THE VALE BROWNIE CLANS (LLAOIHRR CLANS)

DESCRIPTION - JOINING A CLAN - CLANS OVERVIEW - HISTORY

The Llaoihrr Brownie, or Vale Brownies as the Big Folk knows them, live in a clan-based society, with each clan providing a specific product or service to be traded with the other clans and thus enhancing Brownie society as a whole. Therefore each clan has its own specific task to help organize daily life in the Vale. Each Brownie contributes in the manner best suited for him or her, as a Greengrower (gardener), a Hotfinger (a cook), a Barterer (one who does the babbling with the Big People), or any other profession. Specialisation is indeed the key in Brownie life.

Description. Llaoihrr Brownies, contrary to most other races and tribes, live in a strongly clan-based dominated society. Questions that only affect one clan are generally decided within the clan, and outside interference is generally not tolerated. Each clan has its own designated power, the means, the determination, ambition and the pride to fulfill the tasks allocated to the members to the best of their knowledge and abilities. A clan might have anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand individuals.

The single clans have a kind of topped pyramid structure. The base is formed by the apprentices and those
Brownies that have not yet mastered many of the Clan’s deepest secrets. These are basically the newly accepted members and Brownies that are not likely to learn much more. As a member grows in experience, he or she climbs higher in the pyramid.

The top of the pyramid is the Clan Council, where decisions are made. Since the Council always consists of several talented and experienced
Brownies adept in their own field of specialty, there is never one voice that weighs more than the others, hence the topped structure. Decisions that concern only the clan itself will be taken by this council, while decisions about more than one clan are taken by representatives of each, known as "Clan of Elders".

The Clan of Elders acts as a go-between for matters that affect more than one clan, and also makes decisions affecting all LLaoihrr, and meets year-round at the Tree Circle around the Council Tree, a magically grown, heavily populated, oversize cinnabark pine.
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Joining a Clan. Every year the Vale celebrates the Feast of "Choosing Day". On this day all Brownies who have turned or will turn 15 that year choose the clan they wish to enter. They are submitted to a test to see whether they are fit to join this clan. The test varies each year.

There are many different clans to choose from (see Clan Overview section for more details), all in all about two dozen major ones and several minor ones. Once chosen and accepted, the Brownie will be trained for 15 years, and at the end of this period, another test will decide if the trainee has acquired the right skills and capacities to become an official member of the clan.

The entrance test, held on Choosing Day, is usually fairly effective in determining whether a Brownie is fit to join the clan. If he or she is not successful, he/she will get a chance to try for another clan. If a Brownie passes the test but discovers during the first years that thewrong choice was made the apprentice is allowed to change. During the next Choosing Day one can take a new test. Since ine still needs to fulfill 15 years of apprenticeship, this will Brownie be older than the other graduates.

When the apprenticeship is over and the final test is not passed, the Brownie remains apprentice for another year, and tries again the next year. Some might also take some time at this point to rethink their position in Brownie life, maybe even leave the Vale or eventually become apprentice somewhere else. Nevertheless, these occasions are extremely rare, as usually once the 15 years are over, each Brownie already has found his place in the Vale's society, is already highly respected and identifies with the role he or she has gotten accustomed to.

Brownies with a lower mental capacity or a physical disability also choose their clan, but they are given an easier test, one that is tuned to their abilities. Once accepted, these members of society will receive a little more attention than the others, but once such Brownies become full members, they will be given a certain task that they will carry out for the rest of their lives. Members with mental problems seldom rise higher, of course depending on how low their mental capacity is, and thus they are not taught many of the clan’s secrets. Nevertheless, they fulfil their own task in society, and are not treated badly by the other Brownies.

The day that the apprentices are tested and hopefully accepted is called “Naming Day”. Originally, the Brownies who were accepted as a member were given a new name, their "adult name". Later on, they picked a new name themselves. Since a few decades many of the apprentices just keep the name given to them by their parents. This day, when the Nevertheless receive a name (even if it is the name given at birth), is still called Naming Day. Like Choosing Day, Naming Day is held once a year. The date of both feasts is decided by the Clan of Elders.
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Clans Overview. There exist about two dozen major clans in the Vale, and several minor ones, that we can neglect here. Most of the major ones are listed below.

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THE AGE OF AWAKENING
(YEARS 1.655 B.S. - 822 B.S.)
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 ERA OF THE SOUTHERN WARS
(YEARS 825 A.S. - 1.062 A.S.)
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.
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.
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 Date of last edit 2nd Changing Winds 1666 a.S.

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