The Cenetli (singular Cenetl) are less a government and more of a society or ethnicity. They were never united under one leader and at best were a loose confederation of tribes, one of several waves of "barbarians" to settle in the Midlands over the centuries of Elvish rule. At one time they held sway over an area that encompassed most of the Midlands. Cenetli tribes lived as far south as what would later be the Pyralian Kingdoms and as far north as the Giantdowns.1 The closest real-life equivalent of the Cenetli are the Celts, though in some ways they also bear a resemblance to the Germanic tribes of Northern Europe.
After a long and drawn-out war that lasted for over a century the Suielman Empire finally conquered the Midlander Cenetli, but they never fully assimilated them. No longer a political power, they survived as a society. They become imperial citizens and soldiers, and even several emperors were of Cenetli decent.
Many tribes clung to their old beliefs for a long time. Even at the present time, the culture survives strongly among many mountain tribes and clans.
Diaspora & Return
Cenetli dominance in the Midlands largely ended with the invasion of the lutins and giants, who drove out the human inhabitants of the region after the disintegration of the Suielman Empire. Those tribes that still lived under Elvish rule, in the Outer Midlands, survived the lutins' purge, as did the occasional pockets of mountain folk. The rest fled into other lands, eventually being incorporated into the Sathmoran, Pyralian, Flatlander, and Quenardyan societies.
In spite of this diaspora, some of the Cenetli maintained the memory of their culture and ethnicity in the new lands where they settled — and when humans eventually set forth from the Pyralian lands to drive out the lutin and giant tribes, many of the volunteers had at least partial Cenetli blood. Many modern Midlanders thus have at least some degree of Cenetli heritage, including characters like Misha, Eldrid and Padraic (whose family still is very strongly Cenetli).
Before the rise of the Suielman Empire the Midlander Cenetli spoke Lambemma, the language that is now called Old Tongue. This was a hybrid of human root-words and Elvish grammatical structure, and it quickly came to be used throughout the Midlands. The Suielmans imposed their own language on the Midlanders, which eventually became known as Common; today Lambemma survives only in ancient texts and in the ritual language of the Lothanasi.
A form of the language survives today but is used by a small number of tribes and families. Usually those in isolated places like the mountains or the Giantdowns. After centuries of empire rule (and the chaos that followed its collapse) It bares little resemblence to the original Lambemma.
Never more then tribes and clans they never had 1 leader or king. Warfare and rivalry between the tribes was constant. A lack of a central government was the greatest reason the Suielman were able to defeat them in spite of being vasty outnumbered. The Suielman were able to play one tribe against another and keep them from unifying.
Tribes of note
The Sathmorans are a major branch of the Cenetli culture that diverged from the Midlander branch after the withdrawal of the Elves from Western Galendor. Separated from the Midlands by the Sea of Stars and the Sathmore Range, they were the first human society in western Galendor to grow up independent of Elvish influence. The early Sathmorans were subsistence fishermen, living in small seaside communities up and down the Sathmoran coast. These hardy, independent folk had little need of Elvish civilization and were largely left alone throughout the Elves' long rule of the continent. Over time they expanded further inland, learning to farm and raise livestock, and eventually they even built cities of their own. They even spurned Elvish writing and language, holding fiercely to their own ancient tongue and developing their own character system to write it.
By the time the Suielman Empire was at its height the Sathmorans were regarded as the best sailors and shipwrights on Galendor. They had formed a sophisticated government in which all tribal chieftains submitted to the rule of a High King who was elected from among them. Their warriors, while not as disciplined or organized as the Suielman legions, were tall, fierce, and powerful enough to give a Pyralian soldier pause. Perhaps most significantly for future events, the Sathmorans were proudly egalitarian: they kept no slaves, and their women were placed on an equal social footing with the men. A woman could be a warrior, a blacksmith, even a tribal chieftain, and many considered them to be more spiritually aware than men.
Unlike the Midlanders, who were conquered and subjugated and who resisted assimilation into Suielman society, the Sathmorans were brought into the Empire through economic partnerships that eventually led to alliances by marriage. The Emperor married a Sathmoran warrior chieftain and brought her family and all the other clan chieftains into the Empire as the ruling nobility of the three new Sathmoran provinces. In later years the city of Elvquelin was expanded into the summer capital; eventually the character of the imperial family came to be more Sathmoran than Pyralian. When a later Emperor faced dissent and uprising among his Pyralian nobles he fled to the loyal provinces of Sathmore, which embraced the Emperor as their own flesh and blood. The southern portions of the Empire eventually collapsed into a squabbling confederation of city-states, and the Suielman Empire lived on as the Sathmoran Empire.
Sathmorans today have a curious cultural pedigree: Suielish government, law and architecture blended with their native-grown language, art, music and social code. They are proud to be the last true, loyal citizens of the great Empire, yet they also consider themselves to be the "purest" surviving expression of ancient Cenetli culture … though some Midlanders would vigorously dispute that claim.
Weapons and Warfare
Warfare was concidered the ultimate expression on masculinity. Warriors prefered to fight one on one duels to prove their fighting prowess.
Warfare for the Centli was a constant occurance. There was always raiding (especially castle rustling) going on among the tribes. This was routinely broken up by full blown wars.
The Centli were experts at irregular warfare excelling at otrinca. Centli armies were mainly just large numbers or warriors arrianged into loose groups. Battles between rival tribes usually started with the groups of warriors charging each other and then devolved into a large number of individual one on one skirmishes. The reason the Suielman were able to finally defeat the Centli was becuase the legions fought as a disciplined group. The Centli armies were just a loose group of warriors fighting as a mob.
Weapons & armor
The Centli prefered close quarter weapons like swords spears and a variety of clubs, maces, axes and knives. Ranged weapons were usually limited to javelins and slings. One favorite weapon of the Centli is the battleaxe. This weapon has long been a favorite of the Centli mountain folk who find it useful for cracking open the tough armor worn by most knights and noblemen. They also enjoy the fear factor that facing such a fearsome weapon can engender in their enemies.
In spite of the legends and stories not all Centli fought naked. A number of the more ferocious warriors would paint themselves various colors and fight naked. The majority of the warriors fought wearing whatever armor they could. Usually leather or hides and a large shield. Heavy armor like chainmail was limited to only the richer nobleman.