- name, including nicknames - what people the nation is made of primarily - location - type of government - general feel of the nation
The society of the Firehorns is a society made out of the desperate. It is a nation that struggles for survival and was united through that struggle. Infighting within the Firehorn hightribe has completely ceased; all tribes agreed to not fight each other anymore. The only exception to this is when younglings have to prove themselves, then they can still challenge members of another tribe for a fight. Most of the time the younglings prefer to band together and combat people of the other hightribes instead. Every tribe of the Firehorns even cooperates with the next. They are more willing to share food freely with those in need and work together in order to accomplish larger goals, such as building an important structure or connecting their towns with roads. Overall, the Firehorns have been forged together by the fire of of a genocidal war that was waged against them a few centuries ago. Since then they have laid in wait, even let the entire Second War pass without participating, gathering their strength to make the others pay for what they've done.
Firehorns see their Blazlin as equal, allowing them to take leadership positions and even chieftain and lord titles. Acquiring those titles can be quite hard, since the Firehorns still value strength to a degree and thus Blazkul have it easier to gain the position by default. However, if a Blazlin proves to be extraordinarily intelligent and charismatic, they can as easily become a leader as any Blazkul. Speaking of leadership, the Firehorns have a special council that rules from the shades and stands side by side with the High Council. More about that is mentioned in the Government section.
In order to solidify the peace among the tribes, the Firehorns became very civilized when interacting with each other. They are as formal as Emberspikes and have even better control over their wild instincts and their aggressive tendency. It is rare that a Firehorn loses their composure, but it can still happen. They remain Blazkul, after all. This civilized way of behaving around others also assisted them in establishing diplomatic ties with the non-desert nations. Despite not allowing any non-Blazkul to enter the desert, the Firehorns still negotiate and otherwise communicate with the other realms. This happens out of necessity more so than the desire for diplomacy. Through their good relations with neighboring realms they ensure their supply with grain, wood and other important materials, while also ensuring that the other hightribes can't establish a foothold in the world beyond the desert. Of course this also means that the Firehorns ceased to send raiding parties out into the world, as that would hurt the good relations they've established.
Despite their peaceful unity and their diplomatic relations to their neighbors outside the desert, the Firehorns remain a militant nation. They raid and attack the other hightribes, especially the Blazewhips, and continuously prepare to wage war against all four of them in order to take back what is theirs and maybe even a little more. They seek destroy those who slaughtered their people in the past and wish to destroy every trace of the Flame that they can find. Firehorns, at least the grand majority of them, do not believe in the Flame. Due to a historical event, the Crime of the Firehorns, they've been branded as heretics and despised by the other hightribes. Since then the Firehorns have been called Flamestealers by the other hightribes. Firehorns seek vengeance and train their general population as regularly and roughly as any other hightribe.
A difference between the Firehorns and the rest of the Hightribes is that they do not see the Blazlin as lesser. The Blazlin are equal to the Firehorns, even being allowed leadership positions. For that reason the Blazlin:Blazkul ratio is also way higher, since many Blazlin move from the other hightribes to the Firehorns and because the Firehorns encourage the Blazlin to be many and strive. This strategy has in mind that it is easier to support a hundred Blazlin, than a single Blazkul. Basically, the Firehorns aim to one day conquer the other hightribes with grand armies made out of footmen. They also have the hope that due to their better environment for Blazlin, the enemy Blazlin will defect from the other hightribes when the Firehorns attack them. This is not as likely as they think, because despite their lower status in society, most Blazlin are deeply loyal to the hightribes and despise the Firehorns for their historical crime, being firm followers of the Flame.
The Firehorns are the only Hightribe to condemn the Great Flame and not pray to it. They even destroyed their own temples and aim to do the same to the temples of the other hightribes. They even try to occupy holy sites within the Sacred Land in order to deny the other races access to them, but the Sacred Guardians do their best to prevent that. Every priest on Firehorn lands has been killed and they refuse access to them. Firehorn priests of the Flame still exist, but not within the desert. The last few Firehorns who follow the Flame live in the Blazkul Enclave near Treztown. Despite not believing in the Flame, the Firehorns still have holidays like the Day of Ascension, because their younglings are still send out to prove themselves.
While the Firehorns bury Blazkul and burn Blazlin just like the other hightribes do, they of course believe in a different kind of afterlife. As people became desperate for something to cling to in dire times and an end to look forward to if they fall in combat, they've stuck to the thought that they will join in some kind of paradise with their ancestors, who judge their actions. This means that only worthy warriors and workers will have a pleasant afterlife, while the rest ends up in the void.
These holidays are a chain of days that are all linked to each other and happen within the span of a week. It begins with the Day of Betrayal, the Riseday of the second week in summer. On this day they remember the refusal of the Emberspikes to share their Great Temple's fire with them. The Firehorns felt horribly betrayed and became so enraged, that they sent out warriors to take the Flame by force. After a failed attempt at raiding the Emberspike's capital and taking the fire, the Firehorn's force had to retreat. However, they managed to spill blood within the temple, which is a terrible crime. It enraged the others hightribes and forged an alliance between them with the intent to wipe the Firehorns from the face of Threa.
The Day of Illumination comes two days later, at the Centday of the same week. On this day they remember the failure of their warriors, but also that this caused them to see that the Flame was not with them, that it was not on their side. Trukza Tal Firehorn the Enlightener explained to them that the Flame is nothing but a tool to control the Blazkul and that the other Hightribes are just too ignorant to understand this. He demanded that priests are banished and killed. His strategic wit also brought them the first few victories against the coalition of hightribes, at least until they unified into one large army and began eradicating any Firehorn presence in the south.
The Day of a New Chance is the Fallday of the same week. On this day they remember the glorious victory of their own Hightribe at the end of the losing streak beforehand. It forces the other hightribes to stop fighting the Firehorns, as they had to focus on each other again. The Firehorns saw this as a new chance, as a chance to grow strong again and get the revenge they seek. It was also a chance to build up anew and get rid of old traditions and ways of thinking, in order to make place for a mentality that will have them win a war in the future. Historically, this victory came years after the mission to steal bit of the temple fire failed.
The Firehorns have a second council, next to the High Council. It is a secret council that doesn't meet in the open, but in privacy without the eyes of the public resting on their decisions. It is often referred to as the Shadow Council by its members and the few who know about it. Said members are only the high lords of the capital cities and a few trusted members, like representatives of the Enlightener's Daggers or important communities of the Firehorns. This council has a special purpose, it doesn't direct the internal business of the hightribe (however, it does influence them), but deals with the external matters. Diplomacy and especially intelligence is what they are tasked with. It is their duty to ensure that the other hightribes fail and the global influence of the Firehorns is ensured. After all, they've great plans for the Searing Desert and maybe for the rest of Threa.
Just like the High Council, the Shadow Council meets twice a year, but not necessarily at the capitals and never at the same time twice if possible. It is the direct superior to the Enlightener's Daggers, which is basically the secret service of the Firehorns and founded just to further their agenda. During times of war, the Shadow Council directs the espionage and the struggle that goes on in the shadows instead of the battlefield. They've to always be informed who is in what kind of position of power within the other hightribes, to best direct assassination and espionage attempts. More about how this is done can be found in the Enlightener's Daggers subsection under Military.
Unlike the other hightribes, the Firehorns completely reject the idea of fighting for the position of chieftain. After all, it would be rather unfair if the current chieftain were a lin and had to duel with a Blazkul in order to keep his position or die otherwise. Every chieftain has to be elected through a majority vote, in which all adults take part. The same happens for the lords, who are usually elected just by the chieftains in the other hightribes. This makes the Firehorns more of a representative democracy than a tribal system. However, the lack of a separation of power and the fact that a lord still technically has total power over his own population make it more of an oligarchy than a true democracy.
In this section you'll find a few of the tribes that exist within this hightribe. Note that it is not a full list, there's many more tribes than the ones mentioned.
The Glazirik are a splinter of the Glazuruk, but unlike them didn't manage to acquire a position in the capital. They did manage to establish great contacts to the tribes there, giving them a degree of influence there. Being a tribe that is part of a town, they also have the possibility to have a lord among them, but so far the other two tribes always won the elections so far, meaning the Glazirik have no direct influence on the High Council. Rumors have it that they even have influence on the Shadow Council or at least some members of the Enlightener's Daggers through allies and favors. [More to be determined]
- Urzik (Dead): Lord, Battlesteerer. Tribe member.
The Glazuruk are one of the mightiest tribes among the Firehorns, known for their skilled Blazlin generals. Since they live in the northern capital, they've a lot of influence on the High Council and the Shadow Council. Traditionally they've been ruled by lin for many centuries now, because they simply always won the elections. Due to their tendency to have charismatic, cunning Blazlin, most diplomats of the Firehorns originate from the Glazuruk. If operations outside of the desert have to be executed, it is usually a Glazuruk who leads them. This further increases their influence over the activities of their hightribe. Many have become political enemies of the Glazuruk, because they do not like how mighty they are compared to other tribes and would prefer if their power was cut down some. The Glazuruk will always have at least one tribe as their ally in internal matters - the Glazirik, a tribe that was founded by a mated pair of the Glazuruk.
- Aruk (Dead): Lord, Battlelord. Tribe member.
The Ra are one of richest tribes the Firehorns have. Straight horns with little sign of curving is the most common type of horns among its members. Most of their tribe is busy flying to and from the Sacred Lands in order to mine for gold, silver or gems. Said materials are then be turned into jewelry by their renowned gold smiths and gem cutters. The majority of these finely crafted pieces will be loaded on the vessels of the Firehorn merchant navy and send off to be sold in turn for grain and other necessities the Firehorns require.
- Niza: Tribe member.
The tribe Tal is well known for their wise elders and generally high level of education. Even their lin are among the most well educated, which is likely due to their position in the southern capital and thus the closeness of the schools, which are build in the district of the Tal even. Some of their members could even be considered philosophers. Blazkul philosophy is pretty violent and based around natural selection through combat, however, and not about such things as "rights of sentient and sapient individuals". It is just natural that the Enlightener originated from a tribe with such high standards of education.
- Trukza the Enlightener (Dead): Warlord during the time of crisis when the flame went out. He ruled even after the war ended until his death.
The Firehorns have a system in place to raise their armies that appears more professional than the tribal, levy-based system of the others. Every tribe raises as many warriors as they can reasonable spare, then they send them away to a central location where they meet up with the forces of other tribes. Once they arrived, they are organized into a general army structure as described below under Ranks and Organization. This means that the warriors won't necessarily fight with people of their own region and might be total strangers to each other, but it also means that the Firehorns have a far better overview over how many warriors they have and how large each individual army is. This allows for better strategic planning and makes the organization of supplies far easier and more accurate. Instead of being led by their own chieftain or lord, the armies are led by capable officers which were picked prior to the war. This ensures that no incompetent kul is in charge of the troops.
Being an officer is a professional matter; it is a proper profession just like blacksmithing or pottery. Any adult Blazkul and Blazlin can sign up for becoming part of the officer corps, but most aren't even invited to come to the capital after their application. Having great connections and being a renowned chieftain or lord helps a lot with being accepted to the officer schools at the capitals. There they have to undergo three years of officer education. After that, they've to be the assistant of another officer for another two years before they are given their own region. In times of peace, they are responsible for making sure that every tribe in the region is keeping their warriors in top shape and continue to expand the contribution they could give in case of war. If war breaks out, the officers have to make sure every tribe is rising their levy fast and then lead the reorganization of the forces at the meeting pointing. Often a rough plan for the organization has been made up far before the meetings happen, during peace.
Since the population of Blazkul among the Firehorns is rather small, they have to prepare their lin for fighting kul better than the other hightribes do. That means that they simply have a larger amount of kul slayers among their army. The amount of wingripper bolts they have in their arsenal is far larger than the amount the other hightribes have and they even possess some Trezkul venom that they load into daggers and bolts, because they actually trade for the toxin with the northern realms. A deadly weapon against any target, but especially useful to kill or at least handicap kul.
The Firehorns are great at building fortresses, as well as besieging and assaulting them. They have built the Desert Horns and the Obsidian Citadel after all. Every Firehorn town or castle can become a trap for any attacker. With towers and walls that feature many war machine emplacements, murder holes and multiple platforms, a hail of projectile greets everyone who tries to assault a town of the Firehorns. Every gatehouse is fitted with traps in order to kill anyone who is currently passing, be it through trapdoors, pouring boiling oil from the ceiling or through spikes that are mechanically shot out of the walls. All of this is necessary in case the believing hightribes ever united against the Firehorns again, so that they can make them pay in blood for every inch of land.
One very unique thing about the military of the Firehorns, not only unique for a hightribe, but unique in all of Threa, is the presence of a proper navy. Due to their trade relations far from home, the Firehorns thought it necessary to build a small war fleet in order to project power along the shore. These war ships are not very large, but are manned with crossbow-wielding Blazlin and equipped with a single spear catapult each, capable of killing kul with a single, well placed bolt. Blazlin do not really enjoy being on the seas though, so the Firehorns have been hiring Sozlin for their trade and even combat vessels. The shore dwellers make for great sailors due their affinity for water. Since they are the only military navy on Threan seas, their combat experience is rather limited and their naval tactics rather rudimentary. They don't even possess multiple ship classes with different roles, but just one kind of ship that is different based on which tribe builds it.
During the war against the other hightribes after the historical crime, Trukza Tal Firehorn saw that victory was not possible against the far superior force. They had to break it apart, make the hightribes enemies again and seed distrust among them. Spying on and assassinating the right persons was the only way this could be accomplished and only Blazlin are small and nimble enough to handle such tasks, thus Trukza founded the Enlightener's Daggers in 276 ar. It is a Blazlin elite unit made out of the most agile and deadly Blazlin of the Searing Deserts. They are masters of stealth and assassinations. Most of the time they spy on the foes and even the allies of the Firehorns. Gathering information can be rather tricky for a Blazlin, especially in lands where their kind is not common, which often requires them to hire help in the form of shady characters from abroad. Assassinations on the other hand work just fine without the help.
Becoming a Dagger is a rather dangerous undertaking. Their initiation process is rather brutal and rough, some don't even survive it. They have to be unwaveringly loyal to the Firehorns if they want to serve them from the shadows. Some Blazlin who are extraordinarily agile will be asked by Lightbringers to become an initiate. They are interviewed and questioned to figure out if they are truly loyal to the Firehorns. One they've been declared trustworthy, they partake in a ruthless training that'll push them to the limit. Some die of exhaustion, but most make it. Whoever doesn't pass the tests remains in the service of the Enlightener's Daggers, but as a servant for the ones who did succeed. Once they passed, they are a Dagger. They know nothing about the general strategy or the higher planning, but are only told about their mission. It takes many years of experience and a display of unwavering loyalty during this time before they'll be promoted to a Lightbringer, who know more about the general activities of the Enlightener's Daggers and are directly tasked by the Shadow Council.
In order to fulfill their missions, the Daggers can use all kinds of weapons. Since their assassination targets are Blazkul more often than not, they have to be capable of slaying those large beasts without alerting their guard and preferably without the Blazkul realizing. The best way to go about this is poison or venom, or very well placed spear thrusts. Often it requires an entire team to bring down such large targets while avoiding their guards. Every Dagger is experienced with the short bow and crossbow, so they may deliver the deadly toxins at range. For protecting, the Daggers wear studded leather armor, or in more violent environments they may use scale mail.
Being great strategists, the Firehorns saw it as necessary to have a well organized military. Unlike most other Hightribes, they do not care who comes from which tribe during war, but instead organize everything in one central structure. The Firehorns even allow lin to become officers and generals. Their logistics function the same way it works for the other hightribes, but it is more efficient at it, due to the better organization in general. Firehorns are capable of sustaining long range operations, even far outside of the desert. This has been proven when two entire sections of Firehorns were stationed in the Gren Kingdom and Treztown to assist the latter in its struggle for survival during the Sokan Empire's Expansion
The same as in the other hightribes; the absolute leader of all forces with dictatorial powers.
Every battlelord commands at maximum three battlesteerers in the Firehorn military. They are very experienced leaders and tend to be Blazkul most of the time, simply because they live longer and can thus acquire more experience.
A Firehorn battlesteerer may only command a single section. A section consists of roughly twelve to fourteen warbands, of which eight are designated to be archers, and two claws. That makes a total of 400 warriors, 800 archers and 6 kul. If possible, the section also receives two warbands of lizog riders to add mobility to it. This boosts their numbers from twelve to fourteen warbands and adds 200 lizogs and their riders.
A hundred lin form a warband and three kul form a claw. No kind of bandchief or clawchief rules over another. Each band also has its own staff, made out of the warband leader and his adjutants and assisting officers. One of the adjutants will replace the warband leader when he dies or retires.
The common grunt.
Shown beneath is the hierarchy within the Enlightener's Daggers.
- Shadow Council:
The Shadow Council in secret decides on what to use the Daggers for and sends their orders to the lightbringers.
The lightbringers among the Enlightener's Daggers are tasked with training the initiates, testing them and leading Daggers on their missions. They receive orders from the Shadow Council and have to lead teams of Daggers to fulfill them. Such teams are called a Belt of Daggers. These teams often stick together throughout their entire career.
The normal spies and assassins in the service of the Shadow Council.
The lowest rank is the rank of an initiate, Blazlin who have to be trained and whose loyalty has to be tested. One's unwavering loyalty to the Firehorns is proven by enduring a torture-involving interview. One becomes an initiate by somehow gaining the attention of a lightbringer, who then brings them into their team.
Blazkul and Blazlin use the typical armor sets that most of the other hightribes also use. Firehorns wear enough plate to protect vital spots, while still keeping their mobility. They do wear more armor than the average Blazkul, because they have less kul overall than the other hightribes do. This makes every single Firehorn they have more valuable. Blazlin just have the same studded leather armor as the other hightribes, wear a white tunic and also carry an oval shield with their hightribe's symbol on it. As usual, the veteran lin receive scale armor and higher quality weapons. The favored weapons are the typical longbow, sword, and javelin. Something untypical is that their archers also carry a shield on their back and wear a helmet, so that they can serve as light infantry if necessary. They still only receive a short sword as their backup weapon. Lizogs are clad in light plate armor, which covers their head, their neck, their shoulders and their forelegs. The hindlegs are mostly exposed, same goes for the flanks. It keeps them light enough to be quick, but protects them from strikes to vital areas. The riders themselves use swords as weapons, with which they strike down any footsoldiers that they pass.
Firehorn are great strategist, but their tactics are not as good as that of the Emberspikes. Their formation coherence is also not as good as that of the Emberspikes either, because strangers fight alongside strangers and they do not know their officers, meaning they are not as good at inspiring their men, at least during the starting phase of the war. The Firehorns rely on strong, but simple formations of lin warriors to hold the enemy off, while their abundance of archers rains death upon them. Their veterans are placed on the flanks, in the hopes of making the enemy's cave in over time, while the Firehorns' middle falls back further and further in combat, in an attempt to lure the enemy spear head into a trap. Both warriors and veterans are equipped with javelins, which they throw at the enemy's ranks just before they make contact to soften them up and disorganize them. Overall, they always try to busy the enemy and keep their archers safe, hoping to win the ranged battle. Should this not be the case, then the archers can jump in to reinforce the front line. Having a fresh reserve ready, while the enemy already fought themselves tired, is a great advantage, even if the reserve is not as well equipped or trained for melee combat.
In conjunction with the usual "Protect the archers"-approach, the lizog riders of the Firehorns mostly serve as a force to intercept enemy cavalry to prevent flanking attempts. If no enemy cavalry is present or if superiority over the enemy cavalry has been established, then they attempt to flank the enemy themselves, and especially try to break their morale to rout them. Then they run down the fleeing enemies, to prevent that they can recover from the defeat too easily. Overall, the riders are made to be versatile and help out where necessary. Especially in the battles and skirmishes against the light cavalry of the Blazewhips have the Firehorns learned the value of the ability to intercept quick flanking attempts. More than once have entire warbands of archers been eradicated by Blazewhip lancers. Catching them is often too tough a task, but the more well armored lizogs and riders of the Firehorns are capable of deterring them at least.
Thanks to good strategic planning, the Firehorns often manage to have the numerical superiority on the battlefield, making it way easier to surround the enemy. One thing that remains true across all tactics is that they keep them simple and that the Firehorn kul play an essential role. They've to ensure that the air space is secured enough that their Blazlin warriors can expect to fight safely on the ground, instead of being showered with fire.
The Firehorns are the only hightribe which actually conducts diplomacy. They actually send messengers and ambassadors to other nations and ask them for trade treaties or other pacts, like non-aggression pacts, in order to stabilize their borders and strengthen their position in the desert. They do not do this because of being kind hearted, but in order to help their own nation. Being the only hightribe to actually communicate with other nations has given them the feeling of being an advanced nation and diplomacy has become an important part of their nation. Just like it is in the other hightribes, the High Council decides who to ally and trade with, the diplomats are just given goals regarding what they have to achieve during negotiations.
Towards all other hightribes, the relations are abysmal. War is the only language those nations speak with each other, due to their generally belligerent nature and the historical crime of the Firehorns. In the past, at least the Emberspikes had treaties with the Firehorns during the First War of the Hightribes, but that quickly fell apart right after the war ended and the Emberspikes did not pursue lasting, friendly relations with the Firehorns.
With the Aezkul the relations are rather good. The Republic approves of the peaceful attitude the Firehorns have towards nations that are not from the desert and thus signed an non-aggression pact with them and engage in trade with them. They even maintain a embassy on Port Trukza, which puts them pretty close to the northern capital of the Firehorns, while the Firehorns have an embassy in their capital. Despite the friendly relations, the Aezkul refused a treaty that was meant to share the knowledge of the two nations. The Aezkul simply didn't want that their achievements are used by a militant nation such as the Firehorns. They know the Firehorns won't attack anyone outside of the desert, but they also do not want fuel the conflict in the desert and give the Firehorns an edge.
The Sozlin are one of the favorite trading partners of the Firehorns. Their fish and expertise when it comes to being on the water is very helpful to the Firehorns, who even hire Sozlin for their own ships. Sozlin are also often hired to protect the trading ports of the Firehorns from Sozkul or raiders, because the Firehorns do not want to sustain a garrison in those places themselves. Not all Sozlin tribes approve of the close relations their brethren have with the desert dwellers, knowing of their militant nature. The Riz Tribes that got into contact with the Firehorns have made peace and opened up trade, at least almost all of them. Only a few had to be destroyed.
Despite their hatred for most kul, the Gren Kingdom engages in trade with the Firehorns. The latter is smart enough to only send lin to trade with the Gren or to negotiate treaties. However, it is allowed for Firehorns to march through the territory of the Gren in order to reach Treztown. The Firehorns even paved the road from Steelport to Treztown in order to make the march easier and support the trade between Treztown, the Firehorns and the Gren Kingdom by improving the infrastructure. One might think, that since the Firehorns have to rely on Gren grain, that the Kingdom has leverage on the Firehorns. They do not, however, because of the Firehorn's military strength. If the Gren stop delivering, the Firehorns will invade. It would be a long and bloody war and would set the Firehorn's plans back, but it would have to be done to feed their people.
Treztown itself is a dear ally of the Firehorns. Together they've fought a war and Treztown has always sold what grain it has leftover, which is far, far less than the Gren Kingdom, to the Firehorns in return for protection. However, there's another reason why Treztown is important to the Firehorns - the Sokan Empire. Being the mightiest nation of Threa, the Sokan Empire is a serious threat to even a hightribe but especially to the Gren Kingdom, which is the main supplier of grain for the Firehorns. If Treztown falls, the Sokan Empire is free to push its way into the west and thus the Gren Kingdom would fall just a few years after. This would cut the Firehorns off from their important grain imports and cause their population to starve.
|Nation ▼||Relation ▼|
|Rebel Kingdom||No contact (hostile)|
|Republic of the Zule||Peace|
|Riz Tribes||Mixed relations (peace - minor conflict)|
|Truzlin Tribes||No contact (friendly)|
|Gren Kingdom||Defensive Pact|
|Wolshak Packs||Minor conflict|
Non-Aggression Pacts (??? ar - ???): The Firehorns have the wits behind them to create non-aggression pacts with all their neighbors - the Gren, Aezkul and some of the Riz Tribes. The Firehorns also have an embassy in the Aezkul Republic's capital, while the Aezkul have an embassy on Port Trukza.
Declaration of Free Trade (327 ar - ???): The Firehorns allow any nation capable of sending ships to Port Trukza to trade with them. They also maintain trade ports along the west coast of Threa in order to trade with any nation that does not possess a merchant fleet. They trade with the Sozlin for example and even employ them to maintain the trade ports. The Firehorns often sell steel weapons to their trade partners, making the life of their opponents harder. Rizlin eagerly trade away fruits, wood and herbs for weapons.
Firehorn-Sozlin Protection Pact (333 ar - ???): This pact between the Firehorns and Sozlin ensures the safety of Firehorn trading outposts on Threa's shores. The Firehorns give crossbows, spear catapults and other advanced weaponry to the Sozlin, who in exchange protect and tend to the trading outposts. Only few Sozlin tribes are part of this pact. They have become nothing more but mercenaries to the Firehorns. Some Sozlin even leave their tribes to serve on the vessels of the Firehorn navy.
Western Defensive Pact (467 ar - ???): This defensive pact of the Firehorn Hightribe, the Gren Kingdom, and Treztown was shaped right before the Sokan Empire invaded Treztown's lands. Battlelord Aruk negotiated with the Gren Kingdom and managed to get them on board after a heroic group of mercenaries helped prevent a rebellion of the nobles. The pact basically says that the three partners will defend each other against any aggressions from the Sokan Empire. In 467 ar that led to the Firehorn Hightribe, the Free City State of Treztown, and the Gren Kingdom to form the Western Alliance and form one army, with which they waged war against the Sokans after they invaded Treztown. Nowadays, after more than three centuries, the pact is almost forgotten, but technically still active. The only reason the Firehorns bother defending the Gren and Treztown from the Sokans is because the Gren are the primary supplier of grain for the Firehorn Hightribe. Without the food from the Gren this hightribe would starve.
(Failed) Firehorn-Aezkul Research Pact (786 ar): This is an agreement proposed by the Firehorns to share technologies and research with the Aezkul. However, the Aezkul, being against conflict, refused this agreement knowing that their knowledge would be abused to further senseless warfare.
Every single other hightribe is considered to be full of ignorant, blinded morons. They listen to the priests and follow the Flame, which is naught but an illusion they run after senselessly. For their backwards mindset they deserve nothing but hatred and death. Even if a Blazkul of those hightribes does not believe in the Flame, the Firehorns would not let them into their country. After all, they do think the races of Blazkul should remain separate, not because the Flame wants it so, but because the Blazkul stay strong this way. Although they plan to erase the other hightribes, they would not mind ruling over the other hightribes as enlightened leaders.
The Aezkul Republic is seen as what it is - a societally advanced nation. Firehorns respect the Aezkul for their eagerness when it comes to seeking knowledge and their skill at diplomatic negotiations. Even their aerial fighting skills impress the Firehorns, even if they consider them weak and frail on the ground. Unfortunately, the Aezkul are also considered an annoyance by many leading characters, because they refuse to properly cooperate with the Firehorns and share their knowledge. Despite the friendly relations, the Firehorns refuse the Aezkul access to the desert, not wanting to break with that tradition. Both of these actions shake the trust between the nations, but neither thinks the other wants war or bring harm to the other side.
Sozlin and Riz Tribes are seen as trustworthy trade partners. The latter are respected as great stalkers and ambushers, so the Firehorns readily supply them with weapons to mess up any attempts at acquiring wood the other hightribes might make. Sozlin are seen as good hunters, because they are capable of slaying Sozkul, and as good sailors and are the favored allies of the Firehorns. Both kind of tirbes are seen as primitive, but useful. Rizkul and Firehorns do not get along all that well, but enough to work together. The matriarchs accept that it makes their Rizlin stronger to be equipped with steel weaponry, but they do not appreciate the fact that kul stronger than her own males move through the jungle, thus they still mostly refuse the Firehorns access beyond trading.
Firehorns do not really like the Gren Kingdom, but prefer them as their trade partner over the Sokan Empire. The Sokans are also disliked for doing slavery, which the Firehorns heavily disapprove of. The Gren do not pretend to have a claim on every bit of land the sun shines on at least, but they are seen as primitive, due to how they choose their leaders. Basing this critical choice on nothing but the bloodline of a certain group is seen as foolish by the selective Blazkul. Gren, despite their downsides, are seen as capable slayers. Even the Blazlin trained to be slayers respect the Gren Beast Slayer Guild for the skill of its members.
Apart from the fact that trade with nations outside of the desert is actually a thing, there is nothing that differentiates the economy of the Firehorns from the other hightribes. Their stripe of the Sacred Lands is as ore-rich as any other. Unfortunately, their Arm of Life is the smallest one and has the least side arms, making for relative little area to cultivate plants on. The agricultural output of the Firehorns is rather low, making them dependent on foreign imports. Even the good fishing in the ocean does not change this.
As stated, the Firehorns engage in trade with nations abroad - even via the oceans! The Firehorns call a large amount of trading vessels their own, which are only capable of traveling along the shores though. The trade is necessary so that the Firehorns can sustain a much larger population, with the help of foreign grain, than what their homelands would usually allow. Trade treaties are handled by the High Council, which directs the trade. Some tribes are tasked with trading with foreign nations, a good example is the Ra tribe, who sell their jewelry in return for grain only to sell the grain to other tribes nearby. Receiving the permission to trade with foreign nations is a great privilege, as it brings wealth and influence abroad to the tribe. Trade can bring conflict, too, since the superior quality of Firehorn products can easily dominate the market for metal items. Often the Firehorns have to engage in long negotiations with nobles of the Gren who feel like the income source for the crafters of their domain is threatened by the Firehorns and thus want to deny them the rights to sell their wares in their realm.
The main exports are steel weapons, tools and armor. Jewelry, be it made from gold or silver, is also often sold in return for foreign coin. Main receiver of the export are the Gren. The nobles enjoy having sturdier steel weapons instead of the iron weapons their own smiths produce. Even the veterans of the Gren warriors slowly begin to acquire steel weapons, often inherited from their parents who somehow managed to have enough wealth to buy them. Firehorn-made jewelry is sold more to the wealthy population of Treztown than the Gren. It sells better than the jewelry from other nations, due to the higher quality.
The Firehorn hightribe has a huge demand for food that can be stored for a long time. After all, the trade routes are long and the food should be edible when it arrives on the plates of the hightribe's members. Thus they import large amounts of grain and cured meat from the Gren Kingdom, fish from the Sozlin and some grain from Treztown. Another necessary import is wood, which often comes from Riz Tribes or the Soz Tribes. The latter is able to sell so much wood, because they have less qualms about cutting down the rainforest than the Rizlin do.
While hard drugs are illegal for the common people, the Firehorns do not mind their traders abroad buying them, only to sell them to another nation that allows it.
Due to being used to bunkering down and building great defenses, all cities of the Firehorns tend to have militaristic thought put into them. Many houses could be reused as a suitable barrack or weapon platform for example, while the entire layout of a given city is made to benefit the defender. For example, the armories are always build near the central plaza, which can easily be fortified and is always surrounded by buildings that have been build with more solid materials, like stone bricks, in order to be able to use them as bastions against attackers that pour into the town. Some are large enough to allow the emplacement of war machines on top of them, if this isn't the case then they are at least large enough to be used as good shooting positions for archers. All towns also feature tunnel systems that lead outside the walls, so it is possible to smuggle food into the town in case it comes under long sieges. Another particularity of the Firehorns is the fact that they have proper roads, even paved ones. Since their population of lin is so large, it has become impossible to use kul as the only means of transportation and since quite a few towns are not build near their Arm of Life but on the shore of the coast they can't use ships either. This has made caravans of lin and pack animals necessary, thus roads have been build between the shore and the river towns.
The Desert Horns are a line of fortresses along the northern border between Firehorns and Blazewhips, in order to put a stop to the military advances and raids of the latter. The Desert horns were constructed one after the other, beginning near their northern capital and ending at the base of the Aezrikka Zule. Construction began in 287 ar, exactly ten years after the Firehorns lost the war that banished them to the west. In 299 ar all fortresses were finished. It took a lot of manpower to finish them and transporting the rock from the Sacred Lands was difficult. They had to put the shaped stones on ships and sail them down their narrow Arm of Life.
These fortresses are completely made out of stone taken from the Sacred Lands in order to spite the other hightribes. Black stone from the volcanic wasteland is a sturdy material and sacred in itself. It is an insult that the Firehorns use it to build fortresses to keep the armies of the other Hightribes out. Each fortress looks like a horn in the desert. Looked at from the top, they resemble a semi-circle with a closed bottom. Basically, they are unusually broad watchtowers that are armed to the teeth. Plenty of Blazlin archers are part of the garrison. Each Horn also features many windows for the archers and the spear catapults, as well as weapon platforms for heavy spear catapults that fire bolts that can penetrate even heavy armor and the scales beneath it. On the top of a Horn is a huge bonfire which is used to warn the barracks further back. The fires can only be seen from behind the Horns, not from the front, due to a chamber build around said bonfire. This prevents that approaching enemies have an easy time telling when they've been spotted. Nothing escapes the sharp eyes of the spotters and the assisting flight patrols. Said barracks are home to multiple groups of Firehorns that are ready to intercept any force that tries to just fly far above the Horns.
Located between the Blazewhips and Firehorns, very close to the Sacred Lands, it is the mightiest citadel ever made. The Firehorns had plans for such a citadel for a long while, but didn't feel the need to realize them until after the devastating war that pushed them to the western shore of the Searing Deserts. Construction began in 312 ar and wasn't done until 390 ar. Having to haul stones from afar and being occasionally raided by the Sacred Guardians delayed construction many times. Despite being the most impressive fortification that has ever been erected in Threa it fell into the hands of the Blazewhips and Sacred Guardians. It is now more a ruin than a citadel, but its walls still stand strong for the most part and its towers are still manned by battle ready Blazlin that dedicated themselves towards protecting the Sacred Lands.
This fortress is made out of a single building, which is completely made out of the black stone that the Sacred Land is made out of. Its foundation has been carved out of a mountain and reinforced with steel, but the rest has actually been built. From a top perspective, the citadel looks like square with four arms sticking out of it and a cross in the middle, which has a octagon in its center. The square with the four branches is the base. It is filled with storage rooms for food and ammunition, as well as areas to rest for thousands of lin and a few claws worth of kul. It is built on top of a rich iron mine and thus capable of producing weapons within its protective walls. The cross on its top are four connected towers. They are covered in windows and weapon platforms for hundreds of archers and spear catapults. The octagon in the middle is the center tower of the Obsidian Citadel. It is very tall and allows the owner to keep watch over the many kilometers broad zone around the citadel. Unfortunately, during the siege half of the tip's side fell off, leaving only half of the tip intact.
The tower itself also houses dangerous weapons, the biggest spear catapults ever built. Sky's Wrath is what the battery is called, for their bolts fly faster than any flying creature could react to and dodge. Only one of the formerly four war machines is still intact, the rest broke with the collapse of the tower. Only the tendons of Hozkul elders, purchased from the Flamewings, can be used for the catapults' strings, because only they can survive the stress of being drawn that much. That is why no new spear catapults of that type have been created.
The Firehorns have a problem. Just thirty years ago, in 765 ar after decades of sieging, the Obsidian Citadel was conquered by the Sacred Guardians. This was only possible because the Emberspikes and Fireclaws both send material to them, after hearing that the Firehorns were becoming too strong to handle. This threatens the northern capital of the Firehorns, because the Obsidian Citadel is very close to it. It would take only one well executed offensive in order to reach and assault said capital. The Firehorns have become quite good at faring the seas due to their trading relations with non-Blazkul, thus they have began to use the sea excessively in order to bring goods and lin back and forth between the two capitals. News and kul still travel via the Sacred Lands. Luckily for the Firehorns, neither the Blazewhips, nor the Sacred Guardians have the resources for another attack, due to being thinly spread out against an overall stronger foe and not having the support from the other hightribes anymore. They lost this support because the other hightribes are too busy preparing their own wars. The Firehorns do not dare to execute a counter-offensive yet though, trying to keep their paws still until the next big war breaks out among the Hightribes. If the Firehorns act too soon, that war might only be aimed against them and could fully annihilate them. Instead of attacking yet, they lie in wait, creating bigger and ever bigger masses of Blazlin and -kul.
Grand plans have been made by the High Council of the Firehorns in case a war breaks out. They plan to take back all their former territory, and then even wipe out the Blazewhips to take over theirs. They hope that the Fireclaws and Emberspikes will be so busy fighting each other, that they won't have the time to battle them. They are archenemies, so it is just a matter of time until they declare war on each other in these times were the population is growing ever larger. Some lords of the Firehorns wonder if it would be possible to motivate the Riz or other friends of the Firehorns to act as mercenaries in the coming war, but it is unlikely. Simply put, the Firehorns dream of having a grand territory, that spans the entire western half of the Searing Deserts, with the Blazewhips, those oh so religious zealots, as their vassals.
Trukza Tal Firehorn the Enlightener: Firehorn warlord who decided to steal the flame. He was elected due to his ferocity and unmatched determination. Only he had the courage to send a unit of Firehorns, led by one of his hutbrothers, to capture a bit of flame. The operation was a failure, but that did not lessen his reputation, for he interpreted it as the Flame having abandoned them and caused the Firehorns to stop believing in the Great Flame. He stayed their leader during the following war of survival. He led his armies with great strategical and tactical wit, making sure that the Firehorns did not go extinct and also took steps to destabilize the alliance of the other hightribes, so that they may offer them a peace treaty, if one that hurt. He was titled the Enlightener, for having freed the Blazlin from their lower social status and having gotten rid of the religion around the Flame. After the war he stayed warlord of the Firehorns until his death.