The sound of the drums echoed through the rocky valley, the bonfires burned bright, koumiss flows freely, and platters of meat and vegetables pass from yurt to yurt. It was the even before the great hunt, and the tribes of wastelanders were gathered together to celebrate before the competition. Each of the great tribes was present with their greatest group of hunters. Five masters and five apprentices learning the ways of their kind, each eager to take down the great beast.
The Kol-lak-torag, an orc tribe stayed near the outskirts of the festival, ever leery of the their less feral kin. They were not alone in their camp however, they were known for camping with, eating with, and even sleeping with their massive canines from the wastes. Massive coyotes of superb intellect the Kol-lak-torag were known for fighting nearly in unison with their beasts, an extension of themselves. Wielding them as effectively as any blade.
The Sor-Sor, known for their powerful magicks, were often found near the oases haunted by the fey. It was said they were fey-touched, with the occasional child being born with hooves or tails. These are their most sacred and protected elders, never seen by outsiders or at the great hunt. They were the weakest of the fighters but they were not to be underestimated, their magic was the most potent in the wastes, and their ability to amplify their magic at times of great need was well known. Only a fool would attack a Sor-Sor head on, they were best dealt with before they had a chance to magick.
The Bloody Handed, were the most dominant and central group at the gathering. They were feared and as such respected. The fear did not stem from their martial prowess alone, but their ability to completely lose themselves in battle, forgetting themselves and their mission. The bloodlust was something of legend amongst the other tribes, as well as a fable amongst the youngers of the other tribes. Many Bloody Handed have gone to their doom, lost in a bloody haze of confusion and fury.
As ferocious as the Bloody-Handed are, the Klugkin are cold and calculating. Their fury is an icy stare as their cold and calculating minds take in all they see. They are the tacticians who think before they act amongst a group of peoples known for reckless abandon. As such they are revered for their advice and their logistics but feared as their logical thought is foreign to peoples who rely so heavily on instinct.
The Ferak-tol are unlike any barbarian I’ve ever studied in my career as an anthropologist. They manipulate magic in a means I’ve never seen uncivilized people manage, and what’s more they store their secrets in spell books, like proper mages of the Academy. They use their magics specifically to enhance their weapons, it is a unique combination amongst these peoples, but no stranger I suppose than that of the Kol-lak-torag. It is truly a wonder to see these brutish proto-spellcasters learning the ways of magic.
I’ve left the strangest for the final installment in this series. The Chi-Chac-tra. While others of these area focus their rage, and using it they harness their magical nature, these strange peoples seem overcome with tranquility and calmness. The calmness reminds of the Monks in their mountain homes able to sustain immense bodily damage and fatigue as their iron bound wills suffer but do not crack. These are truly the most awe-inspiring peoples of the waste, meshing techniques learned over thousands of years in other lands, into a single yet brutish facsimile.
The tribes celebrated into the night and were preparing for the hunt to begin are daybreak. Six masters dressed in their finest pelts and trophies stand ready to lead the younger. Each has a Journeymen stand with them, ready to carry out the Master’s orders, prepared to protect the younger apprentices from their own folly. Each master has five apprentices. Novices, eager to learn the ways of the hunt. To survive the hunt is to achieve Journeyman status. The tribes are camped on the highest point over looking the dusty valley. Somewhere out there slithering through the barren landscape is an immense, serpentine creature with four crooked legs and crossed mandibles. That was their target. They would hunt it and track it for seven days and seven nights, fighting dozens of other beasts along the way. It is my understanding that none have slain a wasteland Linnorm in many winters, but it is a great honor to bear the death curse, imbued upon its death. A name to be remembered for the ages amongst all the tribes. I look forward to communicating with the elders of the tribes, now that the over-eager and aggressive apprentices are gone.
I will send additional communique when next I’m able.
Professor of Anthropology
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