Bazhir are, collectively, the nomadic tribes of Tortall's Great Southern Desert. The Bazhir are widely known for their fine horses, which the tribespeople refer to as "children of the wind." In former times the Bazhir had been at war with Tortall, probably not only because of the cultural differences, but mainly due to the fact, that the Bazhir had been an independent country, Barzun, before they were conquered by Tortall.
The Bazhir live in a strict tribal community structure, with each tribe led by a headman. Bazhir women are taught to be subservient to men and wear face veils for modesty when in the presence of unrelated males.
Bazhir magic users are known as shamans and have great authority within their tribes.
The Voice of the Tribes is the spiritual link between all the Bazhir, a position of highest honor. In 438 HE, Prince Jonathan of Conté becomes the Voice of the Tribes upon the death of Ali Mukhtab, the previous Voice. This is the first time when a non-Bazhir has become the Voice, and it marks a major turning point in the relationship between the Bazhir and the Kingdom of Tortall.
The Bazhir tribes and the desert they inhabit were nominally brought into the kingdom of Tortall by King Jasson III, who conquered some tribes and made treaties with others. However, many of the tribes remained hostile to Tortall and Bazhir were generally shunned from Tortallan society until the reign of King Jonathan IV.
The following are known tribes in the fifth century HE:
The Bazhir are based on the medieval Middle East, namely the Bedouin tribes of Africa and Arabia.
The Bazhir are at least mentioned in nearly every novel based in Tortall. They play a greater role in The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, where Alanna spends most of the novel in the Great Southern Desert with the Bazhir tribe of the Bloody Hawk.