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The Chonobi Migration, around 300~400 BDS (Before the Death of the Sage), crossing the Kaizoku Sea and Hokubu Ocean.

The origin of the Chonobi culture lies not on the western continent but from overseas. Some sources depict that the Chonobi arrived in various locations more than a millennium ago. The reason what drove the Chonobi to arrive in such large numbers on the western continent isn't entirely certain. What is certain was that it would start to influence various regions drastically and affect the Chonobi culture as well, depending on the various regions they started to inhabit.

Migration and Impact

Chonobi Migration.png

Though the major Chonobi clans reside in the Empire of Akino in the present day, there are more regions which are or have been affected by Chonobi actions and presence. Over time, the interaction with other cultures has affected the Chonobi culture. Differences would slowly surface and caused variants that would be surfaced within the various clans.

Currently, there are the three major Chonobi clans residing in the Empire of Akino. They go by the names of Cho, Hon and Sarutobi. Though they differ in some traditions and manners, they still have a lot of similarities with each other. Interactions through both conflicts as cooperation would lead to that these clans would be able to hold on to their culture and language.

Interesting enough is that the Sanosuke Clan in the northern sphere of the Lightning country has clear influences from the Chonobi culture. A similar effect can be witnessed within the Framí Province, where many Chonobi settled during their second migration southwards. Another large Chonobi population can be found in the north of the Earth country, among the Hyuzu Clan - who have adopted many customs and traditions of Hon settlers.

Chonobi Faith

Though the Chonobi are united by age old alliances and bonds, they have some differences in their faiths. Much like how they have similar traditions with some difference, so is the same for their faith. They do believe in the same afterlife but to give an example, Hons don't believe praying will do anything but upset the Gods or their ancestors while the Sarutobi and Cho have different rituals to please the deities and ancestors. In general, the Chonobi have a neutral standing towards other religions and faiths as long as it doesn't conflict with their ways - or outsiders threatening and insulting the ways of their ancestors.

Social-Political Structure

As one can expect, the Chonobi culture has it is own social-political ladder and system. Despite there are some differences among the clans and regions, they are overall somewhat the same. The main difference with other cultures, such as the Taika and Rénese, is that the Chonobi are more flexible with their social positions. A good example is the nobility of the Chonobi. While a person can be born into nobility, they can also become adopted by a noble lineage. At the same time, one can be easily cast out or fall from grace, losing their claim or position of nobility. A stark difference between Chonobi and other cultures is that women have more freedom and power. They are allowed to inherit, own land and pursue various other careers that wouldn't be accepted in the likes of the Taika or the Rén cultures.

An interesting note about Chonobi society is that leaders aren't viewed as special or (semi-)divine as some other cultures have their leaders treated.  The Chonobi believe that leaders need to earn their respect with deeds as capability. Whereas one might earn respect from coming from an ancient or respected lineage, the Chonobi frown upon the idea that the gods have picked a certain person to rule over others.

The Things

The Thing is an assembly that is being used by the Chonobi people. Its main purpose is to solve disputes, make and proclaim political decisions. Many Thing sites are also often the place for public religious rites but that tends to vary with each Chonobi clan.

Usually, the sites are designed to be round with a good amount of space in the centre. Allowing a speaker or multiple to be viewed and heard. Sometimes, feuds can be settled with what is known to be a 'blood fight'. In these events, each combatant is given a weapon and usually a shield. The combatant that draws first blood wins and usually can demand something in return. There have been recorded cases in which a blood fight would only end with the death of a participant but these cases are rare.

Thing.jpg

To participate in a Thing depends on size and use. In general, a Thing is build up by local adults that can speak and vote - for neither children or foreigners shouldn't have a say in the Thing. A priest or local hersir or thegn oversees the thegn and can intervene with making a decision. But things do change when a settlement become bigger. Causing a Thing to be held over a longer time.

he size of a Thing depends on the region and usage. A small village can have its own Thing. But at the same time, that same small village might be part of a region held by one leader. This leader can hold a Greater Thing, to which all prominent members of his region are invited to attend to this Greater Thing. There is also an 'Allthing'. As one can expect, this is the largest version of a Thing. Currently, the Sanosuke have their own Allthing and so do the Imperial Chonobi.

Language

The language of the Chonobi culture varies heavily from the neighbouring cultures. Many outsiders have described the Chonobi language as harsh and short, whereas as a few describe it as a language that can convey emotion well and bring powerful messages. As a vital part of their heritage, there is a certain pride among the Chonobi folk about their language. 

While some Chonobi clans have adopted and written in Taika, the actual Chonobi alphabet and writing is different from the Taika counterpart. The writing is done in what is called runes. 

Weddings

An important part of the Chonobi culture are their weddings. The rituals and traditions around weddings can differ among each region but in general, Chonobi weddings are a festive event. There are some exceptions where weddings are short and simple - usually when it is simply an arrangement between two families. Or when the families don't want or cannot spend enough on a wedding. What is important to know is that there are various process and factors that play in a Chonobi wedding, that will do more than continue a lineage or two. Politics and religion play a vital part in weddings.

Proverbs/Poems

Some proverbs that the Chonobi culture shares with one another, the origin of the phrase written behind the saying. A few examples are:

  • "Death smiles at everyone, we will smile back." - Hon saying
  • "Here's to cheating, stealing, fighting and drinking. If you cheat, may it be death! If you steal, may it be a woman's heart! If you fight, may you fight for your kin and if you drink, may you drink with me!" - Sarutobi/ Adani saying.
  • "You can't argue with Blackroot logic, cause it is usually followed up by an arrow you won't see coming." - Sarutobi saying.
  • "There is a battle between two wolves in each of us? We feed both and now they fight our enemies." - Hon saying.
  • "Better die fighting than living your life on your knees." - Cho saying.
  • "The problems that lay before you aren't as half as strong as the ancestors that smile upon you." - Cho saying. 

Poems

Despite some beliefs, the Chonobi aren’t some simple-minded folk that fully focus on waging war and bloodshed. What follows are a series of simple poems that have a meaning to them, usually taught to children and teens to teach them about the world or grant them some form of wisdom.

Clothing

The clothing of the Chonobi culture is quite different in style than most other cultures. Their men don't garb themselves in kimonos and such similar attires. There is also the importance of symbolic items that can reflect one's wealth and standing. Swords or other ornamented weapons, for example, are considered a status symbol of wealth and nobility. But also smaller items such as brooches and ornaments reflect one's social standing and in some cases really 'betray' one's origin. Furthermore, in the Chonobi culture, it is not prohibited for women to wear pants. They enjoy more freedom in choice of attire but there might be slight differences in various clans and regions. 

Do note that most of these images are serving the purpose to give a clear idea of the fashion of the Chonobi culture. Nobody of the culture group is restricted to wear these kinds of clothing, but it is what the majority of the Chonobi considers 'normal'.

Hairstyle

The idea of hats isn't as popular among the Chonobi as it is among the Taika culture. Most forms of headwear come in the form of hoods, headbands and caps. For men, the choices of hairstyle aren't as elaborated as that of the women. Men's hairstyles range from shaven heads and temples to undercuts with braided ponies and such. Though it isn't uncommon for men to wear few braids or have long hair.

For women, it is an entirely different story. Many hairstyles exist, with no distinction between rich or poor. Save it for the likes of hairpins and such, usually being of better or more expensive material for the rich. Much like with the men, the hairstyles can vary from shaven temples or undercuts to braids. The styles just tend to differ in a larger number than with the men.

Armour

The style of the armour of the Chonobi differs from the Taika and Yakimara. Whereas the Taika seem to favour lamellar armour and the Yakimara preferring armour such as scale, the Chonobi are most keen of chain and plates. Some designs are quite close in resemblance to the Taika lamellar or the Yakimara scale, which is argued by scholars and historians to be an influence of Chonobi adopting the effective designs. This can sometimes make it hard for those not well aware but it is a common practice for Chonobi to engrave markings on their armour. This practice is quite common among all their clans. The use of these markings is to invoke certain protection or reminding them of an oath, who they are loyal to and so forth.

There are some regional differences, however. Some of the Sarutobi, for instance, don't seem to sport the same keen usage for heavy armour like their Hon counterparts. This might have to do with their prefered style of warfare - rather using the longbow to kill an enemy at a distance than to face it up close. Influences from Taika and Yakimara also are more noticeable with some groups and clans within the Chonobi culture - such as the Asiske Cho, who have adopted some of the Taika culture. Thus their warriors often equipped with armour that is quite similar to their Taika counterparts.

Lineages

It is hard to separate a pair that shares the same surname as a personal name. In order to prevent too much confusion, there is something known as a family/lineage name. It is thus constructed as:

'Surname --- Personal Name --- Family/Lineage name'.

An example would be thus: 'Cho --- Aiko -- Tao'.

Family/Lineage names aren't in general really known among outsiders as they are considered quite personal. It is a way for the members of the Chonobi cultures to keep others separated upon introduction towards one another, but to no-Chonobi, this is often a rarity to hear. In some cases, the family/lineage name bears the name of the founder where in other cases it holds a certain meaning or amount of pride as prestige.

Music and Feasting

It is a rare occurrence to enter a pub or tavern without live music. The chance to enter such an establishment from the three clans of the Chonobi culture is almost considered a myth to not enter and be greeted with live music performed by a (small) band and people singing. While the Hon and Sarutobi are known for their martial expertise and the Cho for their trade and wits, the clans are fond of songs and making merry. Already sharing a language together, it isn't a surprise that they share and sing a lot of songs. Songs that go about an ancestor, past days of glory, an anecdote and so forth.

Names

The Chonobi culture has names that come forth from their own culture. These names are different from Taika in how they are written and pronounced, sometimes coming over quite foreign and difficult for outsiders to understand. Names and nicknames are important for the Chonobi as they reflect their standing and reputation. Most Chonobi have names that are drawn forth from their own culture and clans instead of Taika. However, a Chonobi with a Taika name won't be treated differently. Those who live or were born outside the borders of their clan lands have in general an easier time with a Taika name than with a true Hon, Cho or Sarutobi name.

The acceptation of Taika names is also reflected in that some renowned and noble lineages have Taika names instead of more traditional Chonobi names.

Another important aspect of Chonobi names is that their surnames don't just state from which clan they originate. But it is quite rare for a Chonobi to change their surname when marrying. This is because surnames to Chonobi depict their place of origin. Something that can't be changed, much like how their Lineage names can't be changed

Examples of Chonobi names:

  • Behind the Name, seeing that the Chonobi culture draws a lot of insperation from Norse names.
  • This video explains more about Norse names, also on how to make more of your own Norse/'Chonobi' name.

Traditions

The Chonobi clans and people have their own manners and traditions. For example, the Hon and Cho have a different kind of greeting. Then there are also some local traditions, that exist within a jarldom or House. And then there are even some more minor traditions among families, that might go back decades or centuries. 

But there are various traditions that the majority of the Chonobi culture respect and follow. They are the following:

  • When entering one's home as a guest, it is expected to hand over your weapons to the host and his family as servants. This speaks of trust and respect for the head of the home.
  • When accepting a guest, the head of the home is and will be held responsible for their actions. On the other side, the guest has to heed and respect the traditions of the head of the house.
  • It is considered an act of disrespect or hostility to not offer to drink with his guests. Heads of their homes and families are required to sit at the table with guests as to entertain them, with song or story. The guests are to be expected to do their best to provide their own stories or songs. It is thus also considered a sign of respect and friendship to the host if the guest(s) bring their own drink and share it with their host.
  • When the host is being attacked, killed or murdered the guests are to be expected to either help or avenge the slight to respect the hospitality of their host. Failing to do so will bring dishonour the lineages of the guests as angering both the Gods and Ancestors for breaking such an ancient code. 

Chonobi Tattoos

Tattoos are quite accepted within the Chonobi culture. They usually have a spiritual meaning but not always. There are various groups within the Chonobi culture and clans, such as the Dowhon, that have a more traditional approach to various tattoos that aren’t affiliated with a religious theme. Some tattoos are quite rare to find, save it for a particular region. A good example might be the dragon tattoos that are more popular within the Hyuzu clan than outside of it. Sometimes, however, a tattoo is supposed to bring some fortune or protection for the person.

Warfare

The Chonobi clans have been called by many of their current and past neighbours as relentless and brutal savages, that excel in warfare. Clans from the mid-land of the Fire, such as the Tokugawa, to the far north of the Earth country, such as the Hyuzu, have dealt in one or multiple ways with the Chonobi warriors. Sometimes as adversaries and sometimes as allies. The next bits of information will shed more information on their military in general - cause while there are local and clan differences, the military of the Chonobi clans and people do not vary too wildly like the Taika clans do.

Fighting Styles

The Chonobi have a long history of martial expertise and achievements. Not only because of strategic and tactical prowess but also because of their own developed fighting styles. These styles are named often after its founder or contributed to a particular animal - for one or more of their traits. A similar habit can be seen by the likes of the Taika, such as the Nimatsu Clan with their fighting styles.

Stratagems and tactics

The Chonobi have built a reputation of being fierce and relentless warriors that raided and fought many other clans. Even in the cold of winter when many other clans or adversaries weren't able to raise a large force to combat them, the Chonobi have proven to be both organised as disciplined enough to deal with various issues. Some campaigns lasted for years on end, often in hostile territory, is thanks to the various stratagems and tactics of the Chonobi clans. Despite holding the reputation of being savages by some of their (past) foes, the Chonobi don't just charge mindlessly into the fray. Various battles such as the battle of Kiyotama show that the Chonobi are more than capable of planning tactics or plan out a strategy to bring their opponents down. 

Their efficiency in warfare against the Taika also can be explained in how much importance the Chonobi clans place in loyalty, discipline as guile. A great example is on how the Chonobi has several times used Taika turncoats against their foes, to learn more about their opponent's style of warfare, with great success. There are also various Taika who have been assimilated into the Chonobi culture and managed to bring success for the Chonobi clans, using their knowledge on Taika warfare. Matters like the seasons, weather condititions and even the stand of the sun are matters that the Chonobi have and still use when waging battle or creating a solid strategy against various foes.

One must, however, understand that the strategies and tactics of the Chonobi people haven't been the same ever since they set foot on the western continent. Being a people of the seas, they had access to the finest ships of their time. Their various longships allowed the Chonobi warriors to quickly attack, raid and conquer coastal regions before their enemies could deploy a decent opposition. This kind of warfare was new to the foes of the Chonobi and it would take a century before successful attempts were achieved against the aggressive Chonobi kind of warfare. 

This alone didn't cause a change in the style of warfare for the Chonobi. The desire to expand more land inwards would become the recipe for more conflicts. Despite being victorious against smaller clans and forces, the Chonobi clans would face against large and powerful clans. Such as the Uchiha and Senju. Having some advantages over the Taika in terms of disciplined and courageous infantry, they didn't equal the Taika in the cavalry department. The areas that they inhabited wouldn't promote the use of cavalry nor did the Chonobi have the same technology in regards to saddles or stirrups like the Taika. Though no Chonobi would admit it, the fear for specialised Taika cavalry was real among Chonobi warriors. A good charge could break through a shield wall or spearwall formation. It would take quite some time before the Chonobi military started to deploy cavalry that could be relied on. This focus on land warfare, however, has resulted into the stagnation of the Chonobi maritime technology and style of warfare. Where the Chonobi longships were feared and avoided centuries ago, they are now on the run for the intimidating and large galleys of various other people and clans. 

War Maidens

An example of a War Maid. The preference for gear and weapons can vary with each region or even person.

The Chonobi clans as people have a proud warrior history. Women are, unlike most other cultures, free to pick a military career. The daughters, from noble or wealthy families, are educated in the arts of war. The range of the martial pursuits, leadership as an understanding of stratagem or tactics can vary. Usually depending on the wealth of the family. For it isn't cheap to educate one into all kind of educated matters. Most that undergo an education to become a War Maid also enjoy education and lessons in (religious) ceremonies, calligraphy, traditional dance and other activities that install discipline, strength and portray a fine culture. Some, that have a decent understanding and talent for chakra control do indulge into ninjutsu. Their tasks were focused on aiding their husband, in finances, politics and warfare. There are some old tales about War Maidens who defended both the honour as even lives of their husband with a fierce loyalty and vigour, befitting for a Chonobi.

Women that desire to become a War Maid but aren't from rich or noble families tend to offer their services to their thegn or jarl, in hope to gain their favour and being gifted with the education of becoming a War Maid. Some noble or wealthy families do have a tradition to groom War Maidens, for it increases one's family prestige as it is also considered that War Maidens are more eligible candidates for marriage with nobility.

Semi-Chonobi

The Chonobi have impacted various regions and other clans through interactions. Trade, conflicts and even invasions have left an impact on various clans to the point that they could be considered Semi-Chonobi. These clans and people still have customs, religions and values that differ from the three main Chonobi clans - Cho, Hon and Sarutobi clans.

The Hyuzu aren't by origin a people of the Chonobi culture. But centuries-long interaction with the Hon as well the Hon-Hyuzu conflict has led to the Hyuzu clan adopting manners and values over from the Hon clan. This gradual change has been quite slow but in the present, it is quite clear the that Hyuzu is more part of the Chonobi culture. A large amount of its populace in the Hyuzu heartlands are even capable of understanding and speaking Chonobi. This is also because of the Hyuzu having gifted land to various Hon warbands - as a detterent for raids and attacks of their kinsmen.

The Sanosuke are of origin part of the Chonobi culture. They have a lot of similarities but due to the distance and other factors, their mannerism as traditions have shifted from the main culture group.

Trivia

  • The name of ‘Chonobi’ is a widely used and accepted term. But this is a name and term by the Taika language. The Chonobi call themselves in different names but most seem okay with being coined as ‘Chonobi’ by outsiders. Most of these names are, in the Chonobi tradition, derived from an ancestor that is rumoured to be the founder of each of these clans.
    • Here is a list of known names that the Chonobi have for themselves:

The Cho call themselves: Vythlings, which is derived from Vyd- the ancestral founder of the Cho, which unified the petty kingdoms under his rule.

The Hon call themselves: Ylfings, which is derived from Ylf - the most prominent leader during the ‘Hon Migration’.

The Sanosuke call themselves: Hyrlings, which is derived from the legendary figure Horic - which lead the first group of Sanosuke to their current homelands after a long and troublesome voyage.

The Sarutobi call themselves: Scyldings, which is derived from Scylda - the founder and first king of the old kingdom of Scyld.

  • Interesting enough, the Chonobi have a name for the Taika and Taika-like cultures in their own language. It is ‘Asiske’, which is also a term that is used for Chonobi who adopt traditions and style from the Taika. Despite not meant as an insult, it is often used as a condescending term.

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