In the Grey Age, there were two main groups of horse people in Peloria. One was west of the Hungry Plateau/Jord Mountains in what is now Saird (Vanch, Terarir, and Holay). These were the Horse Folk, aka the Hyalorings. They rode and herded horses and horses alone. They followed Lightfore but because of their strong tie to Hippoi, daughter of King Griffin, son of Yelm, they retained a sliver of contact with the Dead Sun.
In the east were the Starlight Ancestors. They rode about the grasslands in spoke-wheeled chariots. They too followed Lightfore, and their shamans reached up to talk to the stars – especially Polestar and Ourania – and even contacted the Knowing God, whom they called Buserian. The Starlight Ancestors migrated north and west, and established themselves as the rulers of northern and central Peloria. Their tribes ruled over the farmers, and cities grew again in Dara Happa. The HirenMaDar Tribe acclaimed their leader Emperor in Raibanth, but others challenged them.
Just to be confusing, these Horse Peoples were also called Bird People, as Hippoi was originally a bird goddess. In the modern era, this has confused scholars who go looking for ancient Pelorian “bird riders”.
With the Dawn, the Sun returned to the sky, but only the Pure Horse People could call upon Yelm directly. The chariot riders and the Pure Horse People fought, and it is said that the Chariot Riders were victorious, but the Pure Horse People became a priestly caste, and their shamans became the Golden Bow. The Hirenmador became a noble caste, ruling the cities and owning the land. Temples were built, and cults re-established.
Monsters and barbarians from Dragon Pass tried to sneak into Peloria, bringing gods of rebellion, death, and darkness with them. The rulers of Peloria had these intruders killed and a long war between Peloria and Dragon Pass commenced. At first the Pelorians, with their cavalry and mounted priests, had the advantage, as their horsemen simply rode down the foot barbarians and trolls, and their priests called down flames from heaven.
But later, the intruders brought in their own cavalry – dragonewts mounted on terror birds and savages riding bison, antelopes, llamas, rhinos, impala, etc. The Horse Lords were put on the defensive.
In Dara Happa, the Ten Princes of the Half-folk (the original city folk who allied with the Hirenmador when they re-established the Empire of Dara Happa) rebelled against the Horse Lords. They acclaimed one of their number, Khordavu, to be the Emperor of Dara Happa, and he could call directly upon the powers of Imperial Yelm. This is why the Dara Happans claim that Yelm returned in 221 ST (even though he clearly had returned with the Dawn). Meanwhile, Dragon Pass invaded Peloria with a great army of trolls, rebels, barbarians, and animal riding savages – the Pelorians called this the Monster Army.
The Monster Army defeated the Horse Lords, and the horse tribes were forced east out of Peloria.
This here is when Peloria and the Pentans became divided. In Peloria, we had an urban-centric solar worshiping civilization. In Pent, we had horse-riding pastoralists. The Pure Horse People remained a priestly group – and became several distinct tribes. They kept to their old taboos and herded only horses. The old Horse Lords became cattle herding pastoralists.
Some 14 centuries ago, Plentonius, a scribe of the Knowing God from the time of Khordavu, single handedly tried to rationalise the stories of the Half-folk of Dara Happa with the needs of the new empire and wrote a remarkable text called the Glorious Reascent of Yelm. He recompiled old stories, questioned spirits, and so on. Pretty much anything associated with the Horse Peoples got downplayed, disassociated, etc. The text was blessed by Emperor Khordavu, and was long held to be Yelm’s Truth with a capital T. Remember that Khoradavu’s success in precarious times provided to the many that he bore Yelm’s Truth, and gave good evidence to the skeptical few.
And yet, this was soon questions by other priests of the Knowing God. They conducted formal discussions to determine answer to questions. Among the earliest were the Plentonic Debates. These primarily addressed two matters. One questioned his interpretation of the Gods Wall, starting with “The Question of Antirius,” but soon moving on to others. The other was Stellar Truths, questioning his interpretation of certain Daysenarian information.
So the best that can be said about Glorious Reascent of Yelm is that in the present age it is held to be Mostly Truth. Plentonius’ identification of King Griffin with the horse-eating monster called is tied to stories from the time of Viramakradda aka Dispenser of Horses.
- The One and the Many. Solar religion emphasises the leadership of the One and that the Many need to know their place before the One. Theyalan religion emphasises the Many and places the leader as the head of a council of near-equals.
- The fertile Pelorian plains were populated almost entirely by agrarian and pastoral humans. There were abundant resources for both groups.
Dragon Pass was populated by small tribes of humans, by a powerful troll queendom, some elf bands, a powerful dwarf stronghold and its subsidiary mines, and by the powerful dragonewts and their Inhuman King. Plus a powerful Darkness demigod friendly to both trolls and humans. Humans had to find a way to work with these groups or be eliminated.
Are you saying that the idea of “Rinliddi Avilry” is an in-world misunderstanding/mistranslation, and it never existed? We have the Praxian Ostrich-Riders, and we have the dragonewts on demi-birds, and that’s *it*? Yes. Especially as about the time that Greg introduce the idea of human avilry, the illustrations in the draft Alkoth Book (“A History of War in Peloria”) labeled Khordavu’s cavalry as “augers”- noble cavalry with feathers on horse tack. Later when he was doing some early design for miniatures with Stratelibri, he was asked to add more “bird-riding troops” – which got some concept art done. But the Stratelibri deal fell apart, and when we start working on the Guide, we went back to White Bear and Red Moon for the Lunar Army, and ignored the material developed for Stratelibri. And that illustrates the problem with relying on unpublished material that might have been released as drafts at a convention or fundraiser.
That being said, I do believe that there are many scholars who believe that in the Golden Age there were Bird Riding peoples in the north. But given that horses are birds – we appear to have an easier if less literal answer to the question.