The name Kurabda refers to a group of nomadic Cardassian tribes native to the Desert of Kurab on the continent of Lower Rivçal of Cardassia Prime. In the prime universe, the Kurabda were forced to abandon their traditional ways, but on an alternate Cardassia, they live on according to their old ways even as the Bajorans invade their world. (Sigils and Unions: Catacombs of Oralius--The Desolate Vigil)
Customs and beliefsEdit
Traditional Kurabda live as nomadic herders, and are known to keep za'abou and riding hounds. They dress in light, layered robes with optional head coverings that may be worn by either gender. Hair is worn long by both men and women, with a few small braids each into which colored strings are woven.
Staunch religious traditionalists and followers of the Oralian Way, the Kurabda generally identify themselves as belonging to the Hebitian species when speaking the common tongue given the secular connotations of the species name "Cardăsda." The central point of any Kurabda camp is the chapel tent, and upon any migration it is always the first tent to be erected and the last to be dismantled. The Kurabda belief disallows males as clergy, nor permits laity the wearing of the recitation mask (one of the only exceptions ever being granted to visitor Skrain Dukat, by the Kekil-haaf).
They also practice many old ascetic disciplines not commonly seen among the city-dwelling Oralian sects, to include the discipline of silence, which can be adopted for known and set periods of time, or for time frames unknown to the disciple. In certain cases, though uncommon, certain Kurabda have been known to give up speech for their entire lives. The young Dukat took the vow and went without speech for six months, using only the tribal sign language to communicate.
The Kekil-haaf live near the city of Culat, though they typically have little contact with the city dwellers. That said, of all of the Kurabda tribes they consider themselves the most connected to urban Cardassians--because they have the city-dwellers' blood in them. At the start of the Cataclysm, a group of villagers facing starvation after the desert encroached onto their farms fled out into the desert rather than join the majority in flocking to the already overcrowded city of Culat. The Kekil villagers were taken in by the tribe living nearest to the area, and taught how to live in harmony with the desert instead of fighting it. The Kekil villagers intermarried with the tribal members, and over the generations, the two groups became indistinguishable from each other.
In the memory of the abandoned village and those who perished there, or in the city, the tribe took on the name "Kekil-haaf." They retain certain other customs as an homage to their ancestors, that are unique to their tribe. Children are universally taught the common tongue once they are old enough to read in their native language; the tribe also continues the memory techniques used by the city dwellers to give their people an eidetic memory. They keep a radio and make it a point to be well informed about what goes on in the cities (though this custom may be observed in other tribes as well). One of the places the tribe stays during certain times of the year is the old site of Kekil village; the structures are long gone, but the site remains meaningful to its desert descendants. Members of the tribe who have disabilities or who are for any reason unable to shoot a longbow are permitted to use a crossbow designed by one of the Kekil villagers five hundred years prior. Finally, the Kekil-haaf are more welcoming of pilgrims from the city and more willing to teach their ways than the other tribes might be.
Despite this dual heritage, the Kekil-haaf still identify above all as Kurabda, and hold to the strict religious traditions of the other tribes, and speak the Kurabda language as their first language.
Skrain Dukat is an honorary member of the Kekil-haaf tribe. Even though he lives with the Cardassian Resistance most of the time, unless he is on a mission requiring him to adopt his old mode of dress, Dukat typically attires himself in the manner of a Kurabda tribesman, with the exception of his hair, which he ties back in a queue without any other ornamentation. He is fluent in the Kurabda sign language, which even after being released from his vow of silence, he still uses as his sole means of communication with the Kurabda.
The Sokol-haaf are a full-blooded Kurabda tribe lacking the city-dweller heritage of the Kekil-haaf. They are known to be less welcoming of pilgrims and of concessions to modern technology, though they, too, are thought to be observant of what is going on in the rest of the world and have kept up with the beginnings of the Cardassian Resistance near their territory.
The Kurabda primarily use dialects of their own language, which are mutually intelligible between tribes, as well as Kurabda sign language. Like most Oralian believers, they are also capable of reading the Lhai'khar language in which the Hebitian Records were written.
Known Kurabda vocabularyEdit
- ah'tekel: city-dweller, foreigner (slightly derisive)
- Bekhih!: Stay!
- maayiy: Mommy
- mraafet: stinging-beetle nest
Named members of Kurabda tribesEdit
- Skrain Dukat (honorary)