Society, Culture and Ritual
“Abaskara, know that all of you are one body. You are one body among yourselves and you are one body with the clan. Does it surprise you to know that you are one body with all Arakasha? Why then do the Clans contest with one another? To make the body stronger, weakness must be cast off and discarded. This is the way of the Velo, the lore that shapes.”
The Black Velo Codex
Strangely the Arakashas are the only people in Khardan who are asexual; they are neither male nor female. Every Arakasha carries within itself the capability to propagate its kind. According to tradition, when an Arakasha decides it is time, it chooses a future mentor and care-giver called a Sar. During the birth cycle it is the sar’s duty to defend and aid the gestating Arakasha or bateh (the Arakasha word for parent). When a sar is chosen and accepts this future responsibility the bateh will commence to gestate young in its belly for a period of eleven months. When the child is ready to be born, the Arakasha will be gripped with racking pain within its swollen abdomen. The sar then initiates the ritual known as Sarakis. During sarakis the sar slices open the bateh’s midsection lengthwise with its own styts, freeing the newborn. In the last stage of the ceremony the sar then opens one of his own veins and the child’s first meal is blood. This blood confers upon the child some of the characteristics of the sar. For a few months the child's only sustenance is the blood of the sar and other clan members. This nourishment helps the child grow and take on additional characteristics that differentiate it from its bateh. Once it matures it may consume meats and vegetables.
The position of Sar does not end with sarakis. A sar will also act as a lifelong mentor and teacher once the child approaches maturity. The tradition of choosing a sar is sacred and comes from the teachings of Velo. On occasion this tradition has been broken when an Arakasha is an outcast or circumstances dictate otherwise. Whatever the reasons the breaking of this tradition brings permanent dishonor on both parent and child. In some instances the child is killed, if not it will die shortly after from a lack of blood. No clan member will be the first to feed a new born unless they have been named Sar, it is taboo. Interestingly Arakasha prophecies and legends predict a great hero who will be born without a sar and grow to adulthood with a complete knowledge of the Velo without ever partaking of the blood of another Arakasha. He will live by fate alone as the returning Sar a’Naskara and lead their nation to dominion over Khardan.