The Kami are race of peoples known as Kamians, Kami, and a few other variations.
The Kamians' own history is fraught with complications and revisions. What is reported and taught in Kamian schools is widely regarded as an outright fabrication, with few factual accuracies.
Very little is known about the Kamians before the Mage Wars. They had technology at one point, and may have migrated in generational ships. However, they had severely regressed by the time the first written records of their existence were made. No proof of their technological history has been found. Implications exist they were established by the Eladamri, originally on Planet JAL 667.
Earliest records of the Kami indicate that in the ancient tongue Kami means ‘godly people’. Unfortunately the Kami suffer from an unwavering belief in their own divinity. The larger body of the Kamian race believe they are chosen by God to rule the Multi-Verse, and anyone who stands in their way should be crushed. The extremists amongst the Kami believe they are Gods and the only ones with the right to live in the Multi-Verse, and engage in genocide to ‘cleanse’ the Multi-Verse of all other peoples. To say all Kamians are violent, warmongering psychopaths would not be a racial stereotype, because all Kamians are in fact violent, warmongering psychopaths.
After centuries of isolation, the Kami embarked without warning on a campaign of expansion across the Known Worlds. The resulting Kamian Succession Wars, as they were called, involved nearly the whole military strength of both Foundation and Alliance, and depopulated whole planets. Ultimately, the Kamians were defeated, and reduced to a small portion of their original territory.
Kamian culture is very rich and revolves heavily around tradition and customs. The core values are family and honor. The Kamians take great pride in their families; in many households four generations eat at the same table.
The Kami, like the Marcon Alliance, have a long and highly-ritualized tradition of handing out titles, not to their own soldiers, but to their enemies. These titles are always given in the traditional Kamian tongue and have only rough translations. During the Succession Wars, earning a title was considered a badge of honor for soldiers fighting the Kami.
Among the most sought-after titles were "much-hated foe" and "much-hated blood enemy" (Hunter Jusenkyou was notoriously the youngest individual to earn the latter title). Titles could be given to individuals, units, ships, or entire nations. The Ritats, for example, infamously earned the title of "much-hated foe".
All Kamians live in large family units, usually around four generations, sometimes longer depending on the family's social and economic status. Their houses are enormous, with many rooms and suites, though usually sharing a single, large, industrial-style kitchen and always - without exception - a large dining room. This one custom permeates all of Kamian life: in every household, the entire family eats dinner together.
Kamian culture is stratified. There is no strict caste-system, but as in any civilization there are classes in play. Curiously, before the war, Kamians actually enjoyed one of the highest standards of living in the verse, with over 40% of their population belonging to the upper class. This was possible because they practiced slavery.
- Upper Class: Many Kamians lived on large "working estates": large tracts of land with the family home at the center. These estates were surrounded by farm-land and were primary food producers. The estate may also be involved in some other enterprise outside of agriculture, but the goal was to make the grounds self-supporting. Each estate would need a small army of slaves to work the fields, who usually lived in a small village on the grounds. The house would also draw its staff of servants from the village. In these cases, little modern farming equipment was used, as the steady and large supply of slave labor made industrialization unnecessary. It did create a very interesting juxtaposition wherein the poor had advanced technology, and the rich did not.
- Middle Class: On middle-class estates, the family homes were much less decadent, more functional, and the family did most of the farming work. They owned few slaves, if any, and relied much more heavily on machinery and modern farming techniques. It made for a curious comparison: two estates may sit side by side, one using tractors to plow the field, the other doing it by hand with hoes. Urbanite middle-class families were generally focused around a business, such as a grocery or a factory. Often times the family might have several small business around a specific theme, usually something requiring artistry. In the city, the family might operate a mill and several carpentry and construction companies, and a branch of the family could own an estate in the country, where they managed a woodland. Most middle-class families did not own slaves, & instead relied on family members to carry out the labor. Only very occasionally did they hire "employees", usually from the lower-class.
- Lower Class: Low-class Kamian families were typically smaller, & sometimes the products of unsuccessful split-offs of middle class families. These were the "working" families who did not have a business or land of their own to work, and survived by working for more prominent families. These families also provided the bulk of lower-ranking Kamian soldiers. They also performed well in many expert fields: most doctors came from lower-class families.
- Poverty: At the lowest ranks of Kamian society, one was virtually an outcaste.
Kamians practice monogamous pairings. When a male child comes of age and takes a wife, he moves her to his father's house. If he is the eldest son he will one day take over his father's duties as head of household. If he is not the eldest, he may continue to live in his father's (and one day brother's) house, or if financially able may purchase a house of his own.
A bride will invariably move into her husband's father's house. If she does not take a husband, she will continue to live in her own father's house. If her husband is killed, she will remain a part of his family and continue to live in his father's house.
Single adults who have never been married are unheard of in Kamian society, as are same-sex relationships. Though pederasty is hinted in many ancient records, there is indication that same-sex activity is highly stigmatized and relationships simply not tolerated. Since there are no single-occupancy dwellings, individuals do not have much freedom to break with tradition.
Though many Kamians marry for love, arranged marriages are not uncommon. Unlike other aspects of the culture, these pairings are typically carried about very casually. Usually a man who has not yet found a wife will be paired with a girl a few years younger than himself. The introduction will often be made by his mother, who may enlist a matchmaker.
Matchmaking is not considered a profession and matchmakers are not paid for their services. They are usually older women who travel in many social circles and become known for knowing which friends have available daughters.
Remarriage is uncommon though not unheard of. Because of the close-knit family structure, losing a mate does not leave an individual alone. Thus, the need for companionship is not as dire.
Men re-marry more often than women, being almost twice as likely to take a second wife. Women are not discouraged, but remarriage for them would mean leaving the deceased husband's family. Often when women do re-marry it is to a brother of their husband.
Officially, infidelity is completely unheard of. Unofficially, there is a curious dynamic in play. Among the roughly 30-and-up demographic it is extremely rare and highly stigmatized. Affairs are considered very shameful and often made public. Though not officially illegal, the social stigma keeps most Kamians in line.
Among the young adults and older teens, however, there is a curious and secretive practice: in larger households where a number of brothers or cousins are close to each other in age, it is not uncommon to 'trade' wives for a night. It is kept very deeply under wraps and, if exposed, brings a great deal of shame to the family. It happens mostly in the early-to-mid twenties. As the couples grow older they abandon the practice as they begin to have children, as the stigma of bearing another man's child is something a woman could never escape.
In the middle-class communities where the large family homes are clustered closer together, this practice sometimes extends outside the family, with many groups (sometimes highly organized) carrying out their activities in secret cabals. These are also believed to be the primary home of any same-sex activities in modern Kamian culture, as young people could find discreet partners in these secretive societies.
Children without parents have no standing in Kamian culture, and are therefore treated as invisible. These children are ignored completely, and afforded few choices in life. Since they are invisible, they can often steal freely and go without notice. The lucky ones become low-level soldiers in the Kamian army; the rest die on the streets.
As Kamian society lacks any form of single-occupancy dwellings, it extremely difficult for orphaned children to work their way off the streets.
Technologically the Kamians are highly advanced. This is often attributed to their family-centric culture: a Kamian scientist might have the benefit of being raised by a father and grandfather (sometimes even great-grandfather) who have both devoted their life to a particular field. Often the leaders in one technology or another might have dozens of generations behind them. While genetics plays no role, being immersed in a topic from a young age most definitely helps.
Of particular note is Kamian advancement in shield technology and metallurgy. The Kamians are also the only known race outside of the Foundation (and later VRF) to utilize Multi-Spatial Technology. How they acquired it is a matter of some debate, but the Foundation is adamant that they "did not come by [the technology] on their own". During the Succession Wars, Kamian Multi-spatial shielding and hull-armor coupled with advanced designs and incredibly strong materials, rendered their warships virtually invulnerable. Similar systems were used on mecha. Curiously, the technology was only ever employed on capitol-class ships and mechs, leaving their fighters and escort vessels vulnerable to conventional weapons.
The Kamians produce an alloy of iron, gold, carbon, and several stable, super-heavy elements, described by scientists as one of the hardest substances ever created.