The people of Petobae are often just called horsemen.  Their army is almost entirely made up of cavalry and archers, thus even though they are a smaller nation they are treated with considerable respect.  Petobae’s horses are considered the finest in the world, though they are not often exported.  Even their religion is centered around horses, as in their belief system they were all once centaur like beings until the gods separated man from horse.  Thus, to the Petobae, horses are not pets or servants, but brothers.  There are those that make crude remarks about just how close the Petobae are to their horses.  The people of Petobae call their typical reaction to such remarks ‘justified homicide’.

They control the land that connects Manisar to the rest of the continent.  And they are the reason Manisar does its trade via coastal ships.  The relationship between the two nations is hostile at the best of times.  While most countries that outlaw slavery still often turn a blind eye to the practice, Petobae does not tolerate slavery within its borders.  Those attempting to smuggle slaves through their lands are flayed alive before being crucified, and their slaves are given the option of being escorted to the border or taken in by the Petobae and adopting their culture.  Many take the latter option, making the people of Petobae rather diverse in appearance.

Despite their affinity for horses, they are not nomadic.  Petobae build well-fortified cities, and train both male and female children with blade and bow.  Their armor is usually leather with a metal breastplate and greaves, allowing them to be decently fortified but still mobile.  They do make some use of chariots in combat.

While they are good at war, they are not generally aggressive.  They are known for their poetry, and in Petobae if you can spin a good story or better yet sing, you will receive a warm welcome.  They practice sacred hospitality and are generally fairly nice people, but it’s best to remember that that their enemies have a tendency to end up impaled on the spikes that ring their villages, if not worse.

Marriage in Petobae is a somewhat complicated affair.  While monogamous life pairings are normal and such people call each other their ‘bond mates’, marriage is a group affair.  It has nothing to do with who you sleep with, but rather with which children you are responsible for tending and training.  Occasionally large families split apart, and smaller ones join together.  Outsiders taken in are usually married into whatever family they are considered to suit best, as trades and other skills are typically family affairs.  Bond-mates are usually also married, but that is not always the case, a fact outsiders often find very confusing.

Children are raised communally, with the older children being raised right alongside the horse that will be theirs upon reaching adulthood.  There are no orphans in Petobae.  In the off chance a child’s entire family unit dies or there is a foundling, they are taken in by the mayor’s family and considered no different from any other in that family unity.  Outsiders occasionally have difficulty telling which child belongs with which mother/father.  At meal time, the people of Petobae feed whichever children happen to be in their homes at the time, and children think little of sleeping at the home of a friend or just bedding down wherever they happen to be when night falls.  Anyone harming a child is dealt with swiftly by any and everyone in the vicinity.

Their society is fairly egalitarian, and though they do have a royal line their culture is also somewhat democratic.  Mayors and other local leaders are voted into office.  Each village has a wise one to serve the mayor as an adviser, and some wise ones are hedge-witches capable of minor magic.  Wise ones choose and train their apprentices.


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