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Taymora, Land of the Deadby Giampaolo Agosta
Government: City-States ruled by Necromancer Kings
Population: circa 1.600.000
The Taymorans are a dark and curly haired people with tanned complexion and dark eyes. The nobles are usually much paler, which is not surprising, since during the height of Taymora the upper strata of aristocracy were made up entirely of nosferatu, the chosen of Tanyt, the night mother.
The average Taymoran lives in the countryside hamlets and dresses with a linen or cotton tunic and little else. Clan chiefs wear a conical skull cap, and a wide sheepskin cloak. They also wear bandoleers with a single large knife sheathed across the chest, and carry a staff as a symbol of their status.
Priestesses are more common than priests at clan level. They dress with long tunics, high pointed hats, and braid their hairs into two tresses.
Beyond clan chiefs and priests, the other upper class is that of bronzesmiths. Beyond the economic relevance of this activity, the master metalsmiths were skilled in both combat and enchantment magic, allowing them to forge themselves blades strong in magic.
Merchants, warriors, miners, and craftsmen make up the middle class, while farmers are the lower class. Slaves are common only in citadels and towns, and then only among the nosferatu nobility, though owning a few slaves is a mark of especially high rank among the human nobles.
In addition to the Taymorans, other ethnic groups appeared frequently in the Taymoran lands, either as slaves or mercenaries. There were the Lizard Men and Azcan men from the West, the Elves mercenaries that settled the Sheyallia Borderlands to the East, the Fomorian Giants, builders of great citadels, that came from the Altan Tepee, and the races created by the Necromancer Kings' powerful magics: the albino humans known as Albarendi among the elves, and the shapeshifting warriors in the armies of the Necromancer Kings of Inner Taymora, the werewolves.
The Taymoran society is, at its lowest level, based on small clans or extended families living in small hamlets. Each clan averages at twenty members. These villages dot the countryside, and cluster around a single tower for protection and trade. They are composed by circular huts with thatched roof.
The whole Taymoran territory is covered by some ten thousand conical towers, which overlook trade routes, rivers, mines and coasts. They provide a relay network which allows information to flow fast from villages to the main cities, and among the city-states themselves. A tower is usually surrounded by an extended village of some fifty people. It houses a small clan nobility, basically the clan chief and a priest or priestess of some kind.
Larger "castles" are built by connecting four towers through stone walls, filling the resulting courtyard with earth, and building another tower on top. Each citadel is the personal domain of one of the nosferatu nobles during the height of Taymora. Within the citadel, and in dungeons dug under it, live the master of the castle, its second-in-command, who is usually a nosferatu bride or another kind of undead, and a small herd of slaves (around twenty), who make up a blood reserve for the nosferatu rulers. The lower towers house bronzeworking workshops, armouries, shrines, and a small military.
The domain of a nosferatu master covers his citadel, including a larger village of some two hundred people, three to five minor towers, and eight to twelve hamlets.
There are circa one hundred city-states, ten of which were major settlements of at least five thousands, while the others average at just one thousand inhabitants. Each city-state controls directly a large number of towers and hamlets, adding a rural population of two thousands. Moreover, the Nosferatu Kings hold the masters of minor citadels as vassals--they are often vampiric slaves as well, thus boasting a kingdom's population to fifteen to twenty thousands, perhaps more for the largest city-states.
The major cities were Tamoraz, Colhador and Hushu in the Taymoran Heartlands, Baruminis and Sulqis in Inner Taymora, Bythia and Tzur on the Western Coast, Sarroch in the Western Borderlands, and Tuma and Tarshish in the Northern Borderlands.
The Taymorans were originally ruled by clan chiefs, advised by the priestesses of Tanyt, the mother goddess, and the bronzesmiths. As they evolved towards civilisation, cities were founded, and the clan chiefs became kings. They began dabbling in magic, both priestly and wizardly, and by the time Taymora reached its height they were all lead by Tanyt to the Eternal Life. Each ruler became one of Undying Kings, not only the kings of the city-states, but also the rulers of the minor citadels.
Each King or citadel master usually kept a single vampiric slave: letting too many of them around would make the competition for food too hard, and the politicking for power too dangerous. Even so, there were more than four thousand nosferatu in Taymora, during its maximum expansion.
The Kings were advised by a large clergy, which worshipped Tanyt as well as other gods, Melq-Ashtir, Qorun, Sethlanis, and even Sarrattalu, the death god, ruler of a dark, much feared afterlife. Human nobles were charged with the routine duties of ruling, leaving the nosferatu nobles' time free for their political and economical schemes.
The master bronzesmiths composed the third part of the upper class. They were more independent then the priests or nobles from the political power, but they were the key of the economical power, since they held the secrets of creating metal weapons and tools. Moreover, bronze tools and weapons need frequent maintenance, so even minor bronzeworkers are much wanted.
The major temples of the Taymoran pantheon are large complex built far from the major cities. Actually, they control major sea trade routes or large mines of lead or gold.
The Great Sanctuary of Qorun and the Temple of Melq-Ashtir are visible from afar in the sea, marking the beginning and the end of the Western Taymoran Coast, while the House of Sethlanis is built near a volcano in the Gulf of Tzur. The Shrine of Urtni is the only major temple outside Taymora proper, as it was built by the Southern Sheyallia north of their capitol, Nan-in-Edhil.
There are no single major temples to Tanyt and Sarrattalu, leading to wild speculations on secret, well hidden temples in the underground of the Heartlands.