From Blood and Ashes
Real World Comparison: Gypsies
A nomadic people that usually travel in large family-like Troupes, much like a traveling circus or carnival. Each member of a Troupe bears their Troupe mark in the form of a tattoo somewhere on his/her body. Most commonly this mark is placed on the left shoulder blade.
They are generally viewed as charlatans, tricksters, and thieves. However, despite this reputation, Dajinji Troupes are usually welcomed into towns (or at least allowed to set up nearby). When a Troupe comes to town, the bring excitement, stories, and many strange forms of entertainment. There are even a number of Dajinji Troupes that have won the patronage of one lord or another.
Codes of Honor For the Jin, little in life comes easy. The Troupes are usually very closed units, and allow very few non-Jin into their inner circles. They do not usually fear strangers, but there are very common feelings of mistrust towards non-Jinn. From a very young age, Dajinji are taught the importance of The Family (The Troupe and The Jin). They are taught that one does what one must to those outside the family (steal, cheat, even kill if they must), but one does not harm The Family.
The Amran Tobash Every mid-summer, many Troupes gather in southern Aram Mitas (near the village of Hen’s Tooth) for a 10-day festival, known as The Amran Tobash. While all Troupes have a standing invitation to the gathering, not all make it every year. The Amran Tobash gives the Dajinji the opportunity to swap news and stories, as well as conduct intra-Troupe business.
The Maerz’ket In order to avoid the complications that come from inbreeding, the Jin have adopted a complicated custom of trading their sons and daughters between Troupes in arranged marriages. These trades (called The Maerz’ket) are usually done during The Amran Tobash. Arrangements for marriages are usually made years before the actual trade will take place
Patrons and The Jin Many of the “Great” Troupes have earned the favor and patronage of a noble. Patronage usually makes life on the road a bit easier for The Jin and helps grease the wheels when dealing with some towns and villages and/or military forces encountered on the road (this is especially true if the noble is local). Patronage does not give the Troupe carte’ blanche to do as they please. It is more like an endorsement or voucher. The benefits of such patronage apply to the Troupe as a whole. Small groups and/or solitary travelers are not considered part of the Troupe (even if they bear the mark) when matters of patronage are considered.
The “Great” Dajinji Troupes
The Evans Family
Troupe Crest: An eye over a pyramid with it’s top peak cut off.
Patronage: Count Gregor Brandon of Dalvey
Believed to have originated from the area around Dalvey several hundred years ago, this traveling Dajinji Troupe are well known for their acrobatic feats(think of Cirque Du Soleil) and trading acumen. As the stories go, this family is thought to have swindled just about every noble family at some point in the past and remain well thought of at the same time. They drive a hard bargain and while many think they have gotten the better deal, it almost always turns out that the Evans knew that the deal they were striking could be turned around to greater profit. The most famous of which was when Riley Evans traded the mineral rights for an old iron mine that had run dry, for a considerable sum. While many thought he had made a terrible mistake, including members of his own family, it turned out that he had surveyed the area and found trace amounts of the rare mineral coveted by the Church of Azer, Elinium. After only a year of excavating, he had unearthed a large seam of the rare mineral. Riley was then able to sell the mine to the church for a obscene amount of money… well over 100 times what he had paid for it. While it appeared to most that he had simply been lucky, others believe he was possessed of the gift of foresight and that is the reason that the Evans do so well in their business dealings. Most of the family trains to be an acrobat from a young age. Should any of the children show signs of the foresight they are given to the Seer or one of the other gifted as an apprentice to learn their craft. This practice is kept very secretive, as the Church of Azer has been known to take (by force, if necessary) any that display such arcane abilities.
The VanWaDae Family (also known as The Lost Shadows)
Troupe Crest: A female form dancing joyously with her shadow, encircled by five stars.
Patronage: Countess Marcia Elenthop of Farkirk
Originally springing from the southeastern-most region of Aethinor, the VanWaDae are said to even have a touch of Askani blood in their line. Master showman all, the VanWaDae family is especially known for their singers and their dancers. Several of the traditional Dajinji dances, including The Zapaderin (or Dance of Knives), are said to have originated from this clan. Unlike many of the other dajinji troupes, the VanWaDaes have a penchant for “taking in strays”, lost souls the VanWaDae find along their travels. From time to time, one of these strays is even made an honorary dajinji and given the mark of the VanWaDae.