THE MULLOG RACE ("SWAMPDWELLERS")

APPEARANCE - TERRITORY - MODE OF LIVING - FAMILY, SOCIETY & CULTURE
DIET - BELIEFS
 - ORIGIN - LANGUAGE - RESEARCHERS

A relatively new race in the world of Caelereth, Mullogs derive from both orcs and hobbits. In the aftermath of the War for Ancyros, a group of hobbits fled into the Silvermarshes. Years later, the dwindling population was disturbed by a party of orcs, who had deserted their own kin. Bound on continuing their lineage, the orcs, who where all male, captured some of the hobbit females and raped them. From this forced combination of two races a new race sprang, the Mullog. Being better suited for the Silvermarshes, the Mullogs eventually remained, while the hobbits and orcs vanished from the marshes.

The Mullogs

View picture in full size Picture description. A male and a female Mullog, a crossbreed between halflings and orcs, busy with fishing in the Silvermarshes. Image by Faugar.

Centuries of isolation from the rest of the world, combined with the harsh conditions of the Silvermarshes resulted in an even better suitability to their environment, until the point where the ties with their orcish and hobbit ancestry have become only distant features.

Generally avoiding contact with the rest of the world, the Mullogs have only a faint idea of the things going on outside their swamps. Similarly, the Mullogs themselves have become the subject of myths and legends told by other races inhabiting the areas surrounding the Silvermarshes and are often referred to as “Swampdwellers”.

Appearance. Mullogs are a particularly small race, rarely exceeding one ped in height. Due to a lack of larger prey-animals but an abundance of smaller prey, which is still hard to catch, conditions in their environment seem to favour smaller bodies. While people of larger stature would have to invest a lot of time and energy into getting enough food, Mullogs can do with less, and can thus spend their time more efficiently, giving them an edge at hunting and gathering.

With slender but muscular bodies and a brown or greenish skin, they are appear somewhat like the imp creatures, which are of magical origin, however, they display none of the imp's mischievous behaviour. Although small in stature, Mullogs can even convey a noble or charming image to human standards, depending on the occasion.

The Mullog's body is slightly out of proportion, because they have somewhat large heads compared to the rest of their body and because their arms are normally the same size as their legs. Nonetheless, they are able to display great dexterity and agility when moving through their home, the Silvermarshes, while they are simultaneously able to camouflage themselves within the terrain. Relatively large eyes, varying in colour from gray to brown, provide excellent central vision during daytime, but also quite good peripheral vision in the dark, which makes it slightly easier to discern between solid ground and bogs during night time. Still, Mullogs don't like to venture out at night, mainly because of the risk of running into swamp stalkers. During day time, it is possible for a Mullog to discern between a stalkers and a normal tree. At night however, it is not as easy to note the difference, and one might fall prey to this predating creature.

With sharp nails and teeth, Mullogs are able to hunt without the use of tools or weapons, although they prefer not doing so.

Living in hostile environmental conditions, Mullogs have developed a particularly well constitution over time. Though not completely immune to poisons or venoms, Mullogs still display great resistances against them. It is believed this is due to exposure to aggressive agents from birth. Only the strong and resilient Mullogs survived, providing them with a resistant bloodline. Also, it has been suggested that individuals develop resistances against poisons and venoms when the doses they receive gradually increase from birth on, as is the case with Mullogs. Having a thick, almost leather-like skin also serves as a natural means of protection against environmental hostilities and helps to remain warm during cold periods, but the lack of hair also prevents them from heating-up too much during the warmer times of the year.

The differences between female and male Mullogs are few, but nonetheless distinctive. Usually, male Mullogs are almost completely hairless, while females tend to have accentuated brows. Furthermore, Mullog males display small veins of green within their eyes, a trait which is not existent among females. Aside from this, the only differences are the ordinary gender-related ones; males have a slightly more muscular stature and are somewhat taller, but the differences are only small.
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Territory. The only region in the world where Mullogs reside are the Silvermarshes in the province of Nermeran, on the southern Sarvonian continent. They occupy the lower and southern part of the Silvermarshes, to which they refer themselves as “Ga-lum-be”, but to which halflings refer as "Wetholm". Living in these more hostile areas of the marshes, they are only rarely disturbed by members of the other races, which is something the Mullogs are completely satisfied with. Their way of living allows them to live in places where none of the other races want to live, thus they have no need for expansion at other's expense.

Map of the Silvermarshes

View picture in full size View picture in full size (detailed map names) Image description. Map of the Silvermarshes area. Map composed by Bard Judith and Artimidor.

Within their territory, Mullogs construct their villages and hamlets scattered among the more solid islands that exist within the Silvermarshes. Though not very large, these islands still provide enough space for a few houses and communal buildings to be constructed. The island’s higher ground is vital, as it does not only allow the construction of proper buildings, but also provides a basic protection from carnivorous water dwellers and poisonous mists that sometimes float above more boggy areas.

Although not aggressive by nature, Mullogs have a great disliking of anyone trespassing on their territory. Due to incidents in the past, and their origin as refugees and victims, Mullogs are fearful of the other races. Unless travelling in large groups, intruders in Mullog territory have a habit of "mystically" disappearing. As a result, barges that move through Mullog territory to carry goods are well-manned and usually armed as well. Still, sometimes Mullogs lay traps for their visitors, designed to cause distraction and allow the Mullogs to steal goods from the barge while the crew is distracted, as Mullogs will never seek a direct confrontation. - There are, however, two exceptions to this way of guarding their territory:

For once, Mullogs will never intentionally harm a child, unless they are forced to do so. They consider children to be innocent and thus they should not be harmed. When a child somehow enters the marshes and is found by Mullogs, they will try to return it to the nearest civilized outpost.

Secondly, refugees or hunted people will be allowed to pass freely, while their pursuers can expect trouble. However, it must be noted that on both occasions, Mullogs first tend to "listen to the spirits", to see if intervention is wise or not. The spirits will then give advice on whether the trespasser is an innocent refugee or not and Mullogs will always comply to the spirit’s advice in these cases. If the spirits should speak in favour of the hunted trespasser, the Mullogs will protected the refugee, and kill the pursuers.
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Mode of Living/Habits. Not having access to any metal or ore deposits and living in a condition unfavourable to great structures, Mullogs have kept their way of living basic and simple. They construct their houses from wood, plants and animal-hides. Due to its abundance, lifereed is always used to build huts. Woven into a watertight pattern, lifereed forms the outer structure of a hut or shack, though it is sometimes used for the skeleton as well. Because of the durability and strength of lifereed Mullog buildings are well constructed and provide enduring shelter and protection from the hostile Silvermarshes.

Once a new building needs to be constructed, whether it be a communal or private one, the whole community will assist in building it. This ensures the building is finished quite quickly, which is important, as good building conditions never last long.

Their equipment is made similarly to their homes; only from the most basic materials. Wooden sticks, sometimes reinforced with a stone or bone point, serve as spears for the hunt. A trident or forked stick is used for fishing. Likewise, stone, bone or wooden equipment is used to make tools such as hammers, axes and knives.

Mullogs make their clothes from the hides and skins of animals and might also use certain plants to make clothing.

Another important resource for Mullogs is dried turf. Taken from certain parts of the Silvermarshes, peat bog is stored and dried during the warmer seasons and used as a fuel for fire. Even though there are trees present in the marshes, these are usually too wet and moist to be suitable for making fire. Instead, dried turf provides a workable alternative, though it requires somewhat more labour to make it usable, turf is much easier to use and more abundant than wood.

Most of Mullog common household wares are created from lifereed. This durable, strong yet flexible reed is woven into watertight patterns which can be used to create baskets, mats, but also crates and chests used for storage. Furthermore, talismans and other religious or communal tokens are usually created from lifereed. These special tokens are the best display of Mullog craftsmanship with the weaving of reed.
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Family, Society and Culture. At the core of Mullog society stands the family. The most basic and important things concerning the life of a Mullog are almost all family-related. This ranges from living, hunting and eating together to ancestral worship and celebrating rituals.

Each Mullog family consists of about thirty individuals, all part of the same family line. Five to ten of these families together make up a community. It is estimated that there exist about twenty of such communities, which together make up for the entire Mullog population.

Each community is usually led by a single shaman and a council of elders which is made up of the leader of each family. The daily affairs are handled by the shaman, while the council assembles on special occasions or events.

Mullog culture is not as sophisticated as the other races', but it still has some distinctive and interesting features. Although not excelling in it as real artists, Mullog family craftsmen are good sculptors and weavers and can create artistic stuff with the most basic of instruments. These figures serve for religious or communal purposes, but some have found their way to the outside world as tokens given to trespassing refugees.

Also, there exists a lively oral tradition in Mullog society, where tales, myths and legends have been passed down from generation to generation. Storytelling, or the reciting of poems is considered a craft and those who possess it are held in high regard. Although being a skilled storyteller is not regarded as a separate profession, such as a bard, it is still possible for an able storyteller to get a relief from other communal duties, such as cooking or hunting in exchange for the recital of stories or poems during the evening-diner or on other occasions. When a celebration or religious ritual is being held communally, poets and storytellers recite stories and traditions of ancient times to explain the meaning and background of this particular event. And so, the poets are in a way the collective memory of the Mullogs, keeping their myths and legends alive through generations.

Because the content of the stories does not change drastically, the emphasis is more on the manner in which a story is told. Skilled poets and storytellers are recognized by their abilities to improvise on existing themes without altering the original work too much, and to keep the audience’s attention even though it has heard the story many times before.

An additional reason for the importance of oral traditions is the lack of written records. While Mullogs do use a rudimentary symbolic language, they have never created a formal written script and thus never laid down their history. The lack of a formal script has been explained by the absence of reasons for such a way of communicating. The Mullog community is small, and therefore doesn’t need official administration of affairs that would require script. Ancestors from former generations can still be asked for their wisdom, and so there was never any need for writing important things down, as the ancestors and storytellers would be able to successfully maintain the collective knowledge of their history.

The only form of non-oral language consists of symbols Mullogs use to navigate through the swamp, or to leave messages for other Mullogs. For instance, if a treacherous bog pit is discovered up ahead, a passing Mullog will leave a warning sign on a tree to warn other Mullogs of danger. There exist a number of these symbols for various occasions, ranging from the presence of prey to possible disease among certain plants or trees. After a while, when a symbol has no longer any meaning, the first passing Mullog will erase or change it.
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Diet. Though humans consider most of the plants and fungi in the Silvermarshes to be inedible, Mullogs gather a wide range of them to provide themselves with nutrition. Fungi are carefully selected, lest the poisonous ones be eaten. Still, many of the poisons that affect humans or hobbits don’t seem to affect Mullogs, as their constitution has adapted greatly to the available food. As a result, fungi such as the squilla or the frent mushroom constitute an important part of Mullog diet, even though other races find the latter to be quite too poisonous to be edible. The koeken is another highly valued mushroom, as it can be stored for quite some time, contrary to many other kinds of food. Thus, Mullogs always try to keep a certain amount of koeken as a reserve, in case the community runs low on food for some reason.

Plants and herbs, such as younger pondpads, are gathered, but not cultivated. Because the natural growth of herbs and plants provides for sufficient food, Mullogs have never domesticated any of the plants they use. The abundance of lifereed provides them with enough harvestable plants to fill their storage.

There are however some animals that have been tamed or domesticated by Mullogs. They have, for instance, been able to occasionally tame some bogsnappers. Although these creatures are not very large, they can still serve as a pack-animal for Mullogs, to assist them in transporting goods over longer distances. On rare occasions, bogsnappers might even be used as steeds, but normally Mullogs rather rely on their own means of movement than being hauled around by an animal.
Another semi-domesticated animal is actually an insect: the whistling beetle. For Mullogs, insects constitute another important source of food, something which is rarely seen among other races. Although whistling beetle have recently been introduced as a delicacy in the outside world.

The domestication was possible because the shell of the beetles prevents them from crossing water. Mullogs created small ponds with little isles, where the beetles are kept, taken care for by children or elder people. This way, they cannot escape and be used by Mullogs whenever they see fit.
 
Fishing is another important source of food for Mullogs. Using spears, forks or tridents, they impale fishes or other water-dwelling animals, such as the kyck-kyck or hollup. The same technique is also applied to small land-living animals, although there slings or blowpipes are also applied.

Most of the time, Mullogs hunt solitary and aim for smaller animals. However, every once in a while bigger hunting parties are formed and larger animals are hunted. In such hunting parties, Mullogs hunt for kaimuns and stilted elks. The former are an important source of materials for Mullogs. Kaimun flesh can be eaten, and their skin, teeth and bones are used to make tools, clothes, equipment and sometimes decorative items.

Stilted elks are not primarily hunted for their meat or hides, though these things are rather useful. Their massive size makes it hard for even a party of Mullogs to kill such a beast. However, the elks sometimes trample through Mullog communities, thereby destroying houses, or eating their food supplies. To prevent this, Mullogs usually try to keep the vicinity of their community free of elks.

Even though Mullogs have the ability to set traps, they do not use such things to catch animals. It seems that they consider hunting as a personal challenge between prey and hunter, and that setting traps are a way of “cheating”, and thus considered dishonourable. However, they do use traps to initiate in small “raids” on barges that pass through their territory. They either use the trap to make a small portion of the barges’ cargo fall into the water, or to create enough distraction for them to steal some things from the ship themselves. As the barges usually carry foodstuffs, they provide the Mullogs with more uncommon sorts of food, such as fruits or vegetables grown in hobbit orchards, various kinds of wine, and with additional meat from the animals that the Mullogs hunt themselves as well. Wine is not consumed directly by Mullogs, as they are very susceptible to the influence of alcohol, but instead they may use it as a dye or for religious purposes such as sacrificial offerings.

However, Mullogs are determined not to become dependant on any of the goods procured from raids, and thus these goods will only serve as alternative or secondary good or resource.

Mullogs prepare and eat their meals with their entire family. After the hunt a few Mullogs prepare different types of food, so that each meal consists of fish, meat, fungi and vegetables, ensuring a varied diet. Meat and fish are usually roasted above an open campfire, but might be cooked into a stew with vegetables or fungi. The later two are usually cooked or stewed, but might occasionally be baked or roasted as well, depending on the type of ingredient.

If no fire is available, Mullogs can also eat their food raw without suffering any nauseating effects from this. However, they prefer to actually prepare their food, regarding this as one of the most important attributes of sentient creatures.
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Beliefs. Mullog religion is made up of two central components; animism and ancestral worship. Their beliefs are shaped by their environment, Mullogs know the existence of a spirit, or soul, within every creature, plant or object. Mullogs think even stones, or the water itself, has a spirit within it. Each spirit has its own attributes, consistent with the object it is bound to. Still, all spirits are elementary similar.

As an extension to their beliefs in spirits, Mullogs also believe that the spirits of their ancestors still watch over them, and are worthy of worshipping. Each Mullog family owns a family-altar where the ancestors are revered and where religious sacrifices are given. Mullogs can seek the counsel or guidance of their ancestors, which is mainly done by asking the ancestor to give a message through a dream.

At the centre of Mullog belief and worship stands the shaman. The shaman is the religious leader of a community, but most of the time also serves as the worldly leader and counsellor. The shaman provides spiritual counselling, performs rituals and occasionally acts as a seer. Each new shaman is chosen by the former one, who is told in dreams to select and adopt a pupil. This selection follows a particular pattern. Sometimes youngsters are chosen, sometimes adults. Both male and female Mullogs can be chosen as shaman.

The shaman's most important skill is what the Mullogs call "Ohs-er Dan", which is translated as "dreamtravel". This means the shaman goes into a deep meditative trance through which he is able to visit the spirit or ancestral world. There, he can communicate directly with the spirits or ancestors to seek information and answers to important questions. This enables a shaman to draw from the vast knowledge of the spirits and ancestors and has on numerous occasions prevented disaster from striking the Mullog society.

However, the shaman does not act as a constant intermediate between a Mullog and the world of the spirits. Although the shaman has special abilities and functions, all other Mullogs are also capable of connecting themselves with the spirits around them, a skill which is passed on from parent to child. Thus, a Mullog listens to the spirits around him and seeks their counsel if necessary, finding his answers among the trees, brooks and stones.

And although Mullogs do believe the spirits to be neutral, they also believe they should always be treated with respect, lest they become angered. When the spirits have been angered, a Mullog believes he must in some way correct his offence against them. In some cases, the shaman then acts as an intermediate or counsellor to correct the mistakes made.
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Origin. The Mullog origin is one of cruelty, despair and violence. Both their orcish and halfling ancestors sought refuge within the Silvermarshes from the wrath of their own kin and the human race respectively. Yet even those two groups of refugees could not coexist peacefully together. The orcish warriors violently raped the few remaining hobbit females, and from that dreadful act the first Mullogs were born. Even though they were part orc, the hobbits did not expel the Mullogs from their dwindling community. And while the orcs did not recognize the Mullogs and thus could not procreate and disappeared, and the hobbits eventually succumbed to the hostile Silvermarshes, the Mullogs remained.

As Mullogs are said can communicate with their ancestors, they can trace their line back as far as the
hobbit mothers and orc fathers from which they were first born. Further into their ancestry they cannot look, probably because orcish and hobbit spirits are unable to contact the living. Only the parental bond of these mothers and fathers connects them to the spirits of all the Mullogs that have passed since.

Mullogs themselves thus attribute their existence to ancestors known to them as “The Great Ones”, when referring to
orcs, and “The Tender Ones”, when referring to halflings. The ties to their orcish ancestors are not commonly mentioned and Mullogs still regard orcs with at least as much suspicion as humans. But although they maintain suspicion of all other races as well, Mullogs have never forgotten their hobbit ancestry and to this day sometimes a Mullog and hobbit couple is formed.
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Language. The language of the Mullog race consists of a set of commonly used words that denominate the most important aspects of Mullog life. Other words are constructed by either combining these existing words, or by altering the stress and intonation of it.

For instance, the Mullog word for hunting is “Úhmbë”, with “Uhm” as the stressed syllable and pronounced with the tone slightly increasing. The word used for "hunter" is then “Uhmmbe”, with more stress on the “hmm” and again with the tone increasing slightly. And the word for "prey" is formed by using the same root, but now stressing the last syllable and pronouncing it while changing the tone from high to low, thus saying “Uhmbê”. [1]

Due to this heavy reliance upon understanding of tonal pronunciation, Mullog language is quite hard to understand for outsiders, thus creating yet another barrier between the Mullogs and the rest of the world. However, there are a few known cases in which children of mixed birth, being both Mullog and hobbit, have had the opportunity to learn both Mullog and Tharian, which enabled them to function as translators. Return to the top

Researchers. Much of the research on Mullogs was performed by Lumbe Bloggson, himself half Mullog half hobbit. His ability to speak Mullog language enabled him to perform as a translator at the rare occasions when contact between Mullogs and hobbits was sought. More important however was his lineage to a Mullog family, which has given him the chance to visit them freely and participate in Mullog social affairs.

There are other scholars as well, who either studied Mullogs by collecting all available information on them and storing it, or were at some time able to visit the Mullog communities themselves. The combined reports of these people have provided a reasonable accurate description of the Mullog way of living. The most famous and important translator concerning Mullog language is Lumbe Bloggson. Return to the top
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Footnotes:
[1] Author's note: A rightward accent (á) is used to indicate the stressed syllable. A trema (ä) is used to indicate a rise in tone, while an accent circumflex (â) is used for a fall in tone. Both signs to indicate the tone are placed on the last syllable of a word.

In the event that the last syllable is also the stressed syllable, the rightward accent is used for a rise in tone, while the leftward accent (à) is used to indicate fall in tone. [Return]

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