The Tarhusians are the people of the region of Tarhusia, located between Mavorenia and the Silver Coast. Theirs is a long and proud history, although they have spent much of it under the rule of first the Remarans and then the Occidental Empire. They are separated from the rest of Occident by their language, their culture, and even their religion. Many attempts have been made to connect them to other people-groups in the region, but most have failed. The closest are likely the Remarans themselves, who share some naming conventions and in earlier times seem to have shared some religious and cultural aspects.
Ever since the coming of Remara to the region, the Tarhusians have been an oppressed group in their own homeland. Their national god, Feranos, demands blood-sacrifice, and so they were persecuted as demon-cultists under Remara's rule; thus his worship was forced underground. Their tribes were evicted from the ancient cities they had built, replaced by immigrants from Remara, Mavorenia, and the Silver Coast, and they were forced to scratch a living from rocks in the hills. Ironically, these desperate situations caused many to turn to the very crime they had been accused of, demon-worship, in order to maintain their traditional ways of life. With the fall of Remara, little changed, and the warlords that came to rule the region during the Occidental Empire were almost all foreigners. However, as the empire fell apart after the Oriental Crusade, the Tarhusians were able to finally exert their independence. They did so in bloody fashion, returning in a tide of blood and slaughter to their ancestral cities and slaughtering all who refused to recognize their independence. However, even now, they are not unified, and their peoples are content to largely live in their city-states and tribes within the hills, venturing east and west only to acquire slaves and sacrifices for Feranos and various demon-lords, those who delivered them from oppression and back to their rightful homeland.
Tarhusian names are similar to Remaran names, although they often contain more dental and guttural sounds in comparison to the relatively fluid names of their southern neighbors.
Art & Architecture
The great cities of Tarhusia are some of the most beautiful in all of Occident by any standards, and share many features with the gleaming marble cities of the Silver Coast and the remaran architecture of the south. Some speculate that the architectural style emerged in Tarhusia and spread south and west, something that seems likely given that urbanization appears to be older in Tarhusia than in Lethe or the Silver Coast. However, much of the original architectural flair that separated them from their neighbors was erased during their long subjugation, and so getting an accurate understanding of its relationship to other cultures in the region is difficult at best.
In terms of artwork, most Tarhusian pieces are portraits. These are renowned (both before, during, and after occupation) as being particularly lifelike, and some speculate that magic was used in their creation in order to precisely capture the visage of the subject. Pre-occupation artwork is also known for its intricate golden death-masks, which were kept by relatives in special shrines and offered sacrifices. Another one was buried with the deceased, although these were often in the form of an animal's head rather than that of the deceased, and covered only half of the face unlike the death-masks common in the silver coast.
Common Myths and Legends
The Tarhusians derive their name from their homeland of Tarhusia, which itself is derived from their mythical progenitor, Tarhus. Tarhus is said to have been the child of Arnsu, the child of a wolf and a boar (who was himself the son of Feranos, the Boar-God), and a priestess named Arnthi. Tarhus is said to have been a legendary chieftain who drove the giants of the region to near-extinction. However, he was slain by his half-brother Aranthur. Tarhus' 18 children divided his lands and peoples amongst themselves, and thus were born the 18 greater tribes of Tarhusia. Aranthur himself fled south into the Swamps of Lethe, and eventually his offspring would give birth to Remanus, and through him the Remaran people.