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The Sakkala Spider Riders

The Sakkala are one of the oldest tribes in all of Eletreus, and their history stretches back to when the first human settlements moved out from their earliest home in Silverleaf and began settling throughout the world.

It was the earliest ancestors of the Sakkala who became the ‘lost’ tribe who famously took a wrong turn and became lost in the Badlands. A handful of survivors were rescued by the great Golden Dragon and went on to create the lands now known as Lhasa.

But the rest split up, hunted mercilessly by giant insects at every turn and unable to find their way out of the maze that is the Badlands..

In despair, the Great Shaman Amoxtli Honsou – turned his back on the Sun God and Moon Goddess, and went alone deep into the mountains to find their salvation. And when he returned, he returned on the back of a Giant Spider, and guided the very last survivors to their new home among the Arachnids..

Here Shaman Honsou taught his people that the Spider Queen had chosen them, and that together with the fearsome Giant Spiders, that they would carve out a niche for themselves. Selecting a handful of the most promising men and women, he taught them how to approach the giant beasts, and how to join minds with them and become a single, terrifyingly effective unit.

Soon, the Sakkala as they came to be known, were not merely surviving but were thriving. Few animals in the lands they claimed could out run or escape the union of man and Giant Arachnid, and they bred spiders of many types and sizes, from small ones that the children regarded as toys and food, to medium sized ‘dogs’, web spinners to create nets and gossamer clothing, and of course, the original giants, that could traverse even a vertical surface as easily as it could skitter across the ground – and from the central tribe many other Sakkala tribes emerged and expanded beyond the mountains..

And so they lived in relative peace for several thousand years, dominating the Badlands, and even as far as the borders of Notarikon and the Lonely Plains before clashing with the Parthanians around 3000 years ago..

But it was not the Parthanians, but rather the recently united Northmen that began to push Southward from their frozen homeland that spelt the beginning of the end for this proud and fierce peoples.

At first, no-one could stand up to a concerted Sakkala attack. Their warriors were too fierce, and the spiders too fast and too strong to withstand. But their one weakness was the time it took to grow and train a spider from hatchling to full grown mount – and in a war of attrition, time was not on their side..

It took 200 years for this weakness to finally prove too much. And soon, the Sakkala tribes shrank in number and influence, retreating to the Demonsteeth Mountains where they had first settled.

These days, only the original tribe remains – and rarely, if ever, are encountered far from their mountainous homeland. But despite the hideous appearance of their mounts and the fear felt by many when their name is mentioned, they are respected by the peoples of Eletrues. For the Sakkala, while warlike and fierce, were also a proud, compassionate and generous people – and their determination to stop the Northman invasion has never been forgotten – nor is the simple fact that, if not for the Sakkala controlling the many species of Giant Spiders and keeping them contained within their mountain home, Giant Spiders would spread out and infest many areas of Eletreus…

While reclusive and secretive by nature, a handful of merchants who speak their strange, clicking dialect trade with them for their gossamer silks, spun from the backs of specially bred spiders, for no material is stronger nor more beautiful than Sakkala silk..

And still others from time to time seek out the 6000 year old Shaman Honsou, whom Death cannot catch and who is rumored to possess many secrets others have all forgotten that stretch back to the earliest days of mankind…

For the tale of the Sakkala is not yet fully told. For while they have seemingly retreated from the world long ago, their time is not yet over..

Notes on Sakkala Culture

The Sakkala have a unique and strong culture that has remained more or less static for thousands of years. Most outsiders are too frightened of their mounts to spend much time with them, and these days they rarely travel far from their traditional hunting grounds, and are largely self sufficient, but as mentioned a handful of brave merchants do trade various modern objects with them in exchange for their gossamer.

Despite the cool climate of their mountain homes, they seem to be resistant to the cold and need little in the way of clothes, typically wearing nothing more than a gossamer kilt. They keep warm in the colder months with full gossamer cloaks and lit fires, that they also use to cook several species of edible silk weaving spiders, which is their primary source of protein, but they also hunt wild mountain goats, bears, and big horned sheep.

They supplement their diet with several types of native mosses that grow inside caves that riddle the area that they inhabit, and the females forage for berries, which they typically use to make a potent alcoholic drink called ‘Sakzush’, which is colored red by the same type of spiders that they use to dye their gossamer (while they have been at times accused of cannibalism, this is untrue – but they will feed their mounts on the bodies of dead enemies).

From a young age their is a distinct separation of the sexes, the males hair is shaved to a Mohawk and the girls, a reverse Mohawk, until the age of 20 and are raised not only by their parents but the entire community.

Tattoos and body paint made from the crushed exoskeletons of the red berry spider and the black hairy cave spider is common on both males and females.

In terms of weaponry, they traditionally used long obsidian tipped spears bound with gossamer, as well as gossamer nets that they throw from the back of their mounts, and while they do not forge swords, they do trade weapons with the merchants from the outside world, and recently have been particularly enamored by the development of early firearms, amassing an impressive arsenal.

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