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Toar

Toar (two syllables, with equal emphasis) comes from what became Tuareg, a nomadic people who traded along the Sahara. Some of them were captured and summarily sold, along with their ponies, to slavers at Goree, forced into a ship that was lost in a storm and thrust through the world gate.

The tribe fought off the rest--using their ponies to advantage--and vanished from the other people, riding southward until it became evident that the land was not even remotely like the land they had left. They settled in the southern bulge of what is now Toar. As they were nomadic, they were the first to roam all over the southern portion of the continent; they encountered the Sartorans before anyone else, which is how the continent got the name Toar. The Sartorans called all the people after these Toarans--who incidentally were quite willing to lay claim to the entire continent.

The other rising kingdoms scorned the name, but finally adapted it as a convenience for trade, after centuries had passed.

The Toarans kept their highly structured social strata. They did not keep slaves, but they did, and do, have lower servile and semi servile classes, which permits those at the top to maintain highly ritualised poetic, sporting and fighting traditions, which in turn led to ritualized aspects of life, such as courtship. The general condition of life being good on this world possibly helped maintain that stratification, though it has somewhat ameliorated over the centuries, especially after the serving classes encountered other cultures. The result is the prolonged existence of the strata, which everyone acknowledged, but in practical usage the so-called lower strata have their own traditions, even language variants and customs. Toar, like certain other kingdoms, persisted the longest in trying to enforce sumptuary laws. Some of the internal strife actually had this conflict as driving force. Toarans don't permit social movement: you are what you are born as. But a total dissatisfaction with that life usually leads to emigration, or a young life spent on the sea.

Toar is quite large, but mainly plains. The wet season tends to dive eastward just above Toar, leaving that area sparse plains--which familiar territory was what led the original Toarans to settle there. Consequently they always want to expand, large as the land is. But they also like to be on the move. Many Toarans have more than one home, and some, indeed, trade with others year round, so a given city is always occupied, but with four different populations, or in some, two, there being only half-year changes. Toarans used to carry everything with them, but that custom altered to basement storage that belongs to each family. It is considered grounds to action to leave any sign of yourself in a house, so art tends to be movable, mostly brilliant, complicated rugs, tapestries, painted screens, etc. Changes are negotiated by people whose job that is.

The mountains are austere and beautiful, and there are pockets of indigenous magic, which have influenced people. Poetry is extremely highly regarded; poets with a phenomenal memory for narrative and courting poetry are prized even above great warriors, who are far easier to find. Toar is surrounded by principalities that are meant to be buffer zones against their expansive tendencies: their first and strongest enemy has been Damondaen, who has been strong enough to resist them, but Halveraen is also a traditional enemy.

Toarans change their names at different stages of their lives, something outsiders find confusing. Toarans prize that confusion; the name changes have ritual meaning.

Magic knowledge has come and gone, depending on the usual motivations, wars, consequences. The current queen is formidable in magic, and determined to protect the kingdom's integrity, at the end of the 4700s.

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Page last modified on February 18, 2008, at 10:06 AM