The Grazers Fire rune

by David Dunham


The Remakers of the Empire of the Wyrms Friends made centaurs by combining men and horses using evil sorcery. When the Dragonkill War wiped out all humans in Dragon Pass, born centaurs lived carefree lives. But the created centaurs were called Pain Centaurs, for they were discontent with their unnatural existence.

Harfraftos the Founder, a pain centaur, struggled spiritually with the Sun God and the Horse Goddess and discovered the secrets needed for the cure. He returned with the magical ceremony which Ironhoof, King of the Centaurs, used. In the process of this rite each centaur had to agree to be either human or horse, and to dedicate himself or herself to the cause of each other. In this way they created a race of strong people and stronger horses which are kin to each other.

Harfraftos established the customs of the tribe when he traveled to heaven and communed with the Sun God. Yu-kargzant was glad to recover his ancient children in their original forms, and gave them the true secrets to lead a pure solar life.

Ironhoof granted his changed-forever kin grazing rights in the lands north of the Dragonspine.


Grazer history began in 1250, when Ironhoof created the tribe.

A one-armed swordsman from the Holy Country named Hiia was already in their lands. He helped the new tribe deal with the elves and trolls who still lived in Dragon Pass.

For years, no humans entered the region. Then something disrupted the energies which had prevented them from entering. The Grazers enslaved or drove away all the foreigners who came into Dragon Pass. At first their numbers were small, and they were integrated as slaves within the clans. But after a while so many were captured that the Grazers allowed them to settle and lead their own lifestyle but obey the rules of the Grazers. These people were called vendref, which means "standing ones."

In 1330 Arim the Pauper entered Dragon Pass from the north, and founded the Kingdom of Tarsh. The Grazers allied with Tarsh against the Lunars, while continuing to raid the Quivini peoples in the south.

The Tarsh kings eventually turned on their allies, and there was a major vendref revolt. Factional and religious struggles broke out, which would normally have been resolved by migration. But the Grazers were now hemmed in by settled people, and there was no place to go.

During the turmoil from 1450-1470, a leader rose from the cult of La-ungariant, First Wife of Yu-kargzant. She was called the Feathered Horse Queen after her costume, and she discovered secret powers of the earth. First the vendref, then the priestesses of Arandayla followed her. Finally, she crushed the Grazer chief in a doom-ridden duel of thaumaturgy.

The new chief, Endars Stand-up, brought peace. The Queen was granted the right to speak in matters of magical interest, and the rebels recognized the overlords' right to rule.

When Endars died, many kings contested for the Feathered Horse Queen's hand in marriage. Sartar of Boldhome was the only one who qualified. Sartar lived in the Grazelands for a year, and founded two trading posts as a gift to his wife, who had a daughter. The Queen lived in Boldhome the next year and bore Sartar a son. The High Lord Dragonewt named Sartar the King of Dragon Pass.

When the Lunar Empire activated the Temple of the Reaching Moon, the Grazer lands of Sikithi were within the Glowline, and seized by settlers. Jendetarin the Strong purged Sikithi Vale of its newcomers, but the valley was eventually lost again.

The Grazers supplied troops to aid the Lunar conquests of Boldhome and Prax.


Although they call themselves horse nomads (and have customs similar to the truly nomadic horse riders in Pent), the Grazers are a settled people ruling over their horseless serfs. Still, they're as comfortable in the saddle as out.

The Grazers live off their herds, which they try to keep as large as possible. A large herd represents wealth. Colts are eaten about a year after being born, or are trained as riding animals. Fillies are added to the herd to be milked or bled. The women decide when the herds move from their winter pasture in the valleys to the summer meadows in the hills.

Grazers are known for their love of drink, especially koumiss (fermented mare's milk). They trade extensively for wine, and their vendref brew beer and ale.

Grazers live in large, round, wood-framed tents, which are moved twice a year to follow the herds.

Men and women wear trousers made of cloth or leather. Men wear shirts, women a short skirt. All Grazers enjoy decoration: feathers, patterned cloth, beads, face paint, and especially gold. Their horses are attractively decked out as well.

Men are divided into four age groups: Rider, Warrior, Leader, and Elder, each age group worshipping a different son of Yu-kargzant. Riders tend the herds and learn the ways of war and hunt. Warriors defend the tribe and accumulate enough horses for a bride gift. Leaders are in charge of their own family, as well as larger groups. Elders give advice.

Women have similar age groups: Rider, Mother, Teacher, Elder. They usually worship La-ungariant the First Wife, or Arandayla the Horse Mother.

Shamans, who exist outside age groups, assist the tribe by dealing with spirits of light and earth.

Related families form clans. There are currently 40 clans, including Four Gifts, Lighthoof, and Sun Ring. Clan chiefs are elected from noble families, and worship Yu-kargzant directly.

The clans elect a chief to lead the entire Grazer tribe in war. Grazer warriors take the scalps of defeated enemies, and count coup on other clans.

The Feathered Horse Queen rules in times of peace, and negotiates with the Lunars. She is served by the Hiia Swordsman subcult of Humakt.

The vendref are primarily farmers, and also tend sheep. Their grain feeds the herds in winter. Vendref are not allowed to travel. If freed they may practice customs that don't contradict Grazer ways, and their descendents can become warriors. Vendref are similar to Sartarites, but don't worship Orlanth, or have a warrior tradition.

The closest terrestrial analogs to Grazer culture are the Scythians or Plains Indians.

Copyright ©1996 David Dunham. Last updated 4 Feb 01.

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