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Thay is a a populous nation ruled by the eight Zulkirs of the dreaded Red Wizards. The nation relies heavily on slavery, a practice heavily frowned upon by nations throughout the north and northwestern Faerûn. The eight Zulkirs are the most powerful wizards in the nation in each school of magic, with the strongest being the lich Szass Tam in the school of necromancy. Tharchions, civil governors of the realm, rule over the various tharchs, or regions of Thay.

In Thay itself, the Zulkirs and other prominent Red Wizards grow rich beyond imagination from this sinister trade. From their strongholds and estates, they use this wealth to constantly scheme and plot the mercantile and military domination of their neighbor nations. The armies of Thay have marched on Aglarond and Rashemen many times and folk fear that the time will soon come when the Zulkirs mobilize again. On the reverse, few invaders have ever overcome the great mountains girding the Plateau of Thay, and the secretive and suspicious Red Wizards raise barriers just as formidable to discourage travelers from venturing into their lands.

The nation of Thay came about when a sect calling itself the Red Wizards declared its freedom from the god kings of Mulhorand. The sect's center of strength was in the northern provinces where the natives did not have the inbred reverence for the god-kings. After razing the city of Delhumide they declared themselves the free nation of Thay in 922 DR. Since then Mulhorand has had to defend themselves, quite successfully, against two invasions from Thay.

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