THE MOUNTAINBORN


Time no longer held any meaning to her. Step by step, she had been climbing the ancient stairs for what seemed like an eternity. With only a small lantern and the subtle rumbling of the mountain around her, she slowly made her way upward through the dark. Few were given the honor of making this journey to the top of the mountain, and no one knew for sure exactly what the mountain wanted to show those that is chose. The mountain's secrets were the mountain's to keep.

Suddenly, she saw a hint of light ahead, and she felt fresh air rush into the passage. With new energy she rushed ahead, eager to see the light of day again. The sight that met her when she finally emerged from the darkness, however, were far more grand than she could have anticipated. Before her lay the whole world, bathed in brilliant sunlight. Dark, heavy rainclouds were slowly rolling away as the sun sparkled in the dew they left behind. In the distance she could see the camps around the mountain, and far, far away she thought she could even see Lenorian cities, infinitely small. In the skies above the heavenly bridges stretched out, racing across the world. It was too much, too beautiful. She had to let it all out, in the only way she know how. So she spread her arms and sang.

And the winds carried her song out into the world.

A brief history of the culture

Before the mountainborn became who they are today, they were part of the Lenorian culture. But as Lenori gained its independence, a large group of people decided that they wanted no part in this burgeoning nation and decided to seek their fortune elsewhere. They departed towards the east, wandering for months, seeking their own land to settle. One day, some hunters heard an odd melody carried by the wind, and it was decided that a group of trackers and hunters would be sent out to seek the source. They set out towards the mountains, and did not return for many weeks. And when they returned, they told of a living mountain, a great being who welcomed them into the heart of the earth and offered them shelter and gifts. Though apprehensive at first, it was decided that they would seek out this mountain. And so, as the people ventured into the depths of the earth, the history of the mountainborn began.

The mountain gave the people two gifts: The soulsong, which is a small melody tied to the very essence of their being. Singing or humming this song is like a soothing balm, not only for the singer, but for those who hear it as well. Humming this song underground will also give the singer an innate knowledge of the surroundings, even if there is no light.

The second gift was the knowledge of how to speak with otherworldly spirits and those who have passed on. This gift is reserved for the wisest and harmonious members and is one of the most closely guarded secrets of the mountainborn.

Their history has been largely peaceful, with one large exception. During the war with the Rakkhari, a great massacre took place when a lower Rakkhari force happened upon some outlying mountainborn camps, situated too far from the mountain to protect them. The carnage that followed would earn the mountainborn an official apology from the Rakkhari war command, as well as a neutral status in the war.

Mentality

The mentality and values of the mountainborn has been largely shaped by the living mountain. Their belief is that harmony is more important than anything else - harmony inside and harmony with the world and its ways.

Where many others value strength, honor and courage, the mountainborn place value on cooperation, community, loyalty and patience. No one is left to fend for themselves, and family extends far beyond simple blood. Although the mountainborn keep mostly to themselves, they extend courteous hospitality to everyone who needs it - as long as they do not seem to be dangerous or violent.

Society

Most mountainborn live in our around the mountain itself, though some live in nomadic camps in different parts of Lenori. In general, their society is based around cooperation, where everyone does their part but individual skills and strengths are utilized as much as possible. You are expected to place the common good before yourself, but the individual's wellbeing is still cared for.

Throughout mountainborn society, whether in camps or in the mountains, the elders are the ones who make decisions and act as mediators when conflict arises. Usually they form councils of different sizes, depending on the needs. Although the elders make the decisions, other members are included in the process, to make sure that everyone's voice is heard. Besides the elder council, there are experienced members in charge of rituals, hunting, foraging, building and general tasks.

The nomadic camps often develop their own traditions and ways of doing things, but generally stay true to the laws of harmony.

Faith and beliefs

Among the mountainborn, there is little talk of divine things or gods - the living mountain is at the center of their world. Though they are aware that the mountain is far from the most powerful being in the world, few see any reason to look further than the safety it provides. The mountain teaches that harmony should be sought at all times, and so, this is the way of the mountainborn. Some do seek harmony in different ways than others, however, seeking to understand animals or plants and flowers in a deeper way.

Name culture examples

Female: Branna, Rega, Ochri, Garbin, Uecha
Male: Brech, Gretch, Jachar, Arrech, Dreche

Clothing and fashion

In the eyes of the mountainborn clothes that have history have a greater value than new clothes - it's all about history and honoring your heritage. Every person owns one article of clothing which is used in rituals and during fesitivities. This ritual garment has images symbolizing important life events painted or sewn onto it. In general, the mountainborn prefer practical clothes, using a lot of leather and fur. Long vests, fur cloaks and wrappings of different kinds are commonplace.

Simple geometrical patterns as well as natural motifs are the most common among the mountainborn, although some prefer patchwork for decorations.

Many wear their hair loose and wild, often with some areas of the head shaved. Others use simple braids or bind their hair with ribbons or string. Beards and moustaches are more common among elder members.

Wood, bone, stone and hair are all traditional materials for jewelry and accessories, and hand made objects have a great symbolic value among the mountainborn. Animal and nature themed objects are by far the most common.

Extra material

More can be found in the library