THE LLAOIHRR BROWNIES ("VALE BROWNIES")

APPEARANCE - COAT OF ARMS - TERRITORY - PEOPLE - HOUSING - CLOTHING
DIET - WEAPONS - OCCUPATIONS - GOVERNMENT - PRODUCTION/TRADE
 
NATURAL RESOURCES -
FESTIVALS - HISTORY - MUSICAL THEME

The Brownie Rrao-LLaoihrr tribe, known as LLaoihrr or Vale Brownies to other races, lives in the Vale of Brownies, in Santharian province of Sanguia. Diligent and hard-working, they still know how to have fun. They worship the spirits of tree and rock and stream, though not as fervently as their Aohu'o cousins. Best known for their intricate wood-based technology, which though ahead of its time, is often difficult for them to adapt to the needs of other races. They are also the record-keepers and historians of the Brownie race, their language is the closest to the original Browniin. A clan-based society, each clan provides a specific product or service to be traded with the other clans.

The Vale Brownies

View picture in full size Image description. A Brownie of greenbark ethnicity with a birdfeather cloak and blowpipe. Image drawn by Quellion.

Appearance. LLaoihrr individuals are identical in appearance to those of the Memnoor, Aohu'o, and Milken, fitting the general Brownie description. Members of every Brownie ethnic group belong to the LLaoihrr, generally categorized as greenbarks, brownbarks, redbarks, bluebarks, yellowbarks, ebonybarks, greybarks, and birchbarks. Return to the top

Coat of Arms/Sign. A Cinnibark Pine (representing the LLaoihrr Council Tree). Olive green leafy part, brown trunk, light green background. Tied to a tree during battle to instill pride in the hearts of the LLaoihrr flying militia, and also on formal or diplomatic occasions. Return to the top

Territory. The entire area enclosed by the Vale of Brownies, stretching out between four mountains, named Chieftain, Sorceress, Life, and Death. The Rimmers Ring and Santhala lie just to the east, Wind Bay just to the north, Kor Donion to the west, and the Quallian Forest to the south-west. However, entrance into the Vale of the Brownies is extremely difficult, if not impossible, from any direction other than the west. Through the Gate a deep gorge is twisting for a thousand peds along the course of the stream from the Vale to the outside. This gorge funnels all outside commerce through a narrow, easily defended knife-cut winding through the solid rock of the mountain. In all other locations, except for the south, the valley is bounded by steep mountain slopes and/or cliffs. A mixed forest covers much of the valley, with a thick jungle covering the low southern slopes, eventually becoming inpenetrable, even for Brownies. A deep stream, the Snake River, waters the entire valley, eventually flowing out of the valley through the gate. This stream has two tributaries, one of which flows out of the southern jungle, the other of which flows from the Bottomless Lake, at the base of Life Mountain, fed by the Diamond Falls. Return to the top

LLaoihrr Brownie home

Image description: Map of the Vale of Brownies, situated at the western Rimmerins Ring, near Santhala. Home of the LLaoihrr tribe. Map concepted by Greybark and drawn by Artimidor.

People. LLaoihrr tend to be more serious in outlook (for Brownies) than their Aohu'o cousins, quite scholarly, and are the guardians of the written history of the Brownies of Caelereth, as well as many other written works, from many of the other races of Caelereth. As a whole, they are quite inventive, and produce an endless stream of gadgets. They are moderately religious, mainly believing in spirits of rocks, trees, and mountains that need to be appeased (see Brownie beliefs).

Housing. LLaoihrr houses are well-built treehouses generally made with twigs and leaves, and used for a single family. They consist of a large main room, used for everything but cooking and sleeping. Smaller, low-ceilinged rooms are attached to the main room as needed for kichen or bedrooms. Sleeping is done on woven mats. The door to the outside is also quite low, perhaps 2/3 of an average Brownie's height (in order to keep out the weather) and is just a hole in the wall. A thousand LLaoihrr can live in a single tree. Return to the top

Clothing. Both men and women dress primarily in mouseskin, though leaves, bark, or feathers are also worn at times. Because of the average Brownie's extremely active lifestyle, and parts of the valley being chilly year-round, rough tunics and pants, and low mouseleather boots are almost universal among LLaoihrr. A belt with multiple pouches is often worn, and a hunting/writing knife or two are generally to be found slipped into a boot. Return to the top

Diet. The main food of the LLaoihrr is a nutritious bread. Greenbark moss is harvested from certain types of trees in parts of the valley. They then dry it, grind it, mix it with water and fermented fruit, then bake it into bread. The LLaoihrr have not lost the joy of hunting, however, and thus retain quite a varied diet. Many types of wild animals, birds, and fish are hunted and eaten, usually after having been roasted over a bonfire. Mice are also eaten, as they are raised for their meat and skins in great numbers. Various types of fruits, nuts, and herbs are also gathered wild. Return to the top

Weapons. LLaoihrr weapons are adapted for hunting, whether of food animals, predators, or enemies in battle. The most common weapons used are the bow, the blowpipe, the sling-shot and the knife. Using bows and arrows is a skill that the Brownie people learned from observing elves before the Brownies began migrating and dividing into their tribes, in the time of Keekoo the Deliverer.

A Vale Brownie Hunter

View picture in full size Image description. A Vale Brownie Hunter with a sling-shot used to hunt down beetles. Image by Quellion.

Occupations. The vast majority of adult LLaoihrr (over the age of 15) are members of a clan, of which there are several hundred. Each clan is mainly self-sufficient, but also specializes in providing specific goods or services to the other clans through a trading network. The clans are not static, but grow or shrink, form and dissolve according to the needs of the Vale economy as a whole, as determined by the law of supply and demand. Children help in their parents' clans until they reach the Age of Choosing at 15, at which time they will have the option of joining either their parents' clan or a different clan, with acceptance to the clan based on personal merit. Return to the top

Greybark's steed Ookpik

View picture in full size Picture description. The steed of the Brownie general Greybark Ferretmaster, the snow owl Ookpik. Image by Quellion.

Government. LLaoihrr live in a clan-based society. Questions that only affect one clan are generally decided within the clan, and outside interference is generally not tolerated. A clan might have anywhere for a few hundred to a few thousand individuals. Most clans are governed by a clan council, comprising the most talented and experienced individuals in the clan specialty. The council of all the clans 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. Return to the top

Production/Trade. LLaoihrr technology, based on wood, is among the most advanced to be found anywhere in Caelereth, and are a consistant source of somewhat useful gadgets such as artificial wings, catapults, and back-massage chairs. A few of these have been adapted for other races' use, mainly in Kor Donion. Being made out of pieces of bark, as the legend has it, Brownies are naturally adept at finding medicinal and other uses for pollen, leaves, sap, and other plant parts. These plant components are used in trade with nearby elven and human populations. Return to the top

Natural Resources. Mainly unknown. LLaoihrr do not mine or otherwise exploit their non-living resources. The central part of the valley consists of a mixed forest, with a large stream flowing through with two main tributaries. The southern portion of the valley thickens into a jungle because of greater rainfall, eventually becoming impenetrable even for Brownie-sized individuals to the far south. Mice are domesticated for the meat and fur, along with a number of plants and sessile animals. Return to the top

Holidays, Festivals and Observances. The main festivals celebrated are Keekoo's Day and Greybark's Day. All-Spirits Day and Aheh's Day are also relatively important to the LLaoihrr. Return to the top

History. Greybark, founder of the flying militia, is probably the the most famous LLaoihrr. Research is underway to reconstruct the details of his life.

The Council Tree was grown by redbark Lifenagic adepts early in LLaoihrr history. It and the clearing around it are home to half of the population of the valley, and serves as its capitol city.

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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.

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"The Vale of Brownies", composed and performed by Gean Firefeet
Format: MP3, Length: 3:58,
Exclusively composed for the Santharian Dream.
Click here to download the song, use right-click and "Save as..." (3.63 MB) Return to the top

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