1879: Saurids: The Mountain Mothers

Forthwith, an excerpt from the Saurids sourcebook, currently in development, in which Monsignor Sherrard begins his cataloging of the matriarchal tribes of the northern mountain range.

Mountain Mothers

Noteworthy Tribes: Flintborn, Dawn Children, Falling Waters

Technology Level: Deliberately low. Some wind power, mostly for agricultural purposes such as irrigation and grain processing. More extensive use of water power than the Plains or Forest tribes, especially for textile processing. Very limited metal use. Restrictions apply on use of wood as fuel.

Magic Use: Deliberately restricted. Battle magic tends to be primarily defensive. Healing magic is used more readily than the Plains tribes, but not as readily as the Forest tribes. Much of their magic use is theurgical rather than thaumaturgical, used for religious purposes rather than for the secular.

Size: Mountain tribes appear to gather in towns of between two and four thousand. While there are smaller settlements, none larger than approximately four thousand are permitted, with planned emigrations and founding of new settlements handling surplus population. Given the slow population growth of the Saurid race, this is not a frequent occurrence.

Aggressiveness: Low. The Mountain tribes can be horrifyingly fierce when attacked, but will not customarily instigate violence. Conflicts are normally decided by mediation, with consultation of the legal code and the ancestral spirits when simple reason does not suffice.

Distinct for two reasons, the Mountain Mothers tribes reside along streams and rivers in the uplands to both the north and south of the central plains, although more prevalently to the north, and are ruled by the women. While some of the tribes could be classed as nomadic, they do not range freely over their territory, but instead migrate from one well-established camp to another, usually seasonally, in the manner of many tribal peoples on our own Earth. For example, the Flintborn move in a rough circle between three camps, each designated for a season (growing, cold, wet), while the Dawn Children migrate from a low-altitude cold-weather site to a high-altitude warm weather site, taking their herds with them to allow their pastures to recover. The Falling Waters tribe does not migrate at all, remaining in their settlements year round. My observations of these tribes should be considered partial at best, as, being a man, I was excluded from a good deal of their governance and ritual practice, although the women seemed to not know quite what to make of a man who was a priest and sworn to non-violence. The men generally had no clue what to make of me either, and treated me like some sort of third gender, obviously not a woman, but not a man since I would not engage in their physical competitions and carried no weapons. I humbly suggest a party of nuns be sent to further evaluate these tribes. Also, my time with the Dawn Children was unfortunately cut short by the local equivalent of a mouse. A bit over a month into my stay, I discovered one morning that a small lizard had gnawed its way into my sack of wheat flour. With the flour thus despoiled, I could no longer bake the unleavened bread required for the Eucharist. While I had three bottles of wine remaining, enough to celebrate a solitary Mass for several weeks, the lack of the Host weighed upon me, and, reluctantly, I took my leave and returned to Fort Alice for fresh supplies.

Once again, I have taken some liberties in the translation of the tribal names. Tribes of the Mountain Mothers culture tend to take their names from geographic reference. The Flintborn would be more accurately rendered as “the people hatched where the fire striking stones are found”, the name being indicative not of a belief in their emerging from the rock but rather the location of their origin. The Dawn Children’s name indicates an eastern location, “the people from where the sun rises”. The Falling Waters tribe maintains their primary settlement by a waterfall, thus, “the people from where the water falls”. This emphasis on territorial location and notable geographic features, instead of martial prowess, is indicative of the priorities of the culture in general. The Patriarchs generally refer to the Matriarch tribes with derogatory terms, the gentlest of which translates as “uppity females”, not even using the term for “women”, but instead a word normally used for female livestock. Tribes of the Egalitarian culture tend to refer to the Matriarch tribes as atis’hyin, the Boot People, because of their habit of wearing heavy footgear during cold weather.

Tally Ho!