Who are we ?
We are Orlanthi, born in hardship,
formed by story, strengthened by adversity, made invincible
by freedom. We are a tribe of the longhouse, of the
field, of the great forest, of the battleground. We
are a people whose sons and daughters will endure as
long as the winds shall blow.
We are the people of the Storm,
the men and women of Thunder. Renowned in all the
worlds, we are the tribe of Orlanth and Ernalda. We
are many and we are strong. We are a rich people, for
we know the secrets of the earth. We are a proud people,
farmers, herders, warriors and peaceweavers. We live
in steads and villages and hunting camps, but can also
build cities and fortresses, and sky steads made of
wind and lightning. We are of the Cinsina tribe and
we live to the north of Jonstown in the Jonstown confederation.
We are the Red Cow clan and we live in Red Cow close
to the Dolutha Clan in Dangerford.
The Lunars came with their scimitars
and strange Gods. They conquered our land by treachery
so that only our rivers run free. Servants of the predark,
they ban true worship and offer us instead the mask
of their twisted Red Goddess, the lies of their Seven
Mothers, and the wind of their false Thunderer Doburdun.
In our society everything revolves
around the idea of kinship. It is much more than simple
genealogy and dictates the rules of ownership and distribution
of resources, rights to use land, relationships with
outsiders, clan defense, the workings of justice,
the practice of marriage, and the ownership of religious
ceremonies. It tells us who is a friend and who is an
enemy and is scred to us. We support kin as we always
have done. Most men stay with their tula all their lives,
but women depart on marriage to live with their husbands
tula. There are several types of marriage however and
some times allow women to claim their children for their
Clan, Bloodline and Household
Our clan is the fundamental until
of Heortling society. Our clan (Red Cow) all claim descendance
from our ancient ancestor Thurkan the Red, and we belong
to the Cinsina Tribe. We have a proud tradition and
our ancestors have shown us the true way to live. Our
clan is our family, but we forge alliances through marriage
to other clans. The land we own (the Tula) is the lands
surrounding the village of Red Cow. The Clan is run
by the 25 members of the Clan Ring, although 7 members
form the Inner Ring who represent the Lightbringers
who went on the Lightbringers quest with Orlanth. The
Clan Chieftain and ring maintains justice, conduct litigation,
declare feuds, wars, enter into treaties train the fyrd
and protect the temples and our holy places. The Chieftain
receives all gifts for the clan and distributes the
Within the clan are several bloodlines
with about 30-80 members in each going back to a specific
ancestor. The elder male (spakeman) maintains the shrine
to the bloodlines founder and leads it supported by
his brothers and cousins. What effects one member effects
the entire bloodline.
A household, hearth or longhouse
has about 20 members usually of the same bloodline.
This is the family, although at times members will move
between hearths of the same bloodline. The senior woman,
the hearthmistress has control over the hearth and here
her word is absolute. Although most of the cattle belong
to the clan a competant household through good
husbandry can acummulate a small herd for the household.
Strangers are enemies until proven
otherwise. We report all strangers to the Chieftain
and thanes at once, and they alone decide if they should
be killed. The Chieftain's household and companions
may speak for the stranger and may begin rites with
strangers who might be friends. The ritual goes thus:-
Questioner: Are you
friend or foe?
Questioner: I am
(name and title), what is your name?
The questioner pauses to consider
if they have heard of the stranger, let his truth magic
work and see what his companions have to say. If no
lies are detected and there is no other reason to send
the stranger away then they are welcomed thus.
Questioner: You can
have my hospitality. I offer you water.
Answer: I will not
steal from you, fight you, or say bad things about you.
If a known person shows up and
is not welcome, the host may offer the guest "water
as a feast" which is a great insult.
Law and Justice
Justice is gift of Orlanth and
is the responsibility of the lawspeaker. It keeps the
clan strong and provides them with peace and harmony.
Justice extends to everyone who
is part of the sacred web of kinship. No one is immune:
even animals, dead ancestors and storms can be brought
to court as they are part of the sacred order. Violence
is in itself morally neutral as it can be for good or
bad. Like Orlanth tribal members must be responsible
for their own actions and must correct incorrect actions.
The pursuit of justice serves
many functions within society. The law courts are not
only for resolving conflicts, but also for political
display and manipulation. Justice is dealt with by negotiation
between two groups related by kinship. Anything outside
kinship is dealt with by violence. Individuals are not
held directly responsible for their misdeeds, but the
families and bloodlines share in the responsibility
and compensation. Heortlings believe that there is no
privacy between kin and any deliberate action will be
planned with their knowledge. It is bad for a person
to bring shame on one's kin. Justice is dealt with normally
in terms of compensation rather than pnishment. A person
who has support of most of the clan is likely to win
If a clan or bloodline refuses
to pay the compensation then a feud is started between
the goups and violence can ensue.
A person's Wegild is equivalent
to their income from ten years worth of living. When
Wergild is collected the whole clan pays, with the amount
equal to the proximity of the person to the offender.
If a clan accepts wergild then it means they have accepted
they will not start or continue a feud.
A clan is divided up into a number
of social ranks. These are given below.
Nobles are the Chieftains, Kings
and Queens, Chief Priests and Priestesses. They inherit
their rank from the tribe and live in the largest steads
with personal servants, guards and messangers.
Thanes are the leaders of the
community such as master craftsmen, warriors, heads
of bloodlines, priests and high entertainers. They form
the clan council and the chieftain chooses members of
inner clan ring from amongst them. The Chieftain or
King appoints Thanes and can demote them at a whim.
The Carls of the clan are farmers.
They tend the clan's herds. The cattle are the most
important herd and those that tend them are the most
important Carls. The Carls are the most important people
in the Clan are without food people go hungry. Haughty
Weaponthanes should not forget this.
Cottars are the lowest rank of
freed man. They tend sheep, pigs, farm garden plots,
work as labourers, hunters, herders and fishermen. Most
craftsmen rank as Cottars, but the master redsmith and
master brewer rank as Carls. At the bottom of the Cottars
are the stickpickers, low entertainers (jugglers and
storytellers) and charcoal burners
The lowest class of person are
the Thralls who are no more than mere slaves. They have
no legal status and are thought of as property as an
alynx and a cow. Most Thralls are debt slaves or other
criminals, although their children are not Thralls as
their parents were. The nature of Thralls varies amongst
different clans and in the Cinsina tribe they are
starting to become less widespread.