Family” and “family”. In Isharan culture, the noun “family” has a duality that is distinct. One’s personal, blood-related family is as important as the collective family – the larger community – they serve.
CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS
The Isharan Eisharat follows a unified religion established in the decades following the arrival at Ishara. While the evolution of the modern Isharan religion was a slow and steady process, the shift from the conventional faiths such as Islam or Christianity began almost immediately. Over a “century aboard their colony ship had already started to meld the diverse cultures of the founding nationalities, and by planetfall, the Arabic, Polynesian, and African cultures had started to meld into a truly unique and original culture with a developing faith at the center of it.
THE MASARENE FAITH
The Masar – or “The Path” when translated from the Old Ishara – is the unofficial, state religion of the Isharan people (excluding the Grou). A nontheistic religion centered on ancestor veneration, the Masar faith is both a personal and public affair with elements tied closely to the various, contributing cultures of the original Isharan founders.
The faith itself has no central text or theological order. Instead, the faithful are all considered members of the faithful multitude, and individual interpretations of events and moments are considered part of one’s own path. Higher caste family members are given greater influence among the Masarene faithful of the Eisharat they serve, and some members of an Eisharat’s Kathra or even Aljiran will choose to serve in the holy orders that tend to the dead on the Manara (see below). Among each Eisharat’s Usara is the family Na’biin. The Na’biin – or religious head of the family – serves as both the caretaker of the family history and presides over the death rituals of any of the Eisharat’s Usara members. This individual often maintains a largely priestly order around them and establish much of the religious rules and doctrine around the Masarene faith in their Eisharat.
One common thread among the Isharans is the belief that stars represent a doorway into the next life. It was under the beating sun of Ishara that early Isharans died in the vast deserts of that world, and it is stars that continue to provide power to modern Isharan solar farms, space stations, and starships. This reliance on the stars paired with the Isharan views of ancestor worship to form a deep seeded belief that life both begins and ends with the stars. Consequently, the Isharans will often seek out stars as places of significance, and two stars hold a particularly important part in the Isharan pantheon – Sol and Iskara.
In the case of Sol, the star at the heart of humanity’s cradle is viewed as the holiest of gates – the gate through which the earliest ancestors passed. Isharans have even built – after petitioning the Intersystem Alliance government – a huge Manara (see below) in orbit of the ancient star which is visited by millions of Isharan pilgrims each year. Iskara – the massive red star at the heart of the Isharan home system – is considered the door where the first true Masarene passed. It too has a massive orbiting Manara that is not tied to any one house but viewed as a place of worship for all Isharans; and while these two stars hold special significance in the Isharan faith, all stars are revered and considered sacred among the Masarene faithful.
The Mudhakarat – meaning “Journal” – is a collection of texts that record the story of the Isharan ancestors and their arrival on the broken homeworld Ishara, their period of wandering and discovery on the desert world, and their eventual departure. Divided into three separate texts and a fourth subtext, the beat of the Mudhakarat is often seen to mimic the tempo of life. Its books – seen as stages in a cycle – are structured to remind the people of their history and to serve as a reminder of the finite nature of one’s own life and the life of humanity itself.
The “Arrival” is the first book of the Mudhakarat and chronicles (though decidedly more poetically than the historical records) the history of the Isharan people on their new homeworld. Including the history of the exodus from earth, the Wusul begins with the near destruction of the Isharan homeworld viewed from the Isharan colony ships many decades before their arrival on Ishara. This cataclysm is referred to by the Elder Iker Kader as the “Alwiladat min Khilal Almushaqa” – the “birth through hardship.” Viewed as an echo of birth itself, this violent act shaped Ishara’s harshness into a stone against which the Isharan people would sharpen themslselves – weapons against any hardship.
The Wusul then spends some time discussing the great ancestors of the past and their contributions during and after the exodus, establishing the foundations of the great Eisharat. There is the “Taming of the Desert” parable which teaches of the works by the Tamerlane’s early ancestors; the “Raising of the Bones” chronicles the construction of the great Temple Wreck formed from the back of one of the colony ships by the Kader family. These stories though shaped into myth by time are tied deeply in the actual history of Ishara itself, and their signficance in the culture has been a subject of many studies on modern religion.
The “Wandering” is the shortest book of the Mudhakarat but one of the most influential. Covering the half a century during which the Isharans struggled to take root on their dying world, the Tajul talks of the birth of the Masar faith and the understanding that Isharans came to develop with regards to family, personal history, and their place in a long line of ancestors.
Among its many stories, the first Alkhayt’iibra is chronicled in the parable of “The Passage of Ikeena.” In a time of famine in his outpost, Ikeena must brave the desert to reach the main settlement in order to recover supplies for his family. In the “Shephards Eye”, the Elder Iker Kader speaks to the to the then nameless moons of Ishara. He comes to know them as Khayt and Najud, the faces that light the night. Khayt teaches Iker of his importance to the community of Isharans while Najud speaks to his duty to his own family. The two ebb and pull at Iker through the night before vanishing leaving him alone in the sun. These stories would become the very foundation of the Isharan Masar faith in the centuries to come
The longest of the texts, the “Awakening” follows the story of the Isharans as they choose to return to the stars. A more clinical approach to the chronology of history, the Nahda holds important lessons learned as the early Isharans broke out into the space around their homeworld. Lessons learned about various star systems, paths through nebula, and charted wellsprings of resources are recorded in the Nahda. It is also in the Nahda where the wars of the Isharan people are recorded. Great warriors, leaders, and families leave their marks in the pages of the Nahda, serving as an inspiration to young Isharans on the greatness one can achieve by following the guidance of the Masar.
The final chapter of the Nahda stands in stark contrast to the tone of the rest of the book. Instead, it is often simply called the “Epilogue” or Alkhatimuh. Discussing death, the Alkhatimuh speaks to the rituals of death and their signficance not in serving gods but instead serving the memory of the individual. It is in the Alkhatimuh that the first mentions of the afterlife of the entire Mudhakara occur. In it, the writings – largely attributed to the elder Iker Kader – discuss the travel through the stars as threading the interstellar tapestry and expresses views that stars are the intersections of these threads – the points where the needle can travel through to the other side. These passages form the backbone of the solar worship practice by the Masarene. It is also here where the Manara are first discussed, serving to mark the passage of an individual into the next life.
THE KHAYT AND THE NAJUD
At the core of the Masar is an entrenched belief in one’s position within the family – past, present, and future. The Masar faith holds ancestral worship as a key tenant and pushes faithful towards finding their “Khayt” – their thread within the great tapestry of the family. The Khayt represents one’s personal Masar – the journey he or she takes and the thread they weave into the tapestry of the family – the “Najud. Masar teachings state that without their thread, an individuals family is weak. At the same time, a person must also understand the greater tapestry that is their family, where it has been, and the “pattern” they are weaving together. This duality in both individualism and collectivism is at the heart of the Isharans, who are fiercely independent and private people with outsiders, but very closely knit and loyal to their family group.
Modern theologians find that the “Khayt” and the “Najud” are tied loosely to Greek mythology. This unique element to the Masar faith – independent from the founding cultures – is attributed to the influence of Amir Mushar, one of the colony leaders in the early days of the Isharan founding and a Greek historian among his other skills. However, this theory has yet to be proven and other schools of thought have attributed this aspect of the Isharan faith to more metaphorical sources.
Regardless of the source, the Khayt and Najud are ingrained in all levels of the Isharan social structure. In modern Isharan culture, the Najud has adopted a dual meaning. Not only does one have loyalty to their family structures (including their Eisharats), but there is a growing, unified cultural identity that has seen the birth of the Isharan Najud, and a greater awareness of everyone’s place in the greater Isharan story.
The foundations of the Masar – like so many elements of the Isharan culture – are rooted in the hard times they faced upon their arrival at the near dead world of Ishara. Family units became tight social groups, and the actions of one individual could doom the group while the group could not survive without every individual. With an already inherent respect for ancestors among the cultures of Ishara’s founders, this tight-knit family group evolved over decades into a form of ancestral veneration that has become a cornerstone of the Masar Faith.
At the heart of this ancestral veneration are the Manara – or the “Icons.” The Manara – in the simplest definition of the term – are any object intended to mark the passage of an ancestor into the next life. Early Isharan Manara dot the landscape of the homeworld’s ancient deserts, where people – unable to contribute to the family anymore – would go to die. The place where their bodies collapsed would be marked with an etched stone structure denoting the individual, their family, and what they achieved during their life.
When the Isharans returned to space and began their more nomadic existence among their great roaming fleets, this process began to evolve into the development of hollowed-out asteroids meant to mimic the cultural signficance of early Manara. By the 3400s, Manara have become cultural and religious hubs of the Isharan families. Vast, orbital structures, the asteroids and planetoids from which they are hewn are hauled into close orbit of a star where they are shaped into temples to both ancestors as well as the family itself. They serve as the religious centers of the Masar priests, they house the memorials ot the family dead, and act as both the religious and political seat of the Eisharat. Modern Manara are constructed with powerful gravity beacons and even ansibles through which the family can be contacted and gathered at the Manara in times of distress, mourning, or celebration.
Manara – though different among all the Eisharats – almost always contain key spaces that are part of the various rituals of the Isharan faith. The entrance to the Manara serves as both a naval dock and testament to the power of the Eisharat to which the Manara belongs. Often framed in statues of the great members of the Eisharat,
The largest example of these structures, the Great Tamerlane Manara, hangs in close orbit of Ishara’s sun, Kujar. The orbit is locked with the orbit of Ishara proper, meaning the Manara forms a dot on the surface of the sun when viewed from the Isharan homeworld. Formed out a massive planetoid from the Isharan asteroid belt, the Tamerlane Manara is nearly 300km in diameter. Boasting a huge port for Tamerlane ships, a vast hall for the Tamerlane family meetings, and covered in stone carvings depicting the great events in the history of the family, the Great Tamerlane Manara is considered the finest example of modern Isharan orbital architecture.
The Alkhayt’iibra is the single most significant event in an Isharan child’s life. Translated as the “threading of the needle”, the event represents the coming of age ceremony for a child and the beginning of their own, personal journey. No specific age is dictated for the Alkhayt’iibra. Instead, children are required to choose when they will face the challenge, and some die during the event itself.
The largest gathering for the Alkhayt’iibra is on Ishara itself. This is where the tradition began – where children were required to show skills that would make them valuable to their Eisharat. There, families land on the border of the great Kun’jai desert. Children, clad in traditional Isharan survival suits and armed with pulse lance take off into the desert in a test of survival and ingenuity. The three-hundred-mile journey can take weeks, and the children will compete for resources and use traditional techniques to find resources. Some children will scavenge the wrecked starships that dot the desert for parts, crafting tools and even rudimentary skiffs to make the passage easier. Others will make more capable weapons to hunt or devise traps to help them capture the many, small game animals that roam the space. The only rule to complete the test is that it must be done without aid from anyone. “Each thread must be tested for its strength before the weaver begins to work with it.”
Outside of Ishara, versions of the Alkhayt’iibra are repeated across the great Eisharats. The far northern clans duplicate the test but through the harsh vacuum of space across the great wrecking yard of the Kaden Eisharat. To the south, the Bahrim Eisharat challenges their youth in the vast jungles of Kusan. Regardless of the location, children must face the challenges of their Alkhayt’iibra, and many will spend months preparing. At the end, children are marked with the tattoos of the family and given their full name – an honor that they will carry with them until their death.
Death in the Isharan faith and Isharan culture is largely viewed as a doorway into the next life. The deceased – viewed as ancestors – become teachers, guardians, and guides who help their family continue on “the path” both individually and collectively. Consequently, death rituals in Isharan culture emphasize the entombment of an individual into the family memory more so even than the body itself. Memorials can take place for hours to weeks depending on the individual’s impact on their family and the greater Eisharat.
Regardless of the individuals’ wealth or position, the first act is to draw some of the individual’s blood for preservation. In Isharan culture, blood has a very important meaning both in life and in death. During life, blood represents someone’s familial ties and their position within the Eisharat. In death, blood is a memory of who that individual was and DNA is preserved as part of the ritualistic entombment. Scholars believe this ritual is tied to the early days of the Isharan colonial effort. DNA was preserved during the colony ship’s journey and after arriving on Ishara to closely monitor and maintain genetic diversity among the small population. These practices continued and evolved as the Isharans returned to the stars and began their nomadic lifestyle.
After the entombment of the individuals DNA – both in physical form and as a digital record – the person’s body is prepared for commitment to the “Najam’al” – or “star door.” This process is often done at one of the many Manara, but is sometimes tended to on a starship if no Manara is available. The individual’s body is wrapped in a hand-stitched tapestry. Simple tapestries are usually used for members of the lower ranks of the Jabal caste, but the great rulers of the Eisharat will often be adorned with gold stitched tapestries depicting the individual’s achievements in life. The tapestry is heavily tied to the Masarene beliefs in the Khayt and Najud.
Stones collected from the star system are polished to a near mirror finish before being placed over the eyes. These are meant to reflect the last view of the individual beholds – the stars – as well as pay tribute to the Najam’al through which the individual will pass. As the stones are placed by the head of the family, a ritual prayer to the ancestors is spoken. This prayer will change from family to family but always ends with the words:
“Ytmu Almansujat Khayt” – “Your Thread is Woven” from the Mudhakarat, the Prayer of Nusara
The family will then join in the Journey Hall of the Manara to pay their respects. Again, depending on the rank, a stone mural is often revealed meant to immortalize a person’s life. From there, the deceased is floated out of the Manara and sent on their way to the “Najam’al” and whatever life they may lead beyond this one.
The Isharan ancestors are primarily from Middle Eastern, African, and Pacific Islander nations. This unique blend has shaped the modern Isharan language which – while predominantly Arabic in both syntax and vocabulary – borrows influences from a number of Earth languages. This modern adaption of the Arabic language is referred to as Isharan, though pure Arabic – often referred to as Old Isharan – is spoken among some of the Eisharats. In addition to the Isharan dialect, modern Isharans speak a number of “conquered” languages including Norweigan, Dutch, German, Chinese, and Japanese. Tied to the conquests of the Tamerlane Eisharat in the early days of the post Diaspora period, these mix of languages make for a colorful backdrop in even small markets across the Isharan Eisharat.
ARTS AND LITERATURE
Art and Literature – while important in every culture – form a special place in Isharan culture. With a history tied to ancestor worship, art and literature are viewed as ways to discover the emotions of ancestors in addition to their deeds. As such, art and literature are pursued by all Isharans (with widely varying success), and art and literature are taught with as much importance as science, language, and mathematics in Isharan schools.
Art in Isharan culture takes on many forms. From personal, hand-crafted jewelry to the vast Manara that orbit stars, Art is viewed as a scalable but pervasive aspect of Isharan culture. Almost no item – from utensils to combat gear – is not in some way an expression of the artistic side of the Isharan people. This approach to art gives their creations a unique flair that is distinct from the more utilitarian approaches preferred by nations like the Intersystem Alliance or the People’s Coalition.
Traditional art executed by professional artists takes on many forms and is often segregated by region or ruling family. The ancient worlds including Ishara proper are home to the great sculptors of the Eisharat. With historic figures such as Omar Kader who created the great Pillars of the Osam leading to the Temple Wreck or modern artists like Maden Okre Khadim Tamerlane who built the latest of the great Tamerlane Manara, the Eishatar Sculptors have crafted some of the most impressive post-diaspora diaspora sculptures.
To the south, the Niceri Artists of the Nicerian Veld are masters of modern impressionism, blending African traditions with post-diaspora art styles. Their architects craft vast cities quite in opposition the traditionally nomadic lifestyle of the Isharan Eisharats. The sweeping curves of the buildings and elegant frames of the cityscapes give the Niceri worlds an organic, artistic flair even from high orbit.
The galactic west is home to the Enari Eisharats who share technology and culture with their western neighbors, the Kingdom of Eirangard. The Enari artists create vast floating structures levitated by complex gravity rigs, even creating mountains that float in the skies over their worlds. They also shape and build amazing sculptures that tower over the landscape, enshrining the great faces of the Eisharats on their worlds and among other Eisharats as well, often collaborating with great sculptors of the Ancient Worlds.
The Isharan East is home to the Kigmari people. The Kigmari fully embrance their adopted Isharan culture, standing in stark constrast (and resistance) to the religious pressures of the looming Empyrean See to the east. Their art tends to blend traditional Isharan, Arabic, and African heritages. Icons called Trini mark the centerpieces of Kigmari art. Representing the ancestors of the Kigmari people, these statues line the Manara of the Kigmari people and are often carried with them as religious tokens. The Kigmari also craft some of the most sought after tapestries in the Isharan region (a high honor among the Isharna people). The great tapestry of the Kigmari is continously being woven at the Temple of the East on the planet Rushuri.
Much like art, literature plays both a creative and religious role in Isharan society. Some aspects of Isharan literature can be formulaic or dry, existing as more indexes of people long past. However, Isharan poetry is noted for its starkness, and Isharan fiction tends to gravitate towards stories of betrayal and redemption – common themes in the Masarene faith. However, the most prolific genre for Isharan literature is biographical and autobiographical texts. Isharan people – if only by influence of the Masarene faith – absorb details on the lives and exploits of their famous ancestors. From the exploits of Okori Niceri to the conquests of the Kigmari Eisharat under Rumio the Great, these stories are told, explored, expanded on, and told again over centuries of Isharan literary works.