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Vehdna is the name of one of the three major religious/racial/cultural groups of the massive city of Taglios and its surrounding regions. The other two are the Gunni and the Shadar; despite their distinct differences, all three share the same tongue: the Taglian language. The Vehdna are strictly monotheistic and consider the Shadar to be a "Gunni-infected bastard offshoot" of their own faith. Though the Vehdna are the least numerous when compared to the Gunni and Shadar, they still dramatically outnumber tiny minorities like the Nyueng Bao and the Stranglers.

The most prominent Vehdna in the Annals of the Black Company is Sleepy, the group's ranking officer during the Kiaulune wars and later their official Captain. Sleepy's religious convictions and struggles permeate her Annals in Water Sleeps. Prior to this, a Vehdna unit called the al-Khul Company was the best Taglian outfit loyal to the Old Crew during the Siege of Dejagore.

The Vehdna are a fairly monolithic group when compared to the Gunni, who have innumerable cults. But one noted exception among the Vehdna are the veyedeen dervishes, members a splinter sect who choose a lifestyle and wardrobe that differs from mainstream Vehdna.

Customs and doctrine[]

Afterlife[]

Vehdna believe in paradise, but it is for men almost exclusively. Women are not admitted and are explicitly stated in Vehdna doctrine to be soulless, with the rarest exceptions. The Vehdna paradise is described pejoratively by Lady in Dreams of Steel as "infested with eager virgins of both sexes". Croaker specifies in Soldiers Live that the Vehdna and Shadar paradises both have "rivers of wine and acres of eager virgins for the man who falls in battle [...] though originally that only meant warriors who perished in the name of God".

Some Vehdna believe in al-Shiel, a place where wicked souls will burn for all eternity.

Both the Vehdna and the Shadar reject the Gunni doctrine of reincarnation.

Deity[]

Vehdna are strictly monotheistic, unlike both Shadar and Gunni. However, as Sleepy confesses, "for all its One True God focus, my religion contains a strong taint of ancestor worship. Every Vehdna believes his forefathers can hear his prayers and can intercede with God and his saints".

Diet[]

Vehdna cannot eat pork, but other meats are unrestricted. They will purchase sheep for meat from Gunni farmers. The Gunni are vegetarians and consider these animals (along with cattle) to be sacred, but they have no qualms selling them to the Vehdna for eventual consumption.

Disposal of the dead[]

Vehdna bury their dead, unlike the Gunni, who incinerate their dead on ghats (pyres) and dispose the leftover bones using various means.

Dress[]

Vehdna priests typically wear kaftans and glamorous turbans, whereas Gunni priests wear robes colored depending upon sect, and Shadar priests wear white, simple shirts and pantaloons. Common Vehdna men "like a little color in their costume, though not bright like the Gunni. They wear pantaloons and real shoes. Even the poorest conceal their bodies and wear something atop their heads." Common Vehdna women, if married, "wear only black. You can see nothing but their eyes. Unmarried Vehdna women you don’t see at all" according to Murgen in Bleak Seasons.

A group of Vehdna sects, called the veyedeen dervishes, wear stifling hot, all-covering brown robes.

Ghosts[]

Vehdna, like the Nyueng Bao, believe in ghosts. The Gunni do not. Vehdna ghosts are "are wicked spirits cursed to wander [the earth] by God Himself", whereas, a Nyueng Bao ghost is a "restless spirit that wants to finish tasks interrupted by death" but cannot do so.

Hair[]

In Dreams of Steel, Lady records in her Annals that Vehdna and Shadar tended toward curly hair, whereas Gunni presumably had more commonly straight hair. She also noted that Vehdna men wore their hair short whereas some Gunni men let their hair grow long.

Idols[]

Vehdna forbid themselves the use of any idols at all, unlike the Shadar who make idols of one god, and the Gunni who worship a considerable pantheon of deities and have a wide variety of idols and images in their temples.

Population[]

Vedhna are the smallest of the three major religions (Gunni being the most populous). They still dramatically outnumber tiny minorities like the Nyueng Bao and the Stranglers.

Seating[]

Vehdna favor sitting on the floor or on a cushion, cross-legged. This is in contrast to the Shadar, who use low chairs or stools, and, both the Gunni and Nyueng Bao, whose fashion is to squat down on their heels.

Travel[]

Vehdna have a tradition of excellent horsemanship, and are widely-respected riders. They formed dangerous cavalry units serving the Great General Mogaba.

Vehdna individuals[]

For a list of Vehdna individuals appearing in the Annals, see: Category:Vehdna

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