Atop the Shoulders of Giants
Confederated Tribes of the Selkir
The Confederated Tribes of the Selkir is a nation comprised of seven tribes positioned along the Selkir river. The two most prominent tribes of the confederation are the Boreen and Jortus who effectively pushed the other members to join under an argument of mutual protection – one that was ultimately most beneficial for the reluctant smaller tribes than for the initiating larger tribes.
The culture of the Confederated Tribes is one heavily rooted in the idea of honor, integrity, and spiritualism. As part of their philosophy and spiritualism they also believe that males and females have different roles and proclivities. Females are seen as static and inward focused, excelling in matters of the community maintenance, military defense, and internal leadership. Males, on the other hand, are seen as dynamic and outward focused, excelling in matters of diplomacy, military offense, and travel. Thus the chiefs of all the clans of the confederation are female, the majority of diplomats and scouts are male, and the military structures are divided between offense-focused and defense-focused leadership.
Religiously the tribes worship deities which they believe were created by the mating of the Sun and the Earth. Each of the deities resembles an anthropomorphized animal, and for the most part each tribe venerates one of these deities and the animal they resemble above the rest. The Jortus, for example, venerate the bear who protects its family and its home from outside threats and will do anything to preserve a safe place for its community. The Boreen venerate the eagle who is far-seeing and prefers to perch high above both its prey and its enemies alike where their claws cannot reach it.
Since shortly after its formation the confederation has been on nominally good terms with nearly all of its neighbors. Under its new leadership the Nada’Athi empire regards the confederation as an unimportant trade partner, the Zhakram regard it as a necessary trade partner, the nations of Keland and Golir regard it as a negotiating convenience compared to dealing with the tribes individually, and the Khalram – after the acquisition of the Norten lands – have so much land that they have spent much of the last several generations learning to properly manage it and can hardly be bothered to do little more than establish amicable relations with most of its own neighbors. However, there is some tension between the confederation and its tribal neighbors on one point. With the Plokar there is still a lingering distrust that comes with any relation to the Plokar, but with the Zhakram and the Khalram there is a very simple – yet very complicated – stumbling block. That is simply that they were never invited.
The Jortus and Boreen saw the Zhakram as unstable and unsuited. The Zhakram had been corrupted by foreign and dark beliefs before, and on top of this fact they had always been seen as dishonorable compared to other clans. Their methods of war making are frowned upon, their manners are rude, and their rites are not traditional. On the other hand the Khalram were simply seen as too willing to ally with foreigners. The Khalram have always been seen as a powerful and honorable tribe, but between having the instability (in the mind of other tribes) of a male chief and a history of working with foreigners against other tribes, it was decided that the Khalram should not be included.
Now, it is well debated whether or not the Zhakram or Khalram would have even considered joining the confederation if asked, but since they were not so much as told of the up-coming change it became less a matter of their actual preference and more a matter of being “shown due respect” by their fellow tribes.
Formation and History:
The formation of the Confederation of Selkir occurred as a response to a long series of historical events, beginning with the destruction of the Tarket tribe and ending with the Battle of Maiden Hill in 1413.
After the Tarket were conquered by the combined armies of the Khalram and Keland, and then shortly all but eradicated by the war crimes of the Zhakram, many of the other tribes began to view their situation as much more dangerous. Generations of conflict between the tribes had prevented the formation of any central leadership or notable arrangements for mutual defense. To many of the tribes it was a stroke of mercy that the ferocious Plokar had continued to hold the Nada’Athi army at bay for so long, and with the partial invasion of the Tarket lands from the east it became apparent in the minds of many tribe members that if they did not unite in some fashion, it would only be a matter of time before the lot of them would be conquered or annexed.
Initially this push came from the Jortus, who pressured the tribe they knew was in the most dire position, the Norten. Bordering Golir, the Keland-allied Khalram, and the Nada’Ath friendly Boreen, the Norten tribe was at the highest risk of invasion, and everyone knew it. Luckily for the Norten all of their neighbors had peaceable intentions come the end of the Planar War and wished no conflict with the tribe. This lasted for about sixty years until the Nada’Athi governor of Almin captured a few renegade members of the Norten tribe raiding a small Nada’Athi outpost for weapons. One public hanging later the Norten declared a war. Unfortunately for the Norten, however, this war was incredibly short lived. About two months of swift strike-and-retreat raids by the Norten was put to an end when a legion of Nada’Athi soldiers accompanied by four imperial battle mages landed on the shores of the Norten lands. One major battlefield engagement later the Norten chief was captured, her personal guard killed, and the largest Norten settlement occupied. Unfortunately for the Nada’Athi the Khalram had peaceably marched their entire army into the northern reaches of the Norten lands three days before the battle concluded. Fearing a political conflict with Keland if they were to engage the Khalram, the Nada’Ath claimed the port cities of the area and abandoned the rest to the Khalram.
At this point the Khalram controlled, to some degree, a swath of land that extended from the Merchant Sea all the way to the border of the great northern forests, making the Jortus as much afraid of the Khalram as any of the other apparent threats. They next approached the Boreen, but the Boreen, confident that they were protected by their trade relations with the Nada’Ath, turned down the offer of alliance. Finally, in 1330 the Jortus chief approached the chief of the Plokar with an offer of alliance against their common enemy – the Nada’Athi empire. The alliance was formed, and for the following 70 years the Jortus supplied the Plokar with furs, lumber, iron, and grains to continue their efforts resisting the Nada’Ath. In the year 1400, however, a Nada’Athi prince by the name of Gorud Fahresh Karim determined that he would put an end to these supply routes. He took a group of 200 soldiers on a small fleet or river boats up the Selkir burning villages, poisoning crops, and throwing maggots into grain stores. He and his soldiers were finally stopped in the early days of winter in 1401 when a group of Jortus warriors infiltrated the Nada’Athi camp disguised as prostitutes and decapitated Gorud Karim in his personal tent.
In the twelve years that followed off-and-on battles between the Nada’Athi, the Plokar, and the Jortus continued until the seventh day of the second half of the third moon of Autumn, 1413. A major Nada’Athi force had been landed at the Yareth Settlement with the intent of making a direct push toward the Plokar capital. Scouts reported that the empire had fielded nearly 3000 soldiers and 20 mages to this cause. The Plokar sent for reinforcements from the Jortus and retreated to a large hill a day’s march south of the city called Maiden’s Hill. With the Jortus reinforcements they had a total of about 2000 warriors, and 14 mages. Knowing they could not win the battle on fielded troops alone, they devised a plan wherein a hired mercenary employed by the Jortus would take up a position in a near-by grove of trees and wait for the primary Nada’Athi charge before infiltrating the enemy’s flank and eliminating the Nada’Athi commander. The battle commenced. The Nada’Athi charge came, and less than a minute after the melee began the Nada’Athi horns began to sound the retreat. It seemed the mercenary had done his job. However when he returned he collected his fee from the Jortus chief, he changed forms into a red dragon and breathed out a gout of fire that killed the Plokar chief, three of their mages, and gravely wounded two others. He then flew away at high speed chased by several trailing arrows. The Nada’Athi renewed their charge in the midst of the confusion and excitement, and proceeded to route the combined armies.
The tirbal warriors were able to regroup at the city where they managed to hold out for the 10 days it took for reinforcements to cut off the Nada’Athi supply lines and force a major withdrawal. Still, the damage was done. The Plokar, revitalizing their traditional distrust of other tribes began to cut off ties to the Jortus shortly after the Nada’Athi army was quelled. However on the opposite side of Jortus lands, the Boreen took this news, along with the damage done some years ago by the campaign up the Selkir river, as a sign that they needed to hedge their bets against the Nada’Athi. In the winter of 1414 the Confederated Tribes of the Selkir formed around common principles: preservation of tribal culture; preservation of tribal independence; preservation of the tribal ideals.
To put an end to the then current Nada’Athi war campaign the confederation fielded over 2000 warriors in 1414 not to have a battle or wage a war, but to make a point. The 2000 tribal warriors, among them more than 100 warriors from each of the tribes of the confederation, marched up to the gates of Almin and delivered a letter to the governor. The letter informed him and the empire of the formation of the confederation and the terms of treaty under which they intended to establish and maintain trade with the empire. He was politely asked to offer his response verbally to the assembled representatives. He accepted the terms with one addition: any provision of supplies to the Plokar would be considered an act of war. The treaty was signed, by the governor even though the Nada’Athi emperor refused to sign any document recognizing the legitimate claim of anyone to those lands other than the empire.