|Region||Northern Hordelands, High Wood Country|
|Deities||Ares, Demogorgon, Silvanus|
|Enemies||Angrod, Divine Empire, Garormuk|
|Established||13 Witchrite 738|
The Witch Horde is a Theegan empire of Skycius. The people of this empire have a long history - once born into slavery, seeing the rise and fall of an empire, suffering a terrible curse, a period of high civilization, and then turning back to their barbarian, shamanic, and cultists ways like their long dead ancestors on Osâchar.
The Theegans of this empire are descendants of those came to Bal-Kriav aboard a Helas Vessel called the Spire of Krak-Oth. After the Durkoth Descent (995 HE - 1355 HE), the Theegans became masters of the Araj Empire (872 HE - 49). They turned away from the way of their now gone masters, the Durkoth, taking up other religious interests. Araj's fortunes began to wane after Krak-Oth cursed the city for its people taking up the forbidden practice of zoolatry. This was forbidden as far as Durkoth beliefs, yet the Theegan high priests would argue that they were their own people now, and could take up any beliefs they wanted. Theegan beast worship came in the form of reverence to horses, an affront to Krak-Oth, and one who lost power for each follower that turned away from him. Those cursed for their deeds of zoolatry became an entirely different race. They went from being bipeds to quadrupeds, becoming an abomination-like centaur called a Jara. These creatures were so powerful and so unexpected that they ravaged Araj and carried out the most heinous acts on the populace. The jara were directly responsible for the fall of Araj and driving the Theegans southwest into Skycius and south into Zyrath. In lands long claimed by the gnolls, the entirety of the Northern Hordelands, conflict ensued between Theegans and gnolls that continues to this day.
The Theegans of the Northern Hordelands live in a matriarchal society with leadership falling to Theegan witches. These witches are shamans, druids, or those practicing demon magic. This was not always so, it only came about after the creation of a hierarchy of spell-casters by two separate foreign groups. The shamanic practices of the people were stamped out when their entire population fell to slavery back on Osâchar. This lost art was relearned during one of the lulls in conflict between the region's Theegans and gnolls. This was done under the auspices of the Shamanic Conclave. They sent educators, along with a fair number of proselytizers of Demongorgon. In a similar way they learned druidic magic from a rebel elven people of Taurelin, the Helephor. In return for helping the Helephor battle the Angrods, they spread druidic practices to the Theegans. Like the Shamanic Conclave, this teaching was only provided to Theegan females. By the start of the Second Epoch, a hierarchy in society had been formed with power held by Theegan females practiced in druidic, shamanic, and witchcraft.
The Witch Horde is ruled as a magocracy from Incubus. In the wilds beyond the cities, rule and law follows that of a confederation of tribes. There are many of them, resistant to any overt centralized command. Many of these tribes worship the war-loving god Ares, the shamans and druids worship Silvanus and the witches, when the need arises, pray to Demogorgon.
In 1190, a Jara Khan formed the Rampager Horde. Playing on the emotions and fears of the barbaric Theegans, the witches organized the tribes to stop incursions by this Jara Horde. The jara raids forced the Theegans of Tadab-Hal into the heavy woods and broken land claimed by the gnollish empire Garormuk. This forced migration into lands east of the Hound Wash led to the Witch-Pack War (1190 - 1240). For a time, the Theegans battled both the jara and the forces of Garormuk. When the Theegans defeated the jara, the Witch Horde directed their forces against one foe. The Theegan advance against Garormuk was greatly stalled by the environmental destruction caused by the use of the artifacts Blizzard and Firestorm. In the Year 1240, the war ended in stalemate.
The Northern Hordelands has seen the rise and fall of many Witch Hordes. The most common reason for building a horde is a witch professing it to be Ares's wish. This is what the witch Arhibess did that led to the Buruthran War (1824 - 1829 ). In this war, the Luran Alliance unexpectedly crushed the Theegan war engine, driving them back into Skycius. When the war ended, the Buruthran Plain and the city of Kugirmuk were in the hands of the Divine Empire. Theegan prisoners were absorbed into the empire, converted to the word of Athena or sent off for deeper indoctrination. Even after the loss of this territory, the Witch Horde still claims all of Skycius as territory.
The most dangerous arms of the empire is their calvary. Every Theegan knows how to ride and fight from the backs of horses. They no longer practice horse worship, yet the wealth and pride of the people is often in the number and quality of horses they own.
|The longest running national quest of the Witch Horde is the recovery of Blizzard and Firestorm - relics stolen from them in the Witch-Pack War by agents of the Arch-Mages of Merioss.|