Yamnaya is probably the only matriarchal tribe on the planet that has survived The Apocalypse. This highly feminine society is ruled by women, both in big matters of the Council and small personal issues. Its culture has been preserved without a change for hundreds of centuries, seemingly vulnerable but surprisingly durable when it comes to challenge.
They are the closest to nature from all the tribes that have reached Edinu. Their mysterious singing and celebration is often heard from the forest, but few people dare to join: men in fear of powerful women and women in fear for their men.
The dominant role of women in Yamnaya tribe has never been undermined. Men take no part in politics, but they are valued as workers and supporters – farmers, craftsmen, soldiers. They may attend most of the rituals as spectators, but are not allowed to perform spiritual actions by themselves.
There is no institution of marriage in Yamnaya. Children belong to the whole community, not to their parents. When the moon and sun appears at the same time on the sky, this is the message for women to lay with the men from other tribes and come back pregnant. Even if the father is known, he plays no part in upbringing of his children.
There is no single ruler in Yamnaya. Decision-making process is governed by the Council, which consists of the eldest women of the tribe. Among them, the most important women are the Chieftess and the Oracle.
The Chieftess is ritually obliged to listen to everyone’s daily report during the common dinner. This sets her position as a ‘vox populi’ of the tribe. On the other hand, there is the Oracle, who can hear the whispers of Aennea (the mother dragon – mother Nature) and thus is able to command the tribe using supra-natural arguments.
culture and habits
Women of Yamnaya enjoy looking at men and judging their physical appearance. Yamnaya tradition tells that men can be judged by the length of their ears – the longer the better.
People of Yamnaya are famous for their singing. They’ve been seen like this in the forest: the whole tribe sitting in a big circle, performing songs or just wordless mantras regardless of the passage of time. It is said that their singing has effective magical power – when the circle is unbroken and the song in strong, they cannot be touched nor harmed by any physical aggression.
Yamnaya believe the world was created by the Goddess Aennea – a dragon that is warm, cosy and protective. She created the world and takes care of it. Her egg is a moon that we see on the sky. When she hatches the egg, it glows and shines, what we see as a sun in the sky. When we see the moon and the sun in the same time, Aennea has another egg, which means it`s time for reproduction for Yamnaya women.
Yamnaya is a collective society that values common participation in daily rituals. It’s not about the effects, but about the process itself. The whole community gathers together around the fire to exchange stories and emotions.
There are morning rituals and evening rituals. At down, they are drinking tea prepared by the Oracle. At dusk, they share dinner and perform storytelling sessions while the Chieftess distributes food equally between all tribesmen.
crafts and skills
Yamnaya people like to possess pretty things: jewellery, tools, exotic goods. They are not keen on big constructions, but their finery and imagination with little crafts is famous. They love showing off with handmade jewelry and costumes. They preferably use the green colour of the leaves and various tones of red and purple that they find on berries and other fruits. “Colourful people are happy people” – as Yamnaya tradition tells.
attitude to others
Yamnaya is a peaceful tribe that seldom starts aggression on its own. They don’t parade with swords on daily basis, but they do have weapons and know how to use them in case of trouble.
Yamnaya are distrustful to other tribes, especially when it comes to invite strangers to their houses. Their camp is their sanctuary.
Yamnaya is open for diplomatic cooperation with other tribes on one condition – that matriarchat is commonly accepted and inter-tribal Council consisted of women only is established. Otherwise, they would rather stay together in their group and keep to the old ways of their ancestors.
superstitions about them
They are called “tree-huggers” for their well-known connection to Mother Nature. No one has actually seen them tree-hugging in Edinu, but that doesn’t matter. Other people often express laughter and sarcasm about Yamnaya rituals and mysteries, but would actually like to get secretly involved. Many people reason that Yamnayas have special access to the “wisdom of old” and are therefore able to perform powerful magic and summon the vital forces within a human body that are not available for ordinary people.
the first migration
During the First Migration, Yamanya people were considered the most powerful of the three tribes. They have reached Edinu first and thus were able to claim the biggest yurt for themselves. Moreover, they confiscated a lot of resources (food, plates, weapons) and kept control over them for many days. Yet, it doesn’t matter now, as the First Migration enden without any permanent settlement on Edinu territory.
the second migration
During the Second Migration, Yamnaya performed a background role in the politics of Edinu. They hid in the forest during mutants’ attack and later didn’t participate actively in the election of the Queen of Edinu. They have grown strong within their tribe, separated from the others. They remained strong and loyal to the ancient matriarchal values of their ancestors.
the third migration
When the Shanidar people approached the gates, Yamnaya was holding little political power in Edinu. Yamnaya had no soldier and no arguments to claim resources for its own. However, it was the people of Yamnaya who let the newcomers come inside. The Oracle and the Chieftess thought that this can bring a shift to the balance of power between the tribes. At first, the migrants were taken into custody by Uruk and no communication with them was possible. Later, when the migrant were let inside Edinu, they settled down close to Yamnaya territory – that’s where they felt the safest.
The political importance of Yamnaya raised when a sudden conflict burst in Edinu after a disastrous fire-ritual performed by the Urukian priests. Many people were wounded – and only the healers of Yamnaya were capable of saving their lives. After the disarming of Edinu population by the Guild, the order of healing and safety was restructured. A hospital was built. Yamnaya took the responsibility – and prestige – of keeping it in order.
One woman from Yamnaya was also appointed to the High Council of Edinu. There are three decisive members (one from Maykop, Uruk and Yamnaya) and two advisory members (from Shanidar and from The Guild). The Yamnaya Councillor proved to be a influential leader, who focused on peaceful solutions – it is due to her that no criminal was executed on those difficult days.
A generation has passed since the Third Migration. Yamnaya has become an influential tribe. The only hospital in Edinu is located on Yamnaya territory and that gives them an important argument when it comes to trading services and resources – without Yamnaya’s consent, nobody has access to conventional healing procedures.
There are, as always, some inner conflicts within the tribe. The Chieftess of the tribe and the tribe’s representative at the Edinu Council may have different opinions concerning the tribe’s best possible future. And the Oracle may have another set of opinions of herself.
Also the Shanidar matter has not been resolved yet. Most of the newcomers have decided to keep their barbaric culture and habits, which makes them unacceptable as close companions. This means that the potential strengthening of Yamnaya did not happen – there are capable warriors within the Shanidar, but there are not willing to support Yamnaya any more than the other tribes. Perhaps this can be changed – but at what costs? Or perhaps another alliances should be made to bring back the previous glory of the Tribe of Aennea.