The history of Nihij is thought to be long and arduous to scholars, though the truth is that most Nihijians are unconcerned with history. Easily the most laid-back of peoples, Nihijians are unadventurous and very humble -- believing that simple lives are the most rewarding. This is best reflected in how they seldom keep records of great events, for dwelling on events of the past is thought to cloud the perception of the present. However, all Nihijians know that the catfolk, who live in the highlands of their country, are greedy and dangerous neighbors driven purely by decadence and predatory nature. The whole of history in this region can be found in conflicts with the catfolk. Only the past -- filled with subjugation at the clawed hands of the cats -- is spoken of to children, so the cat-slavers can never come again.
All things show the cultural humility of the Nihijians, who spend their days farming or hunting in the vast red-marshes of their land. From their simplistic architecture to their secretive government, no Nihijian demonstrates a yearning for excess. They barter for their needs and do not care for imperialism or expansion. Nihijian rugs or tapestries, however, are among the most glorious to be found in the West, and highly sought-after.
As soon as a boy is able, the young men of Nihij are taught marksmanship and whatever skills the father practiced to achieve his livelihood. The result of this is an entire people of skilled sharpshooters. When riled into war, the very idea of defeating a nation of snipers is daunting.
Nihij is populated primarily by humans -- of the Nihijian ethnic. They have muddy-colored skin and very dark hair, while it's uncommon for them to become physically intimidating because of a noted lack of strong nutrients in the red marshes.
Catfolk also live in the region, though are secluded to the drier highlands of Nihij.
The Naharaj, wisest of Nihijian people, gives up his name in order to be known as "The Raj." He lives amongst his people in secret and uses his wisdom and wit to guide his people. An order of incredibly skilled monk-like warriors, known as the Rajput, surround and protect the Raj. They act as knights and royal guards, often filling the role of basic guardsmen, as well. In times of war, the Raj dons the armor of a Rajput and fights along his men until the threat is passed.
Each village or city functions much the same as a large tribe, though this is mostly a throwback to earlier times when the catfolk threat was constant and the Nihijians scattered across the lands. The following tribes continue to exist, however:
The tribe of the elephant traditionally served as skirmishers and builders, though was nearly wiped out during the war with the Zhalam. In present days, they are still elephant riders and trainers, but they are too few to form a proper army.
The tribe of the snake is filled with herbalists and poisoners, serving as the basis for medicine amongst the Nihijians. In the past, they were also assassins, although such function has fallen into disfavor in present times. Some still practice the art of assassination in secret, utilizinhg the martial discipline to strengthen and guide themselves.
The tribe of the tiger is a proud one, filled with the fiercest warriors and is the origin of the Rajput. To today, they still send all of their children to train as Rajput, though only about thirty percent of them finish the training to remain as Rajput, living in the underground stone temples which house them.
The tribe of the crocodile filled the seas with traders and warships, though seldom do so today.
The tribe of the dog once served as scouts and archers for the Raj. It is said that the Kukura were the first to begin using muskets, beginning the long tradition of marksmanship which spread to all tribes. Today, they are still the finest sharpshooters, continuing the age-old task of watching for catfolk invaders and chasing them back to the highlands when necessary.
The tribe of the cow is filled with priests and healers, whose faith-magicks led to the discontinuation of the Sarpa tribe's medicinal role. Those of the Gabhi are sworn to never carry weapons, instead spending much of their time lending spiritual guidance to their kinsmen.
At the present, Nihij maintains a tentative allegiance with Taneria and its allies -- but secretly fosters strong relations with Symphonia out of distrust towards the Tanerian Empire.
See also: Nihijian Tribes