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Falconsbane Featurette: Zuar

Can you believe it’s already the end of May? It feels like it just started yesterday! I know they say time moves faster the older you get, but this is ridiculous! So much is going on with cleaning up the farm and planting fields and gardens. The flower beds are all spruced up, seeds are sprouting, and my water trough herb garden has survived the transplant. I’m hoping it’ll yield enough for canning sauce later, and pesto, and basil jelly, and I want to try that strawberry-basil combination . . .

In any event, progress on Falconsbane is being made (although perhaps not as single-mindedly as it probably ought), and today I’m going to tell you a bit about the region of Zuar (I know you’ve all been waiting for this post since last month’s Kedash feature!), so here’s another sneak peek into the world of Falconsbane.

Zuar is the largest region in Phen, and located smack-dab in the middle it is the only region to have a border with all six of its neighbors. Its northern half is heavily forested while toward the south it has a steppe (there’s a legend about how that is, but it’s mentioned in the book and I won’t spoil it for you). The people congregate in the towns and villages surrounding this steppe, leaving the wild flatland to the dragons and jackals. While it might not necessarily be true, there’s a common saying that ‘the brightest thing about Zuar is its colors’ ─ and really, looking at them, one can see where people got the idea. Groovy, am I right? However, the people are practical and hard working, and their military branch is a sight.

As one might imagine from their coat of arms, the Zuarians specialize in combat with spears and shields, much like the Romans of our own history. They fight in ‘packs’, creating shield walls that act like battering rams, breaking through enemy lines. Each shield has a notch in all four sides, and when they’re linked up with their neighbors they create gaps just large enough to fit a spearhead through, making a prickly battering ram.

Their motto, Jun’kurr ēn Avin’El, denotes the idea of ‘fierce fighting dogs’ or ‘wild jackals’, and they do like to liken themselves to the red jackals that roam the steppe of their homecountry. They rarely fight in single combat, almost always in groups, and their war cry is more of a howl than anything else. When you have ranks of them shouting like that it gets pretty unnerving.

(Super groovy, huh?)

Unlike Nyan and Kedash (and others), who incorporate an aspect of their coat of arms into their crest, which is painted on their battle standards, the Zuarians opted for the paw print of a jackal, just to drive home their nature and tactics. They are fierce and indomitable, capable of using their shields as a weapon as effectively as their spears, and they don’t back down in the face of the enemy.These warriors have proven highly effective in the front lines, wildly enthusiastic but simultaneously precise, and there hasn’t yet been a foe the Zuarian jackals haven’t been eager to challenge.

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