Kingdoms of Frandum - Tasaar
For long times, the natural frontier of Frandum has been the extremely long mountaineous range which separate it from the desert of Tasaar. It was as far as was possible from the focal points of interest, which were for a long time the kingdom of Valea and its neighbours.
Even so, some brave adventurers or hopeless people tried to cross the mountains, and then later on the desert, but it seemed to go on forever, and they tried to find a living in its inhospitable furnace.
During the Third Age, these nomadic tribes grew in number and in strength, as springs were found, where the mountains' water appeared, but it was not until Osidarta took shape there that the tribes really founded villages which became towns, based on abundant underground water.
During the second half of the Fourth Age, the isolated and defeated drows rediscovered the desert as they tried to extend their kingdom southward and encountered the resistance of the people of the desert.
Conscious of the impossibility of conquering a land so large and so tough, the drows preferred establishing trading routes with the desert, which turned out to have vast resources which have now opened it to the kingdoms of the north, and given it a real worldwide importance.
Climate and geography
The geography of Tasaar is among the simplest of the world: an uninterrupted chain of mountains to the north, which turns along the dragon sea to the east, and a sand desert everywhere else.
There is no real southern boundary to Tasaar, and its inhabitants keep a secret regarding what could lie beyond the desert, engendering countless rumors and fables of endless riches and mythical creatures. To the north, Tasaar meets the recent kingdom of Etenland, and the barely drow kingdom of Tan Lorak.
The mountains form a true shell around the desert, preventing any moisture from reaching it from the Dragon sea or the lands of the north. Given the low latitude of the kingdom, this leads to an uncontested lack of rain and vegetation in the whole kingdom, and extreme temperatures, both during the days and the rare nights.
Raw materials and resources
Making the list of what Tasaar lacks is rathe easy: there is no land for pasture or for sowing, no wood, no products of the sea or of the forest.
A purely mineral land, Tasaar relies in its rich delvings of precious metals, and exotic product like spice and fine clothes its people must fetch from the unknown kingdoms beyond the desert, which helps building up the rumors.
This strong desequlibrium has led to the sandmen creating new uses of sand, as shown in the splendid works of the city of Eberzan.
People of Tasaar
The first human nomads who entered Tasaar quickly found out the gods had not left it devoid of intelligent life, and they had to fight sibeis to establish their domination over the desert.
Lacking organization, weapons and preparation, the sibeis were quickly vanquished, and almost exterminated by the fanatical humans, most of whom believed in Galanhir, thus throwing the psychologically fragile sibeis into the arms of Shezael they have not deserted since.
Nowadays a relative understanding has come between the humands and the sibeis, and even though the remaining reptiles are few, they have managed to show their use in the building society of Tasaar, thanks to their resilience to the harshness of the desert.
Cities and countryside
Partly settled at the end of the Third Age, the people of Tasaar are still mostly nomadic, going from one oasis to another, trading items and information throughout the desert.
The new towns of the Third Age have grown, though, making the biggest of them, Eberzan, a prosperous city whose development is unfortunately slowed by the difficulty of provisioning a large population with food and water.
On the fringe of the kingdom, Abersabil has known a recent growth, as the Valley of the Snakes is the only known road to and out of the desert for the drows of Tan Lorak.
Politics and laws
For long a congregation of nomadic tribes, Tasaar has never had any central politics, until its recent economical development lead to the necessity of coordinating the flows of goods and people.
The different tribes of the desert thus chose to federate themselves, creating a Desert Council which would supervize them and conduct the general policy of the new kingdom, which took the name of the desert it sheltered.
The new governing apparatus has quickly gained prestige both within and out of its borders, yet it has no real power of contrition over the tribes who continue to follow their rites and traditions.
As such, and since resources are scarce in the desert, crimes like thievery or murder are entirely forbidden, and travelers are invited to read a good book on the local customs if they do not want to lose an ear, an hand, or even worse, especially when it comes to women.
Wars and armies
A harsh environment create harsh armies, or so the saying goes. This has been demonstrated by the people of Tasaar, firstly by the human settlers who defeated the sibeis, and more recently by the bands which managed to repel the drows even though they were several times outnumbered.
Yet, even though they can achieve unity in a tremendously short time, the tribes of the desert enjoy raiding one another, and small fights are not uncommon among neighbours, as a test for their youth's bravery.
The new federal council has tried to create an army, but the fighting traditions vary so much between the tribes, that they had to give up and pray the unity of the desert will stand should any new danger appear.
Trade and craftsmanship
Thanks to the drows, the desert has opened its frontier to commerce, and more and more merchants are seen going through the Valley of the Snakes, dreaming about the riches of the desert.
Even though no one really knows from where come the rare exotic products of the desert, traders only count their profits and the margin they can make when selling them to the people of the north.
It would be unjust, though, not to write more about the craftsmanship of the people of Tasaar, who have true skills in making garments, draperies, and in manipulating fabrics in general.
Science and education
Foremost of the sciences taught within the desert, astronomy allows the nomads to find their way in the endless succession of dunes, and many famous astronomers have made their first steps leading caravans through the desert.
More generally speaking, Tasaarans are found of sciences, and among them mathematics, even though famous philosophers have been born in the sands of the desert.
Thus, every child follows a rich yet short education, to which is added a rough training in the arts of swordsmanship and hand-to-hand fighting.
Religion and magic
Unbelieving, the sibeis soon turned to Shezael after they were massacred by the followers of Galanhir who first invaded their kingdom. Later immigration was made of dwarves of Kragggen-Kor, and humans fleeing Lean, both of them neutrals, thus leading to a balancing of the three dominant religions within the desert. The influence of the drows tends to give predominance to the cult of Sheael in the north-east of the kingdom, while the more traditional tribes of the west cling to their creed in Galanhir.
As for magic, people of Tasaar learn it with a scientific point of view, leading them to being strong spellweavers, but entirely unlike the more traditional mages, and of course the druids of Dostenia among them.
Arts and culture
The culture of the desert is rather hard to enter from someone who has been raised in the northern kingdoms, yet it is unique and infinitely rich, any facial expression or clothing variation tending to send messages in a society where talking is a loss of moisture and time.
Tasaaran embroidery is also well-known, and the cooking of the south slowly extends its influence out of the desert, as the spices which form its basis reach the tables of northern cooks.
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