Faction: Basti

The Children of Bast

The cat-headed Basti are a sly, amoral and pleasure-loving race. Filled with mischief and irony, their amber eyes forever scrutinize their surroundings, appraising the appearance of their fellows. The Basti put great value in beauty, and always seek to be among the most beautiful people, in the most elegant of settings. Whatever the circumstances - whether the bed chambers of a lover or the midst of a battle - the Basti take great care with their appearance. For this, the Children of the Basti are rightly considered vain.

The vanity of the Basti is not without cause. In many ways, they are the epitome of Ægyptian beauty. The males are wiry with narrow hips and broad shoulders. The females are curvaceous with slender waists and shapely legs. They have a natural grace that is apparent even in the slightest gesture, and are possessed of an innate dexterity. The males move with a sinuous swagger, never hesitating or stumbling. The females walk with an enticing seductive sway of their hips. Their skin is smooth, soft and the color of honey. Forever concerned with their appearance, both males and females paint their faces to highlight their captivating eyes, or accentuate their high cheekbones. They robe their supple-limbed bodies in alluring garments woven from the finest fabrics. They dress not to conceal their lithe, comely bodies, but instead to increase their desirability.

The voice of a Basti is a roguish, languid purr. They are a sophisticated, clever race, and none can match them in insightful, biting mockery. Like a cat playing with its prey, they are fond of taunting their critics. A favorite target are the Heru, and many a times a stoic Heru has been left sputtering and stammering after the abusive ridicule of a Basti. Perhaps most aggravating to the other Ægyptians, the Basti, whatever the accusation, always seem unperturbed and composed. Never flustered, they only reply calmly to their accusers with stinging, incisive insults.

For all their taunts and insults, the Basti are also capable of being incredibly charming and persuasive. Even the most doubtful listener in the most dubious circumstances is often swayed by their sweet words, spoken in a soothing, convincing voice. Many cynically claim that the Basti only use this talent to lie, cheat and keep themselves from receiving just punishment. It is safe to say these cynics are not entirely wrong.

Above all else, the Basti are hedonists. Their goddess, Bast, is the mistress of cats and Lady of Pleasures, and in keeping with their goddess' proclivities, the heart's desire of most Basti is to live a life of unending sensual delight, free from worry or concern. They treasure carnal delights - whether it be the joys of the flesh, the excesses of a drunken night, or the raptures of more exotic amusements. They are a sensual race, forever seeking new ecstasies. They can barely resist the lure of physical gratification, and it is impossible for them to resist the temptation of a pleasure never tried.

History & Society

The primary concerns of Basti society are the gratification of the senses and the admiration and envy of their fellow Children.

Unlike the greedy Children of Ptah, the Basti care nothing for wealth itself - only what gold and silver can buy. They desire a life of luxury, and know that such a life has a high price. Their homes are decorated with costly art, and furnished with the finest furniture. They delight in sumptuous dinners and love to host extravagant affairs. In pursuit of pleasures, whether it be lovemaking, sweet wines or exotic opiates, they will spare no expense. Not that all of the Basti can afford such opulence, but no matter how destitute a Basti, he always tries to convey an appearance of great wealth. To the Basti, there is no greater shame than being poor.

Because of this, they are often driven to extreme measures to obtain wealth. In these lawless days of Ægyptus, brigandry is very profitable. A Basti, seeking the wealth he needs, often finds himself a bandit, joining with the murderous Typhon, bitter Asar and other desperate Children of the Gods, who have become the terror of merchant caravans and small villages.

The Basti value grace, sophistication and beauty above ll else. Their society is divided into distinct cliques. Membership in these cliques is based solely on cultural refinement and physical appearance. The most prestigious cliques is Bast's Harem, and long ago, the Harem was the entourage of the goddess herself.

Due to these cliques, many Basti seek to increase their prestige by joining the warband of a Harbinger of Bast. The goddess only chooses the most comely and gallant looking of her children to be the servants of her divine will. Neglecting that the Harbingers are born to make war, the Basti pledge themselves to a warband, seeking to increase their own prestige by associating themselves with the magnificent Harbingers. While many quickly find battle to be a dirty and loathsome activity, some few take to it with the same passion that other Basti pursue physical pleasure.

Allies & Adversaries

Of the other Ægyptian races, the Basti most enjoy the company of the Sebeki, Children of Sobek. At first glance, this seems a strange pairing, but upon closer examination it makes an odd sort of sense. Both races find much enjoyment in carnal pleasures. While the Sebeki's pleasures are much more gross and much less sophisticated than the Basti's, the Basti can at least understand the other race's motivations and desires. In addition, the Basti find that the Sebeki make good straight men. Not only do the Sebeki's short tempers often increase the hilarity of a Basti prank, they are also prone to forget pranks because of their short memories. They are also so gullible that the Basti are able to accomplish the most ridiculous tricks. Often told is the story of when Epaphos of the Honeyed Tongue, Harbinger of Bast, convinced Kharak the Marrow-Drinker, Harbinger of Sobek, that a silken woman's undergarment was actually the magical cowl of some foreign god. Convinced of the undergarments magical potency, Kharak wore it on his crocodilian head for many months before a Tethru lorist, not understanding the joke, told the Marrow-Drinker the truth.

While it cannot be said that the Basti hate any of their fellow Ægyptians, they dislike the Children of Anubis, Horus, Ptah and Thoth. The Anubi are too grim; the Heru too serious; the To-tanem too stolid, and the Tethru too lawful to be enjoyable company. It is considered by the Basti a grave insult to be seated beside a member of one of these races at a feast.

Way of War

Unlike the Children of Horus who spend the time before a battle quietly whetting their blades, or the Children of Sobek who work themselves into a frothing frenzy, the Basti prepare for battle by polishing their armor so that it gleams radiantly in the Sun, and preening meticulously so that they present the proper image of the swaggering hero. They take great pride in their appearance no matter what the occasion, whether be it a sumptuous feast, a bloody battle or a cowardly retreat... perhaps most especially during a cowardly retreat.

At the first sign that a battle is going badly, the Basti are quick to leave the field. Their leaders often hang back and wait to see how the first few moments of a battle go before engaging their opponents. The female Basti are strong and spirited, and fight alongside the males - often with more enthusiasm. Both sexes disdain committing to hand-to-hand combat. Instead, they prefer to harass their enemies with hit-and-run tactics and missile fire. Their skill with bows and slings is surpassed by none, and units of archers and slingers are prized throughout Ægyptus. Though far from the bravest of warriors, the Basti are possessed of surprising ferocity when cornered with no hope of escape.

After a battle, the actions of the Basti are another matter. They are vain and cocky. They regale their fellows with tales of their glory on the fields of battle, often saving the lives of their brothers-in-arms, and always in the face of certain death. They boast of their unsurpassed martial prowess to all willing to listen, and their exploits grow with each telling. Much to the chagrin of the Basti, these are not the tales that the Scribes record.

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