The Lemhite Nation is an uplifted tribal people who live in and around what was once Rexburg, Idaho. Originating in the Lemhi region of Idaho, they followed the Bishop John Kite into exile when their homeland was invaded. Since their settlement in Rexburg they have been tributary to both the Kingdom on the Snake and the Teton Protectorate. Despite their tributary status, the Lemhite Nation maintains a great degree of autonomy.
The Lemhites developed in the mountainous Lemhi region of Idaho. It is believed that their ancestors were mostly isolated families who took shelter from the nuclear fallout in small bunkers. When they emerged families banded together and became clans, and clans became tribes. Over the generations disaster and war destroyed the remnants of higher civilization, and the Lemhites were left with only oral tradition and half understood religion. Nevertheless, the Lemhite Tribes did not sink to the worst lows of the wasteland, and Lemhi remained an isolated and relatively peaceful region. The Blood Eagles were the most powerful tribe in Lemhi.
Lemhites main contact to the outside world was through trading with the Asherite Clans. The two peoples valued peace, and many of the more southern Lemhite's embraced the Asherites' Mormon faith and began to intermarry with the nomads. John Kite was at the forefront of this interaction, and preached among the Lemhites for decades.
In 2255 the Lemhi region was invaded by the migrating Black Husk tribe. The Black Husks were numerous, far better armed, more experienced fighters, and willing to use brutal tactics to win. They struck before the Lemhites even realized the danger, and entire clans were massacred or enslaved before the tribes could react. The Blood Eagles led a counterattack, but suffered a devastating defeat. The secular leadership of the Lemhite Clans were largely obliterated, and in the chaos the Mormon Lemhites looked to their Bishop John Kite for direction. Kite led his followers south into exile.
Migration and Settlement
Migrating south Kite first sought refuge with their old allies the Asherites. The nomads gladly accepted their friends, but knew that there were too many for them care for. Kite and the Asherite Elders created a plan to resettle the Lemhites in a new land. They pinpointed Rexburg as the nearest place the Lemhites could resettle.
Rexburg was technically under the control of the Kingdom of the Snake. However, it had become a no man's land between Kingdom and their fierce rival the Teton Protectorate. Rexburg itself was only inhabited by a Followers of the Apocalypse outpost, and the city was largely infested by Feral Ghouls. A Lemhite warhost was raised and sent into the city, and the feral ghouls were cleansed building by building. This extermination would be known as the Scouring of Rexburg. Once the last ghoul was put down the main Lemhite population moved into the city.
The Followers of the Apocalypse did not protest the Lemhite settlement of the city, and provided medical assistance to injured and malnourished Lemhites. They complied with the only real demand the Lemhites had, that they end their archeological examination of the Rexburg Temple and turn it over to the tribe's newly minted Temple Guard.
The Lemhite presence was cautiously welcomed by the Kingdom and the Protectorate. The Protectorate believed a new population center would help stabilize the region, while the Kingdom was eager for a new source of tribute. Agreements were hammered out between the Lemhites and both powers to keep the peace.
The Lemhites prospered in Rexburg, their success far outpacing the expectations of the surrounding states. While they paid tribute to the Kingdom, the Kingdom's guards were absent when it mattered most. Raider gangs tormented the Lemhites. To combat this threat, Kite approved the construction of a great fortress to turn back any invader. This project unsettled leadership in the Kingdom, but the government was overall unsure of how to react. When the fortress neared completion, King Mordred VII demanded it be turned over to his forces. When Kite refused, Mordred ordered his forces to seize it and began the Rexburg Crisis.
The Kingdom invaded Lemhite territory and surrounded the newly constructed Whitefort. They would wage war against the Lemhites for a year, the fighting reaching the very walls of the Whitefort several times. The Kingdom was eventually able to defeat the Lemhite militia and encircle the Whitefort, trapping them inside. The siege dragged on for months, and as violence escalated the Teton Protectorate decided to act. Sending in a large army of their renowned Men-At-Arms, the Protectorate was able to force to Kingdom's withdrawal. However, when the Tetonics demanded access to the Whitefort they were refused. Kite met their leadership at the gates, and there hammered out the terms of a new treaty. The Lemhite Nation was recognized as an independent state, but on the condition that they adopted the Protectorate's currency and legal system, and promised free trade between the two nations.
The Era of the Whitefort
Rexburg thrived in peace. The Followers of the Apocalypse provided higher education to those with talent, and Asherite traders can always be found. Concerned with the growing aggression of the Burned Hands, the Lemhite Nation entered into the Crowheart Pact and became even more closely linked to the Protectorate politically.
Religion and Culture
Lemhites are traditionally Mormon, having been evangelized by John Kite decades ago. Their faith plays a great part in their daily life, and helps strengthen their relations with the Asherites and distant New Canaanites.
Their faith leads the Lemhites to be tolerant of ghouls, and ghouls are allowed to freely settle in the Rexburg region if they adopt the Faith. Lemhites view feral ghouls as a terrible state where the soul is trapped inside a dead body, and kill ferals whenever possible as an act of mercy. Super Mutants are viewed as victims of evil science, and are considered completely responsible for their own actions. Lemhites are still wary of them, and a Super Mutant that wants to live among the Lemhites will first have to gain their trust and demonstrate that it can control itself before it will be allowed to live amongst them.
Lemhite culture is very traditional. Men are expected to be laborers, hunters, and militia fighters, while women are expected to be obedient wives and good mothers. Marriages are greatly celebrated and are seen as eternal unions. Unlike Tetonics men do not pay a bride price to wed, and instead a young Lemhite woman takes her dowry (her wealth accumulated throughout her unmarried life) with her to help start a new household. Lemhites celebrate Christmas and Easter, as well as a secular holiday commemorating their settlement of Rexburg.
Lemhites are historically close to the Asherites, having adopted their religion, tradition of horsemanship, and the Deseret alphabet from them. Asherites enter Lemhite territory freely, and the two peoples consider each other blood brothers. This is strengthened by frequent trade and intermarriage.
The Teton Protectorate's influence has long been felt among the Lemhites. Their influence is most obviously present in Lemhite styles of dress, but also in many industries such as gunsmithing, masonry, and agriculture. Lemhites also use the Protectorate's coins. The most important influence the Tetonics have had on the Lemhites is their legal system. The Lemhites have adopted most precepts of the Protectorate's legal code, although the harsh penalties are frequently commuted to more humane punishments.
The Lemhites have no formal military, and every able bodied Lemhite man is also part of the Whitefort Militia. Militiamen must be able to provide their own guns and armor, but ammunition is supplied by the Whitefort. Lemhite men train with firearms every Sunday after church meetings. The Whitefort Militia is rugged and moves surprisingly fast over treacherous terrain.
Also called the White Guard, the Temple Guard are a handful of elite warriors who are charged with protecting the Rexburg Temple. They are not exclusively Lemhites, but can be any man who has proved his loyalty in defending the faith. They are armed with the best equipment the Whitefort can provide, and are always chosen from veterans who have years of experience to rely on. Their first and foremost duty is to protect the Temple, but they may be called to take on a wide range of special missions. They are trusted and professional operatives who would rather die than betray the Whitefort.
Whitefort Mounted Infantry
Mounted warfare is a young tradition among the Lemhites, starting during the Rexburg Crisis. Gathered together as the Whitefort Mounted Infantry, this unit is the closest thing the Whitefort has to a standing army. Mounted Infantry give years of service to the Whitefort in exchange for land. During their service they patrol the borderlands around the Whitefort or scout into surrounding territories. Their usual duties involve ensuring the safety of travelers and searching for contraband while providing regular reports of activity to the Whitefort. However, when a threat is detected the Mounted Infantry will ride into an advantageous position, dismount and assault the enemy. Their mobility allows them to pick and choose where and when they fight, or withdraw quickly for reinforcements.
Government and Law
Lemhites are ruled by the Patriarch. The first Patriarch was John Kite. He stepped down after the Rexburg Crisis and was succeeded by Robert Cartwright, a convert from the Followers of the Apocalypse and the esteemed Architect of the Whitefort. There is little restraint on the power of the Patriarch beyond the Quorum, an assembly of notable leaders in the Whitefort.
The government is funded by annual tithing. Each household pay's ten perfect of what it made in a year to the Whitefort. This payment is usually in Tetonic silver coins, but may be in caps, livestock, bullets, or foodstuffs. If a household can provide nothing, the head of household will provide labor for the Whitefort.
Alcohol, tobacco, and most chems are forbidden inside Lemhite territory. They are usually confiscated and destroyed whenever the authorities find them. If someone is dealing chems in Lemhite territory they can expect harsh penalties including heavy fines, branding of the face or hands, or even execution. This policy has lead to small settlements popping up in the borderlands around Lemhite territory, especially between Rexburg and Idaho Falls, that cater to such tastes.
Like all Yellowstone Nations the Lemhites practice slavery, or more accurately indentured servitude. Lemhite indentured servitude usually involves the repayment of a debt with years of labor. Purchase or exchange of slaves or indentured servants is strictly prohibited. Indentured servants have many rights and protections, but are obligated to labor for their master. Indentured servitude is less common near the Whitefort and more common on the farms in the Lemhite frontier.
The only exception is the Whitefort's prohibition on purchasing slaves is the Whitefort's purchase of child slaves. Representatives from the Whitefort will sometimes reach out to slavers and using tithe money they will buy as many children as possible, giving priority to younger ones. These children are taken back to the Whitefort and placed with Lemhite families. They are educated and assimilated into Lemhite beliefs and culture. They are considered indentured servants and begin working off their debt to the Whitefort when they turn sixteen. Once their debt is repaid they are free men and women, and some leave the Whitefort to search out a new life. However most remain with the Lemhites, having become Lemhite themselves. This practice is seen as a rescue, but critics of the Whitefort condemn it either as a misguided act that fuels the slave trade or as child snatching to expand the Whiteforts population and power.