Talanor, the Bright Tower
Realms - The Savage Lands
My Travels Through the Realms of the Known World by Aethyn Galbreth, Lorekeeper of Greyton & Emissary of Lord Hebron.
During the later stages of my travels through the Kingdom of Haemil, I was afforded the opportunity to cross the Iron Mountains and enter what I can only describe as the Savage Lands. Bordered to both the north and the east by the Great Ocean and to the south by an elder forest, this expanse of rocky plains is besieged upon by storms out of the north with biting wind and freezing rain.
There, upon these plains, I was confronted by five separate tribes of mortals, each consisting of different races. However, it did come to my attention that at least one tribe, the Firebird Clan, has been subject to inter-racial procreation. These clans live a simple and unsophisticated lifestyle and are very unaware of the truths that we, as a more learned culture, know as a certainty. They have created stories to explain their existence and purpose. They are firm in their beliefs, and I felt it wise not to educate them lest I cause undue strife between them and myself.
The Firebird Clan — The clan of men supposedly descended from Simur the Firebird whom they believed to be the first twin. They consider him to be both male and female, and they suggest that he is now trapped in the sky as the twin moons that encircle our world.
The Seven Stars Clan — The clan of elves supposedly descended from Chana Eye-of-Stars, whom they believe to be the mother of all elves. Chana is believed to still be alive; but, like the other primogenitors, she is seen as fickle and untrustworthy, though not actively malicious like Vash. They are the most nomadic of the clans and have no fixed lands.
The Night-Blood Clan — The clan of orcs supposedly descended from Vash of the Blood before his death and dark rebirth. This clan is lead by their “living ancestors” who are not vampires as I first believed given their thirst for blood. Their land are closest to the Firebird in the north and the Lost to the south, and while their is trade and intermixing between the two clans; their are also raids and tribal warfare. The “living ancestors” get hungry or the Firebird shamans try to burn them out. The relationship between the Night-Blood clan and the remain clans is even worse, since either Vash of the Blood murdered and ate their founder or their founder is believed to have murdered Vash in vengeance, as is the case with the hobgoblins claim of Nerat the Twisted Iron, or bound him in a circle of sunlight, as is the case with Chana Eye-of-Stars, after he became the first vampire.
The Clan of the Lost — The clan of goblins supposedly descended from Zamaz the Lost, who before her death was called Zamaz the Unraveler. The primogenitor of the goblins is believed to have been murdered by Vash so that the orc primogenitor could use her blood for magic.
The Twisted Iron Clan — The clan of hobgoblins supposedly descended Nerat the Twisted Iron. This is the southern most clan. They had the least interaction with the Firebird clan, with whom I have spent the most time. Nerat is believed to be alive by the clan.
The five clans have similar tribal structure most people who wield the ether Arequipa primitive. Amongst the clans, there is no tradition of learned magic like that practiced by a trained Hazard though they are aware of its existence. They have no true priests or priestesses, who are seen as outlander thralls of the great spirits. Anyone else showing any signs of control over the ethereal realm are seen as meriting suspicion. In some cases because the tribes worry about possession b other worldly spirits and others because the blood of the primogenitors is believed to be too concentrated in that person. The chieftains of the clans are the leaders of various war bands.
Every twenty years there was a clansmoot where all five clans meet in the Firebird lands to commemorate the binding of the Firebird in the two great eggs. Tradition demands that no violence be done at the clansmoot and it be held at night. I was not fortunate to witness such an enclave of these people but understand that feasts and joyous, drunken celebrations are common.
The clans believe that there were once more than five clans but that they moved away when Vash killed their original ancestor. The Firebird clan and the Clan of the Lost are seen as being unreasonably prideful for sticking around. I imagine that they are referring to either the dwarves and fey type beings, but suspect that they may include other humans in the missing tribes.
To further clarify racial relations on the western side of the mountains
The Seven Stars Clan (The Elves): Are seen as lore keepers, as long as they do know harm they are allowed to wander all the lands of all the clans without molestation. The supposedly know songs and dances of great power. They are also thought of to be wise in the ways of Ritual Magic. So that certain rites will not be forgotten they remind people in their travels of the respective duties of each clan and holdfast
The Firebird Clan: (Mostly human, healthy smattering of half orcs and half elves) Live in the northern coasts, the badlands, and the fringes of the Forest of Night. Their lands abut the lands of the Nightblood to the south. Relations between the clans are tense, but not always hostile. The village where Niyut and Tru’tosh grew up was in the foothill of the Iron Mountains and near the border of the Forest of Night. It is as far from the coast as you can be and still be part of the Firebird Lands.
Nightblood Clan: (Orcs and a ton of Half Orcs): They hold the best lands. They control the Forest of Night and the Pass of Shamez into Haemil. In perpetual conflict with the Clan of the Lost and Haemil. The fact that they aren’t losing a two front war without any support from the Firebird (and sometimes the opposite of support) is due to their “Living Ancestors.” Apparently, vampires are tough cookies. :-p
The Clan of the Lost: (Goblins, not necessarily evil): Live in moors and bogs south of the Forest of Night. Their land sucks. Known for their witches, their murdered primogenitor, their cunning ways, and their never ending war with the Nightblood (who keep insisting on eating them.)
The Twisted Iron Clan: Hobgoblins live in woods and plains north of the Ancient forest. Keep to themselves mostly, though they travel to the clan moots etc. There are rumors that they are ruled by their primogenitor to this day.
Races Associated With the Five Clans:
Hags, immortals to varying degrees (though the weakest can die as we have seen, the most powerful can serve as Patrons for witchcraft), unpleasant (though not always), powerfully magic. Seen as the inheritors of Zamaz’s divine power that was not consumed by Vash of the Blood. Changlings are not uncommon in comparison to other parts of the world. People don’t mention it out of fear of drawing a hag’s attention.
Dragons: Few but trying to restore Guruth. Supposedly.
Dwarves (small enclave) trying to restore the Mithril Father. Not enough to be counted as a full clan. Supposedly.
Other interesting notes: Animals and plants are bigger, meaner, and more epic/primordial west of the mountains than to the east. Same goes for the weather.