|Type of Government:||Chiefdom|
|Motto:||Táimid a fhiach ag an mbóthar|
"We who hunt by the road"
|Membership:||About 200 members|
|Founded by:||Conleth the Black|
The Highwaymen of Naas originated from the first bands of raiders to organize themselves following the Great War of 2077. Founded by Conleth the Black, originally going by the name of Colmán McDonnell, a farmer from the village of Dunlavin, the Naas Highwaymen got their start as a group of survivalists seeking shelter from the ongoing chaos following the collapse of the Irish government. Though Ireland was spared the thorough nuking that neighboring Great Britain suffered, the wave of refugees and ensuring conflict over food and resources, led to a crisis that the government of Ireland was completely unequipped to stop. Banding together under a common cause, the men and women under McDonnell fled the terrors of Dublin for the countryside, where they sought to hide out until the violence died down.
The relative safety the group under McDonnell enjoyed was to be short-lived, as tens of thousands of other men, women, and children began to flee the city of Dublin and its suburbs for the countryside. Awash with countless thousands of people seeking to escape the killings and beatings in the city, the band had to fight off those who came across them, and wanted to take their food and women for themselves. McDonnell taught those with him how to fight using the farm tools he had long used throughout his life as weapons, and also taught them how to live off the land and how to use the animals they found to the full. Setting themselves up in the town of Naas, the band would fight to defend themselves from others, but also help any who needed protection from the criminals and rape gangs that were popping up all across the region.
By 2090, the group was calling itself the Highwaymen of Naas, given that their primary source of sustenance came from the raiding of merchant caravans along the E20 highway out of Dublin. McDonnell, now calling himself Conleth, meaning "chaste fire" in Irish, created a tollway system, where those on the E20 going through Naas either paid for passage or were struck down and their property "confiscated" as payment. The E20, considered a more valuable piece of turf given the traffic moving between Dublin and Cork, brought much wealth to Conleth and his raiders. They netted a tidy profit from the merchants moving along the highway, and the farmers seeking to sell their foodstuffs in Dublin, where a considerable population of survivals still remained. As time passed, and the power of the Naas raiders increased, Conleth grew less chivalrous, and more greedy, drunk from the power he and his army of bandits were gaining.
In 2105, Conleth sought to attain for himself an additional piece of territory, the E01 highway, which he discovered by being used by travelers to bypass his town and get to Cork without having to pay the increasingly expensive toll he imposed on travelers. Outraged, Conleth and his men set out to bring a swift and violent purge of all inhabitants along the highway and execute those merchants who dared deny Conleth "his" money. Within a span of five months, Conleth and raiders murdered some 2,000 people living along the E01, whom they believed were helping the travelers by offering them lodging during their journey, and thus giving others reasons to bypass the E20. In doing so, Conleth earned himself the title "the Black", and the Naas highwaymen would become a feared and brutal organization of raiders who refused to allow money to slip from their grasp.
The Raider Nation of Naas
Conleth the Black eventually died in 2122, the same way as he lived during his final days in power; drunk, fat, and crawling with sexual diseases. Conleth's son, Fearghas, one of the few legitimate children Conlath had, who continue his father's work of maintaining the tolls along the E20 and E01 highways out of Dublin. During the time his father controlled the highwaymen of Naas, Conlath had allowed rivals to appear in the north, who all wanted a piece of the lucrative toll tax the Naas highwaymen imposed on travelers. Thus, many raider parties established themselves as dangerous enemies of Naas, and actively pursued a policy geared toward taking over the E20 highway. Refusing to permit this to happen, Fearghas launched a campaign known as the Ireland Road Wars which lasted from 2134 to 2147, seeking to destroy or incapacitate all those raider groups located around Dublin, and actively attacking the Naas raider outposts along the E20 and E01.
In 2146, Fearghas moved to destroy a group of raiders who had actively aided his enemies in bypassing his defenses at Bray and Hollywood, and helping them through the mountains to directly attack Naas itself. Along with his men, Fearghas fought fiercely at the Battle of the Wicklow Mountains, where the raiders known as the Roundwood Men, had been hiding after the Naas raiders burned their homes in Roundwood to the ground to remove them as a threat. 372 men, women, and children were all perched up at the top of the Wicklow Mountains National Park, hoping the raiders of Naas would not be willing to engage them. Believing the Naas would come at them from the southeast along the R759, the Roundwood Men set up defenses in that direction, not expecting the Naas to attack them from the rear during the height of winter. However, they took precautions to defend themselves from a rear assault and wait the fighting out in hopes for an agreement with Fearghas to materialize.
Refusing such a deal, Fearghas chose instead to go the long way, and south of the Wicklow Mountains, north through the Glenealo Valley, and pass the Roundwood defenses to attack the tribals. In the dead of night, Fearghas led his men into what would become the defining point of his and his people's history, ambushing an entire tribe of raiders as they sleep, and exterminating one of the largest tribes in the area in less than an hour, with no more than 75 men. Still furious with the actions of the Roundwood Men, Fearghas had the entire tribe destroy to the last man, woman, and child in the camp, not even sparing the animals. The camp was burnt, and the ground salted, and to this day nothing has grown there since. The Naas highwaymen had not surpassed Conlath's act of brutality in 2105, they came very close to it, and thus gained the utmost fear and respect from the surrounding tribes and raiders, who knew never to cross the Naas as a matter of principle.
Fearghas established a tributary kingdom in the region, no longer relying on the tolls paid from by those passing through his lands, doing so by threatening to destroy any tribe who refused to submit to his rule. For a time, the Naas were the most powerful tribe of raiders in Leinster, enforcing an iron grip over the immediate areas outside of Dublin. However, their hegemony was not to last beyond the reign of Fearghas. As the Naas gained more and tribute from their enemies, Fearghas failed to consolidate his rule over the area, allowing the other tribes to police themselves, and counting on their loyalty through fear instead of through respect. None of those outside of Naas itself ever forgot the great acts of brutality he and his father committed in their time, and the crimes they allowed their men to perform, routinely pillaging and raping entire villages, only served to alienate those beneath Naas' foothold even more.
Fall of a nation
By 2163, the Naas highwaymen held sway over some fifty villages between the E20 and E01, had a population of 15,000 people living on the land, and had a membership of nearly 1,500 able-bodied men. A small but powerful kingdom by no stretch of the imagination, the Naas raiders were swimming in riches of all types. However, as aforementioned, Fearghas failed to bring the lands under his control into any type of unified state, and allowed those who hated him to continue as they did before him, so long as they paid a regular tithe in food, fresh water, and luxuries. Fearghas, as his father Conlath had, grew increasingly obese, an alcoholic, and fathered countless bastard children by an equally countless number of women. It is unknown who killed Fearghas in 2163, but many believe it may have been Fearghas' jealous wife, tired of his infidelity, or one of Fearghas' own bodyguards, sickened by his state of mind and body. Regardless of who killed Fearghas, it is known that the kingdom he established following the massacre at the Wicklow Mountains died with him.
Fearghas' body wasn't even in the ground before several of his sons began fighting over the title of Taoiseach, or chief, and began using the loyalties of the raiders who once served their father to take control of the nation. Completely clueless as to how to lead a band of raiders thanks to their sheltered lives, Fearghas' sons tore the kingdom he worked so hard to maintain to shreds, each carving out a chunk of territory for themselves. Worse yet, many of Fearghas' own people decided to leave the area as the fighting destroyed entire livelihoods, and travelers who once paid to get to Dublin decided it was no longer worth the risk of getting to an active war zone to reach the Dublin ruins to trade. Thus, the wealth that made the Naas raiders rich began to move into other areas of Ireland, causing them to become destitute. By the time the dust settled, the town of Naas, once a gleaming place of riches and trade, became a wasteland just like the rest of the island.
The Naas highwaymen today
Today, the Naas highwaymen are only made up of about 200 or so men, their wives, and their children, all trying to scratch out a living from Naas. The town itself is a rathole, no one in their right mind would ever think to stop at the town for anything other than to go to the privy and more on as quickly as possible. Trade along the E20 is nowhere near as profitable as it once was in the past, with travelers either moving along the E01 to get to Dublin or taking the N81 through Blessington to do the same. The Naas raiders continue to attack merchants moving along the highways, but no longer inspire the same level of fear their forefathers had more than a century ago. Raiders from the towns of Bray and Maynooth are at war with Naas, seeking to remove them as a danger to their own operations in the region, and move on to attack one another without risking a dangerous offensive through Dublin.