This article is for the Faction, for the NPC, see here.
Though their crafts and way of life may seem primitive to the Men of the North, the Morwaith lead complex lives. Their chieftains are many, separated by great distance and divided by cultural differences. They have many strange rituals and traditions, including the ritual slaying of wild animals. They are strong warriors in battle, sometimes riding on zebras against their enemies, and wielding spears, clubs, axes, and daggers.
From early on, the Morwaith were very sectarian. Due to how vast a swath of land they were spread over, they quickly splintered into hundreds of tribes, each with their own chieftains and village networks. But remarkably, they have maintained many customs that their people have practiced since the beginning, and differences between the tribes aren't as pronounced as one could reasonably expect. The Morwaith live lives based around hunting and gathering, which has made their people into natural warriors. Morwaith tribes are usually rather small, generally no larger than the population of a single village, though larger tribes with multiple villages are not unheard of. The greatest warriors of these tribes become Chieftains, who prove their worth by killing the fearsome lions of the grasslands and wearing their fur. These tribes frequently compete with each other, though enemy tribes will usually band together against any sort of external enemy.
Central to Morwaith culture is the concept of the Great Lion. Though some Morwaith, especially younger members of more northerly tribes, have begun to worship Sauron, as many of their Southron allies do, most Morwaith worship the Great Lion, a deity they consider a symbol of strength, who both created the world and will destroy it in time. The Morwaith believe that the Great Lion grants strength to the worthy, and will devour the souls of all Men when their time is come. Of particular importance, especially to the western tribes, is the belief that the Great Lion waits beyond the mountains in the west, waiting to arise and swallow all the earth, ending the world of Men.
The Grasslands of Far Harad are perilous, and so travel between Morwaith villages is fairly infrequent, and usually only done by warriors. As a result, contact between Morwaith tribes is limited, and no sort of centralized government or community has ever developed between them. This, of course, complicates the matter of tracking and recording their history. As a result, their history is recorded here geographically, with the Morwaith divided into four regional subgroups.
The Northern Morwaith dwell in the Arid Grasslands just south of the river Edrainnen, which forms the border between Near Harad and Far Harad. The Arid Grasslands are a harsher environment than the more fertile lands to the south, and so the Northern Morwaith tribes were forced to band more closely together from the beginning. The average Northern Morwaith tribe is much larger than the average tribe of any other Morwaith subgroup, and they frequently include multiple villages and hunting-camps, but there are fewer of them than there are in other parts of the Grasslands.
In general, the Northern Morwaith are much less traditional and much more pragmatic than their southern brethren, likely due to Southron influence. The conditions of the Arid Grasslands and the history of their tribes has made them the greatest warriors of the Morwaith, greatly skilled at hunting both beasts and Men. The Emyn Haecharad, a range of hills that cuts across the western half of the Arid Grasslands, are considered somewhat sacred by many northern tribes, for reasons that have been mostly lost. The greatest settlements of the Northern Morwaith are in the plains north of the Emyn Haecharad, where their hunters often hunt and trade with Southron poachers, and near the Hill of the Sun, a site in the eastern part of the Arid Grasslands where, the Morwaith hold, the first chieftain of the "Plains Peoples" lies buried.
From very early on in the Second Age, the Northern Morwaith developed close ties with their Southron neighbors. The kingdoms of the Southron Coasts and the Gulf of Harad made alliances with Northern Morwaith tribes, who gave them exotic goods like lion fur and rhino horns in exchange for weapons. This alliance with the Southrons has long been a major source of strength for the Northern Morwaith, who have become the most advanced of the Men of the Grasslands and, recently, the most powerful. Though few Morwaith have bothered to learn the art of metalworking, the northern tribes are always eager to acquire new weapons from their Southron friends, seeking ever to become better hunters.
Over the course of the Second Age and into the early Third Age, the Northern Morwaith continuously drew closer to the Southrons. Many Morwaith tribes aided them in their conflicts with the Númenóreans during the Second Age, and some even marched north with the kingdoms of Near Harad during the War of the Last Alliance. As a result, some Northern Morwaith tribes have even begun to adopt aspects of Southron culture, including their reverence for Sauron. This became especially true in the early Third Age, when wars began to break out between the Southrons and the Kingdom of Gondor.
It was in the early Third Age that Morwaith Mercenaries began to appear in Near Harad, travelling in small groups and setting up camps in the lands of the Southrons. For most of the Age, these mercenaries have left their tribes in the Arid Grasslands to join the Southrons, adopting Southron equipment and selling their services out to the highest bidder. These mercenaries became renowned across Near Harad as brave and reliable warriors, whose skills at assassination were second to none. It is said that, prior to her departure for Gondor, Queen Berúthiel of Harad maintained a personal guard of Morwaith Mercenaries, though some report that these were simply warriors from a powerful tribe, whose chieftain - one of Berúthiel's many lovers - had granted her their services as a gift.
Morwaith Mercenaries became infamous on a much larger scale during the Siege of Umbar in TA 1015. Ciryandil, the fourteenth King of Gondor, was slain in that battle by a Morwaith Mercenary, dealing a major blow to Gondorian forces. Unfortunately for the Southrons, this enraged Ciryandil's son, who ended up vassalizing the kingdoms of Near Harad and naming himself Hyarmendacil I. Warriors of the Northern Morwaith fought with the Southrons in this war until its end in TA 1050, after which Hyarmendacil sent envoys south to the Chieftains of the Northern Morwaith. These envoys were always violently rebuffed, and in several cases the Morwaith killed them outright.
As Gondor's hold on Near Harad weakened over the centuries that followed, the Southron kingdoms began to fight back and free themselves, and the Northern Morwaith tribes played a major role in this rebellion, especially the Morwaith Mercenaries, who were often sent to assassinate key Gondorian military figures in the region. Morwaith tribes sent groups of warriors to aid the armies of the Southrons in their fight against Gondor frequently, and with their help the Southrons were eventually able to drive Gondor out of Near Harad entirely. These long years of war have left their mark on the Northern Morwaith, whose loyalty to their Southron allies has been joined by a burning hatred for Gondor.
When Sauron returned and once more declared himself the Dark Lord of Mordor, the kingdoms of Near Harad flocked to his side, and most of the Northern Morwaith tribes eagerly flocked to join them. Many of the Northern Morwaith youth have forsaken the Great Lion entirely in favor of worshipping Sauron, and are eager to prove themselves in service to the Eye. As the Southrons push further north, the Morwaith of the Arid Grasslands oftentimes join them, and they await the day when Mordor will call them forth to war with the Men of Gondor.
The tribes of the Eastern Morwaith live in the fertile grasslands and forests around the Great Lakes of Far Harad, a land full of beasts for the Morwaith to hunt. Until recently, they lived in relative isolation from the other Morwaith, and they remain the most primitive of the Morwaith subgroups. They warriors are skilled in stealth tactics, and even their civilians are known for their ability to hide, both skills that the Eastern Morwaith have developed due to millennia of hardship. They hold the Great Lakes around which they live to be holy sites, great sources of life that they fiercely protect from invaders. The largest settlements of the Eastern Morwaith are situated between the two northernmost lakes and near the Haraduin Bridge, an ancient Taurethrim construct that Morwaith Beast-Chainers have since rebuilt.
For the first half of the Second Age, the Eastern Morwaith lived more or less in peace. This changed in SA 1800, when monstrous creatures known as Half-Trolls started raiding the mainland from Tol Torog. The Half-Trolls gradually drove the Morwaith out of the lands east of the river Seregduin, which in later days became known as Pertorogwaith, and continued to raid westwards. The Eastern Morwaith were completely outmatched by the Half-Trolls and routinely slaughtered. They fearfully began calling the Half-Trolls the Grey Demons, who were more beast than man and devoured men whole. Many Eastern Morwaith villages fell victim to the Grey Demons, and the Morwaith were forced to adopt stealthier tactics to survive the raids.
Around SA 2130, Taurethrim refugees settled in the forests west of Pertorogwaith, and there built a city that, in later days, would be called Kimen Kâh. The Taurethrim of Kimen Kâh made peace with the Eastern Morwaith tribes, promising protection from the Half-Trolls in exchange for their service. Tribe by tribe, Eastern Morwaith gladly accepted, and their lands became the Empire of Kimen Kâh. Morwaith warriors were pressed into service to fight for the Empire and to provide Kimen Kâh with food, but there were few objections to this arrangement among the Morwaith, for while the Empire lasted it did indeed provide them with respite from Half-Troll attacks. Unfortunately for the Eastern Morwaith, it didn't last long. Around thirty years after the founding of Kimen Kâh, a huge army of Half-Trolls swarmed into the forests and attacked the city, burning it to the ground and slaughtering its inhabitants.
With their Taurethrim allies now completely wiped out, the Eastern Morwaith tribes were forced to unite out of desperation, and so they were able to prevent the Half-Trolls from conquering any of the lands beyond the rivers that bordered Pertorogwaith. Later in the Second Age, they allied with the Limwaith of the Mangroves and struck back against the Half-Trolls, who were crippled by infighting at the time. They were able to secure the Seregduin completely and weaken the Half-Trolls further, but they were unable to advance into Pertorogwaith, and by the start of the Third Age the Half-Trolls began to get stronger once more.
To make matters worse, the Limwaith began to focus more on getting revenge on the Taurethrim than holding off the Half-Trolls, and the tribes of the Eastern Morwaith gradually began to fracture. The Half-Trolls exploited this resumed their raids into the Grasslands, annihilating a number of Morwaith tribes and driving others into hiding. The Eastern Morwaith managed to keep the Half-Trolls away from the two northern Great Lakes, and to this very day that region is kept secure by their greater hunters, but the Half-Trolls ran rampant in the forest, and all the tribes of the Eastern Morwaith suffered at the hands of their raiders for most of the Age.
About midway through the Third Age, many of the Eastern Morwaith began to tire of this devastating cycle, and sought a way out. When Southern Morwaith tribes began making alliances with the Southrons, they got their chance. The kingdoms of Near Harad demanded tribute from the Southern Morwaith in exchange for aid against the Taurethrim, and the Southern Morwaith provided them with wood from the jungle and captured Mûmakil. A group of Eastern Morwaith inserted themselves into this arrangement, acting as middlemen between the Morwaith and the Southrons. They became known as the Beast-Chainers, for they came to specialize in the transport of captive Mûmakil, which the Southern Morwaith sold to the Southrons for use as war-beasts. The Beast-Chainers rebuilt the Bridge of Haraduin, and to this day Southern Morwaith hunting parties hand their captive Mûmakil off to the Beast-Chainers at this site. The Beast-Chainers then lead the Mûmakil north across the plains and sell them to the Gulfings of Khopazûl, who often trade them off to the other Southron kingdoms. The Beast-Chainers built their own settlement at a site where they frequently met the Gulfings, a strange village that the Gulfings nicknamed the Town of Bones. With war brewing in the North, the Beast-Chainers are thriving, and the Town of Bones is often visited by Gulfing traders and Northern Morwaith hunters.
For the rest of the Eastern Morwaith, life became even harder in the late Third Age, as Half-Troll attacks began to intensify for reasons unknown. To the dismay of the Morwaith, the Half-Trolls had organized, more so than they ever had before, and in their unity they threatened to destroy the eastern tribes. But even as these attacks grew worse, the Chieftains of the strongest of these tribes received envoys from Sauron, the Dark Lord of Mordor, who promised that he would free them from their Half-Troll enemies if they swore allegiance to him. They readily accepted, as, eventually, did almost all of the Eastern Morwaith tribes, and the attacks ceased almost immediately. In gratitude, the Eastern Morwaith joined with their Northern brothers in the service of Mordor, eager to aid their savior against the Men of Gondor.
The Southern Morwaith are the most populous Morwaith subgroup, the inhabitants of the fertile grasslands along the river Haraduin. Though they are primarily hunter-gatherers, like all Morwaith, they rely on agriculture to a greater degree than the other subgroups, and are especially fond of yams. Frequently, their hunters raid the jungles for exotic prey and plants; in recent millennia, they have begun chopping down trees and capturing Mûmakil, much to the ire of the Taurethrim. Many of the local legends of Southern Morwaith tribes prominently feature the Gates of Fire, a small range of volcanic mountains that lies near the center of the Grasslands; many Morwaith believe that the Gates lead down to the heart of the earth, and some of the tribes that dwell close to the volcanoes send their young warriors there to prove themselves. There are several powerful large tribes among the Southern Morwaith; their largest settlements lie in the Upper Floodplains, in Deep Harad near the Gates of Fire, and at Nan Hardagorath, a lush green valley that has been the site of many battles.
The Southern Morwaith lived in relative peace until around SA 1250, when the Taurethrim Empire turned its eyes northwards, seeking to conquer all of Harad. On the orders of the Taurethrim High King, the armies of the Empire swarmed north into the grasslands, conquering any Morwaith tribes they encountered. Many battles between the Morwaith and Taurethrim were fought, including several at Nan Hardagorath, but the Taurethrim were stronger due to their superior equipment and unit cohesion. The Empire quickly conquered all of the lands south of the Haraduin, and then they pushed farther, moving north past the Gates of Fire and stopping only when they reached the borders of the Arid Grasslands.
All Morwaith tribes south of the Haraduin were outright enslaved, as were many north of it, and the rest of the Southern Morwaith were forced to become vassals of the Taurethrim Empire. Morwaith slaves were forced to grow corn and yams for their Taurethrim masters, and in the days of the Taurethrim Blood-Kings they were used also to build monuments, most notably the great pyramids of the jungle, an undertaking that came with a high cost in lives. Few Morwaith rose above slave status under the Taurethrim, and though there are tales of a few that became prominent warriors, these cases were rare. The Morwaith came to hate the Taurethrim for their cruel treatment of their people and the high tributes they demanded, and rebelled several times, only for each rebellion to be completely crushed. By SA 1600, all of the Southern Morwaith were under the dominion of the Taurethrim Empire, and they had little hope of breaking free.
But this was soon to change. In the year 1750 of the Second Age, the ruling High King of the Taurethrim Empire died of a black sickness that none could treat him for. In the wake of his father's death, a young boy became High King; his name was Kozawik, and even at that young age he had already become known as cruel. During his coronation, Sauron himself arrived from Mordor, greeting the new king and offering an alliance. Kozawik, seeing an opportunity to increase his power, agreed to ally and send tribute to Mordor, in exchange for guidance from Sauron and the destruction of his enemies. Among the Taurethrim, it is said that from that day forth a madness took him, a madness that turned him against his own people. He had been brutal before, in his own respect, and enjoyed the torment of living things, but now, through the power of Sauron, he had become an incredibly sadistic ruler. He slaughtered his own people for amusement, and in after-days was called Kozawik the Despised. How Sauron dominated him so is uncertain. Some say he was ensnared, as Ar-Pharazon of Númenor was. Other claim some fell magic of Mordor was to blame. Still more say that, at this first meeting, Sauron offered Kozawik a Ring to seal their alliance, a gift that Kozawik greedily claimed.
Kozawik was, at first, a very promising leader; he was able to lead his armies like none before, earning stunning victories against all that opposed him. Despite his brutality, revolts and attempted coups were few and far between, and always crushed in short order. But the power Sauron gave Kozawik, slowly at first, began to twist his mind. Kozawik's bloodlust evolved into outright brutality. Once he had killed thousands of the Limwaith, Morwaith and Cerinrim around the Empire, he started killing his own people. The Taurethrim suffered greatly under the hands of their own High King, yet the power of the Dark Lord prevented any uprising. As if to add insult to injury, Kozawik lived an extraordinarily long life - which he mostly used to devastate his own realm. His terrible rule started to bother Sauron, who wanted to let the Taurethrim bleed in his wars and not for the amusement of his puppet. After more than a hundred years of his terrible reign, Kozawik disappeared without a trace.
Kozawik the Despised left the Taurethrim Empire as a shadow of its former self, for which Sauron had no use anymore. He had massacred his own people for entertainment, and with his disappearance the Taurethrim were left without a ruler, for Kozawik left no surviving children, as he had killed his only son in a blood-rage. The Taurethrim Empire descended into chaos. A long and bloody civil war broke out, in which petty Chieftains and self-declared Kings struggled for power while further destroying the Taurethrim people and bringing their culture to the brink of death. But where the Taurethrim saw disaster, the Morwaith saw an opportunity - an opportunity to regain their long-lost freedom.
As the Taurethrim Empire collapsed, the Morwaith drove their former overlords out of the Grasslands, and then they began raiding the Jungle, seeking revenge for centuries of torment. Morwaith hordes flooded the northern Jungles, and many tribes even settled there. The Morwaith razed any Taurethrim cities or villages that they found, and over the course of a century the old Taurethrim Empire was completely destroyed, victim to the people it had once enslaved. Soon, the entirety of the Great Jungle fell under the rule of Morwaith chieftains, and the Taurethrim that were left were forced to integrate with them.
But gradually, those Morwaith that had moved into the Jungle diverged from those that had stayed in the Grasslands. As they merged with the remnants of the Taurethrim, they started to adopt Taurethrim empire, eventually coming to call themselves the new Taurethrim, the heirs to the fallen Empire. As the Empire of Kimen Kâh, the last holdout of the original Taurethrim civilization, rose and then fell, the Morwaith of the Jungles became a new people, one that had more in common with the ancient Taurethrim than with the Morwaith. Over the course of centuries, both they and their enemies stopped differentiating between the Taurethrim of old and the new rulers of the Jungle.
The remaining Southern Morwaith despised the new Taurethrim, and set out to finish what their ancestors started. Over the course of the Third Age, many battles were fought between the Morwaith and Taurethrim, as Taurethrim chieftains sought to expand the scope of their power and Morwaith raiders sought to wipe out their ancient enemies. During one such conflict between the two groups, many Southern Morwaith tribes began working with the Northern Morwaith, and with their Southron allies, in hopes of gaining an edge over the Men of the Jungles. The Southrons of the Gulf of Harad promised aid in exchange for tribute, which the Morwaith gladly provided in the form of wood from the Jungle and Mûmakil, which their hunting parties captured in Jungle raids and sent north to be used as warbeasts by the Southrons. Typically, Southern Morwaith hunters will capture Mûmakil and bring them to the Bridge of Haraduin, where they trade the beasts off to Eastern Morwaith Beast-Chainers and collect their payment.
In recent years, the Southern Morwaith tribes have also come into contact with Sauron, who, like the Southrons, offered aid in exchange for tribute. In exchange for some of their warriors, Sauron has promised to help the Morwaith completely annihilate the Taurethrim, an offer that made most of the the Southern Morwaith tribes allies of Mordor in short order. But though the Southern Morwaith are becoming increasingly involved with the Shadow, their primary focus is still on the Taurethrim, with whom they are still in a state of perpetual conflict.
The Western Morwaith, the final cultural subgroup of the Men of the Grasslands, are few in number, and little is said of them. They alone of the Far Haradrim dwelt west of the great Mountains of Harad, from the lands around Taurelondë to the foothills of Mount Astras. They are much more peaceful than their relatives across the Mountains, and most western tribes are deeply religious and thoroughly devoted to the Great Lion. These were likely a contributing factor in the fate that ultimately befell them.
The Western Morwaith had the most contact with the Númenóreans, who set up many colonies in the rocky western coasts of Far Harad. At first, this was a positive influence, and the Western Morwaith gained much from trade with the Númenóreans. But when the Shadow began to fall over Númenór, it is said that it fell first and hardest over the colonies in Harad, and the Western Morwaith suffered greatly for this change. Black Númenóreans took over Taurelondë and its subordinate colonies across the western coasts of Harad, and they began pillaging the interior of the continent. Most of the Western Morwaith were enslaved by them, and the Black Númenóreans often used them as human sacrifices, spilling their blood in the name of Melkor.
Black Númenórean dominion over the Western Morwaith lasted for the rest of the Second Age, but the colonies quickly died out between conflict and decreasing populations. The Western Morwaith tried to recover, but the Corsairs of Umbar filled the void that the Black Númenóreans had left, taking over the coasts and pillaging the strip of land that the Western Morwaith occupied. Many of the Slaves of Harad sold by Corsair slavers come from Western Morwaith tribes, few of which now remain.
The men of the Sunlands are tough and hardy, and willing to fight for the Red Eye. But their allegiance lies foremost with the Great Lion, and it is under his banners, not Sauron’s, that they walk. Divided into many tribes and petty chiefdoms, they are disunited and without great settlement. It may be one day that one shall unite them and lead them forth to new glory. But that day, should it ever come to pass, is long off, and as the shadow lengthens, the Eye colors the plains in the scarlet light of a dying sun.
|•Dúnedain of the North|
- Morwaith - Basic Morwaith Civilian.
- Morwaith Warrior - Morwaith clad in Morwaith Armour and wielding Morwaith Equipment. Will attack any enemies of their faction. May be mounted on a zebra.
- Morwaith Huntsman - A Morwaith trader that can be found in the trader hut of a village.
- Morwaith Hutmaker - Traders found in villages who will sell hut-making blocks to players with enough alignment.
- Morwaith Chieftain - Tribal leaders, clad in the sacred pelt of lions who will sell Morwaith warriors to players with enough alignment.
Compared to Northern factions, the Morwaith are industrially relatively undeveloped.
- Morwaith Hunter Camp - A small camp containing several hunting shacks around a Morwaith crafting table.
- Morwaith Village - A cluster of 3-5 huts, 0-1 chieftain huts and 0-2 trader huts.
- Morwaith crafting table - Crafting tables used to craft all of the following.
- Morwaith Banner - The banner of Morwaith, depicting a golden lion on an orange field.
- Morwaith Equipment, daggers, battleaxes, spears and clubs. Curiously enough, the Morwaith spear has a base damage of +7, making it higher than the base damage of other Morwaith weapons.
- Morwaith Armour and Morwaith Chieftain Armour - Respectively, the armour worn by warriors, and the armour made from the sacred pelt of lions, worn by chieftains.
|The Morwaith of Far Harad|
The Deeps of the Earth: