Introduction to the Desert Families
May contain "spoilers"
for earlier volumes.
Desert Family specializing in technology, engineering, and science; they keep themselves isolated from the other Families and do not hold to the Agreement.
Family symbol: Feathers, signifying freedom and the ability to soar above others.
Succession: Hereditary, matrilineal
Leadership: The leader of the Aerthraim is given the title of mahadrae; which translates, roughly, as “chosen mother of the free people.”
Political: Alliances with each Family, based mainly on mercantile interests; reluctant to “side with” anyone in a dispute.
Current Family leader: Mahadrae Kallaisin
Aerthraim of note in Children of the Desert:
Lord Azaniari Aerthraim-Darden (Adzh-ah-knee-airy Ayer-thraym Dar-den; prefers to be called Azni [Adzh-knee]): For her own reasons, she long ago left the southlands in favor of in a modest home some distance north and east of Bright Bay.
Lord Azaniari Aerthraim-Darden is descended in unbroken matrilineal line from the past five generations of Aerthraim mahadrae. When Azaniari disqualified herself from leadership of the Aerthraim by choosing to become a desert lord, the leader-line was forced over to Pauca’s branch and resulted in Kallaisin taking over as mahadrae. There remains to this day a great deal of ill-feeling towards Azaniari over this situation, especially among the Aerthraim loremasters.
Located on the western coast, this Family has a reputation for treachery and deception. Their major exports are trained asp-jacaus, excellent (and strong) distilled liquors, drugs, and herbal teas.
Family symbol: Snake, signifying wisdom and alchemy
Succession: Hereditary, patrilineal
Leadership: Strongly patriarchal; women are seen as weak and unfit to rule.
Current Family leader: Lord Emmon Darden
Dardens of note in Children of the Desert:
Lord Irrio Darden: Eldest of three brothers, Lord Irrio is the son of Tecky and Ferra Darden; Tecky is the youngest of Lord Emmon Darden's three sons. Lord Emmon's eldest son, Geff, married into the Aerthraim line and renounced his Family status, while the middle son, Amlin, has not produced any legitimate children as of yet; Amlin still remains Heir Designate, and at this time Lord Irrio is next in line.
Azaniari Aerthraim-Darden: see Aerthraim
A subfamily of F'Heing, known for their colorful and color-fast dyes, excellent fine cloth, and coffee (a slightly lesser grade than the famous F'Heing Ridge, but still excellent).
Family symbol: Desert porcupine, signifying strength in submission
Succession: Assigned by F'Heing
Leadership: Decided by F'Heing
Political: Allies with and supports F'Heing in all matters.
Current Family leader: Lord Wiltin Eshan
West coast desert Family which produces drugs and dyes, loves power-grabs, and has a long and bloody history of treachery. Their “enclave” area used to be home to another, smaller desert Family; F'Heing annexed it for the fertile land and even more importantly, the sea access. F'Heing used their new port to send ships north, building the “independent” (read: F'Heing controlled) city of Kismo before the Northern Church had time to explore that far.
Family symbol: Mountain lion, signifying decisiveness and dominance
Succession: Hereditary; patrilineal
Leadership: Strongly male-dominated; women are seen as weak and unfit to rule.
Political: Ongoing feud with Darden Family; almost as xenophobic as the teyanain.
Current Family leader: Lord Rimmel F'Heing
This line traditionally served as the premier diplomats of the desert, able to achieve a truce where others failed. But nearly the entire Family was mysteriously wiped out some years ago, leaving only Cafad Scratha to rebuild from the disaster; and Scratha has not inherited his family skill at charming combatants into peaceful negotiations.
Family symbol: Groundhogs, signifying community and shared resources.
Ginger plants, a secondary Family motif, signify matters of the heart and spirit.
Succession: Hereditary, matriarchal
Leadership: Technically matriarchal, but in practice a team effort between the female Head of Family and a male desert lord bound to the Fortress; they are generally either related or married.
Political: Traditionally neutral; keeps alliances evenly balanced. The slaughter of the residents of Scratha Fortress, and Cafad's own actions, have thrown that entire equation into chaos.
Current Family leader: Lord Cafad Scratha
Scrathas of note in Children of the Desert:
Lord Cafad Scratha: Last survivor of Scratha Family; a brooding man with a quick temper and the obsession that Sessin Family was involved in the death of his entire Family.
A desert family whose specialty is glasscraft of all sorts. They are the only ones who know the secret of casting clear, unflawed glass in large sheets.
Family symbol: Lizard, signifying sharp perception and a subtle, quick wit.
Succession: Hereditary; usually patrilineal
Leadership: Patriarchal but not averse to allowing smart, strong women to take positions of command—just not the very highest spots.
Political: Strong ties to the northern kingdom, strong influence in two major east coast port cities; tend to think of themselves as people to ally with, not people who need to seek allies.
Current Family leader: Lord Antouin Sessin
Sessins of note in Children of the Desert:
Lord Antouin Sessin: Current leader of Sessin Family; a much more open-minded man than his predecessor, Lord Arit Sessin.
Lord Arit Sessin: The leader of Sessin Family during Cafad Scratha's youth; a hard and intolerant man who thought only of advancing his own Family's power.
Lord Eredion Sessin: A desert lord of Sessin Family; Sessin Family's ambassador to the northern kingdom. Great-grandson of Lord Arit Sessin; uncle (see also: s'e-ketan) of Pieas Sessin and Nissa Sessin.
Nissa Sessin: A daughter of Sessin Family, and sister to Pieas Sessin; when King Oruen calls her “Lady” he is making a common northerner's mistake on ranking. Nissa Sessin has no rank title beyond her last name.
Pieas and Nissa Sessin are the children of Lord Antouin Sessin by his second wife, Tashaye Sessin. Tashaye Sessin is Lord Eredion Sessin's sister. Lord Antouin's first wife died giving birth to a son, Dorsil Sessin, who is currently Heir to Sessin. Eredion Sessin's father, Chidor Sessin, was the only male offspring of Sashea Sessin, Lord Arit Sessin's daughter. Lord Arit Sessin had three children: Jonnui, the original Heir, Sashea, and Forus. Jonnui died during the Purge, turning Forus's line primary; and Forus fathered Antouin Sessin. Thus, Eredion is Pieas and Nissa's uncle, and at some remove, cousin as well; but he is not in line to lead Sessin unless Antouin’s children fail to produce any legitimate heirs.
A subfamily of Sessin; they do a large amount of the work for Sessin and have almost no real independence; essentially slaves to the larger Family.
Succession: Decided by Sessin
Leadership: Largely patriarchal, but wholly dictated by Sessin
Political: Follow Sessin's lead on all matters.
Current Family leader: Lord Hail Tereph
Family no longer exists; the head of Tehay got himself so far into debt with his gambling addictions that he had to give his lands and everything on them to F'Heing Family; residents had the choice of converting to F'Heing Family or going with their lord out into the deep sands to die in shame. The acquisition turned F'Heing into a formidable name and erased Tehay Family from existence, as well as sparking a number of still-unresolved questions on whether F'Heing had 'loaded the dice' to put Tehay in that situation.
A very old, small tribe which retreated to the mountains of the Horn after the Split. Originally the judges and law determiners of the desert, they're now considered the guardians of the Horn.
Family symbol: Owls, especially the great horned owl, signifying ferocity and adaptability.
Succession: Normally hereditary, but exceptional circumstances and individuals have occurred in the past.
Leadership: Teyanain leaders are called “Calcen”, which literally translates to “Master”; they have absolute authority over all teyanain.
Political: Keep to themselves and ally with nobody, although some Families are under the mistaken impression that they have formed an alliance of convenience with the teyanain. Extremely xenophobic.
Current Family leader: Lord Evkit
Teyanain of note in Children of the Desert:
Lord Evkit (leader of the teyanain)
There are no publicly accessible records dealing with the genealogy of the teyanain at this time.
A subfamily of Darden, with the most independence of any subfamily. Given complete latitude in their actions and alliances; generally turn matters around to benefit Darden in the end. Almost completely self-supporting; train “diplomatic and research services” (i.e., spies and secret alliance negotiators).
Succession: By merit
Leadership: Semi-hereditary; a wide range of bloodlines are considered valid for leadership, regardless of gender, and the Toscin Council selects a new leader as they see fit. Members of the Toscin Council are selected by a majority vote of the other members of the Toscin Council.
Political: Bias towards keeping Darden happy, but ostensibly neutral.
Current Family leader: Lord Quill Toscin