Kesh is a large city built on the southernmost crags of the Ruwori mountains, south of the Mithil sea, and it rules (by force and threat rather than law) a roughly defined area of several hundred kilometers around the city, thus dominating the only sizable pass between the northern and southern Ruworis. However, Kesh has given its name to the whole area between the Ruworis and the Kintamo mountains, an area that stretches from the Coast of Bones to the Mithil sea. This is an area of hot, arid grasslands tending towards desert in the interior.
Kesh itself is a baroque city, where the current theocracy enacts ancient rituals they have long since forgotten the meaning or origin of. The citizens pride themselves on their ancient lineage, their prowess in war and the ability - by and large - to make a good living without an honest trade. The city lives on plunder and the slave trade, and most of its day to day business is carried out by slaves. Most Keshites however live in small villages, or nomadic family groups eking a living as best they can from the harsh landscape. Along the coasts, the villages tend to be larger and the villagers live by a mix of fishing and piracy. Many Keshites are numbered among the Red Brotherhood. The official Keshite religion centres around the Four Lords of the Cardinal Points, who are thought to control the spheres of the sky and all things on earth that fall under those houses of the heavens. Outside of Kesh itself, the villagers' religion largely involves casual placation of the Four Lords and a great deal of fiendishly complex astrological calculation to decide on the best time and place for important (and trivial) actions. The major economic activities of the Keshite hinterlands are the slave trade, feeding the insatiable twin markets of Saharn and Kesh itself and the beautiful sinuous metalwork characteristic of Kesh and widely copied in the lands around.
Keshites generally have fuzzy hair and dark skins, but are racially quite distinct from their Mhomalan neighbors, tending to dark brown rather than black. They are also much shorter and stockier. While the inhabitants of Kesh would regard it as barbaric, tribal Keshites tend to decorate themselves with scars and tattoos proclaiming tribal affiliations. Keshites are generally reserved and suspicious of strangers - not surprising given the tendency of the forces from Kesh to fall on isolated villages and carry away their inhabitants as prizes of war. But with their friends, they are extremely open, given to wild bouts of generosity, boasting and long storytelling as well as more physical contests.
Hunter/gatherer, Noble, Priest, Villager