The ruling dynasties of Sartar and Tarsh were both reknowned for their intellectual and scholarly pursuits, or at least their patronage of such activities.
So for example, Sartar established Lhankor Mhy temples in each of his cities. Saronil collected scrolls, sponsored scholars, and his half-brother Eonistaran was a noted sage. All of the Princes of Sartar were generous patrons of the Knowledge Temples. Kallyr and Argrath were both literate and well-read, and as Prince and King, Argrath was a generous patron of scholars and artists.
Same thing in Tarsh. Moirades was educated in Glamour, found the University of the Provinces, and through his patronage, attracted scholars from across the Lunar Empire. Moirades was a first-rate scholar in his own right, as was his brother-in-law Fazzur Wideread, who was literate in New Pelorian, Theyalan, Old Britihini, and Auld Wyrmis! Pharandros was also educated in Glamour and if anything was an even bigger patron of the arts than his father.
In short, a noble in Dragon Pass is expected to be not only a warrior and a priest, but also literate and cultured.
Among the classics that virtually every aristocrat and scribe would be expected to have familiarity with include:
Songs of the House of Sartar: This epic poem is based on oral tradition and details deeds and tragedies of the House of Sartar prior to the Lunar invasion of 1602. It is intended to be read aloud and was likely composed by a poet and only later recorded and refined by a Lhankor Mhy sage. The poem consists of 2400 stanzas divided into nine books. It takes about three hours to listen to the entire poem.
Pilgrimage and Commentary: This is Harmast’s Narrative, along with centuries of successive commentaries and interpretations, starting first with its original scribe, Harmast’s companion Belorden.
Saga of the New Good Land: This is the official account of how Belintar became the God-King of the Holy Country. It was written by scholars working for Belintar and promulgated by his Chamber of Correct Instruction. Shorn of its obvious and often crude propaganda, it offers a comprehensive survey of the places, wonders, and key historical events of the Holy Country.
The Roads and Graves of the Makers: This text lists the first seven Sartarite kings, their main deeds, the roads they built, and where their graves are. There are many variations of this (often simply called “The Sartar Dynasty”).
In Tarsh, core classics no doubt include:
The Lives of Our Red Goddess: This didactic tract is an account of the birth of the Red Goddess by the Seven Mothers and of the Seven Steps of the Red Goddess to Hell and back. It is often illustrated.
The Redline History of the Lunar Empire. This is the court history of the Lunar Empire, ordered into existence by the Red Emperor. It was purportedly written by Irrippi Ontor (i.e. by the imperial scribes). It is widely believed that its principle author was Fod-Ariam, an Irrippi Ontor scribe best known for his mystical poetry. The Redline History includes sections from She Blesses Who Read This.
Again this points to more of a Greek and Macedon model for understanding the people of Dragon Pass. Or even elements from medieval Japan!
So unlike the presentation of the Orlanthi in some of the Issaries material (in particular Thunder Rebels) where they appeared to be completely unknowledgeable about the next valley, let alone other lands and history, the ruling class in Sartar no doubt has at least a passing familiarity with the classics. Nobles likely pay scribes to teach their children how to read and write.
When the young adults are sent out of their home to undertake cult training, they often are given poetry to memorize and recite. They also learn to fight and are are taught dances and other useful things.
As an aside, this aided Fazzur in governing Dragon Pass. With a Read-Write New Pelorian of 90%, Theyalan of 65%, Ault Wyrmish of 60%, and even Old Brithini at 40%, Fazzur could quote the classics of Sartarite literature, and even cite the Draconic Secrets and General Cosmology. In short, he could present himself as a “phiorlanthi”- a “friend of the Orlanthi.” Who knows – maybe he even issued some coins with the term like Mithradates the Great?
Although the lands beyond Furthest are ruled by warlords and feuding tribes, Furthest itself is populated by scholars and artists, and is one of the glories of New Pelorian culture. It was naturally in Furthest, not dire Palbar or Alkoth-of-the-Enclosures, that Ariastus wrote his treatises on Friendship, Erotica, and Riddles. And it is Furthest, not Mirin’s Cross, with its bureaucrats and scribes, that is known for the splendid design of its Seven Mothers Temple.
Where do they get all the money from? They take a cut on all trade between the Lunar Empire and the Holy Country. Every caravan passing through Dragon Pass. All luxury goods from overseas.
When and how did Argrath/Garrath acquire his literacy and his classical education? His father was a thane of the tribe, his mother the daughter of a powerful Earth priestess and granddaughter of one of the three sisters tied in tale to Kostajor Wolf Champion. I suspect he was taught to read like other children of noble background.
Argrath wasn’t of high nobility, but certain his family counted as part of the petty nobility of the Colymar. It would be absolutely normal for them to be tutored by a LM initiate – and of course there is a LM priest at Clearwine Fort.