Kagzaren are humanoid mammals. They are physically similar to the Kagzar with some prominent differences.
Adults are significantly shorter, ranging from 4 to 6 feet tall. Their snouts are significantly shorter with prominent jowls, and they naturally have long trailing ears. Their average lifespans are noticably shorter, still maturing at 10 years of age but only living for an average of 25 years.
Their fur is the same as that of the Kagzar, but in much brighter and more variable colors. Pastels and flamboyant patterns are a very common sight.
Their ancestors, the Kagzar, are known for being a vicious predator species. Some Kagzar gave up the bloody lifestyle of war and the hunt, and instead dedicated themselves to a more peaceful lifestyle.
This subspecies has eschewed the traditional Kagzar lifestyle for a more restrained culture based upon the life of the Jasemi. Kagzaren live on the outskirts of Jasemi villages, cultivating their own crops and doing their best to practice the Lunan religion. The Jasemi are mostly confused by this.
Unlike their ancestors, the Kagzaren are capable of using magically enchanted tools. Some of the most skilled and disciplined have even learned magic themselves.
Kagzaren are omnivorous, but meat is still a requirement in their diet. They frequently and purposefully neglect the consumption of meat as a religious rite, leading to widespread malnutrition that is poorly supplemented through the consumption of nutritious vegetables.
Most Kagzaren allow for the consumption of Pufbulo milk, but some radical Kagzaren consume nothing but plant matter.
The Kagzaren did not originate with the Provan magic crisis, like the Lunan religion; splinter sects of Kagzar who questioned the bloodthirsty lifestyle that Stelo worship demanded came into existence centuries before Luno arrived. These dissident Kagzar felt that the slaughter of other sentient species - namely the Jasemi - was immoral, and an impediment to a healthy lifestyle. Kagzar who expressed these feelings were heavily ostracized among their tribes, and forced to philosophize in secret with other like-minded thinkers.
With the advent of the Lunan religion, the dissident Kagzar found their chance. Deeming themselves the Kagzaren (meaning "other Kagzar"), they orchastred a mass exodus from their clans to congregate on the outskirts of Jasemi territory. There they created permanent settlements and adopted the worship of Luno. From there, Kagzaren culture blossomed into its modern form.
Relations with Kagzar
The Kagzar and the Kagzaren have a strained relationship that has gone back centuries.
Kagzar view Kagzaren as foolish heretics who have abandoned Stelo and their rightful place in the afterlfe. Worshipping Luno and giving up sacrifice to Stelo has caused decadence and degeneracy to overrun the Kagzaren. They live lazy, carefree lives, unconcerned with keeping Stelo happy or respecting the traditions of their ancestors. Kagzaren are condescending know-it-alls who celebrate their depravity in the most repulsive of ways.
Kagzaren see Kagzar as butchers who live a life of barbarism and immorality. The Kagzar love of warfare and combat is abhorent to Kagzaren. They see the nomadic tradition of the Kagzar as the number one reason for all possible struggles the Kagzar face; if they would simply settle down in one place and adapt the Jasemi lifestyle, peace and prosperity would come to them.
Most of the Kagzaren are within a splinter faction who have given up the worship of Stelo and the bloody lifestyle that comes with it. Instead, they live a cultivated imitation of the Jasemi way of life, including permanent settlements, pacifism, worship of the god Luno, and a vegetarian diet.
Unlike the Jasemi, who view Luno as a benevolent but non-demanding god, the Kagzaren believe that Luno requires much devotion and supplication to maintain her happiness. The Kagzaren believe that the Jasemi are Luno's chosen species to bring a new awakening of peace and prosperity to Prova, and living life in an imitation of them is key to satisfying Luno.
Between the Kagzaren, there are numerous factions each with their own beliefs on how Luno wants them to live. Although imitating the Jasemi is the basic tenet, each village of Kagzaren has its own interpretation of Luno's will. Some forbid the consumption of milk and eggs; some demand regular sacrifice of collected vegetables and grain; some even believe that frequent body mutilation is the only thing keeping Luno from destroying Prova as a whole.
Although there is no de jure leadership positions in a Kagzaren village, the de facto power is in the hands of the priests. These are Kagzaren who have chosen to dedicate their lives to the study of Luno and her needs. Priests spend an enormous amount of time writing and studying religious texts, detailing the proper rules for living and worshipping Luno. As each priest has differing opinions on what is proper, these texts tend to be highly contradictory.
Worship of Luno is the primary form of worship for all Kagzaren, but a minority continue to deify Stelo in its own right. Explanation of Stelo in the Kagzaren belief system is a primary point of contention between Kagzaren priests. A majority still profess that Stelo is real, but is a bloodthirsty tyrant who is not worthy of worship. Some worship Stelo as a minor god, and preach that it is through Luno's good grace and power that Stelo is kept in check. A very small minority even worship Stelo as a dualistic pantheon with Luno, each needing a certain level of worship to maintain satisfaction.
Many Kagzaren regularly perform body modification as a form of ritual penance. Like the Kagzar, the Kagzaren crop their ears as a religious rite; however, the Kagzaren perform this action to mark themselves apart from the Kagzar. Ear cropping is considered a rite into adulthood, to demonstrate devotion and love for Luno through the endurance of extreme pain. Not all Kagzaren perform the ear-cropping ritual, but this depends on their village priest's interpretation of Luno's will.
Kagzaren are strict pacifists and refuse to participate in the war games of their Kagzar cousins. Although they still possess the same natural claws and fangs, Kagzaren find little use for them and occasionally file them down in an attempt to further imitate the Jasemi.
However, Kagzaren are still predators at heart, and will not hesitate to fight when backed into a corner. It takes much self-discipline and reflection for a Kagzaren to resist their natural urges for blood.