Class creation and artwork By C. Gray, revision v2.1, for use with the World of Imarel.
What are the Nahara?
The Nahara, or Companions in the common tongue, are an elite caste of entertainers. Most Nahara come from ancient families of Quar`Vess with mixed Elvish blood known as Asyn-Shei. These families are few, and the caste is very exclusive, considered to be one of the most refined and graceful in all of Imarel. Unlike their brethren, the Nahara chose to breed for grace and beauty rather than brutal sorcerous might. The mixing of Moon Elvish and Quar`Vess blood tends to produce somewhat short (five to six feet) and slender progeny with startling natural grace. While men are welcome to take on this profession, male Nahara are extremely rare and such an individual would have to be uniquely gifted and devoted to achieve his official status.
This caste has devoted itself for centuries to the perfection of social interaction. Some crude and uneducated individuals might call them whores, but the Nahara are much more than that. Their art is refined and truly a remarkable experience, from engaging in conversation, to music, dance, song, and art, to massage, foot washing, even hair brushing…and of course intercourse.
Similar to the geisha, often Nahara are appealed to merely for the pleasure of their company, and their attentions are very exclusive. A man does not hire a Nahara; he applies for the privilege of her company and compensates her for her time. There are no poor Companions, and they do not go begging for customers. Any Nahara would be intensely insulted if a man tried to proposition her for a random night of debauched pleasure and would never take on such a customer.
Code of Personal Behavior
The Nahara consider their whole lives to be an art. Even alone they devote time to practice their skills, research to stay current on information and people, and meditation. Just anyone cannot complete the training required to receive official status as a Nahara, and the few who do have been molded by compatible nature and conditioning to be gracious, refined, and a pleasure to associate with. To accompany their skills there is also a code of conduct that facilitates their art.
1. All matters with a client are confidential. No matters discussed or interactions with clients may be spoken of outside of the confidence of the Order of Nahara or the private audience of that particular client. Some Nahara have died in torture rather than divulge the secrets of their clients.
2. Do not pursue topics that upset the client. The Nahara is not a confessional or a nursemaid; she will not pry into information or private affairs on some misguided attempt to turn herself into a confidant. If a client wishes to speak of something, they will. If they do not it is rude and improper to pursue the issue and Companions have, in the past, lost their official status for doing this on complaints from clients to the Order.
3. Do not talk about one’s self with clients. Light matters of a daily nature are acceptable, but intimate, personal, or traumatic moments are entirely unacceptable. Always remember that a Nahara is providing the service of her company, not engaged in intimacy with a lover.
4. A Nahara may refuse any application for her attention for any reason. Her time is a valuable and highly sought after commodity and she need not waste it with anyone she deems unworthy of it.
5. Any children produced due to carelessness on the part of the Nahara belong to her. The father may lay no claim nor may the child claim any inheritance from the father. A Nahara may never use children produced from her clients as either a means to bribe for money or a token of blackmail. Indecent behavior of this sort will result in immediate expulsion from the Order of Rhoah, and the child will be taken into the care of the local orphanage.
6. Anyone claiming official status as a Nahara who is not will be found and brought before to the local government for justice. There is no polite warning. The Order has standards to maintain, standards that it bases its reputation and existence on. Anyone who besmirches those standards by laying claim to something not theirs will be dealt with swiftly and decisively. Most governments consider it as the same level of impropriety as impersonating a city official.
7. Marriage is the end of a career. A Nahara offers the quality of her art based on a certain level of impartiality. While she may take private lovers, to choose one companion for life is a clear indication of a loss of impartiality. This is not a dishonorable revocation of her status, and she may re-apply for it should her spouse die, but it is both impractical and improper for a Nahara to be married.
Services and Training
Becoming Nahara isn’t only a matter of choice but of being chosen. A woman may work for years, learn all the arts, and still be denied her official status if her devotion, personality, or performance are seen as inadequate. Training takes no less than ten years and the Companion is required to learn at least one instrument, several forms of dance, singing if she should have a pleasant voice, etiquette, aromatherapy, massage, psychology, philosophy, any number of intimate arts, accounting, and self defense, as well as a multitude of other options that make each Nahara’s repertoire unique.
There is no such thing as a protégé who completes this training in less time. Ten years is a required length of time, though some may learn more skills in that time than others. It’s not unusual for it to take two or three times that long.
The Nahara should always seek to expand her skills and knowledge. She should see her life as a form of art and it’s beauty and quality should always be the core of her ambitions. There is no such thing as an angst-ridden Nahara, a woman of such personal weakness would never see through the requirements of training nor have her official status recognized.
Only one in ten women who train achieve their official status and the Order of Rhoah has no qualms about refusing the inadequate or undesirable no matter how much money or time they put into their training. The Order is considered one of the stricter and it’s graduated, official members are seen as women of the highest quality and afforded the deepest respect.
Upon being accepted into the order, a Nahara is admitted to a new school of training; Nahara ritual magic. These magics are both spell and performance, accomplished in the form of complex combination of chant, material components, and dance. The Nahara practice a sort of ritual magic. It is highly specialized and the secrets of it are closely guarded. This form of magic is very difficult. On an individual basis simple songs and dances can accomplish canatrips and glamors but for any significant effect it takes many Nahara working in concert. These effects can vary from seer’s arts to curses or blessings. One Nahara alone could not place a dangerous curse and Nahara are very selective, preferring to reserve use for only the most dire and significant circumstances for those kinds of magic.
The Nahara revere the Spirits of Tranquility and Pleasure and their rituals and dances are a tribute to inner peace and equilibrium. For the larger part these ceremonies are for blessings, divination, and protections. Nahara typically use the Divination, Abjuration and Charm/Beguilement schools. Magic is an integral part of the training, as spells must be cast subtly and mingled with sensuous movement, song or other pleasing art forms.
Most Nahara are Asyndi with Shei blood, or simply known as Asyn-Shei. An ancient family of this caste founded the Order. While any woman (or man) may join classes and take the training, it is usually only the long lived half-breeds of this caste that have the patience, devotion, and grace to achieve official status. There have been rare Shar’Vaire of noble houses, those with Human gypsy rather than elven blood, a scattering of full elves and Quar’Vess who have managed to gain their official status. Regardless they must all meet the rigorous standards of the Order. It is not an equal-opportunity occupation; the same standards apply to any woman of any race who takes the training.
What makes a Nahara vastly different from a prostitute starts in her very purpose. She may take on a client who desires only her company to a dinner or her attentions as a masseuse. Her purpose is to offer her presence as a fulfilling and enlightening experience. One of the most renowned women ever to grace the Order died a virgin well past her three hundredth year. To call a Nahara a prostitute is to call a Crusader a heretic and the suggestion would cause deep offense.
Nahara and Imarel
Mostly all civilized places in Imarel will view any Nahara with awe and respect. Some among more suspicious groups will look on them as dangerous and meddlesome though they rarely involve themselves in politics in any way. Their Order is wealthy and extremely influential and should harm or insult come to one of their women as has happened rarely in the past, the Order can and will bring ruin and destruction to the offender. While a house of ladies of pleasure may not sound dangerous, they are known and respected in many places and their clients often take personal offense to affronts to the Order…and their clients include Theocrats, lords, and kings.
The Order is not easily affronted, but none should confuse beauty for weakness. Nearly all chapter houses are protected by their local governments because of their neutral affiliation. Should a person or party decide to attack or damage an Order, Nahara are then free to reveal whatever secrets they may have on said individuals or party.
The Order has no enemies normally. Because of their carefully maintained autonomy from politics except in cases where it is necessary to protect their women, and their strictly enforced confidentiality (which any official status companion would suffer pain, mutilation, and death to protect) they are viewed as a neutral party that values art and pleasure over any baser motivation.
The local Chapter House in Sundown is located in the Garden District and is called the Court of the Evenfall. The name of any Chapter House of the Order refer to the city and the appropriate time of day for ‘courting’. In this case, Sundown and of course, the evening. This Chapter House is run by Baroness Alise Corelliandra es An’Tiel of Anthalas.
Note: This class path was inspired by the companions of the Firefly TV series, by Joss Whedon and is highly suggested to watch!