The Ieru (HYAY-roo) inhabit the western regions of Somana, separated from the heart of the Republic by the mountainous Erentian Divide. For the most part, the Ieruscan (hyay-ROO-skuhn) people are nomadic tribes, who roam the steppes and deserts of Ierusca by horse or by foot.
The Ieru are a darker-skinned people, with a culture and language unique from the Somanan, Aeman, and even Aesidhe peoples. Somanan and Aeman records prove that the Ieru inhabited the continent before them, and Aesidhe oral histories support the same. It is clear that their people were once more widespread, particularly on the southern portion of the continent, but were gradually pushed back by Somanan settlement and military action.
Though they are now nominally administered by the Somanan Republic, the Ieru do not formally claim seats in the Senate, and are often a source of rebellion in times of political turmoil or war.
They have an annual council and festival at the end of each year, where the tribes gather at the largest permanent settlement in the nation, known simply as The Great Plateau. Here their treaties and code of law are formally renewed or amended, and any declarations of war are made in a semi-democratic fashion.
The Ieru are matrilineal, and in some respects even matriarchal. Children inherit the name of their mother's family, and husbands affix the same, but all are also considered members of their father's tribe. Each house and household is identified by a pottery jar with insignia and designs of the mother's family, as well as a statue with symbolism from the father's tribe.
Ieru wives and mothers decide all matters of the household, and typically even matters of economy, while wars and conflict are initiated at and waged by the tribal male elders and warriors. Wars have been prevented simply by Ieru women's refusal to finance the war efforts.
Though the Ieru rely mostly upon oral traditions among the tribes, they nevertheless have a sophisticated writing system, and maintain histories and public records dating back centuries, though it is rare for outsiders to have access.
The Ieru never welcomed the religions of Somana or the Aeman. Their faith is contemplative, more a school of thought than a theistic or even deistic set of beliefs. It is most formally observed by a monastic order, the Thabb'in, whose members are somewhat culturally outcast, mostly offspring who were never claimed by their father's tribe. Once an actual tribe-less military order, they now practice a contemplative ceremonial form of swordsmanship said to be representative of the order of the earth and heavens.
Ieruscan products are generally considered of high quality, and many of their exports demand a high price. Dyes, textiles, artistic creations, and spices are all well-regarded and often unique to Ierusca, and the sword smiths of The Great Plateau are regarded among the best in the world. Perhaps the highest regard of all is saved for their horses, Corsels, which are prized for their speed, stamina, and superior training for all purposes.
In Aeman nations such as Heiland, Ierusca is often referred to as Jerusca (Jeh-ROO-skuh), its people Jeruscan (Jeh-ROO-skuhn). They are considered exotic, but are typically somewhat more welcome than the native Aesidhe.