Djeyim is the collective name for all of the desert-dwelling races of the Djey-al-Ghulab, the ‘World-of-the-Djey’. The world-spanning desert is vast and mostly uncharted by the other civilizations on the planet, providing plenty of room for the varied Djeyim, or ‘Children of the Desert’.
Djey physical characteristics like height, coloration, and build range across a spectrum about as wide as humans. Most Djeyim are shorter and wirier than humans, their small builds requiring fewer resources. Their skin is dark, weather-beaten, and bears vestigial scaly formations. The soles of their feet and the palms of their hands are thick with calluses from constant contact with sand and stone. Fingers and toes are wide and blunt, to shift sand and provide traction. Their narrow, drawn faces and forward-leaning posture hearken back to what many believe must be a reptilian ancestry. Djeyim do not have tails, claws, or fangs though, throwing some doubt on this theory.
Clothing consists of flowing robes to keep off the broiling sun, scarves to keep out the dust, and masks to ward off sun blindness. Intricate patterns of bright colors allow for easy identification through mirages and across great distances.
Djeyim society is tribal and nomadic. A tribe has ancestral lands, demarcated with stone cairns or planted wooden staves or pennants, through which the tribe moves almost constantly. There are several domesticated animal species that are herded to new places with the tribe.
The men are typically the Palahs, or leaders of Djey tribes, often with large retinues of both male and female family members acting as advisers or council. The tribes are often quite large, up to two hundred individuals. If two tribes happen to meet under neutral circumstances in their travels, and both Palahs are amenable, members of the tribe may be exchanged. Individuals with skills might be exchanged, as potter for a weaver—or whole families may join a new tribe when they grow too large.
The Kahlah-as are the mystics of the Djeyim. They guide and advise the people and the Palah. They practice a diffuse form of divine magic, more aimed at the many Genius Loci in the deserts than the actual deities worshiped by other religions. Appeasing a living oasis is a favorable trait, considering the distances between them.
Other than the Kahlah-as, the Djeyim do not worship or practice ceremonies. They feel that the risk of upsetting the spirits is too great for the uninitiated to contact them without a lifetime of training in the occult arts.
The magical efforts of the Kahlah-as tend to manifest as forces of the desert – mirages are used to scry, contact with Genius Loci is used to seek items or resources. Offensive spells are likely to be searing heat, or bone-scouring, sand-laden windstorms.
Djeyim technology is limited to the light and portable. Metal use is minimal, save for a few weapons and fastenings. Leather and wood comprise they bulk of raw materials, the wood scavenged from the desert or traded for on the fringe territories, and the leather from wild animals and beasts of burden that die or cease to be useful.
It is not that the Djeyim do not understand more advanced technology – they are quite intelligent – but they are simply so adapted to their environment that they do not need to use artificial means to survive.
The Djeyim are primarily a nomadic people. Anything that is not portable or holds them bound to one area is anathema. Thus, gold and other metal currency is not used widely in their economy. Gemstones are easily acquired from shallow pit mines, and are not nearly as heavy as metal currency. Many debts are also settled with goods or services, one of the main reasons to exchange tribe members at the infrequent meetings along borders or trade routes.