An Introduction to Mahid
The Iripu called Ungim stands alone in the halo of wasteland Birtule creates around itself, by consuming a great canal in its entirety. Ungim not only has water independence from that sprawling hive, they also lie right in the middle of the only relatively safe passage east from there.
This unusual placement, however, has been both a blessing and a curse. Holding the only safe and entirely land-based trade route out of the great city’s basin is naturally lucrative, and naturally makes it the object of much intrigue and war, but the eternal irony that holding the way out also means holding the way in applies here. Ungim is continually fighting off raider tribes, as most northern cities outside the Birtulan basin are, and most Ungimi would be quick to tell you that the ungrateful Birtulans do not appreciate in the slightest the immense service Ungim inadvertently renders them through the blood and lives of its sons.
This constant external threat, combined with the ever present knowledge (common to all Iripu) that the only thing standing between an Ungimi’s family and an ignoble and agonizing death by thirst is the security of the little patch of ground hosting the mouth of their well, has made Ungim a rigid, militaristic, and often xenophobic society, where loyalty, honesty, and honor eclipse all other ideals. Thieves and schemers are frequently executed publicly. Nominally, those who show blatant disrespect their superiors are as well, but a few exceptions are made for those who are of such use to the insulted superior that a less terminal punishment is deemed preferable.
However, Ungim is not just a tyrrany. It’s people are proud and often passionate, and power is not all centralized; there is a High Lord of Ungim but he must rely on and cooperate with a wide variety of political and martial orders, striving more for honor and glory than mere power, for who can hope to hold the latter without the former?
The end result is a complex community rarely truly understood by those not born of it, but it is plain that Ungim is not an excellent place to be very long for those who have not been given a place there, or taken one by force. Further it is widely asserted that in the art of war none have mastered the defensive strategies greater than they, giving rise to the phrase “climbing an Ungimi wall,” meaning an undertaking in which any attempt is impossible to succeed and likely to result in losing useful body parts at the least.