Aarum (/ɑːɹɹəm/ (Aarumite: /oːɹaɪ/))
Aarum is a term describing a vaguely unified group of tribes sharing the same ethnicity living primarily on the Nabari Plateu. The Aarumite people are new arrivals to the region, fleeing the arrival of the Terruk-Mal into their traditional homelands. The Aarumite Migration as it was called changed the face of the Plateau forever as the Aarumites moved in and and displaced most of the peoples living there. Now they control almost all of the Plateau, with the exception of a handful of towns that have held out against the initial migration, and The Aerie of Nabiu. Aarum is not a singular state per se, rather it is a collection of tribes that share the same ethnicity, language, and a similar history. As a result there is no overall government body controlling all the Aarumite peoples. Governance of the Aarumite peoples therefore falls to individual clan leaders who are responsible for leading each of the nomadic bands that make up the Aarumites. On rare occasions however, a particularly influential clan leader can sway a large segment of the Aarumite population and create a truly awe inspiring horde, an event which has happened a few times throughout history, with the most recent being during the Aarumite migrations, and the ascendancy of Bolverk 'Stormborn'. Aarum is a very underdeveloped region, with the Aarumites themselves a nomadic people who have long resisted the pressure to settle. Most of the infrastructure that was built up in the region has gone largely unmaintained since the Aarumites forced out the majority of the settled peoples living on the Plateau with their arrival. Despite a constant struggle to obtain enough food to maintain the populace within their own borders, Aarum has become wealthy living off the pillaging of foreign lands, an activity which they partake in routinely. As neighboring societies become more heavily fortified and better armed however, there has been pressure for the Aarumites to settle. This pressure has exacerbated considerably with the death of Bolverk who was the most powerful warlord the Aarumite peoples had seen in centuries, possibly ever.
Aarumites are a fiercely independent people, who have fought long and hard to maintain their culture against would be conquerors. This independence has led them far from their traditional homes in Huria to the Nabari Plateau, and continues to see them through a troubling time of transitions. They historically lived closely with the Huri peoples, and had extensive contact with the Aeillan People through both trade, and frequent warfare. It is widely the Aarumites share a common ancestor with most of the Orcish people living in the Terruk steppe, especially seen as most Aarumites are by blood, 'Half' Orcs. Aarumites value strength, courage, and stubborn pragmatism, all of which are necessary to maintain their lifestyle as nomadic herders in a desolate land with dwindling means of securing their prosperity. Those who wish to prove themselves will frequently undertake dangerous actions, often taking up the blade to pillage foreign lands and bring additional treasure, resources, and food back to their people. Aarumites, as a rule have little use for aesthetic concerns, though many do decorate their clothes anyway, often with trophies exhibiting their greatest achievements. One art that is alive and well however, music with many Aarumites producing simple musical instruments. Indeed the Aarumite method for preserving the history of their people is through epic songs, hours long stories told in lyric form with accompany music, requiring most of the community's participation. These epic songs are a rare spectacle for outsides, though many who have witnessed one have called such events awe inspiring.
The history of the Aarumite peoples are long, and are rather difficult to parse for those unfamiliar with the language of the Aarumites. The exact origin of the first Aarumites is unknown, even to the Aarumites themselves, but it is widely believed that they are descended from similar ancestors to many of the Orcish peoples hailing from the central steppe of Galisea. The first peoples that could be identified as being "Aarumite" in nature were settled in the greater Huria region around around the time of the Bright Star. These first peoples were semi-nomadic, living in villages during part of the year. The The War of Frozen Scales, and the rapid desertification of Huria caused by the magics wielded during that conflict dramatically reduced the capacity of their land, and forced them into a more fully nomadic lifestyle. As Huria became increasingly hostile territory to live in, the Aarumites adapated, spreading further afield to lands that were still ammenable to widespread habitation, as well as becoming increasingly militant and raiding their neighbors. This fostered increasingly hostile relations with the others sharing Huria, the Huri People, as well as people living outside their home region. These conflicts however, saw the Aarumites become increasingly isolated, and as they began to become outcompeted in safer lands, and indeed shut out of the south with the construction of theThe Great Wall, they struggled to survive. The Aarumites became increasingly contained in the lands of Huria and its immediate surroundings. The arrival of the Terruk-Mal in Huria and the fighting between the two peoples saw the defeat of the Aarumites, triggering their flight into the Nabari Plateau. After the arrival of the Aarumite people to the Nabari Plateau, they began to take over aggressively, with the people spreading their herds throughout the Plateau and with warbands raiding settlements in the area. The increased violence in the region, and the sudden contraction of The Aerie of Nabiu resulted in almost all settled people leaving the area for safer areas. In the century since, Aarumites have moved in fully, stabilizing their own presence in the region. In recent years the nomadic traditions of the Aarumite people have come increasingly under threat as the land struggles to support the full population of Aarumites and possible targets for raids disappear, or become increasingly hard targets. During the The Campaigns of Bolverk, there was a possibility that under a strong leader the fortified states surround them could be broken, however with his defeat at the hands of a band of adventurers from Mysteria, brought this offensive to an end. At this point, the Aarumites face a challenge, one that may see bloodshed, another migration, or hail the end of their lifestyle.
Demography and Population
Demography in the Aarumite region is, in the best of times, an inexact science. as the Aarumites are a nomadic peoples with no system of writing, transfer of that knowledge is difficult to do, and Aarumite methods of recordkeeping are generally kept secret from outsiders, meaning any information that can be obtained is either surveying data from foreigners, or leaks of family histories from the Aarumites themselves. Despite this a few things are known about the population of the Aarumite people. The Aarumite nation, to the extent that an Aarumite nation exists is quite small even by the standards of northern Galisea. Only around 800,000 souls can claim to be Aarumite. Almost the entire population of Aarum consists of small nomadic communities with no set homelands. A small handful of permanent villages, used mostly as waystations along multiple migratory routes exist. Within the territories claimed by Aarum there are a number of heavily fortified towns that do exist, but while they frequently do interract, even peacefully with Aarumites, they are not counted among the Aarumite peoples, and would resent being likened to their nomadic neighbors. Aarum is a ethnic desgination moreso than it is a state, and as a result, barring few exceptions for people who have adopted their ways, almost the entire population of Aarum is Aarumite. Most Aarumites are 'Half-Orc' in a sense, though they would prefer the term Auri, though there are still a few mostly human, and mostly orc peoples that either exist due to hereditary anomalies or simply have been the result of relatively rare breeding where interraction with the other part (human or orc) has been limited by circumstance or by choice.
The territory of Aarum is comparatively compact roughly 400,000 square kilometers. It is aligned primarily from west to east, but only slightly, with only a mild axial alignment. There is a substantial bulge in the eastern territory of Aarum, as the Aerie of Nabiu has managed to survive, and, with the assistance of the Cyrenic legions, maintain control of a reduced territory. Crossing the Aarumite's primary territory can take weeks if one is properly prepared. Though the land is flat, it is underdeveloped and its interiors lack many landmarks, making it difficult to navigate. The borders of Aarum are most demarcated by geographical boundaries. The Aarumite people maintain security by remaining on the Nabari Plateau, significantly higher in elevation than the nearby lands of the Terruk-Mal. To its western frontier lies the treacherous Lazat Canyon, marking its boundary with Nabiu and Elleryca, and difficult to traverse in numbers. To its north lies the mountain homes of the Volgier, and its south lie the The Kingdom of Cyrenica and Nabiu. The ecosystem of Aarum is fairly uniform, with the overwhelming majority of territory clearly controlled by the Aarumite peoples being semi-humidgrassy steppe. The lands themselves are relatively flat throughout most of Aarumite territories with gradual sloping into the foothills of the nearby mountains. The area is also much colder than most of the territories lying to its south. The area receieves comparatively little rain, with most of the relatively small bodies of water existing in the region being runnoff from the nearby mountains.
The people of Aarum are not a singular state and thus lack any real singular military structure. Instead each clan looks to its own defenses, and puts together its own raiding parties. The high level of violence in Aarumite society however breeds natural warriors, and an unusually high percentage of the population is competent in battle if called to arms. In most cases, if a clan needs to engage in warfare, nearly every member of the clan can participate, though only the largest raiding parties need this member peoples, and so actual numbers of warriors fighting for a given clan are usually much smaller. Warriors for the Aarumite typically fight with a motley assortment of equipment, though simple, easy to maintain weapons are favored. Given their lifestyle of nomadry, generally on horseback, they have become adept steppe hunters, adopting the use of spears and bows which they can use on the back of a mount with alarming effectiveness. When coming in close they prefer axes, clubs, and vicious sabers. Aarumites rarely have much armor, and when they do they rely on things that can be produced with local materials. Armors made from animal products therefore, such as padded, leather and hide armors are used, though when an Aarumite can obtain metal armors they will use them without concern. Aarumites primarily fight as mounted raiders launching a torrent of arrows at their foes before closing to cut down survivors, moving as quickly as possible to overwhelm foes before an organized resistance can be put up.
The Aarumite people, despite a relatively minimalistic agricultural and industrial base do their best to keep abreast of technological advancement. Through trade, and indeed raiding, the Aarumites have learned more advanced metallurgical and manufacturing techniques, adapting them as best they can to meet their own limited needs and circumstances. This includes, to a limited extent the ability to produce magic items, though frequently Aarumite items tend to be more limited in nature to those produced by runesmiths with access to proper facilities. Aarumites do not have the ability to produce firearms, but captured examples are highly prized, and efforts have been made by Aarumite wise peoples to make more ammuniton.
The Aarumites, despite centuries of interaction and conflict with outsiders have managed to maintain their own ancient faith. Key to this faith is the veneration of ancestors, generations of which are sung about in the great epic songs of the Aarumites. Those who have passed on become venerated as protective spirits, to a certain extent as divine beings. It is believed that the eldest spirits who have been vaguely remembered from the earliest days of the Aarumite people have become, in a certain sense, gods in their own right.
The Aarumites, lacking an organized state, don't really have foreign relations in the formal sense. Rather, they have established a collective reputation through the interactions between Aarumites and their neighbors. That reputation, unfortunately for the Aarumites is generally, one of distrust. Due to the pressures of their condition, and due to a cultural value on strenght and courage, Aarumite bands have raided, fairly routinely all of the areas neighboring themselves, as well as the towns within the bounds of their own claimed territory, and even, in rare circumstances, nations further away. This has frayed the relationship between Aarumites and those closest to them geographically, and even though trade is also frequent, Aarumites are frequently subject to suspicion and discrimination in foreign lands. It has also resulted in turnabout, as many of their neighbors also capture isolated Aarumites and sell them into slavery.
Agriculture & Industry
Aarum exists as a nomadic band, and as a result most agricultural and industrial bases are highly underdeveloped. Most of the food in the territory is gained through the herding and slaughter of farm animals, though some hunting and gathering provides for a more balanced nutrition. Most industry is tied to the herding of animals, though some metallurgical and pottering industries. As a rule, almost all production is heavily localized with the materials produced being produced for use by the producer or by other members of the clan.
Trade & Transport
Aarumite trading networks are quite limited, though the Nabari Plateau was once a significant trade route between northern and southern Galisea, the migration of Aarumites into the territory has seen a number of trading groups abandon the region. Though some trade is still conducted within the region, it does so in the form of heavily armed convoys which generally interact as little with Aarumites as possible. Some groups of Aarumites are friendlier to outsiders however, and do trade with these convoys and with the settled communities within their territory which is one of the most reliable means of obtaining manufactured goods that are beyond the capabilities of the Aarumites themselves. Travel is best facilitated along a north south axis as road travel almost entirely occurred from the relam of Cyrenica to the realm of Volgeberg, with the other inhabitants being nomads, or being capable of flight.
Public infrastructure is virtually nonexistent in Aarum as many of the settled peoples were moved out of the territory and most of their infrastructural systems destroyed or abandoned in the chaos. In particular the detailed and well organized irrigation systems of the Nabari peoples were all but destroyed since the arrival of Aarumites to the region. The Old Cyrenean road network remained for a time, and though most of it has been degraded beyond much use, some roads remain, and if nothing else trails where they once existed do make transiting some regions of Aarum slightly easier.
Unknown, believed to be before the Year of the Star
Geopolitical, Nomadic tribe