Uruk is a tribe of natural born warriors, raised from father to son in harsh conditions and military discipline. This tradition granted them safe passage through the peril of The Apocalypse, while so many tribes disappeared from the planet. This tradition gives them an important edge when it comes to struggle for power in Edinu. But it also comes with a price. Power may seem oppressive to others and eventually slip away from yesterday’s victor.
In this masculine society, men give orders and women obey. The seats of power are occupied by men, with the strongest individual as king on the top of the ladder. Yet, the masculine culture should not be treated literally. After all, it’s all about the Virtues: bravery, generosity and undiminished will. If a man is born in a high family, but behaves unworthy, he would be degraded. On the other hand, if a woman proves to be braver than men around her, she would be respected as a man, even to the highest ranks and honours.
The society of Uruk is clearly masculine. Uruk is a vertically stratified society, like a pyramid: the higher rule the lower. This is the most ancient tradition, dating back to times when people left no written records about themselves. It has always worked and there is no need to change it. There are three levels of the Urukian society:
1 level – the Ruler (King or Queen) who is treated as a god. People obey the Ruler or die at instant.
2 level – the Council. It consists of a bunch of few people who are allowed to speak directly and personally to the Ruler. They can give orders to the ordinary people just as the Ruler can give orders to them.
3 level – ordinary people. They cannot speak to the King directly, but must subdue their wishes and petitions to the members of the Council, who can later deliver it to the Ruler himself.
culture and habits
Urukians are pride of their cultural heritage, which is – honestly speaking – not over-sophisticated. It is centered around production and consumption of beer. Brewing is considered a prestigious skill, performed only by respected families and kept in secret with uttermost care.
If their needs of food and safety are satisfied, Urukians would gather in the center hall of their camp and perform a feast of endless drinking and friendly-fighting. “Swords and hops” is their traditional motto. Some of the legendary Urukian fests have been reported to last more than a week while not a single participant got sober.
Urukian religion is polytheistic. They do not fancy theological disputes, but rather set satisfied with having the more gods the better. Everyone is permitted to construct private altairs and pray to personal gods, profession gods and ancestor spirits.
The most important gods of the Urukian pantheon are:
Shamash – god of sun and justice,
Nabu – god of writing,
Nergal – god of war and death,
Ishtar – goddess of love and fertility,
Sidari – goddess of beer and wisdom,
Enki – god of crafts.
The ritual in Uruk is subordinate to politics and flows of power. Important and spectacular rituals may be performed only by high-born priests who are members of the Council.
The main function of ritual in Uruk is reinforcement of vertical order of the society and the supreme authority of the current Ruler. Thus, the most valuable offerings must be dedicated to Sham’at – the God of the Sun – who may be perceived as a divine alter-ego to the local King or Queen.
Technically, Urukian rituals consist of shouting the word “Humbaba” as loud as possible, throwing sand to the sky and making offerings by burning them in a fire. The ritual fire may be lit only by Council members. The Ruler – the one who receives glory and praise – must remain silent during the ritual and by no means take part in any physical activities during this time.
crafts and skills
There is a considerable number of people with fencing skill among the Urukians. This means that they are allowed to use long weapon to resolve conflicts with other tribes.
The skill of brewery – mentioned above – is unique to the Uruk tribe. The Master of Beer may, however, teach it to any other person in Edinu and thus betray his tribal tradition. This has never happened yet.
The Urukians possess an unique ability of friendly-fencing. If there are no strangers around, they may fight one to one, hitting each other with swords but receiving no actual harm. This practice keeps them fit and prepared in case of real physical danger.
attitude to others
The Urukians are not afraid of other tribes, because they feel stronger in arms. However, this may easily change when the numbers of population change – for example, when a new tribe appears at the gates. Uruk lacks diplomatic ways of maintaining order.
Urukian culture is dominant and possessive. Other tribes will be accepted only if they agree to integrate within the Urukian structures.
superstitions about them
When absent, they are called “buffalos” or “bullies” by the members of other tribes, which could be translated as “big brainless soldiers”. Yet, no one is speaking that aloud to make the name come true.
the first migration
During the First Migration, Uruk managed to take one of the smaller yurts and establish a beer inn with a charismatic Master of Beer who later occurred to be untrustworthy and betrayed the tribe. The conflicts between the King and his sister Sheshkala brought many unexpected twists of action, which ended up in dividing the community. Unstable governance caused diminishing of Urukian position in Edinu. The failure of first settlers survived in just songs and stories.
the second migration
During the Second Migration, the Urukians were the first settlers to reach the land of Edinu. This gave them the edge to claim all of the yurts for themselves, leaving other tribes to sleep in the forest around. They proved to be disciplined and organized. They maintained that position of power until the election was conducted and a Queen from Uruk tribe was elected as the sole ruler over Edinu.
Many years have after the Second Migration, Uruk was still considered the leader of the Edinu Federation. Yet, its power diminished year to year. The reign of the Urukian Queen was bloody and controversial. Maybe it had been a mistake to choose a female ruler – many people wondered… After few years of severe dictatorship, out of a sudden she has left Edinu and disappeared in mysterious circumstances. The social order was shaken. People of Edinu argued a lot, some of them proposing a modern, ‘democratic’ way of governance. This didn’t happen. Instead, a new ruler of Edinu had been chosen from the Uruk tribe. His reign is was not that bloody, but also not that powerful as the Queen’s.
the third migration
That was a time of radical ups and downs of the Uruk Tribe. At first, when the migrant came, a provisional camp was established to host them. Warriors of Uruk managed to keep the newcomers in the camp under strict supervision. Interrogations had been conducted. Although the Urukian tried their best, the Shanidars stubbornly persisted on keeping their barbaric culture. The air around the camp was full smelly incenses and religious chanting to Gaki – this was getting harder and harder to get on with. Moreover, the captives demanded food. Unwilling to take the economic burden just on themselves, the Urukians agreed to release them and wander freely in Edinu.
On the next day, the Queen has returned under a false identity of a lost Yamnaya woman. Whey she revealed herself, it appeared that she is now trained in mystical arts. A political conflict between her and the new King was escalating, dividing the tribe into two factions. She insisted on performing a bloody ritual, which was later interrupted by unruly Shanidars and some Maykopians. A slaughter followed. The King was deadly wounded in action and didn’t survive the upcoming night. The Urukian proved to be the strongest in arms, but this ruined whatever was still left of their political prestige in Edinu.
After the pacification conducted by the Guild, only one person from Uruk was appointed to the High Council of Edinu. It was the Priest – a charismatic leader who supervised the creation of city guards and bringing back order on the place. Yet, he decided to retire soon after and gave back his position and influence to new ruler of the tribe – a young warrior who unexpectedly was raised as the new King of Uruk (maybe some hidden affairs took place, unseen by the eyes of the chronicler).
A generation has passed since the Third Migration. The internal matters of Uruk remain a mystery even to the Guild. They organize their councils in a closed yurt. The warriors of Uruk are keeping fit, training their fencing skills daily. But officially, there is peace. Every armed person in Edinu is a member of the city guards – an intertribal military body that is under the supervision of the High Council of Edinu. No serious fighting has happened since the Third Migration. After the last massive mutant attack, nobody dares to spill blood of people who may prove useful as defenders of Edinu against external threat.
To be honest, the people of Uruk spend most of the time in the Inn, drinking the famous Urukian beer in excess, bringing back old memories. They are living in the shadow of their previous glory – once the leading tribe of Edinu, now they are considered equal with Yamnaya and Maykop. The Shanidarians are, of course, of lesser status, but this brings no practical gain to the King of Uruk.
There are rumors that a new wave of migration is coming to Edinu. Maybe this will be a chance to reestablish the Uruk Kingdom. Or maybe it is time to forget about the tribal differences and create a new political system? Anyway, it will be crucial to act swiftly and take initiative when the new wanderers appear at the gates!