What my Uncle Told Me

by Andrew Behan

Who are you?

I am Rolat master hunter of the Bear people. I lead the hunt because Wrothela has blessed me with ability and generosity.

Who are we?

We are the Bear people. After treacherous Lokaymadon tricked Arstor of Varstolar into giving the hand of his sister, Erilindia, the high priestess of Brola without due ceremony, we went hungry. Wrothela the son of Lanat, the West Wind, taught men to hunt and won the favours of Cerinthe. We are their children. By her other husband Fralar Hungry Beast Cerinthe bore Rathor Bear Brother. The bears are our cousins and it would be cannibalism for us to eat their flesh so we do not hunt them. As the master hunter Cerinthe is my wife.

Are we a great people?

The greatest. The world is full of all kinds of people but none can measure up to us. Lanat West Wind saved the world when the other gods hid from the Mountain Stabber. Wrothela, without weapons, preserved the world when Arkat crushed Wrolat and Kedderat. Unarmed we fended off the hungry ghosts. We are great because we know what really matters when our foolish foes do not.

What is the difference between men and women?

Men are hunters and women forage with their digging sticks. Men are passionate and implacably proud. Women are more forgiving, thoughtful and peaceful, like the earth. Whilst most women marry as soon as they come of age and have children which they protect with the ferocity of a she-bear men spend years wandering after their initiation before they take a wife.

Where do we live?

The tula Cerinthe cradles us in her arms. We call the lands inhabited by the clans descended from the Hunter Wrothelingland. Beyond is the habitation of the wicked Moon and Dark Tribes.

How do we live?

We live as Wrothela teaches. Throughout the year we travel about Cerinthe. From the Mens Time until Sacred Time we camp in the Mens Glade near the Auroch people. From Sacred Time until Midsummer we camp at the Summer Glade between her shoulders. Thence we travel to the Autumn glade near the tula of the Wasp people. At Womens Time we go to the Womens Glade where we remain until Mid-Winter - then we got to the Marrying Glade where we take wives from the Ermines and give our daughters to the Aurochs. At Mens Time we return to the Pine Glade where Wrothela first met Cerinthe.

We remain at each camp for a season. Each day women spend a while foraging for roots and nuts whereas each man may only go hunting two or three times a season. Each hunt takes about a week. Not everybody goes hunting at once. Others stay behind to mind the children, rest and think. At this time you can fool around, make poems to propitiate the spirits. When your belly rumbles call a weapon-taking; between four and six other fia will come to you with their spears and axes. You must bring back meat for the women, children and the bad hunters. Sharing is Wrothela's greatest virtue and everyone will hold you in high esteem if you are generous.

Unlike silly exiles say, there is no shame in going unclothed. In camp there is no need of cloaks. Cast them off when you have no need of them. They will be easily replaced when the North Wind howls and you must chase your quarry through thorny brush.

What is my lot in life?

Soon you will be initiated into the mens' secrets. Then you will go amongst the other clans until you are wise enough to take a wife. You will form a fia with the other boys initiated with you. You may go to Wrothela's Spring at Gervain's Camp, Varstolar where the tree's have silver leaves or the Place of Severed Heads where the Dark Tribe lives.

Who rules us?

You must rule yourself. We have no kings or princes. It is foolish to make one person responsible for the behaviour of everyone else just because of who their father was. Even brave Thryth BlastedOak must demur if another adult is more able or better informed than she in a particular regard. However we must keep faithful to the customs of Lanat which Wrothela passed on to us. If someone neglects custom we hold a weapon-take. Each man must bring an axe and spear, each woman a digging stick. Whilst we try to remember what the custom is the accused can try to refute the claims made against them. The older people hold more authority. If it remains in dispute what the custom is the lanating goes with Sarius LowerWind to visit Brola's cavern in Dark Plenty and speak with the dead. He may even travel behind the West Wind to Lanat's tent itself. If someone is proven to have broken custom they are thrown out of the clan and left to starve on the heath.

What makes a man great?

Any man may be great if he listens to Wrothela. Be courageous, merciful, wise, honourable and above all generous. Would you let a cousin starve if you had plenty and he had nothing to give you in return for your meat. You must not let anyone boss you around, be proud of who you are or you are no-one.

What is evil?

Chaos is evil because it does not respect custom. If you don't respect custom you will be thrown out of our clan so that you will have no kin either: like the cannibals or kallikantzaroi. It is evil to have kings or cities, you must be free like the wind. Greed is evil, you must not have property apart from your kin or eat in private. Cruelty to kin, beasts and the earth itself is also wicked. Only the followers of Wrothela are able to slay animals without being cruel. You must not rend the flesh of Cerinthe or her sisters with a plough or seek metal in her womb. Some say that the earth of other lands is dead so it is alright to use mined metal and meal from far away. I don't think that this is true.

What is important in my life?

You are no longer a child. Soon you will become a man. You will form a fia with others of your age. Then you shall travel the land and if you are brave you may visit the Moon Tribe, the Dark Tribe or the Squirrel Clan of our people. When you are seven years wiser return to us and take a wife from the Ermine Clan at the Marriage Stone. Then you will have children and hunt like Wrothela before you and truly be a man. If you obey custom your life will be long and happy and your children will grow up strong and wise.

How do we deal with others?

Your kin are your blood and bones. The Bear clan, the children of Cerinthe, are your bones. Your lineage is your blood. Your brothers and sisters are those of your own age who share your tent. Those of your own age but are not of your age are cousins. Those who are much older than your own age; but not old enough to be your parents are uncles and aunts. You have a whole host of people to call mother and father. Those who are too old to be your parents are called Grandmother or Grandfather.

All of these and your relatives through marriage are kin, with whom your first loyalty must lie. This is because they offer you the five blessings of Protection, Order, Participation, Justice and Revenge. Anyone who is not of our kin, man or beast is a stranger. When you meet a tent you don't know use the greeting Lanat taught us. This is the lightbringers greeting.

Good Greetings in ill times, Friends!
No person can risk the world alone.
Join others you can share with,
They need not be like you.

If they reply in kind you are bound by hospitality, and so are they. You must not harm your hosts, nor they you. You must not steal from them and must not bear arms unless they ask you to. You must honour your hosts with words of thanks, and must not insult them for the duration of your stay. They may present you with gifts: the Blanket Gift; the Meat Gift; the respectful Salt Gift; or the onerous Duty Gift. In marriage we call the Duty Gift the Wife Gift. However, if a stranger doesn't respond in kind to your greeting at least you know that they are a foreigner. Be careful with foreigners. Remember that they are different and do not know our ways. Take offence slowly when they insult you or act stupidly. They are not blessed with Lanat's wisdom. For this reason you must not trust them either.

Who are our enemies?

The Moon Tribe and the kallikantzaroi are bad; they worship chaos slime like Poison Blood, daughter of the Mountain Stabber, that would destroy the world. Be careful of them, they are more powerful than you are. The Dark Tribe are wicked for they raid us and teach our outcasts to feed on the flesh of kinsfolk. Though they are at peace with the Moon Tribe they hate chaos so they can't be completely bad.

The Bisosae are chaos too, though they would not recognize it. They cruelly tear the flesh of the goddess with their ploughs. They enslave everything: forcing plants to grow straight and harnessing animals. It is evil to have kings. This is the chaos of Lokaymadon. Our kinsfolk in Somarin are not free of this taint. We call these people the Squirrels because they horde their possessions and do not share, even with their brothers and sisters. However they arechildren of the Storm and are punished for their evil ways by having to spend their whole lives toiling; let them be a warning. They are more misguided than wicked.

Wrolat is bad too. Where Lanat is the mighty hurricane from the West, Walinat is the cold snowy gale of the north and Jumat is the last gasp of the dying Wrolat is a burp or a fart. He is treacherous and disorderly. Take care of him and those lanatings who cannot tell the difference between a fart and the mighty West Wind. They are outlaws, they don't respect custom and aren't protected by it.

Who are our gods?

We worship the Five Winds and the bounteous Earth. Wrothela, the Upright Man is the closest god to mortal man.But do not forget to venerate Lanat, Walinat, Elmela who drives the sun across the sky or his mother Mornana. Do not forget Sarius who leads us to Dark Plenty or Jumat who draws our breath from our bodies. Beware of the Ill Wind and the belching imbecile, do not listen to the lies of the bad gods.

Be thankful to Cerinthe whose generosity protects us from starvation like Wrothela before us. When you go abroad venerate her sisters the spirits of hill and stream. Jarnan, the flowing river, is one of Cerinthe's sisters. Once we worshipped Brola, Cerinthe's giving mother. Then Wrolat took her prisoner and Arkat slew her. The Somarini defile her memory by venerating slovenly Hon-Eel and growing her unpalatable maize.

What is there to do around here?

We have plenty of time to relax when we aren't hunting. We like to wrestle and some enjoy playing kick-the-ball. Singing is always a favourite and clap-dancing is always the best way to practise for the festivals when instruments are made and the gods themselves watch us. We have responsibilities: we must pray to our gods; mind our children; and do our wives bidding. Often strangers come to our tula. We give them Lanat's greeting and listen to their tales of far away places.

Kedderat=Kedderoth (BoDR)
Jumat=(H)umat(h/kt/um), sort of.

homeInfo Plaza David Dunham Page | Glorantha Page | Brolia Page