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Great Horsegiver Giscu-uru | by Cuahchic
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Great Horsegiver Giscu-uru

On the grasslands near the border with Lenfald lives the Skuda (literally: "Those Who Ride") peoples. They are a hardy nomadic horse people, and as such are looked down on by many of the noble Loreesi families who consider them little better than barbarians.


This is not helped by many of the Skuda customs: living in felted yurts they have little use for stone buildings (excepting their religious temples); also they follow shamans who tell of the prominence of the "Lord of the Horizon" - a capricious Sky Father who watches over the Skuda people and demands animal sacrifices at his mountainside temples to keep contented.


Unsurprisingly for a people whose livelihood is centred on horses, the leader of the Skuda is known as the "Great Horsegiver" - a title which the leader would be wise to take literally. The Skuda value horses above all else and will only follow a leader who is successful enough to give gifts of horses to his bondsmen.


The Skuda do not follow primogeniture - on the death of one Great Horsegiver the next one is chosen from amongst the strongest of his bondsmen. Often this is the most successful Skuda general and his prominence is typically decided by the killing of the other candidates.


The present Great Horsegiver of the Skuda is Giscu-uru (the suffix -uru denotes a Lord). Giscu-uru is a moderniser who wishes to raise the profile of the Skuda amongst the other Loreesi houses. As such, he wears more contemporary armour and uses the latest Loreesi equipment. He tries to encourage his bondsmen to equip their riders in a similar manner - and despite a combination of raiding and trade he is making slow progress with the conservative Skuda leaders.


To integrate the backward Skuda into Loreesi culture Giscu-uru is constructing a great capital on the plains known as "Civus Skudae". Although the Skuda are scornful of walled cities and staying one place too long (for their herds of horses eat all the surrounding grass) Giscu-uru is slowly winning over his people to his very modern vision.


Shown here is Giscu-uru (left) in his Loreesi armour and showing his steel broadsword accompanied by his standard-bearer Bajik (centre) and general Sabur-uru (right). Bajik and Sabur-uru are Giscu-uru's most trusted bondsmen and dress in the Skuda custom of a silk shirt, carry the curved cavalry swords which the Skuda are famous for, and ride painted horses denoting their high status.

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Taken on March 11, 2012