Truzlin Tribes

General

The Truzlin tribes are not a single nation, but a term to sum up the various individual and independent tribes, each with their own name, that consist almost exclusively of Truzlin. Cold taigas like the northern half of the Verdant Valley, the Sea of Pines, and the Frigid Frontier is what the tribes call their homeland, which they like and stick to. It may be harsh, which made the Truzlin a hardy people, but it is the environment the Truzlin are best adapted to. Given their tribal, primitive nature, all tribes are led by a chieftain. Unlike their southeastern neighbor - the Sokan Empire - the Truzlin Tribes care little about war. They prefer to live in peace and do so with their southwestern neighbor, which is the Gren Kingdom. They actively engage in trade with the Gren. Overall, the Truzlin Tribes are a bunch of nomadic, technologically backwards but yet peaceful groups of Truzlin.

Society

At the heart of a Truzlin tribe stands the wellbeing of the community and harmony among the tribe members. Life itself is already harsh enough, so there is no need to make it worth with petty fights and unnecessary arguments. Given how adamant they are about keeping the peace within the tribe, it isn't a surprise that they are outwardly peaceful, too. Truzlin meet strangers with kindness, but also caution. Their traditions are sacred and foreign influence is not well received. However, they do not hate other races, nor are they afraid of the strange and foreign, just of the war and troubles it may bring. Given that they do have trade relations with some of the people south of them, they have heard plenty of the various conflicts that shake the temperate zones of Threa. When the Truzlin look to the south, they see advanced civilizations, but also war and death - this has been enforced by the invading Sokans. Their life might be simple, but at least it is peaceful. The furred inhabitants of the north are no warrior people, despite being great hunters.

The Truzlin tribes live in a nomadic society out of necessity and not out of choice. Agriculture and animal husbandry is impossible up there, due to the harsh climate and the lack of animals that could serve as cattle. Thus it is impractical to actually settle, even if they wanted to. Herds of gigantic woolly mammoths are the best source for food and various materials, like leather and bones, so the Truzlin depend heavily on them. Unfortunately the large mammals only stay in one area until they ate all the small bushes and grass. If the herd moves, the tribe moves. In the summer, both are so plentiful that the mammoths do not move far, so the Truzlin do not have to wander in that time but can fully exploit their surroundings and enjoy staying in one place for a while. However, once the summer is over the snow comes, so edible plant matter is harder to find for the mammoths, which causes them to wander much more often. Thus the Truzlin have to shift the position of their tents in quicker succession. Due the this lifestyle the Truzlin are not used to staying in one place permanently, even if they do return to good spots that they remember now and then. They are restless, always eager to move on, and never happy to stay in one place for extended periods of time.

For a Truzlin their tribe is family in a way. While they do have contact to their real parents and siblings, they also have good bonds to all the tribe members usually. After all they will spend their whole life with them, go through good and bad times alongside them, and have to rely on them as much as they are relied on by them. Each tribe may have a chieftain, elders, and a shaman, but yet it is the tribe as a whole that decides its fate, like one large family with the objective of surviving the harsh wilderness. Making it through a hard winter in the taiga can create bonds similar to those that are forged by war between brothers-in-arms. Tribe members will gather around a fire after a long day of hunting and traveling, tell tales of the past and debate about the paths to take for the future. While the males are out hunting, females usually gather in groups to chat while they work on utility clothes or other items. There is no such thing as a lone Truzlin, because the tribe always aims to include all of its members to create a lasting community. Gaining privacy is a difficult matter among Truzlin to begin with, because blood-related family members share a tent, so getting alone time is rarely possible, unless someone is willing to move far away from the tribe's camp.

As expected, given their peaceful nature, the Truzlin tribes almost never fight each other. Usually they try to stay as far away from each other as possible, to keep the population density low so that there is more food for everyone. Should tribes meet, they usually engage in trade or share stories, have a feast together, and then part ways. One way of communicating with each other is using smoke signals. A few have established themselves over the centuries, but many local dialects are present. Only very rarely will violent clashes occur. If they do, they are usually very short lived and end after a single rough fight. The loser accepts the winners conditions and then wanders off. Normal Truzlin would never fight to exterminate the other side, only to get what they want, or until the enemy is routed. Although violence is always the last option a Truzlin tribe considers, they are not fearful or feeble. Truzlin will gladly fight if it means defending their families.

Speaking of families, as hinted at earlier there are a few gender specific roles among the Truzlin, but they aren't very strict. Females usually have to take care of the young, so they mostly stay within the camp while the males hunt. However, this isn't set in stone. If a female isn't busy doing anything important and has no children to take care of, she may as well go and join the hunting party. This goes both ways. If a male has nothing to do, he is expected to help the females. Since females are usually much more experienced when it comes to making items such as pouches or baskets, it is the males who just lend a helping hand instead of making stuff themselves. Strong, proud hunters are turned into errant boys and tool-holders. However, neither sex considers itself the stronger one, so neither is in one way or another oppressed. Truzlin female have a natural inclination to care for the young, and are thus usually not bothered by having to take care of them. Family is very important after all.

Relationships between Truzlin is no complex affair for the Truzlin. Male and female get together based on emotion, impression, or just lust. It is not uncommon that a couple splits up at some point and finds new partners. Other tribe members do not care, as long as the children are cared for and the peace within the tribe isn't bothered. Should the latter be disturbed, then it can quickly end in the bickering lin being told off by the chieftain. In the eyes of the Truzlin, life is too short and precious to waste it on petty arguments. It is not even forbidden to mate with the same sex. Despite being quite open minded when it comes to sexuality, the tribes do try and control the amount of children that are produced. If there are too many children the adults won't be able to feed them! A tribe has to keep track of its members carefully.

Not only Truzlin find place in the tribes of the north. While they do not accept other lin as tribe members easily, they do tame and domesticate beasts. It is not unheard of that Truzlin tribes travel together with tamed Threan wolves or even grim wolves, which are simply a larger, stronger and more aggressive versions of the former. Due to the small size of Truzlin, they're capable of using the grim wolves as mounts - very useful if they want to put together a quick scouting party or if speed is required during a hunt. The Truzlin see nothing wrong with keeping them as pets, seeing it as making them part of the tribe, which is nothing more than some kind of civilized pack after all. Having high regards for animal spirits, they treat their pets well and as if they were family. In return the large canines are supposed to keep watch and help in hunts; they must even attack Truzkul if ordered to. Legends have it that some Truzlin of the past even managed to tame saber-tooth tigers and wargs. Some tribes even speak of attempts made to tame the mammoths, to use them for transportation, but mammoths are not animals that can be domesticated.

Social Ladder

Although the individual prestige and standing of an individual depends on their skill and feats, Truzlin don't have a strict social ladder. Even the chieftain isn't looked at as being above the rest, even if he or she is well respected, as they are usually the best hunter or the wittiest leader. Everyone treats each other well and respectful, in order to keep the peace among the tribe. After all, everyone has to work together to ensure that the tribe can thrive and continue to exist. As a consequence, equality of the sexes is well established within the Truzlin tribes.

Criminals and troublemakers are looked down upon, as they disturbed the peaceful life of the others. Even thievery is harshly punished. A common punishment is to cut the fur of the perpetrator very short, forcing them to wear the hide of another animal if they want to survive in the cold. To punish serious crimes, the criminal's fur is trimmed and then they are send out into the wild to live on their own. They did not appreciate the tribe, that has been made apparent by their criminal activity, so they shall not enjoy the support and warmth it gives.

Life Timeline

A Truzlin female gives birth to her child among the other females of the tribe. Usually the oldest female takes over the role of a midwife, assisting the to-be-mother with good advise, giving a hand, and applying appropriate herbs. The old females have likely birthed multiple children and seen even more be born, so they have plenty of experience. Birth is seen as a sacred act among Truzlin, and as a privilege as well as a burden of the females. Males are usually not allowed to witness it, unless their help is absolutely needed. Even the shaman, unless they are a female, may not assist with this crucial step in a new Truzlin's life. Newborn Truzlin do not yet have a thick coat, so they can't withstand the freezing cold of the taiga's spring, fall, and winter without the warmth and care of an adult. All females that are no longer young children are expected to help with the young, even if they are not their own. It is quite common that a female will keep the child of another mother warm.

After the young Truzlin grew a thick enough coat to roam around on their own, roughly after 80 days, they go and explore their tribe. They learn to walk properly around that time as well. Speech begins to develop not long after, but complex sentences are out of their grasp until they are two to three years old. Their mother, but not necessarily her, will explain them how the tribe works and who its members are. It is a time of learning and making bonds until they are old enough for more practical things. Of course they should not be lazing around, the females of the tribe animate them to help them in their crafting and cooking.

Once old enough, at around twelve years old, the males will be taken on hunts and taught how to track animals, throw a spear, and so on and so forth. Long before that, roughly when they are six, the females begin to learn how to make various items and how to smoke meat and prepare other meals. However, the females also learn how to fight using spear and bow once they are twelve, though they usually train this at home and not out in the wilds. This is important so that they can protect the tribe as fiercely as any male could. Knowledge of what plants, berries or roots one can eat is also taught to females, who often go out to forage, often accompanied by a young male and pets as guards. Should the females be attacked, it is expected of the male to stand his ground until the others made it out of there.

At the age of 15, the former juveniles are considered full adults. This is also the age they stop growing. There is no rite to become an adult, but there is a rite around becoming one. The 15th birthday of a Truzlin is often celebrated with dance and food. Now it is expected of the males to go on hunts on their own if need be. Nothing changes for the females; they've been expected to help the other members of their sex since they are children. However, a female may now be dragged on hunts as well now, if the need arises. Given that they reach sexual maturity at 12, they might already have had physical contact before, but as adults they might begin to actively seek mateship. It is forbidden for them to mate beforehand, simply to prevent that inexperienced Truzlin suddenly become parents.

Hunting, working, traveling and being with the tribe is what the adult life consists of. This continues until the Truzlin either die early or become old and frail. When a male gets too old, he can't hunt anymore and instead guards the tribe while the younger males hunt. Their experience is valued and they often serve as living books, recording the history of their people in their heads. Truzlin, if nothing else ends their life prematurely, tend to die when they are between forty and fifty years of age. Given how social they are, Truzlin rarely die in solitude; they are usually among those they love when their life comes to an end.

Religion

Given their reliance on moving herds of mammals and their pet wolves, it is not a surprise, that these lin have made said dependence on nature and especially animals a spiritual matter. They pray to various animal spirits for good hunts, a healthy life, and fertility. Truzlin respect the beasts they slay for food and thank the spirits for each successful hunt. Respecting nature and keeping its balance in general is seen as quite important for the Truzlin. For example, Truzlin would never kill off an entire herd of animals. It would grant them a temporary abundance of food, but would ultimately end in starvation due to the lack of animals to hunt. The decision to hunt a few members of the herds they follow is carefully picked, and usually even the shaman is consulted to ask if the spirits would approve, of if punishment awaits for the hunters.

Yet it is also possible that killing a beast is part of keeping the balance. Wargs for example kill even when they are not hungry, and thus can seriously harm the hunting grounds of the Truzlin. Killing them is seen as a spiritual duty, because they would upset the natural balance otherwise. Should a Truzlin fall to a warg or another predatory beast, then this is simply seen as part of the circle of life, even if it is a tragic happening. Living is a struggle for survival, yet it is a struggle all should be grateful to be part of, according to the Truzlin. To struggle means to live.

As mentioned, the Truzlin believe in animal spirits. They do not just believe in the spirit of every animal, have a pantheon of spirits that they pray to. While they do believe every animal has a spirit in itself, it is these major spirits that populated the taiga with their kin and may affect the fate of Truzlin and beasts a like. Who created the world is a matter the Truzlin sometimes debate about, this surely wasn't done by the animal spirits. A greater being must have done so, the Truzlin say, but whatever did it now rests and left taking care of the various creatures that live on Threa to the spirits. Said spirits are listed at the end of this subsection in alphabetical order.

Apart from wishing for the Truzlin to not take more from nature than they must, so that its delicate balance is not upset, the spirits did not lay out any rules for the Truzlin tribes that are commonly known or enforced. A few tribes do have individual rules that they derived from various signs that the spirits supposedly gave them. These rules can include that a certain animal may not be hunted, or some kind of plant may not be consumed, especially if it has hallucinogenic effects. Said signs are interpreted by the shaman of the tribe.

The shaman of the tribe is not necessarily the oldest lin of the tribe, but it is usually the wisest one. Being a shaman is a very important duty, as the entire tribe relies on them to figure out the will of the spirits and to determine if the path the tribe wants to take in the future is in accordance with it, by interpreting various natural phenomena. They also have to conduct various rituals, such as preparing the hunting party prior to the hunt, or even deciding if they may hunt these animals in the first place. Shamans also of course lead the funerals and other ceremonies the Truzlin have. It is also the shamans who judge criminals, not the chieftain. They will attempt to dish out the punishment the spirits demand. Another duty, but one they usually share with the old females of the tribe, is knowing the local herbs and how to treat some conditions and illnesses with them.

To show their devotion to the beast spirits, Truzlin wear various items that refer to them in one way or another. It is quite common to make jewelry out of bones for example. Often hunters will use their spare time to cut intricate symbols into them, or turn a whole tusk into a small ivory statue. Wood is also commonly used to produce small figures and totems. These items are then either braided into the fur, attached to clothing, or hangs from strings around their necks or horns. Especially shamans love to richly decorate themselves with these items.

Praising the spirits is handled through various rituals, as mentioned beforehand. These rituals differ from tribe to tribe, and are orally taught to each new generation. One of the most common rituals is for hunters to gather around a small, low-burning fire prior to a hunt. They kneel down, hold up some kind of token that represents the spirit of the wolf, and then they speak in unison, asking the wolf for a good hunt. Often they even sacrifice a small wooden figure to it by burning it in the low flames. Given that a Truzlin's fur already makes them blend in well with their surroundings, they never use body paint on hunts. They do use it for other rituals.

At last it shall be told how to become a Truzlin shaman. It is not all that difficult. Each shaman has to start training an apprentice, preferably as soon as they replace the last one. Being a shaman is a commitment until death, but the age at which one starts becoming a shaman does not matter, as long as they can learn all they need to. For that reason it is usually common for a shaman to take on a juvenile as their apprentice, to ensure they have enough time to learn and the youthful energy to do so. The apprentice has to learn how to interpret omens, what the various herbs of the taiga do, how to conduct various rituals, and how to fairly judge a Truzlin. No matter how much knowledge they acquire, they are called apprentice until the former shaman deceased.

Mammoth

For fertility and lasting social peace, they pray to the spirit of the mammoth. This stem from the very social behavior these large wooly creatures display. They live in large herds where everyone looks out for one another which reminds the Truzlin of their own communal bonds. Just how the mammoths take their young in their middle to protect them from predators, so do the Truzlin protect their own offspring. Mammoth bulls are also seen as prime examples of virility, while the cows that manage to give birth to babies that more massive than adult Truzlin are seen as a prime example of a mother that will go through great effort for her young.

Owl

The spirit of the owl does not stand for any aspect of life in itself, but it is instead seen as a servant of the other spirits. It controls all the birds that live on Threa and through their eyes watches the Truzlin and their doings. It relays what it sees to the other spirits and the ancestors on the Truzlin, who then reward or punish them according to their deeds. Truzlin thus feel watched when any kind of bird perches nearby, especially owls. If an owl watches over you, you can be sure the spirits are judging you very closely right now.

Wolf

For a good hunt, the Truzlin appeal to the spirit of the wolf. The pack mentality and teamwork sighted among these large canines inspires the Truzlin hunting parties. Every Truzlin hunter intends to become a great hunter like the wolves and grim wolves - through cooperating with the other hunters, not just through personal ability. Wolves also appear to care for their pack, which fits right in with the Truzlin's tradition of treating the tribe like family. However, wolves are not fundamentally excluded from being hunted. Should a wolf pack harm the hunting grounds of the Truzlin because it is growing too large, then the Truzlin are not just going to back off and let them have it. They will try and kill off a few of the wolves to prevent them from destroying the habitat. After all, survival is a struggle, and that struggle includes the wolves. Usually Truzlin prefer to tame wolves and take them along on their hunts, creating bonds between animal and lin akin to those that exist within the wolf packs.

Warg

This spirit is rarely prayed to. Wargs are vicious creatures who have been seen hunting for joy, even when they are not hungry. Only a Truzlin who wants to go to war would call upon the spirit of the warg to gain the blessing of unmatched fury in battle. Most Truzlin only talk of this spirit in hushed voices, because it is seen as violent and evil. Wargs themselves are hunted wherever they go, as the Truzlin see them as vicious creatures that ruin the balance of nature. However, thanks to the recent aggressions of the Sokans many warriors of the southeastern Truzlin tribes have become desperate and have begun to call upon the spirit of the warg to be able to face the bronze-clad legions.

Holidays and Ceremonies

Their nomadic nature makes it hard for the Truzlin to take their time to prepare large ceremonies or feasts. Celebrations like a tribe members 15th birthday are often short, or postponed. Though it is these celebrations that can take the edge off of some harsh weeks. Often they wait with their celebrations until they catch a time where they stay in the same area for a few days and then celebrate the coming of age of multiple members at once. This time is usually summer, which aligns well with the fact that it is also the time when food is the most abundant. Usually the feasts include dance and food. Rarely it includes alcoholic beverages. If it does, then foreign imports, because the Truzlin do not have the time to store anything for a long enough time to allow it to ferment.

Funeral

Truzlin want their spirit to be released after they die, and burning their earthly remains is the only way of accomplishing this. When one of their tribe members dies, no matter if they lived a good life or not, they put their corpse on a small pyre and then incinerate it. While the body catches fire, the tribe's shaman will encourage the family and friends of the deceased to tell the others of his or her life. Remembering the good times helps cope with the pain of losing them. Sometimes a few totems are burned alongside the body, to try and appeal to the spirits to guide the freed soul of the Truzlin to his ancestors.

Should a lifeless body not be burnt for one reason or another, the soul will only be freed once it rotted away. That takes time, and being forced to remain inside the corpse weaken it. A weak spirit has a hard time finding its way to its ancestors, so the spirits of the wild have to assist it, but they do not always do, if the Truzlin is not worthy. Such is the belief of the Truzlin, and thus they always try their best to not leave any dead tribe members behind.

The Truzlin believe that after you die and you've lived a life in accordance with the spirits' will, then you will live in a world where winter is over and only summer remains. A world where hunting is always good and you live among your ancestors in a giant tribe that sprawls the taiga. This also means that the Truzlin think that their ancestors look down upon them and judge their actions. They actually believe that the same happens for animals that died, that they have their own personal heaven, so to speak. For this reason they burn the heads of the animals they hunted and the bodies of their deceased pets.

End of Frost

When the summer season begins and the snow melts away to reveal the green grass beneath, the entire tribes celebrates this with a feast. The special thing about this feast is that the Truzlin use up almost all the food they still have in store. Frozen berries and meat are all thawed and devoured in one night by the entire tribe. After all, the coming weeks the gatherers will be bringing fresh berries, young plants, tasty roots, and sweet fruits, and the hunters will hunt fattened animals, so why bother keeping the old, dry food around? It is the one night where the Truzlin might consume much more food than what they need, to celebrate that the coming seasons will be easier to survive. It also means that their stockpiles are completely emptied of old food, allowing them to pile up more of the fresh stuff.

To thank the spirits for the coming of summer, they light a large fire and dance around to tribal music. Alongside the dancing, the old members of the tribe and the shaman speak of the passing year. For the Truzlin, the year starts in summer, not spring. They count summers instead of years for that reason, as it is the only change in their environment that they really notice over the course of the year. This is also the perfect moment to celebrate the 15th birthday of the Truzlin that became adults before this summer. They receive most of the food, and it will be the last time they do. After all, now that they are proper adults, it is expected that they provide for the tribe more than it provides for them.

Aesthetics and the Arts

A nomadic lifestyle that's depended on wandering herds of mammals combined with a religion that revolves around animal spirits has to led to the tribes' symbolism being entirely about animals, nature, and the tribal way of life. Most commonly their works of art display the mammoth, owl, wolf, or warg, but other animals or images of nature are possible as well. Naturally the symbols of the spirits stand for what the spirit embodies: Mammoth stands for fertility, owl for being watched by the spirits, the wolf for hunting, and the warg for war and evil. Other animals display different attributes. A weasel can stand for stealth or trickery, for example.

Other symbols that are common in Truzlin culture are the snowflake, the campfire, and the pine tree. The snowflake stands for winter, cold, and even death. For the Truzlin winter stands for death, while summer stands for birth. Images of snowflakes are commonly depicted by the totems that are burned alongside the dead. The campfire stands for warmth and community. It is most commonly depicted on necklaces and bracelets. Pine trees simply stand for the wilderness, which in the eyes of the Truzlin is equivalent to home.

This is also what Truzlin art consists of - symbols engraved into teeth, tusks, or bones, or even small statues made out of ivory or wood. Painting isn't really their thing, lacking a good canvas to paint on. A lack of a written language also makes literature impossible. All Truzlin can do is take a knife and carve. A lack of metal tools means that sometimes finding a good stone knife can make the difference between creating rough images or detailed little statues. Overall, Truzlin prefer to stick to stylized images instead of going for close-to-nature details. It is even seen as offending the spirits to try and mimic their creation perfectly in art.

During festivities the Truzlin like to dance around their fire, and dancing requires music! Said music is provided by beating drums, blowing horns, or playing various other instruments that are made out of bones. These instruments can be as simple as hollow bones dangling from a piece of rope that make different noises when they are struck with sticks. Some of the music is also created by the tribe members themselves. Those who dance often shout, cry out, or do similar things in tact with the rhythm and dancing. Bystanders even sing properly. It never gets more complicated than this, because the Truzlin lack the knowledge to make anything better, but they do not really have the need to. A good beat and some noise is all they need to dance together. These dances can be well choreographed and because they are rather simple usually also allow the young ones to take part in them. Partaking in such large social activities together strengthen the bonds between the tribe members and lifts their overall mood. A few songs and dances have spread among the tribes; it is a large chunk of their shared cultural heritage.

When it comes to fashion, one is not going to find fancy articles of clothing, or any pieces of clothing at all, among the tribes, as most just wear their fur. Harnesses with pouches and backpacks are common sightings, because the Truzlin have to carry their entire household with themselves when they travel. That does not mean that the Truzlin do not like to decorate themselves. Quite the opposite is the case, both sexes enjoy to braid things into their fur, be it clasps, bones, or shiny rocks. Males tend to use this sparingly, as it can be a bit annoying on a hunt. They prefer to decorate their fur with symbols of animal spirits that promise a good hunt, like the teeth of a wolf or a Truzkul even.

Truzlin also dye their fur with colors won from various berries. The dyes available to Truzlin are a very dark blue, which is almost black, a deep red, and a lighter blue. Of course Truzlin do not dye their whole coat. They merely put some accents under their eyes, on their limbs, or draw a few symbols on their bodies. Some shamans also utilize dyes to draw a spirit animal's face over their own. This supposedly helps them connect with the spirit. Hunters never use dyes; it would mess with their natural camouflage.

Speaking of hunting, the diet of the Truzlin consists primarily of meat due to how readily available it is compared to plant matter. The Truzlin do not know how to farm and the land isn't fruitful for most of the year. All the plant matter they can eat are berries, roots, and some beets that grow in summer. Usually Truzlin cook their meat, simply because it makes it easier to eat and it also tastes better that way. When they prepare meals, then together and for the whole tribe. However, they are rather hardy people so they don't mind eating meat raw if setting up a fire is impractical or simply not possible. In the cold temperatures of the north, it is rather easy to keep food fresh without salting or smoking it. Yet curing meat is a skill the Truzlin possess. It is necessary during the summer months. Some tribes also like to put meat into bags and then bury them in the ground, because it still holds the cold of winter in its depths. Others even use caves as natural refrigerators. Using spices and other means to improve the quality of their meals are bits of knowledge only few Truzlin tribes possess.

Language

Truz, the language of the Truzlin tribes, is a murmured language, due to the abundance of the letters M and S, but it can also sound harsh due to the common usage of the K. Truz is tough to learn for foreigners, because it is very different to the languages of the south. What makes it even more difficult to learn is the presence of plenty of dialects of the primary language, which differ from tribe to tribe. Truzlin do not possess their own written language, neither did a foreign script establish itself among them. There are a few runes that have meanings attached to them, but they are by far not enough to be called a script.

To be able to negotiate with the Truzlin, Gren pelt traders have spread their own language and Trez through the northern half of the Verdant Valley at least, so speaking either Gren or Trez is not too uncommon among Truzlin who live there. This has also enriched the vocabulary of the western tribes with words for concepts and things that they don't have words for in their own language, such as bronze, iron, steel, crossbow, machine, and various other modern items and concepts. The eastern tribes tend to lack these, but are in the process of making up Truz words them, as being able to accurately describe a force of Sokan troops has become a necessity.

It is no surprise that many Truzlin proverbs and phrases often revolve around nature and the animal spirits. Common phrases are: "Mamaté." ("Welcome."); "May the spirits guide you." (Farewell); "Owls shall watch over you." (Farewell, especially when a Truzlin goes on a dangerous task, refers to the ancestors keeping him/her safe); "Tracks like the Wolf! (Praising a hunter)"; "Strong as a mammoth." (Praising strength); "Do not make such a stampede out of it!" (Said when one is getting upset over others fighting over trivial stuff).

Newborn Truzlin receive their name from their mother. Usually it consists of a first name and a tribe name. Tribes are usually named things like Sharpclaws, Spearbearers, or even Frostberries. A Truzlin could have the name Momo of the Frostberries for example, or Cevelt of the Silversnow tribe. Having a proper surname isn't necessary because the tribes are not large enough for two Truzlin to end up with the same name. A few first name examples are: Kero, Momaso, Momo ...

Government

Because Truzlin tribes aren't very large, they are mostly governed by the common sense of its members. To make sure that there is one instance above the rest, just in case they can't come to an agreement, every tribe has a chieftain. The chieftain is elected by all the adult members of the tribe. The election process is simple. Whenever a chieftain dies, steps down, or the tribe wishes to replace them, the tribe gathers around a fire to decide on who should lead next. Members of the tribe can propose themselves or others as the next chieftain, then the Truzlin vote on whoever they want. The person with the most votes wins. Usually they vote for a mix between the most experienced but also the most able-bodied hunter. In most cases this is a male.

The chieftain is supposed to solve disputes, having the last word in them, and direct the tribe's wandering, so it is very important that the chieftain knows how to track and follow the mammoth herds. Should the need to fight arise, then the chieftain, no matter if male or female, is expected to lead the warriors of the tribe into battle. Diplomatic matters also have to be resolved by the chieftain. When a supposed criminal has to be judged and punished, then this is handled by the shaman and not by the chieftain. The chieftain may advise a course to the shaman at least. Most decisions are made with most of the tribe being gathered around the fire.

Should a chieftain make decisions the rest of the tribe does not approve of, then they may vote to force the chieftain to step down and hand his position to someone else. They've to decide on a new chieftain before they can make the other one step down, to ensure that the tribe is not headless.

Minor Factions

The minor factions mentioned on this page are just tribes and warbands of the Truzlin. Each tribe is its own individual faction, that it is no way dependent on the other tribes. They may trade, cooperate, or fight. Warbands are special, they are tribes focused on sheerly on fighting the Sokan invaders in the southeast, and they praise the spirit of the warg first and foremost. More on them can be found in their own subsection of the Military section.

Tribe, Frostberries

One of many tribes located in the northern half of the Verdant Valley. It is a very old tribe, existing since before 467 ar. Being located near the border of the Gren Kingdom, it is no surprise that they engage in pelt trading. This has caused a lot of foreign influence to affect the tribe, and has made a few of their members curious what the south has to offer for some. Some of these few even became mercenaries. Despite their peaceful name, Frostberries are great, dexterous hunters, so becoming sellswords isn't the most difficult task for them. However, the tribe itself disapproves of senseless violence, so the members that became mercenaries are not looked at approvingly and sometimes not even accepted back.

Notable members:

  • Kero, the Whirlblade (Dead, 448 ar - 4?? ar): Tribe member. Hero of the Siege of Treztown in the Fall of 467 ar and the Great War of the North that it began.
Tribe, Silversnow

The Silversnows have been around since before 400 ar, and originate from the Verdant Valley, but have moved over to the Sea of Pines over the years. Unfortunately, in 792 ar, they were afflicted with a horrible plague that killed off more than 80% of their tribe, and caused them to leave most of their belongings behind. They had to start over basically.

Notable members:

  • Cevelt (Dead, 4?? ar - 4?? ar): Tribe member.
  • Momaso (756 ar - 7?? ar): Shaman.
  • Tenaru (782 ar - ??? ar): Tribe member.
Warband, Grey Wargs

The very first warband, founded by Kamako himself. After its founding, it was first just named Wargs, but when multiple warbands were founded they adopted the name Grey Wargs instead, to differentiate themselves from the other warriors of the warg spirit. They are the most experienced and successful of all warg warbands.

Notable members:

  • Kamako (767 ar - 7?? ar): Founder of the Grey Wargs, and current leader. Kamako set the stone in motion that caused the founding of multiple warbands after the one he himself founded.
Military

Conscription, professional militarism, and even raising levies are all concepts the Truzlin do not even really have, which isn't surprising given their tribal, peaceful nature. Every Truzlin is expected to protect their tribe if it is necessary, but rarely would they even think about partaking in offensive actions. War is seen as a senseless evil, something that should be avoided at all costs. Yet Truzlin know that fighting sometimes can't be avoided, so they aren't afraid to raise their spears against other humanoids, even other Truzlin.

Hunting mammoths and fighting of various predators, including Truzkul, has hardened the Truzlin hunters to become quite capable warriors. They can fend off simple foes, like conscripted peasants, easily enough, but a common group of Truzlin warriors has no chance when facing an experienced army like the Sokan Legions. Survival skills are common knowledge among Truzlin, so they at least can operate without any kind of logistics network in place, being able to just live off the land. A lack of any major conflicts, and a lack of any kind of central organization, means the tribes do not even have any knowledge of military theory, logistics, or how to organize a hierarchy.

Compared to its direct neighbors - the Gren Kingdom and the Sokan Empire - the Truzlin are pitifully weak. That has never been an issue, since neither realm had any interest in the taiga or its inhabitants that would lead to an armed conflict. This changed in the last few years. The Sokans invaded and began claiming the land of the Truzlin's ancestors, so many Truzlin have taken up arms. War has become an unwanted necessity. Most tribes just fight for their survival, but there are some Truzlin who take it further. They want the Sokans gone from their lands and are not afraid to do everything they can to get rid of them - be it raiding, ambushing, and similar. Guerrilla tactics are the only way the Truzlin can face the Sokan legions. The Truzlin who dedicate themselves to fighting the Sokans call themselves Warriors of the Warg.

Equipment

All items the warriors of the Truzlin tribes use are made either by the warriors themselves or their tribe members. There is no such thing as a military industry after all. For melee combat most Truzlin use spears, clubs, or stone hatchets. To attack foes at range the Truzlin either throw their spears or less commonly utilize bows. Usually sharpened bones or stones are used as tips for spears, splinters in clubs, or arrow tips. Since the fight against the Sokan legions has been going on for a while now, many have also acquired bronze equipment like short swords or spears with bronze tips. Thanks to trading with the western Truzlin tribes, the eastern ones have began to acquire steel and iron weapons, which originate from the Firehorns or Gren respectively. This is very rare, because metal equipment is expensive and the Truzlin have to trade many pelts to acquire them.

Some Truzlin like to wear heavy hide in order to protect themselves from bites and claws, especially from aggressive Truzkul, or Sokan weapons. A few veterans even possess armor pieces from the Sokan legions. They remove the emblem of the sun and instead edge various animal symbols into them. Shields aren't usually used, as the Truzlin aren't really prepared for fighting enemies that launch entire salvos of arrows at them.

Tactics

When one Truzlin tribe fights another, tactics are completely absent. They just meet, fight over whatever issue they have between each other, and call it quits once one side lost. Usually the focus on trying to not kill the opposing group. Sometimes even non-lethal weapons such as wooden staffs and clubs are used. Even if people were killed during the fighting, a grudge is not held.

It becomes much more complicated when a Truzlin tribe has to fight against a Wolshak pack or against Sokan soldiers. Then they have to use stealth and the element of surprise to survive, much like the warriors of the warg do it. unfortunately they are not nearly as good as that as the warbands are, so often they simply have to run away. Thankfully the Truzlin are used to a nomadic lifestyle and surviving in the wilderness, so they can abandon their camps without any trouble.

Warriors of the Warg

As explained in the Religion section, the spirit of the warg is all about violence and viciousness. For these warriors, the warg is what gives them strength in battle. After all, Truzlin are small, even smaller than Trezlin. They also have no advanced weaponry and armor. All the Truzlin have is their unwavering will to survive and their faith in the animal spirits - in this case the fury of the warg. They also have the Wolshak as brothers in arms. Indeed, both species of furred bipeds united in order to fight their common enemy together. More about that in the Foreign Relations and Public Opinion section.

In 793 ar, Kamako, a great hunter, left his original tribe together with a few warriors to form a warband that would take the war to the Sokans. Over time, other warriors of other tribes joined. A warband is basically like a new tribe for these warriors. Even some females join, not necessarily to fight, but to support the defense of their homelands. Warbands even have warrior shamans among them, who will conduct the various rituals they take part in prior to a fight, in which they usually praise the Warg and asks for his blessing. Instead of forming one large warband, the warriors of the warg have already formed multiple ones that act independently of each other, but assist the other warbands if need be. For food and material these warbands often have to hunt on their own, but many trade the things they loot from the Sokans with other tribes. Of course they also keep food and items stolen from the Sokans for themselves. Some tribes even donate meat and weapons to the warbands. Wolshak packs do not send their members out to join the warbands, but just join a warband as a whole. Thus an entire pack of Wolshaks might travel, fight and hunt alongside a warband of Truzlin. It can be quite the comical sight to see the tall Wolshaks and small Truzlin march aside each other and be good friends with each other.

One way to identify the wargs, how they like to call themselves, is by looking for the warg-hides and -teeth they like to wear. Many also dye their fur red with blood that has been mixed with a type of herb that prevents it from clotting. Taking everything into account, the war paint, the hides and the decorative teeth braided into the fur, these Truzlin warriors can be quite the horrifying sight despite their small size. Of course the small size does not apply to their Wolshak allies. This frightening appearance is further enhanced by their howling prior to attacking, which the Wolshaks do especially loud and well. Each warband picks a name for itself, which replaces the tribe name in the names of its warriors. Kamako's warband is named the Grey Wargs for example.

The tactics of the wargs revolve around stealth, the element of surprise, and extreme brutality. When they do not ambush caravans, then they sneak up on villages, howling into the night from all sides to terrify its inhabitants. The night covers their advances. When the warg warriors strike, then with as much fierceness as they can muster. They overwhelm the colony's defenses and murder every male, then set fire to it all and steal whatever they can. The wargs are aware of the fact that the Sokans pray to the sun, so they want to make the night all the more terrifying for them. Only women and children are allowed to live, they leave them tied up among the carnage for the rescue parties to find them the next day.

Another specialty the Warriors of the Warg use to their advantage are domesticated animals. In addition to using wolves, they also tame wargs and use them as mounts and battle companions. Taming a warg is no easy undertaking, as it requires fighting the warg into submission as they'll not willingly give themselves up and accept their master. A warg only accepts those who are stronger than itself as its leader. It may even eat its former master in a moment of weakness, if the warg considers them unworthy. This makes the warg a risky asset, if one that also puts fear into the Sokans hearts. Not many things in the taiga are more terrifying than savage Truzlin riding on the backs of wargs, who are accompanied by Wolshak warriors.

Guerrilla tactics and even their warg mounts do not help against the Order of the Emperor's wings, however, only hiding does. The Truzlin can fight Truzkul, but a Trezkul is just too large. At least the Wolshaks have an easier time fighting the large beasts. Luckily, the Order is too busy with the Flamewings in the south to allocate a lot of their forces in the north.

As stated before, the spirit of the warg is disliked or even hated by the common Truzlin. This combined with their brutal ways has made the relation between most Truzlin tribes and the warg-warbands one that swings between love and utter hatred. While they are hated for praying to a spirit that promotes senseless violence, they are loved for protecting the land of the ancestors. To put it simply, the warriors of the warg are seen as a necessary evil and their sacrifice is usually respected among their people.

Becoming a warrior of the warg is easy, there are no standards one has to fulfill apart from being healthy, competent, and willing to kill. There is no drilling or large-scaled organized training. Recruits, or cubs as the Warriors of the Warg like to call them, simply learn everything they need to know from their fellow warriors. Sparring, learning how to sneak, and how to identify Sokan soldiers is the most common training they receive from their brothers-in-arms. The Wolshaks are a great help in that department, too, since they know more about war overall and are thus very good teachers, even if they are more simple minded than the Truzlin. Once the leader of a warband considers the cub ready for actual combat, he announces them a warg and takes them along on various operations.

The Warriors of the Warg are quite differently equipped from the common Truzlin. While they do utilize spears, hatches, and bows as weapons, they've also began to use armor and wooden shields. They learned this from the Wolshaks and from watching the Sokans. Most weapons are made using wood and bone, sometimes even the bones of fallen enemies, because neither the primitive Wolshaks of the north nor the Truzlin tribes know how to make bronze or have the ore for it. However, they gladly loot whatever they can from their enemies, and some Truzlin have learned how to smith bronze scrap into useful tools, armor, or weapons. Thus many experienced warg warriors do have spears with bronze tips, axes with bronze blades, and even protect their body with bronze plates. Especially the armor looks rather crude, but as long as it works, what does that matter? It just adds to their vicious looks.

Ranks and Units of the Warriors of the Warg
Warchief
Warbands, which consist of easily twenty to forty Truzlin, are lead by a warchief. Warchiefs are warriors who might not even be able-bodied anymore, but their experience is what makes them so valuable. They are the strategists of the warbands and make the bigger plans. No one stands above the warchief of the warband. When multiple warbands are supposed to fight together, then the warchiefs gather and decide on what to do together. Warchiefs usually do not need to be identifiable at a glance, since they are known to their entire warband. Yet some like to wear the skull of a warg as a helmet to mark their position.
Klaw
A klaw among the wargs is a Truzlin who has seen their fair share of fights and gathered enough experience to lead and train the others. These veterans often lead small groups of wargs on excursion away from the warband. Usually these groups are referred to as packs. During larger battles, a klaw will lead his pack to carry out the orders of the warchief. Outside of a battle, the klaw has to make sure his pack members are well and in good shape. If they are not, the warchief may replace them. Packs tend to have four to eight Truzlin. For identification, a klaw paints a stylized warg claw on each of their shoulders and their forehead.
Warg
While they consider all of their own fighters "wargs", it is also often used to refer to the common warrior. From the rank of warg onwards a warrior may wear body paint, this differentiates them from the cubs.
Cubs
Fresh recruits are called cubs, and may not partake in combat until their klaw deems them ready for it, thus promoting them a warg.
Diplomacy

Should the Truzlin conduct diplomacy, they let their chieftain handle it. He or she will act according to the wishes of their tribe. If a tribe requires assistance and wants to meet up with another tribe, they send out smoke signals. Over the centuries, multiple smoke signals have developed and spread. The most common ones are "Seek exchange", "Danger" or "Help". When the tribes do meet, they gather around a fire together and instead of getting down to business, they at first exchange tales. It is the only way the tribes can gather information about the wider world, so they gladly chat and eat together prior to trading. Such a gathering can take the whole day, and sometimes the tribes even go and hunt together to strengthen the friendship between them. It is likely the two tribes won't see each other again for a very long time, so they make the most of what they have.

Diplomacy with foreign powers is more difficult. While Truzlin prefer to talk a bit and just spend some time together before getting to business, Wolshaks are much more direct. They want to exchange wares and return home. The Gren are more amiable. They may be a bit rough around the edges, but they are usually kind. Their merchants and diplomats visit the tribes now and then, or simply create small trading posts that the tribes know about and which they visit sometimes. Being well aware of how the Truzlin live, the merchants don't jump straight to business either but entice their trading partner with a few drinks, a simple meal, and a good chat. Afterwards they exchange wares, and then the Truzlin go on their merry way.

Foreign Relations

Living in peaceful society, they try to not get into trouble and make peace where they can, but will not submit to foreign forces either. It is extremely uncommon that two Truzlin tribes fight and it is much more likely for them to merge or simply strike an agreement. Trading is always an option, as long as there is supply and demand, be it between tribes or between a tribe and another country.

With the Gren, especially the Manhomirs, the Truzlin trade. Traders of the former travel all the way to the north to trade with the Truzlin, but sometimes the Truzlin also send their people on a trek southward, packed with pelts to sell, so that they may return with useful items. With their eastern neighbors, the Sokans, the Truzlin have a very hostile relation. The Sokans think of them as savages and thus do not consider them worthy of calling any bit of land their own - which has lead to the Sokans claiming the land of the Truzlin instead. War was the consequence. The Sokans attempt to colonize the land of the Truzlin, but primarily focus on subjugating the tribes to enslave them. The Truzlin do the best they can to resist and even formed warbands that pray to the Warg in response.

Said war with the Sokans lead to an alliance with another faction: The Wolshak packs. In the past the two different species either avoided each other or clashed violently, most of the time because the Wolshaks tried to hunt a tribe's mammoths. Hostility was the norm, as the Truzlin saw the vicious Wolshak as wolves that left the right path, the path of the hunting spirit. However, once the Sokans invaded the north both sides were faced with a common foe who took their land and enslaved their people. Once the Truzlin picked up arms and formed their warbands, most of the Wolshak packs of the eastern Boreal Zone joined them. They fight their common foe together, shoulder by hip; the Truzlin are tiny compared to the Wolshaks after all. However, in the western half of the Boreal Zone the packs still either avoid or fight the tribes of the fuzzy lin, and even in the east not all packs are friendly towards the Truzlin warbands.

Relation Chart
Nation Relation
Hoz Kingdom No contact (cautious)
Monarchy of the Free Caverns No contact (cautious)
Republic of the Zule No contact (cautious)
Riz Tribes No contact (cautious)
Sozlin Tribes Peace
Treztown Peace
Gren Kingdom Peace
Sokan Empire War
Blazewhips No contact (hostile)
Emberspikes No contact (hostile)
Fireclaws No contact (hostile)
Firehorns No contact (hostile)
Flamewings No contact (hostile)
Wolshak Packs Mixed Relations (Allied [Primarily], minor conflict)
Treaties

Northern Alliance (793 ar - Indefinite): This is more an oral agreement than a signed treaty. Truzlin warbands and Wolshak packs have agreed to stop fighting each other and work together wherever they can in order to fight the Sokans. This pact was sealed between Warchief Kamako of the Grey Wargs and an alpha of an unnamed Wolshak pack.

Public Opinion

Truzlin have a pretty good opinion of the Gren. Their traders are always welcomed in the taiga, because they respect the Truzlin how they are and do not intend to claim their land. When visiting each other's communities, both meet with friendly greetings and welcoming gestures. Even common villagers trust the Truzlin, they've a good reputation among the Gren. Unfortunately, the opposite isn't the case. While Truzlin do respect the Gren merchants and will gladly do business with them, they do not outright trust any Gren that comes there way. While most Gren are kind, there is also the occasional bandit or illegal slaver. Due to them the Truzlin are usually a bit cautious when meeting Gren, but are quick to warm up to them once they prove to be reputable types. Truzlin and Gren also share a common enemy - the Sokans.

The Sokan Empire is trying to expand into the north of Threa, the homelands of the Truzlin. This has given them the image of ravaging invaders among the Truzlin, who oppose them whenever and wherever possible. Sokans think themselves so mighty and civilized, but in the eyes of the Truzlin they are savage that rape nature and make people do their bidding by force, instead of engaging in business with them that is beneficial for both sides. Some who have been seriously traumatized by encounters with the Bronze Legion even consider them a test or plague the spirits are punishing the Truzlin with, while others think that the Sun is sending its minions to kill the spirits by killing those who believe in them, so they've to fight back to ensure the animal spirits won't leave this world.

The tribes living near the border who often engage in trade with the Gren are aware of the safe haven that Treztown represents for everyone, so a few have dared making the long trek to visit it. Treztown is seen as a good place to trade and exchange stories of one's travels. However, even in places where Truzlin are received with a welcoming attitude there's the occasional lin who makes fun of them by calling them "Fuzzlin", obviously this is a remark about their unusual hide.

Sozlin and Truzlin like each other, because both live in a tribal form of society and have an easy time to identify themselves with each other. It helps that the Sozlin appreciate their base for survival - the fishing grounds - as much as the Truzlin appreciate their own. Both may believe in different things, but in the end it results in them trying to ensure that their primary habitat remains livable. If the two meet, they tend to directly trust each other. Both are peaceful people and they understand each other's struggle. What is there that they would argue about?

Wolshaks and Truzlin have an interesting opinion of each other. In the past, they only hated each other and saw each other as competition, hence they avoided each other whenever possible. They would only rarely clash, but if they did then they did so violently. Nowadays, now that the warbands have allied with some of the packs, they have grown to appreciate each other's help, at least in the eastern regions of the Boreal Zone. They know their resistance against the Sokans might be futile in the end, but at least they fought together. It seems nothing hardens the bonds between people better than standing together against uneven odds and a common foe. Would these bonds last if they defeat the Sokans? That is uncertain. What is certain is that not all Wolshak packs have warmed up to the Truzlin tribes; there's still plenty who dislike them simply for being competition out in the wild and fight them. At least these hostile packs are few in the east, but still as numerous as before in the west.

Economy

The members share food and items with each other. It is in everyone's best interest to ensure that the entire tribe is cared for and that all hunters have what they require to do their job well. As long as one contributes what they can to the tribe, the tribe will ensure that they get everything they need to live. Yet currency and barter are not foreign concepts to the Truzlin, due to trading with foreigners. Some tribes even acquire a bunch of coin and then use it to either buy things off foreigners, or even other tribes! The tribes that know of the usefulness of coin will usually accept it as payment, even if they prefer to exchange wares for different wares. Banks, taxes, and anything that is more complex than giving one thing in exchange for another are completely strange concepts to the Truzlin tribes.

Mining and large scale logging are also foreign to the Truzlin. Producing any form of metal is completely outside of their reach. Farming and animal husbandry are also outside of grasp, partly due to the climate of their homelands. What they do have plenty of is meat, bones, teeth, leather, and pelts. They hunt a lot, simply put. Wood is available to Truzlin, but only in the form of sticks and twigs, not large pieces of lumber. Flint is also a commonly utilized resource, because it can be used to make knives and spear tips. Bones are used for the same tasks and more, like jewelry and spiritual figures.

Professions

There aren't any proper professions among the Truzlin. Some go out to hunt animals or gather herbs, food, or plant matter as material, while others craft items, like baskets, clothing, weapons, and such. Some experienced elders also tend to the young, old and wounded. When it comes to their wondering, all tribe members have to work together to ensure that their huts are taken down and rebuild quickly. While there are no such things as guilds or official masters of a craft, some Truzlin do specialize in certain fields. One Truzlin might be able to make better pouches than another, but in turn the other one has more knowledge of useful herbs or knows how to prepare meat in ways that makes the mouth's of the hunting party water when they smell it from afar on their way home. Overall, Truzlin will simply do what is better for the tribe, and most of the basic things they usually make are so simple that any tribe member can learn making them within a very short time.

Trade

While it is rare, when two Truzlin tribes meet they might engage in trading. They exchange whatever surplus they have for things they need by simply bartering for it. It is rare that they meet, because they follow around different herds of mammoths. When they do meet, this is cherished! Tales and useful information, especially news regarding what is going on the world, are eagerly exchanged. Even more eagerly than the needed wares. Food is served, and sometimes the tribes even hunt together or engage in a ritualistic dance. Shamans also love to meet the shamans of other tribes, so they can exchange recipes for useful tinctures with them, and learn more about how to use certain herbs.

Many of the southwestern tribes have taken a liking to trading with their friendly neighbor the Gren Kingdom. To trade with them, the Truzlin tribes have to either happen to come across Gren merchants that wandered far north, or they have to move south and visit them in their own trading posts. The latter is much more common, because the Truzlin, thanks to their survival and navigation skills, have a much easier time getting to the merchants than the merchants do getting to the Truzlin. Trading with the Gren is a good experience usually, and a great way to get at modern items, such as metal weapons or well made pouches and backpacks. Truzlin, while being a friendly people, are wary of being tricked. Most Truzlin know little about the value of items in the south, so the traders often make deals that benefit them more than it does the Truzlin. A few Truzlin do have a knack for trading, and drive a harder bargain thus.

Exports

Truzlin sell pelts and furs, some of them very valued by the high society of the neighboring nations. Common furs and pelts are used to make relatively cheap coats, while the pelts of animals that are either rare or hard to hunt are turned into coats that even befit nobility. It is seen as a luxury to wear a coat made out of the fur of saber-tooths, for example. Meat of the tasty northern mammals is also exported as they are well liked and widely used in the noble cuisine of the Gren. Also among the wares Truzlin may bring to foreign markets are spoils of war. It is not unusual that loot acquired from the Sokans is sold to the Gren. Sometimes the warriors of the warg do get their hands on something valuable, such as ,wine, jewelry, or fine textiles.

Imports

Given that they produce everything they need themselves, the Truzlin do not have a great need for most wares. However, there is a need for weapons and armor. The Warriors of the Warg have a huge demand for such things, which has made it profitable to trade for them. The western tribes import the weapons to exchange them with the loot the wargs have acquired from the Sokans. It is one large route stretching from Steelport, which is also known as Thirpofen, to the Frigid Frontier where the Warriors of the Warg fight. The Gren like to refer to it as the "Ironcold Route". It is very profitable for the Gren and Firehorn blacksmiths, and very helpful for the Warriors of the Warg.

Illegal Wares

Nothing is really considered illegal among the Truzlin, except items of other religions. They do not want that their people are blinded and distracted from their traditional ways by foreign beliefs. Most tribes also tend to refuse to buy hard drugs. Alcohol, however, is often bought to be used during celebrations. Rarely would Truzlin get black out drunk, but it helps with the dancing to loosen the mood and ease the minds.

Demographics

As the name suggests Truzlin tribes are primarily made out of Truzlin. Rarely, a foreigner finds its way into one of their tribes. While being treated friendly, the foreigners almost never stay permanently. They are not made for the north, unlike its furred inhabitants. The average tribe has thirty to fifty members. Maybe a few thousand Truzlin exist in total. Their numbers are low due to the rough living conditions and dangerous wild life that they share a habitat with. Less than a hundred tribes exist in the taiga, perhaps even less than fifty. Unfortunately many Truzlin do not live within these tribes but are enslaved by the Sokans. Another big chunk of Truzlin lives in the northern provinces of the Gren Kingdom or even in Treztown. Within the tribes there are a few more females than males, because the males tend to hunt, while the females tend to the camp. Hunting can be dangerous, so not all males make it back home. This in combination with the harsh climate and illnesses causes the majority of the Truzlin to be of a young age. A slight abundance of females has led to some relationship constellations in which one male tends to do females. Due to a complete lack of script, the literacy among the tribes is 0%. A few runes are known, but they are more small images of animal spirits or represent certain concepts, than actually resembling a written language. If a Truzlin migrates to another country, or goes on long treks, they might happen to learn the Sokan script from the Gren, which spread to the latter via traders.

Technology

As a nomadic society the Truzlin tribes have a very hard time progressing their technological level. Without the ability to settle down and take time to analyze the world and without crafters that constantly try to improve their methods and products, there is simply no way that the Truzlin are going to reach a much higher technological level than what they have today. At most the shamans will research what the effect of certain herbs and other substances is on the body, but that's more trial and error and they usually do not follow any kind of scientific method. Their best way to access modern technologies is by trading with the other nations.

Truzlin are not even capable of using metals to produce their items, lacking any kind of mining expertise or a way to turn the ore into useful alloys. They stick to stones and bones as their main source of hard material. Especially bones find widespread use for things like weapons. The ivory from the mammals they hunt is very sturdy and makes for durable spears, while the hide is useful for armor or pouches. Rudimentary leather-working is a common skill among Truzlin. While agriculture is impractical in the harsh climate, some tribes domesticated the large taiga wolves. As their name suggests, these predators are of a canine nature, thickly furred, and they are also loyal to their owners. Often, they are used as sentries or to track down prey for the hunters. Many Truzlin have been saved by the wake-up calls of their pet-guards, when Truzkul approached to pick through the camp. While domesticating animals is a common practice in Threa, the other nations usually do not bother trying to tame the large grim wolves, finding them too vicious to be of any use.

Architecture

Only a singular structure has ever been built by Truzlin - the nomad's hut. These huts are very similar to tents, but much more sturdy. Truzlin use the large tusks of the woolly mammoths and sturdy branches as tent posts, across which they stretch the fur and leather of the animals they hunted over as walls. A thick pelt curtain that covers up the entire entrance and even drags over the ground acts as a door. Thus the tents are well insulated and make for comfortably warm places to be in, which saves energy for the Truzlin, whose bodies do not have to invest as much energy into staying warm. Being easy to build up and take back down, these hut are great for the nomadic hunters. The inside of these huts is spacious enough to allow a Truzlin couple and their children to sleep side by side, cuddling up to warm each other in the freezing cold of the northern land's nights. The tents are exclusively used to sleep in and craft in. Food and materials are stored outside of the huts, so that the cold preserves them. Cooking is also done outside of the tents. It is unusual to light a cooking fire inside, at most small, low-burning fires are lit to heat up the tent slightly prior to the night.

City Structure

Truzlin camps are nothing special. As a protective measure, they build their huts in a circle around their herd fires, thus making sure every entrance to the huts is covered by light. Not being all that afraid of being spotted in the night, due to the low numbers of hostile parties in the taiga, they put up torches on stilts in order to light up their whole camp. It deters predators and makes it easier for the night watch to see if something approaches. Animals are simply a larger problem to the Truzlin than the few Wolshak packs that might live nearby. If a tribe intends to stay in one spot longer, they sometimes bother putting wooden spikes in the ground in order to deter animals or fortify their position against Truzkul.

Having their camp brightly lit would prove to be extremely dangerous in at the front lines. Due to that the Warriors of the Warg build their camps with flat, hidden tents. They camouflage them with branches, pines and leaves and keep their fires lower. While this puts them at the risk of being attacked by animals, it lowers the risk of being spotted by Sokan legionnaires or even their scouting Trezkul mounts. And animals aren't so much trouble to an experienced party of Truzlin warriors.

History

Antiquity (??? - 793 ar)

The Truzlin do not have a very complex history. Thousands of years ago they developed, adapted to the cold temperatures of the north and remained there. Entire packs of Truzlin moved around, hunted using tooth and claw, and simply lived off the land. Over time, thanks to their intelligence, they developed huts, spears, and the bow. Hunting became much easier and came with less risks, so the food supply became more steady. Numbers grew and the small family packs turned into larger tribes. And that is pretty much it. While a few Truzlin played roles in the history of other nations, the Truzlin tribes themselves never played a big role. Never did they intervene in any wars, or became the target of one. They simply lived their lifes, praised the spirits, and kept the balance in nature going. This all changed when Empress Arja decided to send her legions north to enslave the Truzlin.

Invasion of the Sokans (793 ar - ???)

In the spring of 793 ar, the Sokans lead their first settlers further north. At first, the Truzlin weren't sure what to do. Sokans have always been trouble, but only along the border. When the Sokans began to expel tribes from their lands or alternatively enslave them, then the Truzlin still did not know what to do, but they became more desperate. Of course each tribe defended itself to the best of its ability, if running away wasn't an option, but how does one tribe stand against a tide of bronze-clad soldiers? A tide of tall green warriors that ruthlessly push northward, culling herds, destroying forests and breaking apart tribes. During the first two seasons, the Sokan slavers and settlers were basically unopposed. The tribes were mere bumps to them.

A hunter named Kamako knew what to do - unite the tribes and take the fight to the Sokans. He left his tribe, taking every willing warrior with him. He and his men wandered the taiga in search for volunteers and found many who were fed up with running away and were willing to fight. Together with the first Truzlin Kamako recruited, he was founded his own tribe, which he named a warband given its purpose. Kamako knew that simple hunters were not enough, he needed warriors who would meet the Sokans with such viciousness that the Sokans will fear them. His warriors needed something to cling to, something to have faith in. The Wolf was not enough; it may support hunting but it did not approve of war and violence. Only one other option remained to Kamako - the Warg. It had to be the spirit of the Warg. for it reveled in blood-shed and killing, no matter if it has purpose or not. In a blood-ritual the warriors bonded with it, officially naming themselves the Warriors of the Warg afterwards. Now, with around thirty warriors under his command, Kamako knew it was the time to strike.

Together they ambushed a large grain caravan in fall - successfully. They struck with such ferocity that the defenders ran away from the warriors before even half of them fell. They were not allowed to flee. The Warg does not allow its prey to escape - whoever ran became spiked with arrows. It was the first successful strike against the Sokans and doomed a village to starve during the winter. The Warriors of the Warg tasted blood and they demanded more, so said village was mercilessly plundered once its inhabitants were weakened. Kamako did forbid the killing of women, the elderly, and children, but he had everyone else slaughtered.

Word of his success in fighting against the bronze invaders spread fast among the Truzlin tribes. While many hated the idea of following the Warg, they were also fed up with losing their families and homes to foreign attackers. Even Wolshaks were impressed by the sudden fighting spirit the Truzlin displayed and some of their groups packed their weapons to make their way to Kamako's warband to join him in his fight. Kamako's ranks grew further and continue to do so today.

Events of this Era
  • Kamako founds the first warband (93 br - 91 br)
Present

Nowadays, the Sokans are the biggest issue the Truzlin in the east are facing. These Trezlin are trying to colonize the Frigid Frontier and enslave all the tribes that live in that region. It ruins the land for the tribes that manage to escape the grasp of the slavery. The Sokans hunt the mammoth herds to extinction and dig around the ground for tin, destroying living space for the animals. At least the Warriors of the Warg have managed to make colonizing the north a much more daunting and costly endeavor for the Sokans. These fierce Truzlin and Wolshak warriors ambush caravans, raid villages, and slay Sokan soldiers wherever they can. Alas, it appears to a futile effort. The Sokans outnumber the Truzlin hundreds to one and are way more advanced. Sooner or later the Truzlin will just have to give up the eastern half of the taiga if no one assists them. Even having the Wolshaks as allies is not going to prevent this dark fate.

Fort Falcstone, which has recently been finished, is the biggest thorn in the eyes of the alliance of Wolshak and Truzlin. It is the only Sokan fort in the north and thus the seat of the administration of the surrounding province and of the commanding officer of the legion stationed in the Frigid Frontier. If Fort Falcstone fell, then the settlers might think twice before trying to colonize the north. Even an edict of the Emperor couldn't get them to stay in the harsh climate anymore then. Night's are long and cold in the north and that does not agree well with the religion of the Sokans, which is centered around the sun. That combined with savage, brutal warriors defending their homeland to the last drip could be just enough to make the Sokan population unwilling to try and colonize the north.

Important Historical Figures

Kamako of the Wargs (768 ar - ??? ar): The founder of the warrior of the wargs and thus the first fang. He has managed to kill many Sokans and raid many villages, making him a legend among his warriors. No one short of a Trezkul is supposed to be able to stop his fury in battle. Even the Wolshaks were impressed with him, saying he must have been born as the wrong creature and was supposed to be a Wolshak instead.