The Atalatheans are a sub-culture of the greater Parthan people found almost exclusively in the eastern foothills of the mountains called Atalathus by the locals, and Duraduum throughout the rest of Verosia. Unlike most Parthans, they eschew a city-state based society for a more clannish existence. They are not nomadic per se, but their hunter-gatherer ways force them to range over vast areas, following the herds they depend on for sustenance. Unlike most Parthans, they wear their hair long, and often affect beards. They favor traditional tunics and sandals, but combine them with fur cloaks and leathers.
The Atalathean people fight primarily as foot-skirmishers—a direct evolution of the way they hunt. Their favored weapon is the javelin, and they enter battle with as many as a dozen such weapons. The greatest of these weapons are generational ones, with the sagas of a skirmisher’s ancestors carved on them. As one might guess, these warriors go through great pains to retrieve such weapons, and go through even greater efforts to ensure their javelins can be used for many a battle.
Atalatheans rarely enter pitched battle on their own, preferring instead to fight as guerillas or as hunters, striking from the distant shadows before melting away to another ambush point. But though they cannot be coaxed into fighting straightforward battles on their own, their city-living cousins (who disdain any formation outside of the phalanx) have long used coin to add such masterful missile troops to their battle roster. Atalatheans generally gather in companies of 50-100 skirmishers, composed of men from allied clans and the odd renegade.

A Parthan people descended from the founders of the Great Citadel of Pyrrhus.

The Pyrrhae are another splinter-group related to the greater Parthan society. They are a horse-riding people found in the hills and sparse forests of central Parthus. Much like the Atalatheans, they eschew the great city-states of their cousins in favor of a clannish existence. Unlike the Atalatheans, the Pyrrhae are a fiercely warlike people who often engage in internecine warfare or in raids against Keir and even Moar or Kamora.

Brief History:
The Pyrrhae trace their lineage back to those heroes who founded the Great Citadel of Pyrrhus, at the northwestern-most extreme of Parthus' influence. Their distance from Salix's influence ensured they would soon walk a different path from their brethren. The rest of the Parthans came to embrace peace during the Age of Philosophers, but the Citadel of Pyrrhus was largely bordered by foreigners. These neighbors, precursors to the Keiran and Moarik peoples, were seen as barbarian rabble, and conflict often arose as Pyrrhus sought to annex their lands to its dominion and they in turn sought to plunder its riches.

Given their more militaristic tendencies, the Pyrrhae approached the occupation of Parthus by Kal-Kamora differently as well. While they publicly professed obeisance to their conquerers, they covertly waged a guerilla war aimed at the invader garissons and disrupting the hold of the regents appointed over them. This independence streak continued when Memnos freed the Parthan peoples and established his Order over them. While most of the Citadels wholeheartedly adopted the new order of things, Kraetis, son of Memnos, sensed the desire of the Pyrrhae to stand apart and secretly began to show them his favor. He saw the Pyrrhae as his weapon to use in the mortal plane during his planned rebellion against his father, and began to ingrain in them such practices and customs that he found pleasing.

Under Kraetis' patronage, the Pyrrhae became known for their cruelty and love of violence. When their divine master struck at his father, they gladly invaded the realms of the other Citadels. They had the greatest and most numerous armies of the Parthan realms at the time, and were accompanied by many foreign mercenaries. They they lacked cohesion, though, being led by many rival warlords, and shared the rashness and impatience of their divine patron. Just as Kraetis was ultimately cast down by his father, so did the Pyrrhae have to suffer the destruction of their Great Citadel.

The Pyrrhae were thus left without a homeland. Homeless, destitute, most of their people did not survive the ensuing winters and the still-burning hatred the rest of the Parthans felt for them. Those who lived became a nomadic people, wandering the lands as horse-riding tribes, seeking grazing grounds for their prized mounts and living in tents. They earned coin and plunder as mercenaries or as bandits, and earned a fearsome reputation as both.

This remains the lot of the Pyrrhae to this day. Distrusted and disdained by their cousins in the Citadels, they are nonetheless prized for their skill as mounted warriors. They still uphold Kraetis above all other gods, and dedicate their dark deeds to his name. They are considered a threat to all those who cannot resist their violence by force of arms of by weight of coin.

Appearance and Physicality:
Pyrrhae differ very little from mainstream Parthans; if anything they tend to exhibit more "purestrain" Parthan features and fewer Ronan traits.

Pyrrhae tribes can be found through inner Parthus. The hills and plains of the realm may not be suitable for farming, but they serve just fine for grazing. Pyrrhae can also be found within Kal-Kamora and even Gand, but these are mostly mercenaries or marauders riding about for plunder. Pyrrhae tribes would once band together to form temporary incursions far into southern Moar, but the arrival of the Barukar has shut off that avenue of advance to them.

(for a detailed look within the Parthan civilization, see the Culture of Parthus)
Pyrrhae culture, such as it may be called, centers around violence and martial ability. Horse-riding skill is as considered as paramount as that of the sword or marksmanship. Every boy is expected to ride; he cannot eat with other men until he's killed game on his own, and cannot be properly called a man until he's killed another man. Coming-of-age rituals involve raids, murder (if proper combat cannot be given), kidnapping, and even rape. Pyrrhan "morals" are a direct take-away from the tenets of Kraetis, which can be boiled down to "doing unto others demonstrates your power and superiority; and prevents them from ever doing unto you."

Blood-games are frequent, and are approached in popularity only by the tradition of oral poetry still maintained among their kind—bawdy, bloody songs that celebrate their cruel exploits. Women are considered objects of pleasure, and only the strongest girls rise to positions of independence or power. Slaves are likewise kept for pleasure and for such skills as might be useful; they are brutalized and terrorized into forever losing any hope of freedom or inclination of escape.

Pyrrhae often wear leggings that greatly resemble those of their islander cousins, but made of leather, padded in the right places for riding comfrot, and without the bold designs. Otherwise, they wear very short leather kilts and reinforced loincloths. When unarmored, they tend to eskew shirts, and look instead to heavy cloaks to protect them from the elements. They favor Moarik-style boots and traditional Parthan sandals equally. Women wear such clothing as their men wish them to, which is to say very little and cut for the other party's pleasure. Where colors are concerned, men care not for them, and women make do with what has been stolen for them by the dwellers of cities—for them, the mindset tends to be "the brighter and bolder, the better".

Jewelry and facial paints are equally important to both men and women. Rings, amulets, necklaces, broaches, bracelets and other sorts of jewelry are commonly by both. Men wear them to flaunt their success in raiding and to offset the otherwise spartan nature of their garb; women wear them as a means for their men to flaunt their success in raiding and to be made even more alluring.

Pyrrhan men wear their hair either very long, in wild, flowing locks; or very short, cropped close to the scalp. Women always affect long hair, and are expected to wear it down, precisely because it happens to be considered sexual innuendo in Parthan culture. A man who wishes to shame his woman cuts her hair extremely short. Tattoos are practically a requirement among men, who often use this art to illustrate their career on their skin.

Religion and supernatural beliefs:
The Pyrrhae disdain most gods. Kraetis is seen as their divine patron. Pyrrhan dogma is defined by its immorality or, more apropos, its lack of morality. Pyrrhae don't see themselves evil, but rather consider themselves to be predators—akin to a force of nature. Pyrrhae believe absolutely in the idea that "might makes right", and that the power to do something provides its own justification. They see Kraetis as the embodiment of this idea. Even his punishment and disfigurement is part and parcel of this: failure is its own punishment.

Magic is more tolerated among Pyrrhae than among mainstream Parthans. That is, no Pyrrhae would choose to pursue an arcane path, but no Pyrrhae would turn down to services of a reliable spellcaster, either. Such creatures are still considered decadent tricksters, but they are nonetheless potent tools to be used.

Pyrrhae at War:
Perhaps due to their ages-long proximity to the Moarik, the Pyrrhae, alone of all the Parthan peoples, became a great horse-riding culture. They fight exclusively as horseback raiders, skirmishers and, when paid enough, as excellent medium cavalry or mounted archers in proper battles. They dismount only when stealth is necessary, to steal into fortresses or houses, or when terrain dictates they must.

In battle, Pyrrhae prefer breastplates of leather, linen or metal, or a combination of the above. Younger warriors will settle for any protective gear, though. No Pyrrhan warrior will wear armor heavy enough to rob him of his agility and his ability to maneuver about the saddle as he accustomed to. They equally favor throwing axes, javelins, and recurved bows for thinning a foe's ranks, but scorn lance charges; they favor all manner of one-handed weapons for the melee, from half-spears, to swords, to axes and cavalry hammers. All Pyrrhae are recognized on the battlefield by their famous shining metal helmets, with crests the shape of mythical monsters.

There is no standing army of Pyrrhae. All males in a tribe will fight against a foe that comes against it. The tribe is either ruled by a warrior strong and cunning enough to seize control, or by an always tenuous alliance of the best warriors. Those petty leaders will often ride off and take with them such warriors as they can to join them on raids or mercenary contracts for plunder and fame. Success raises a leader's status within his tribe.

External Relations:
To a Pyrrhan, all outsiders are potential enemies or victims.

Even members of his tribe are not to be trusted until they have proven themselves true blood-brothers. Pyrrhae are so defined by their culture of violence and immorality that it is virtually impossible for them to form true bonds with anyone. Ironically, this means that one who does win the friendship of such a man has found a steadfast comrade for life.

Ultimately, this much must be remembered: the Pyrrhae are intensely proud of their heritage, and still view themselves as the “true” Parthans, those most worthy to rule. They are a danger to everyone around them; the just and valorous everywhere consider it their duty to stop them, and the wise universally lock their doors and hide their families when they hear them come.

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