The Starkmanir are a Minmatar tribe. They were thought lost in the Minmatar Rebellion, until just prior to the Elder War when the Sisters of EVE announced they had discovered remnants of the tribe within the Ammatar Mandate.
Appearance and Society
The Starkmanir's origin in the vast Evniletti plains of Matar's equatorial region is plainly visible even today in their almond-shaped eyes. Beyond that they appear very much like slightly smaller, darker, Brutor, and it is probably this trait that allowed the Nefantar to successfully hide the remnants of the tribe for so long. The Starkmanir are one of the oldest of the Minmatar tribes, and their access to abundant, readily-accessible resources meant that they were traditionally the largest as well. Despite this, due to the combined factors of the Starkmanir resettling on a planet subsequently destroyed, and the Amarr tendency to eradicate the culture of the people it conquers, less is known about Starkmanir society than any other tribe.
Origins and Splinter Tribes
The Starkmanir are one of the oldest tribes from Matar, and while their origins are lost in the mists of time, the earliest records of the Starkmanir tribe lie in the oral histories of two of their splinter tribes.
Thousands of years ago, a Starkmanir clan crossed the Mioar Strait and started settling the islands in the Mioar archipelago. Their reason for doing so is now lost, but moving ever southwards into the island-strewn southern hemisphere of Matar, this clan eventually lost contact with the rest of the Starkmanir Tribe. These people came to form a separate tribe in their own right, and they named themselves Brutor.
It was also around this time that a chief of one of the remaining clans began causing trouble. Questioning many of the traditions and decisions of the tribe's elders, he was eventually sent into exile. Many of his clan followed him on an exodus into the Greater Sobaki Desert. The conditions on Matar ensured that the all of the tribes continued to grow at an increasing rate, and in a matter of centuries the push for habitable land meant contact was reestablished with these people. They returned to the fold of the Minmatar tribes after six hundred years in the desert, much changed in manners and appearance, though their Starkmanir ancestry was still clear in their distinctive, almond-shaped eyes. Calling themselves Vherokior, they began roaming between the other tribes in large caravans much like the Thukker, living as merchants, healers, scholars, and fortune tellers.
It was during this period of substantial growth that the tribes began to come into conflict with each other. The Krusual and Nefantar in particular were at each others throats, and the other tribes tended to fall on one side or the other. Most of the Brutor tribe supported the Nefantar, but enough supported the Krusual to cause severe internal strife. The Starkmanir were the exception as they remained neutral throughout the conflict. When the tribal wars ended the Minmatar knew nothing but peace until the arrival of the Amarr.
During this period, the Starkmanir Tribe's size, age, and neutrality in the wars, ensured they were a strong voice on Matar. Despite the Sebiestor's critical role in the development of space technology, the Starkmanir maintained the strongest influence among the Minmatar as they entered their Space Age. With the discovery of the Arzad system, and citing increasing population pressures on Matar, the Starkmanir made the fateful decision to leave their homeworld and resettle their tribe on Arzad II, naming it Starkman Prime. The lands of the Eyniletti Plains on Matar were put into the joint ownership of the remaining tribes, and with few exceptions, the Starkmanir relocated.
Under Amarr Rule
Starkman Prime remained relatively untouched by the Amarr slave raids until well after the capture of Matar. During these years, many of those Starkmanir that had not already relocated to Starkman Prime, or been caught in the Amarr net, gravitated towards the planet, along with many other refugees.
This steep rise in immigration, followed by the capture of Matar, threw the local economy into a tailspin and left its population woefully unprepared for war. Hence, while they were given more of a warning than their brethren, the Starkmanir lacked the infrastructure to harvest raw materials in sufficient quantities as they attempted to create a planetary defense system. In addition, the Minmatar were not only behind the Amarr in terms of space technology, they were even further behind in weapons technology. Even the parts of their defense system they had completed were woefully inadequate when faced with the full might of the Imperial Fleet. Their focus on planetary defense also meant they had next to no ground defenses, and the planet fell quickly.
The relative ease with which Starkman Prime was captured meant that many of the hostile feelings the Amarr had developed towards the other Minmatar tribes were not held against the Starkmanir. It also led some of the more liberal among the Amarr to believe the Starkmanir could be made to accept the Amarr faith, and with the subjugation of the Minmatar nearly complete, they at first fared better than their brothers and sisters. While Ezzara Hamri, one of the most influential Holders on Starkman Prime, was not much different from the average Amarr Holder, his son, Arzad Hamri, came to be loved by the Starkmanir. His first act as Holder was to grant a day of celebration to all his slaves, calling that day holy by the Amarr religion. Though this act would come back to haunt him, it won him the respect of the Starkmanir, who referred to this day as Khu-Arzad. By his tenth year as a Holder Arzad had finished the educational infrastructure on his continent. These education centers were focused on assimilating the Starkmanir into Amarr society and eventually resulted in a two-way flow of learning, with many members of the Hamri family learning Starkmanir woodworking and martial arts as well as gaining an appreciation for Starkmanir spiritualism.
On Arzad's holdings, regular rest periods were common, as were days of parlay including high holy days and other Amarr religious festivals. On one of these days of rest granted by Arzad, known as the 'Hand of Arzad,' 'Hand of Solace, or Khu-Arzad, Arzad himself would act as Pastor of religious services which most Starkmanir would attend. His sermons were collected and distributed among the tribe by the elders who would use them to educate the young on the importance of benevolence and good grace to people of all stations.
Under Arzad, the Starkmanir were treated with respect and dignity. Arzad had even fashioned a version of an Amarr symbol of authority to bestow on his slaves. The three-foot rod with a spiked solar-disk on top that represented Imperial and Divine authority was copied and set with a blood obsidian orb native to Starkman Prime, and given by Arzad to his slaves as a symbol of enlightenment and salvation.
This was the final straw for the Theology Council. Uncomfortable with Arzad's growing popularity among the slaves as a quasi-religious figure, the Theology Council had been asking Arkon Ardishapur to intervene and curb Arzad's activities for some time. A long-time friend of the Hamri family, he had done what he could, but Arzad seemed to answer only to a higher power. His usurping of this symbol of the Emperor's power resulted in Arkon Ardishapur being forced to preside over Arzad's execution for treason and blasphemy by order of the Theology Council. All copies of this symbol known as wildfire scepters were also ordered rounded up and destroyed. The Starkmanir were furious at his execution, and even with his death, Arzad's influence on the Starkmanir people was far from over.
His book of sermons became even more popular among the tribe, who began calling him St. Arzad. Three days after his death, Arzad appeared in a dream to a Starkmanir youth named Drupar Maak and told him "The fire in our hearts burns for salvation, redemption, and grace. May the Word of God grant you the courage to save yourself and your people." Years later, on the day of Khu-Arzad, Drupar Maak avenged the death of his beloved Holder by killing Arkon Ardishapur with his own scepter, lighting the fuse for the Minmatar Rebellion. Arkon's son, Idonis, in his first act as Holder, responded by ordering the orbital bombardment of Starkman Prime.
With the majority of the Starkmanir on Starkman Prime, the few remaining had been integrated into the general slave populations and the tribe was thought lost. Though unknown to anyone else at the time, the leadership of the Nefantar tribe had made a decision to protect the remnants of the Starkmanir. Outwardly they were collaborators with the Amarr, and the front soon became truth for most of the tribe. However, when granted a solar system of their own, their leadership proceeded to secretly acquire any remaining Starkmanir people and move them to their own holdings where they could be protected.
The Sisters of EVE announcement of the discovery surviving members of the Starkmanir may have been the prime motivating factor that saw the Elder Fleet spring into action. Rescued from Halturzhan along with other slaves, the surviving Starkmanir were returned to the Minmatar Republic. A large group of the Nefantar tribe also returned to the Republic after their ancestors' true motives for defecting became known. The return of these people to the Republic along with the normal war zone refugees, at a time that also saw the Thukkers returning to the fold, put significant strain on the Republic. Refugee camps sprouted up all over The Great Wildlands and 'intake' systems such as Rens as members of the three tribes awaited entry.
For generations the Starkmanir had known only a life of slavery in the Ammatar Mandate, living a relatively backward existence on vast agricultural colonies and for the greatest part unaware of their heritage. Though the Starkmanir survive genetically, in every other way the tribe was truly lost on Starkman Prime. With no prior experience in the modern age, nor with tribal structure, nor even with their own heritage, the Starkmanir do not figure to regain their former influence among the Minmatar Tribes for some time to come.
Currently in the Republic, they are viewed by some as simply a symbol of hope, while others just view them as simple. They struggle to come to terms with a foreign identity that they feel has suddenly been thrust upon them, while they try to make the transition from slaves to free citizens. The fact that many of the Starkmanir hold on to their Amarr faith isn't making their integration to the Republic any smoother.