Feb 25, 2012

The Dawnlands: The Mountain People

The Mountain People are the inhabitants of the northern mountain range. They are primarily concentrated in its mountain valleys with a total population of perhaps 50,000. Many are the former inhabitants of Weykuln, though the Mountain People have never been a truly urbanised population and are split politically between numerous petty chieftains.


The Mountain People claim to be descended from a dragon-god known as "Liashkal" who melted them out of the glaciers and set them to live in the mountains and the northern plains. Five hundred years ago, they merged into the kingdom of Weykuln, the end of a century-long process of conquest the Cities of Night supported. Weykuln was hard-pressed by waves of hobgoblin refugees from the north, who eventually overwhelmed it and sent the Mountain People fleeing into the more defensible mountain valleys from the lowlands, where the barrow-kings of the hobgoblins now rule instead.


The Mountain People are composed of humans, orcs, half-orcs, and a few hobgoblins who have politically allied with one king or another for their own advantage. The Mountain People's water supplies are contaminated by silver deposits in the streams and springs they drink from, and mild forms of argyria are extremely common in both humans and orcs (with over 2/3rds of the population having grey-blue or grey skin). The Mountain People is the largest remaining group of Men of the Dusk in the Dawnlands.


The Mountain People's religion is an isolate unlike the shared mytho-religious complex of the Kadiz, Kaddish, Dwer and Hill People. They do claim to have been the first people in the Dawnlands. Their religion is very simple, and is a henotheistic belief. Most clans and chiefs have totems that they venerate informally, that serve as representations of their allegiances. Beyond that, the Mountain People worship a god they call "The Weaver", and who the Kaddish often associate with their own God of Gates, one of the most ancient gods of the Dawnlands. The priesthood of the God of Gates is based in Kaddish since the fall of Weykuln, but they have agents and priests spread throughout the northern mountain range.


The Mountain People no longer travel extensively, though for years they controlled the mountain passes by which passage to the hyperborean north and Kartak-Who-Blinds' empire. While they do have and use horses and wagons, most travel is on foot from one mountain valley to another. They are excellent bridge builders and roadmakers, talents which are rarely called into use these days.

Petty Kingdoms:

The Mountain People are organised into 14 separate petty kingdoms split between various secluded mountain valleys in the northern mountain range. Within each kingdom there is typically a first family who are the "lords" of the kingdom and own the central manor which serves as a strongpoint, with a handful of specialists who form the prominent citizens, and then a large mass of agricultural labourers with few rights. The lords of these domains all claim titles descending from Weykuln, though almost none of them live on their ancestral lands. They are extremely belligerent, towards both the barrow-kings of the hobgoblins and the Kaddish raiders who pass through their lands without bothering to seek their permission. They have begun to hire the Hill People and Kadiz nomads as mercenaries to take the war to the bastions of the north-eastern plains where the hobgoblin barrow-kings still squat in the ashes of Weykuln.