1. Nation colors
Red and gold.
A dark red flag with a gold uroboros in the center.
The nation of Thanatos is made up of one large, main island (which is the main population center and location of the Capital, Suna) with four smaller ones surrounding it. There are several other even smaller isles scattered about, but they are tiny and desolate and are generally kept for members of the Temple and their research.
Thanatos has a tropical climate with daily rainfall. The land is lush and green with rich, misty rainforests growing well into the southern mountains. The land is rife with large, leafy ferns, bright flowers, and bamboo. However, the soil (shallow with the nutrients close to the surface) is poor for farming and it takes a lot of extra work to grow crops on the isles. Likewise, most of the vegetation found in these rainforests is useless to humans. While a variety of fruits grow there, many types are poisonous. In fact, much of Thanatos' natural flora and fauna is dangerous, from the wide variety of gorgeous, brightly-colored flowers to the vivid, sometimes neon reptiles, birds, mammals, and insects. The animals native to Thanatos are mostly small tree-dwellers: monkeys, snakes, and lemurs with a few small cats, foxes, and mongooses. The largest animals native to Thanatos are no bigger than a boar.
Due to the poor quality of the soil, it is expensive to raise large livestock. Animals other than dogs, cats, pigs, and fowl are rare to see, owned only by the wealthy. Horses are also quite rare on the island and few can afford their care.
Thanati homes are typically raised off of the ground and built with bamboo, which grows fast, is supple, and is strong. Their structures are not strong, but they are easy to rebuild, and as Thanatos experiences some strong storms this is ideal. Homes tend to be small and grouped close together, so living spaces are not all that private.
Each Thanati is born into their specific caste. While it is possible to rise through the caste system with hard work and a great deal of luck (such as a good marriage arrangement or a higher caste individual repaying a favor to a lower caste individual by ensuring their children will advance to the next caste), it is difficult.
Most Thanati are poor farmers or craftsmen, though there are few in abject poverty. Most can make enough to live decent lives. There is no nobility as the nation lacks a monarch, but those who have managed to make money, mostly through trading or rising in rank through the temple, fill out the upper class.
The caste system ranks are as follows:
1. The Temple
The Temple presides over the nation and so this caste is the highest one can achieve. It includes the Maharani, monks, priests and priestesses, scholars, teachers, warriors, and other government administrators. Every member of this caste works directly for the Temple. They are the only caste whose members are allowed to carry a weapon.
Warriors often retire and become monks when they get older.
This caste is a generally wealthy one that includes agriculturists, merchants, and traders. Many members of this caste could be considered upper class. However, there are still plenty of poor farmers and struggling merchants within this caste.
3. Skilled Trade
This caste includes service providers, craftsman, and artisans, people who have a trade skill.
The Maoin are traditionally male but they may be female, as well. They are entertainers specializing in the arts of dance, song, music, painting, and conversation. They are valued for their beauty and skill and may be purchased for their time. Some do sleep with clients, but this is not expected of them and it is a very expensive add-on to their usual services. Some even go on to become concubines to the wealthy. They are not, however, prostitutes, though some foreigners confuse them as such. Maoin are considered to be very noble and honorable.
There are many different Houses that specialize in training Maoin, and most Maoin are sold to these Houses at an early age, when they are no older than six; eight is considered iffy. From the moment they are brought into the House, they are trained and educated daily, usually by an older Maoin who serves as their mentor. The training is intense and not every child makes the cut.
However, the members of their House become their family, and the other Maoin become as their brothers and sisters while the head of the House often becomes like their parent. Full-fledged Maoin are easily recognizable by their beautiful, expensive clothing and elaborate hairstyles.
This caste includes butchers, prostitutes, necromancers, and the dishonorable. People within this caste are not considered to be part of society because they are viewed as tainted and, thus, untouchable. They cannot touch others, and others avoid contact with them. They are to drink from separate areas, they live on the outskirts of society, and regular citizens tend to even avoid eye contact with them. Often, they're even denied service.
While many untouchables are indistinguishable to foreigners, those who have committed a great act of dishonor (such as breaking the law, betraying another, or some other major infraction or great failing) are easily recognizable by the mark on their left cheek, a brand in the Thanati symbol for "dishonor". They are also to keep their heads shaven.
Thanati are a very polite, respectful people. Rudeness is considered barbaric and embarrassing and it is stressed in their society that one must always be polite. Of course, this leads to a lot of creative ways to get around this and politely insult other people, such as speaking in riddles or just being underhanded, but it is important to maintain the facade of friendliness and geniality. This also includes simply ignoring certain things, such as a neighbor having an affair. It would not be polite to bring that up.
Honor, legacy, and family are the most important things to Thanati, and the most shameful thing one could do is to dishonor their family or their name. Life is a balance between pride and humility. Thanati have great personal pride and will never allow themselves to be shamed, but they do not really brag or boast, nor do they indulge in arrogance. (Or, at least, they're expected to not show it.) When praised by someone, such as a superior or master, the Thanati are expected to downplay it. Often when superiors are praising others, such as a master praising a servant or a mother praising a child or a wife praising their husband, it is often done by pointing out flaws so as not to encourage vanity--but it is also done in an almost playful, teasing way so that the true meaning shines through.
There are many nuances in Thanati culture, and there is a lot of meaning in how things are said. These nuances are easily lost on foreigners.
Thanati value learning, and even those with little to no magical aptitude can rise far in society. While there is little effort to educate the poor, there are several schools for those that can afford them. Anyone with an aptitude for Thanati magic can apply and the Temple will pay for their education. In exchange, they must join the Temple when they graduate.
Those who lack magical abilities may be sold to the Temple by their parents, which is also one way lower caste individuals can move up in society. While the parents will not rise in caste, their children will at least have that opportunity.
Most people sold into the temple get assigned to grunt work (such as cleaning) and have to work very hard to rise through the ranks. It's very, very rare that any actually manage it.
Members of the Temple love knowledge and welcome people of learning. The chance to study new creatures is always exciting and when magical beings arrive on the island, it is not unheard of for them to go missing.
2. Views on Magic
Divination (especially mediumship, the communion, summoning, and conjuring of spirits) and primal magic are the main types of magic found on the isles. Magic that messes with the natural order and balance of the world (such as elemental magic) is taboo to Thanati and considered to be dangerous. Those that possess that kind of magic are encouraged to never use it, and to do so is to dishonor themselves.
Life magic and healing abilities are rare on Thanatos.
Thanati have turned their magic system into a complex art that can be broken down into several different schools. Most practitioners have abilities that overlap with other schools, but tend to specialize in one of the schools. Not all Thanati mages fall into these schools and new abilities are always being uncovered.
Though Thanati have a natural affinity for divination and mediumship, necromancy--the summoning and raising of the dead--is taboo. After all, it directly interferes with the natural cycle of death and rebirth, which is Inima's domain alone. This doesn't mean it doesn't happen, nor does it mean that there aren't secret cults devoted to the practice.
As their name implies, these Thanati use primal magic to melt and mold skin and muscle like clay. They can rearrange features and bone, often for cosmetic purposes. While it is not true life/healing magic, it can be used as a substitute by a skilled practitioner.
Mediums. These Thanati have an affinity for spirits, ghosts, and apparitions. They can summon and communicate with the dead via automatic writing, summoning, and even spirit possession. Soul Speakers have to be careful of demons and other supernatural entities that might pretend to be spirits in order to trick them into deals.
Masters of the forces of decay and entropy. They can rot things with a touch, stop decay, and have the ability to affect luck, which is just the decay of probability.
Gifts of divination run high among Thanati and fortunetelling plays a large role in their day to day lives. The most common forms of fortunetelling are through mediumship, palmistry, crystal-gazing, Fuiyun (the Thanati equivalent to tarot), and casting bones onto a fire to read the cracks.
3. International Relations
While Thanati are accepting of other races (including non-humans), they are not accepting of other cultures. Thanati are a very xenophobic people. After all, mainlanders are the ones who drove them to the isles in the first place, so their distrust of outsiders runs deep within their culture and collective history. However, despite their small size, Thanatos has managed to avoid being over taken by the larger nations mostly by doing their best to stay on good terms with them and by being far more trouble than they are worth. They wield a lot of power that few outside of their nation understand, which leads to a lot of fear and superstition about what they are really capable of. And even if and when a larger nation crushed them, the land they would gain would hardly outweigh the money and men lost to take them.
Despite their xenophobia, Thanatos trades heavily with other nations, exporting luxury items such as their cloths, rich dyes, and many spices. They also bring in a large variety of goods that they can't make or grow on the island. Much of their grain supply comes from the mainland. Most foreigners visiting the isles, however, stick to the port cities as Thanati are not very welcoming to outsiders on their land.
Thanati greet each other by bowing. A lower caste person greeting a higher caste person will bow lower and longer than the higher caste individual, while people of the same caste match each others' bow.
Thanati have dark skin, ranging from a pale caramel color to a deep umber color. Their hair comes in shades of blond, white, silver, and even red, with silver being highly coveted.
Red hair, however, is considered a bad omen, which might seem odd since red is otherwise a very lucky color in their culture. It is a common folk belief that those born with red hair are cursed individuals, destined for misfortune and pain, and that their goddess granted them their red hair to give them a little luck for the hardships ahead.
Thanati tend to have green, blue, or purple eyes. Other variations and genetic mutations are possible but uncommon.
They're a short people, with men ranging from between 5'3" to 5'9" and women ranging between 5' to 5'6". They tend to have straight hair, wide almond-shaped eyes, and oval facial structures with high cheek bones. While they tend to have thick heads of hair, they typically do not grow much body hair and so beards are uncommon.
6. Gender and Sexuality
The genders are mostly equal on Thanatos and there are no specific gender roles for either sex. There is, however, a slight bias toward women. Women often find it easier to move through the ranks in the temple and most of the leaders are female. Men can do anything women can, but they tend to have to work harder.
To Thanati, sex is traditionally viewed as an act of creation, and sex solely for pleasure, without the intent of producing children, is viewed as wasteful. Traditionally, birth control is forbidden. However, that has never stopped people from taking precautions or having sex solely for fun! The very religious and traditional are more likely to follow these rules than most other Thanati.
Homosexuality is a hot topic in Thanatos today, a subject on which the nation is divided. Many traditionalists and old-fashioned religious scholars claim that it is an abomination, an affront to Inima, as life can never be produced from such a union--though the scriptures are truthfully silent on the matter. (The very determined, however, can certainly twist certain passages to fit their agenda.) In the more rural and old fashioned parts of Thanatos, there have been many cases of violence against people of marginalized sexual orientations.
In the larger cities, however, people are typically more liberal and less likely to care, and even those that are opposed to it tend to politely ignore it. Thus, it is definitely safer to be "out" in the cities, though it still carries some risk.
Transgender and non-binary people, referred to as Yozin, are respected and even revered in Thanatos. They are viewed as semi-divine, free of the trappings of the flesh and capable of transcending the limits of the body. They are believed to have special powers, including the ability to bless people. It's not uncommon for them to be found occupying high ranks in the Temple Caste.
It's possible for a trans person to physically transition. After all, the soul is what is most important; the body is transient. There are Flesh Sculptors dedicated to such procedures, and many have created medicinal concoctions to treat the hormonal side of transition.
Marriages are commonly arranged by a matchmaker and based around practical ideas like shared values, lineage, and finances with the end goal of a viable, long-lasting, harmonious marriage. Love is secondary to other areas of compatability, as they value secure relationships over unpredictable whirlwind romances. That doesn't mean there is no romance! Couples are expected to try to make it work, and love often grows over time. Parents typically consult a matchmaker if their children are not already betrothed by the time they hit puberty at eleven or twelve. It is common for children to be betrothed at very young ages, sometimes even before they're born.
Most Thanati are married around age of sixteen. Thanati have the option of divorce if things really don't work out, though divorce is seen as a shameful last resort, and it may be difficult to remarry as a result.
Polyandry was commonly practiced in ancient times when Thanati still lived on the mainland as a persecuted people, as they had fewer recources and smaller populations. Today, it's not uncommon for wealthy women to take multiple husbands if she can afford it, as it means more resources and political/financial connections for her, and some traditional families still practice it. But it has become a rarer practice among the common people.
Virginity is not a sacred thing to Thanati, neither prized nor stigmatized. Sex before marriage, or outside of marriage, is not frowned upon, and bearing a child out of wedlock is not viewed as a negative thing; it is viewed as a positive thing, a sign of fertility. However, adultery is a serious crime, punishable by exile and being branded an Untouchable. Any children born of such a union are taken away and given to the Temple.
Children are considered blessings, and twins (or more!) are considered to be especially lucky.
White hair is currently one of the big fashion trends on the island and many people use cosmetics or magic to try and get that effect. Clothing tends to favor bright colors and patterns. As dye is expensive, most commoners settle for patterns and colors in smaller amounts, trims or sashes are common ways of getting color into their clothes. Head scarves are also popular and few people are seen without them.
There aren't many animals to use, so leather, fur, wool, and other animal-derived materials are uncommon in clothing. They use plant fibers to make most of their clothes. Silk is more common on the island than in other locations, but still rare and expensive. They have amazing plant dyes available in many rich, beautiful colors and have developed the ability to produce some complex patterns.
As flesh is in no way sacred to them, piercing, tattoos and scarification are popular and considered very attractive. Some are more extreme than others, but even small children tend to have some sort of body modification. Thanati clothing is rather revealing and is designed to better show off their body art. Flesh-sculpting is also available to those that can afford it, making them stand out in a crowd.
As animals are scarce on Thanatos, Thanati eat an almost vegetarian diet. In fact, consuming the flesh of animals is considered to be impure.
The only flesh Thanati eat is fish, which is exempt from this taboo. The typical Thanati diet consists of fruits (mangoes, papayas, pineapples, coconuts), root vegetables (yams, potatoes), bamboo shoots, sugar cane, soy, and rice, though only some parts of the isles can support rice paddies. Still, one of their favorite types of wine is rice wine. Thanatos does a lot of trade with the mainland and gets a wide variety of products from it, and most of their grain comes from the mainland. They love spices and have a wide and unique variety of them.
For eating utensils, Thanati use chopsticks.
Common, the trader's tongue, is spoken throughout most of the isles, but most Thanati are dual-lingual. The main language spoken there is, however, Thanati. It is a soft, tonal language, the sounds effecting the meaning of the word. It can be hard for foreigners to pick up the language and most natives have a heavy accent when speaking Common.
Their writing system is also complex. Instead of using letters, they use complex characters, each character representing a word. They are written using ink and a brush and there is an entire art form dedicated just to painting these characters. There are thousands of these characters, but the average Thanati is literate in only several--the ones that will get them by in day-to-day life.
A typical Thanati name is soft and flowing with not a lot of hard consonants, just like their language. Many of their names are short and "cute", but some can get fairly long.
1. Night of the Dead
A celebration that honors all those who have died, occurring towards the end of fall. It is believed that on this day, the veil between the afterlife and the mortal world is especially thin, allowing souls and spirits to visit.
It is a cheerful celebration that doesn't start until after sundown. A major feast is prepared (with many of passed relatives' favorite foods) and it is offered to the souls of the dead. Once it has been deemed that the dead have absorbed the food's essence, there is feasting and then partying. It is not a somber celebration at all and not really a holiday about death. It is rather a celebration about enjoying life.
Children born on this holiday are considered to be very lucky.
Marriage celebrations are huge, bright, colorful, and elaborate, with huge feasts. Colorful flowers are used in excess for decoration and perfuming, and the marrying couple usually wears garlands and other floral ornaments. An entire village will participate in the celebration and the families of those being wed will often spend far more money on it than they have. Red and gold are considered to be lucky colors, symbolizing life and cleansing fire, and so the marrying couple usually dresses in those colors.
No one wears white for weddings; that is considered to be an unlucky color, as it is both blank and a reminiscent of bones. Wearing white to a wedding is considered hostile and rude, and white flowers are also never used.
Long before the wedding date is chosen, the couple always gets their fortune read to determine the best day to wed. The future bride may also be with child by the time the wedding date is set--but this is not considered taboo; it is considered very lucky to marry when pregnant. The morning of the marriage ceremony, the couple bathes in salt water from the ocean to cleanse and purify their body, though if they live further inland they may just bathe in a tub of freshwater that they've added salt to--a more expensive alternative, but it is their wedding day!
The actual wedding ceremony is short, fast, and personal; usually only the couple and a monk are present for that, though Thanati believe that their goddess, Inima, serves as their primary witness. Incense is burned, a monk blesses them and passes cleansing fire around them to ward off demons and malevolent spirits, and the couple drinks from a shared cup of rice wine. After that, they are considered married, their names are recorded in a book by the monks, and the feast and party commences.
On the wedding night, the groom's family decorates the marriage bed with flowers, for luck and fertility.
Funerals are not sad occasions. While Thanati grieve for loved ones like anyone, the purpose of a funeral is to celebrate a person's life. According to their faith, death is not the end.
Thanati have a choice of what happens to their body when they die, and most discuss this with family sometime in their life. Since they won't be needing their body anymore, some Thanati choose to have their bodies donated to the Temple, who can use them for research. Others prefer a more traditional end.
Traditionally, the bodies of the deceased are cleaned, dressed, decorated with fragrant flowers, and ritualistically burned on a pyre (along with some precious belongings the deceased may have loved in life) while friends and family hold a vigil--often saying prayers and burning incense. Fire is believed to be cleansing and to drive away malevolent spirits, the burning pyre keeping them away from the site so the soul can have safe passage.
Later, the ashes are put into an urn, and the bones and fragments that didn't burn are gathered and put inside as well. Afterwards, a feast is held in remembrance of the deceased's life. Traditionally, the urn is placed at the head of the table in honor of the individual.
Enslaving humans is illegal on Thanatos. However, while sentient beings cannot be enslaved, Thanati do have indentured servitude, and people can be sold to repay debts. However, they are treated well and they can always work for their freedom.
There is only one religion worshiped by the people of Thanatos. They are tolerant of the fact that other people do not follow their teachings, but they don't really approve of it being worshiped on their island. While worshiping another religion won't get a person burned at the stake, it will get them viewed as an ignorant idiot.
Thanati worship a female deity, called Inima. She is primarily a Goddess of rebirth and fertility and is portrayed as a shapely woman with a round, fertile belly. There is no real death to the people of Thanatos. The body is only a fleshy husk, made up of various elements. Any alchemist could break it down to its base components. What they care about the is the soul, the part that makes up the personality of the person. After all, how is it different to talk to a body with a soul than a soul without a body? To Thanati, there is no difference.
That is not to say the body is unimportant. The body is the temple of the soul and, like a temple, it needs to be cared for so as not to disrespect Inima. However, like a temple, it fades with time.
Their faith stresses balance, harmony, and the unity of all things; they also believe that what will be, will be, that Inima has a plan and there is nothing anyone can do to change that. All things are connected and just a small piece of the bigger picture. Because of this, they also believe that what one does in this life affects them in the next. If they live a good life and honor themselves and their people, they will have an even better life when they are reborn in the next. If they do badly in this life, their next life will be poorer. That is part of why honor is so important to them.
Their religion is a very personal one. While the temples scattered throughout the isles provide services, they are not compulsory. One may attend if they like, as services are more learning experiences than lectures. There are always monks available there that can answer any questions a person might have and many people enjoy having philosophical discussions with them.
However, most of their faith is very self-driven; there is not a lot of communal worship. Individuals may worship where they please, when they please, and their methods of worship consist of a lot of meditation and reflection. They also do a lot of physical meditation in the form of slow, stretching movements that work with the body. It's about reaffirming life and reconnecting with the universe, enjoying your own sweat and pulse and the life Inima gave you.
A big part of Thanati philosophy is in letting go; monks often practice this in a ritualized fashion by making elaborate, detailed sand paintings that they destroy upon completion. They believe in minimalism and do not like clutter. Their spirituality teaches that beauty is in the simplicity of things, that a single flower arranged perfectly is far more beautiful than opulence and gold.
The island is ruled by the Temple. The religion is very much built into their everyday lives in little ways. For example, Thanati enjoy arranging what they have very precisely in order to achieve balance and allow energy to flow uninhibited. While people may have different levels of faith, everyone at least goes through the motions.
While Thanati worship only one goddess, they believe in a slew of spirits and demons and there are many local legends and folkloric traditions that tell of them. Many of them have names and even identities, some represented in statues and paintings as otherworldly beings with animal features, multiple faces, and multiple arms. Others are known as shape-shifters, like trickster foxes that take the shape of beautiful men and women. While spirits will never be worshiped, they may be honored and respected, though demons are always malevolent and fire is used to ward them away.
Within the Temple, knowledge is held in high regard. Even the lowest monks spend years in school. Those that aren't sent out to the various villages spend their lives in the schools or temples, writing books and compiling what they have learned. The larger temples possess massive libraries, rivaling or surpassing those of the larger kingdoms. While many of the books are available for people to see, they are fond of their secrets and have large collections that no one outside the upper ranks of the temple are allowed to see.
Thanati have a lot of knowledge and some very advanced technology--but lack the resources to really apply it. Besides, they're a practical people and mainly apply their knowledge toward improving what they already have rather than attempting to reinvent the wheel. Rather than make a new type of weapon, they have improved their blacksmithing and are capable of producing some amazing, and beautiful, swords. Instead of creating new farm technology, they have put their efforts toward making what they have work even better and more efficiently.
As Thanati are not squeamish about death, they have excellent knowledge and familiarity with human anatomy and, thus, rather decent medical technology. Healing magic may be rare, but they can perform surgeries with greater success than more magical nations. However, due to the lack of modern hygiene and sterilization, mortality rates after a serious injury and/or life-saving procedure are still high.
The temple rules the island, so there isn't the traditional nobility that one sees in the superpowers of the world. But inside the temple, it works much the same way.
The leader of Thanatos. They are elected by the Council when the current Maharani has died or retired. They function much the same way a King or Queen does, having absolute authority. Only women may become the Maharani.
2. The Council
Second in power only to the Maharani, they help rule the islands. Can't directly veto the Maharani, but they can influence their choices, having quite a bit of political power. Can remove a Maharani, but it has only ever been invoked once in the history of Thanatos, when the leader descended into madness and tried to declare war on Serendipity.
It is a very serious thing to kick out a current Maharani, and once they have voted one out, the members who voted to do so must end their life--or send a favored family member to die with the leader they voted out. This is because they have shamed themselves by betraying their leader. However, though the act of betrayal brought them shame in this life, because they did it for a noble cause, they will have great honor in the next life.
Translates literally to "holy one", but carries the nuance of being awakened to the goddess. The Zhaobin spend their time cloistered in the temples and are in charge of collecting and caring for the holy libraries. They also record history and record many of the islands findings in books. They are an odd rank, with no real power but are highly respected.
Holy men and women who serve as teachers and spiritual guides. They live in the temples and it is their duty to spread knowledge.
Every member of the military is a member of the Temple and part of the Temple caste. Thanatos' military is small in size, as there is really no need for a large army. Thus, day-to-day, the military is in charge of enforcing the law and protecting citizens. Members of the military patrol the isles and their duties include intervening on domestic disputes, breaking up fights, and handling those who break the law. They adhere to a strict code of honor; violence is seen as the very last resort.
These are the people in charge of enforcing the nation's laws, protectors of the faith. They are the highest rank one can achieve in the military. They answer directly to the Maharani and can even arrest the Council. All khans have some sort of special ability.
Like all members of the Temple caste, they are the only people allowed to carry a sword, and with that privilege comes a great deal of responsibility. After all, it is a killing weapon, so they are taught never to draw their sword unless they absolutely need to because the situation has escalated to the point that they feel they may need to use it. Waving it around and threatening people with it is gross, shameful etiquette.
To remind themselves of the weight of their duty and obligation, they handle their swords in a very ritualized fashion. No one may touch their sword but themselves, they must clean it daily, and it must always be stored in the best room of their home. It is considered very rude and provocative to carry their sword over the same shoulder that people may be passing them on. (So, for example, if they are carrying their sword over their right shoulder, they should walk to the right of other people.)
For Warriors, swordplay is not just about simple bloodshed; it is about the beauty and grace of the sword, of the dance. It is about honor; you are taking a life, and that is not something to be done lightly. Therefore, even killing someone takes on a sort of ceremonial feel--or at least, that is what Warriors strive for, and those who do not are considered crass and barbaric. Warriors are expected to be artists in other mediums, creating art in places outside the sword and broadening their minds through philosophy and culture.
For the most part, Thanatos' laws are similar to the rest of the world, but it does differ in a few places, and how crimes are punished is radically different from the rest of the world.
Like most places, murder is one of the heaviest crimes and is punishable by execution. Exceptions are if the murder was an accident. If so, the convicted will be given the opportunity to kill themselves with honor.
If someone killed in self-defense or if a military official killed someone during an altercation, it does not count as murder and is not a punishable crime.
However, the worst crime is anything that harms or destroys a soul. Soul sucking or draining is considered quite vile and to do that, the punishment is not only the execution of one's family, but also the destruction of the convict's soul. If they are going to wreak such havoc in the world, they are not allowed to be reborn. Though the official punishment calls for the execution of the criminal's family, this is mostly to serve as a deterrent for crime. It is very rare that the criminal's family is actually punished, though in ancient times it was more common. Today, this part of the law is seen as archaic and savage, and only called upon in cases where the family was complicit in the criminal's crimes.
Most crimes in Thanatos, however, are punished by shame and humiliation. Most punishments are actually self-inflicted. To be caught stealing, for example, is not only embarrassing and shameful, but it dishonors both one's name and their family's name--which is one of the worst things that can happen.
Many people commit suicide when caught in a crime as that absolves them of the shame. Those that are too cowardly to do that, however, are branded on the left cheek with the Thanati character for "dishonor". Their head is shaved and they attain untouchable status.
Repeat offenders are eventually executed.
For this reason, there is very little crime in Thanatos, and criminals have to be that much more clever to escape notice.
Homosexuality is not technically a crime, but it his frowned upon and in the more rural areas is often treated like a crime. Using any form of birth control is absolutely forbidden and punished by time in jail.
Thanatos is one of the youngest powers in Le'ranna, formed when a there was a large scale witch hunt against their people. Their strange, primal magic, association with death and spirits, and a rather vocal and dangerous minority that attempted to use their art for darker purposes led them to be hunted out of all the other nations. Gathering together, the Thanati fled Le'raana to a large island, settling down and forming the beginnings of Thanatos.
The name "Thanatos" means "death", which may seem strange to many considering the beauty of both the island and Thanati culture. This name choice was deliberate. When the Thanati first fled to the isles, they named their new nation "death" to try to discourage outsiders from visiting it, in an effort to protect themselves and keep themselves isolated.