A semi-nomadic people with curly black hair, hulking strong frames and wide faces with flat noses. They are tanned but not dark and have a respect in their culture for strength, music and family. Technologically they are in the stone age on their own but are adaptable enough to adopt new artifacts easily. Barduk have an egalitarian culture between the sexes with women and men having no fixed roles. The women of the Barduk are known for their sexual aggression as much as the men are known for their impressive strength. Music is popular with the Barduk, they have songs and ditties for all occasions, with most being able to hold a tune quite well. Warriors of the Barduk wear bone scale-mail armour, traditionally wield semi-edged hardwood clubs but now favour falcata, axes and bardiche, and are fond of taking trophies from their fallen foes – fingers, teeth, ears, etc.

Height: 5’8” to 6’10”

The Kryuk’all

Ma’rdul, Kechaine, Theurk and Lorbad closed on young Mardin before he realised what they were doing.

We’ve been watching you.” Theurk said.

Why?” was Mardin’s automatic response.

You show promise.” Ma’rdul said.

Promise to be one of blood-kith, a Kryuk’all.” Kechaine expanded.

Mardin gasped. Here were four of the most dangerous people in all the Barduk tribes. Kryuk’all were like dark spirits in man flesh, capable of the ultimate stealth, brutal martial skills and cunning beyond that of an old lone dara’garn.

You think I could be Kryuk’all?” Mardin asked, confounded and stunned.

Yes. You will hunt with us in the coming days. We will trek to the crater the twigs call Calnogarr and there you will take the test.”

When?” Mardin asked.

Now.” Lorbad said. His frame, huge even amongst Barduk, loomed closer to Mardin making the young man feel smaller than before he passed his rites of adolescence.

You have no choice in this.” Kechaine said.

My axe, my armour. They are in my yurt.”

We know.” The familiar voice of Uncle Brumord approached carrying Mardin’s axe and armour, as well as a few bags of food and trail satchels.

Now we leave.” Lorbad said. And they did.

The Kryuk’all are a sect within the Barduk tribes. They pick what they see as the elite amongst their people, the best trackers, the best warriors, the smartest connivers and tacticians, the most powerful of the mana-touched, but most importantly those that are highly skilled in all those things. Through a dangerous ritual in the Calnogarr Crater involving hallucinogens, trances and hypnotic suggestions, they test them and shape the promising members into the Barduk’s secret forces. Kryuk’all have a set agenda of maintaining the Barduk tribes, protecting their plains and hills, gathering information from the neighbouring and far-flung lands, and waging hidden war when the Barduk people are in conflict. Within the tribe they are feared, respected and almost venerated by young warriors but quite a few think they are spirits or old tales.

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