The Faltanine are a nomadic group of people found mainly in the Breasail region. Up until a decade after the Sorceress War, roving bands would perform raids on small cities and towns. Other bands would hire themselves out as mercenaries, providing a finely honed martial skill to those that could pay. It was not uncommon for one band to conduct raids, while another was hired to fend them off. The conflict between the two groups rarely lasted beyond the contract since the Faltanine viewed such things as contests of strength and tactics.
The most feared of Faltanine warrior were a class among them that wore impenetrable thick steel armor known as Steel Skin. The most striking ability of the Steel Skin was that it could shrug off magic with no consequence. Only an elite few were capable of using Steel Skin, and children are tested at a young age for the ability. Those that have the ability are taken from their parents and trained by a Dragon Knight Barracks Master. At the age of majority they would be tested in a series of competitive trials. The top competitors were considered finished with training and given Steel Skin of their own. They rest either continued training, or rejoined the rest of Faltanine society.
For the most part, the Faltanine were considered more of a nuisance than a treat up until a decade after the Sorceress War. During the war, most bands were hired as elite soldiers in the fight against the Sorceress forces. In order to coordinate all of the leaders of the bands, Dragon Lords, held a meeting electing a Dragon King. The Dragon King made the many bands into one unstoppable army that many historians attribute to the capture of the Sorceress and the defeat of her forces. The Dragon King was killed in the final battle against the Sorceress, and with no reason to stay together after the war, the bands simply dispersed.
The Faltanine went back to their pre war ways, but having seen what a unified forced could do, many local lords became wary.
Due to the cost of joining the war, the Kingdom of Breasail was unable to pay the full amount. The Faltanine were ready to to raise to Kingdom in anger, but Malchorian, the Dragon King, was savvy. He realized that the up and coming battle would one that could earn his people’s place in the history books through both his time with the generals of the other armies and his almost clairvoyant ability to predict the nature of a battle even before it started. In order to maintain the Faltanine army’s cohesion he came up with a plan later named “Malchorian’s Deal”. The deal was that the army would be paid a quarter of was owed now and the rest was to be paid out evenly to all of the warbands on a yearly basis until the debt was paid. The deal was begrudgingly agreed to by both the King oc Breasail and Warlords.
Malchorian’s Deal was upheld until eight years after, when the king took ill and was succeeded by the prince. The new King lived a lavish life and continued to raise taxes to pay for his luxury. He put off paying debts they kingdom owed to funnel more money to himself.
Many cities and towns began to complain they couldn’t pay due to attacks by Faltanine raiders. Rumors that the King could not keep the king’s peace spread. Realizing that he was on the verge of losing his kingdom, the King put out a declaration of war against the Faltanine.
Although the Warbands were more than a match for city guards and peasant mods. They were quickly overwhelmed by Breasaili forces so long as they remained independent. The bands felt they were owed a certain amount of respect as well as coin for their part in the Sorceress War and were taken aback by the sudden declaration.
Realizing each Warband alone could not stand against the entire Breasaili army, they called together a meeting to decide what action to take. Many a Faltanine remembered the days of glory from the Sorceress War and what it was like to move as a single people under one king. After much debate, they decided to once again elect a Dragon King.
With a newly unified army the Faltanine brought war down upon the Kingdom of Breasail. Those that once routed the enemy were crushed by superior forces. Half of the kingdom was in flames, castle crumbled, and king hid in his keep shaking in his kingly boots.
In a final battle, the Breasaili forces met up against the Faltanine army. The only thing between them was the thick walls of the keep. The Faltanine discovered a secret entrance into the keep and in the cover of the night they lowered the drawbridge. The remains of the Breasaili army were quickly dispatched. The King was brought to the courtyard where he was given an offer. He was to engage in single combat with the Dragon King. If he won, the Fatanine would leave the country and Malchorian’s Deal would be considered paid. If he lost, his Kingdom would be forfeit. The King, believing his life would be guaranteed, chose a champion to fight for him, while the Dragon King fought for himself. The battle was well fought, but even relieved of his Steel Skin the Dragon King was a force to recon with. The Champion was dispatched, and for his cowardice the Dragon King beheaded the King of Breasail in front of what remained of his people.
Throughout the war the City of Asden remained untouched. Refugees from all over travelled to the city, and settling in the every growing outskirts of the city. Out of respect for their part in the Sorceress War the Faltanine left the Wizards’ city alone. The Argent Tower watched as the land around them burned. The Council was divided whether to act. Though it was the way the the wizards to stay out of conflicts and remain neutral, that way had changed when they were forced to join the Sorceress War. The continued to deliberate long hours into the night, arguments unceasing.
As more and more refugees showed up on the doorstep of Asden, they realised they must do something, lest the world around fall to the warrior Faltanine. Black Mage Knights were retrained from fighting in small demon killing squads to working in legions. They were supported, by their fellow wizards. They made headway against the regular army. The sudden surprise of magic being used against them threw them through a loop. There were veterans who fought in the Sorceress War however, and they knew how to fight against magic. With the addition of Dragon Knights, whose armor was highly resistant to magic.
The Faltanine once against dominated the battlefield. This time they marched on Asden, they declaration of clemency revoked.
Just when the Argent Tower believed that they were doomed, they caught word that another forced was coming from the north. The Golden Tower had assembled with the remainder of the Breasaili force along with part of the Northman legion. They headed off the massive army and bought the wizards of Asden more time.
It was not enough to stop the Faltanine for good however. They needed a plan and they needed one quickly. The massive, thick stone walls of Asden would provide a shield against the coming force. Though it was made to keep out demons and the undead, it would hold out to men as well.
First, they sent an assassin to kill the Dragon King. The attempt, although almost successful, was thwarted, putting the Faltanine on guard against such tactics. No attempt after that was even close to successful, until the Tower was approached by a mysterious group. They would rid of the Dragon King at the price of an artifact from the Tower vaults. Desperate, the wizards agreed. Soon after the Dragon King disappear witbout a trace, and was never sighted again.
Without a Dragon King the army halted. They held another moot, but without an obvious successor. Infighting desolved the army, and many warbands, believing they should be leading the charge, headed off on their own to continue the attack on Asden. In the end, each warband was crushed under united forces.
In the aftermath every Faltanine was required to give up their weapons and Steel Skins. Those that refused were executed to the man. The warbands were dispered. Some breaking into smaller nomadic families, while others divided into the general population.
The Fatanine never again reached the height of power they had in those days, and instead faded into the myths surrounding the infamous Dragon Knights.
Copyright 2017 C. A. Pence. All rights reserved.