The Isle of Champions
The holy city-state of Savras and its surrounding farmlands have been a work of extraordinary agricultural efficiency for an age. The Red River was dammed shortly after its founding, and the resulting reservoir was channeled through canals and aqueducts to irrigate soil in a land that was rich in nutrients but severely lacking in rainfall, and consequently had been passed over by earlier settlers. However, the dams—known as the Red Eyelids—are a tool of central authority as much as they are a tool of prosperity, for few will dare to challenge the laws of the castes that control the dams. “Rebels, dissidents, and heretics are an affront to Savras,” notes the High Sanyar, Mohinder Sastikar. “His Red Eye shall not weep for their livelihoods, nor for their lives.”
Sina Savri’s highest caste is the elite priesthood, called the Sanyari, which holds legislative and judicial power to interpret the will of Savras. However, Sanyar power is occasionally rivaled and contested by the second-highest caste, the Padizhari—an executive caste that emerged from guilds of police, mercenaries, and great merchants in recent centuries, and which has established a hereditary monarchy and system of pseudo-feudal loyalty in cooperation with the lower castes. Padizhar rulers are known by the titles Rana or Rani, with a monarch called a Maharana or Maharani.
Beneath the Padizhari are the Hajindari, who emerged from trade guilds of moderate power and influence, including the lesser merchants, the farmers, and the skilled craftsmen. Powerful Hajindars may acquire the favor of Padizhar nobles, and the corresponding title of Mirza or Mirzina to denote a minor position in the hierarchy of feudal nobility. Beneath the Hajindari are the Mamkuli, the people of the minor guilds and unskilled or menial laborers.
At the very bottom of the hierarchy is the nameless caste of untouchables, not even considered by many to be a true caste. It consists of the guildless, the homeless, the indigent, and those who perform services considered unclean by the Sanyars—including but not limited to winemakers, prostitutes, purveyors and manufacturers of narcotics, illusionists (whether real or fraudulent), butchers, leatherworkers, and any sanitation workers who regularly come into contact with sewage. Note that these services may not necessarily be illegal—indeed, some may be essential to the functioning of the city. However, this does not alter the Sanyari’s stance that such people are to be ostracized and avoided, lest their spiritual impurity taint the higher castes. The vast majority of orcs and half-orcs within Sina Savri belong to this caste.
Some additional pseudo-castes exist as offshoots of the four primary castes, generally with significantly less power and influence than true members of the caste from which they originate. This includes the Sadhu, low-birth acolytes raised up from the streets by charitable Sanyars to become aides in temple rites. It also includes the Elavadu, often called “knights”; knights generally have performed some great service to the crown or to a noble house, and were consequently rewarded with the opportunity to swear adherence to a Sanyar code of honor, to the Maharana, and to a Rana or Mirza’s noble house, in exchange for minor noble status of their own and the honorific “Sir” or “Dame”.
It is speculated that the strictness of Sina Savri’s caste system may have been deliberately influenced, in whole or in part, by special interests in Old Caligulon who desired a small and easily corruptible ruling class through which to indirectly control a much larger population of slaves. Whether or not these claims are true, the caste system has endured Caligulon’s fall, and will likely continue to dominate the city’s political climate for years to come.