THE COUNCIL TREE OF THE LLAOIHIRR BROWNIES

DESCRIPTION - KEY LOCATIONS - LOCATION - PEOPLE - GOVERNMENT - TRADE
"OUTSIDER" RELATIONS - COAT OF ARMS - CLIMATE - FLORA - FAUNA - RESOURCES - HISTORY

The Council Tree is a huge, magically enhanced cinnabark tree, which is also home to around 250,000 Brownies of the Llaoihrr tribe. This quite possibly makes it the largest settlement of the little folk anywhere, and certainly the biggest on the Sarvonian continent. The Memnoor’s city (another Brownie settlement in southernmost Aeruillin) might top it, but their home and magic academy includes members of all races, whilst the Council Tree is exclusively for Brownies. Bigger people just simply cannot fit into the spaces carved into the tree, nor use the 17-nailsbreath-high tunnels which serve as paths through the foliage around it. There is separate accommodation for the occasional Bigfolk visitor - a small hut some way from the tree itself. Naturally, the settlement sits deep in the safety of the Vale of the Brownies, an enclosed, sheltered valley to the west of the Rimmerins Ring. This area has been the home of the Llaoihrr Brownies for more than 4000 years.

The Council Tree

View picture in full size Image description. The Council Tree: A huge, magically enhanced cinnabark tree, which is also home to around 250,000 Brownies of the Llaoihrr tribe. Picture drawn by Bard Judith.

The Llaoihrr Brownies who live here are split into several different clans, each of which specialises in a particular activity and has a certain responsibility too. Clan Maj, for example, is a Clan who specialises in life magic and is responsible for keeping the cinnabark healthy. They have a separate dwelling further upstream which is also a part of the Council Tree settlement. There are several more of these outbuildings: a small dock which sits on the bank of the fast-flowing river, and the housing for the Brownies' animal and bird mounts. Five out of the seven other Brownie settlements in the Vale pay tribute to this huge city-like structure, and receive the protection, better trading links and education should they want them. The Council Tree also has a role in punishing criminals if the smaller groups feel unable to do so.

Description. Upon entering the 100-ped wide clearing along the main path from the south, or indeed from any direction, you will immediately be hit by a flurry of activity. Only in the middle of the night, or on those rare occasions when it is too stormy or cold for the little folk to venture outside, is the place relatively quiet. Brownies of all colourings scamper across the clearing around the base. Groups of youngsters cluster around their Imparter guardians in excitable, chattering herds, or sit listening to stories and learning to make simple clothes. Every so often the crowd of tiny figures is broken by the passage of a saddled rasher or a rat-drawn wain. Even the air space around the trunk and between the branches is full of life. Owls and other birds soar across the larger distances, whilst Brownies scramble up and down rope ladders and bridges strung between the shortest. Everywhere the little folk swoop from branch to branch with the famous artificial wings or “lleeterrs” strapped to their bodies, gliding down onto the forest floor. Their bright colours flash across the background of green and brown foliage, catching the eye and dragging it back and forth.

The next thing which captures the attention is the huge, thick trunk itself. This enormous cinnabark pine was magically enlarged by the life mages, a fact which is startlingly obvious to even the most city-bound visitor. The beautifully rich brownish-red trunk is just over seven and a half peds in diameter and the top of the tree towers over the rest of the forest at reportedly 117 peds. Needle-covered branches reach out to cover about half the well-maintained clearing. The floor beneath your feet is a dark, reddish colour, covered with well-trodden-in pine needles. The earth has the constancy of fine sand, but really well packed down by thousands of tiny feet. Small darker patches show that the clearing is often used to cook meals.

Other trees cast their shade at the edge of the civilised area too, birches and ashwudes mainly. The eagerly-growing plants almost look as if they are only waiting until the Brownies are no longer paying attention before they swarm the place and turn it back into wild forest. The undergrowth becomes wiry and thick here too, although small Brownie-sized tunnels cut their way through it at regular intervals. The dark, slightly foreboding holes in the foliage are only lit when the sun is at just the right angle.

Not all the clearing around the base is free from vegetation. A large portion of the western side (closest to the river) is given over to the Greengrower's gardens. Unlike the fantastically wild mesh which surrounds the clearing, these plants are carefully cultivated and cut to keep them at a manageable Brownie size. The plot is nowhere near large enough to grow the staple food for the tree, but as the Brownies get most of their sustenance from the forest or from the other areas where greybark moss is farmed this is not really necessary. Instead the Greengrowers grow plants which are extremely hard to find or naturally live too far from the Council Tree. In fact the range of greenery extends to those which don't naturally grow within the Vale at all. Especially now, when they have trading links with large cities like New-Santhala and Milkengrad, their collection grows ever wider. Return to the top


Key Locations. The most important parts and key locations of the Council Tree can be summarized as follows:

Location. The Council Tree is situated well into the Vale of the Brownies, about 200 strals from the beginning of the gorge entrance. It lies at the point where the two smaller rivers meet and become the Snake River, the fast-flowing flush of water which cut out the gorge. The Vale of Brownies itself is in mid-Santharia and lies just north of the Quallian Forest - west of New-Santhala and the Rimmerins Ring. The nearest settlements are Kor Donion, home of the Tenthrum dwarven clan and Kytta’erng, an Eyelian trading village. Return to the top

People. The Llaoihrr of the Council Tree tend to be more forward than those who live elsewhere. They are less cautious, and often lack the almost silent movement of their other cousins, as they don’t rely on hunting as much. Of course, those of the Prowler Clan, which specialises in hunting, form an exception to this rule, but the huge collection of Brownies living in one spot means they can generally afford what the humans might call a more “civilised” outlook. They are not quite the ever-cautious, stealth-hunters they once were, but have actually come out of hiding and gained enough confidence to trade with other races. Whilst a Brownie from the outer settlements might sooner attack a full-grown shir than approach a human, most Council Tree Llaoihrr are at least open to the idea that a good proportion do not want to cage and eat them.

The Council Tree folk also has a broader education than the other Llaoihrr, and a wider choice of career too. The outer groups are typically better hunters, and experts in finding something edible in any weather, whilst the Council Tree children are taught a range of everything, from Tharian to carving to preserving fruit. They are in general fair hunters, but not exceptional, surviving on farming and trade as well as the gifts of the woodland around them. Council Tree Brownies often swap specialised goods with the other Llaoihrr in return for food or raw materials. Nowhere else in the Vale is it possible to devote your whole life to something other than hunting and gathering things to eat.

In fact, nowhere else in the Vale is the settlement so rigidly split into clans. At the Council Tree, a clan is where a Brownie spends at least half of their time, working and learning those specific skills. However, elsewhere, the focus has to be on getting what they can from the environment around them, and the clans are somewhere to group together and work on a particular talent when you have the time to spare. The things that the Brownies specialise in outside the Council Tree are luxuries to them, rather than the basis of their whole career. The Council Tree Brownies have far more chance to develop their talents, and so it is the natural centre for beautiful carvings, strange devices, inventions, experimentation and recording. The people here encourage new ideas and inspiration more than anywhere else in the Vale. If other Llaoihrr wish to practice these things, they often move to the Council Tree to do it, making it a veritable melting pot of talent.

Contrary to popular belief, the Brownies are not the only sentient life in the Vale. The secluded nature of the rivers within the Vale makes them a great habitat for the freshwater varieties of merfolk. Rivermaids are found all along the length of the fast-flowing Snake River - the turbulent length of water which flows past the Council Tree. Some of them can be persuaded to help the Browniefolk for the payment of certain flowers and edible greens. They have been known to pull small boats or rafts across to ferry travellers to the other side, or to fetch a particularly prized water plant which the Brownies cannot get to. Watersprogs also live at the Diamond Falls, and can sometimes be glimpsed from Clan Maj’s settlement, flitting up the rocks in search of the plants they eat. Return to the top

Government. Brownie life is very much dependent on the support and co-operation of those around them. The world is a very dangerous place for a lone Brownie, and even getting all the necessary ingredients for living would be challenging without help. Hence, the Council Tree Brownies have a very clear, solid structure of people to look to in times of need. This has become engrained in these Brownies' lore, and it is now used as a system for legal disagreements and retribution as well.

The first people a Llaoihrr will turn to is their family. This includes any blood kin still living and still in contact, but not automatically those who have joined through a partnership with one of the family. So they could go to any of their great-grand-father’s great-grand-children for help (as long as they see them once a month or so) but not necessarily their sister’s partner. However, friends can become so close that a Brownie considers them like part of their family, and in this case they may be counted on for support as well. One of the greatest compliments which a Llaoihrr can pay to a non-relation is to ask them for aid.

If a Brownie has no family left to them, or their family is not able to provide the support they need, their clan will step in. Many an old Llaoihrr ends up turning to the clan they have worked for all their life for help during the harder winter months, when their family is struggling to find enough for the extra mouth. As the clan has so many members, and each will give what they can to help out, this is rarely a problem, and a Council Tree Brownie is never allowed to starve unless the problem is very widespread. Brownie youngsters who have not yet chosen a clan can go to either of their parents’ clans for help. If the worst happens and a child is orphaned, then the Imparter Clan will usually take care of them until they are old enough to choose.

Lastly, any Llaoihrr whose settlement sticks to the rules of the Council Tree’s Council can come to that Council for help. The most common thing asked for at this level is help to punish the few inevitable criminals who need to be dealt with at the highest level. Banishment from the Vale, a punishment used for those who kill another Brownie or repeatedly commit other crimes, can only be given from the Council Tree, as only then will it be recognised by the other settlements too. The Council Tree is also the centre for trade and contact with the outside world, and almost all trips outside the Vale are organised by the group as a whole.

The Council itself is made up of Llaoihrr from as far and wide as possible. There is no set number; rather any well-respected Brownie who has completed an apprenticeship can apply to join at any time. The Council members will then discuss and vote on whether they think the applicant should become one of them, and if two-thirds or more want them, they can. Not only the merit of the individual is considered, but also whether someone of their background is needed on the team. So, for example, if there are already a large number of Life Mages on the Council, it is unlikely another will be accepted unless they really are outstandingly worthy of the position. They usually stay a member until they leave of their own vocation unless they fail in their duties in any way. One Llaoihrr was removed after flying a set of his child’s lleeterrs into the middle of an Imparter meeting after too much auhu’o sweet mead, and another for persistent non-turning-up. The Council numbers around 100 Brownies at any one time.

The Council Tree and the settlements that live under its rule consider themselves a sort of unofficial kingdom of Llaoihrr. There are only two villages which do not come under this heading, and Brownies of these two are generally looked on with some scorn by the rest. They are sometimes nicknamed “Lloooihrr” by the Council-aligned Brownies, a word play using the expression “oooi” (lit: “tracks/scents”). This doesn’t translate well into Tharian, but the idea is that if you were following their tracks you would think they were “real” Llaoihrr, but once you’re up close they cannot be mistaken for “Outsiders”. In fact the Brownies in these two settlements live pretty much like any other Llaoihrr, they just do not trade with any others at all and prefer to keep completely to themselves. They stick to traditions a little more rigidly than elsewhere and live in some of the more out-of-the-way areas of the Vale. Return to the top

Trade. The Council Tree Brownies are becoming more and more open to new trading links, even though they still try and conduct them in as Brownie-like a way as possible. They tend to view a village or town as one entity which works together, like a Llaoihrr settlement does, and much prefer to do their business through one spokesman than deal with a range of merchants. This way they feel they can build up a relationship with this one person, rather than having to trade with many unknown faces. This is really worth knowing if you wish to trade with them, as although they are keen to develop new trading links, they will give hugely better deals to someone they know and trust.

As far as goods go, the Llaoihrr are known for their amazing craftsmanship of wood, as well as their mechanical prowess. For almost a thousand years they have helped the dwarven people, particularly the Tenthrum Clan, to make the delicate, intricate machines that allow them to speak to their flittermice, and provided them with a wealth of other Brownie technology. The mechanisms they make can be so tiny as to seem impossible or even magical. Sometimes they are in fact boosted with life magic.

The quality of their carving is similarly amazing – with such small hands and delicate instruments their master Brightlers (the clan who specialises in decorating anything and everything) can work far finer than any Bigfolk craftsman. This is usually used to decorate their own furniture and home walls, but they also trade carved pendants and other items to outsiders. Beads are another speciality, and the Llaoihrr bead industry is known for its tiny, perfectly regular specimens. Feathers of birds they kill and don’t want to use themselves are often traded too, or pretty pieces of wood and the much loved sweet mead whose recipe comes from the Auhu’o. Groups of more intrepid Greengrowers (another clan) often farm the Bladeleaf which grow at the edges of the Vale for the healing goo inside which is usually traded with the Eyelians at Kytta’erng.

In return the Brownies prefer things which they cannot easily get or make themselves. Light, tight-woven fabrics are in high demand for making lleeterrs and for decoration. Useful parts of large animals are great too, such as big skins or pieces of a large herbivore’s intestines or stomach. The seeds or young specimens of exotic plants which just may be able to grow in the Vale are prized by all members of the Greengrower Clan. They do trade some food and drink too – mainly exotic things they would not normally have access to or food stuffs which will last a long time and can be stored against a problem in the future. Return to the top

“Outsider” Relations. The term “Outsider” officially includes any settlement which doesn’t abide by the Council Tree rules. However, it is mostly used for anyone who is not a Llaoihrr Brownie – literally anyone who lives outside the Vale. It describes someone who is expected to have some strange quirks and so should not be thought badly of if they do or say something which would normally be offensive. It is often put before a name when the stranger is introduced, rather like a title. For example, a Milken Brownie might be called “Outsider Halen Gilmp”. In fact introducing a non-Llaoihrr without the prefix is a real compliment. Only those who know the Llaoihrr way of life very well and can be guaranteed not to make any social mistakes have the “Outsider” label removed and are treated like any other Llaoihrr.

Those who have been invited to visit the Council Tree by a Llaoihrr are welcomed. Well, there may be a few Brownies who still stick to the old fashioned notion that outsiders cannot be trusted in any way, but they tend to argue with the other Llaoihrr rather than the visitors themselves. Accommodation is provided for them within the tree or at the Bigfolk hut, and they are usually given some sort of tour by their host. The best food available is prepared by the Hotfinger Clan, and every effort is made to impress them with the Brownie’s hospitality.

However, an uninvited guest is something else altogether. Entering the Vale as a stranger is something which should only be done for a very good reason. If the scouts have not been warned of your arrival, a large group of Skydivers and Ferretmasters will come and ask why you are there. Curiosity in their home is not a sufficient reason, and it is likely that you will be asked to leave if you try and use this. If you do have a good enough reason for visiting the Council Tree, such as a new offer of trade, expect to be escorted there by an increasingly growing crowd of well-armed little folk, and supervised for most of your stay. Return to the top

Coat of Arms/Sign. Not being a tribe which regularly goes to war, or that needs to distinguish itself from other troops when it does, the Council Tree does not have the traditional coat of arms like other cities. The style of clothes and the manner of speaking is usually enough to tell other Llaoihrr where they come from. However, when it is needed, anything which represents a cinnabark pine can be used for identification. A stick of the spice made from the bark, or a crude, simplified drawing of a pine tree stitched onto clothes will suffice. The Llaoihrr even have a habit of dipping wooden beads into the sticky sap of the Council Tree, and you can be sure that any Llaoihrr wearing one will be from the Brownie City. Return to the top

Climate. The Vale is a haven for a huge range of animals and plants. It is well sheltered by the cliffs surrounding it, meaning that it very rarely sees strong, tree-breaking storms or heavy rain. A lot of rainfall drops on the high ground instead and then flows down into the basin in a number of unpredictable streams and run-offs. This means that even though the Vale does not get rain very frequently, water is not in short supply for most of the year. The thick, fertile soil - a product of literally thousands of years of leaf fall – retains the moisture, and only after a particularly hot or dry summer do you start to see wilting plants and thirsty animals.

The location also makes their home ideal for plants and Brownies alike. Situated around the centre of southern Sarvonia, it rarely sees more than a few days snow each year if that. This is essential for the Llaoihrr, as there could not be so many living in one place with so many animals if they had to rely on stored food for any length of time. Bright sunny summers warm the Brownie colony, sometimes causing outbreaks of sunblood, a disease caused by sitting too long in the rays. The winters are generally mild, and only a danger to the delicate plants which the Greengrowers’ cultivate. Return to the top

Flora. Most of the plants within the Llaoihrr clearing belong to the Greengrower clan, who specialise in producing the biggest range of greenery possible. Food flavourings like common basiloc, chives and rosemint are grown for festival meals, with enough to supply a good portion of the Brownies too. Poisonous plants from around Santharia are cultivated for the Bubbler clan’s experiments, another clan who specialises in concoctions and potions. There are also a few different types of coloured moss, and other things which can be used for paints and dyes.

One particular type of vegetation is grown by every Brownie who has enough space and water to do so: the glowcap mushroom. The community lives in wooden homes, on a huge pine tree which is soaked with resin, and the fungi provide light at night without needing a fire. When grown in wooden tubs of dried grass and what can be most politely referred to as “Brownie manure”, the mushrooms seem to do quite well. At night the Council Tree lets out a faint, eerie glow from each of its branches.

Caring for the Tree. Whilst the Hamm’rer Clan is responsible for the structures built in and around the Council Tree, caring for the living plant is the duty of the Life Magi. As the home of so many Brownies boring into its trunk or weighing down its branches with their houses, keeping it in good health is more and more of an issue. The Magi check its levels of energy normally at least every week, and almost constantly if any major building work is being carried out. Any scars or wounds are healed as quickly as possible, and all of their knowledge and abilities are used to keep it living. It is over two thousand years old, so however they are doing it, they seem to be succeeding so far.

Brownies are no longer allowed to cut into the pine’s flesh, or hollow it out for homes without the specific permission of the Council. In fact any action which releases tree sap can be fined, even if it was an accident. They try to ensure that no more than half the width of the trunk is carved out at any point along the structure, and even the huge entrance hall only takes up a portion of the trunk. This is by far one of the strictest laws of the Council Tree, who usually try to place as few restrictions on Brownie life as possible, but the safety of the cinnabark is of the utmost importance. They realise that it cannot live for ever, but are determined to stretch its life as far as they can into the future. Return to the top

Fauna. The Council Tree must be unique, in that it is a city which actually contains a larger variety and density of life than the forest around it. The huge range of Llaoihrr mounts is one reason for this, for where else would such a huge number of predators live together? The Skydiver clan, the Llaoihrr's flying army, breed and care for literally hundreds of owls, falcons and other rideable birds including a dozen or so arrowhead geese. The Ferretmasters are their version of infantry, and are in charge of the ground troops and working beasts. They add leaf ferrets, common ferrets, shir, a range of rats and mice, plus even the occasional wolf. Giant Rats are kept for their meat, milk and also to pull the Brownie-wains and power the oldest of the lifts.

Dalór grubs or glowworms are kept for the steady, flameless glow they produce, which is so much safer than a fire. If stored in a dark box during the day, and only brought out after dark, they show no ill effects from being kept above ground. As soon as they grow to full size, the insects are eaten, as the Brownies dislike the green flashes they excrete when searching for a mate. Unfortunately the strange gooey stuff which comes from the place they make the flashes has a really horrible bitter flavour, so they have to be specially prepared with this liquid drained off before they are cooked. Some are even allowed to get to the cocoon stage, as the soft threads they wrap around themselves make excellent padding inside gloves and boots.

In addition to the Ferretmaster clan’s small herd, fairy mice can be seen tied up outside the doors of larger houses. Their milk is prized for its flavour, their fur for its softness and length, and their meat isn’t bad either. Luck bugs are bred by the Greengrowers and used to keep pests off their precious gardens, although there are always a few vermin who still manage to damage the plants.

Another persistent pest is the styruine round worm. This horrible little grub is known to attack the precious winter stores which are kept in the storage rooms under the Council Tree. Fortunately the Brownies have discovered a simple way of getting rid of it – they attract it to certain parts of the cellars with generous handfuls of rrihoorr moss, a crop which can often be found growing alongside greenbark moss and has a strange spicy flavour. The Brownies then collect up all the worms and eat them. The bug seems to have a preference for this spicy plant, and can be easily rounded up for the pot. It goes nicely with any dark green leaves, and adds a good, slightly spicy flavour when mashed into a sauce.

The Council Tree Brownies are also at risk from several large predators who roam the area. Wild foxes, birds of prey and mimsy will easily take a lone Llaoihrr, and will occasionally try and attack the settlement too. The Ferretmaster Clan is always on stand by to defend against these rare threats, and has been known to search out and kill any predators that make their homes too close to the tree. For one thing, the pelt of a fox will make beds for up to a dozen Brownies, depending on the size and quality. Return to the top

Resources. Despite their farming, the Council Tree Llaoihrr still rely on the surrounding forest for a large part of their diet. Nuts, berries, fruits, insects, small mammals and reptiles, greens, mosses and lichens are all plentiful enough to support them, and the Browniefolk will take pretty much anything that is available, eat the edible bits and find some other use for most of the rest. No feather, bone or skin is wasted, partly due to a practical and inventive nature, but also because of their religious beliefs. They hold that the spirit of the animal essentially allows them to make the kill, so it is common politeness to use that gift to its best advantage. Even the occasional predator which has to be destroyed for roaming too close to the village is used to feed hungry mounts.

The Vale is also a great source of many different types of wood. The Brownies never actually chop down a whole tree, as the process would simply require too much effort for something they can pick off the ground in far more manageable sizes. They may however cut off a particularly desirable branch if they need it, or chop pieces off a fallen tree. Hardwood and softwood, plain or beautifully grained are all readily available to the Brownies who want them. However, they rarely trade any of this wood as a raw material to outsiders, because of the limited amount an arrowhead goose can carry. Instead they use it to make a variety of machinery and decorations such as beads, some of which they then trade.

The only resource which the Brownies actually mine is mica – a strange, translucent rock which is used for windows in the largest and most elegant homes. It is extremely hard to break across the grain, but very easy along it. This makes it simple to split into fine, strong panes, and ideal for use in Brownie buildings. Large deposits are found near the Diamond Falls – in fact the tiny glittering shards of it which can be found washed up at the side of the pool are what gave the place its name. Pieces of a useful size can be found in the river mud, or buried in the ground above the falls. Return to the top

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THE ERA OF CONSOLIDATION
(YEARS 8.500 B.S. - 3.400 B.S.)
3981 b.S. Keekoo's second Group heads out
Keekoo the Deliverer sends out the second group of Brownie colonists from the Auturian Woods in order to investigate living possibilities for his race. The group sent out this year should eventually become the LLaoihrr tribe, the "Vale Brownies".
3981 b.S.
to 3638 b.S.
The Wandering Years of Keekoo's second Brownie Expedition
The Brownie band, Keekoo's second group, migrates westward, soon reaching the Zeiphyrian Forest. They discover the Quaelhoirhim elves already living there, and so keep on gradually moving west, looking for a place to call their own.

Following the coastline westward and then following the Thevelin river northward, they eventually reach the Quallian Forest. For reasons unknown, they pass it by, continuing upriver. By this time the tribe has been journeying for more than 300 years.
  

3638 b.S. The Genesis of the LLaoihrr: The Vale Brownies
One of the Brownie scouts on Keekoo's mission follows a tributary of the Thevelin up to what appears to be its source, pouring out from under a natural stone arch. He keeps exploring upstream and finds himself in a deep gorge. When he finally comes out of the other side of the gorge, he finds he was in a large but sheltered valley, supporting a thriving wildlife population yet uninhabited, heavily wooded and well-watered. Tall, healthy trees spread their branches as far as the eye can see. In short, a paradise - exactly the kind of place his tribe is looking for. A few days later they have made it their home, naming their tribe after it.
ca. 3638 b.S.
to 1025 b.S.
The Llaoihrr Taming of the Vale
This is an exciting if dangerous time to be a Llaoihrr. The Llaoihrr Brownies seek out ways to live off the forest once again, learning to build homes in the trees to avoid predators and discovering new ways to hunt. Their prowess with machinery begins to stir itself with the invention of numerous traps, as well as an enthusiasm for any useful foliage they can find. The group settles into their new life, growing steadily, and eventually (we think around 3200 b.S.) small sections begin to split off, creating tiny village settlements further and further into the Vale.

It is an era of exploration, of discovering the extent of their new home. The boundaries of Llaoihrr land are pushed back with each new generation, and eventually there are Llaoihrr groups scattered all over the Vale, living in a variety of small villages or larger more organised settlements. Many of these have a particular speciality – hunting a specific animal, collecting a much-loved berry, or knowing exactly how to prepare a normally poisonous plant for the table.

One settlement even devotes itself to resurrecting what it can of life magic. This is surprisingly unpopular as most of the Brownies regard it as a symbol of what was wrong with the old society so long ago, and blame it for the breakdown of the now-legendary Birni era. However, there is enough interest in the ever-growing Brownie community to make it feasible, and they build a home for themselves near the beautiful and serenely eerie Diamond Falls.
THE AGE OF AWAKENING
(YEARS 1.655 B.S. - 822 B.S.)
1025 b.S. The Year of the Wolves for the Vale Brownies
This year is the year when a pack of wolves finds its way into the Vale, presumably fleeing from persecution outside. The intelligent creatures soon make the connection between Brownie trees and caches of stored meat, and they begin to terrorise the settlements, seeking them out for the "free" meat hidden there. The Brownies, used to dealing with nothing larger than a single mimsy, are completely unprepared for a full pack of these large predators. Their simple weapons do some damage when the Brownie is close enough, but getting this close leaves the defender within the wolf’s reach. Many smaller settlements are almost wiped out, leaving only the Brownies who managed to flee to the larger ones and group together in large enough numbers to drive the animals off.

It are the Life Mages who finally save them, attacking the wolves’ very spirit and draining the life from them one by one. The huge predators lie dead on the floor, and the Brownies gather to celebrate their relief at the spot they were killed, a clearing near the joining of the two major rivers. Wolf-meat is roasted and eaten by all, and members of every group of Llaoihrr in the Vale come together to thank the mages they’d avoided and rejected before.

Talks start with the idea of forming some sort of common Council which would link all the Llaoihrr in times of need. The Mage's settlement is named the centre of this as it is the most permanent, well known location.
  

1022 b.S.
to 1002 b.S.
The Creation of the Llaoihrr Council Tree
On the second anniversary of fending off a major wolf attack, the Llaoihrr gather together in the clearing for a feast to remember the triumph over the wolves. Right in the centre of the area is a small cinnabark pine sapling, already reaching the size of some of the smaller trees around it. The tree's spirit is unusually strong, making it shoot up so fast. It is concluded that some of the wolves' spirits must have been absorbed into the seed when they were driven from the animal’s bodies.

The Llaoihrr decide that this must be meant to be, and after heavy talking, agree to create a new capital city at the place where the need for co-operation was first realised – the clearing. The Council Tree Cinnabark is both a new, stronger home, and a symbol of their salvation. It is a work of all the community taking 20 years – the life mages enhance its growth even further, and the other groups bring every type of material and skill from all over the Vale to shape it into a living space.
  

ca. 1020 b.S. Founding of the First Vale Brownie Clans
The first four clans are founded at the Council Tree – four clans designed to provide the Llaoihrr with the things the Council was originally conceived for. The Military Clan is quickly renamed the "Ferretmasters" as they utilise an idea of one of the outer groups – taming animals and training them to fight. The Scribbler Clan is founded to help keep records of all the new discoveries and expertise which they have regained over the past 2000 years. The Life Magi become a new Clan too – aptly named "Clan Maj". The Hamm’rers are the group in charge of turning the Council Tree into a useable home, and the Llaoihrr's spiritual welfare is tended by the new Praisers.

The Llaoihrr agree to send a certain amount of grain and materials to the Council Tree each year for as long as it is possible, to support the new Clans. In return they are promised protection, access to the library and the combined knowledge and spiritual guidance. Many Brownies move into the Council Tree to train with the new Clans, and it becomes the meeting point for all the scattered groups. A number of Brownies dislike this new idea, and they group together for support, forming their own settlement on the other, more secluded side of the river. They effectively split themselves off from the rest of the rrao-Llaoihrr and take the new name "rrao-Llaooouh" (lit: "original Vale Brownies").
1020 b.S.
to 300 b.S.
The Vale Brownies develop further Clans, ranging from Hunters to Philosophers
The Llaoihrr thrive under the new setup. Now they are protected from the natural and spiritual dangers of the Vale, those not assigned to this task can concentrate their efforts on improving their way of life. The Council Tree becomes the centre for new inventions and ideas; anything from better ways of building houses to the birth of Barkstudy. The lleetters (artificial wings which were originally made from bat’s wings) have their origins in this period too, and are constantly developed and improved throughout. Farming greenbark moss, the staple of the Council Tree Llaoihrr, is also perfected, along with improvements in Life Magic, mechanical woodcraft, leatherwork, and almost every aspect of life in the capital.

Several new clans are also formed. The Drummers are an offshoot of the Praisers, and music becomes a recreational attraction as well as a religious one. Several hunting experts become the Prowler Clan, which provides the skill to go after more challenging prey. The Greengrowers and Bubblers are created mainly to discover and refine the poisons needed to kill larger beasts, although they quickly diversify into all manner of drinks and food preparations. After the Imparter Clan is formed all Brownie children are given a basic education in the most important things, although what exactly these are changes from year to year.
THE AGE OF THE BLOOD
(YEARS 822 B.S. - 50 B.S.)
298 b.S. Greybark Ferretmaster is sent by the Vale Council to Explore Outside the Vale
As an initiation into the Council, Greybark is sent on a mission of discovery, to find and befriend people outside the Vale as he sees fit.
  

290 b.S. The Return of Greybark Ferretmaster to the Vale
Greybark Ferretmaster brings news of the darkfriend threat to the Vale with his mate Whisper, and begins training the first group of the Llaoihrr Flying Militia. The wild population of most species of intelligent bird life within the Vale are somewhat reduced as the Brownies struggle to learn to look after them in a short space of time.
  

288 b.S. Greybark Leads the Elite Flying Brownie Militia to Carmalad
The Flying Militia arrives in Carmalad and joins the alliance of free races and provides vital air support to the battles to beat back the orcish horde. The experiences they gather here form the basis of their training for hundreds of years to come. The fighting is also the first sight of Bigfolk for almost all the Brownies, which could explain some of the later myths of blood-thirstiness.

After the war is won, Greybark signs mutual protection treaties with the leaders of the other races - the first step towards a united Santharia. However, this does not lead to immediate contact with other races as the Council had hoped. The Llaoihrr have been isolated and in hiding for so long, and the fear of the Outside naturally does not go away overnight. Many speak against going out into a potentially war-ridden, dangerous land when they have everything they need in the Vale.
  

281 b.S. The Skydiver Clan is formed
One very good thing which does come out of the war is the skill with birds of prey. A new clan, the Skydivers, is formed to build on this expertise and to look after the new mounts. The Brownies' eventual aim is to be able to breed the birds, rather than having to capture them from the wild, but this only proves successful with the docile wood owls.
ca. 281 b.S.
to 200
Travel and Trade: The Brownies begin Trade with Kor Donion
The newly mobile Brownies start to tentatively explore the land around their precious Vale. The techniques of survival from when they first populated the area are brought back into fashion and updated to work with their new feathered friends. However, the Brownies who go out pay for it themselves: the Council itself does not prevent them, but neither does it encourage it. The Praiser Clan, and many other traditionally minded individuals, are certain that the Vale was given to them by the spirits as a refuge, and going outside it will mean a lack of this sacred protection. They fear a relapse into the legendary harsh years.

One intrepid explorer and Life Mage by the name of RrLL’ah Dwarffriend (a title taken after his achievements) goes down in history as the Brownie to begin the trading links with the Tenthrum Clan. There are no specific records on how he achieved this, but he is undoubtedly one of the heroes of Llaoihrr wealth. His granddaughter, Daystar, inherits the old Brownie’s powers of persuasion as well as his wealth and is the catalyst for a highly secret project which allows the two settlements to trade with relative ease. The races' strong bonds to both family and clan make it a natural, long-lasting and mutually beneficial partnership.
THE GOLDEN AGE OF KINGS
(YEARS 172 A.S. - 547 A.S.)
ca. 200
to 700
The Conflicts of Kytta'erng - Brownies vs. Eyelians
After a Brownie comes across an Eyelian with an Injčrá eagle familiar, a minor conflict breaks out. Convinced that a Brownie, too, can tame the notoriously fierce eagle, he captures it, bringing it back to the Vale. The eagle escapes, and in the process, kills several Brownies. Now assured that the entire debacle was an Eyelian ruse, the Brownies attack Kytta’erng. The miffling continues for years, though hostilities soon drop off, and become scattered, individual, rare, events.

This unfortunate brush with humans, the first for many in about 3000 years, confirms all the still-lurking fears the Brownies have about humans. Exploring outside the safe Vale all but stops, and the idea of trading with other settlements is squashed. The Brownies turn back to their spirits to try and discover why this eagle spirit allies itself with the humans, but they are not successful. The populations of both Brownies and their animals grow steadily.
THE ERA OF THE SOUTHERN WARS
(YEARS 825 A.S. - 1.062 A.S.)
850 The Eyelian Village of Kytta'erng trades with the Vale
The Brownies rediscover Kytta’erng, where they are offered several ferrets as gifts. The Brownies give their hosts some beads, and trade begins. The Brownie/Eyelian conflict officially ends.
850
to 1.028
The Vale Brownies adapt to Trade with the Eyelians and the Tenthrum
The Council Tree is determined to make the new trading links official, rather than leaving them to one individual as with the dwarven trading. The Eyelians' farmed food supplies and access to beautiful cloth are two things in particular which keep the Brownies coming back. Two new, small clans are formed, the Barterers, who learn Tharian in order to speak with the humans, and the Wheelers, an offshoot of the Hammr’ers who deal with transporting the goods.

In 884 a.S. the Brownies enlist the help of the Tenthrum Clan to make a proper path through the treacherous gorge and into the Vale. This is partly to encourage the new trade with Kytta'erng, but also to make the entrance easier to defend. The path is just wide enough for one person or pack animal to pass fairly easily. Perches carved into the rock make excellent positions from which to fire down on an attacker and shelters mean that the Brownies can keep watch through any weather. The Brownies are still paying the Tenthrum for the work until 1065 a.S.
  

1.028 Cawrr Dragonrider returns to the Vale bringing News of other Brownies
A Brownie who was previously exiled from the Llaoihrr community returns many years later with extraordinary news. His stories of another colony of Brownies who are managing to live outside the security of the Vale finally break down the arguments of those opposing going outside. The Council Tree decides to begin using the information from the various adventuring Brownies who have returned from outside to start making contact with others with a view to trading.

THE AGE OF REBUILDING
(YEARS 1.062 A.S. - 1.144 A.S.)
ca. 1.100 New Vale Brownie Trade and New Thinking
The news of other Brownie groups surviving like the Llaoihrr have managed is enough to begin a revolution in thinking. It is obvious that Brownies can indeed exist and live without the protection of the Vale. Explorers set out once more to look for friendly settlements and to map the land around their Vale. The Brownies' natural inventiveness takes on the challenge, experimenting with ways of travelling across the many furlongs of land. From this, the Arrowhead Geese Squadron is formed, a group of Skydivers who train and look after a dozen or so of the birds. These are large enough to carry goods for trade.

Another shock occurs when the Llaoihrr discover the Milken Brownies around 1400 a.S. This tribe does not and has not worshiped the spirits for hundreds of years, another thing which was considered essential to Brownie survival. It changes their worship in fairly subtle ways – no longer do the Llaoihrr believe that not paying tribute will lead to disaster and death, but they do still think that the spirits can and do help them with their daily life. Someone who gives thanks for the gifts around them will receive more in the future.

gfx


 Date of last edit 27th Fallen Leaf 1668 a.S.

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