The Flamewing Hightribe is one of the five Blazkul Hightribes of Threa. As the name indicates, this one consists only of Blazkul of the Flamewing race. Blazlin form the the entire bipedal population, just how they do in the other four hightribes. This hightribe is located in the far east of the Searing Deserts, and hold all the land around the most eastern Arm of Life, the savannah in the north, and occasionally a small chunk of the Aezrikka Zule. Thus Flamewing Hightribe borders the Fireclaws, the Sokan Empire, the rain forest of the Riz Tribes, and the Republic in the Aezrikka Zule.
Even among the other hightribes the Flamewings are known for their brutality and savagery. They lack any resemblance of what one would call civility, and also lack most ethics when it comes to war. In general the Flamewings have a lot in common with the other hightribes, and most things mentioned on the Blazkul Hightribes page is also holds true for them. All differences between them and their fellow Blazkul hightribes are mentioned on this page.
While the Flamewings have a lot in common with the other Hightribes, they are seen as the most savage and brutal of all of them. This has manifested itself in many social norms, and how they treat their enemies. Flamewings will never find a leader through a public vote, but will always make it a duel to the death. At least in these duels the Flamewings give their opponent the gift of a quick death; foes that meet the Flamewings on a battlefield rarely receive that 'honor'. With vigor and a grim smile, Flamewings gladly tear limb from limb, shatter bones, and leave one enemy writhing on the ground in pain while they focus on the next. For a Flamewing, the end justifies all means, so they're also very likely to use stealthy tactics such as ambushes, and to utilize terror as a weapon. Flamewings do not just kill to survive, but also sometimes just for fun. While many Blazkul find a passion in killing, the Flamewings find not only passion but also pleasure and sheer enjoyment in it. They sometimes kill just in order to entertain themselves. Flamewings also have no quarrels when it comes to cannibalism. While they won't eat their own tribe members, few see a problem with eating the fallen of the enemy, or re-purposing their hide, bones, and scales as crafting materials.
Given that their wings are better development and quicker than those of their fellow Blazkul races, Flamewings make flight a big part of their culture, similar to how Aezkul do. Aerial dueling is the most important combat discipline for a Flamewing in training, because they want to be able to take down any flying creature, eventually even Aezkul. But flight is not only used as means to kill. Often Flamewings will dance in flight during ceremonies and celebrations. Their dancing isn't as graceful and elegant as that of the Aezkul, but it is still a sight to behold. Often tribes perform synchronized dances, to try and impress the other tribes. Aerial races are also fairly common. Especially younglings love to engage in them, to try and best their peers and impress females.
The relations between the tribes of the Flamewing Hightribe tend to be abysmal. Due to constant infighting, plenty of blood feuds, and a general strive for power and might, the Flamewing Hightribe is the least united of them all. It requires a lot of effort to try and gather them for a war. Usually the tribes have to be near starving, or under threat from a very strong foreign force, before the Flamewings even bother attempting to elect a warlord. And even then it still costs a lot of blood before one is picked. It isn't rare that skirmishes break out in their capital, consisting only of Flamewings trying to battle for the title of warlord. Once united under one tribe's banner, the Flamewings are as dangerous as any hightribe. They raid, plunder, and rape their way through their enemies' lands in an attempt to acquire wealth, have fun, and dissuade said enemies from even trying to invade Flamewing territory.
Although fashion matters little to the Flamewings, art and music have their roles and importance. The former is usually done with body parts. Killing being such an entertaining thing to them, it is not a surprise that they decorate their homes with bones, even of other kul. Great sculptures and totems made out of the trophies a tribe acquired over the years are displayed displayed in and around their home. They display the tribe's skill to others, and warn trespassers that they better leave. Some Flamewings even create elaborate customs out of bones, so that they can wear their trophies to celebrations. It is especially commonly used by chieftains and lords, who try to impress their peers by showcasing their kills on their bodies. Music is rather important for their aerial dances. Blazlin drummers usually give the tact in which a tribe dances, because their loud bass-filled noise can be heard for quite some distance. Flutes, usually made out of bones, are used, too.
Flamewings celebrate the usual Blazkul holidays, like the Day of Ascension, just like the other four hightribes. They also have a holiday of their own, which of course involves brutality. See more below.
This is not a holiday as much as it is a sport. It is something the Flamewings do when the Aezkul are celebrating the Singing Zule. Its origin is rooted within the deep hatred Flamewings have for the Aezkul. Roughly around 1100 br, so almost two thousand years ago, the Aezkul managed to drive the Flamewings completely out of the Aezrikka Zule. Kul live for a long time, so the Flamewings' memory of owning the Aezrikka Zule is not even ancient yet. With the forces of the wind kingdoms united, the Aezkul waged war against the Flamewings and bested them at their own game. Flamewings were either forced to retreat, or killed. The Aezkul showed little mercy to the beasts that break eggs, violate females, and generally cause death and destruction. Nowadays the Aezkul have a firm grip on the Aezrikka Zule, and are not willing to give it up ever. Yet the Flamewings still consider themselves the rightful owners of the Zule, and this attack on the Aezkul's favorite holiday is supposed to keep the hatred between the factions alight, and to harm the Aezkul wherever possible.
They Flamewings gather in small raiding parties, which head out together to disturb the festivities of the Aezkul by painting their beloved mountains red with their blood. Basically, the Flamewings try to kill as many Aezkul as possible during this time, but without being noticed. It is a game. They try to circumvent guards and attempt to make entire villages go dark without the rest of the Aezkul population noticing until after the holiday. The raiding parties compete against each other; who can take out more villages and individual Aezkul, is the clearly the superior hunter. Yet the Aezkul, prideful as they are, will not let their holiday be ruined by savages. The Wind's Guardians and other military forces of the Zule do their best to protect those celebrating. So, usually most clashes happen between Aezkul guards and Flamewing warriors, and rarely involve civilians. Naturally, many Flamewings die during this holiday, but it is a price worth paying for the kick they get out of it.
It is important to note that mostly the Flamewing tribes near the Zule, and those of the capitals engage in it. It isn't a sport/holiday all Flamewings partake in equally. After all, that would mean that the tribes work together, which is hard enough to accomplish as it is. Sometimes Flamewing raiding parties even end up fighting each other on their way to the Zule before they even arrived. This makes it rather easy to see why the Flamewings haven't bothered gathering an army to take back the Zule yet.
In this section a few of the tribes that exist within this hightribe are listed. Note that it is not a full list, there's many more tribes than the ones mentioned.
The Reikzik tribe lives in the Red Spires, the northern capital of the Flamewings. It is tradition for the Reikzik to become Desert Sentries, which has earned them respect and prestige among their fellow tribes.
Much like the other hightribes, the Flamewings lack a professional military. Armies are raised on demand, which is made easy by the fact that every male Blazlin and every Flamewing is combat trained. When needed, chieftains, lords, or, if elected, the warlord just gather their able-bodied warriors, and head out to accomplish whatever they set their eyes on. When it comes to matters of discipline and drill, the Flamewings are the worst of all the five hightribes. They've little discipline, and are barely drilled. Obedience can be problematic in big armies. Often one part already charges into battle, despite having been told to wait, simply because they can't wait to shed blood. This makes large, decisive battles a pain.
Training the Blazlin is not a matter that the chieftain or a kul delegated by the chieftain handles. Blazlin in the Flamewing Hightribe usually learn the basics from their parents, or other capable relatives. Later on they partake in bigger trainings, which are usually led by a veteran with some initiative. They just go through the village, grab whoever is willing and able, and then head out to an empty field to spar, share experiences, and train. Training formations is rarely a part of these gatherings. Instead they are taught how to sneak, survive in the wild, and fight an opponent one on one.
Despite their savage ways, the Flamewings have founded one of the most renowned special units of the Searing Deserts. A unit that even the other hightribes make use of, and one which they respect well - the Desert Sentries. More about them below.
When it comes to military strength, the Flamewings are weaker than the other four hightribes, with the exception of the Blazewhips. The Flamewings are barely stronger than them. Yet the Flamewings have yet to fear annihilation by the other hightribes. They are usually busy to fight each other, and the Flamewings never bothered properly invading them anyway, since they stick to looting and raiding most of the time. Militarily, the Flamewings would be on par with the Aezkul Republic currently, but have never managed to mount a proper offensive due to their disunity. Despite being militarily much weaker than the Sokan Empire, the Flamewings have managed to best its legions and wings time and time again, simply because the Empire can't focus all its might ine one location.
These Flamewings were picked out for two traits - their speed and their ruthlessness. Both of these traits are necessary to fulfill their goal: Keeping non-Blazkul out of the Searing Deserts at all cost. This goal comes with the right of way to the northern borderlands of all hightribes. Other hightribes accept the presence of the Desert Sentries, knowing that they are the only hope they have of catching quick Aezkul scouts. When one serves with the Desert Sentries, then one cannot show mercy ever - not like the Flamewings are good at showing mercy in the first place. An evil looking eye is the symbol of the Sentries. It is usually drawn onto their chest plates, wings, and some just draw it all over their body as part of war painting. Usually they eye is red, but alternatively the eye can also be painted in white or black, depending on what contrasts better on the Desert Sentry's hide.
Aeries have been build along the border of the desert to house these warriors, far away from cities and villages. Blazlin garrison the aeries and tend to the unruly Flamewings inside, trying to fulfill their every desire. Living as a sentry means living a good life, if one that requires one to always be vigilant and willing to sacrifice one's life just to prevent that someone trespasses. Not all Aezkul or other intruders are killed outright by these sentries, often females, but not only they, have to endure much worse before they are allowed to die.
Despite the usual lack of organization and discipline that Flamewings are known for, one would be horribly mistaken to think of the Desert Sentries as easily tricked. They are extremely efficient when it comes to guarding the borders and organize patrol flights around the clock. One could consider the Desert Sentries the most disciplined and well organized Flamewings in existence. These patrol flights may only go along the border though, should they somehow get too far inland they are seen as intruders by the hightribe that owns the land. Every aerie has one pack, a unit of desert sentries, and said pack is responsible for its own border section. Should a pack require assistance in any form, the leader of that pack will ask another pack's leader. Otherwise there's little communication between the packs. Usually it is the priests who ensure that the packs do their job by visiting them occasionally and organizing the founding of a new pack.
Because of the demanded discipline and obedience, most Flamewings aren't too fond of joining the sentries. While it is a prestigious duty, it tends to be rather dull, and requires the Flamewing to leave their tribe for a whole season at a time. After a season spend on-duty, a Desert Sentry is send home to relax and interact with their tribe. Though, often the Desert Sentries become something like a second family to its members.
In order to become a Desert Sentry, one has to catch the attention of an alpha - the leader of a pack. If the alpha deems the recruit worthy, they might add them to their pack, or see if another alpha will take them into his pack. There's no special training required after that, but the sentries tend to train with each other in their aeries. It isn't easy to grab the attention, or rather approval, of an alpha. Only the most experienced and fastest Flamewings are accepted into the Desert Sentries. Basically only those who are capable of hunting down and slaying any intruder. After recruitment, a new Desert Sentry has to give an oath to the alpha and a priest of the flame. The oath is about dedicating their life to protecting the Searing Deserts from all intruders, even if that means cooperating with their Blazkul enemies.
The oath goes like this: "I, [Name of the recruit], hereby forswear my obligations to my tribe, the [name of tribe], so that I may protect the Searing Deserts, the paradise on Threa the Flame granted us, from all enemies. I vow to never let any intruder pass, even if it requires me to sacrifice my life. I vow to follow the call of duty, given by a priest or my alpha, no matter what I've to leave behind to do so. While my tribe remains my family, my obligations are now with the Desert Sentries and the Flame, may it shine forever bright and guide my path."
Sentries have to be faster, so they are never equipped with harnesses or armor. It would just slow them down. Yet a few of them at least wear trophies on their bodies, for example a necklace made out of fangs, or similar. Some alphas are so strict that they don't even allow their sentries to wear that. In their opinion, the only thing a Desert Sentry should wear is the all-seeing eye.
The following ranks are the ranks of the Desert Sentries. The rest of the Flamewing military follows the kind of organization that is common among the Hightribes. Lacking a leader who is in charge of everything alone, the alphas just split the border in areas and each pack gets one area to guard.
1. Alpha: Being basically the guard dogs of the desert, the Desert Sentries simply gather in units known as packs. There is one pack per aerie, and each pack is led by an alpha - the strongest, meanest male out of the whole bunch. Usually a pack has six to ten members, depending on how large their assigned area is. The alpha of a pack is allowed to carry the symbol of the eye on his forehead, while the sentries are not. This makes it rather easy to identify him.
2. Sentry: The members of the packs are simply called sentries, hunters, sometimes even trackers. They rank among each other based on strength. Often packs have to split up to cover vast amounts of ground. A detachment is always led by the strongest, most cunning Flamewing among it.
Flamewings themselves wear little armor. They prefer to remain fast and agile, but that's not the only reason. Steel is rather scarce within the Flamewing Hightribe, not because of a lack of iron, but a lack of smelters and smiths. Flamewings simply aren't as industrious as the other hightribes, and are thus lacking the means to equip their Flamewings with armor. As a replacement, some Flamewings use leather and bones to make makeshift armor. Some Blazlin and -kul even made a profession out of it. These so called bone-smiths use steel, bones, and leather to make armor. The sets they make look gruesome, are relatively light, and offer good enough protection. Some even utilize the scaled hide of slain kul as a material.
Their Blazlin tend to be lightly equipped, for similar reasons. Leather exists in abundance, so every lin wears a set of leather armor in battle. A full leather armor set consists of a helmet, bracers, a chest piece, and greaves. Every piece of armor is made out of hardened leather, or even kul scales. The latter is reserved for veterans. Bones are also commonly used as armor bits. Making an armor set out of bones is even easier for lin than it is for kul, simply because they are smaller. An experienced warband leader can end up being clad in 'plate armor' made out of shoulder blades, ribs, and similar bones. Lizogs of the cavalry are armored in a similar fashion. Proud riders display the kills of their mounts by attaching them to or outright making them part of its armor.
Axes, arming swords, and spears are the melee weapons of choice for the average Blazlin in the service of the Flamewing Hightribe. Their steel blades and tips have an easy enough time digging into a kul's scales, or a bronze armor plate. Especially the axe is rather popular for those who are about to fight either the Sokans, or the Emberspikes, as both employ heavier armor. If they want to engage their enemy at range, the Blazlin use mostly longbows and javelins. Shortbows are only used from the backs of lizogs. Flamewing-lin sometimes use arrow tips with serrated edges, so pulling them out is truly painful. Those arrows are not as good at piercing armor, so they are usually not used if they engage kul or armored opponents.
Given their lack of education, one will have great trouble finding a Flamewing or Blazlin capable of thinking up war machines in this hightribe. They possess few, if not none. This makes sieging rather difficult, but doesn't really impair their aerial defense. Due to the skill of their kul, the Flamewing Hightribe solely relies on them to protect the skies. If they want to capture a town, they have the Flamewings either break down gates and topple walls, or simply burn it to the ground.
The military leaders of the Flamewings aren't the greatest tacticians. It happens rarely enough that the Flamewings actually gather big armies, so it isn't a surprise that they don't really know how to work with one. What they instead are really experienced with, and what they are heavily specialized in, is raiding, general hit-and-run tactics, and oddly enough also in fighting in narrow underground caverns. In general their warriors are rather wild, and rely on their individual skill more than their strength as a group. While Flamewings who know each other often manage to cooperate in combat to great efficient, strangers will rarely manage to accomplish much together. Same counts for Blazlin warriors.
Hit-and-run tactics the Flamewings manage to pull off almost as good as the Blazewhips, but they manage to pull them off in a much more brutal fashion. In a way the enemy will remember it. Everything from ambushes to sudden cavalry attacks is on the list of frequently used tactics of the Flamewings. A favorite is approaching an enemy settlement quickly, engaging it from the air, setting fire to as much as possible, and then flying away again. Terror plays a big part in their tactics. Enemy forces are usually not only killed, but also displayed. After a successful assault on a caravan, the raiders will put up totems made out of the massacred caravan guards, for example. If forced to fight bigger battles, the Flamewings usually simply mob up and charge the enemy with their ground forces, while their Flamewings delivery firm blows to weak spots in the enemy formation, or strike at vulnerable links in their chain of command.
Flamewings and their Blazlin allies are quite competent when it comes to fighting in caves. This is because of their ongoing war with the HozReok. The Flamewings utilize flash powder to blind the Hozkul and -lin, and then shatter their steadfast formations. They've also become adapt at using their fire to cut off tunnels, or to boil a Hozkul in his armor. After all, the biggest kul of Threa are way more than a worthy opponent for a Flamewing. A Hozkul could quite easily beat a Blazkul in a duel, due to their strength alone. Light is a problem for the Blazlin and Flamewings, because they need at least a bit of it to see anything at all. So they designed armor with integrated lanterns for their Flamewings, which are fueled by their own firebreath if necessary, so that they can illuminate the path and foe for themselves and their brothers in arms.
While the riders of the Flamewing Hightribe do not rival the lancers and skirmishers of the Blazewhips, the cavalry is still an important branch of its military. It has especially proven its uses against the Sokan formations. A charge of lizog riders against a formation of Sokan legionnaires will end in the cavalry lying dead on the field in most cases, due to the density of the formation, their discipline, shields, and spears. However, the Blazlin have utilized their shortbows from the backs of their lizogs for great effect. They can ride literal circles around the Sokan formation, and pelter them with arrows from all sides. Alternatively, they ride away from them, and shoot at them while retreating. So far the only way to counter this for the Sokans is to shoot back, or have their Trezkul engage them. Thankfully lizogs are cold blooded, and thus stop being able to do much outside of the desert. Against other hightribes the cavalry of the Flamewings isn't that effective, since they possess lizog riders of their own, and Blazkul capable of setting the cavalry aflame.
Apart from the usual aggressive relations with the other hightribes and everyone outside of the desert, the Flamewings also have an especially hateful attitude towards the Aezkul and the HozReok. The Flamewing Hightribe considers itself at war with both, even if it does not bother gathering large forces to take land from either of them. However, in the past the Flamewings did conquer land from the Hozkul. They conquered the Southern Entrance as well as the attached caverns. The HozReok once owned the depths beneath the Red Spires, and even used them as a way to access the surface world. Of course the Flamewings couldn't allow them to enter the desert, so why would they allow them to live beneath it either? Viciously, the Flamewings of the Red Spires waged war against the Hozkul and -lin of the Southern Entrance. With success, after many bloody centuries.
|Nation ▼||Relation ▼|
|Hoz Kingdom||Minor conflict|
|Rebel Kingdom||No contact (hostile)|
|Republic of the Zule||Minor conflict|
|Riz Tribes||Minor conflict|
|Sozlin Tribes||No contact (hostile)|
|Treztown||No contact (hostile)|
|Truzlin Tribes||No contact (hostile)|
|Gren Kingdom||No contact (hostile)|
|Sokan Empire||Minor conflict|
|Wolshak Packs||No contact (hostile)|
Flamewings do not believe that their own hightribe is the greatest of them all, neither do they wish to make it so. They simply think the other hightribes are targets for plunder, and enemies to hone their claws on. Most Flamewings believe the other hightribes to be weak of character, because they aren't as ruthless as they are. For them that is a sign of a weakness, one that would better befit an Aezkul than a Blazkul.
The Hoz Kingdom hates the Flamewings, because they took the Southern Entrance from them. The feeling is mutual. For the Flamewings, the HozReok is just a bunch of underground dwellers that have to be exterminated whenever they dare tunnel under the desert. A few in the hightribe even believe the Flamewing should focus on the HozReok over the Aezkul, because they could end up being a serious threat. Despite the hatred, the Flamewings do not see the Hozkul as weak. They know about their strength, and know that it is better to not face a Hozkul in a duel.
Thousands of years ago Flamewings inhabited the mountains, but they were driven out by the Aezkul once they founded their kingdoms. Attempts at taking the Zule back were fruitless so far, since the Flamewings never bothered to mobilize an army for it, leaving it to small self-organized groups to stab at the Aezkul. Based on this ancient feud between the Flamewings and the Aezkul, they hate each other to the bone. While the Aezkul might be willing to reconcile over time, being as wise as they are, the Flamewings are bent on eradicating what in their eyes are just blue scaled pests. Windbag is one of a bunch of terms the Flamewings use to insult them.
The architecture of the Flamewings doesn't differ much from the other Hightribes. The houses of their Blazlin look identical to those of the other hightribes, and only the homes of the Flamewings differ a bit. While all Blazkul enjoy to showcase their trophies, the Flamewings do that in an especially gruesome way. They paint their walls with blood, decorate the walls with bones, and use the hides of skinned opponents as curtains and similar. Even their temples aren't exempt form this. Not all priests approve, but most Flamewing-priests do. Thus instead of decorating the temples with gold and gems like the Emberspikes do, they are decorated with hides, blood, and bones.
Flamewings, just like Blazewhips, rarely have fortified cities. The most heavily fortified communities in the Flamewing territory are the capitals, and even those do not have more than a single wall. This hightribe simply prefers to use its people as walls, than actual walls. Not even bigger towns have a stone wall. At most they've wooden walls to keep out animals and small Blazlin raiding parties.
Thankfully their northern capital - the Red Spires - doesn't even require a wall to be easy to defend. It is built into a mountain range, quite similar to how the Aezkul do it. The vast tunnel network offers a home easily more than two hundred Flamewings, and nearby the foot and in the halls that formerly belonged to the HozReok many Blazlin live. The Red Spires is one of the largest communities in the Searing Desert, and perhaps even in Threa! Treztown and the capitals of the Emberspikes still beat it easily when it comes to population number as well as area covered. Given its natural defenses, the Red Spires simply have large, reinforced gates at the entrances to the cave network instead of one wall built around the entire mountain range. Because the Arm of Life flows right by this mountain range, it is possible to do large scale agriculture nearby. Having a capitat that is this far from the Sacred Land, and not placed within the fruitful delta at the end of their Arm of Life, is actually a unique trait of the Flamewings.
Funnily enough, one of the notable structures of the Flamewings has not been built by them. This underground network of halls, corridors, living quarters and storage areas has been created by the Hozkul and their lin. The Flamewings simply drove them out and inhabit the underground settlement since then. They dug many lairs into the top part of the Red Spires. Many of those caves have a tunnel leading down to the main corridors of the Halls, breaching the walls to create make shift entrances. The Flamewings wouldn't know when the Halls were built, but the HozReok remembers. Hozkul likely began settling here hundreds of years ago, but received Clan Status in 333 br when they were discovered by advancing forces of the HozReok, that managed to fight a way through the Caverncrawlers to the Red Spires Halls. Of course the construction continued until the Flamewings took over in 631 ar, but after that any kind of construction ceased.
Only little of the former beauty of Hoz architecture is left since the Flamewings live there. They tore down most decorations in order to decorate themselves or their own homes with it, hung up bones and other trophies and simply do not maintain the tunnels with as much care as a Hozlin would. It would greatly anger any Hozkul or Hozlin to see the tunnels in the shape they are in now. This is part of the reason that the HozReok is so eager to take them back and fights the Flamewings for control over the Halls now and then, but rarely with enough force to manage it.
Currently the Flamewings are plagued by a lack of food for its populace, just like the other four hightribes. Despite the advancements in agriculture, the population managed to grow past the number the territory of the Flamewings can support. So far this has mostly caused further infighting, which continues to cull the population to acceptable levels. Though, should the other hightribes spark a war, the looming famine might be reason enough for the Flamewings to unite and go on great raids together.
But these raids might not be aimed at their Fireclaw neighbors this time. A strong, witty Flamewing with the name Zrakattuz Reikzik is gathering political and military influence. He's a lord of the Red Spires, and has managed gather many tribes under his rule, either through force, by doing favors for them, or they joined him simply out of awe. His most glorious deed was gathering a force to finally drive the Hozkul out of the Red Spires Halls in 631 ar. In his eyes, it is important that the Flamewings take back the Aezrikka Zule before the Republic becomes too strong. He demands a war against them at every meeting of the high council, which has begun to annoy the other lords. It seems the Red Spires might be at the verge of civil war due to the growing influence or Zrakattuz. Should a war between the other hightribes break out, he might be able to gain enough support from the general population to fight the Aezkul while the Blazkul neighbors of the Flamewings are distracted. A united Flamewing hightribe bent on destroying the Republic could have severe consequences for the latter.
Muruzat Ariktak, Warlord (279 ar - 516 ar): Warlord of the Flamewings during the Second War of the Hightribes.