Cursed by a Trinity of dragon gods, Keldar is a land of poisoned sands and endless drought. Rain ceased to fall over a thousand years ago, and rivers and lakes are nothing but a memory. Keldar is a hard land, a hard life; a land of suffering, bloodshed, and death; a land of dragons.
azharana: bright eyes
azi: supreme tal of all tribes, to be declared only when Agni Comes (the end of the world).
baka: fool, idiot
bhakti: surrender, yield
devalki: a terrible sin committed long ago for which the Keldari are still punished.
dra’gwar: dragon warrior. Literally, a Keldari carrying dragon blood, directly descended from the gods, who is cursed to shapeshift into a dragon.
dyali: mine, possession
ishtay: shhh, be quiet, be at ease
munakura: a female foreigner, not of Keldar; munakur, masculine; munakuri, plural
pista: a foul rodent, edible if one is desperate enough.
rashida: wise woman
rav: master of horse for the tribe, typically the tal’s second. This rank is inherited, father to son.
saif: enforcer of the tribe. Does the “dirty deeds” for the tal.
sepah: a collection of tents, typically a family unit. A tribe is made up of many sepahs, who may or may not camp together.
Shaddad: priest. Shaddad’Yama, a priest of Yama.
taamid: long flowing cloth worn as headdress and cloak to protect the skin from desert sun.
tal: chief of the tribe. This rank is won through battle.
tellan: neverending hope that one day their devalki may be met and the curse lifted from their people.
wadis: a ravine in the desert floor. According to legend, such ravines were once rivers. Plural: wadi
za’hira: lovely one
Agni, He Who Burns: The Red Dragon associated with the sun and fire. He blasts the land of Keldar with endless heat to purify the tribes for their devalki. When He Comes again, the world will Burn and only a remnant of the Keldari will be saved.
Somma, She Who Hung the Moon: The White Dragon associated with the moon and water. She dried the rivers and lakes of Keldar to harden Her children and drive them to repentance.
Yama, He Who Breathes Despair: The Black Dragon associated with darkness and shadow. He poisons the sands and His Despair destroys Keldar from within.
My brother is my enemy unless my cousin threatens. The tribes are my tribe’s enemy, unless one not Keldari threatens. The individual tribes of Keldar are named after desert serpents–Kraits, Mambas, Cobras, Asps–until a new tribe, Tellan, is founded. A tribe as different from the others as night from day, Tellan is a tribe not of blood and family, but of honor, peace, and love. However, as the Last Days approach, turmoil among the tribes increases and bloodshed is worse than ever. In fact, no one descended from the White Dragon’s holy blood is safe from sacrifice.
Keldar is one of three major cultures in the Blood and Shadows world. I’m no cartographer, but here’s a rough hand-drawn map showing the relationship of Keldar, the Green Lands, and the Plains of the Sha’Kae al’Dan.