As the Tharians swept across the Dragon Empire not all prospered. Some, due to luck or temperament, failed at their endeavors and lost all means to support their family and clan. Others lost at duels of honor and were stripped of their herds again losing what they needed to support family and clan. Others still had no honor to begin with and were cast out of their clans.
Those without clans depended on the generosity and largess of others. Many wandered from place to place working at odd jobs or just outright begging. As the Tharians become more established in the lands they conquered the beggars became a permanent feature of Tharian society.
With the conquest of the City-State and the unification of Tharian clans by the Overlord Lucius the Great most lucrative source of work was in the City-State itself. The beggars began to organize for protection against other Tharians, against the native Ghinorians of the city, and especially the Brotherhood of the Lion who dominated the underworld of the City-State.
The Beggars’ Guild excel at fencing, information gathering and smuggling. Many beggars turned to horse thieving and cattle rustling to survive and there was few Bondbuyers didn’t ask the source of the horses a man sold him. From this they became experts in knowing how to acquire and sell illicit goods.
Tharian Clans spread throughout their new conquest. Each clan claimed farms, fields, villages and divided the old empire between them. The clans became preoccupied with their own local affairs. The Beggars traveled widely were often a reliable of source of information about distant parts of the Tharian realm. The Beggars developed a extensive network that allowed them to collect information from all corners of the Overlord’s dominion.
Their symbol is the broken sword and the broken horseshoe. The broken sword represents the broken bond between a beggar and his former clan. The broken horseshoe represents their beginnings as horse and cattle thieves.
The beggars have few allies and many enemies. They are Tharians and the Elessarians and the Ghinorians have little love for them. The animosity of the conquered to the lowest of the conquerors has fueled a fierce bond of loyalty between the beggars. A motto of theirs is who will take of us if not ourselves.
The Tharians view the beggars as the dishonored who disgraced themselves and their clans. But many of the highest Tharian lords view them as a useful resource able to do things that can’t be done any other way.
Their greatest enemy is the Brotherhood of the Lion. The beggars are among the weakest of the Tharians and the Brotherhood often attacks them as easy targets. But in the last century the Beggars have learned how to retaliate themselves and often return the blows that they receive.
They are the lowest of the low in Tharian culture. Having no clan and no place to call home many wander from place to place. Most Tharians despise and pity them. Many clan estates have a beggars’ field where the wandering beggars can come and stay, also beggars have the right to glean the fields after the harvest is in. Many of the more honest beggars have a collection of small items that they display to sell and trade.
The only bright spot in their status is that with the rise of the Overlord they receive protection because they are Tharians. The remaining Ghinorian and Elessarian Lords have been taught to leave the Beggars alone.
The Overlord and the Tharian nobility vigorously go after any beggars that steal horses, cattle, or any other goods. But both also have used the beggars to acquire information or obtain items that can’t be gotten any other way. These dealings are kept very private and if they are revealed they bring great dishonor the lord and his clan.
The beggars have no standing in Tharian Law. Because their word is considered worthless they can not stand with or against other clansmen in law cases. But the Tharians considered attacks or fraud perpetuated on the beggars by Ghinorians and Elessarians very seriously and often will defend the Beggars.
The Tharian believe that if you died in good standing with your clan, your spirit goes and joins with the spirits of the clan’s ancestors. The collection of the clan’s ancestors is known as the Lars. The Lars, as a whole, is honored by the clan and is served by shamans. The Lars can choose to grant their power, through the shaman, to aid the clan.
Tharians believe that when a beggar dies his spirit is rejected by his clan’s Lars and forced to wander the world as a shade typically returning to wherever his dishonor occurred and trying, in vain, to restore his honor.
But the Beggars themselves believe that by banding themselves together that a Lars has been created that allows the clanless to join. Many of the Beggars’ Guild rites involve tapping into the power of the Lars of the Beggars’ Guild.
Before the conquest most beggars were individuals wandering the land. Most died in a few years due to starvation, malnutrition, or disease. After the conquest the Tharian population exploded and this raised the number of beggars. In a hundred years there were whole families of beggars. There were men and women born of beggars and treated as beggars by the Tharians. It was during this time that the tradition of the beggars’ field, the gleaning right, and tradition of cattle rustling began.
With the conquest of the City-State by Lucius the Great, the city itself became a magnet for Tharians including beggars. Soon a large population of beggars established in the city and in order to protect itself began to organize.
In a generation, the organization of the beggars in the City-State spread throughout the lands of the Tharians. They began to systematically establish safe places and arrange the sales of goods and items acquired by beggars. Also they began to collect the varied rumors overheard by beggars and selling them to interested parties. Finally they began to specialize in bringing and moving illicit goods of all kinds.
The Beggars’ Guild organized itself more and more like a traditional clan. A single high chief arose and ruled a council of chiefs. A system of rules and traditions was instituted and for a beggar caught violating these rules the penalty was not expulsion but death.
The main differences in the Beggars’ Guild lies between those who dwell in the City-State and those who live the more traditional wandering life. The wanderers feel threatened as the City-State dwellers begin to aggressively expand their operations into the lands recently conquered by the Overlord. Most wanderers confine themselves to lands dominated by the Tharian nobility.