Mythology, Land, The Tribes, MilitaryAuthor: Excelsior Entertainment © 2003
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Sons of Kronos The Wyrds of the Untamed, as the Sons of Kronos are referred, speak of the time of Gods, and they tell it thus.
All things emerged from the Dragon’s Breath, from the mist of forgotten time. And beneath the swirling mist there was the Great Silent Sea. The Earth Goddess summoned forth her powers and cast up islands of stone upon which to place her children. As the land grew, the Silent Sea slowly receded and the Sons of the Goddess raised mystical fortresses from which to worship Her greatness. So great was their love for the Earth Goddess that the other Gods became jealous and so began the Wild Wars. The Sons of the Goddess did battle with the spawn of the other Gods: the great Sky God, the Sea God and the lesser Gods of Fire.
The cataclysmic violence shook the heavens and the developing world was born in thunderous noise and fire. For eons the battle raged but finally the Sea God was pushed aside and the Earth Goddess thrust up great mountains in defiance of the Sky God. She turned the heat of the Fire Gods against them so that they couldn’t strike against her without adding to her realm. The realm of the Earth Goddess was forged in chaos and yet she made of it a place of harsh beauty in which her sons might dwell and thrive.
The Sons of the Goddess grew weary from the centuries of battle and She wept to see them suffer so. They had served Her with great devotion but the battles of Gods had left them drained and fatigued to the soul, not being for their limited minds to comprehend. And while the world would never see their like again, The Earth Goddess in her endless benevolence granted them release into the great cycle of Life, Death and Rebirth. The Sons of the Goddess surrendered their lives and wherever they fell great forests of black oaks sprang up to form what are now called Sacred Groves.
The heat of the Wild War slowly faded but those with open eyes can see it rages still, in the biting wind, the driving rain and the bolts of lightning that split the sky.
Eons passed and the land grew in richness. The mountains were encased in ice; the rivers filled with life and forests sprang up in the deep valleys.
Into this new world came the first race of men and they were known as the Firstborn.
The land of the untamedThe Wildlands are cold, harsh and beautiful. Frost shattered mountains embrace the land and join up in the north to form the Crown of the World. Evergreen forests of pine and spruce offer shelter in the deep valleys, and great rivers, flowing through the land, feed into the vast Triple Lakes.
The Sacred Groves of Black Oaks still remain, to mark the resting place of the Fathers of Men. Between the Cauldron and the Riven Lake lie the Tears of the Goddess; a range of mountains dotted with many small, dark lakes. These were said to have formed when the Goddess wept for the passing of her Sons who had fought for so long in the Wild Wars.
The tribesThere was a time when the Untamed were composed of countless tribes, all warring amongst themselves in long running feuds. That was before the One King united them and gave rise to the Kingdom of the Firstborn. Only the great tribe of Kronos A’Kallach refused to bow to his rule and the history of their fate is written in the chronicles of Chronopia
The three children of Kronos were born to rule and when they came of age the Untamed were divided into three tribes. The Nuada or Shadow Tribe, the Ildanach otherwise know as the Tribe of the Goddess and the Kallach, the Tribe of the Dawn who still hold true to the binding oaths of allegiance that Kronos made with the One King. But regardless of which tribe they belong to, the Sons of Kronos are renowned for their indomitable spirit and their ferocity in battle. The three tribes are represented by the three interlocking rings that form the Sons of Kronos symbol. The three rings emblem is also symbolic in that it represents the cycle of life, death and rebirth, the gift given to all peoples by the all nurturing Earth Goddess.
Each tribe is made up of a number of clans, each of which tends to perform a special role within the tribe, whether as expert hunters, trackers or swordsmen. Wyrds of the Mother Tribe are renowned for their mystical power, while the Clan of Credne A’Kallach is recognized as the most skilled artificers.
The armies of each Clan are commanded by a Nomarch; a warlord of great renown. In some cases the same Nomarch may lead the armies of several clans. However, the Matriarch and the Ard-Ree, the Queen and the High King, ultimately rule the tribes. The Sons of Kronos live by a matriarchal society, which stems from their worship of the Earth Goddess. Only the Tribe of the Dawn deviate from this belief, for they consider the One King to be their living God, but even here amid the One King centered faith, women are afforded the greatest respect and tend to hold the higher seats in tribal council.
As for the other two tribes they follow the ancient custom of the Seven Winter King. Every seven years the reigning Nomarch, known as the Ard-Ree, takes his own life as an offering to the Earth Goddess and the Matriarch of the tribe chooses a new Nomarch to reign beside her as Ard-Ree of the tribe. The robes of each Clan are distinguished by their own checkered pattern, showing the unique colors they use; green for the Tribe of the Goddess, blue for the Tribe of the Dawn and red for the Shadow Tribe.
MilitaryAt fourteen winters when warriors come of age, they are given special tribal names to reflect their skill and prowess, such as Kyrk El’ Ildanach, Spear Slayer.
All the tribes of the Untamed have the same general types of warrior in their ranks. They wear little in the way of armor for they prefer to rely on speed and skill. They do however, wear bronze girdles and helmets of steel, both inset with silver and gold. Many wear a single shoulder pad of hardened leather or steel that is also decorated with bronze, silver and gold. Privileged warriors carry into battle tribal standards and great curving horns. The standards are decorated with the insignia of the tribe, while the horns are etched with intricate patterns and tribal symbols. Many a warrior’s spirit has been tempered by the sound of his tribe’s horn on the battlefield.
Elite fighters like the Hearthguard wield great two-handed swords or Reaver axes as a mark of honor. They can often be found acting as honor guard to the Nomarchs. The Hunters by contrast have answered the call of the wild and run with a pack of war hounds, hunting their enemies all the way to the grave.
The Untamed also have more specialized warriors like the Slingers and the Berserkers. The Slingers are fast and often slight of build. They use leather slings to cast shots of stone or lead with deadly accuracy. Sometimes a ‘cursed shot’ is used. These missiles are specially inscribed with runes or made from lead containing the crushed bone of vanquished foes.
Malor En’Nuada Falcon Eye is one of the most famous of all slingers having been reported to have slain over two hundred enemies throughout his considerable years. Malor is said to have a particularly deadly ‘cursed shot’ which he uses frequently in battle.
The Berserkers wear no armor. Feeling that they walk in the light of the Goddess, they have no need of earthly protection beyond that which the Mother provides. They paint their skins with Naqada tattoos, rune symbols of power that draw on the power of the Goddess to protect them in battle.
Few can match the Sons of Kronos’ savagery in battle and the only thing that can stop them from delivering death is death itself.
Tribe of the Dawn
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Tribe of the Dawn Unlike the other tribes Queen Solinya of the Tribe of the Dawn holds little in the way of actual power. While they still hold the Earth Mother in great reverence they no longer worship her in the same way as the Tribe of the Goddess. They, more than any of the tribes of the Untamed, are the true Sons of Kronos. They keep the ancient binding oaths that were sworn between the One King and Kronos A’Kallach.
Taranus is the Ard-Ree of the Tribe of Dawn and he, not Solinya holds power over the lands A’Kallach. He has direct lineage to Kronos himself and is a mighty warrior. Women still maintain a high standing in tribal society and hold many of the senior seats in council. As well as benefiting from their endorsement, Taranus also has the support of the Nemean Council, the gathering of all the Nomarchs from the Tribe of the Dawn. They deliberate on matters of war and inter-clan disputes as well as appointing new Nomarchs to the clans of their tribe.
The Tribe of the Dawn does not follow the custom of the Seven Winter King as closely as the Tribe of the Goddess. They still recognize the need to satisfy the Goddess and the notion of renewal through death but they also value the wisdom and strength of a great leader such as Taranus. At the end of his seven year reign the Ard-Ree will take his life, unless a fellow warrior will surrender his life to grant a “season of grace” to the Ard-Ree; this life buying another year’s reign for the Ard-Ree but at the end of the year both men will be required to take their lives. So great is support for Taranus that five seasoned warriors now stand beside him, ready to slay themselves for the good of the tribe. Should the trials facing the Tribe of the Dawn come to an end, then Taranus and his five brave ‘seconds’ will kill themselves; but while the Wildlands remain in dire need, warriors are drawing lots to be the next to give Taranus yet another season of grace.
Tribe of the Goddess
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Tribe of the Goddess The Tribe of the Goddess, or the Mother Tribe, is the largest tribe among the Sons of Kronos. Known as the ‘Il-danach’ they alone remain true to the ancient religion of the Earth Goddess passed down in records from the Fathers of Men. The High Queen of the tribe is the Matriarch Moriath. She has ruled the tribe longer than any before her and still she remains youthful and strong. She selects her Ard-Ree from the Nomarchs of the clans that make up the Mother Tribe. After reigning for seven winters he is then sacrificed to the Earth Goddess to make way for the new Ard-Ree to rejuvenate the tribe.
It is no secret amongst the tribes that she sought to make the One King her Ard-Ree once and that she blames his failure to follow the old ways for many of the problems that now beset the Wildlands. Only after the battle for the Wall of Ages did she finally put aside her claim to the One King’s life. Many clans from the other two great tribes still hold allegiance to Moriath and the Tribe of the Goddess but the number grows fewer as the divisions between the tribes grow ever wider with time. Still, her tribe is by far the largest of the three.
Moriath has become something of a legend in her own lifetime, for never has so great an achievement been accomplished, as when she called down winter before its time, to slow the emergence of the Stygian hordes. Such is the love of the Goddess for her faithful daughter that the skies darkened for 27 days and snow fell in torrential waves.
The Stygian appeared all across the Wildlands but nowhere has territory been so hotly contested as in the Sacred Vale or the ravine of Sorrow Falls. The Stygian were defeated in a costly war for the Sacred Vale but the ravine of Sorrow Falls was lost to the serpent devils and the fighting to reclaim it goes on with unceasing brutality to this day.
Moriath is furious to have lost a site so sacred to the Untamed. It has been more than twenty years since they lost the Crystal Caves to the Elves of the Silver Seal and the shame of it burns more hotly with every passing year. The Crystal Caves are wondrous and beautiful, filled with light where no sunlight falls.
Deep within these subterranean caves lies the Oracle of Ice; a large crystalline structure, clear as a diamond and burning with an inner fire that sings with a resonance that spoke to the Wyrds of the Mother Tribe. Now it speaks to the Elves of the Silver Seal and the House of the Crystal Lotus to whom they are loyal. No longer can the Wyrds of the Goddess seek its wisdom and knowledge; secrets of what is, what was and what is to be. It was the cold cunning of Duke Zazen that won the caves. He called on his ally Duke Attalus of the House of the Silver Seal and assisted him in a surprise assault on the caves from his stronghold at the Spiral City of Midir in the northwest of the Wildlands.
Brenos E1’Ildanach Stone Fist was the Ard-Ree of the time and while he made a valiant attempt to retake the caves, he became isolated from his warriors and was cut down by a band of Crystal Knights. His death gave honor to his name for he took several of the Elven Knights with him to meet the Goddess and explain their actions.
With the death of Brenos, Moriath felt that the Goddess had turned away from them and she struggled desperately to find a way to regain Her favor. All attempts to retake the caves have since failed and her obsession with the One King grew. Surely, by so great an offering, the blessing of the Goddess would be returned to them.
Now she realizes that the Goddess wants nothing that is not freely given. Moriath was slow to realize this; slow to see that pride and anger had blinded her. Now she has chosen Kilnarach the Black Hart for her Ard-Ree and in her heart she knows the Goddess is pleased, for he is a worthy champion. Whether or not they retake the caves is not so important, for the Goddess delights not in success or failure but in life’s struggle bravely fought, a lesson Moriath now remembers.
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Shadow Tribe Even among the Shadow Tribe there are many clans that still hold a strong allegiance to the Tribe of the Goddess. But as tensions rise in the Wildlands and the fortune of the Untamed becomes increasingly uncertain, a growing number of the clans are turning away from the worship of the Goddess. They have become disillusioned and in their doubt they have begun to follow the teachings of a darker path.
With the erosion of their faith in the Earth Goddess they have reverted to desperate measures more in keeping with the shadow that has always darkened their soul. They have perverted the ancient tradition of the Seven Winter King and seek to pacify the Gods with the yearly sacrifice of the tribe’s Ard-Ree.
The Ard-Ree of the Shadow Tribe is now little more than a puppet of Eefa En’Nuada, the queen of the tribe. Neither does the Ard-Ree die honorably by his own hand; he is bound and slaughtered by Eefa and her coven of witches known as the Skatha. Other human offerings are made to settle intrigues at court and mass sacrifices are also conducted with the many captives taken from other tribes or other races such as the Elves who dwell in the mountains controlled by the Shadow Tribe. Gigantic cages forged in the image of their dark God are filled with the prisoners and put into the fire according to rituals equally as ancient, as yet far darker than those of the Mother Tribe.
Eefa completely dominates all aspects of life within the Shadow Tribe. She has entered into a pact with the Dark Lord, though whether she realizes the truth of this, no one really knows. The Dark Lord appeared to her in her dreams in the guise of Bile, the first Ard-Ree En’Nuada, last son of the Earth Goddess and father of the Shadow Tribe. It is difficult to say whether Eefa courts the Dark Lord to further her own ambition or whether she has truly fallen to the Darkness, either way she plays a dangerous game; a game that might lead her tribe to the eternal fires of hell or to ultimate rule of the Wildlands.
The Skatha act as Eefa’s eyes and ears throughout the tribe and beyond into the rest of the world. This all female cult is very powerful, fanatical in their loyalty to Eefa and feared throughout the tribe. They are led by the witch Birog of the Poisoned Tongue and if any doubt Eefa’s devotion to the Dark Lord, they have no such doubts about the blackness of Birog’s soul.
By escorting them through the Wildlands the Shadow Tribe has proclaimed their allegiance to the Devout and now, whatever Eefa’s designs might be, their destinies are bound together. Following their defeat at the Wall of Ages the Devout fled into the Wildlands, pursued at every turn by warriors from the Mother Tribe and the Tribe of the Dawn. But the Shadow Tribe guides them to places of concealment and Eefa shelters them in her cities and continues to pledge the support of her tribe to the cause of the Devout.
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