Valley of Thorns
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The Snake Kingdoms are built on slave labor. The life of a slave is harsh, and they tend to be worked to near death by their surathi masters - and once they cannot work any longer, their life energies are drained by the death pits. This creates a constant demand for new slaves, and many surathi solved this by raiding their neighbors - even other surathi communities. This eventually got so out of hand that the priesthood of Sarush intervened, and instituted the "Thorn Wars" - annual mock battles that take place in the Valley of Thorns. All cities of the Snake Kingdoms participate, as well as many smaller groups and individuals. The goal is to capture as many surathi of opposing forces as possible. Any living surathi prisoners are exchanged for a ransom after the Thorn Wars are over - the groups whose members were captured are obligated to exchange humanoid slaves for them - 2 for a thin-blooded, 10 for a lesser brethen, 20 for a favored one, and 50 for a pure one. It is perfectly acceptable for any participants to use human slaves or mercenaries as soldiers in the Thorn Wars - but whoever manages to capture those gets to keep them.

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