The Poor Archers of Astor are a simple folk with a powerful history. From the small age they are trained in the use of the land, their hands and the bow. They are a prideful people of a religion that gives little importance to worldly goods. Their main concern is their spiritual happiness and their communion with the surrounding land. Therefore they are more concerned about the keeping of their forest than the selling of its wood to make the incredible bows.
During poor farming seasons the Astormen are happy to sell the bow to those that they know have earned the right to wield it. The buyer doesn’t have to convert to their way of life but they must respect it and the people. There are many that have developed relationships with them so when the Astormen decide to sell some bows, there is always an eager buyer that they trust.
Every child at their coming of age is given a Astor bow that will stay for them with life. The wood resists fire, dampness and extreme temperatures. They also shoot arrows farther with more strength then a normal bow even in inept or weaker hands. The Astor bow can be treated harshly and remain as strong as it was the day it was made...although few would ever be abusive with it once they gained ownership.
For many years the Astor grove remained a well-kept secret from the greater outside world. Most just knew the large community were very adept bowmen but didn’t know the power of the bows they held. But word got out and those with greed in their eyes came forward and were summarily rejected...often forcefully. A few small caravans or roving marauders caused no hardship to the Astormen’s skill. However, the often violent rejection of these unwelcomed intruders soon caused an uproar.
An ignorant merchant who lost a few crews when they tried to forcefully take some of the Astor trees brought his complaints in front of the land’s justice. Much to his amazement, the honor and ownership of the Astor groves was maintained and solidified. Such was the humble attitude of the Astormen, and appreciation of justice, that they pledged 120 bows a year for a decade to the rulers to do with as they deemed fit. This was a large number for the small amount of Astor trees available so the rulers continue to jealously protect the Astormen.
- War is brewing and the value of the Astor bows to the army can not be underestimated. Is it worth destroying this community and culture to gain an advantage?
- Disease has spread through the Astor groves so the bows that are made are the only ones now available ever. The Astormen are upset and some think that the bows given or sold in the past to maintain the village should now return to the village. A sect of Astormen have gone out to get the bows back, by force if necessary.
- The snubbed merchants have held a interest and a hate towards the Astormen. Perhaps the son of the merchant that was rejected by the kingdom has gathered a group to, once again, try and take some of the trees by stealth and then by force if needed. The force is large enough to be causing issues all over the region and they are spread out so much that the king’s men are even enlisting help to track them all down. Perhaps a heroic defense will earn a gift from the generous Astormen.