Berowen is a primal, tribal land composed of a collection of islands in the midst of a savage sea. The region is strongly connected with the energy of the Wyld, shaping the land and it’s bountiful forms of flora and fauna into a myriad of fantastic forms. Berowen contains every type of warm environment that can be imagined, from jagged mountain peaks to sweltering desert islands. The flora is just as varied; great towering mangrove trees with roots reaching stories above the water line, short and thick ironwood trees with bark as tough as steel, and flowers with colors not seen anywhere else on Eldross. The fauna ranges from all manner of fur covered mammals to great creatures that roam the sea. To those outside Berowen, the wildlife is perhaps most notable for the large lizards and vicious raptors prized for their value as beasts of burden and flying war mounts.
The Berowen people are very closely tied to the land and the sea, and the powerful elemental forces within. This is so true that they can physically embody the forces of nature in their appearance. When the world broke almost two decades ago, the people were broken as well. For years, Berowen was a primal storm of elemental chaos and its people equally as wild and savage. In the decades that followed, a plague took over the lands known simply as The Withering. The lifeforce of the land, that which the people call Prana, was sapped away. The plants withered and died, iron and minerals rusted and crumbled in the earth, beasts either died or were transformed into horrible decaying creatures that hunted and fed on those that still possessed Prana in their veins. Over time, the survivors banded together and began to find a way to survive and restore the land. Berowen began a decades-long project called the Great Rebalancing. The people have found a way to reclaim the withered land and bring life back to it, but it is a slow process and the project will not be easily completed. The unhealed lands outside the Great Restoration are called the Withered lands, and they are harsh and uninviting. Yet onward the ‘Berow’ push, to reclaim the natural beauty of nature for their children and grandchildren.
The Cities of Berowen
The capital city, New Aughym is a floating city built on the shore of Eredim, amongst the mangrove trees that rise high above. It is the seat of Clan Silvas, the ruling body of Berowen. The trees are massive and the roots structures under them cavernous, creating a sprawling natural metropolis where the most common form of transportation is canoe. In a wide space among the trees is the Floating Market, a myriad of floating platforms anchored into the mud where vendors set up their stalls where boats can pull up and engage in trade.
The seat of Clan Torn, this city is built around the central mountain on Voltamin in the Shining Basin. Clan Torn mines into the mountain not only for riches, but the Berowen believe that the primal source of Wyld resides in the mountain and is the key to fixing their home.
The seat of Clan Samka, Shanwa is a sprawling city of large wooden homes and smaller bamboo shacks on the tropical island of Mehani. The central feature, the Lake of Life, is believed to hold the energy of all who have died in the city and serves as the power source of the Clan. The city is also packed with Draconids, working and for sale.
Sometimes called the Traveling City, this is not a city in the conventional sense. Lotunai’s Thorn is the massive flagship of Clan Menawi’s Fleet. The ship travels amongst the Jewels of Lotunai, the series of small islands in the east, never docking for long.
Places of Note
The Fungal Wood
Aughym, the former capital of Berowen, long ago stood at the center of the Isle of Eredim. When the Withering struck, it was a shock that Aughym did not survive in the same way the other cities did. Instead, enormous fungi grew that drop crystalline spores and cause people to go mad when breathed. Brave warriors and scholars have set up outposts here, constantly fighting for their lives, to figure out what happened here.
The Withered Isles
This grouping of islands has never been overtaken by the Withering.
The Spring of Renewal
A place of great healing power, this source of water in New Aughym is said to have the power to restore diseases and wounds that cannot be healed by other means.
The Eternal Grove
This great forest protects the city of New Aughym and was the first place discovered to have the power to return mortals to elementals. It is a place where past rulers have been anchored to the mangroves that make up the city, allowing them to live on and protect the land they once ruled.
The Shining Basin
A valley of shining iridescent crystal that contains untamed Tor, the elemental force of creation.
One of the most important places to any mortal Berowen community is their corpsewood. This is a grove of specially prepared trees where the dead must be laid to rest, lest they suffer the pain of their loved ones becoming something unnatural. The skeletal flower grows here, one of the few places you will find this unique flora.
Ironwood are squat, thick trees that grow on the higher, windswept areas of Eredim. The bark of this tree is hard as steel and is harvested by the workers of Clan Silvas. This is the source of their power and their currency is made of it.
Draconids are various species of large lizards tamed and bred by Clan Samka. They perform various tasks for the Berowen and are also traded with the larger world, especially the beasts of burden.
These shining iridescent crystals are the primary thing mined by Clan Torn. They contain large quantities of Tor, the force used by Wylde mages to perform rituals, most notably the Anchoring by which Elementals are created and life is restored to the Withered Land.
The water in and around the Isles of Berowen has special elemental properties that embody the chaos and the comfort of the paradyne of Wyld. Its most potent source is the Eternal Spring. It is difficult to control, but has many uses for those who can tame it.
These are Large spiders that produce webbing, and are tamed by Clan Samka. The silk they produce makes a very strong thread for clothing and ropes.
Skeletal flowers are particularly rare flowers that are seen in Berowen grave sites. With transparent and veiny white leaves that look like bone, these flowers have healing powers when crushed and are used in many rituals. Denoctus flowers are a beautiful, rose like flower that has a color pattern similar to a tie dye. They grow in large bushes and flourish in the shade. They come in many different shades but the most common is the reddish brown and white. These flowers are used for decor and are also used in some rituals.
Magick and Tools
The primary magic used in the Isles is Gaiamancy. Gaiamancers are very important people in Berowen, for they are critical in the Great Restoration and the creation of Elementals.
Nature Elementals are plants, animals or natural rocks that have been imbued with a large quantity of Tor and anchored by magick to a dead mortal through Gaiamancy. This process gives them a level of sentience and a desire to restore the land they have become a part of. The Tor they are imbued with is used to bring life back to them and to the land, which as it grows and flourishes, in turn restores Tor back to it. They are also a primary defensive measure, as invaders have to deal with them and their natural desire to protect their land.
Weapons and Armor
The Berowen are a practical people and thus prefer weapons that serve multiple purposes. One will find people carrying things like pitchforks, tridents, picks, and axes as these are both tools of trade effective weapons. Tridents are especially common because of their symbolic meaning and their use in aquatic environments. Spears, pikes, and halberds are also common weapons as they can also be of a defensive nature. Carrying a weapon specifically made for killing, such as a sword, is a statement of profession or intent.
The most common type of armor is made from Ironwood. It is lighter than steel and offers nearly the same protection. Berowen people will use what one has access to, so other common types of armor are leather, draconid scale, or chitin from various armored sea creatures.
Living Ships and Airships
The Berowen people use boats of all types, from canoes, flat barges, junks and large seagoing galleys. Though less common, they employ floating dirigibles as well, often seen with vines draping off of them. They are called “living” because of the large amount of flora that grows on them.
Totems are a very valued possession among the Berowen people. Totems are a physical item that can take many forms, from wood carvings to large altars in a home, as long as they represent something personal or related to their clan or family. A totem consists of decorations which mix the clans symbol and personal symbols that represent their values. Totems can be critical for mortals in the transformation to elementals.
The Berowen People
When the Great Rebalancing began, as the land began to heal, so did the Incarna tied to it begin to change. Berowen Incarna now all have a similar form of flora and fauna like features. Their skin is a shimmering green with greenish hair with ivy or mosslike vegetation growing amongst it. They often have stag antlers growing from their forehead, and they may have ornate swirling markings on their face, emerging from the elemental from which their clan most closely associates. They sometimes have claw-like nails and fur covered hooves, glowing animal eyes and large animal ears. In addition to these Vestments, they typically will express some level of personal expression to hair length and style. Facial and body hair are kept and maintained depending on the climate of the region. For example, the Berowen of Tornheim have longer hair and beards than those of Clan Samka in the tropical areas, who have shorter hair and thin beards, if any at all.
Risen mortals, also called nature elementals, take forms similar to the natural objects or life from which they were born, such as rock, plant, or animals. They look as if they are made of living rocks or plants themselves. This is determined by both the clan that created them, and the flora, fauna and geology of the grove where they were raised.
The Berowens are not an ostentatious or extravagant people. Their clothing is pragmatic and utilitarian. By far the most common base outfit are trousers, boots, and a tunic, with additional elements according to climate, trade, and local tradition. For example, the privateers of Clan Menawi wear looser trousers and thin vests to deal with the heat and effort of sailing while Clan Torn wear lots of furs, hides, and cloaks. Also, most Berowen’s always have a knife and a mug attached to their belt. However, for formal occasions and ceremonies, robes and dresses of black, brown, and green are common. They are typically plain and well made, but adding embellishments such as embroidery or jewellery is not taboo.
Modern Berowen culture came about via the War of Withering and giving the people a common purpose; the Great Rebalancing. They are caretakers and guardians of their islands and Nature, which of course extends to all of Eldross. The Berowen are a bit isolationist and their views, wishing the rest of the world to generally stay away and not interfere in their affairs. All of Eldross must one day be rebalanced, but this will take time. Stability and peace are what the people need right now. Political conflict is more about haggling for the resources than philosophical differences. Physical conflict is an unfortunate last resort, but they are not pacifist. If one threatens their people or ideals, they will not hesitate to use violence.
The Berowen are tied to the land and nature far more strongly than other cultures, which is why the Withering has affected them so heavily. It is also why the majority of the Berowens work so hard on the Rebalancing. In order for the Berowens to flourish, the land must thrive. The hardships endured during the flood, the Withering and the dangerous wildlife have made the Berowen hardy, pragmatic and dedicated. While everyone agrees that the land needs to thrive, and that the Rebalancing is important in doing so, two philosophies exist amongst the Berowen, both key ideas inherent to the basic principles of the Wyld paradyn: The Way of Tor and The Way of Prana.
The Way of the Tor
Those that adhere to this philosophy believe in Survival of the Fittest. Tor is the source of elemental power and the force that has the strength to return life to the land. Primarily in Clan Menawi and Clan Torn, they believe that the destruction or metaphorical subjugation of the weak leads to more overall growth. It is conflict, not only literal violent conflict but also contests of wills and ideas, that will make for a strong society.
The Way of Prana
The followers of this philosophy believe that the Berowen are the protectors of nature and one should only take what is necessary in order to grow and to do so with respect and reverence. They believe that all life is connected by the force called Prana, that which is the source of all life in Eldross. This force is what brought them and the rest of nature into being. From there, competition and evolution brought them to their current state, but it is secondary to the binding power of Prana. This philosophy is upheld mainly by those of Clan Samka and Clan Silvas.
Etiquette and Society
The Berowen believe that the individual is important and being true oneself is paramount, yet at the same time one belongs to a family, a clan and the larger natural world. One should look through all of these lenses before speaking or acting. Their hardships have shown that the actions of the individual have great importance to the survival of the culture, but also that the growth of Creation is a collective effort. Some would consider this a cultural dissonance, but the Berowen believe that they merely see the wider scope of things more clearly than others. In addition, emotion is a natural part of existing and expressing oneself is common, so Berowen often wear their heart on their sleeve and will not hesitate to share their feelings.
Berowen was once a culture on the brink of total collapse, and only the tireless effort of its members stopped its destruction. Therefore being a hard worker and providing for your family and community are of utmost importance. Providing does not necessarily mean earning, it means doing what needs to be done to create growth and harmony. The Berowens do not suffer lay-abouts or people who shirk from their duties. They value the concept of ‘offering’, meaning that which a person can offer to those around them, the community they inhabit, and the natural world.
In Berowen society, all levels of the citizenry are necessary and vital to its growth. There are not classes so much as a hierarchy of nature, often compared to a tree. While the monarch is regarded highly as an integral part of this system, they are only the heart of the tree and must be supported by its roots. Branches and leaves, representing all of the necessary roles in society. Luxury and excess is frowned upon.
Though not common, nobles can often look outside of other noble families for marriage. Alliance based marriages are a sure fire way to advance to the top of the food chain in society. Because of this practice, many common family members will work hard with the aspiration of an alliance marriage to have a stronger voice in society.
The true language of the Berowen’s is the language of the land; the whisper of wind through the trees, the buzzing of bees in the petals, the water burbling over the rocks. Wylde mages can speak this when communing with the land. But for more mundane purposes, the Berowens have adopted the common tongue and written language. Their speech lacks subtlety, and they say what they mean in a clear manner, but always with charm and grace.
“Amarator” (for love and land) is a common greeting. As a sign of respect, they will touch each other’s chest, where the heart is. Additionally, it is traditional to kneel before a Clan Leader. Crossing arms in conversation (thus cutting your heart off from the other person) is considered rude because it means one has stopped listening. Presenting one’s tongue is a rude gesture. It essentially means, “take my tongue for I have nothing pleasant to say about this”. One should be especially careful with this gesture, as a few tongues have been taken after such an offense.
Common subjects of conversation are The Rebalancing and the nature of Prana and Tor. Conversations about hunting, tribal affairs, and family matters are common. A few subjects are controversial in public; speaking about sedition or the unfounded criticism (especially of a clan leader) is seen as impolite. The existence of Withering Beasts are controversial because people have differing opinions on their truthfulness. There are superstitions around them, and concerns that invoking their “real” names is dangerous. One never knows how another from outside their circle is going to react. Profanity is widely common and not viewed as a taboo, but vulgarity is often regarded negatively. Profanity is used as an intensifier in a lot of situations. “Cursing” helps convey the emotional strength of whatever one is expressing. However, using vulgarity in reference to another person is incredibly rude and should not be done lightly. “Withering take you!” is a common curse. Outsiders are often seen as troublemakers and are “encouraged” to keep their mouths shut about Berowen affairs.
Architecture and Art
Art is vibrant in this culture, because it is a form of creation. Poetry is probably the most prevalent type of art, with poetry readings being a very common form of entertainment. Creating murals and paintings are also favored, however these forms of visual media are more typically private and only shared in the home.
The Berowen are incredibly hard working and are often living and working in remote areas. Therefore, they are very fond of musicians. Music helps bolster the spirit while working and relax around the fire. There is also a tradition of traveling mummer troupes, patronized by the Clans. They travel all throughout the lands, including the most remote villages and outposts. Theatre exists as a form of retelling tales of the culture around the campfire, and traveling theatre troupes are not uncommon.
The architecture of the Berowen’s is incredibly varied because of the many biomes. Generally, they build high quality but unadorned homes from materials from the local environs. Adding personal touches that are not ostentatious are encouraged. The more important structures are built from Ironwood, as it is incredibly dense and doesn’t burn easily. It is not effective for floating homes, and for this reason structures made from it are usually smaller in New Aughym. Most domiciles consist of singular family units but this can sometimes be extended beyond bloodlines to close relationships as well. It is not taboo or unusual for multiple people unrelated by blood ties to live together.
Buildings and homes vary by area. In New Aughym they live in the roots of the giant mangrove trees, building floating wood homes anchored to the tree’s roots. In Tornheim, they build squat stone houses built into the bluffs of the mountain they occupy. In Shanwa they live predominantly in huts or longhouses constructed on shore environments or vast infrastructures across the shallow waters or the shore. This gives them immediate access to the water for dock and harbor. Non-city dwellers all across Berowen build their homes out of the available wood, stone, or other natural building materials around them, but usually in the same architectural style as the clan’s nearby ancestral city.
Food and Diet
There is a famous cookbook called The Woodland Cookbook: a Tribute to Prana by Caprina Silvas who’s family strongly believes in the way of Prana. It is found in many homes and is referred to for special recipes when there is an event. While Berowen eat their fair share of meat, the cookbook itself focuses on vegetarian recipes including breads, salads, and desserts. Volume 2 of The Woodland Cookbook: The Way of Prana is designed for hunters and details ways to use all parts of the animal including things like meat, fur, scales, bones, and nails.
- Berowen Bread – The Berowen will have bread with almost every meal. Common Bread is a staple and made in each home. However, they like to have all kinds of bread. They have contests for the best made bread at festivals. They will add fruit, nuts, meat, flowers, and all kinds of different ingredients. Bread compliments the Berowen lifestyle as it is easy to pack and take when out hunting but also is pleasing when on a table set for a large dinner.
- Black Lake Pudding – a dessert of deep dark chocolate turned into a pudding. It is commonly seen at the Ravens Culling event in the fall.
- Mashed Gnash Root – a side dish made from the root of the Denoctus flowers. The roots are mashed and a few seasonings are added. It’s then baked and served. It is a symbol of no waste, using all parts of a plant or animal for food when one can.
- Green Tree Snail – a beautiful snail that some like to eat when cooked in butter. The snail shells are used as jewelry. They are iridescent and are found in multiple colors.
- Mangrove Nuts – are found in the forests of Berowen on mangrove trees. They are medium size, if one knows their nuts, and have a hard shell that should be removed before eating. The shell itself can be crushed and used as a base for a handful of rituals.
- Prana Fish – The recipe for this famous dish is found in The Woodland Cookbook: The Way of Prana. The fish is breaded and flavored with lemon and some herbs found in forests of Berowen. It is fried and served with roasted mangrove nuts and a salad.
- Spike Fruit – is a greenish/yellow fruit that has dull spikes on the skin. It is a delicious flavor and is great served fresh and in multiple dishes. It is also used in lotions and skin care.
- Starfire Ivy – is a beautiful green plant whose leaves are used in salads. They can be used in hot dishes like stews and soups also.
Professions and Skills
Survival skills are very important to the Berowen people and are learned at a very young age. Early education is handled mostly by the clan Torn educators. Villages often construct a local schoolhouse for the Torn to come and teach the children of the village. After basic education, if one wishes to learn a craft, they will likely stay in the same village and learn from the masters there. More advanced skills require going to another location or village. Each Clan is known for different skills. Clan Torn is known for its mining and craftsmanship. Clan Samka is world famous for its animal husbandry and draconids. Clan Menawi for their sailing and fighting prowess. Clan Silvas for magic, statecraft, and botanical efforts. One of the most prized skills among the Berowen’s is Gaiamancy. Being a Gaiamancer who is able to perform the rituals that create Elementals and the Anchoring that restores the land is invaluable to them.
There is a university designed for preparing candidates to enter the Rebalancing Project in Torn. The members of the Rebalancing that are sacrificing their longevity to the project are highly respected. Workers whose job is to live around the outskirts of Withered areas and reseed life back into newly revitalized areas are seen as adding the highest value to the culture. Though important, warriors, guards and anyone whose job is seen as destruction are not disrespected, but they are viewed as part of the easier part of the cycle of life.
Social gatherings and parties can at times be grand, but are always intended to celebrate to the fullest without waste. The Berowen people observe seasonal holidays that champion specific animals throughout the year:
Held in Lifespring, it is a celebration of the rebirth of life.
Held in Soulfall, an homage to the passed dead and honoring of the cycle into death.
Night of the Wolf
Held during Moonsleep, a celebration of pack hunting to survive the colder months.
Held in Sundance, a celebration of the power of Wyld itself. People wear ceremonial tunics and pants, with vines tied around their arms and legs. The Torn officiating the ceremony wears an ornately swirled mask resembling an Incarnate woman with green skin, large antlers and flaming red hair, carved from Ironwood.
Berowen is a High Monarchy, supported by a council of house and clan chieftain leaders, called Taoiseach (tea-sha). Indra Berowen Silvas is the current Monarch of Berowen as well as the head of Clan Silvas. Known for being stern, forthright, and without subtext, she rules with an assertive hand. Her personal guard are the Wyld riders, cavalry that ride fierce Draconids into battle. The monarch is technically absolute, but Taoiseach have been known to disagree and not enforce decrees from the High Crown. The strong sense of community requires that the Berowen King have the support of the Taoiseach for harmony and success. There is a similar economic relationship, as the Clans collect taxes, then send part of their taxes to the crown.
There is no standing single army. Most of the Berowen people are raised with combat training, due to the harsh nature of the corrupted lands and beasts. In the face of mass conflict, anyone who can offer help will. There are, however, career guards for the clans and the monarchy. Taoiseach each have their own personal guard, a vetted position that only the best warriors of a clan or house aspire. They are always allowed to speak their mind to the Taoiseach. Each clan also has its own war chief, nominated by the leader of the clan. There is a small fleet of ships owned by Clan Silvas. These ships have scheduled departures and routes that are public. Merchants then sign up to follow these ships and be protected by them while they patrol.
Community is one of the most important things to the Berowen. If something unfortunate happens to a person, the community can find assistance in the main Clan hall. They shelter and protect travelers, or help the unfortunate until they can get back on their feet. Each community, big or small, usually accounts among them a An’toran. This is a person renowned for their wisdom and responsible for passing down the history and ideals of the Berowen people to others. The An’toran are regarded as spiritual leaders, but also as school teachers for the young for skills they can’t learn from a parent or elder during times of work.
Laws in Berowen and often dictated by individual clans, but one can expect laws against crimes such as murder, assault, robbery, and the like. Being in possession of anything touched by the Withering is taboo. There is believed to be a tangible curse connected to such things, and thus it is an ill omen to collect them. It is also very damaging to be found guilty of dishonoring one’s clan, punishable by the clan head or higher court if necessary. The less common laws, but still of note, are, “Harvesting in excess”, “Purposefully Unbalancing Creation”, and “Unlawful Reanimation”.
Courts are organized by the Clan leaders, who sit in on a lot of trials, both civil and criminal. They are aided by established “roaming courts” and judges, who travel from area to area in an effort to offer precedent and consistency amongst the clans. If one is charged with a crime, they have the right to petition or appeal to the Clan leader. Punishments for conviction include fines, extra duties, service, conscription, and in only the most dire of circumstances, capital punishment for mortals and imprisonment for immortals.
Organizations and Orders
The core of the Great Rebalancing is it’s dedicated group of Gaimancers. These are the ones who perform the Anchoring and the Rituals of Ascendancy. These rituals create Elementals, grant Vestments and help restore the Withered land. They are the Druids, and their school is called the Wyld Wood.
Druids cannot restore the land alone. While they put Prana back into the land, giving it the ability to create life, there is much more labor that takes place. Seeding of plants, relocation of animals, prospecting for minerals, and the all important logistics must also be taken into account. The Wardens handle these tasks and many more.
The Monarch, High Queen Indra Berowen, has her own personal guard of Draconid riders. They are fast and fierce, and prefer to bring a swift end to their foes.
Clans are combinations of Incarna houses and mortal families. This union was established long ago in the early history of Berowen, when the first mortal leader rose in defense of the land, earning the right to wear the Wylde Crown.
House Silvas, Incarna of Clan Silvas
The Royal House of Berowen. These followers of the Way of Prana are known for Gaiamancy, statecraft, and botanical efforts. The oldest immortals who far predate the Great Upheaval, they are the most connected to the land and take features from every facet of nature.
Berowen Family, Mortal of Clan Silvas
The Royal Family of New Aughym. This family rose to power during the War of Withering, and the newly forged land named for the mortal hero Berowen. The family’s rule is absolute but fair, and no one holds this more true than the current Wylde Crown Indra Berowen. They are known for their spirit in battle as well as their shrewdness in the social dealings.
Heralia Family, Mortal of Clan Silvas
An ambitious family in Clan Silvas, they have historically produced some of the most powerful Gaiamancers. They have a great many influential members in the Great Rebalancing project who ultimately aspire to bring their skills to the entire world. Their mortals rise as elementals who take on tree qualities.
House Torn, Incarna of Clan Torn
Known for its mining and craftsmanship, those of Clan Torn live in mountainous areas. Matriarch Edyna is the leader of Clan Torn of Tornheim. She is an old woman whose face resembles those of the mountains she calls home. Kind hearted and warm, but with a cunning eye, she leads her people in the harvesting, processing, and production of ironwood. They are by far the richest of the clans.
Valsung Family, Mortal of Clan Torn
These mortals have worked with the earth so long that they have become part of it. They are the miners and create much of the wealth of the Berowen people, mostly from the crystals they excavate that allow the movement of Lifeforce back into the land . They are typically warm-hearted and kind, as they believe the warmth of home and hearth are the only way to survive in their harsh mountain home. They rise as rock elementals, and their elementals take on earthly and mineral qualities such as obsidian.
House Samka, Incarna of Clan Samka
Renowned for their skills in animal husbandry and as powerful beastmasters of exotic creatures including the draconids. This family rose to its seat of power during the Age of Kannaan as suppliers and commanders of the beasts used to enslave the people of Eldross. After the peace, they still have yet to shy away from their remarkable skills as tamers of fearsome beasts and exotic creatures. Many of the creatures cultivated and farmed by Clan Samka are done so with the express purpose of selling them as antiquities and farm animals, affording foreigners exotic animal byproducts. Most of the economy stimulated by this is closely monitored by Clan Samka so as to prevent extinction or overpopulation of a species.
Farutah Family, Mortal of Clan Samka
Nearly 50 years ago, Xyna Farutah found the best way to channel lifeforce into the land was to channel Wyld Water and into Withered areas. The family taught the other members of the Rebalancing and through this their fame grew. Xyna’s daughter, Jahsera Farutah, is the Principal Druid on the Rebalancing project. They rise with qualities of the beasts of the land.
House Menawi, Incarna of Clan Menawi
These members believe that the fundamental rule of betterment and creation is conflict. They’re decentralized and mostly roam the waters of Onmas in their Ironwood ships, defending the shores and guarding against intruders. They are known for their sailing and fighting prowess.
Kar’turah Family of Clan Menwai
A family famous for its key role in pushing back the Landonian “campaign”. Most currently famous for their lack of mercy for foreign invaders and in particular, Landonians. The current warchief under Wylde Crown Indra is Liatu Kar’turah. With such a strong connection to the water, their risen elementals take qualities of the creatures of the sea.
Berowen is part of a set of islands that were once a large continental landmass called Onma. When the Nexus opened, two calamities befell. First came the floods. The sky went dark and foul rain fell from the sky. Lightning cracked above the ocean and, in flashes of light, the inhabitants could see the swells of tsunamis descending upon them. Communities were washed away by the rising waters from the ocean, the rivers and the lakes. When the clouds finally broke weeks later, Onma was forever changed. Where once a great landmass stood on the rising above the sea, only a battered series of islands were left.
Next came the Withering. These newly isolated islands, trying to rebuild and find hope in the years of ensuing chaos, found themselves amidst clouds of Prana leaving their land. The iridescent soul of Nature was stripped away and dispersed along the wind. The land turned to grey, the trees and plants dying in and lifeless. The iron turned to rust inside the mines. The water turned black from the necrosed fish whose prana had been rent from their vessels. Only three places were spared from the Withering: New Aughym, protected by the Eternal Grove where immortals had been made into Elementals; Tornheim, built in the Shining Basin of crystalized Tor; and Shanwa, located on the shores of the Lake of Life, where the souls of great people come to bless the water. These places became the bastions of the Wylde, led by the descendants of House Silvas. They tried to rebuild, but the dead lands gave them nothing. They wept for Nature and for life, for none was to be found outside their strongholds.
Yet there was something outside their strongholds that found them. As if the rotting of the lands were not bad enough, the Withering took on a lifelike form of its own. Twisted creatures of nature formed in the dead land, and rose to attack all life they could find. The Witherlings, as they became known, sought to drain the strength and prana from the three protected bastions which remained. Their touch caused decay, and where they killed the dead seemed to return to the land, where they rejoined and strengthened the Withering to join the fight again. The War of Withering it was called, and though none can remember how long it lasted, it seemed as if it would be the end of the world itself. At their wits end, the four great leaders of the Incarna houses met. They meditated in the Eternal Grove, hoping to reconnect with the land and find inspiration. In their most desperate hour, they found it. This inspiration, believed granted to them by the Spirit of the Wyld, told them what they must do. They came to understand the dual nature of the Wylde. Prana was the lifeforce that connected all things, and yes it was being drained; but another force, the assertive power of Tor, was active but corrupted, and forcing the land to rise in manifested form as the witherlings. These embodiments of Tor were trying to reunite Prana, and in so doing were turning and corrupting all of life, the land and the people. They vowed to correct this and never let it happen again.
With this new inspiration, the Incarana saw that all of life was needed, and that the life force within the mortals had been neglected. The force of Tor must be enacted, and in a great ritual of Gaiamancy they join the energy of all of the people, Incarana and mortal alike. In the midst of this ritual, during the direst moment of battle, the fiery haired shield maiden and mere mortal warrior called Berowen fell to an unimaginable count of wounds. But instead of returning as a Witherling, the energy of Tor focused into her through the ritual, and she returned to life filled with the bond between Tor and Prana that is pure Wylde. Possessed in a berserk like state she tore through the Witherlings, who seemed unable to affect her. The people rallied behind, and soon more fallen mortals began to rise again, changed into elemental forms of nature. The war turned, and after several days and nights, finally came to an end. When it was over, the energy flowed away from Berowen and back into the land itself. The last of the Witherlings were destroyed or gone into hiding (and some say still exist to this day in the shadows, called now Withering Beasts). Yet it was through Berowen’s sacrifice that many of the Witherlings were able to be returned to life in new elemental form. The people understood that it had in truth been a civil war, with the corrupted and unchanneled powers of Tor and Prana unable to reconcile their paradoxical dichotomy.
The three grove cities had built inroads to each other, for isolation had left them wary. With these new risen mortals amongst them, the imbalance in the treatment of all life could no longer be ignored. The mortal families made demands of the four great immortal houses that something must change. Wariness turned into animosity and hostility grew. Outside the Eternal Grove, armies of elementals and mortals alike stood, poised for battle. As the drums beat and the screaming began, a chill wind blew from the east, and with it, an iridescent cloud. Everything this cloud touched was drained of Prana and added to the cloud. The Incarana once again found inspiration, and they knew that if the imbalance was not addressed, the Withering would return. And thus, House Silvas, sovereign of New Aughym, opened the gates and allowed their old friends into their walls. The cloud could not breach the Eternal Grove.
Here, the Clans were formed. Each of the families would be adopted by one of the four Houses. A new order was born, and the Court of the Wylde was formed, headed by the newly named Family of Berowen, now of Clan Silvas. Now working together, the Four Clans began rebuilding so that they could thrive. This new Order, the Great Rebalancing as decreed by Clan Silvas, began a generations long project to restore the land to its former splendor. With the wealth flowing from Clan Silvas’ ironwood harvesting and the taxes flowing from the other Clans, Silvas created The Wyld Wood, a Druidic college that accepts anyone of magical talent to train them in the Anchoring and the supporting tasks that accompany the creation of an Anchor Grove. Since then, the Clans have worked tirelessly, though not always cooperatively, to restore their lands to their former glory.
The Landonian Campaign
On massive ships in the sky and in the sea they came, strange creations of magic and machinery that emitted ominous blue lightning. From a place to the north called Landonia they hailed, and though at first they seemed peaceful, their behavior soon began to reveal darker motives. These new people, “explorers”, dressed in their rich and formal clothing, wished to take for themselves a bit of everything. Collecting and cataloguing they called it, but from the land they only took, never giving back anything but damage and ruin in the wake of their strange devices. The Landonians were fascinated by the properties of the Wyld Water on the islands, and began to try and collect it to store in large tanks. For many years this went on, and yet the clans tolerated the outsiders, for they did bring wealth and items for trade. Many, though, believed that bargaining resources from the land itself was wrong, and the culture was divided as to how the outsiders should be treated.
Soon the choice would be made for them. When members of the Clans were coerced into trading their own kind, elementals especially, enough was enough. It was as if the land itself grew angry. Around a fleet of Landonian vessels and airships near the shore, the seas began to churn, and the winds began to blow wildly, driving the airships down. From the land, vines grew into the waters and began to overtake the ships. The Landonians fled, and only a very few escaped. Onlookers said they could see the form of a strong red haired female warrior who bore a resemblance to Berowen herself. Other outsiders have come and gone since, but the people are always wary of them. The world now knows that the lands to the south are not only wild and harsh, but protected; thus only the bravest campaigners go there. The Berwon, as they call themselves, believe that the embodiment of Tor is alive in the land and to this day, it is said that Lady Berowen herself and the land are one, and should ever the need arise, she will manifest in her elemental form to wreak her vengeance on any invaders who would harm the land or its people.