The Biraka Clanhold is a growing Xenos Empire that has begun to threaten the borders of the Imperium. The insectoid Xenos known as the Biraka have always been warlike and expansionistic ever since the Imperium first came in contact with them. As a result the Imperium has a long running history of conflict with the species in it's corner of the galaxy. The Clanhold has weathered numerous attmepts at Xenocide by the Imperium's hands. Conversely the Imperium has always managed to keep the Biraka mostly contained through force of arms. In recent years the weakening of the Imperium has allowed the Biraka Clanhold to rapidly expand. It is currently a moderately powerful empire with 93 systems under its control. Given the Kothbasu's belligerent disposition it is very likely that they will continue to expand into further territory, and will inevitably come into conflict with the Imperium and other factions of the milky way galaxy.
Nobody knows exactly when the Clanhold came into being, and detailed accounts of the Biraka's history prior to attaining space age technology are virtually nonexistent and mostly allegorical. Stories told by the Biraka emntion warring with other "clans" on their homeworld before they took to the stars. Given the Biraka's use of the term this may mean that the Biraka homeworld of Bastis was home to multiple intelligent species, or that the Biraka may have been one sub-species of many that were of common decent. Regardless of the case what is known is that the Biraka warred these other clans out of existence. This near mythical period in the Biraka's history was knwon as the Great Clan War.
When exactly the Biraka attained space flight and began forming an interstellar Empire is not well known. What is known by humanity is that the Biraka have been competing and warring with the Imperium since at least M32, and perhaps earlier. The Imperium naturally far outstripped the Biraka in resources and territory, however the tenacious aliens have always managed to stop the Imperium just short of Xenocide, and recover. At times the Clanhold has managed to turn the tables on the Imperium, retaking worlds lost in previous wars, and even conquering human colonies in return. This is inevitably temporary as the Imperium has always managed to drive the Biraka back. That is until the 41st Millenium. With the Imperium weakened the Clanhold has begun to expand almost unchecked.
The Clanhold is located within the Ultima Segmentum. The Clanhold currently maintains a respectable territory of 93 sparsely distributed systems. It is border by an area of unmapped, and mostly unexplored space to the galactic East. Many Imperial offcials point the the Clanhold as the reason why the Imperium has been unable to expand into this region of space, and exploit it's resources. Aside from this the Clanhold is bordered on nearly all sides by Imperial Space, with the closest Imperial territory directly to the galactic West of it. The Imperium maintains a border of uncolonized worlds around the periphery of the Clanhold to act as a buffer. Skirmishes within the Clanhold Shield Space are near constant as patrols ofthe Imperial Navy and Clanhold Armada patrol these stars.
The Clanhold is located to the north of the Tau Empire by a moderate distance, and is close enough that the Biraka and Tau have encountered and fought with one another. The Clanhold has only come across the Tau very recently, and the Tau have become a subject of interest for the insectoid peoples of the Clan. The Tau for their part are of mixed feelings of the Biraka. The Biraka's reckless expansion and aggression has caused many among the Tau to view the Biraka as little better than the Orks, and yet the Biraka wear the trappings of civilization, and have at times responded to diplomacy, albeit with great difficulty. Whether the Biraka can be reconciled with the Great Good is a matter of some debate among the Tau, with many believing that the Biraka are too savage to be accepted into the Empire and others pointing out that the Clanhold could be a strong ally if they could be convinced to join the Tau.
Also within a moderate distance of the Clanhold is the Ibrian Belt. This area of space is mostly undominated by any particular faction except the Ibrian Nirvana. The Nirvana has become one of the Clanhold's greatest rivals after the Imperium, and war between the two empires has been common, and ever more frequent.
The Clanhold operates a a sort of republic. Each planet or colony of the Clanhold is lead bu an individual known as a High One. The High One is inevitably a Biraka that was born on the planet that had the most Dakri amongst his fellows. In the case of newly colonized, or reconquered worlds the High One is usually the one that was responsible for colonizing the world. Due to the Biraka's drive to achieve, and differences is the personality or ideology of the various High Ones the governance of the various worlds may be very different from one another. Most commonly a High One will be the head of a council that advises their high one on the proper course.
Above all the worlds is a organization that is referred to as the Moot. The Moot is made up of Biraka known as Clan Eldars. A Clan Elder will have achieved great things throughout their lives, and will have one much prestige. There is one Clan Elder for each habitated world in the Clanhold. Thus the size of the Moot has varied wildly throughout the Clanhold's history as it has lost and gained territory. While High Ones are mostly given leave to run their worlds as they see fit, the decisions of the Moot are final and must be honored by any and all members of the Clanhold.
At the head of the Moot is the Clan Father, the overall leader of the Clanhold. The Father is almost always a former Elder who was promoted to the position either when the previous Clan Father dies, or he proves himself to have more Dakri than the encumbent. In essence the Moot acts as the advisory body for the Clan Father, who ultimately has the last say. However few Clan Fathers make the mistake of completely disregarding the Moot, as each Clan Eldar has proven their worth time and again, contributing to the Clanhold greatly. Thus it is rare to find an incompetent Clan Elder. Furthermore if a Clan Father chooses to act without the approval of the Moot, then should he fail the shame will be entirely his to shoulder. Often the loss of Dakri results in the Clan Father being forcedto step down from the position. Thus Clan Father's do not move against the Moot's will lightly. Due to the respnsinilities associated with the post of Clan Father those chosen usually have served within the Kinsworn, or may still be a part of the Clanhold's honored military arm.
The Clanhold is a strict meritocracy. One advances in position through the accumulation of Dakri, which is gain through personal achievement and notable contributions to the Clan. One can not advance without the acknowledgement of their fellow Biraka, and even those from wealthy families and prestigeous lineages have no power amongst their peers that they did not earn. Thus to hold great rank within the Clanhold is proof of great achievement.
The Biraka as a whole have a culture that is highly geared towards honoring their kin, and the accumulation of prestige. The foundation of all this is a concept known as Dakri. Dakri roughly translates into Low Gothic and honor, or glory. One gains Dakri by contributing to the Clan, or by achievements that one's peers acknowledge. Often the two are pretty much the same. There is no formal measuring system for how much Dakri one possesses. Rather one's position is generally viewed as an indicator, since promotions, awards and in the greatest examples fame come with the acquisition of Dakri.
To disrespect one who possesses greater standing than yourself is considered an intolerable offense in Biraka society. If a Biraka believes himself to be the better of one whop is considered above them they are allowed to formally challenge their superior. The challenge can range to nearly any kind of contest depending on the ones participating. By custom the one who is challenged usually gets to choose the nature of the contest. If the challenger wins they are given a promotion, elevating them above their defeated foe. If they fail they are demoted.
Lineage is considered very important by the Biraka. Most Biraka can trace their geneology back 13 generations at the drop of a hat, and nearly every Biraka will have memorized at least one prestigious ancestor. In addition to this mating is not performed out of love in the Clanhold, but for reproduction. It is deeply frowned upon for Biraka of significantly different social stanbding to mate, as it is believed that the blood ofthe lesser partner could dilute the greatness of the more respected partner's bloodline. However it is important to understand that having a prestigious heritage does not entail any priveleges in Biraka society, rather it creates expectations. While having high ranking, or wealthy parents dos grant certain advantages, like access to better resources, all Biraka are born of equal Dakri, and thus equal standing. A high bred Biraka would be just as scorned for disrespecting one of superior Dakri, even if his lineage is more glorious. Likewise if a Child does not eve approach the elvel of prestige theri parents, or at least one recent ancestor has attained, then they are considered to be a waste of resources, and a source of shame.
Those that perform actions that are deemed dishonorable or harm the Clan lose Dakri as a result. Often in the case of one with standing the loss may be minimal, or simply result in a reduction of rank and standing. However in cases where a Biraka is of low standing already, or the act is considered particularly deplorable the Biraka may be labelled Nar'dakri. Nar'dakri roughly tranlates as into low Gothic as "without honor", and it functions in much the same way the the Imperial brand Excommunicate Traitoris does. Nar'dakri are either executed or exiled from the Clanhold, and should another Biraka come across them they are to act to their detriment. Nar'dakri form the ranks of the Clanhold's criminal elements, and splnter factions.
It should be noted that the respect afforded to individuals that are seen to possess a great amount of Dakri is great, and goes beyond all barriers, including race. Biraka are quite likely to extend great respect towards an individual of another species or "Clan" as they would say, if they view them as having taken part in some impressive achievement. This is most evident with the Imperium, which the Clanhold refers to as the Old Enemy, which is as much a term of endearment as spite to the Biraka. Enemy commanders often find the Biraka are more open to negotiation after particularly brutal fighting.
The Clanhold's religion is based on Ancestor worship. The Biraka believe in a pantheon of ancestors, each of which accumulated so much Dakri in their lives that their souls achieved Apotheosis upon death. This means that Dakri is as much a spritual concept as it is a cultural one. The belief is that Dakri makes one's soul "heavier" and more potent. Those that have much are afforded a place of honor beside the Divine Ancestors, which stand in judgement of every soul. Nar'dakri are believer to have lost their souls, and upon their death it is believed that they simply wink out of existence. There is no concept of Hell in the Biraka religion.
The military arm of the Biraka Clanhold is called the Kinsworn. Fighting to defend and expand the Clanhold is considered to a sure way to accumulate Chirku, and thus the Kinsworn is never starved for manpower. However while the Clanhold has a larger percentage of it's population in serving in the military than some other forces, it should be noted that this is not the result of drafting, but rather the Biraka's own society.
For a very long time the Imperium believed that the Clanhold mandated military service by it's citezens. Certainly this would have explained the unusually large numbers the Kinsworn had despite the size of the Clanhold's territory. However the exact opposite is true. Service in the Kinsworn is considered a privelege, not a right. A Biraka is only extended the right to join the Kinsworn after they have achieved a certain level of service in the eys of their peers or superiors. Since military service is one of the quickest ways towards gaing honor and glory most Biraka immediately exercise this right. Unless currently engaged in battle Kinsworn are expected to contibute to society in civilian matters as well. While a Biraka of high standing may enter service into the Kinsworn, they are not granted increased rank despite their status. While these individuals may be given a deal of respect by their peers, climbing the ranks of the Kinsworn can only be done through service in battle. Thus no matter what ranks or titles a Biraka possess outside of the military, once they enter it for the first time they start on the bottom of the hierarchy.
The Kinsworn tend to be a highly active part of the Clanhold. While there are occasional times of peace between conflicts, or when the Biraka do not have the necessary strength to wage war, these periods are overwhelmingly outnumbered by periods of conflict. The natural zeal of the Biraka combined with their lust for claiming glory in the name of their "Clan" has pushed the Clanhold into near Constant attempts to expand, and found new colonies for its people. These colonies are usually accompanied by a contingent of Kinsworn for security purposes. It is sometimes the case that the Biraka attempt to take the worlds of other sentient species, in which case the Kinsworn will act as a conquering army. Most often the Kinsworn defend the realms of the Clanhold from a number of hostile forces, not least of which is the Imperium of Mankind, which the Biraka Clanhold has been in conflict with for millenia.
One Imperial Guard commander once referred to the Kinsworn as "Heavy". This is no doubt a reflection on the fortitude of Kinsworn forces, and also may refer to the Kinsworn's lack of highly mobile units. Biraka are tough creatures both physically and mentally. They only become more so when they undergo combat training, and recieve the mandatory enhancements required to be Kinsworn. In addition to this Biraka put far more faith in good, thick plates of armor rather than light highly mobile vehicles. As such Kinsworn Broods tend to to somewhat slow when compared to the forces of other speices, but possess a great deal of armor. Between the tenacity of their infantry, and the sturdy make of their combat vehicles the Kinsworn has often proved itself to be amongst the most stalwart of opponents. A trait that many of their foes loath, and some can't help to respect.