The Red Nation of the Rising
Sun, The Sun Nation,
Ruled by the Druaccii
The Druaccii were the most powerful Nation of the Horse People and one of the richest. Their patrons were the Ash and the Elk Clans which gave their queens great physical and emotional strength. The Druaccii were the most similar to the ancient Vikings or Anglo-Saxons on Earth. They were mostly blond with light eyes and tanned skin. Their herds of sheep and cattle stretched far across the Plain of the Horses. They traded heavily in animals, and were famous stock breeders, yet their passion was horses and games of the horse. They also traded heavily in furs, slaves and weapons.
Their queens ruled with strength and the Druaccii family was strong and quite brutal. Yet they were much admired and respected. They were intolerant of weakness and sickness, yet they were just and scrupulous of their honor. It was said that to deal with the Druaccii, was to deal with the sun; it shone brightly and was in your face. They admired any kind of physical skill, beauty, strength of character, fighting and gaming. However, if crossed, they were an angry force in the courts and thought nothing of impoverishing their enemies with heavy fines paid under threat of war. However, they were very even handed and it was difficult to break any of their bargains unless those dealing with the Druacci were stupid enough or lazy enough to try to cheat them. They admired stoicism and honesty in both men and women. A child of the Druaccii would grow straight or die trying.
You can see from this map the relative size of the Druaccii holdings compared to their neighbors. For a pastoral people such as were the Horse People, this was wealth. It was only with the increase in trade with Zelosia that other natural resources like lumber and tin and copper became important to a family's wealth. You have to also understand that the task of the Druaccii was to police this territory and protect their herds. Each warrior was, in essence, a mounted policeman as well as a cowboy and a Mongol type warrior. This is a time when wolves roamed freely and many of the herds on the Plain were wild deer, bison, elk, mouflon, ibex and horses. Foxes, hawks and eagles were also common predators.
However, other people were not a problem for the Druaccii. Their reputation was such that merely the sight of their red flags would warn off any stray herdsman or poacher who was not desperate. For their protection, the Druaccii took a tithe of the herds or the equivalent in slaves. The Queens were meticulous in the distribution of these goods, and to be a part of the great family was to never starve or want. They were as generous as they were strong and honest. Women vied with one another to have a Druaccii warrior father their children and families willingly gave up children to be slaves in the family.
Although the family was extensive, the royals were not prolific. They despised the Veldonaccii, one of the more prolific families, and sought to raise strong children, not many children. However, those cousins of the second and third degree were numerous. The blood of the Nation was strong, even if the royals were not as fertile.
The great tragic ending of this family began with a betrayal. The Ash Clan was notorious for "letting well enough alone," and did not oversee the ceremonies that involved the Elk. Unknown to the Ash, the Elk were betrayed by the Fallow Deer Clan led by the infamous Bán Eilit, who was trying to get control over one of the Nations for the Alliance of Marsh Peoples against the humans. She put her son in the stead of the Elk King and LiHara birthed a girl of questionable origins. Ula may not have ever discovered this, such was the "live and let live" policies of the Ash, but for LiHara's neglect of the child who had strange powers that were generally not found among Elk Queens. Ula also feared to give up control of her Nation to a green princess with Zelosia already in control of Belva and the Gwaranaccii. She stood between Belva and Massona, where lay the mines of tin that the Zelosians coveted. She made the decision to not turn over her throne to LiHara. At first LiHara accepted this and the logic of it.
Yet, as Ula's power grew and the threat seemed imaginary, LiHara's resentment grew and she fell prey to the attentions of Marsyas o Gallanis at the funeral games of Queen Sceta of the Gwaranaccii. He was acceptable as Elk King, being a foreigner, and he promised to make her High Queen over all the Horse People. She thought to control him or use him either way and had little if no feeling for the other Nations, seeing them as weak pickings for either the Zelosians or the Druaccii or both. Yet Ula and Marsyas clashed, badly. The situation got out of hand and Marsyas attacked the Druaccii at the Corr of the Avena. The Zelosians were nearly wiped out; the Druaccii and their allies were killed to a man, and both Ula and Marsyas were presumed dead in the huge ruin of carcasses.