The Thudevarava were a settled community who emerged in the Early Bronze Age nearby to the Jalid Culture, mostly focused around the mining of ammolite and trading it with Jalaite merchants.
The Thudevarava tribal group is perhaps one of the most critical for the royalty of Jala and the cities around it, being the only abundant source of ammolite in the region.
To the outsider, the Thudevarava tribes seem to be united in a common language and a love of dances. They tend to follow their own form of polytheism,
Some centuries ago, Jalaite explorers stumbled across the Thudevarava tribes, and were enamored by their use of the ammolite mineral. The stone's iridescent nature and exotic colors appealed strongly to their cultural proclivity towards polished, lustrous materials, and in the next few years they traded with the Thudevaravan for trinkets in exchange for various goods, most notably bronze tools.
Ammolite, being made of mineralized mollusk shells millions of years old, occurs in very thin sheets and is one of the most fragile types of semiprecious stone in existence. Mining for ammonite is a simple process, digging away at surface-level rock and sifting through it for good-sized pieces. Before contact was made with Jala, one ritual of manhood for the Thudevarava was to use sharpened stone picks to scrape away at rock layers until a decent-sized piece of ammolite was found; the size and beauty of the piece was said to foretell that man's fortune.
After contact was made with Jala, however, mining became more and more common. What was a rite performed once in a lifetime is now done annually, and in some cases even more frequently. Some village craftsmen now devote their entire lives to digging for ammolite and trading it to the caravans for things the tribe needs. This tendency has started a new traditional profession among Thudevarava, that of the merchant-craftsman. Some tribes have these merchants as their head rather than traditional chiefs.
Because of the frailty of ammolite, Jalaite craftsmen normally take both large and small pieces and assemble them along with other semiprecious stones, glued together and coated with a thick, translucent resin. The resin prevents the ammonite from being damaged further, and allows the stone to be polished smooth without damaging it. The exact composition of the resin is a guarded secret among Jalaite craftsmen.
Since the beginning of contact, trade with Jala and the neighboring cities has become a central part of Thudevarava culture. Each year, a caravan from Jala makes a trek of some 800 kilometers over the course of several months. The caravan is loaded with goods of all kinds, from metal tools to preserved foodstuffs and even decorative silver on rare occasions. These goods are traded both with the Thudevarava and with various villages that have sprouted up along the route. These villages are typically populated by related tribes to the Thudevarava, but each one of them has someone who can communicate in Jallese.
Because the region is strongly influenced by the monsoon, the Thudevarava had traditionally been nomads during the dry season, to find adequate pasture for their cattle and water for themselves. Since the caravans have begun arriving, however, the Thudevarava have had enough surplus supplies that they have been able to settle for the entire year, and their once-strong boviculture has rapidly decayed.
The annual caravans, being a large collection of rare and valuable goods, are frequently targets for tribal raids. For this reason, the Jala military always accompanies the caravans and frequently launches punitive counter-raids against "hostile" tribes. Hostility is something of a loose term for these troops, as simply asking for unreasonable prices can be construed as hostile.
The Jalaite royalty is constantly expanding inland in order to pacify the ammolite road. From this state of affairs, a number of possibilities arise:
The nearby city-state of Chijen-ma may seek to preemptively attack Jala while their troops are away guarding a caravan. This will lead to a war, where either state may be victorious. This will disrupt the schedule of future caravans. The Jalaites may finally subjugate Thudevarava, and colonize the ammolite mines for their exclusive use. Trade with the Kadano complex and other, more remote cultures may lead to another type of gemstone becoming the favored of royalty. Should this happen, demand will fall sharply, the caravans will stop, and the Thudevarava culture will likely collapse. Thudevarava elders, alarmed at the perceived decline of their culture and lifestyle, may attempt to stop the caravans themselves, to return to the nomadic lifestyle alluded to in their tribes' stories. Should they succeed, the Jalaite royalty will be most displeased, and may try to punish them.
The Thudevarava are as yet unaware of the danger that looms, that may one day destroy them.