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 The Plainsrunners: General Information

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Westering Holt
Holt Mistress


Posts : 131
Join date : 2011-06-15

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PostSubject: The Plainsrunners: General Information   Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:52 pm

The Plainsrunners


History

When the High Ones first landed on the World of Two Moons, they gathered around one elf in particular: Timmain, a shape-shifter who eventually sacrificed her elfin form for a wolf’s in order to keep her people alive. In time, she disappeared completely, leaving behind her son Timmorn Yellow-Eyes to continue leading the tribe of elves. Yet as the long winter continued, the tribe headed south. Soon one group decided to strike out on their own completely, and traveled to the southern grasslands.

While the elves had appreciated the help the wolves brought, they disliked having such wild, independent—and unpredictable—animals as allies. Only Timmorn and his wolf-elf children could control them. They recognized the value of animals to help with labor and food, and so began to observe the behaviors of various herds and packs they passed, to see if any might be useful.

They came upon a group of equines that fit their purposes. The animals were, once encountered, strong-willed but amenable to bonding; they were intelligent and eager to please once the elves made their intentions known. They lived in herds, and could provide milk and meat in times of dire need. The elves hence bonded with several of the equines, which they called horses after an ancestral word for them, and domesticated the rest of the herd.

Such a find resulted in several good changes. They had a ready source of food on the hoof. They were able to travel great distances in shorter time, able to get to shelter and lose their pursuers. They were able to breed for speed and stamina, and had dependable partners in hunting and fighting. And the elves had liberation: they weren’t forced to remain in one place simply because leaving meant greater hardship.

It also resulted in one bad change: it broke up the tribe.

Having one large, continuously growing herd was, as the elves discovered, a problem: overgrazing was a threat, as was overhunting. Also, they had to keep watch on the horses or risk having their herd thinned drastically by predators, including humans. So they split up the tribe, and formed bands. Each band named itself after its leader, and swore to meet once each (three? five?) summer to re-connect, trade, and share tidings. These meetings became known as the Mustering, for if a band failed to appear, it was taken as a sign that its members were dead.

The bands, who called themselves Plainsrunners, settled on the western plains where grass and game were both plentiful. However, humans have encroached on the eastern end of the plains, and the Plainsrunners have drawn farther back from their presence. Still, some raiding groups will venture eastward, all to raid for a few horses or steal food, an action cautioned against by some band elders, or encouraged by others.


Society & Government

Because of their nomadic way of life, the Plainsrunners depend upon their elders, experienced elves who know what dangers and resources await, for leadership. The elders choose a leader, but the leader relies heavily on the elders’ counsel. Elders are chosen for their wisdom, common sense, ability to handle crises, and desire to lead. Any leader they choose will share those qualities; any challenger will have to better the chosen leader, or have his or her challenge shot down.

There are eight bands of Plainsrunners, each band about thirty to fifty strong. The bond between Plainsrunner and horse is not the same as that between Wolfrider and wolf; while a Plainsrunner would never harm his or her mount, there are unbonded horses that are often used as food in hard times. There are usually at least 20 or more unbonded horses in the herd than there are elves.

They make their clothes out of plant-fiber, most notably wild flax, and leather from deerskins and other large animals. Their ornamentation is usually made of feathers, leather, bone, rough semi-precious stones, and rawhide; they avoid trolls unless they have something to trade, so they have few metal weapons or ornaments.

Every band has its Talekeeper and Fireholder. The Talekeeper is the keeper of the band’s history from its inception. The Fireholder always keeps a bag of coals with which to start the band’s next fire. As each band is nomadic, having a live firestarter is of paramount importance; the Fireholder is responsible for making sure the embers don’t go out, which are carried in a small clay crock wrapped in hide.

One custom that arose from the Musterings was the fostering of children between bands. Children over the age of eight were placed with different families, in accordance with agreements made at the Mustering by band-chiefs. The children learned their new band’s customs, were raised by their foster-parents as their own, and often chose to stay permanently thanks to a mating tie.

Celebrations are often loud, being held only where it is safe or easily protected. Dancing and music are a large part of any Mustering, with drums, flutes, and harps a part of them. Songs for every occasion are made, and many are sung among the bands when traveling or in winter camp. A beautiful voice is considered as desirable a trait as an excellent ability to train horses, or giving wise counsel.


Physiology

Plainsrunners tend to be between five and six feet in height. They are lean, almost wiry, from their active, nomadic life; their complexions tend to be tanned from spending most of their time outdoors, in all weather.


Family Life & Joining

Plainsrunners mate for life, and tend to mate early due to the dangerous lives they lead. But joining is considered one of the main joys in life, important for the survival of the tribe, for sharing, and for the pure celebration of life. Lifemating alliances are a little looser than in other tribes; three-matings are more common among Plainsrunners than other elfin tribes.

The family unit among Plainsrunners consists of mates and children, blood or foster. Each band is made up of anywhere from 15 to 18 family units. Children usually help to watch the herd, gather plants for food and clothing, and do a little hunting on their own.


Homes

Plainsrunners travel light. They shelter under tents in good weather, which they make out of leather and raise on a light frame of poles. In the winter, they seek out caves in the hills. Each band usually has a particular cave they retire to when the seasons turn, and will go there unless humans are more plentiful in the area.

The caves are divided into individual dwellings by leather hangings and screens. In winter, the Plainsrunners lead the horses into the caves, bringing them out to forage for grass and water in clear weather, or watering and feeding them inside during storms and snowfalls. Fireholders are of greatest importance in the winter, for their skills keep the tribe and the horses warm.


Diet

Plainsrunners are hunter-gatherers. They hunt with knives, bows, lassos, bolas, spears and nets; they go after game on foot or on the hoof. For meat, they rely on deer, fowl, rodents, and fish caught from lakes and streams. A wide variety of plants, roots, nuts and fruit bolsters their diet. Mare’s milk, herbs, and wild honey round it off.

Plainsrunners also make a potent drink from fermented honey and herbs called sweethingyer, which they bring out for mating and successful hunt/raiding celebrations, the birth of children, and Musterings.

Although Plainsrunners will dry meat and fish to put back for lean times, it would never occur to them to eat flesh raw. They find it repulsive, something to be done only when building a fire would be too great a risk.


Names

Plainsrunners are pure-blooded elves. They send amongst themselves for safety, secrecy, truth, and intimacy. They are born knowing their names, and have no soulnames.


Bonding with Horses

While Plainsrunners do not bond to horses as Wolfriders do to wolves, they still bond. They communicate through physical signals, clicks, whistles, trills and whinnies; it is said that a Plainsrunner can get his or her horse to come to them from miles away with one unique whistle. A Plainsrunner child is introduced to his or her first horse at the age of three, when the horse is just foaled; child and foal are then brought up together, with the child learning how to communicate with and care for its future mount. A Plainsrunner would not think of riding another’s horse without express permission; all horses traded are the unbonded animals.

Most male horses are gelded by healers, except for those with the best breeding potential. The gelding is reversible, however, and is primarily a means of keeping peace in a herd of horses that have more than one mature male.
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