Where the living do not tread, a desert wasteland of bones, thirst, and heat. Nothing but dirt and sand grow here. There are sandstorms that are capable of burying an unaware human alive. It is the place of the desperate, hopeless, or dead. Or so it seems...
In all reality the desert is a thriving world with it's own set of rules that outsiders could never understand. In the desert there are tribes of people that wander around claiming land, fighting for resources, trading when they can't kill, and killing when they can't trade.
The Nomadic Desert people rely greatly on their horses as these beasts are an intrinsic part of their nomadic society. They use them for food, transportation, for clothing, and as a source of materials for crafts. They are especially skilled in horse riding and mounted warfare. They traverse the sands in tribes known led by a leader, one that is chosen by combat.
These desert people can erect large grass canopies for special occasions, but typically live in portable tents, always on the move. They only have one permanent city, called Lyon, which serves as their capital. They also speak an eponymous language of their own.
The sand nomads may wear rich fabrics and perfumes in the Free Cities, however among their own people men and women garb themselves in painted leather vests over bare chests, horsehair leggings cinched with belts of bronze medallions and open-toed riding sandals that lace up to the knees. They do not wear armor, considering it craven, so they often fight with no shirt on or with only vests. Nomadic women might wear robes of painted sand-silk.
Cultural, Spiritual, and Social PracticesEdit
The horse is in the heart of the lives of these people, who are sometimes dubbed the "horselords". It is both a a mount, a power source for its meat and milk of mares, and an inspiration for all craft. The nomadic lifestyle, as well as many cultural taboos, are directly associated with the horse.
Riding a horse is, for them, a basic marker of social status. A leader who cannot ride is no leader. Custom decrees that the leaders wife must ride a mount worthy of her place by the side of her leader. A pregnant woman is expected to ride on horseback almost up to the moment of birth. A cart is of less prestige and is used to transport eunuchs, cripples, women in childbirth, the very young and the very old. A man who does not ride is no man at all, the lowest of the low, without honor or pride, most often a slave.
The sand people consume a diet almost exclusively of horse meat, to which they attribute many properties, which they subsequently prefer to beef and pork. They also have black sausages (similar to kaszanka), blood pies and sweetgrass stews. They drink a mildly alcoholic beverage derived from fermented mare's milk (similar to the Central Asian drink kumýs).
These people have a contempt of cities, they believe that anything of importance in a man's life must take place beneath the open sky. They believe that the stars are horses made of fire and are a giant herd that gallops across the sky by night. However it is said by others that they believe the stars are the spirits of valiant dead.