The Enclave > Folk

The Enclave > Folk > Ammanders

Common Folk, Merchants and Sages

The Ammander folk have done well for themselves. The descendants of those poor commoners and errant sages who left the Ammand far behind, sailing away in Magi tradeships, have found prosperity in the Enclave. Fair Ammanders and the dusky children of romance with Vanished Isles seafarers fill the villages and towns of this land.

Ammander merchants greet city guards as brothers at the end of a long journey. White-haired Ammander sages ply their trade, always with a hint of hidden wizardry, in libraries and the Black Tower of Three Stones. Fisher folk with Ammander eyes and darker complexions shout and tussel in the dockside market of Port. Ammander traders climb the great Enclave mountains in high summer to barter with the stonefolk.

In more distant villages, fair-haired men and women gird themselves to fend off Neth when the leaves begin to fall, taking up spears forged whole in the traditional Ammand way.

[ Posted by Reason on December 30, 2004 | Permanent Link ]

Notions of Worth

The Ammander people brought their notions of worth and law to the Enclave; magisters, Lords, nobles and councils (upstart or otherwise) rule the towns and villages. In the Ammand of old, the people were led by far grander kings and high sages skilled in wizardry. Those times are long gone, but life is much the same for common folk - allegience is owed, taxes are grudgingly paid, laws are made and obeyed.

Most Datarii find this all somewhere between amusing, contemptible and unworthy of notice. Like the Ammanene, they stand apart from the society of common and less common folk - although their reasons could not be more different. The descendants of the Magi, deprived of a heritage of their own through strange and powerful wizardry, long ago adopted Ammander ways.

So it was that the Enclave came to look much as it is today, a land bordered by the Farthest and home to strange folk, yet not so unlike the Middle Reach of the Ammand.

[ Posted by Reason on December 30, 2004 | Permanent Link ]

Strong Spear, Iron Blade, Sea Ax and Sharp Knife

Old man of the fields, set down the strong spear; seasons of pride and blood have passed to younger kin.

Young man of the village, seek not the iron blade; naught but noble coin buys the dreams of smiths.

Old woman of the docks, sharpen the sea ax; your sons and daughters stand waiting to sail.

Young woman of the city, hide the sharp knife; only thieves and outcasts take pride in short iron.

Lord and Lady of the manse, honor your solomn oaths; strong spear, iron blade, sea ax and sharp knife await.

[ Posted by Reason on March 1, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

Horses and Ammander Tradition

Horses are rare in the Enclave, owned only by nobles and spearmen. The long-lived and elegant breed brought from Ammand lands in Magi tradeships so long ago is raised, bred and trained only at the King's Keep. Ammander warrior tradition disdains mounted fighting as the province of thieves and bandits, just as it disdains the bow as a tool of hunters. Horses from the King's Keep enable companies of spearmen to patrol the Known Roads and hunt Neth in the snows of deep winter, just as they bring greater comfort and mobility to nobles and trusted retainers.

Ammander farmers and merchants never made any great use of the horse even long ago, before the Expansion of the Greater Power and the Vanishing. The grey, stubborn Ammand mule - easy to keep, easy to breed, strong as a man and just as opinionated - serves these folk well enough. When commoners travel, they walk.

[ Posted by Reason on April 29, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

The Enclave > Folk > Ammanene

Children of the Ammane

The Ammanene are the children and descendants of mortal Ammanders and the Ammane, Powers that grew with and watched over the old forests of the Ammand. The last of the Ammane died with their forests during the Expansion of the Greater Power, but the Ammanene survived, their heritage scattered and cities destroyed. As the wizardry of the Ammand faded the Ammanene waned still further; the last of these noble folk crossed the Unending Sea to the Vanished Isles and further, stranger destinations - such as the Enclave.

Even the least of the Ammanene are gifted, or cursed as some say, with great empathy and understanding. A little of the power of the Ammane flows in their veins, even now with the passage of time and generations. The greatest of the Shining Ammanene of old glowed with beauty, able to halt an army with a gesture and move the most hardened of men to tears with a smile and a single word.

[ Posted by Reason on December 26, 2004 | Permanent Link ]

The Unbearable Weight of Memory

To be mortal is not so much to age and die as it is to forget, to consign great swathes of our lives to nothingness. To forget is the very basis of change and the vigor with which we grasp at each new dawn. Yet who was it who lived your childhood if you yourself recall so little? You would know as much of the early years of your closest friends, told to you in confidence. Who would you be if the child you once were never faded with the passage of seasons? If the young man and all his dreams still walked with you in later life? Who would you be if you could not put aside sorrow, delight, horror, mourning and the death of love?

The ageless Ammanene remember all. Every word, every tragedy, every death, every moment of heartbreak and sorrow. The ageless folk are courteous, thoughtful, kind - respect for mortals leads the Ammanene to play the role desired of them. Yet the generations weigh upon the children of the Ammane. Sadness seeps from their eyes, from the gentle smiles they bestow on petitioners at the Watch of Trees. The wisdom of the Ammanene is the wisdom of a spearman, rent and torn, denied the release of death, yet placed as host at an endless gathering of nobles and manners.

Why then surprise at the retreat of the Ammanene? Why then surprise when whispered words or a simple smile can bring mortals to their knees? Every gesture, each ageless thought, has welled up through greater anguish, joy, suffering and experience than was ever had by mortal Ammander.

[ Posted by Reason on March 15, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

Children of the Magi
The Enclave > Folk > Children of the Magi

The Lure of Sea and Wizardry

The descendants of seafaring Magi, dark of skin and hair, are a common sight in Port and the shore villages of the Enclave. Seafaring traditions are strong in these communities - skills, songs and lesser wizardries have been handed down across the generations by the Lost.

These Lost folk, the Vanished Islanders, are not so different from the Ammanders. Port of the present day is as much a product of the hard work of the Magi and their children as of Ammander values. Islander seafarers work alongside fairhaired fisherfolk, and a gemcutter, priest of the Powers or councillor is as likely as not to possess a dark complexion.

Those of Magi blood have a gift for the old, overt wizardries, but much has been lost to the passage of time. The Datarii know more of these matters than those who live under open skies, but the important secrets of the Unending Sea - the old ways of navigation, the great and legendary wizardries - lie buried with the true Magi. The largest vessels are left to rot as hulks, and Islander traders must satisfy themselves by chasing winds along the coastal routes.

[ Posted by Reason on January 6, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

The Enclave > Folk > Datarii


Strong as stone, gray as stone, stubborn as stone, Datarii have dwelt beneath the mountains of the Enclave for as long as those mountains have existed. The oldest of Datarii legends credit the Draugh with bringing into being such unnecessary things as open sky and falling waters. Before that time, all of creation was peaceful stone and ore, waiting for the Datarii to shape it. In their economic, ancient language, "Datarii" means "those who shape rock" or simply "the stonefolk," the act of shaping implied by simple association.

Thoughtful, considered, determined individualists for the most part, Datarii craft homes, halls and unending series of Unfinished Works from the living mountain rock. The stonefolk have little use for leaders or intricate laws, and seem - in stark contrast to the other folk of the Enclave - to live peacefully and well without either.

The Datarii distaste for water is well known. Only the most pragmatic or willful Datar ventures forth from the uppermost halls into the world of seasons, summer rain, mud, rivers, frost and snow-laden wind. The face and motivations of the stonefolk turned to the wider Enclave are those of the trader, the outcast, the unusual and the motivated. This subtlety is not widely understood by Ammanders and the descendants of Lost Magi living under the open Enclave sky.

[ Posted by Reason on December 22, 2004 | Permanent Link ]

Lost Amidst Unfinished Works

The Expected Smile - that most unusual of characters, an anonymous yet prolific sage - lived and wrote before the Vanishing, when Ammander folk still arrived in Port aboard Magi tradeships and Three Stones was but a village about the base of the Black Tower. The works of this hidden figure, a contemporary of The Denier, were fashionably popular for generations; widely copied, imitated, expanded and deconstructed. The Expected Smile has fallen out of favor in the present community of sages, but cultured folk are expected to show some knowledge of the more important works.

On the subject of the Datarii, The Expected Smile wrote that "the strangers who come from under the mountains in dry summers are born and age in the manner of mortals, yet do not die in the manner of mortals. When they return to their vaults and halls beneath the peaks they call 'Great Home,' these strangers create wonders. This is their purpose, uncaringly hidden and uncaringly noble, to endlessly draw beauty and mystery from rock. The greatest stonemason in all the Ammand would throw down his tools in despair if he could but see the least of what the strangers call 'Unfinished Works.'"

A mortal could travel a lifetime in the Crafts beneath Great Home - assuming they did not quickly become lost in the Farthest Halls - yet see but a fraction of generations of Unfinished Works. As a Datar ages, the body remains strong but the mind is whelmed by the weight of memory and purpose. Old stonefolk stray into forgetfulness, strange manners and deep thought, finally becoming uncommunicative and single-minded in their creations - lost amidst Unfinished Works both real and imagined.

The oldest Datarii vanish into the Farthest, perhaps by accident, perhaps by design. Deep in the Farthest Craft is the Power known as the Crafter, a being of visions and purposes, lost in his own self, a shaper of shapers, the origin of all things. In Datarii legend, all Lost stonefolk ultimately return to the Crafter, there to find their destiny in the Farthest realms of creation.

[ Posted by Reason on January 23, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

The Long Path to Ura Retii

Many great sculptings ago, when the Deep Hall of Draugh in the very center of Great Home was barely a sixth filled with the finest Unfinished Works, the Traveler first walked the path to Ura Retii. The Power of Farthest Vaults walked the difficult ways, the hidden ways to the Mountain of Distance Places. This he did for he knew that we would one day travel this path. To remind us of the path yet used, the Traveler took the smallest part of the mura beneath the Retii and made a gift of it to Ane, she who was Lost but then Returned.

Ane came to her craft once more from the Farthest Vaults when the Deep Hall of Draugh in the very center of Great Home was barely a fifth filled with the finest Unfinished Works. With the Traveler's mura and rare white stone Ane shaped the Map That Is The Way, a craft that spoke only to those on the very edge of the Farthest, those who have seen the Beautiful Stranger or who prepare their journey to the Crafter at the center of all Creation.

Mura yet lay deep in the heart of Ura Retii when Magi brought their gifts to our folk, when the Deep Hall of Draugh in the very center of Great Home was barely a quarter filled with the finest Unfinished Works. Mura shone in the Map That Is The Way, and we few walked the long path of the Traveler to shape the Retii vaults and crafts, deep and high, far from our folk. We spoke of the Mountain of Distant Places and Magi brought gifts to our deepest crafts to trade for mura, but the mura of the Retii is not ours to trade. It is mura of Powers, mura of ancient times when the Deep Hall of Draugh stood empty, mura that calls and speaks to each Datar who shapes Unfinished Works in the Farthest Crafts.

The Deep Hall of Draugh in the very center of Great Home is barely a third filled with the finest Unfinished Works, and we have made our home and craft of Ura Retii now, far from our folk.

[ Posted by Reason on August 8, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

Voice of Stone

All Creation has a voice, if you know the way of listening. Rock and earth tell tales of their past and the future they imagine, for they are as we are. But the Black Stone of the Draugh is old and has passed beyond tales; just as we who journey to the Farthest Crafts, it has become silent in itself. By silence we know the Black Stone, and in respect for the Draugh who were, we do not shape it.

[ Posted by Reason on August 11, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

The Enclave > Folk > Neth

We Who Are Eaters, They Who Are Eaten

The uncounted breeds of Neth - a Datarii name that has spread into common usage, an old, old word from the Draugh with associations of destruction or ruined craftwork - appear grotesque to mortal folk of the Enclave. Neth are a varying mix of hateful, violent, pitiful, cruel, loathsome and cunning, as if the worst of all mortals and beasts were mixed together and poorly cooked. Neth of all varieties spawn true with each other; only short lives, brutality and perpetual infighting keep them from consuming the Known Roads of the Enclave.

Neth call themselves Totchak Ur - We Who Are Eaters. Other Enclave folk and lesser Neth are the Totchun Ur - They Who Are Eaten. Neth are sickening in their omnivorousness, but the Eater-Eaten view of the world appears to be as symbolic and ritualistic as it is literal. Neth society, for all its ugly violence, is more sophisticated than it might at first appear.

[ Posted by Reason on December 25, 2004 | Permanent Link ]

Ur Maka

Ur Maka, Great Eaters or Eaters of Great Things as the sages understand the crude Neth language, are the largest and most brutish of the Neth. Twice as tall as an Ammander, and just as broad, an Ur Maka resembles nothing quite so much as a giant, twisted Datar, both repulsive and terrifying.

Ur Maka are enormously strong, quite capable of tearing lesser Neth limb from limb. For the Ur Maka, all other smaller beings are Totchun Ur and little else. The Great Eaters, bile-dripping and horrific, are just as vindictive and hateful as any Neth. They are not clever, however, nor gifted with foresight, a fact that has saved the life of more than one spearman from the King's Keep on the Forest Road in the depths of winter.

[ Posted by Reason on December 25, 2004 | Permanent Link ]

The Older Spearman

What are they like? Who's been telling you that I'm one to ask? Don't know that I can put that in words for your ears anyway; you'd want a whitebeard and his books for a pretty telling.

Hungry they are, but not like you or I for wholesome food - something different. You see the rats after a bad winter, draggled, sick. They're like that, but hungry to see worse. And the way they look at you! As if they can see the bile in your mouth, know you can't stand sight or sound of them. It makes them hungry that way.

There's ugly, all kinds of ugly people. There's cruel like the young women or Three Stones magisters. But Neth, no, they put everything else in its place, and they come just as sure as the rotten fruit in the grass. They'll stick in you, they will.

[ Posted by Reason on December 30, 2004 | Permanent Link ]

Erem's Fingers

You're no better than the last spears - your armor's no prettier, neither. Blood! Erem should be dead, sick and past the end of his road since we came down from Krineth's Hills. But no, he won't die afore he's told a hundred and their friends, and coin for each telling. Mark my words, I'd take a blade to myself afore I let Neth blood chill me to a slow death. Did he show you his fingers, what's left of them? His hands might as well be buried; they were rotting meat fresh from an old midden even this past summer. The four of us left who could walk, and Erem dragged on a litter, come down to the Trade Road from the tombs. He brought the stench of Neth with him, blood and bile, and sick we all were. Sick, but not dead like the five good spears left to rot on bare rock under the sun; harder men than you they were, mark me well.

The Unbroken Cask? You know all I could tell if you gave coin to the dying. I'll give you nothing, and take none of your coin! Find the Cask without my help - go and seek as you will. You'll find your reward pinned beneath filth and dying Neth, Neth who yet twitch and hate and chew the flesh from your fingers while you scream.

Leave me to my ale, you and all the others. There's blood and greed on you all, food for Neth Powers, and it sickens me.

[ Posted by Reason on May 27, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

Sage, Spearman, Speaker For Neth

Of the many strange contemporaries attracted by the master explorer Krineth over the course of an eventful life, The Marked was perhaps the strangest. A sage of hidden meaning and esoterica, The Marked is best read once removed, filtered through the understanding of later scribes and Ammander whitebeards. If not for the popularity of Krineth's deeds amongst commonfolk and nobles even to this day, it is likely that the last intricate, spidery parchments inked by The Marked would have moldered away uncopied. As it is, his works and their interpretations have been plundered over the generations by troubadors, sages and educated noble folk in search of the authentic Krineth.

The other heritage left by The Marked, painstakingly picked from abstruse bindings by unnamed scribes and lesser sages such as The Cloud, concerns the cruel Neth. The Marked was unusual amongst mortal folk - if indeed he was of mortal blood, for there are some who called him a Visitor - in his ability to face Neth without disgust or fear. It is clear that Neth fascinated him, even as he was forced to slay them while companions turned aside or fled in revulsion and loathing.

From copies of The Cloud's few remaining works, hidden away in private collections in Port and the Three Stones Library, it is possible to learn that "The Marked expressed novel ideas throughout his inkwork, the present and pertinent of which is that experience, the motes of knowledge captured, is channeled through a single body part in each individual. This narrows in the stream of life lived can be taken as an axis, a central divide in the map of man or beast, supporting and informing all personality and perception. For the sage, this organ is the heart, the seat of thought. For the crafter, it is the hands. For Neth, this axis of balance between the self and Creation is the mouth, the bile-filled maw of uneven, sharp teeth reflected in their crude structures and implements."

What little is known by mortal folk of harsh Neth language came from The Marked, as does the educated sage's poor understanding of Neth rituals, desires and Powers - the urge to suffer and hate; the Maw; the Eaters of All; the strange wooden structures built in deepest winter. Common folk, even those spears who patrol beyond the Odan and on the Forest Road in snow, know little of Neth save they are to be feared, pitied, fought and avoided.

[ Posted by Reason on May 31, 2005 | Permanent Link ]