Sunday, August 21, 2011


On the western steppe, nomads range on horseback. Most of these are fairly normal, similar to cultures from our world such as Mongols or Lakota. One of the nomad nations, though, is notable for having a warrior society the members of which aspire to the magical control of bulls for the purpose of riding them into battle.

"Control" is perhaps too strong a word. The Bullriders forge a magical partnership with a particular bull which lasts a lifetime - whether that life is the Rider's or the Bull's. The bulls involved become longer-lived (they can sometimes even outlive their riders!) and more intelligent, which is their benefit from the relationship.

In addition, the tribes of the Davrai (that is the name they give themselves - it means, roughly, "Free People", but their word for "free", davar, is related to the word other peoples use for "cattle") are among the few peoples of the world who have made a place for the beastmen known as minotaurs. It is a rare band that does not have a small group of minotaurs living among them.

On the battlefield, the Davrai are terrifying. Bellows of bulls and minotaurs issue forth from the lines of Bullriders, backed by hundreds of more conventional cavalry. Arrows blacken the sky, propelled by small, powerful recurved horn bows. Paynim legions withstand them only through dint of intensive training in fighting as a unit.

Davrai religion is fairly simple, centering on worship of a Sky God known as the Great Bull and his bride the Earth Mother. Everyday religion is mediated by a group of shamans who build personal relationships with an idiosyncratic group of spirits that is different with each shaman.

A Davrai band usually consists of about 30-300 men and women, with an equal number of children, and anywhere from 3 to 15 minotaurs. The herds consist of about twice that number of cows, along with a bull for every 20 adults, about 2 horses for each adult, and a number of oxen about equal to the number of cows. The oxen are used to draw large carts that carry the women, children, and the household goods of the band. The carts double as tents when shelter is needed.

Every band owes its allegiance to a ruling band, forming clans of between 3 and 10 bands. The clans are organized into tribes consisting of anywhere from 5 to 20 clans. All of the tribes follow a king, though currently there are three kings claiming control of the Davrai as a whole. This results in a smoldering aggression that sees a number of feuds and other violent incidents.

No comments:

Post a Comment