The Duron are considered Masters of Sea and Sword—every citizen of the great city Seafoam immersed in the ways of survival from birth. Even infants have mastered silence in the face of death—while youth know how to swing an edged weapon the moment their ‘sea-legs’ mature. I’ve spent time among the Duron, and I’m here to tell you that those individuals who command Ibumanzi are a people to be feared. For any man or woman able to endure the trial of water and blood with find themselves taking the lead as a Rimrider.
The RankWhat we might call a militia, the Duron call the ‘Ibumanzi’ [ee-BEW-mahn-zeh] (water or flowing army), which make up organized groups of 50 trained citizens—the maximum number found to be capable of moving in unison under a single leader. This leader or ‘head’ of an Ibumanzi is called a Keikeri [keyee-key-REE] (in motion on the edge)…also known as a Rimrider. This is considered a military position among the people and held in high regard. Many dream of passing the trial of water and blood and winning themselves the coveted ‘white fur’.
Purpose of the RankThis warrior class not only understands combat, they understand the flow of movement. It has ever been vital for the Duron to outmaneuver their enemies. Limited in number, citizens must be personally instructed in the way of Ibumanzi, allowing them to work together as a single entity in times of war. The purpose of a Rimrider, first and foremost, is to teach a people to think as one, move as one, and fight as one.
The AscensionFor one to be considered for the rank of Rimrider, a person must be of age—free from the claim upon father and mother. One must also serve faithfully within an Ibumanzi. Through service and sacrifice and the approval of their Ibumanzi, one may request a ‘trial by steel’ under the hand of their leader. This combat pits the challenger against the ten greatest fighters of their own unit in combat. Ten blades…against open hand. If you want a blade—one must take it from another. Should the challenger succeed, then combat is then initiated against the top fighter from each Ibumanzi of the Duron. Only those who survive a trial by steel may ascend to the trial of water and blood.
Trial by Water and BloodTo prove one’s worthiness to hold the rank of a leader, one must have an unique focus, determination, and skill in both combat and survival. The trial set forth to prove this grit is done in season, off the coast of the Evolu nation of Äsä-Illäriu. Accompanied by a small bank of Rimriders, the ‘challenged’ is cast into the sea, forced to swim a great distance, against the current and among dangerous creatures to get to the dense jungle island. Once there and unassisted, the warrior must track down and draw out a Ravosta alpha from its herd. To make matters worse, this test is done during mating season—when the Ravosta is most violent and active. A successful kill all but insures one’s new rank.
Be of Age:Must not have claim on parents for support
Have Served:Must have been part of an Ibumanzi for at least one season
Ascended:Must have won the Trial by Steel
Trial by Blood:Completed the ToB and secured the apothecary with Ravosta organs.
Hidden WealthIt took me a while, but I noticed the RR do not have families as other members of the community or Ibumanzi do. Those who perform special deeds or kill an notable enemy in battle are given a flawless black pearl--which is ceremoniously inserted under the skin. These 'beads' worn on their face and writs serve a duo purpose: 1) To show the bravery and prowess of the warrior in battle, and; 2) To store as wealth for a future family. For when a Rimrider 'stands down' from battle--to raise seed of their own, the black pearls are there to help provide a start.
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