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Azers have a squat, bulky, almost dwarven physique. They are always muscled from a life of hard labour, and despite being only four feet tall, they weigh 200 pounds. Their skin is the colour of brass, giving away their extraplanar nature; they also radiate heat, with shimmering heat waves rippling off an azer's body and a mane of flames rising from their shoulders and head. Azers all appear incredibly similar to each other with very little variation between individuals.
Habitat and ecology
Azers often serve other societies as slaves or labourers, in which case they dwell in whatever place their master deems fit—for example, nearly half a million azers live as slaves and second-class citizens in the efreet-controlled City of Brass, and an entire azer empire is enslaved by the fire mephits.
The ancient azers dwelt in carefully ordered, secluded, self-sufficient fortresses scattered across the Plane of Fire. Despite their efficiency, azer city-states paid very little attention to their defence, or their race as a whole. This weakness to exploitation did not go unnoticed by the efreet, who overran azer fortresses one-by-one, executed leaders who opposed them, and turned the azers into oppressed second-class citizens (if not outright slaves. Azer strongholds were never aware of the fate of their kin until only one remained: Emberkeep, the last azer holdout that finally began to build defences against the efreet.
Ultimately, Emberkeep fell not to the efreet, but to the fire mephits. Many scholars believe that the fire mephits simply conquered Emberkeep, but the truth is more complex. Some azers with ties to Emberkeep believe that its council of leaders sold out their people out of greed, and they are still enjoying their wealth somewhere deep within a fissure. Others believe that the azers submitted to the mephits in exchange for their aid in preventing some cataclysm, but the servitude involves a contract that only lasts 66,666 years, a time period which is coming to a close, potentially leading to the azers demanding their freedom.
Azer society is tightly bound by a hierarchy of law and tradition. Every member knows the caste to which they were born and in which they will die, as azers inherit their parents' social standing. One can tell the caste of an azer merely by the metallic kilt they wear: nobles wear ornate brass kilts, merchants and artisans wear bronze, and labourers wear utilitarian kilts of copper. Their lawful nature is taken advantage of by those who enslave the azer, as an azer is far more likely to endure their slavery by working off their terms of servitude or trying to outlive their masters. Some azers even seem to take pride in their role as obedient slaves, serving as taskmasters over other less obedient slaves.
Very few free azer strongholds remain uncontrolled by the efreet. Rumour has it that, far beneath the Plane of Fire's surface, lies an azer empire embedded in the side of a massive basalt cliff behind a raging pyroclastic flow. This empire has allegedly never had any contact with any other intelligent race and has access to construct magic unknown anywhere else. No explorer who set out to find this empire has succeeded, and the rare few who even made it back alive live out their final days in a horrified haze, repeating the words:
|“||Anything to sate the All-Father.||”|
Large tribes of azers live in the Darklands where they inhabit the Flume Warrens, Sekamina's most geologically active region. In constant conflict with local salamander tribes, they seek to ally themselves with the fire giants of the Mindspin Mountains above but have failed to form any lasting alliances. The azer tribes have been coerced by the giants to stage numerous attacks on the kobolds of the Embermaw clan, which lairs directly above the Flume Warrens, but these invasions have not been successful.
Another group of azers, Clan Zilleran, escaped from the City of Brass, settled near an underground vein of lava beneath Jernashall in the Five Kings Mountains after allying with the magma dragon Moschabbatt, and now trade with inhabitants of the Darklands.
Lost civilization of elementals
A mighty nation of elementals is said to have ruled a portion of the Valashmai Jungle in southern Tian Xia during the Age of Serpents. It was supposedly guided for centuries by an immortal azer wreathed in green flame known as the Jade Hegemon. The fate of this unnamed empire is unknown, as few, if any, ruins remain in the primordial jungle of that region. Some believe that its descendants now live in the Chenlun Mountains, and are the impetuous behind its heavy volcanic activity.
Azers and Torag
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