Barrir Tribesmen

The Barrir Tribesmen are the indigenous people of Carthak, and had thrived in the Haranese Desert for hundreds of years before the Carthaki and Sassnid exodus to the continent. These people worship the three Legendary Birds that represent the great balance in life, and the Barrir try to keep the balance of power among the powers that struggle to control the desert. For years they have tried to play peacekeeper between the two ethnic groups, but their recent attempts to eliminate the Carthaki enslavement of the Sassnids have sparked the country's ire. Once the rulers of the desert, these people are now being hunted down by the very people that they freed from slavery hundreds of years ago, and they are fighting back. The Barrir are a secretive, hostile, and spiritual people that believe in keeping the great balance of life. However, in these times of violence and persecution, they have begun to lash out against the Carthaki forces that have been trying to eliminate the tribes from the desert. You never know when you will encounter a small unit of Barrir warriors on their Zebstrika mounts when you are wandering the desert landscape.

History

According to the myths of the Barrir, thirteen extended families were led to the deserts of Harena by their patron deities Articuno, Moltres, and Zapdos. There, these families, or tribes, forged the giant continent into their own kingdom, taming the wild pokemon, discovering the secret oases and safe routes through the chasms of the desert. Gradually, they developed their customs, traditions, and practices that allowed them to thrive in the hostile environment. Throughout hundreds of years of power struggles, feuds, conquests, alliances, and journeys, the delicate balance that the Barrir treasure was maintained between the clans. Then, an event that shook the very foundations of their world took place: the mass exodus of Carthaki and Sassnids from Chandra.

Suddenly everything changed for the Barrir. They no longer had the run of the desert. New immigrants were building cities, paving roads, and taking over the Barrir's territory through their sheer number of bodies. The Barrir retreated into their secret hideaways, avoiding interaction with this new culture. They struggled to find a balance between their ancestral hunting grounds and the land of these new men. Then, the balance shifted once more when the Sassnid people began to oppress the Carthakis. Eventually the enslavement of the Carthaki people grew to be too unbalanced for the Barrir to accept, and they tried to right the balance by assisting one of the greatest rebellions Aatos has ever seen. Unfortunately, the balance was not restored, and enslavement began again. Unfortunately, the Barrir had lost too many warriors to try and right the balance of power. Then, five years ago, they decided to once again attempt to balance the power of the continent that they once cared for.

Now, after their attempts to call in the debts that the Carthaki people owed them failed, they are hunted by the very people that they freed from slavery. Unfortunately, they are losing the war that is now raging. As their warriors are gradually killed off by Bloody Hand assassins working with the Grand Vizier, and legions of soldiers from the government, they struggle to keep their hidden sanctuaries hidden. Already one of the Barrir tribes, the Shifting Sands, has been wiped out by a contingent of the army. Now the Barrir are hostile towards the Carthaki people, striking out proactively against those who are trying to eliminate them. They are fighting no longer for balance, but for survival. They have also begun ferrying Sassnid slaves to Kush in order to help in what small ways they can.

The Life of the Barrir

Culture: One Carthaki scholar described the Barrir as "a bizarre people concerned more with manners than honor." Aside from the cultural bias, this statement is, on the whole, an accurate one. The culture of the tribes places almost no emphasis on personal honor. A truly worthy Barrir contributes and sacrifices without seeking recognition for his services, without a gain in power, and those who expect otherwise are disappointed. Tribesmen do not receive honors, trophies, or titles from the tribe. Instead, they earn thanks and they earn respect. Those who contribute to society are treated with respect, and those who do not are treated with a cool politeness that broaches no bounds of society. Expressions of thanks and grief are accepted, but they believe that excessive use of these sentiments will only encourage self-importance or self-pity, both of which ruin the balance of the tribe.

The tribes make an effort to be as unified as possible, as a community that stands as one is stronger than one that is not. Every night, the tribe gathers around the fire pit and communes with the Voice of the tribes, who communicates mentally through the fire with the tribe. Each tribe member, while they are not aware, is connected to both the voice and their fellows by strings of wild magic imparted upon the race of people by the Legendary Trio, which guards this terrible power. The bonds of community are put before all other problems of the camp. When two tribesmen have a quarrel they bring it to one of the leading members of the tribe or, in serious cases, to the Voice of the Tribes. Not all members of the tribe need to like each other, but discord is frowned upon greatly.

The Barrir tribes are seminomadic. They will set up camp in a spot for weeks or months before packing up and moving on. Small groups will break off from the main group and travel every day, but the whole society will remain anchored at a single location until the Chief decides to move the people. The Barrir follow herd migrations, which are the same every year. Because of this, each tribe has a series of camp locations, which they will rotate between every year as the herds move through. Most of these camps sit on a secret oasis that the Barrir go to great pains to hide from the Carthaki people. The tribes generally know where another tribe will be at any given time, since each tribe moves in the same pattern every year.

Government: There is no formal government set up among the tribes of Barrir. Each tribe operates as its own independent unit, although they often cooperate, communicate, and visit each other. Most of the tribes are on good terms with the others, and all are putting aside differences they might have in face of the imminent threat to their lives and security. The only form of regulation over the tribes is the Voice: a tribesman chosen by the Legendary Bird Trio to serve as spiritual guide for the people, judge for quarrels, and advisor to the tribes. While the Voice comes from among the tribes, he forgoes his ties to his former life and becomes an impartial adviser. The Voice himself is advised by all of the Voices who came before him. These spirits live inside of the Voice, and he knows their lives, experiences the pains of their lives, and bears their burdens. While the Voice's only official power comes from whatever the Chiefs chose to give him, his words are universally respected. Every Barrir recognizes the Voice, as he is the Voice of their Gods and the Voice of hundreds of years of wisdom and experience.

Individual tribes all have a similar governmental structure. The Chief leads the tribe in military matters and is generally recognized as the highest authority of a tribe. The Chief is determined by a majority vote of the tribe, and the tribe can change Chiefs at any time. Technically equal with the Chief, though often subservient for the sake of peace, are the Shaman, the Witch, and the Healer. The Shaman is a male mystic (usually a Channeler), that serves as the link between the tribe and Pokemon. A Shaman is chosen by a series of trials which all apprentices seeking the title after a Shaman's death or resignation must go through. The Witch is a female mage that specializes in the elemental magic of Ice, Lightning, or fire and serves as both defender of the camp and religious leader. Finally, the Healer is the camp's most experienced crafter of potions and elixirs. Aside from these positions, all tribesmen are equal, and decisions are made through democratic means. Every member of the tribe has the right to speak on an issue, and every tribesmen has his or her own vote in every issue. Only those who are below the age of 15 cannot participate in this process.

Religion: While the Barrir Tribesmen recognize the entire pantheon and pay all of the Legendary Pokemon the respect they are due, they focus their prayers to the guardians of balance, to the trio of birds representing ice, fire, and lightning. These are the Gods that guided their people across an ancient land bridge and delivered them into their new homeland. As followers of the birds, the Barrir focus on keeping the balance in life. If any one person, one group of people, one element, gains too much power, then the balance shifts into inequality and all meaning to life is lost. Thus they try and keep all aspects of their world in a balance. Things need not be equal, as the cycle of nature will equalize all in death, but they seek to keep things from getting out of hand. The Barrir have only one celebration of faith, on the winter solstice, when they give thanks to their gods for bringing them to their paradise.

Pokemon: As a desert people, the Barrir rely on pokemon for survival. Without the assistance of the various beasts of the desert, the Barrir would have never been able to carve their existence into this barren wasteland. The Barrir are most famous for their use of Zebstrika that are naturally ground shifted. These beasts are quite rare in the wild now, but at one point in time they dominated the savannahs of Harena. Their numbers dwindled exponentially after the mass exodus of the Sassnids and Carthakis, and now most of the surviving species are owned and bred by the Barrir. These mounts are some of the best in the desert: fast, strong, and immune to the sandstorms that blow through the deserts. Aside from the mounts that they are so proud of, there are a couple other pokemon common to all Barrir tribes. Cacnea, Cacturne, and Maractus all perform the vital service of storing vast amounts of water for trips through the desert. Numel are the pack animal of choice for most Barrir, and when the nomadic tribes travel, these are the pokemon that carry supplies. Aside from that, each tribe tends to favor a certain type of pokemon, usually one that commonly inhabits their hunting range.

Pokemon also serve as a natural source of sustenance for the Barrir. Hippopotus and sandile are pokemon commonly consumed by the desert dwellers, and Gligar is considered a delicacy by many tribes. Skarmory, while rare and difficult to train, are considered some of the best hunters in the desert, and the Barrir tribes treasure these pokemon for their ability to find and obtain food. Totodile and lotoad sustain oasis hidden throughout the desert, and the Barrir go out of their way to preserve these populations, as they keep water sources from drying up.

Significant Figures:
Ali Mukhtab: Ali Mukhtab is the 207th Voice of the Tribes. He is also one of the the last humans with the blood of the Shifting Sand running through his veins, though he can no longer claim allegiance to now extinct tribe. Mukhtab, like all of the Voices that came before him, commands supreme respect from his people, and he listens to their troubles every night in the fire. During these troubled times, Mukhtab has been forced to make more drastic decisions than his predecessors, and these choices weigh on him. He knows that the end of his life is approaching, and he is currently looking for a tribesman that has the potential to guide the Barrir into a time of safety and peace in the desert.

Jhia Teilar: The chief of the Bloodclaw tribe, Jhia is a fearsome warrior who fights with her bare hands. Her fiery personality has encouraged her already combative tribe to launch attacks against the Carthaki government. She has a special vendetta against Harim E'slar, a Carthaki general that killed her brother two years ago in a conflict. The Bloodclaw tribe has adopted her cause and ceaselessly campaigns for the death of Harim. Among the chiefs, some see her as a brave soul fighting for the survival of the tribes, while others believe her to be leading her people to ruin.

Iban Zheir: The shaman of the Crescent Moon tribe, Iban Zheir is one of the only Barrir to enter and exit an Obsidian Tower without dying or going insane. He came out with a healthy respect for the things, and a host of new powers. As the only rune master of the tribes, Iban Zheir is personally against the tribes' new approach towards the situation with Carthak, though he chooses to not voice his objections. Instead, he spends his time struggling to regain entry into the towers' depths to try and find artifacts powerful enough to put a stop to the violence raging across the desert.

The Tribes

Bloodclaw: The Bloodclaw tribe consists of the most aggressive and war-focused tribe of the Barrir. While they have always been particularly protective of their territory, which lies between Kafrmietta and Dahr el-Shiekh, the huge military presence of Dahr el-Shiekh has made them even more proactive in combating the threat of Cathak. As far as inter-tribal politics is concerned, the Bloodclaw tribe lead the movement to begin aggression against the Carthaki government. The Bloodclaw tribe has a particular affinity for zangoose, and one of the rites of passage for young warriors is to seek out and tame one of their own. Unfortunately, the Bloodclaw's aggressive actions have lead to a large number of deaths within the tribe, and its numbers are quickly dwindling. Unless something drastic changes, the Bloodclaw tribe will most likely die out within five years.

Bonedancer: As might be expected of a tribe known as the Bonedancers, members of this tribe have a strong affinity for the pokemon cubone and marowak. The warriors from this tribe emulate the bone-wielding pokemon's ranged expertise by developing a large number of warriors who focus in bonemerang attacks. To them, weapon mastery is an art form, and warriors who master the art of the bonemerang are highly regarded for their skills. The Bonedancer territory, which is far to the east near the Sin Bashar, keeps them isolated from much of the warring that rages in the more civilized portions of Carthak, though they still face regular contingents of soldiers in their lands.

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Crashing Wave: The Crashing Wave tribe is rather unique in that it focuses its energies not on the desert, but on the ocean. Located on the coast of Harim Bay, the Crashing Wave tribe controls little land area, they are the only tribe to have a presence in the water. The tribe makes camp in a variety of caves along the cliffy portions of the coast, though it sometimes ventures out onto the beaches for a month or so. The Crashing Wave tends to avoid engaging the Carthaki military ships when they can, though they will attack trading vessels in the bay. The Crashing Wave tribe prefers using pokemon that can function both on land in water, and they have a great respect for wingull, which can float on waves that would topple the canoes that this tribe uses to travel their territory.

Crescent Moon: As one might expect of a tribe whose territory contains two Obsidian Towers, the Crescent Moon tribe has a strong affinity for ghost and dark type pokemon. However, this tribe's land, which is located to the southeast of Bahna, was filled with spirits before the Sassnid people ever made landfall in Harena. The ancient Pharaohs chose this location because of its intense spiritual connections to the next world. This connection was created by the Crescent Moon tribe, whose numerous mystics sought out ghost pokemon to live in and around their community. Now, this tribe of seele magic is trying to plumb the depths of the two towers, hoping they can find secret magic to put an end to the conflict at hand.

Golden Lotus: An intensely spiritual tribe, the Golden Lotus tribe generally prefers to use magic over weapons in combat. This tribe is the most devoted to the Legendary Birds, they have erected shrines at all of their secret oasis. Unfortunately, some of these oasis have been discovered, and the shrines destroyed. This angered the Golden Lotus tribe, and they have begun seeking out Carthaki warriors to take revenge on. Their tribe produces a large number of image magicians, and a good number of elementalists. Additionally, the tribe is known for having produced more Voices than any other tribe.

Hidden Dragon: As its name might suggest, the Hidden Dragon tribe is known for both its secrecy and its use of dragon type pokemon. Specializing in the use of stealth and daggers, the Hidden Dragon tribe is small and unafraid to venture past their borders. Oftentimes, their hunters are sent by the tribes to eliminate key targets or to assist in another tribe's struggles. They are also the only tribe that chooses to not ride zebstrika, but instead flygon. Of course, not every member has a flygon, but all members that don't are training to obtain one, and they use a standard mount until that time. Their land is so far into the depths of the desert, and their actions against the government so covert, that Carthak doesn't even see them as a threat.

Rising Sun: The Rising Sun tribe has taken it upon themselves to disrupt trade along the Zyra River, which is the main way for goods to pass from the fertile Norther Carthak to the more barren Southern Carthak. Using their spears and their fire type pokemon, they attempt to slow down or set fire to trading ships that travel up the river. They were particularly irked by the destruction of the Shifting Sand tribe, as there were many close relations between the two groups. Unfortunately, their actions have attracted attention, and they have become one of the government's most recent targets. Their strategies are simple, but extremely effective.

Red Rope: The Red Rope tribe's name reflects the environment it calls home. A portion of the Harena Desert has abnormally high concentrations of iron, leaving the stone of the rocky crags a dark reddish color. This makes many of the pokemon in the area an unusual shade of red. The Red Rope tribe especially enjoys using ekans and arbok from their homeland, which turn a dark ruby color. These are the 'red ropes' that the tribe has named itself after. They also have an affinity for some of the steel types that frequent the area, especially the relatively common aron. The Red Rope tribe generally tries to avoid engaging military units, instead choosing to avoid the government's attempts to invade their territory. They do have a large number of tribesmen that participate in the slave rescue operation, freeing slaves from Karfrmietta and passing them on to the Sandrunners for transport to Kush.

Sandrunner: The Sandrunner's have the largest territory of any tribe, and also the largest amount of people. They traditionally split their tribe up into four sections, each lead by one of the four leadership positions of the tribe (Chief, Shaman, Witch, and Healer) and these groups communicate nightly. The tribe is also unique for never staying in a spot for more than two or three days, and they oftentimes move after only one. This constant movement has given them a protection from attacks better than swords and their knowledge of the desert has helped them outrun and out-think the armies of Carthak. The Sandrunner tribe really doesn't have much preference in terms of pokemon, as their territory covers so much land that there is no singular pokemon to define their landscape. However, they are known for their high ability to ride, even among the tribes, and their zebstrika are the best bred in all of Harena.

Shifting Sand: The Shifting Sand tribe had the unfortunate fate to inhabit the territory that would include both Bahna (the capital) and Port Said (the largest city). This presence meant that elimination of the Shifting Sand Barrir was top priority for the Carthaki government. When the army found some of the secret oasis that the tribe used, their days immediately became numbered. The destruction of the Shifting Sand tribe was a huge factor that pushed the tribes to begin proactively attacking the Carthaki government, as they could not forgive the destruction of one of their great families.

Silver Stone: Along with the Bloodclaw tribe, the Silver Stone tribe is one of the most combat ready and aggressive of the Barrir tribes. Their location in the Uweinait Mountains contributes to their combat prowers. The mountains are known for their steel and rock type pokemon, and also for their large deposits of valuable ores and gemstones. The Silver Stone tribe defends not only against the aggressive wilds of the range, but also of the aggressive attempts by the Carthaki Army to remove the Silver Stone tribe from the mountains in order to obtain the valuable natural resources there. These two factors have made the Silver Stone tribe a vocal advocate for proactively attacking Carthaki caravans and army regiments. They specialize in steel type pokemon, and are especially well known for the large number of steelix that their tribesmen train.

Stoneskin: The Stoneskin tribe is perhaps the least nomadic of all the tribes. Their large numbers and determination stay as one large group mean that moving is difficult, and they do so rarely. Instead, they spend the first week in a location building a psuedo-city, using their rhyhorn to cart stones and boldore to help create walls. The Stoneskin tribe rarely chooses to initiate conflict, but they do not need to. Their solitary nature makes them an easy target for the army, and they constantly defend themselves against attacks by the copper skinned intruders.

Stormwing: While the Silver Stone tribe struggles with the government's advances into their mountains, the Stormwing tribe has no such problems. Their home, the Serbal Mountains, is not known for having natural resources, and is home to some of the most powerful wild pokemon in Carthak. This has lead the Stormwing tribe to stay relatively small, as smaller groups are easier to move when a herd of rhyperior stampedes. However, all members of the Stormwing tribe know how to do battle, and those who don't inevitably fall prey to wild pokemon. They are so concerned with their tribe's survival that they rarely participate in the inter-tribal discussions on the situation in Carthak. They have no troubles with the government and, while they would love to assist their brethren, they are too busy staying alive to worry about such issues.

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