Monday, June 18, 2012

Legends of War:Ma'tai, wandering merchants

Among the many hundreds of cities and thousands of villages that make up all of the world, there is a common need. These needs, no matter what names they are given, are all the same: food, water, and a way to defend themselves. Many places are self sustaining in any of these regards. There are villages built on rivers, hamlets that grow food year round, and cities who are surrounded by high walls and deep ditches. For those places which can't get the supplies they need, do to drought, siege, or surprise, then there are the Ma'tai.

The Ma'tai are a strange sort of creature, looking like an upright wolf, coyote, or fox, they have adapted customs and objects from some long lost civilization. They appear just about everywhere, from the sprawling heart of a Garmarian city, to the loneliest villages in Inaros, and have even been recorded as appearing inside a besieged city months after the roads were blocked off and the rivers dammed. They always travel light, they have large stall like carts, which they can pull from place to place and it doubles as both their residence and place of business. Occasionally, they will travel in groups of several families but, for the most part, they are content to travel as a single family going around. On some rare occasions, perhaps an ancient festival, all of the Ma'tai in a certain area will gather together and form a sort of merchant town, to which people from miles around will come and see.

When pressed for where they get their goods, a Ma'tai will never answer. This has lead to a large number of people becoming suspicious that the Ma'tai steal all of their items, and some villagers will go and attack their stalls. However, they quickly discover that, while a Ma'tai is friendly and a soloist when doing business, when they are threatened, they become extremely ferocious and will form a large pack with any other Ma'tai in the area. If they are pressed enough, they will actually come back with all of the Ma'tai in an area and destroy the offending village or city:but they never loot anything of value. This has lead mercenary captains, up-and-coming nobles, and experienced generals alike to seek out Ma'tai for soldiers, but, no matter how much money, land, or slaves they are offered, they always give the same cryptic answer :
"He who takes the lives of the living, is no better then he who takes the possessions of the dead."

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