Lords of Bronze

Also known as the “Dreadlords” or “Dread Lords of Bronze”. The Lords of Bronze refers the the matriarchs and patriarchs of several clans of what was then known as Bronzemen. These people had a unique faith, culture, and practices – having risen deep in what is now known as the eastern heartlands. Bronze as a sacred metal to them, and while they did use iron and steel, nearly every weapon and armor was made of bronze. They had secret knowledge (a ‘spark’ of bronze) of fabricating their bronze items which made them stronger, and when fighting against steel, the damage to their weapons and armor was said to ‘heal’. They were all said to be witches and warlocks, versed in the way of the elemental and beast. They had secret ways of training animals that made them deadly opponents – they would arm bears, elk, and others to fight beside themselves.

Bronzelands

Bronzemen Culture

DESCRIPTION: average 5’6″, 130# (muscular), red and brown hair, brown, green, and yellow eyes

> Despite it thought to be just a cultural fancy to paint themselves that way, the Bronzemen were actually of a bronze hued skin color.

Lineage is traced on both sides for importance. There were many women leaders and warriors. Their children were raised communally – as a family. They had no real “nation” and did not use the peerage system. All real Bronzmen gave half their wealth back to their clan, and no family ever wanted for food, shelter, or clothing. All Bronzemen were said to have a bonded companion animal (like some of the elves) – which was treated like family as well. Infant mortality rates for true Bronzemen is nearly 0%; the trade-off for their hardiness is their shortened life span – only about 55 years maximum; the starting age for a character is 15. The dead were stripped of their flesh, and it was fed to the goats, cattle, swine, etc. Their bones would be used to make implements (utensils, etc.) for the family, hair to make rope or twine. Little was wasted in the “loop of life”.

  • Music of the Storm: They were said to make music and dance during the worst of storms, the accompany the wind and thunder and lightning and integrate their music and dance. IT was said to be uplifting, empowering, and the spend the energy of the storm just as they spent theirs.

Relations with Others: They have knowledge of and good relations with the Drunnad; also they often are on good relations with Elon and Pine Tribesmen (even giving safe harbor sometimes) – sharing their spirit of family and freedom from lords and governments. Though the Pine Tribesmen of the north still have legends about their coming and the losses suffered at their hands, and are not likely to have good relations without overcoming serious prejudice.

Symbols: Life Loop – Ezrilus and Gaia abide by it (their primary gods); core to their belief in the passage and cycle of life and core to the animal archetpyes and Lord of Beasts.

The ‘Dreadlord’ Name: How the “dread lords” got their name: They would conjure forth a fog before war from which emanated all manner of bestial, slavering sounds which would cause their enemies to freeze in dread. Their leaders wore helms and face masks of their mystical Bronzalloy – they appears as great kings and lords when they came from the mist leading their man-animal horde behind them.

Legacy – Holding back the Sea-Kings

Defeat of the Sea-Kings: It seems the Bronzemen were destined for their final fate. Their strange ways and animal breeding seemed to be the only force which could stop the Sea-Kings and the animosity over the way the Sea Kings treated their “companions” as thralls was something the Bronzemen crusaded against. As the Sea-Kings pushed inland, they met the Lords of Bronze and a savage centuries long struggle took place between them. Great beasts of the sea crawled forth from rivers and shorelines to battle massive large productions of land beast, water fought fire, and earth, and the freezing cold sea air clashed with warm currents from land. Lightning tore through the skies when their armies clashed. It was the Bronzemen, who decimated themselves in the process, who stopped the advance of the Sea-Kings inland. They killed many of the priestesses of Elancil, and spoiled the spawning beds of Elancils chosen people, permanently.

Ancient Blood: The Bronzemen are forgotten now, as are most of their own ways. A few live in isolated pockets and their blood is so thinned that it cannot “kindle the spark of Bronze”. It is said they have the blood of ancient, fallen celestials in their veins… this accounts for many of the strange words in their language being sourced in the tongue of such creatures.

  • Lords of Saelisnea – “The Saelish”; Dunstrand Vale

Spark of Bronze: The Lords of Bronze were known to possess secret knowledge which allowed them to create a sacred fire to their strange gods of fire and earth. With this flame, they would enchant bronze objects. Though not as strong as iron and steel, their sacred metals often has powers which made them more dangerous than simply the damage they would do. The Bronzemen legacy of metallurgy was one to rival the Ducateon – who guard their own secrets well. Most of the weapons and artifacts of the people died with them, crumbling to dust as their settlements and bloodlines ended; there was some bond between the metal and the people – like their animals.

History of the Bronzemen

The Bronzemen have no known origins. There are many theories around where they came from, but an enclave in the southern heartlands is mentioned in the most ancient of recorded history. At some point, what was once a peaceful, isolated culture became an expansionist one.

2800 CY; The …

Around 2900 CY; The Dreadlords flew a banner of a metallic bronze dragon, and conquered the lands between Rhyl forest and Lake Caolite – driving the pine tribes into the western forest and hills. They also laid waste to several Sea King enclaves along the river, asserting the High King’s dominions back into the lands around the lake.

2950 CY; Cersai established as the capital of the Northern Lords of Bronze.

2958 CY; ‘Dunstrand Vale’ area settled by Bronzelord vassals.

CY 2966; The Verbuir Sea-King clan destroy the Dreadlords in the north utterly, devastating the region and causing the weakened Verbuir to be wiped out by rival political factions. The first of the free cities that would become the merchant cities of the north are founded along the renamed Beyne River.

Weapons and Armor of the Bronzemen

The bronze weapons always made the wounds more difficult to treat. They all had a mark on them, reflecting their elemental affiliationa and beast affiliation of their clan. Although called Bronzemen, they infused all metals with their life and clan blood.

Slir: Only their best axes were ever given the mark of Slir – the primal energy. The “Bronzalloy” of Slir was lighter than normal bronze, and tough as iron often enough. Its known effects was to prevent sparks working against them

Defenses: They often wore a harness instead of armor, a harness with flat stone plates carved with runes which granted them toughness beyond the norm. their helmets were marked by their strange gods, always an animal totem and many imbued with the power to keep the wearer alert and conscious despite the worst of blows. Their shields had one of three marks – the turtle (med), the snail (heavy), and the beetle (small), with which they resisted knockback from blows.

Rune Weapons: Their mystic secrets and reputed ties to the earth spirits allowed them to fashion weapons of power. Nearly all were buried with the chiefs who forged the mystic alliances – buried in caves and mounds lost to memory now and which defy mystic sensing. These weapons were powerful, marked with the rune of a particular metal and crafted with bronze edge and surfaces and steel cores. Their making a secret only to a few crafters – crafters who took the knowledge and their faith with them to their grave. No forge on Helca could repair damage to them, and they would crack and grow brittle over time, but they were legendary in their ability to block, not just deflect. Each of these weapons glowed with a soft light and was engraved with scenes of combat – impossible to miss. The weapons were heavy, only the strongest warriors could use them.

Bronze Stings: ‘Sting’ – the Dreadlords wizards had ways of hurting specific creatures; a ‘sting’ it was called that targeted the vulnerabilities of a specific creature. This required divine aptitude and a deep lore in their animist spirits and gods.

Animal Companions of the Bronzemen

There are documented annals which denote some specific animals the Dreadlords used in the daily lives AND in war. These include falcon, crow, rat, racoon, ferret, goat, dog, domesticated feline, lynx (special), otter, pony, boar.

Little ones bonded with smaller, short lived animals when you – teach them about companion animals and about death and the loop/cycle. Companion animals could sense other companions animals – recognizing which were game, and which were kindred spirit and not to be touched.

Battle Animals: Bronze armaments for their companions were such things as leg hooks (for falcon), and war ‘horn’ (for goat, dog, lynx, pony, boar, ram) – These were not massive in times of peace; in times of war they ‘grew’ large.

Habits of the Bronzemen

  • Not allowed to attack other Bronzemen unless clan chief permits it (not even in death!).
  • Not allowed to marry unless clan chief permits it.
  • Must tithe 50% to their family (who tithes to the clan).
  • Must return to his tribe each year for a week (spirit cleansed).
  • Patriarchs must provide ‘doss’ (dowery) for female members of the family.
  • If a man does not provide, the female may choose to do so – any childrens path are set by her.
  • Only women may own property.
  • All must donate blood for the bronze metal quenching.