In the lands north of the Doragon corridor the temperature rapidly begins to climb as warm breezes travelling in the Far Seas mix with the moisture laden clouds from off the Crimson Sea that pass through the Pass of Land & Sea. The hard stunted forests of the corridor quickly rise up to become the vast Kukri jungles.
The main feature of the jungles is the long and winding Cahlulak River. From its mouth in the Far Seas to though the Land & Sea pass to the Crimson sea, its main river bed and tributaries cover almost ten thousand miles of jungle. The mingling of these two waters has lead the coastline from the mouth of Cirroco Straits to the Gulf of Conquest to be named the Purple Sea.
The vast expanse of jungle that lie between the coasts has a vast amount
of different terrains and climates. Giant rainforests climb the hill sides
of the Kilan and Ironpeak mountain ranges filed with thylaine, suckler
beasts, and feeding blimps. Thick jungles clog the land around the tributaries
hiding the elusive butterfly lizards, vinesnakes and mysterious symbios.
The vast murky swamps that sink silently in the centre are home to the
horrible swarmer spiders, Devil Men, the insectile lokusts, alatus and
other swamp dwelling predators. But by far, the fiercest and most deadly
predators of these jungles are the savage and brutal Talwar.
The dark green skinned Talwar where originally the Warrior Mages of the sky city of the Erythria. When the Great Disaster struck it flung Erythria halfway around the globe where it crashed on the large island of the Anasar. There the massing Hordes were regrouping to attack the continent for the third time. The Warrior Mages were forced, under slow torture to show the Anasar masters how their machineries of war worked. Those with magical abilities had their tongue, one eye and one hand cut off so that they could still demonstrate how the machinery worked but were too crippled to work their magics.Armed with their new machines and military knowledge the Hordes attacked sooner than expected and conquered the continent.
The Erthrian prisoners accompanied the Anasar hordes to the continent
where they worked as engineers and military advisors. As new generations
took on the role as advdisor, they carved out a small, but favoured place
among the Anasar. When the Anasar where finally pushed from Parthenthius
they left behind many of the Erythrians behind. Harassed by the other races
for their role in the invasion, they were forced to take refuge in the
miles of uninhabited rainforests above the Corridor. Still organised around
their small monarchy, they organized a small group of men to do the hunting
while the rest tried to make an easier life for themselves. Over the next
ten years nearly three quarters of their population were killed by the
jungle. Finally the hunters, the only group who had learned how to survive
in the jungles, killed the king and his heir taking control over the remaining
population. The years had taught them that brutality and strength alone
had allowed them to live and they began to teach every man woman and child
within the group how to fight and survive within the jungles.
Talwar life revolves around combat. From childhood they are taught how to weld and make weapons for hunting and warfare. Death duals are the answer to most arguments and their is no organised system of government. Only occasional chiefs rise bloodily to power only to be killed when they show signs of weakness. Most live in semi-permanent villages where every body aids in the hunting, training of the young or weaponsmithing.
Raiding among the bands is common although warriors are not allowed to kill young children or pregnant women, all others are considered fair opponents. This is a difficult undertaking as even young children are taught to weld slings and knives, while the women, pregnant or not, are vicious and capable warriors.
After a band raids a village, the only true professional in the village, the Looter, collects and strips the bodies of the dead, distributing the clothing and weapons to the victors. They then bury or burn the bodies, casting the ashes onto the Calhulak. Outcastes with shaved scalps, Looters are seen as cursed and will not be killed by any Talwar for fear that they will become diseased and cursed should their braids touch Looter blood.
If a Looter comes across the body of a pregnant female or of a small child then he runs to the closest village and demands a Retribution. Runners from that tribe are sent out until all the nearby tribes have gathered. They view the body presented by the Looter and decide whether or not to pay retribution. All the tribes band together and attack the offending group. Every living thing within the raiders' village is tied to stakes where they are left for the swarmer spiders. This is the only time when two or more bands will freely cooperate and any other time they meet it becomes a battleground.
The pride of every Talwar is her weapon and her hair. As a child they
are kept bald until their Weapon Day, usually around their fifth birthday
where they are presented with their first adult weapon and they are allowed
to begin growing their hair. All Talwar grow their hair continuously from
this date onwards. Seen as a sign of virility and strength, young children
are encouraged to swing on the growing hair to strengthen it and by the
age of twenty most Talwar have thick black hair to the ankles and scalps
of iron. In battle the hair is braided and hung in locks. Metal balls or
blades are woven into the braids and swung at an enemy. When an opponent
is killed they are scalped and the hair is placed on the outside
of the victor's hut. Many older veterans have their entire huts covered
with the thick shiny hair.
The deep jungles of Kukuri are filled with a manner of strange, parasitic creatures who seek out living flesh to inhabit and turn to their own use. Their origins and powers are poorly understood by scholars who have only pieced together a few legends from what some the Talwar living in the cities have told them.
The Talwar look on them as the spirits of the jungle and revere them
as guardians of their people. Those who feel the call of the Elom, shave
their heads and walk naked and alone into the heart of the jungle. Those
that return, return "merged with the spirits of the jungle"
and possess strange powers and appearance. No longer human, they become
solitary inhabitants of the jungle.
Their Place in the Empire
The Talwar are the special forces of the Empire. They where defeated after a long war of attrition by the Parthenians who cut off their access to game and fresh water. The Talwar where impressed by the tactical skills of the Automatons and became wiling servants of the Empire. Most serve as frontier guardsmen or as personal and bodyguards, they respond easily to authority and have little ambition to rise up and become and officer where they would not be allowed to fight. Despite this lack of ambition they possess an instinctive knowledge of tactics and often entire companies will complete brilliant manoeuvres without even discussing them. Intelligent officers know of this talent and rarely order strategy, merely objectives and goals, leaving the tactics to the Talwar.
The Sanctum Alcedon
Shigata Ga Nai High