The Grasslands of Shronth
|GOVERNMENT: A warring confederation of clans/families
RULAR: Draad - Iron Lord of Shronth (of the Iron Clan)
CAPITAL: Kloaden (pop. 5,500)
LANGUAGES: The "Kloaden" language is a rough version of "Common," and is mostly spoken when two clans meet for negotiations or war. Everyday speech is usually done in a specific clan-cant. For regular speakers of "Common," the Kloaden language is understandable, but has a heavy accent and some words that don't translate well.
RELIGION: A simple version of the Kempin religion. Only the primary "aspects" of each god are recognized and worshipped.
POPULATION: Very difficult to estimate, approx. 50,000 total.
COINAGE: "Draads," named for the Iron Lord, who appears on these crude coins (copper, silver, and gold only).
IMPORTANT PEOPLE: Iron Lord, The Weaver's "Torla," the Shronth's Holder of Secrets, Clan Lords, and well-known Great Warriors.
FIRM ALLIANCES: The Iron Lord Draad is a good friend of F.J. Emperor Jestak.
HOSTILITIES: Among the clans, many wars and skirmishes are fought. The clans also tend to raid everyone around them…including the Azure Kingdom, isolated towns in the Kingdom of Bantroth, and the city-states Cornwalsh and Cebes.
INTRIGUES: The clan lords are known for their negotiations and deal-making amongst each other, and against each other. There is near constant political turmoil.
THE CLANS: Iron Clan, Horse Clan, Axe Clan, Blood Clan, Sky Clan, Dragon Clans (More about each clan below!) Each clan is made up of many families, and each family within the clan has a different status level. The ruling family is, of course, the most important family. Even within each clan there is a lot of intrigue and politics between the different families.
*Iron Clan - Ruling Clan for the past few centuries. Both the Horse Clan and the Axe Clan have come very close to toppling the Iron Lord over the years, but Draad and his ancestors have always come out on top in the end. While the other clans basically live in traveling tent cities that move with the season and the fortunes of war…the Iron Clan has established Kloaden as their capital and permanent city. Its buildings are build of thick sod or quarried stone, and its towering walls and massive silver gate have never fallen. The Iron Clan is probably the most civilized of the Clans and its members speak "Kloaden" (a rough version of Common) better than the members of any other clan. The Iron Clans cant language long ago fell into disuse, and is only used now for codes and battlefield commands during wartime. Iron Clan warriors carry a wide variety of weapons, including bows.
*Horse Clan - Though all the clans (except the Dragon Clans) ride horses, this Clan is acknowledged to be the best at it. They train their horses in such a way, that during battle, man and horse act and move as one. The horse clans believe that knowledge and learning is dangerous, and tend to distrust magic. Horse Clan Weavers tend to hide any magical skills they may have except for divination of the future. This is a proud clan, with deeply ingrained traditions of honor and ceremony. While they are not particularly civilized, they are extremely regimented and organized. The Horse Clan's cant language seems to take a certain inspiration from the snorting and throaty noises their horses make. Horse Clan warrior tend to carry axes into battle, and are experimenting with short bows.
*Axe Clan - This clan's warriors are the fiercest in battle, and tend to use heavy weapons such as Great Axes, two-handed swords, and two-handed hammers. Their frenzied fighting style is legend, while their knowledge and use of tactics seems to be their weak point. They are the least civilized of the clans, and tend to live basically like animals. Their social structure is disorganized, and their family-structure almost embarrassingly immoral. The Axe Clan's cant language sounds like a series of grunts, and few members of this clan can even speak Kloaden.
*Blood Clan - Of all the clans, this one is the least predictable and the least honored. Their dishonesty and dirty fighting have gained them the reputation of being cowards, and unworthy of the title of warrior. The Blood Clan's Weavers delve into dark magics, and are greatly feared as "bringers of demons." It is said that the Blood Clan has spies within the other clans, and that many a trusted friend and warrior has betrayed his clan…and later been discovered to be a Blood Clan spy. This clan's cant is said to sound dark and mysterious, and tinged with evil intent. Not much is known about the culture of the Blood Clan, though it is supposed that its culture is degenerate. Blood Clan warriors tend to carry short hacking swords, and spikes maces and flails. Their weapons are often coated with poison.
*Sky Clan - This clan is capable enough to defend itself in battle, but rarely initiates or causes war with other clans. They appear to be content to live out their lives on the open plains, riding their horses under the pristine sky. Some warriors in the other clans talk of the Sky Clan's members as cowards, but the older, more experience warriors shake their head and smile. It takes an old warrior to know the true price of warfare, and to respect those that due not love bloodshed and struggle. The Sky Clan's cant is the most developed of the individual cants (Kloaden is not a cant), and is a fully developed language…both spoken and written. Sky Clan warriors tend to carry long thin swords used for slicing, and leather hide shields. Several times over the years, the Sky Clan has joined forces with the Iron Clan against those that wish to topple the Iron Lord.
*Dragon Clans - These seem to be the product of legend and myth. It is said that Clans exist in the Southern reaches of the Grasslands of Shronth…who ride dragons instead of horses. These clans fight amongst themselves, and seem to avoid contact with the clans that ride horses. While everyone speaks of the Dragons Clans as though they were real, they are widely believed to be the stuff of legend.
THE WEAVERS: This is what mages in Shronth are called. Weavers never come from a clan family, but weavers will be found living among all the clans. They advise Clan Lords on matters of political intrigue, and though loyal to the clan they are living with, they often have a "big picture" agenda of their own. One TORLA of immense power is born every 100 years to a virgin mother. No one knows to whom this TorLa will be born, in which clan, male or female, or even why it occurs. But one thing is certain…many people seek to find the TorLa first, in order to control him/her. Every clan also wishes for the great honor of producing the next TorLa of the Weavers. The last TorLa is said to have been Vavasha, meaning a new TorLa is either long overdue, or lives among the clans today…overlooked.
NOMADS: They are often called "THE Shronth." The are very close to nature and wander the Grasslands, following wild game and livable weather patterns. They are not a regular part of the clan-system. Their leader is called "the Holder of the Secrets." The current Holder is Rator. The Nomads live apart from the clans, and actually have very little contact with them. They are reclusive and suspicious of all strangers and outsiders. Many scholars believe the population of the Nomads is shrinking, and that in a few centuries there will not be any Nomads in Shronth.
BIT OF HISTORY: Originally, Jestak was of the IRON CLAN (as was Gorg) but not a member of the Iron Lord's family. Vavasha was a weaver with a very dark reputation, and many whispered that he was the TorLa. Jestak and Co. made arrangements to have their friend Gorg reincarnated after a particularly deadly adventure, and (as the fates would have it) at that very moment an assassination attempt was succeeding on Vavasha's life. Vavasha and Gorg became one man, one personality, one body combined.
Later Jestak and Co., (including Vavasha) travelled to abroad and became embroiled in a huge mainland war against the invading Swaldunes and people of Norlund. With Vavasha's help, Jestak raised a huge army and began unifying the forces of the mainland against the invaders. Over two decades, Jestak solidified his hold over the mainland with a series of wars against lords and princes that would not bow to him. From that point on, Jestak has ruled unchallenged for over a hundred years.