The Tribes of the Valamari

You know what a normal, sensible man does when he sees one of them animal spirits? He runs! You know what one of those Valamari do? They fall on their knees and worship the thing! Don’t ask me if it works or not. I would probably say something wrong and have my face ripped off.

– Silas Jartherdan, Dwarf Explorer

valamari-borderIt’s been suggested that when Man first arrived on the shores of the continent they revered the spirits, and followed the guidance of not Priests but Shamans. If so, then the Valamari people are the last remnants of that tradition. Contrary to popular belief the people of the Valamari are not divided tribes of barbarians, as nearly all of them live within the confines of walled cities. Additionally all of the various tribes are in communication with each other. The masked witches known as the Jicarilla congregate every year to discuss political and social matters – or more when needed. They never meet in one place; they usually alternate between the various Valamari cities as needed.

The Valamari cities are spread across the continent, although the two places that hold the most of them would be the Wild Wood and the Dragon Wood. Unsurprisingly this is also where the most Spirits can be found. These cities are known as the Turvadavas, and they just as much as metropolitan centers as they are fortresses built for siege warfare. Violent spirits are temperamental creatures and the Turvadavas have been built to withstand their assaults. The Valamari that call any of the Turvadavas home are hardened individuals, born and bred for war.

However when you count all of the Valamari those that call any of the Turvadavas home are in the minority. Most Valamari are traders and explorers at heart, and have built their cities at the center of crossroads or other vital trading centers. Called Hrbarost, these cities have made the Valamari a familiar sight throughout the realm.  Rarely do any of the Valamari settles outside one of their cities but they do pass through many of the Imperial settlements, distributing goods as well as local news.

Leadership amongst the Valamari are distributed amongst both the men and the women. The all-female Jicarilla witches act as the political and religious leaders, handling negotiations with both mortal and spiritual creatures, while the Kralj handle the protection of their cities. The bulk of the Valamari military is made up of the Neustrasiv, who invite spirits into them via runic tattoos to enhance their strength. The Jicarilla are taken from the daughters of the Valamari shortly after their pubescent years, and after that they never show their face unmasked in public. Only Jicarilla may initiate one into the sisterhood, and no man may enter any of their spirit lodges. The Kralj are voted into their office every six years, or upon the death of the previous Kralj, and usually cement their place through valor in battle or keen tactical awareness. A Kralj is usually ferocious in battle or a good strategist that knows how to minimalize losses, but rarely is he both.

As for the Neustrasivs, each city holds a single lodge where all of the local Neustrasivs are trained. Each of the lodge is named after an animal or element that best resembles their fighting style – examples are Elk, Wolf, Salmon, and Fire.