Dra'zhar

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Icon - Drazhar.png
  • Capital: None
  • Exports: Aetherstones, Alchemical Elixirs, Glass, Horses, Spices
  • Currency: Shards
  • Languages: Common, Bestial (Wild Tongue)

Across the eastern hills and plains and the northern deserts and jungles of Aluvinor the people of the Dra’zhar, or People of the Earth as they traditionally have called themselves, taken together form the largest of the Five Realms. They are a people descended from slaves living on the fringes of the Empire of the Ancients, who bred with the most powerful beasts of the forest so as to gain the strength to throw off their overlords. They rose up and wore away the Ancients piece by piece, and to this day they are a formidable and hardy race of warriors and mystics. While day to day life for this people is focused around individual pursuits and the welfare of the tribe, when necessary they quickly unify against common foes, and for those that anger them or stand in their way a Dra’zhar warband is a fearsome sight to behold.

Dra’zhar society is a communal one in which an individual’s worth is measured in what they contribute towards the rest of their family, their tribe and their clan. Raised by the tribe as a whole, a Dra’zhar must show a capacity to fight and perform household tasks regardless of gender, though males by their nature spend more time in combat or hauling heavy loads and the women more time creating and repairing equipment. Foraging and cooking are tasks equally shared by men and women, with one who repeatedly shirks from such duties forced to eat the leftovers. Elders play an important part in watching over and training the young, as well as often providing magical support to the rest of the tribe.

Men and women do not bond in the same way as in other realms. Though one might have a preferred partner, known as their “favoured”, open relations between Dra’zhar are relatively common. Young adults are encouraged to mate together at festivals held at the solstices, ideally with strong and healthy members of other tribes. Children born of these unions stay with the mother and her tribe, though when a tribe has few young women itself, dowries will be paid to another tribe to bring the pregnant women back to the father’s tribe.

Although more nomads than city dwellers, permanent settlements of the Dra’zhar do exist in places to grow particular crops, guard important sites, or allow honoured elders to settle and focus on teaching their knowledge in the last days of their lives. In the time of the Ancients the Dra’zhar are believed to have built cities much like those of the other realms, but for one reason or another they chose to change their lifestyle. Across the ranges there can be found the occasional ruin that hints at such civilisation and which is definitely not the work of the Ancients, though there are far more questions about them than answers.

Heraldry and Fashion

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The common colours in Dra’zhar dress are browns and reds with copper accents, and horse or geometric motifs figure heavily in ornate outfits. The most common items that a noble or person of renown will invest resources into enhancing are their trophies.

The warm climate of the Dra’zhar lands and their nomadic lifestyle means that light, comfortable and durable clothing is the standard, with thick leather being the most common form of armour. From the Jalgahar Desert though comes a resilient chitin made from the shells of the giant land-crabs that when heated long enough can be moulded and bonded together with resin to form armour. This prized armour can be as tough as steel but as light as leather, and suits are highly cared for by their owners.

Life and Society

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Family

There is no concept of formal marriage for the Dra’zhar, and while a Dra’zhar may have a favoured partner (or several), a clan or clan will rarely recognise anything more than that. While travellers from other realms find this strange, for the Dra’zhar who treat personal property and even children as possessions of the tribe, there is little reason to bind two people together, especially given how temperamental relationships can be. Though no-one is prevented from having more children, if a tribe feels it is losing the capacity to take care and raise those additional young, it will often leave the unwanted children at their sacred sites to be taken in by the People of the Forest.

Amongst the Dra’zhar it is commonly the elders of a tribe and the father of the child that will assist, helped with alchemical elixirs where available and appropriate. Pregnant Dra’zhar are expected to remain active until childbirth actually occurs and get back to work as soon as they are physically fit to do so, with the care of newborns often handed over as much as possible to the elders.

Education and Employment

The teaching of youth is an often comprehensive matter, with lessons delivered over the years by numerous teachers amongst the tribe. A growing Dra’zhar will learn how to ride and hunt as soon as they can carry a weapon and sit in the saddle, and mend their equipment as soon as they can thread a needle. As their mind develops and they show what aptitudes they possess, they are taught professions by the elders and specialists, or where great promise displays itself, sent to the mountain sanctuaries to learn from the spirit masters. A Dra’zhar may have many forms of employment over their lives, or in one day in fact, and it is rare for a Dra’zhar to be of solely one practicing skill set. As long as one is contributing to the welfare of the tribe, much is shared equally, and so all are cared for.

Entertainment

Entertainment while on the Path of the Nomad is an impromptu and simple affair, usually consisting of singing or the telling of tales around a campfire, with flutes and the lyre being the most common musical instruments to be played. When settled for a time in a place where their guard can be more relaxed, and particularly so if several tribes have come together, the Dra’zhar like to engage in a particular form of immersive storytelling that involves many people at once, especially the younger members of the tribes. Playing a range of archetypal roles, the Dra’zhar will engage in games of combat, intrigue and romance as much for the pleasure of it as for the practice in skills it encourages.

The Dra’zhar tribes as a whole tend to carefully manage their consumption of alcohol and drugs so as not to weaken their clans. Though few substances are completely taboo, a Dra’zhar that incapacitates themselves shows weakness and can become dishonoured, or even exiled if they become addicts. Sexual activity amongst the tribes is quite liberal, so few monogamous relationships forming that the concept is something of a strange one to them. That being said, courtship is an important part of initiating any relations with another, as ill-considered pairings are viewed poorly by the tribe. As an alternative to this, Dra’zhar tribes often have those that choose to operate as prostitutes, with very little discrimination, and often some degree of honour from the rest of the tribe.

Life and Death

Though a Dra’zhar that falls ill or become injured is expected to do their best to recover through their own capacity, they are not without substantial support and relief from members of their tribe or greater clan. Alchemical elixirs are imbibed or applied to halt the spread of infection, combat harmful substances and promote faster healing, usually administered by the tribe’s alchemists or shamans.

For the Dra’zhar, the body of a person matters little once their life force has departed, and as such the traditional means of disposal is by leaving the body at a sacred site like a high place or within an animal graveyard to be eaten by wild creatures.

Commerce and Construction

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The Dra’zhar have little in the way of industry, at least in the sense that an Alteraanian or Valerian would apply the word. The focus of the Dra’zhar is on self-sufficiency and never on profit. What they trade with other realms is the excess of whatever they produce for themselves, typically horses and alchemical mixtures. In the uncommon cases when they need something to trade with other realms for large quantities of goods, they harvest aetherstone from hidden mines deep within their territory, a resource that if the other realms had the manpower and knew where to look, would no doubt result in war.

For their own purposes, Dra’zhar forage across their vast territories for enough food and water to sustain them, further supported by the produce of the small farming settlements they maintain in the most fertile areas. The Arden Plains in particular provide such bountiful produce that the Dra’zhar regularly move through that range, taking enough to last for several months but leaving the inhabitants enough to survive and ensure the next crop, as long as they don’t resist of course.

Though the Dra’zhar have a strong reputation as nomads, the settlements and permanent structures they maintain are some of the most beautiful in the Five Realms. Using high quality stone, plaster and timber, Dra’zhar craftspeople have been able to create light and elegant, yet durable structures that they use for the housing of important people and items, including longterm food stores for overcoming times of famine. Of mystery to foreigners and even most Dra’zhar are the structures and interconnected infrastructure found in the northern parts of their lands around the Jalgahar Desert. Dating back beyond Dra’zhar historical accounts, these buildings are spacious and comfortable at all times of the year, with running water and arcane illumination that comes on as soon as the inhabitant desires it. Jealously guarded by the Dra’zhar, they have become hubs for some of the few large settlements that the Dra’zhar maintain, closely approximating the form of a Valerian province or a Sachsen march.

The best places to establish any sort of sizeable tribal camp have been used by the Dra’zhar for generations, and most have over time been modified to improve the setup of a tribe when the time comes. This can be through the raising of earthen platforms, digging of wells, fortified walls, and orchards. For the most advanced of these sites, wardens are left in charge to manage the location until the tribe returns.

Rather than stick to only a handful of settlement locations, some clans will conduct a Grand Circuit of many sites. Rather than expecting all their sites other than the present to remain unused, a great clan will allow one or more lesser clans to share all or parts of the same circuit, provided the resources are managed well enough so that there is enough when the great clan arrives.

Religion

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Unlike the rest of the Five Realms, the Dra’zhar have no formalised religion. They believe in no gods and mock those that do, even when confronted with such things as angels and demons. These, they say, are just the souls of the dead returned to earth, needing to be returned to their rest like any other undead. What passes for a religion for the Dra’zhar is ancestor worship, where the dead are remembered for their deeds and their legacies. To the Dra’zhar the dead body is worthless except for the fertility it grants the ground, but the soul is sacred and not to be tampered with. The raising of the dead is a sacrilege that they abhor, with open necromancers therefore a rare sight in Dra’zhar lands.

Language and Communication

Though the ancestral language of the Dra’zhar is the Wild Tongue, the influence of Valerian missionaries and Hound agents over the centuries has introduced the Common Tongue to a point that most Dra’zhar are more fluent in that than the Wild Tongue. Where the ancestral tongue persists is in the simple rituals of the elders for welcoming new life into the world and farewelling those that have died, and in the work of Dra’zhar alchemists who use it to guard their knowledge from the comprehension of outsiders.

Amongst the Dra’zhar it falls to the Glasswalkers to convey news and communications from one tribe to another and between the Dra’zhar and the other realms. By using their particular abilities at translocation, they can cover vast distances in a fraction of the time, thereby keeping otherwise isolated groups in contact with the rest of their people.

Crime and Punishment

Crime amongst the tribes is quite a different matter than with any other nation. Possessions are considered to belong to the tribe rather than any one individual; however, taking object from an expert, thus depriving the ability of the expert to perform their function, leads to punishment. For example, if a warrior takes a smith’s hammer and breaks it in a fight, they have just disabled the smith from providing to the tribe. Other crimes of note to the Dra’zhar include intentional despoiling of crops or water, or the unnecessary slaughter of animals when such resources are of use to the tribe.

Minor punishments tend to be delivered in the forms of whipping and moderate punishments as branding. Disfigurement leading to lameness is generally avoided, as such an act means the utility of the criminal to the tribe is reduced. Even those that have erred are expected to do their part for the tribe to make amends.

Whilst killing in a fair fight is considered a normal aspect of societal dominance, murder is defined as a dishonorable killing, such as poison, backstabbing and sabotage. Such crimes carry the harsh punishments of exile or death, and often exile in the Dra’zhar lands means death. Many criminals opt out by joining the Hounds. Stealing from the personal property of a Khan or Warchief is punishable too with the same harshness as murder.

Military

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No other realm has been able to defeat the Dra’zhar in large-scale warfare in the open plains in recent history, though only the Valerians have seen themselves tested in any truly substantial way. This superiority is believed to be due to the Dra’zhar ability to mobilise faster than any other nation, chiefly because their nation is inherently nomadic and every tribe is always prepared to fight. This mobility serves them well once engaged in battle itself as well, and in Dra’zhar military strategy there is no dishonour in retreating, and such a manoeuvre is often just an opportunity to draw out the enemy lines and harass them with arrows while rounding about for a repeat attack.

Whilst the primary Dra’zhar forces are primarily made up of horseback troops, their foot troops are no less feared. Dra’zhar on the ground are made up of rangers and raiders who are experts at skirmishing and ambushing, and while they often lack the hitting power of a unit of heavily armoured knights, their ability to perform hit-and-run attacks when employed well can easily wear down a much larger and heavier unit. Particularly in rugged or wooded terrain foot troops will try to focus on remaining unseen and striking at weak spots of the enemy forces whilst the horse troops draw their primary attention.

Whilst there is plenty of typically ritualised infighting between tribes in times of peace, war against outsiders is attended with serious regard, and tribal warbands will amalgamate into their clans to form a more formidable force. To the Dra’zhar in a state of war there is no disassociation between fighting time and non-fighting time, and as such, night time raids and sabotage of supply trains are a common occurrence. For this and other reasons the general consensus amongst the rest of the Five Realms is that fighting the Dra’zhar is an incredibly frustrating and bloody endeavour.

In general Dra’zhar forces tend to be lighter armoured than contemporaries from the other kingdoms, their favoured military tactics tending towards mobility over static combat. While massed horse archers are the stereotypical image of a Dra’zhar horde they also integrate units of lance and sword armed light horse and cavalry. Though no match for fully armoured knights in a head to head clash these units are highly effective against enemy light or medium foot, especially when softened by the arrows of the mounted archers.

Dra’zhar light infantry favour the bow and blade, seldom forming to fight but preferring to hit and run making the best possible use of terrain. These two elements are ideal in almost any kind of warfare, barring one, which is a known weakness. The Dra’zhar are ineffective position or siege fighters and have little capability to take or hold positions against fortified opposition.

Rather than opt for large and high-flying skyships, Dra’zhar prefer to construct smaller ones that stick low to the ground and supplement their nomadic units, serving to carry the heaviest or most important supplies for a tribe.

Government and Politics

Each clan of the Dra’zhar is ruled over by a Khan through sheer martial prowess, and though predominantly male, there is nothing to, in fact, stop a strong female from being Khan. Behind this power though is often the wisdom of the most powerful shaman, skilled in the expert art of alchemy. Beneath the Khan are the Warchiefs that lead the tribal groups. Decision making ultimately lies with the Khan, though particularly cunning shamans and chiefs often sway the outcome through their influence on the Khan.

Recently the Dra’zhar Clans have become unified under an Il-Khan, a rarely held position that is essentially that of the Supreme Khan for all of the Dra’zhar. In times past an Il-Khan has often led his or her people in great campaigns of conquest, generally against the Valerians and smaller city states on Aluvinor, but occasionally through the magics of the Glasswalkers to other continents. The rise of the new Il-Khan has set the rest of the Five Realms on edge, concerned as they are that this may herald just such an event.

Despite these concerns however, the Il-Khan has focused on reducing in-fighting amongst the tribes and clans, and begun sending forces to the distant continents of Caratas and Rahouros, and even Aunwe some say. Though thankful for the decline in attacks against the Empire, the merchants and imperialists amongst the Valerians, as well as the Alteraanians, believe that these manoeuvres will end up threatening their colonial ventures in those continents.

Power Groups and Organisations

The Brotherhood

Originating with the Scorpion Clan of the Quaram Desert, the Brotherhood is a secretive network of mystics and assassins that seek to guard places of power and the ancient secrets of Aluvinor from those that would use them for personal power. They are skilled at stealth and disguise, and look like any other Dra’zhar warrior when travelling within the Clan.

Glasswalkers

Early oral histories of the Dra’zhar tell of how when their ancestors first mated with the sons and daughters of the wild, some children were born to these unions that could step between the worlds as easily as drawing a breath. They came to be known as Glasswalkers, and throughout the last few millennia have served their tribes and clans by guiding them to sources of fresh water, avoiding storms, and when the desire arose; leading them through the mists of the Aether to far off lands in search of new hunting grounds or some other target.

Sephirath’s Hunt

Since the time of the First Cities of humans of Aluvinor, the name of Sephirath has been known to many as a demonlord with malevolent designs upon the mortal world. Her legions have plagued both Valerian and Dra’zhar alike, but particularly the horse lords; due to her concentrated influence in their lands. Coming on nights when the moon is dark or a storm has arisen, her forces take those that they desire and brutally slaughter and dismember those that they don’t.

The Immortal Blades

A tale is told amongst the Dra’zhar of how when the First Cities fell, the elite guard of a great king gave their lives to ensure the people could escape to safety. Recognising their sacrifice, the Phoenix came down to them on the battlefield where their corpses lay, and engulfed by its flames they were reborn. Their descendants are said to be the Immortal Blades, an inter-tribal band of warriors skilled in the art of blade and spell who fight at the forefront of battles to protect their people with no fear of death.

Order of the Wolf (Hounds)

Without any substantial settlements to work from, the Hounds operating in Dra’zhar lands by necessity are hardy individuals that learn to ride as well as their hosts. More so than in any of the other realms the Hounds are accepted by the Dra’zhar, and it is from the Dra’zhar that they are said to have first learnt the arts of alchemy and mutagens.

Figures of Note

Il-Khan Sulhar Khaine

Khan of the Umberclaw Clan, and by the present day the Il-Khan (Supreme Khan) of the Dra’zhar. Noted for his defeat of seven champions of other Clans, and his personal victories over countless Valerian knights, the Il-Khan is also well-respected amongst his people and the Hounds that travel with them as possessing a cunning mind and the intellect of a statesman.

Khan Jiserra Hathalu

As a young girl the orphan Jiserra was inducted into the Blackbranch Clan and by the age of twenty three had risen to be the favoured of the Khan. When he then died in battle, she took up his sword and in leading the clan to victory set down her claim as his heir. Though she had to fight hard to gain the Khanship and since then maintain it, she has done so in such a manner that she is now one of the leading Khans amidst the Dra’zhar.

Novhana the Great

Something of an oddity amongst the usually muscular and toned warriors of the Dra’zhar, Novhana the Great is a cunning merchant who has risen to the leadership of a tribe of Dra’zhar not through innate martial prowess, but through the consumption of copious alchemical mutagens it is said to counter the weaknesses of his rotund form.

Vedic Malkharan

Schooled in the arts of magic since a young age, the adolescent Vedic completed the trials of wisdom when he was fifteen and was inducted into the Glasswalkers when he was only eighteen. By twenty-two he was already a master of the order and had visited continents as far away as Shenzhou and the Northern Kingdoms, and some say that he has even travelled to the other side of the globe to the dark continent of Vyrakar. As to his motivations, many Dra’zhar see him as a leader to carry their peoples across the world, working alongside the il-Khan of course.

Selena Avernigon

Formerly a knight of the Valerian Empire, many thought her dead until one day she was seen riding as part of a Dra’zhar warband in the Bleakmarch. Since then it has come to light that rather than dying in battle she joined the Dra’zhar as favoured of one of the northern Khans. What possessed her to turn against her own people is still one of the hot topics of rumour across the Empire.

Ranges

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Arden Plains

Contested with Valeria, the immensely fertile Arden Plains are forced by Dra’zhar Khans to provide substantial tribute of food, wares and sometimes sons and daughters whenever a raiding party comes through. As this is repeated by Valeria in their own belief that the Arden Plains belongs to them, the inhabitants of the region have become incredibly good and hiding things from their two overlords over the centuries.

Brahmis Plains

A mixture of rolling grassland and baked dustpans, the Brahmis Plains nonetheless host a significant number of Dra’zhar that graze their livestock on the grass and draw on abundant artesian water to keep them sustained.

Concarra Badlands

The central range of the Dra’zhar lands are the Conrarra Badlands; a stark and weathered landscape of mesas, buttes, and seemingly endless tracts of underground caverns and tunnels that provide shelter to both Dra’zhar and monstrous creatures. It is in this range that many of the ancestors of the Dra’zhar first originated, living as sedentary barbarian tribes on the fringes of the Aluvian city-states, during a time when there was more rainfall and the land was greener than it is now.

Doravin Ghur

At the northernmost part of Aluvinor the deserts and plains give way to the dense jungles of Doravin Ghur. The Dra’zhar of these parts are adept at quickly navigating the difficult terrain and avoiding the dangerous creatures that inhabit the place, and though looked down on for their lack of horse-riding, more than make up for it through their skill with alchemy.

Jalgahar Desert

Seemingly at one point an ancient seabed as attested by the numerous fossilised bones of giant sea creatures, the desert these days is only inhabited by the most desperate people. Many exiles end up in this range, and some say that they have even banded together in the depths of the desert to form exile colonies and that they sacrifice to dark gods to remain alive.

Kerberii Woods

Though extensive, the Kerberii Woods are relatively open compared to the forests of Lorandar; allowing horses to ride through, albeit slower than on the open plains. It is from here that the Dra’zhar obtain much of the lumber they need in the other ranges, and most tribes will make at least one visit to the woods in their yearly nomadic cycle.

Umadat Hinterlands

The eastern coast of Aluvinor facing the Sea of Storms is a rugged landscape of large rolling hills and crumbling cliffs, covered in a mixture of light forest and scrubland. The smaller tribes that dwell within this range are excellent hunters and herders.

Major Settlements

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Armalhet

  • Town

Built into and out of ledges in the cliffs, Armalhet is a key Dra’zhar trading town nestled in an incised valley in the Concarra Badlands. Under long-standing treaties and arrangements, merchants from the coast are allowed to make their way to the town to barter with Dra’zhar traders, helping bring in goods the Dra’zhar have difficulty producing in exchange for valuable aetherstone and alchemical mixtures. Merchants travelling here are guarded from bandits by Dra’zhar patrols, though due to the manner in which bandits are treated by the Dra’zhar if caught, they are very rare indeed.

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Darkshard Caverns

Base of operations for Hounds working amongst the Dra’zhar. Formed by large quantities of flowing water in times past, the caverns later were the site of significant deposits of aetherstone that was mined by the Ancients. Plundered of much of the rare stone, the caverns were granted to the Hounds after their assistance of the Dra’zhar in 4:1081 against the aggressive campaign of Lord Paulus of Valeria. By the present day the Hounds have built a substantial stronghold throughout the caverns that house members of their order taking a break from time amongst the Dra’zhar, and those new to the lands training and growing accustomed to how to interact with the horse-warriors.

Kalalisar

  • Town

Amidst the ruins of a city of the Ancients in the jungles of Doravin Ghur, a small settlement has developed of hunters, alchemists, Hounds, and brave Dra’zhar looking to prove their skills against the creatures and harsh environment that have almost swallowed up the ancient city in the jungle’s verdant embrace. From those that survive, shipments of rare reagents and curious artefacts are sent back to the tribes or on to distant cities.

Zasthura

  • Small City

The only permanent settlement that can rightly be called a city of the Dra’zhar is Zasthura, a mud-brick assortment of houses located in the Umbervale Mountains where the wisest elders are allowed to last out their days while they teach the promising youngsters the arts of alchemy and magic.

Locations of Interest

Black Tear Valley

Some time in the past a force of Ancients and several clans of Dra’zhar waged a brutal battle in this dry canyon network, the latter using the terrain to overcome the advantage that the former had in weapons, armour and magic. It is believed that the Dra’zhar managed a victory, but that it came at such a high price that few were truly willing to call it such. What is known is that the bloodshed was so great that it stained the very rocks of the canyon with the resonance of death, and though the bodies of Ancient and Dra’zhar have long since turned to dust in their burial mounds, the spirits do not lie in peace, and every night replay parts or all of the battle.

Cormmagon

In the hinterlands of the Arden Plains lie the sprawling ruins of a vast city of ancient construction. No-one is quite sure whether it was built by the Ancients, the first humans, or some other race, for the form is hard to link to other known ruins. Archaeologists have come from all over the Five Realms to try and unlock the mysteries of the city, but results are conflicting, with a wide array of different artefacts and unknown writing styles making interpreting what is found difficult and frustrating.

Caves of the Moon

Though not the only site for aetherstone within the lands of the Dra’zhar, this network of caverns are filled with outcroppings of rare moonstone, an incredibly rare form of aetherstone that is highly prized in the crafting of magical items. Within the caves one can bask in the glow of their bluish light, and those that go to sleep there are said to dream of all manner of wondrous things.

Isle of the Sun

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In ancient times this strange island in Glimmering Bay is said to have been the site of a city of wildling mystics devoted to the worship of the all-powerful sun. These days the ruins that dot the island and the thorny forest that cover it are home to nothing more than wild animals. Those travellers that make the effort to land there and push through the prickly undergrowth tell tales of strange encounters with glowing lights and ghost-like apparitions, particularly in the vicinity of the crystal clear pools of water found amidst many of the ruins.

The Library of Sophia

Somewhere beneath the soil of the Arden Plains the renowned grand library of Aluvia is said to lie, named after its founder, the archmagus Sophia. In it there was reputed to have been collected the sum total of human knowledge from before the coming of the Ancients, including knowledge of humanity’s creation and their purpose in the world. Rather than let this fall into the hands of the Ancients, the magisters of the library bade the earth swallow it whole and not return it until the Ancients had been destroyed and the First Cities freed once more. Although this has come to pass, the library has yet to be rediscovered, though not for lack of trying. Every summer the Society of Venatus and other such organisations brave the wilderness and threat of Dra’zhar warbands to search for this lost treasure trove in the hope of finding riches and glory.

Saramanda

Perched atop a mesa in the Concarra Badlands, the fortress of Saramada is the largest military structure of the Dra’zhar and has never been defeated by any invader. Its walls are made of thick volcanic rock that shrugs off siege projectiles and powerful magic with equal ease, and it has stood for millennia as the place of ultimate safety for the Dra’zhar. No-one who has made it over the walls when attacking the Dra’zhar in Saramada has ever returned alive.

Other Subjects of Note

The Harmony

While they do not possess a religion as such, and most certainly not a belief in the right of any supernatural entity to demand their obedience and worship, the Dra’zhar do recognise the presence of the supernatural in the world and the role that the spirits play in it.

From the World Spirits to the most minor of sprites, every spirit, and indeed every living being is part of what Dra’zhar mystics refer to as the Harmony, the web of creation that binds every animate and inanimate thing together. An imbalance in the Harmony can lead to catastrophe, and the Dra’zhar will take what steps they can to prevent or right such occurrences.

The Harmony and imbalances within it is said to be a song that those with the gift of the arcane arts can hear. It is therefore the role of a tribes mystics to listen to that song and let their Noyan or Khan know of when something is amiss.

It should be noted that entities of the Dark and those corrupted by its influences are not part of the Harmony, and the Dra’zhar deal with such entities and people harshly, killing them and ritually burning the remains to try and cleanse the taint of them from the world.

Dra’zhar Terms

Abtakha A warrior captured but then accepted into his new clan as a warrior.
Batchall A ritual by which Dra’zhar warriors issue combat challenges. Though the type and phrasing of the challenge varies, most begin with the challenger identifying himself, stating the prize of the contest, and requesting that the defender identify the forces at his disposal. All batchalls are closed and final when the phrase “bargained well and done” is spoken by both members of the bid.
Chalcas A term referring to persons or beliefs which challenge the clan traditions.
Dezgra Any disgraced individual or group is known as dezgra. Disgrace may come through refusing orders, failing in an assigned task, acting dishonourably or demonstrating cowardice.
Hegira Honorable withdrawal from battle granted by a Clan warrior to a defeated enemy. Hegira allows the opponent to withdraw honorably from the field without further combat or cost.
il-Chi A high-ranking messenger, representing a clan or several clans.
Isorla The spoils of battle, including bondsmen, claimed by victorious Dra’zhar warriors.
Keshik An honoured member of a clan, typically a warrior or shaman. The equivalent to a knight in other realms.
Kurultai A clan war council. A grand kurultai is of all the clans, called by at least three clans or the Il-Khan.
Ovkhan A term of respect for someone of higher rank.
Rede Clan honor-bound promise. Breaking a rede may be punishable by death.
Satarra A veto
Savashri An harsh epithet, translated as “traitor”.
Seyla A ritual response of acknowledgement.
Sibko A group of Dra’zhar that have grown up together, regardless of who their actual parents were.
Stravag An epithet favored by warriors, loosely translated as “weakling” or “runt”.
Surat An epithet of contempt, loosely translated as “dirty scavenger”.
Surkai A ritual of forgiveness.
Surkairede Rede of forgiveness, is the honor bound oath associated with surkai.
Solhama An old warrior that has past their prime.
Touman The combined warriors of a clan.

The Free People

When the First Cities fell, the People of the Earth had been living in their tribal groups on the fringes of the city-states and in the lands that had not been claimed by the Aluvian kings. They were already well-versed in resisting by sword or flight the desire of those rulers to gain dominion over them, so when the Ancients came, they were better prepared than most.

Though many in the western borderlands never had a chance to escape, those on the eastern borderlands gathered what they could carry and the healthiest of their horses and livestock, and headed further eastwards. When the Ancients finished conquering the Aluvian city-states, they found in most places little more than abandoned villages.

The life that now faced the People of the Earth was a far harsher one than many were used to, and many perished from the long marches and unfamiliar conditions, or were captured by the slaver skyships that cruised out over the badlands in search of them. Those that didn’t fall though grew strong and cunning, and learnt the secrets of the land.

In time the Dra’zhar as they had begun to be known, began to turn the tables on the Ancients, and using their improved knowledge of the land, their strength and their conviction, they raided the mines and border towns of the Ancients, burning what they could not carry, slaying all the Ancients they found, and executing any humans that were too weak or chose not to join them, so as not to leave anything for the Ancients to use.

When the Avyrnians returned from across the sea on their crusade, they were greeted with warm welcome and much celebration, and the two peoples fought then together to crush the forces of the Ancients, the swift cavalry of the Dra’zhar riding alongside the war golems and ranks of mage-knights of the Avyrnians to devastating effect.

On the Nature of Glasswalkers

For those that have studied the Dra’zhar known as Glasswalkers, the abilities they possess actually seem to stem from several different sources, rather than solely from one source.

Firstly, there are those that are in fact mages, skilled in the arcane college of conjuration, and capable of summoning portals and shifting between alternate realities using those powers. It may be that their lineage still contains within it some trace of bestial blood, and indeed there are few Dra’zhar that do not grant them the title of Glasswalker. The truth though from an outsider’s perspective is that there seems little to distinguish their powers from a conjurer from Cloudbank University or the Order of Stratos.

Secondly, and more noticeably there are Dra’zhar that seem to bear an innate command of conjuration style magic, without any arcane tutelage or active need for mana as an empowerment. Far lesser in number than the first group, these people bear some physiological resemblance to the half-men that are occasionally found in the travelling circuses of Alteraan, descended as they are from the pairing of a human and bestial. These individuals most assuredly deserve the Glasswalker title.

Lastly, there are those few that through esoteric means, by blood lineage, arcane tutelage or some other stranger source, have come to understand and through that understanding control the use of the ancient waygates that dot the land. Like the first group, they may or may not be considered Glasswalkers amongst the Dra’zhar, but given the power of the waygates, their capabilities should not be discounted.