The Pwárá Tuṣetrjálwo or Steppe Alasians ([pwɒɽrɒ tuɕːetrːjɒɾwo], Tuṣetrjál: Heartland Alasians) were a semi-nomadic people that lived in Southwestern Arboria. They were formed by the tribes of Ancient Ála that didn’t settle on the western plains by the river Nikri millenia ago; the settled tribes were simply called Ála. Instead, they turned from nomadic hunter-gatherers into semi-nomadic herders, taking cattle into the steppes. Their maximum migration reach extended from the northeastern steppes to the southeast of the river Nikri. They spoke Tuṣetrjál (Proto-Steppe-Ála), a mutually-intelligible dialect of the Arborian Proto-Ála language.
Climate and GeographyEdit
The Steppe Alasians lived primarily in the Southwestern Steppes in Arboria, an area characterized by sprawling, dry grasslands with patches of trees (mostly oak) in areas nearest to the Nikri basin. In some seasons, they might have lived near the fertile region occupied by the Coastal Ála.
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Although the Steppe Alasians had significantly big herds, they relied on game somewhat, using their herds for dairy produce and as beasts of burden instead. Hunted animals were mostly big game, but any animal that had significant populations was a possible target. They also harvested many regional mushrooms and vegetables - notably the onion-like úkyta ([ʉkɨta], from úk sharp taste and yta plant root). Surplus food was kept sun-dried until needed. The practice of storing sun-dried food rendered them the knowledge of cheesemaking and spirit brewing, since at times the food would ferment into something that was eventually consumed.
Most food was either cooked in stews or roasted over campfires, the latter mostly when freshly hunted. Bread was introduced later as contact with the agricultural Coastal Ála was made, but was never introduced as the basic staple, instead taking the role of supplement. The main reason for this was that the Steppe Alasians didn't introduce agriculture until many centuries later.
Steppe Alasian society was somewhat egalitarian, preffering peaceful discussion of the matters before doing something, but this wasn’t absolute. The tribe was led by a couple, with the man having the ultimate say on conflicting decisions. However, this leadership could sometimes be disputed if a large part of the tribe disagreed upon something; this fact resulted in leaders being very respected, since weak leaders were quickly removed - and exiled. Decisions that affected the whole tribe, such as the direction to migrate to, were made following a great event where the leaders heard the opinions of the folk - this was called the pwárásṭumaṇ ([pwɒɽrɒsːcumaɲ], Tuṣetrjál: meeting, discussion from pwárá tribe and ṭumaṇ conversation).
Societal tasks were divided between sexes, but sometimes women would engage in male activities - mostly hunting. One notorious profession was that of healer, in that both sexes actively took part in learning it.
The people organized themselves in families, consisting of man, woman and children; the man was responsible for feeding (i.e. both bringing food and preparing it) the family while the woman was supposed to take care of the children. Traditionally the man was the leader of the family, but sometimes this was inverted, mostly depending on their profession - a female healer or carver would never be led by a leatherworker.
The Steppe Alasians were polytheists, with gods that were general personifications of natural aspects or phenomena, such as the moons or rain. There was no main god, but different niches of the population gave special attention to certain gods. For example, hunters would see the hunting god as more important that the forest god.
Everyday worship was based around symbolic sacrifice with food and drinking, but also sometimes festivals would be held for specific gods, as a measure to appease him/her.
The Steppe Alasians lived mostly in small, family-owned tents called játṣǫ ([jɒɕɔ̃], housing). These were made of leather with wood or bone frames, and were relatively easy to pack and carry when needed, but were bad against strong rain and didn't offer much protection against human or animal attacks. Also, on the drier seasons, sometimes they would catch fire and leave families homeless until a new tent could be assembled. It is thought that the bad quality of the housings (and the general lack of easily-extracted materials) was one of the main reasons for their migration.