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Atruaghin Clans (Territories of)
Location: Along southern shore, west of Darokin and the Five Shires. OW
Area: 46,380 sq. mi. (120,124 sq. km.), including 19,172 sq. mi. (49,656 sq. km.) on the plateau itself.
Population: 231,100. On the plateau: Bear Clan: 45,500; Elk Clan: 29,900; Horse Clan: 71,600. In the lowlands: Tiger Clan: 58,700; Turtle Clan: 25,400.
Languages: Atruaghin, although each clan has its own dialect.
Coinage: Coinage is uncommon, as most use barter for goods. The few coins that do exist are called cloud (5 sp) and land (cp).
Government Type: Numerous independent tribes, each led by a chief and/or shaman, loosely collected into larger clans.
Industries: Trapping, fur production, leather production (Horse and Turtle Clans), pottery and woven goods (Bear Clan), woodworking (Turtle Clan). The Tiger Clan is known for its raids into Darokin.
Important Figures: Powakuan Sleeps-With-Open Eyes (Bear Clan Chief), Tulabal Shadowfall (Elk Clan Chief), Hovar Duck Watcher (Elk Clan Shaman), Eleya Moonstalker (Horse Clan Chieftainess), Naravipa Dagger Tooth (Tiger Clan King), Eelsha Spider's Kiss (Tiger Clan Cleric), Talinguk Rolls-His-Canoe (Turtle Clan Chief).
Flora and Fauna: Horses, buffaloes, birds of prey and many types of snakes can be found atop the large plateau. Down in the jungle below, great cats are often encountered, as are other typical jungle beasts. There is even rumour of a huge green dragon making its lair somewhere in the region.
Further Reading: GAZ 14 The Atruaghin Clans, previous almanacs.
Last Year's Events: None to report.
Description by Enzo Giovanni.
Allow me to introduce myself: I am Enzo Giovanni, youngest son of Rafaele Giovanni, noted merchant of House Giovanni of Darokin. I have travelled the western lands for many years, as I was forced to leave Darokin due to complications in my youth. In my travels I have spent time in many nations that aren't well-known in the Old World, among them Atruaghin. To call Atruaghin a nation is wrong, however. The territories claimed by the people of the area are divided among clans that are like small nations themselves. Individual clans are divided into smaller tribes and will rarely ally with other clans or even other tribes within the clan, and they fiercely hold on to their territory.
In my years spent in the Atruaghin Territories, I was fortunate to be adopted by a family of the Horse Clan, the Wolf Tribe to be exact. Once I travelled on, my new brother, John, chose to accompany me. I would ask John to tell you of his people, but he is, shall we say, a man of few words, so I will relay some of my knowledge instead.
The Children of the Horse are blessed with beautiful, bountiful lands. Their territory is atop the great Atruaghin Plateau, the western half to be exact. The permanent homes of the Horse Clan lie in the valleys to the north, where great lakes and rivers provide a fertile land, ripe with secluded forests, protected from the wind by stone walls. These valleys have been carved out of the plateau by rivers over several centuries.
Following the rivers north, you come to one of the great wonders of the Atruaghin Plateau: the great waterfalls. The Angry Waters lie close to the homes of the Wolf Tribe and serve an important role in the funerary rites of the tribe. The thundering falls lead to the Roaring Lake far below, and the final resting place of the bodies of the dead. You see, when a member of the tribe dies, he or she is placed in a small boat and sent downriver to be claimed by their great Immortal patron Atruaghin Himself.
South of the valleys lie the Thundering Plains. These vast, flat plains, that stretch as far as the eye can see, provide one of the most important resources for the Children of the Horse: buffalo. Great herds of migrating buffaloes traverse the plains, followed by the Horse tribes part of the year. Three times a year, on the full moon, great buffalo hunts are organized, where the tribes travel south to live among, follow, and bring down their prey. During a hunt, the Children of the Horse live in portable tents called tipis, which they bring along with their hunting gear, transported by their horses. At the end of a great hunt, they return home, laden with the great carcasses of the mighty buffaloes.
To the people of the so-called civilised lands, the Children of Atruaghin might seem like savages. Some say that they are noble primitives, in touch with nature in a way that is admirable, yet still in need of proper education. Others see them as simple brutes to be either assimilated or killed for their savage ways. In truth, the Atruaghin clans have developed a culture that is uniquely suited to their lives in the Atruaghin Territories. It may well be true that they could benefit from many things that the "civilised" world can provide, but this could just as well lead to the ruin of their ways, ways that have been perfected over centuries of adapting to the land.
The culture of the Children of Atruaghin is in many ways as developed as those of any "civilised" nation. They have rituals for all occasions, they have etiquette and they have rules and laws. For an outsider it can be difficult to see past initial impressions, but live among them for any extended period of time, and you will find their culture to be rich and sophisticated.
The Children of the Horse have one outstanding social distinction: They do not speak. Instead they communicate through a complex system of gestures and hand signs, which naturally I've had to learn. Their language is a harsh barrier for any outsider to become accepted; only a few individuals will speak any tongue at all. My brother John, for example, has not spoken a word in his life. I believe that this is a deliberate choice on their part, one that helps them on the hunt and in warfare.
Warfare is one of the most important aspects of Horse Clan culture. While they will never kill another member of the clan, their whole lives are spent fighting mock battles against their neighbouring tribes. The Wolf Tribe and the Buffalo Tribe have a long history of rivalry and they will meet in battle a few times a year. While they mostly raid each other, to steal horses, which are then re-stolen or bought back, sometimes they meet in full clash, either when discovered on a raid or simply to hone their skills. These battles can be bloody and violent, but it is exceedingly rare that any lives are lost. Should somebody lose his or her life, the one who took it will join the deceased on the final journey down the Angry Waters.
While these warlike customs may seem barbaric to you, dear reader, remember that survival on the Atruaghin Plateau is dependent on your physical prowess and your skill in bringing down game. The Children of the Horse do not grow fields or trade with outsiders for grain; they are isolated on top of a hostile plateau, and their diet consists mostly of meat. To obtain that meat and to defend their lands from invasion, they need to be the best hunters that they possibly can be, and these skills are kept honed by their constant "mock" warfare.
Life among the Horse tribes is as it has always been. In spring, summer and fall the great buffalo hunts keep the tribes on the move, while the winter and the time between hunts are spent in mock battles and daring raids against their neighbours. The occasional outsider, traders or curious sages from Darokin mostly, will sometimes serve as an interesting distraction, but things will soon return to normal.
Should the lands of the Horse Clan come under attack by foreign clans, they will unite under a great war chief. The greatest and most well-known of the war chiefs is Eleya Moonstalker. While I am told that she is almost 50 years old, she is still a powerful warrior and, what's more, she is an accomplished tactician. In a special tradition of the Horse Clan, warriors wear an eagle feather in a war bonnet for each enemy killed in battle; Eleya's holds more than 150, I'm told.
Emissaries from the Master of Hule courted the Atruaghin Territories, but were frustrated with the Horse Clan's lack of spoken language. They ran into similar barriers with most other clans and tribes, writing the area off as too barbaric to make use of for now, as far as I could tell.
Standing atop the Angry Waters is an experience not to be missed. Beholding the waters thundering into the depths, overwhelmed by the roar of falling water, you will truly be humbled by nature. Many a warrior of the Wolf Tribe has found insight and peace of mind, reflecting over the endless rush of water.
Going fishing with the Horse Clan is not recommended. The "boats" that the clan employs, called bullboats, are small and bowl-shaped, constructed of tanned buffalo hide stretched over a framework of branches. In even the slightest wind, you are in great danger of capsizing and handling the bullboat is next to impossible. Since they are most often used to ferry the dead down the waterfalls in the funeral rites, they do not need to be safe. Still, they are also used for some fishing.