They belong to a time before civilizations began to create weapons of bronze. They live in the great Sea of Sand and commune with the gods. They neither grow crops nor build cities. They were the first, and they will be the last.
History and Culture
A Mysterious Race of Nomadic Tribes
Known collectively as the Whisperers of the Gods (or the Whisperers of the Dead by those who claim no mortal can speak for the Gods), there are several tribes of these people along the northern shore of the Hatmahe Sea. Their origins are unknown, but they themselves speak of coming from a rich land destroyed by great floods sent by angry gods. Their people were the only ones to survive, having heeded the warnings the gods had sent them. For thousands of years they have existed in this nomadic life, the tribes coming together every twelve years (when the zodiac cycle begins anew as the star Zera passes into the constellation Orope) for the Rhagepe to perform the Calendar Ceremony. The Rhagepe share their visions with their sisters and together prepare for the next twelve years, using the visions received in their dreams as clues.
They wear cloaks made from the bones of their ancestors, each generation adding the bones of their father or mother, the cloak being passed down since the beginning of their existence (usually cloaks go from mother to daughter, father to son, but there are no strict rules about this). These are called Ancestral Cloaks. If a Whisperer has too many children their cloak passes to their oldest, and the younger ones make a new cloak made from camel skin. The bones are divvied up by the most important going to the oldest, and the lesser bones going to the younger children in descending order.
Bones most important to least important:
Bones that are too large (skull or pelvis) or too small (finger or toe bones) are usually delivered to the Hatmahe Sea to be laid to rest.
A derogatory term use by foreigners is to call a Whisperer a Rattlecloak. It is also said the only warning you are given of a Whisperer's attack is the sound of a rattle the moment before they slit your throat.
The Whispers do not farm or breed animals. They hunt, scavenge and trade for their living. They often travel to fishing villages along the coast, or north into the Grey Mist to trade visions from the gods in return for food or valuable items.
Reputation Among Other Cultures
The people of Mahat, the Matawega and the Petzuhallpa regard them as being barbaric and cursed, but many believe they have the ability to speak directly to the gods, and several times throughout history kings have asked for their knowledge in times of great strife. In other times, such as the reign of Paref Amotefen VI, for example, they were hunted down in the Sea Mahat and would be bronzed. Amotefen VI had the bronze figures brought to his great city he built northwest of the Mountain Mahat, Hattute. It was said these statues, or the methods to attain them, are what cursed Amotefen VI and his city. After that it was believed great misfortune would come to anyone who harmed a Whisperer and they were generally offered safe passage through Mahat and Matawe.
Although the Gogepe are not known to personify their gods, it is generally agreed that while every material thing in the world can be inhabited by a god, there are three immaterial concepts which undoubtedly exist and are usually thought of as being feminine (this perhaps due to the fact that they are so closely associated with childbirth). These concepts are life, death, and rebirth. The Rhagepe, the living embodiment of the Gogepe's connection to the gods, are represented by these three concepts as well.
Go'angrin (go-AN-grin) - Lake Whisperers
They live mostly to the east of the desert, often trading with the lake towns. Sometimes they even travel to the south of Mahat. Notable members:
Gonnamdi (gon'-NAM-dee) - Whisperers Following the Sun
They live mostly in the western oases in the Sea of Sand. Notable members:
Gopema (go-PEH-ma) - Silver Whisperers
They live mostly along the south coat, trading with fishermen. Notable members:
Gorikin (go-re-KIN) - Whisperers Crafting Spears
They live mostly in the oasis found in the central part of the Sea of Sand. Notable members:
In the Novels
The Whisperers are shown in the opening chapter of Orope performing the Calendar Ceremony. The Rhagepe predict several calamities, including a terrible flood, that will destroy the great empires unless they can be convinced to follow the old ways. They decide to send three messengers (Tersh, Sha'di, and Kareth) to the three great empires (Matawe, the Grey Mist, and Mahat) known to the Whisperers.
Most Gogepe have black hair and dark eyes, but red hair is also common among the western tribes (the Gonnamdi tribe in particular has this trait). Silver eyes is not a common trait, and those women with them are held in high regard. Men with silver eyes are not considered holy, but rather lucky. Women tend to have long hair in dreadlocks, while men keep their beards and hair cropped short. They are described as being malnourished, being "thin and bony, moving from one meal to the next."
- ↑ Chapter: "The Grey Mist, The temple burned around her" (p.54)