Thesta: An Heir Denied
Taymyr was once a far province on the edge of the the Rhoan dynasty. Covered by forests and rolling hills, the sparsely-populated region was staffed by skilled Rhoan soldiers, vigilant against incisions from the nearby Balwander of Ale-Alatau, as well as other distant threats. Many grew to love the quiet frontier and settled there. They built sturdy stone homes to resist Balwandari raids and were always ready to take up their old weapons in defence of their homes.
When The Rhoan Dynasty collapsed, the situation quickly turned dire. With less than twenty thousand people in Taymyr, and without support from the Dynasty, the Taymyrs were badly outnumbered. Without access to Rhoan steel, they lacked the industry to supply their forces with quality arms and equipment. And without a steady supply of reinforcements, the Taymyrs were forced to seek unorthodox solutions.
Three pillars now uphold Tamyrish society. The first are the strategies of the Taymyr soldiers. In the face of the stronger and more numerous Balwandari, the Taymyrs adopted hit-and-run raids, honed their small-squad tactics and embarked on constant harassment of their foes. They burned crops and villages, took captives and sought to make the best of their foe’s peculiar honour code.
The second pillar is their constant need for supplies. There are few deposits of iron in Taymyr, (though there is some in neighbouring Karabakh) and no supplies of coal. As such, Taymyr industry is totally incapable of providing their troops with enough weapons. The Taymyr have responded by forming mercenary legions who often fight in foreign battles in exchange for their weapons. These mercenary bands can be found all around the region, usually in sizes from 500-1000 men. Three of the largest are The Iron Star Legion (Bolek’s Bastards), Thornwall’s Shieldmen and The Justyna Hospitallers.
The third pillar is the Wojownik. Made up of a combination of purchased slaves and children grabbed from the Balwandari, the Wojownik are slave soldiers, trained to have fanatical devotion to the Taymyr. Strictly disciplined, they are considered expendable by the Taymyrs, and trained in the same hit-and-run tactics. Most Wojownik remain that way for life, though a few have been sponsored by Taymyrs for freedom and inclusion into society.
Taymyr society currently has about fifty thousand people in it, of whom a full 10,000 are Wojownik. Apart from the small capital at Thornwall (built on a defensible clifftop), most Taymyrs inhabit small homesteads and farms, where they build sturdy stone farmhouses as defensive positions. Most Taymyr families have at least two or three Wojownik in their homes, who work as farmhands as well as soldiers.
However, Taymyr continues to face pressure from the Balwandari, with many farms and homesteads wiped out over the past twenty years. Taymyr’s leader, General Lucjan, has the desperate job of trying to stem the tide of Balwandari with the limited resources at his disposal. Should Taymyr fall, the Balwandari could soon expand and fill the empty space all the way to Santonge.