Author Topic: Valachani Fables:  (Read 2571 times)

Silas Rotleaf

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Valachani Fables:
« on: October 03, 2018, 06:28:48 PM »
Part one: The Origin and Our Creation:

The acolyte Moarnekone cleared his throat.
In Vaasi he copied the grandiose introduction that is the most popular style of Valachani storytelling in their oral tradition.
"Listen to me, for I have a story to tell!"

"...In the beginning, before we knew our place and who our neighbors were in the mists there was just the jungle. Our ancestors belonged to unnamed tribes. They were darkskinned and resourceful woodsmen.
Then in 320 came invaders, the Vaasi. Not the Vaasi of Nova Vaasa as you know them today, but nevertheless a light skinned horde of Vaasi speaking raiders came in force through the mists. They pillaged, exploited and ravaged our ancestors' lands mercilessly.

The land itself was crying out to the fey and spirits. Medicine men and wise women did not know what to do.  Strip mining, clear cutting, over hunting and fishing were destroying the wilderness on an unprecedented scale. The Vaasi brought with them a horrible disease none of the tribesmen had any defense against for they had not had any previous exposure to it. It is estimated that nine in every ten aborigines at this time died.  The spirit of the wood was very upset and felt He could not take this anymore. He held a council, for the endless war between the natives and invaders was physically and magically hurting Him. It caused Him intolerable pain but the bodily corporeal pain and even the mental pain was nothing compared to The Provider's knowing of the pain of the extinction the two warring peoples were racing toward.  Anyway, this council was with His wisest animal spirits who were His companions. Brother Panther, being the wiliest of them devised a ritual that he assured Yutow would work and get the two sides to peaceably coexist without damaging the forests any further."

"Brothers, sisters, do you know what that unprecedented plan was?" The young priest gripped both sides of his rough hewn wooden podium for dramatic emphasis. Then he continued his sermon.

"... Yutow offered Himself up to the two armies and gave of Himself in the ultimate sacrifice. The most pure expression of supplication.  To make the warring peoples come to understand one another fundamentally, to force them to get along He merged them into a single people.

This changed things. Nothing in our forests following The Pacification would ever be the same again. It was unorthodox and altered the flow of how things would have played out were they left unfettered.  Assimilation would have been inevitable anyway but what Yutow did accelerated the time in which it happened. Without the bloodshed of lengthy colonial occupation He made the two cultures into one which was homogeneously both and yet distinct from its parent seeds.

Yutow's act of martyrdom saved the jungle but also irrevocably changed Him.  He could no longer walk among the land as one of us. He had ascended and was now Yutow the Peacebringer. He chose a self-imposed exile on the moon for this act. He is steward over all of us both the living on this world and the dead in our lunar based afterlife."

"The disease the invaders brought we think is what became the White Fever, also." His bile yellow eyes glinted at mention of the unnatural epidemic, clearly not a mirthful twinkle.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2018, 04:02:15 PM by Silas Rotleaf »

Silas Rotleaf

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Re: Valachani Fables:
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2018, 04:10:29 PM »
Part Two: A Legacy of Tyranny:
I often say that our Baron is much like Barovia's Count in that they are each both very great and terrible at the same time. Also times the rulers are ever seen in public are likewise few and far between.

So long as the villages hold the semi-annual bridal lottery and everybody pays their taxes, for the most part the Baron is content to leave us alone.  Having to sacrifice a maiden to him in such a way is not something we like but he is a serial monogamist.  Something bad always happens to his wives. Some die of the white fever while in Castle Pantara. Some... "Fall down stairs". Some run away driven to madness for reasons which are never really elaborated on. Some are murdered. An unsettling number end up torn apart by jungle creatures as the end they meet.

The Black Leopards, his militia army are headed by a sadistic elf named Lady Adeline. Her estate is called the Red Maze... The remains of those whom she is displeased with or found various reasons to have done away with form decoration and give the grisly site its name.

Baron Ulrik Von Kharkov II hates wizards. One killed his father, the much loved Baron Ulrik Von Kharkov I. We like our barony not because he is an especially kind ruler but because their predecessor who ruled before males of the Kharkov family came into power was much worse.

A cursed item made by the mad wizard Felkovic magically slew Ulrik I. This cat statuette is perhaps the only thing his son Ulrik II fears. The Black Leopard militia continually scours Valachan in search of it that it may finally be destroyed but the artifact remains elusive.

Though Felkovic is dead, his ghost still haunts the blasted ruin of his tower and likewise the Cat of Felkovic still haunts Von Kharkov. It holds some terrible sway over his family and was deliberately designed to be their undoing. Being somewhat paranoid because of how such an object of horrendous power is still at large unaccounted for does explain some of our Baron's obsession.

Some of the Black Leopards are actual werecreatures. That is why the priesthood is encouraged to all have at least one silver weapon and to wear some silver accessories on their person.

In addition to the State militia, noble families also have their own private militias. All work together to take up the same familiar rallying cry when told by our ruler something must be done in our nation's interest however.

The State of things is mandated from above and as such is not to be questioned yes.
In general commoners are to defer to nobles in most matters by default...
And yet, a nobleman is not always the most noble of man in his or her behavior.
So it is that their authority may be challenged and the peasants may tear them apart if they become made dissatisfied enough. This is the law of the jungle and like a swarm of ants the remaining nobles lay claim to the deposed ones remaining holdings.  Yutow turns His back on those who displease Him and can withdraw His protection which is what enforces their divine right to rule; Out with the old unfit and in with the new! Occasionally there are times the land demands a tithe in blood.

Therefore destroying the inept and incompetent nobles is not a crime when it succeeds. It is always a crime when a rebellion fails though.

Priests serve as adjudicators and magistrates who mediate disputes between the peasants, militia, nobles, and to an extent our ruler and his lieutenant.
The nobles have their own council on which Baron Kharkov and Lady Adeline hold the chiefest of seats.  The most prominent of noble families rule villages and townships as their mayors.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2018, 07:00:22 PM by Silas Rotleaf »

Silas Rotleaf

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Re: Valachani Fables:
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2018, 04:29:20 PM »
Part Three: Red In Tooth and Claw:

The bilious eyed Yutow cleric stood at the lectern addressing his audience.
"Many are the dangers of the jungle, but you all knew that.  There are both the seen and the unseen."
Here he paused for dramatic emphasis.

"Though each township and village's militia men hack back the underbrush with their machetes, the wildlife both plant and animal is not about to let us for any moment forget that it is in true control of this land.
It takes a constant effort by our woodsmen just to keep it at bay so that it does not swallow up our settlements. Nature in the Valachan jungle is an omnipresent, feeling and observing, calculating thing. It cat-and-mouses with us and we are the mice, make you no mistake in this despite how much we bare our teeth and try to convince ourselves otherwise."

The priest eyed his congregation, took in a breath, then while blowing threw the contents of a bottle of feydust in the air for a visual effect.

"There are things far more ancient among us out here than man or elf and they remember the sins of our ancestors. The deforestation which occurred during events leading to The Pacification is still fresh in their fey minds. Most of their ways of thinking, indeed their overall mindset, it is all far too alien for us mortals to try and comprehend."
As the remnants of the illusory green flame swirled around him dying down the priest looked his congregation in the eyes and continued in his sermon with a renewed vigor to his sense of purpose.

"I do not tell you young braves, and you elders, you hunters, gatherers, fishers, trappers and woodcutters, you farmers and weavers, you carpenters, wives and husbands, children and youths all of this to panic you. That is not my intended purpose. Our shamans, medicine men and wise women perform our rituals and ceremonies to appease the malevolent and more mischievous fey to the best of our ability. It is why we urge you to leave out for them offerings in glades and your barns: the small carved trinkets, the bowls of honeyed milk and of drikke (mixed milk/animal blood porridge)."

The priest clapped his hands together.
"In Yutow there is strength and love! Through His great sacrifice He bridges our differences!"
After a bit of hemming and hawing the audience shot back their practiced refrain.
Chorus: "He died for us, that we might live in greater harmony!"
"That we will come to understand ourselves and each other greater... And our relationship with the land! My brothers and sisters, Yutow cares for us all. He watches over us and He tests us."
"Mighty is the Peacebringer and compassionate in His wisdom! Jao!!"
« Last Edit: October 14, 2018, 03:58:03 PM by Silas Rotleaf »

Silas Rotleaf

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Re: Valachani Fables:
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2018, 08:26:07 AM »
Part Four: Parable of Suffering:

"There are certain things we share universally in common. All peoples; Human, elf, dwarf, halfling, gnome, and whatever else possesses an intelligence to it, be it rudimentary to the very advanced. Regardless of the differences in our lifespans..."
The cat eyes priest cleared his throat.
"Pain and suffering doesn't stop at the barriers created by having difference in race or in our languages. It is of a thing more primal than societies than all these supposed advances which from "civilization" out of decadence has wrought.

Pain is not nice but in a way it is kind. It lets us know when we are reaching our physical and mental limits. It is your body warning you that to continue an exertion will result in greater injury. It is your mind saying you have had near enough but also that you are not dead... And yet perhaps ghosts do also feel pain. Though they lack a physical body these psychical things can also be creatures of emotion. Far stronger and more concentrated emotions at times than are found in living things. It is both more pure and more corrupt for them; it is what they are [it can be argued] made of."

The Moarnekone pounds his fists on the wooden lectern, grabbing the attention of his congregation.
"Faithful of Yutow, as you know, when we perform our duties to our Lord Above dutifully we are rewarded and those who do not are doomed to miserable repeating lives in an endless cycle of horrible reincarnation.  Those who are good to Him are deemed worthy in the hereafter of graduating into a higher form of being as an immortal animal spirit, one of his loyal servants in the lunar court and these eldritch forests. However, there are of course worse things even than being reincarnated to suffer again in order to learn the jungle's often violently brutal lessons in harshness."
The cleric furrowed his pierced brows.

"Those who are especially unlucky, I am speaking of those blasted and damned souls which are unable to move on and let go of their spent, even rotting bodies when it is past overdue, these become the corporeal undead.  The kindest service one may render them is a mercy killing. They yearn for the life they either eschewed or which has been wrenched from them by the foulest black arts. It is something they may never have as an undead thing and they probably know this on some level for why they are so typically relentless in their attacks against the truly living."

There is a golden fire swirling in the priest's eyes as he continues his impassioned sermon.
"Yes, zombies and so often ghosts are the cursed remnants of that which once lived, but what of things which were never alive in the sense that you and I are... Or were so very long ago that it is beyond the reckoning of any peoples' ancestral keen?  Well, they do feel some things but whether they perceive pain in the same sense that you or I or a haunting spirit would, this is more difficult to say.  There are of course things which displease spirits and primordials [he means elementals]. You and I know what happens when fey and their ilk which straddle a position between the worlds of the living and the spirits are upset. Many bad things and curses."

He expounds to the parishioners.
"The wight with its profound hatred of all things with vitality, it guards and stalks crypts, ancient cemeteries and burial places of old forgotten by us but not forgotten by them.... The Vraykolaka which gleefully in darkness spreads disease and trouble while dining on body parts and juices of people and animals... Do not mistake their miserable state of being for something to have hesitation about, if you pity them as I have said before the best thing which can be done for undead is to make them into true dead by destroying them that they might finally stop being stuck in their dark and awful form. They are not circumventing the cycle of reincarnation by being neither living nor dead. The unliving are stuck, unable to progress. In order to move on as Yutow intended, they have to be slain properly. Bodily ones at least, and those of the meaner spectral variety which cause the living much trouble."

He raises his eyebrows.
"Understand though that this is no light nor easy undertaking. Monsters are a most cunning enemy. Those which think and are crafty and clever in their vileness love using fear, our fears to manipulate us. They are remarkably resilient and infest places even the wiliest of hunters may not immediately think to look. Those monsters which are thinking undead are exceptionally dangerous alone and even more when in groups. As are werecreatures."

The priest crosses his arms and continues.
"Werecreatures though in many ways more admirable than the undead are just as much a threat to us.  They who infect peoples with a physical change are a perverse mockery of the animal spirits which serve the Peacebringer.  They cannot bring anything other than downfall, demise and misery. A werecreature is any being capable of taking on the form of a man, an animal and a third shape that is a transition between the two. The "infection" is most typically spread through their bite and there is no known reliable cure for the affliction of lycanthropy despite many peoples in many places throughout the core having all tried to find and to even make one.

Some are born with this condition. They are a bit different. The ones which attack and prey on settlements are the ones to be hunted with most typically silver.  Some of these "lycans" though are not like the others.  I have heard legend and rumor of ones that try to live amongst themselves and not spread their affliction onto us. These "moon children" who can control their transformation to a remarkable degree must yet still always struggle with their problem of having a savage feral beast inside and even when helpful cannot be trusted.  There is always a part of them they are at war in opposition with, their beastly side and when it wins out over their man side which it will... It is merely a question of when, not of if, they will not be able to help themselves in either slaughtering you, devouring you or turning you into another of their number."

Uncrossing his arms the Moarnekone pounds a fist on the lectern.
"Undeath and lycanthropy are forms of suffering which turn people into actual monsters.  However the undead and werecreatures are not the only confounding dangers which the jungle hides.  There are still other things that would cause you harm such as wicked fey that appear as scantily clad gorgeous men or women bathing who will tempt you to join them in their frolicking in the river waters only to drown you with glee.  There is another type that appears as a preternaturally wellbred horse which seems friendly and coaxes lone travelers at the edge of a treacherous fiord where there is no bridge.  When you take the bait and accept its unspoken offer the creature wades partway through with you on its back, bucks to toss you off and then it eats you! What troubled sort of mind and heart is in a being which takes a nearly timeless existence and fills their time devising ways to doom mortals it views as lesser creatures? This we cannot say, they are inscrutable. Copper may stop some of them."

He frowns.
"Though man, beasts, monsters, spirits and even plants may suffer, never forget that monsters will unflinchingly kill you. Like predators, they can preferentially go after the weak and sick, the very young who are highly impressionable and those who are old and infirm alike.  Like a parasite, they work their way in, compromising the health of a society as they sustain themselves, ultimately killing their host but in a very drawn out and awful, insidious way. Then it is to seek their next victims, that they may continue the torture of spreading their unnatural misery around."

The Cat eyes raises his voice.
"Remember though, the good thing about pain is it shows you, it is an indicator that something is wrong."
« Last Edit: October 14, 2018, 03:54:55 PM by Silas Rotleaf »

Silas Rotleaf

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Re: Valachani Fables:
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2018, 12:35:21 PM »
Part Five: Mystic Jungle and Eldritch Forests.

Valachan is a living and breathing thing. The river rapids, its pulse. The land, its body. Its soul is Yutow the Peacebringer, the dead god who still watches from the moon.

Our jungle home has its own wants and needs and it will take them, given the opportunity. It is a savage and sentient thing that will go out of its way to deal with people who displease it. The hapless upsetter of things will find his path interrupted by tree roots that trip becoming much more numerous, vines that snare and the uneasy experience of hearing disconcerting howls and chirps of uncountable hordes of animals both small and large all around, many if not all of which are quite dangerous. This is all punctuated by the buzzing and clicking of industrious vermin from beneath, many more of which carry disease when not outright poisonous.

Just because you go the trail where the road stops and there aren't people doesn't mean you are at any point truly alone.  That is why it is so important for Valachani to have wilderness lore.  Without our woodsmen, our cities would fall being swallowed back up and reclaimed in short order by the aggressive woodlands.

The jungle all too easily reminds us of our weakness. Humans and elves are interlopers in the domain which has been so much longer held by nigh immortal fey and spirits. They have the advantage having dwelt much longer in the home which is their home which we have simply built on top of to make our own huts.

We Moarnekone interpret Yutow's will. It is we whom He gives power of command over plants and beasts. It is a sliver of His control of wilderness.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2018, 12:56:53 PM by Silas Rotleaf »

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Re: Valachani Fables:
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2018, 05:37:01 PM »
Part 6: An Audience With Kharkov:
Once, there came a time where I felt I had to ask our Baron what his plans were for our people and what my part in it is to be.

As I stood out in the courtyard grounds of Castle Pantara the wind howled.

I wondered and felt, not for the first time that going to seek an audience with our ruler to hear it straight from the source was probably not such a good idea.

However, if there was anyone with a clear vision about where a successful Valachan's future laid, it would be our ruler.
He and his father were both a drastic improvement over former Mayor Ostlin of Helbenik. That's what the records and our collective memory say on the subject.

I made my way to the nearest paw shaped gatehouse and with it was the security checkpoint I needed to pass through.

It is well known that there are werepanthers among the number of those serving in Baron Von Kharkov's Black Leopard Militia.
It is also known that these footsoldiers are simultaneously among the most corrupt and the most die hard loyalists.

I had no blatantly magical objects on me for them to seize as contraband. A snarling guard demanded to know what the hell I thought bringing a silver sickle on my person. I snarled back that I was a Moarnekone and he should stand down, that if he attempted to force it from me he would find several inches of it poking from his abdomen before we were finished. His cohorts manning the checkpoint snickered.
The guard captain flushed and told me that would not be necessary. I put my weapon in a burlap sack. You are not supposed to bring weapons with you into the castle. With thick leather gloves the guardsmen handled my bagged weapon quite gingerly and said I could have it back once my audience with the Baron had been concluded.

My suspicion was confirmed that some if not most of those black leopards in the station checkpoint were werebeasts in their human form since it seemed to be more that the weapon was silvered than that it was a weapon which caused them the most panic.

It is well known that black leopards are often susceptible to threats and bribes.

Coming from the larders of the castle was a briny aroma. That hit my nose. I wouldn't say it was an assault on the nostrils so much as that it was a definite distinctive presence quick to remind any visitors of our Baron's large scale pickling industry. Many Valachani are selected and "given" the opportunity to work preserving foodstuffs in the castle. It is kind of the Baron to give his subjects work.

Masterfully fine crafted wooden and wicker furniture complemented the rooms, as is to be expected. We Valachani are proud of our basket weaving and carpentry. It made sense our ruler would showcase this native craft in his choice of decor.

I panicked. I was really going to do it. I was going to see our dread ruler in all of his great and terrible splendor. This was happening. I would meet him in person.
Relax Cristan I thought to myself. He is just a man, albeit a very powerful one. One known to be a remarkable duelist with his paired long and short swords.  One who can make people he does not like easily disappear.
One whose primal and carnal appetites made him go through wives at a rate of one a year, sometimes even every half a year. Well, I don't know that he kills them. It does seem strange that every woman the Baron takes for a mate has something tragic or gruesome become of her without exception, but could he really be that much of a monster? This was our leader for crying out.

"Godnatten..." a rich baritone voice came from the throne chamber ahead of the lobby I was in. Vaasi obviously.

The Baron was speaking to me?! Well certainly that is who it would be in his throne room sitting on his dais.
Seated on his throne he appraised me looking me up and down and had a wary hand rested on the girded hilt at his nearby hip. One of his magic swords.

"...Ungradi?" He eyed me a bit further. "Güd, I like the Ungradi and they do like me." Von Kharkov chuckled.
"I trust your travel through the Skoven was nothing too perilous... You will have to forgive the guards" he was referring to my screening for weapons and magical objects. "I cannot be too careful. My father was... Careless and well, what with Za Cat still floating at large, passing through several hands, you know?"

"I know of the Cat of Felkovic my liege. I would like to help you destroy it."
He raised a pointed brow. "Would you now?"
Even though no harm befell me during the encounter I found it overall very unnerving and would not again voluntarily go to Castle Pantara. If I was ordered to then I would but it is a chilling experience.

That evening the Baron and I held discourse over a handful of topics.  We talked about state and the church but also about national identity and a few other things.

His interests as he told me are in maintaining his Barony.

He asked me would Ungrad's taxes be delivered on time and further suggested he hoped they would be, for my city's sake.

I told him I would see Dr. Hoyer about it as soon as I could on my return first thing. He said this was fine and I was doing fine as a cleric of our God.

At this point I asked him had he ever himself seen Yutow or His spirit during an eclipse, in the mists or the like during any point in his long reign.

The entire time we had our conversation he had been nursing a bowl of blood-milk porridge, or drikke. He lapped it up, when pausing to reflect with behavior and motion much more the way a cat does rather than how a human tongue behaves... As though it hinged in reverse. I tried not to stare.
Was it just my imagination or did he seem quite like a beast as well as a nobleman? Somehow both at once.  His eyes would flick a certain way whenever displeased by the topic at hand during our discussion, and in a certain light... I shook the thought from my head.
This and many other more subtle things were off about how the Baron carried himself. His posture and body language seemed... Overall not quite right.

He is a very tall man and muscular. Both the Baron and his father before him the majority of the time would wear gloves.  I assume it is due to some sort of hereditary skin condition.

There were many eerie things about the castle and my host.
He had to have servants but the whole place seemed rather empty in the dining hall and throne room. The lobby... Where were his attendants? I don't think they had the night off.

His answer surprised and shook me. Kharkov the Second told me that Yutow is felt in our hearts and that he believed the green man in the moon spoke to one of his ancestors. He has dreams of Yutow and his nature and animal lunar spirit court sometimes.
We should not seek to meet the Peacebringer until our time on this mortal coil is quite nearly up. When it is the twilight dusk of our life, then we if we are lucky may be visited by Brother Panther who will take us to meet the Peacebringer.

The Panther spirit is our cultural equivalent of the reaper. It means death but is not... Necessarily a bad thing.
"...My little priest," the Baron enunciated clearly and methodically, his deep voice filling the dining area (one has to wonder about the acoustics of these audience chambers) "are you in such a hurry to die, truly? I could arrange that but somehow I do not think that is what you want."

"Err, no my lord."
He is not an unthinking monster. He is our master, calculated and well educated. He knows much about what goes on in our country and even some of what happens outside it elsewhere in the core.  He is known for the quality of his network of informants. To go against him is idiotic at best.

That our political policy tends towards insular isolationism to a large extent is not because we are weak but because we Valachani possess a strong independent streak. We are rugged individualists with a collectively communal family and social structure.

Our baron seemed to know well in advance I had wanted to see him even before his guards announced me in his court. He exuded a mixture of calm and nervousness like a jungle cat on a perch measuring distances in its head for trajectory of pouncing. His debates if they could be called such had his fiercely intense personality cut directly past any blocks I would have put up. There was also a grim playfulness the times he would dance around a point.

Baron Kharkov II has a keen mind for details and human behavior... Almost as though he were something quite more than human amusing himself by playing at being one. His presence is terrible to behold. It is difficult to converse with him due to his primal, almost animalistic force of being. When you are in the same room, even times he is not being hostile you feel it bearing down on you.

He is by all accounts a dangerous man but I do not know that I would call our ruler a monster. Maybe he is simply maladjusted. Perhaps he does not like being around crowds. Like many leaders in the core he enjoys his personal space and privacy to a nearly obsessive degree. Power has its privileges.
The Baron told me he was glad that I went to see him and ask what was wanted of me as a priest of the church but that I should not come to Castle Pantara again without proper invitation. Other people had been put to death for much less. He said we might be in touch and if he wanted something of me he would send an official messenger to the Ungrad Church. Most unusually, he personally approved of my standing down the guards at the checkpoint and threatening them with use of force. His guards. He told them I could have my weapon back on my way out.

I worry that one of these days the taxes will be found wanting.
The Baron seems much more reasonable than his lieutenant Lady Adeline.
I dread arrival of his messengers. My fellow clergy, we have our protocol for when officials and heads of state are visiting the church.  The acolytes are to make sure the shrines are spotless and that authorities are treated to our best food and wine for accommodation.  No one is to dip into the tithe coffers without first express consent of the Moarnekone. If the Black Leopards do not receive their sacks of bullion there will be hell to pay. You do not want so many unnecessary deaths of innocents on your hands. Theft from the taxes is not to be tolerated.

Though we both were at the table that evening looking at each other yellow eyes to yellow eyes I got the sense we were entire worlds apart. It was unnerving to put things mildly.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2018, 07:11:05 PM by Silas Rotleaf »

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Re: Valachani Fables:
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2018, 10:57:25 AM »
Part 7: Man Beasts.

One of the primary hidden dangers in thickly forested Valachan is werebeasts.
It is not always easy to tell who is a werecreature either.
Our ruler is a complex figure. We do know that a number of his enforcers, his shock troops are werepanthers. Thankfully the Black Leopards tend to stay in human form since transforming rips their studded leather jerkins apart.

Many of the State militia are armed and armored brutish thugs even those who aren't actual monsters. They respond well to bribery and to threat.
It puzzles outsiders why we do not "simply" depose our beloved ruler due to night stalkers being in the guard. The answer is that things are not really that simple.
The Black Leopards serve a handful of very important vital functions. They secure the Eastern border against roving bands of cannibalistic wild elves from Sithicus and are a bastion against savage werewolves from Verbrek.
Their toll booths along the bridges and roads maintain our kingdom's infrastructure.
Your taxes go to the machetes needed to chop back the aggressive foliage threatening to consume all paths. Understand that in Valachan there are plants which are man-eating as well. Among the flora are blood thorns, red vines and still stranger things.

Now, mind you, there is a saying: ...Better the devil you know, than one you do not.
When one takes this to heart the Black Leopard State Militia makes more sense.
I am not excusing their bloodthirst nor their cruelty; I am however acknowledging that the men and monsters in our ruler's employ fulfil a role.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2018, 11:05:35 AM by Silas Rotleaf »

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Re: Valachani Fables:
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2018, 05:36:25 PM »
Part 8: Primordial Wickedness:

Malevolent fey are among the more maddeningly bizarre threats in the jungles and beyond.
These are the creatures and beings that the inquisition of Belenus in Tepest are paranoid about.
They seemingly never age and have a disregard for the lives of anything not themselves that is not immortal and not fey.  This isn't to say all fey get along.

What is frightening about these creatures is the combination of their cruelty, their magic and their ability to change shape.  They come in a staggering variety of forms and types, too. 
I am not sure what if any link there is between elves and the true fey.
When Barovians say fey they are using it as an umbrella term for both elves and all faerie creatures.

The fey are difficult to identify, difficult to hunt and difficult to understand.  Many excel at remaining hidden or in their alternate forms, clouding mortal minds and tricking our senses. They can comfortably dwell in the mists and travel in and out of them at will.
An evil fey (also referred to by peoples as fel) is a vengeful, nasty, spiteful creature.

Where benevolent faerie creatures can be either helpful or mischievous, fel beings enjoy inflicting torment and torture at best and ripping a mortal apart or drowning them, confusing you into walking off a cliff or into a pit of quicksand when in a less pleasant mood.

Many fel can stalk their victims invisibly until such a time they wish to reveal themselves too.

These are not the worst things evil fel can do.  If you thought being torn to shreds or eaten was bad... There are some who can enslave you by robbing you of your shadow. They can even steal your soul.

Oh and that's not all fel can do. They can make you sleep for generations to wake up much later when all your friends and family are much older or long since dead. They can age you forward into a crippled old person or regress you to an infant.
Yes, these are the ones who enjoy swapping an untended baby with a changeling or juvenile hag.

I am told that copper is a material which they cannot stand. The soft metal is to them how cold iron is to fiends, silver is to lycanthropes and platinum is to the undead.

Evil fey delight in causing insanity.  One of their most maddening aspects is their true form.  Disguised as their more aesthetically pleasing sylvan cousins using illusion and trickery, fel are still a great deal more disturbingly alien than fey. However, this is nothing compared to when the shroud of deception is removed.
Where a fey is slender a fell is emaciated. Where a fey has bright eyes a fel's are dark. Their hands terminate in long, pointed fingers and their mouths are full of needle-like teeth. They can morph, alternating between hauntingly beautiful and gruesomely haunting.

Where the nymph, dryad and sylph are curvaceous and graceful in body shape, a hag is an unsettling mixture of fat in all the wrong places and having loose baggy skin elsewhere, or she may have very taut skin stretched over her frame like a drum, held tight against her spindly bones and corded muscle. In place of long wavy tresses in reality they have greasy, stringy lengths of hair they wash in blood, mud or slimy oil. In place of playful voluptuousness in figure she may have a figure composed of sharp angles. Her skin may be covered in warts or hairy growths and is usually of a very unnatural color.

It is said that hags eat mortal children. When she does give birth the hag's children are monsters.  Hagspawn if female grow into hags and if male become degenerate brutes. I think the moor men may be the brood of the hag in the Ivlis marsh.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2018, 06:41:09 PM by Silas Rotleaf »

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Re: Valachani Fables:
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2018, 06:05:34 PM »
Part 9: Heart of the Forest:
Never forget that the land is an organic, living and breathing thing. It is itself as a creature.  Though it is more feeling than thinking... Wiser hunters have to contend with its cunning.  Forests are host to many more strange things than initially meet the eye. A great multitude of strange, bizarre, dangerous, beautiful and deadly things.

The line between animal and vegetable can become quite blurry when the forests themselves are magical.
The lands themselves are bad and mad. They have a pulse, they create life or some parody of it spontaneously and seemingly out of thin air.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2018, 05:11:33 PM by Silas Rotleaf »

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Re: Valachani Fables:
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2018, 05:18:24 PM »
Part 10: Family Life:
The moon is viewed as a protector of men and the Earth. It watches over us. He watches over us from His spirit court upon it, my children.

Man and woman are to be kind and faithful to one another when in union.
The bond of marriage is very significant. It is not trivial.
You ask of the bridal lottery the Baron has us do every year for him? He is cursed with an inability to keep a wife; Bad things always happen to her.
However, in village life... Know this.
Know that in Valachani families husband and wife both provide but it is woman who is in charge of the household and welfare of her family. She is the domestic queen and what she says, goes. Making sure the food for meals is safe for her family and protecting the home are her chief duties. Her man helps but honestly, it is woman who knows and is in charge of these things best.

As you well know gift giving is frequent and important in our culture.  We give gifts of value that it took time to fashion ourselves with crafting or to search for and procure. We hold potlaches for exchange of presents.

Outsiders might not understand. Try not to let it hurt you when they angrily tell you they do not want your gifts after you heard them expressing interest in some goods nearby or that are in your possession when they visit your house.  It is a grave insult in our culture but I do not know that they all do so knowingly. They are not familiar with our ways and customs.
We are a friendly and hospitable though hardworking people.
For a long time I felt I would not get to have a family of my own.*
People are often fickle and when they grow bored with one another they treat you as though you are a broken plowshare, irreparable when carelessly used and abused to till rocky soil.

This is not good.
We understand the value of community much better than this. The jungle is already harsh and unforgiving, the wild river rapids doubly so. We need each other to survive. Everyone does his or her share.

*We of the priesthood are called Moarnekone, a compound word that in its literal translation amounts to "married to the moon."  We are not celibate but our devotion to religion and community takes away from time spent in the more immediately practical pursuits hunting, fishing or in the fields. It is not time spent crafting or in commerce trade. It takes an es/special man or woman to make the spouse of a priest or priestess.

In exchange for this sacrifice we are given command over plants and animals, generous power over nature, and abilities to heal and to combat the unnatural.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2018, 05:55:48 PM by Silas Rotleaf »

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Re: Valachani Fables:
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2018, 02:41:17 PM »
Part 11: Community With Individualism but Versus Isolation.

Priests of the Peacebringer are tasked with maintaining social hegemony.
We arbitrate disputes between the various classes in our society. Those who would call us quaint and rustic do so in ignorance of the complexity of our system and ceremonies.

Know that marriages (and also divorces) are not something trivial to be taken lightly. You combine your resources and skills and the objective is to make each other stronger.

Shunning is cruel. In a highly social people it is probably among the harshest punishments. That other peoples, foreigners seem to resort to it so flippantly and for such trivial offenses as occasionally saying something that rubs one the wrong way or for not correctly guessing via "intuition" the feelings of another,... I feel, having traveled abroad and spent extensive time amongst foreigners elsewhere in the core that they perhaps do not all value the bonds of friendship and alliance to the extent we Valachani do.

Once I killed a man by accident. I made amends to his next of kin.
When another dies unintentionally through result of your action or inaction, this is the honorable recourse to pursue. Seek his clan. Offer to make restitution.
No one is perfect. Angrily throwing at someone they are terrible for not being perfect is not mature nor realistic.  I forgive you for being imperfect. You accept that I am imperfect. Our God himself is also imperfect. Life is imperfect. The important thing is to strive towards perfection.
The only way to learn is to go through the process of trying things out, and making some mistakes along the way to get better.
Our wildmen of the woods are calibans. They don't have the benefit of our community for a safety net.  Whether loners or loosely knit tribes, these feral creature-people at the bare fringes of society can occasionally be reasoned with, cautiously.

Giving up on someone the second they make a mistake when trying out something new is cruel. You cannot expect them to learn and get better if you allow for no mistakes.
Be kind to the Vistani. There was a time when well within their rights to take my life they instead chose to spare it.  We Valachani have always respected these nomadic gypsyfolk for their emphasis on community and values placed on self-reliance.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2018, 03:32:50 PM by Silas Rotleaf »

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Re: Valachani Fables:
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2018, 11:27:41 PM »
Part 12: Loneliness and Frustration:
"Relationships take involvement of emotion and time my congregation" the priest said, starting his sermon.

"You will not get something in them from putting in nothing but also it should not be a thing in which you give and you give while the other, your would-be partner, just takes and takes. This is not healthy.  A proper relationship should be as a garden. You and your lover cultivate it together. It requires nurturing and care to grow.  You do not salt the earth or plant evil weeds, choking out the good blossoms, vegetables and fruit and then curse out in anger or upset how it is some great surprise the crop is no good, my children" he explained.
"All that is sewn then is misery and estrangement."
« Last Edit: November 11, 2018, 11:34:17 PM by Silas Rotleaf »

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Re: Valachani Fables:
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2018, 03:25:41 PM »
Part 13: Interdependence:
In my dealings with the wildmen and the elves I know that community is important to them too. The former do not have the rich network of social support structure you get in village life as a protective barrier. They are loose knit hunter-gatherers, raiders and in a few cases horrific cannibals whom organize themselves into small "tribes"  the outermost edges of society's fringes.
You must understand that our neighbors though not entirely unlike us are also quite different in their way of life.
Their dealings with the skogsra mirror and parallel our own in some key aspects.

For example, the Mordentish folket believe in an overlapping physical world, the one we exist in and a spirit world.  The Sithican folket believe moonlight to be the source of all magic.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2018, 03:30:23 PM by Silas Rotleaf »

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Re: Valachani Fables:
« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2018, 11:33:15 AM »
Part 14: The Outside World:
The first thing that will hit you when you step outside our misty jungle home my brethren is how those who are not Valachani are not anywhere near as community focused as we are.

Helping your neighbor in several of these other nations is the exception rather than the norm.  There are some outsiders who will even react in a hostile manner when you try to offer them gifts or assistance.  This behavior can be very puzzling in the beginning when you encounter it.  You did not do anything wrong... It is simply that their culture is not the same as our own.

Also it is worth noting that though relationships and social bonding are still regarded as important in many of these other places people do not take it as seriously as we do.

It is not that these palefaces are all wicked and dishonest when I say that they do not mean what they say and promises which they make hold little lasting value typically. Rather, at the time - in the moment the paleface may fully well mean what he or she vows and swears by behind their shared mug of firewater, smokes and campfire camaraderie but when push comes to shove and things are not so easy going... When times are harder, they often lack our fortitude and maturity. A child from the spoiled urban sedentary upbringing of those larger cities does not always have the survival skills which we as a people do. They are ill-equipped so we help them.
To expect outside cultures to understand our values or be able to share them is folly. The paleface has his own agenda. To he or she relationships are most often of convenience and temporary at best.

We understand unity, working together and cohesion better than they could hope to. It is how we have for generations survived in the harsh and unforgiving, wild and very much savage external environment which we have, even thriving in it!

I know the idea of social climbing is very strange and alien from where we are coming from but not every other country always has a society with rigidly defined castes.  It can be frustrating.
You will feel betrayed and ridiculed many times over simply for not playing by the same house rules as the paleface in his political games. We do understand politics but the system we Valachani work with is not so much like those that the peoples in Dementlieu or Barovia deal with and live in.

When you are with the paleface in his world, things are fleeting. They live in a messy nest of wriggling serpents and uncertainties. To attempt to sustain yourself on a diet of maybes and perhapses is incredibly risky behavior and yet they do it.  There is no safety net in the cracks for city people to fall back on except for that which is provided by woefully underprepared charities and their churches. I know it sounds incredibly strange and backward but trust me, this is their way of life.  The palefaces think they can learn from their books and their schools without having to get their hands dirty and that secondhand experience can adequately substitute for what is learned and gained firsthand.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2018, 12:17:17 PM by Silas Rotleaf »

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Re: Valachani Fables:
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2018, 04:32:32 PM »
Part 15: Different Worlds:
"The outlanders my congregation," the Moarnekone began "these people brought to this world by the mist portals... Are not cut of the same cloth as us."
Oh, so it was one of these sermons.

"Be careful letting them into your heart. Their existence in our world is an unnatural one and it upsets the balance." His expression was grim as he continued. "The kindest thing we can do for them is to try and assist them in their nigh suicidal obsession to return back to wherest they claim to have came."
He drummed his long fingers on the top surface of the lectern.

"You will try to form bonds and they will resist. This is natural on their part; a new life on top of the old one they left derails the quest, the obsession. It is substituting one set of behaviors and motivations for another. Why then would one want to adapt to survive? Some would rather die and it is my belief that this hurts everyone for it does far more harm than good."
There is an expression of concern on the Yutow priest's face.
"My people, these outsiders from beyond do not grasp the full difficulty of obtaining that which their heart wants. They do not accept our reality despite overwhelming evidence that it is physically real enough to cause them lasting grave harm. They are thusly a danger to themselves and others. I understand, you are compassionate. You wish to help."

His brow furrows.
"They may kick you and spit on you and curse your name. This is not through fault of your own kind ones, charitable ones, helpful hunters. For they are misguided."

The Moarnekone's piercings and yellow eyes glint from the hearthlight in the Yutow church as he adds his concluding remarks to the service.
"You have to try not to resent these people for it. They are confused, hurting and scared. Half the time they don't even realize what it is which they are doing wrong.  I am to understand that this world is differing from many of their places of origin in several very fundamental ways."
He gives his congregation a sad and wistful yet knowing look as though thinking to back to something from his days of traveling when he was a young man.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2018, 09:54:44 AM by Silas Rotleaf »

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Re: Valachani Fables:
« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2018, 11:24:18 AM »
Part 16: Another Anecdote:

"Do not despair my children" the moarnekone led in with to the sermon he was giving his congregation.

"You, young braves who seek to cut their teeth, earn a name and fortune by traveling abroad, as I myself also did so many decades ago.... please heed my advice."
His expression was earnest.
"Other countries in the core, as well as people misted from other places... they have lives and expectations wildly different from our own.  Our values will seem alien even at times threatening to them.  Try your best not to let the cageyness, hostility and greed of the few rotten apples color your perceptions of an entire people.  We Valachani are more compassionate and giving to strangers than our colder neighbors.  This does not mean that outsiders are all unfriendly.  My wife herself is one."
At this the priest smiled.

"There are some" he continued "who will take advantage of your giving nature and mistake it for a naivette. Then there are still others" the preacher said with a wink to his middle aged spouse in one of the pews "who do appreciate us."

He knitted his pierced brows.
Both the moarnekone and his wife appeared to be approaching graceful middle age on close examination though from a distance each looked to be aging well and have overall quite youthful features.  These signs were quite subtle, being for instance a shock of gray to the temples here, a wrinkle there but as markers of both past joy and of hardship equally worn with pride.
"Sometimes the most hurtful thing these foreigners will throw at you is "Go back to your own country."  Know that unless you have been exiled that this is not truly an insult.  The Baron's verdant, thickly wooded and vibrant, fertile nation is home to all us Valachani always and forever."

"You do not have to prove anything really to these outsiders though they will initially very likely present things in such a way, that you should always be jumping higher and trying harder to please their fickle, mercurial, manipulative and ungrateful dumb-asses." Mirthfully the priest raised his pierced eyebrows in dramatic emphasis and then frowned again. "So long as you are virtuous and law abiding though, this is all that should truly matter.  You are proving yourself not to them, but to our God and to the rest of our people.  For many in these other countries they may never have seen a Valachani before.  They will likely not have heard of our religion either.  You are then by default an emissary, presenting yourself in your conduct as what a Valachani is. It may sound contradictory but the idea behind it is do not become too preoccupied with trying to conform to impossible standards. This is the point I make here in saying such."

The frown was at this point replaced by a more taciturn expression.
"Yutow Bless.  Mighty is the Peacebringer and His friend and servant messenger Brother Panther who watch over us."

Lesson: Do not feel bad for being who and what you are.
Themes of sermon: Identity and solidarity.
Identity of future old Cristan's wife?: Wouldn't you like to know [*Teasingly*].

Dread possibility: On the other hand, she could have just been a recurring very life-like hallucination. You have to know people to build relationships and when everybody around you fights against it because they want you shunned, exiled, dead and completely forgotten for many years it does strange bad things to a person's mind.  What if the *entire* congregation is a figment of the elder Cristan's mind having finally snapped at some point from one betrayal, one extra dissapointment and one added heartbreak too many from over the years?  What if the Valachan the Moarnekone "remembers" never was? What if he is unwittingly a "mistborne"???  It could be that this priest never truly existed at all and was born a type of "living ghost."  Mists do that sometimes; They can fabricate a semblance of life for their own inscrutable reasons following along part of a wicked and unfathomable plan which features shapes that are of a non-euclidean geometry most terrible.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2018, 09:56:51 PM by Silas Rotleaf »

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Re: Valachani Fables:
« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2019, 02:57:31 PM »
Part 17: Cat-Eyes:
Once every hundred births is a Valachani born with disturbingly bile yellow eyes[1], they say.
These individuals are spiritually gifted with immense talents but at the cost of personality problems such as predisposition towards narcissism and cruelty. They are said to be more catlike than human and are not to be confused with werecats... although some may also possess that particular odd strain of lycanthropy; it is not in any way to be regarded as a *reliable* indicator, however.

The fate line of a cat eyes is tangled and a common motif for many is misery from failings in their personal relationships.
Call it primitive superstition if you like but both a cat eyes and his or her lover(s) are thought of as jinxes and often come to nasty ends, even perhaps through not any fault of their own.
This is not to say shunning of such people is an advisable course of action either.  Many cat eyes are very charismatic and given towards a preternatural wisdom.

They are often put into the priestly caste.

Baron Kharkov is also a cat eyes but he is more of a warrior. Yet he also possesses frightening powers. As you might expect.
People in Ungrad love him though others fear him.
His demands are simple.
One wife a year... and taxes paid on time.
The bridal lottery is an unfortunate custom but is not going away any time soon.
No one is totally sure as to why his wives also come to unfitting ends necessitating a yearly remarriage.
Some fall off dangerously decrepit castle stairs. Some succumb to jungle fevers. A few are driven mad and run away. A scant few have met their end at the Baron’s hands directly.

The baron’s spies and helpful eyes come in many forms throughout our jungle land. He is alleged to be able to communicate with spirits and animals, especially cats with whom he shares a marked affinity towards.

Other powers of a cat eyes are a much longer than average lifespan. That’s kind of their main thing. They both live longer and physically age slower than more typical humans found elsewhere in the core.
 1. In practice the frequency of cat eyes born is 1 to 2 for every 98 normal gray or brown eyed babies each generation.  Certain things up the chances though such as among other causative factors one parent being of elven or half elven heritage, the phases of the moon during conception and birth, and the like so it would seem magic is to have some nebulous role in all this. Reference: court birthing records according to the dulas and midwives.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2019, 03:57:00 PM by Silas Rotleaf »

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Re: Valachani Fables:
« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2019, 03:27:52 PM »
Part 18: Deadly Desire

The moarnekone addressed his congregation in the Ungrad Church of Yutow.
”Brothers, sisters, my children, my children’s children, we are all of some worth and value. Our lives are not meaningless; That is to say they are meaningless aside from what meaning is put into them and what you give your time and effort in the service of.”

This resonated and was designed to resonate on a personal level with the Valachani parishioners as well as the few visiting foreigners who had stopped by the church and decided to attend the service that there might be some cultural learning perhaps... although more likely and knowing how foreigners are, to privately decry the backwoods savages and afterwards reaffirm their own inherent ethnocentrism. The idea that your ways are of course by necessity and de facto better than anyone else’s is a disease across the collective mind which unfortunately is not bound by nation boundaries.

”As a young man, I had many questions and yearnings. I traveled the core seeking the answers to them when many of the answers were right here in our home, all along.”
He then continued.
”I was an orphan, taken in and raised by the church elders.  I knew not what friends and family were and this pained me. So I sought to make friends and find a wife and was cruelly mocked for it by those who had such things and took them for granted. We moarnekone are deeply tied to our communities.” Here he chuckled. ”I have often said, the idea that the clergy are so separate from the rest of you is a harmful one, we are by function and office designed to help you. We are a tool and resource of and for the community.  Our beneficent and magnanimous ruler has us instated as such. We are not so very detached from your lives.”
The priest cleared his throat, shaking his head which rattled the headdress he had on.
”You call us “married to the moon” because the time we devote to unraveling the mysteries of beyond and in speaking to spirits and beasts is not time productively spent at more physical pursuits.  It is a humorous and longstanding cultural tradition and it helps to keep us of the clergy from perhaps getting too uppity. We are here to serve you, to serve our lord and to help the community, yes.”

The priest from this point went on a little further, wrapping up his sermon with the usual religious dogmatic allegories about the god of his ancestors which the church is based around having died for people’s sins, how you should be grateful to be alive and how you should help each other.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2019, 10:37:11 AM by Silas Rotleaf »

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Re: Valachani Fables:
« Reply #18 on: January 06, 2019, 10:41:43 AM »
Part 19: Juxtaposition:

”When I was 35 and still but an acolyte, the accursed mists ripped me out from our home and threw me into the other countries of the core.  I was surrounded by many foreigners with many different standards and values and only on extremely rare occasions would I through luck or happenstance come across one of our people.  I looked at it as a challenge designed by Yutow to test my faith and personal mettle.”
As with most cat-eyes, it was difficult to tell the exact physical age of the man speaking. As is known they tend to both live freakishly longer and age slower than humans elsewhere in the core and retain a higher degree of their youthful vitality (This yellow-eyed marker of being spirit-touched was a mixed blessing but enjoying a prolonged middle age with decent health is one distinct advantage it carries) as compared to other Valachani.

”This was a very challenging time but I bore the adversity that came with this situation the best I could.  Needless to say, we should be very grateful to the social support we provide one another and the network of services provided by our Baron and his Black Leopard militia.  We all know the stories of the footsoldier who is so corrupt or turns out to be a werepanther which ends up lynched by villagers sick of his or her abuses but... know that for every few of these there are also men and women who take up the black studded leather, Baron’s Arm whip-maces and machetes to protect our settlements, guard our borders from hostile invasion attempts and who maintain the roads.”
He apologized for digressing about the black leopards and unswerving loyalty to the barony and redirected the speech back to his anecdote.

”The wider core will test you in ways you cannot possibly imagine. It isn’t our jungle but is in many ways just as dangerous.”

He related things back to the political climate of Valachan and its neighbors during his youth and drew connections between the mistakes of full isolationism in a globalized core and people being too stubborn to ask for help.

”We are a proud people with a unique cultural identity but there is a time and place for pride. If we wish to survive in this world... you have to adapt. You can’t fight to keep everything staying the same: The world around you will continue to be rocked by the roiling waves of change as a mighty river and your feeble dam trying to have a sanity “safety” bubble will collapse, damning all.”

The sermon was wrapping up. You could tell as the priest’s voice swelled and dramatic emphasis rose.

”How can we best continue in uncertain times with ever-changing conditions? Work with the elders, do what you can to serve our officials and the Baron. We love our country and should show people on the outside that its pristine, wild beauty is under our fully capable and expert stewardship. Yutow bless.”

Lesson: Wisdom of the ancients is reinterpreted against contemporary experiences and scenarios to hopefully more adequately train and equip a modern Valachani to deal with a world larger than solely their jungle confines.
This sermon would be one directed to an audience of mainly the upper castes more than the peasant laborers.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2019, 12:31:29 PM by Silas Rotleaf »

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Re: Valachani Fables:
« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2019, 08:58:28 AM »
Part 20: Rituals and Ceremonies:
Ritual magic is a category which covers rites that involve use of material components. For priests that would be bones used in divination, powders and mind-altering herbs used for attunement, the diamonds used to help anchor and rebind a lost soul to its wayward body and the rune enshrined twig used for casting sticks to snakes.

Ceremonies are the various functions and spiritual services which the clergy member provides. These may or may not involve ritual magic but are always of cultural importance.

Summoning, binding, communing with spirits

Exorcism and curse breaking, purification, baptisms

Naming, birthing, weddings, funerals:
Culturally important ceremonies commemorating identity, rites of the passage of age and achievement of significant life milestones ... as well as end of a specific life iteration (see reincarnation wheel/cycle).

The ceremony of celebrating bonds, relationship and community wherein you give gifts to each other and have shared feasts.

Combating monsters especially lycanthropes, artificial people (golems and homunculi), the undead and fiends:
Wherein you use natural divine magic and all your skills as a priest or priestess to fight against the unnatural forces which harm our environment and are a hazard to us.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2019, 11:08:33 AM by Silas Rotleaf »

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Re: Valachani Fables:
« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2019, 11:24:21 AM »
Part 21: A Natural Lifestyle:

We are not cut off from one another. A community should properly be a living and breathing, cogent and vibrant thing.

“Modern” extreme isolationism is sick. You do not exist in a vacuum. Neighbors effect one another.

A village’s villagers should ultimately support one another in their efforts. This is right and natural. Your blacksmiths, bookbinders, bakers, potters, stonemasons, carpenters, midwives, fishermen, farmers, hunters and weavers are as organs and when working cohesively the creature which is the village is in good health.

When the parts of a creature are not in unison, when they are at cross purposes, the beast sickens and dies.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2019, 11:09:16 PM by Silas Rotleaf »

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Re: Valachani Fables:
« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2019, 11:12:41 PM »
Part 22: Yutow’s Compassion:
Ours is a caring God. He gave of himself willingly that our ancestors might live. He gave His life that the two warring peoples be merged into one race. In doing so He preserved the balance and saved our forestland which He loves so much but it was still an unnatural thing so He punished himself. Even a God is not above the rules of fate, you see.

We should be thankful for His sacrifice and grateful for the many gifts He provides us.

This was back in 320. Valachan became a part of the core in 625.  It is now 774.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2019, 07:42:14 AM by Silas Rotleaf »

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Re: Valachani Fables:
« Reply #22 on: January 29, 2019, 09:29:06 AM »
Part 23: Fraught With Danger:

From Elder Moarnekone Keldan’s personal writings:
Valachan is host to many predators both animal, man-eating plant and even other still stranger things.

The seen physical world and partially unseen spirit world are in fact interconnected in nebulous and translucent ways.

OOC: You might not ever get to see or play it in the module, but it’s called theater-of-the-mind. Try having some imagination if you can.

Okay, so first... not everything which exists can harm you and not everything which does not, cannot.

Think on this and reflect on it.
There are also several things, a number of spectral and fey entities which are somewhere in a state of being in between.
Those can be among the most dangerous.

However, what lurks beneath beating in the heart of man is what is truly dangerous. Our fellow neighbor. The treacherous thing thumping there within your own breast.

I never had a chance to meet Van Richten, nor meet any of his students that I know of, have not read any of his books or anything substantial in the art of monster hunting.  Once as an acolyte I met a man who gave me a few tips about vampires. He later said I was not his friend. Indeed, we were not even acquaintances but it still made an impression on me. I thanked him for the useful information anyway.

I made something of a career fighting ghosts and breaking curses.  I’ve tangled with a werecreature or two as well, in my day.
There are certain vampires with powers much beyond our mortal keen too but that is not a cause for unthinking fear. Loss of control over your limbs and wits is, somewhat.

The strictest mental discipline is a work in progress but the first step is firmly knowing who you are.

When you can yawn in the face of a mummy or the venom slavvering jaws of a pit fiend, then that is a distinct mark of progress forward.

Without friends or any loved ones life is pointless.

That struggle to find progress and want to have a cause to support and believe in is something many of us go through.
It will not be handed to you and even when earned or gifted some callous brute will still often take it away from you on their own whim if for no other reason than a flawed perception or something very impersonal and most petty.

I do not need lecture my congregation on the value of one human or demihuman life, but I did.

I have buried too many dead friends over the years.
Still others their bodies were never recovered but I made impromptu memorials for them even if only in my mind.  There’s other times where people around you simply disappear and you have no way of knowing what has become of them.
Life is fleeting, you know.

You will get mocked and openly attacked for being the slightest bit different. It is not always fair and just, no.  Even a perceived mental difference, a difference in attitude or ability does not matter. It doesn’t need to be a physical abnormality.  There is a beast inside all of us.

Some fight against it, some are in touch with it but all have at certain times felt its call.

I must swallow down my own grief over constant loss and alienation.

Finding something and people to care about *IS* challenging.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2019, 04:05:41 PM by Silas Rotleaf »