The wild and rugged Hinterlands are the home to the fierce Predani. They are split into disparate clans that often war between themselves like siblings, but they will face any threat to the Kingdom as a united front. The men and women of the Hinterlands are as fierce and as hard as the land they hail from. The snow covered peaks of the mountains to the rugged cliffs of the coast, throughout the lands the name of the Winter Queen is praised.
Common Races: Humans, Shadowkith, Risen
Uncommon Races: Fae, Naturae
Rare Races: Tainted, Yo’tan
When the Predani fled the old world the first to step ashore on the hinterland were a family of 7 sisters, their husbands, their children. There they were met by the Winter Queen herself. The queen took the couples by their hands and declared them to be the leaders of her people and that she had chosen them to be the first chiefs of the clans that would call this land home. Then she called forth the 7 totem spirits and bound them each to a couple, calling on the spirits to guide and protect their charges and for the couples to revere and protect the lands they were given. When the rest of the Predani came the Queen split them 7 ways and spread them amongst the clans till all were given a new home.
The Predani may be 7 clans but they know they once came from single people that were divided by their goddess, they also know that their first leaders were from a single family. This goes a long way to explain the importance place upon the Predani facing outsiders as one united family.
All the Maestir Predani and the vast majority of other races wear markings or tattoos upon their face and bodies. The patterns of these vary from person to person and place to place but the colour is important, the colour signifies which clan the person comes from.
Each clan has a set of traits that the clan embodies; members of this clan usually display these traits to a noticeable degree.
As well as the 7 founding clans there are several smaller ‘children’ clans, usually centred around large villages and towns that have begun to take on other traits. These smaller clans owe direct fealty and obedience to the founding clan that they came from. E.g. the small Fox clan, a child clan of the Wolf, is renowned for its stealth.
The 7 clans of the founding.
- The Osprey clan are known for being perceptive in their views of the world and graceful in their actions. Their clan markings are light blue in colour and their territory is centred on the Mountain Ranges of the Hinterlands
- The Boar clan are the living embodiment of stubbornness and aggression. Their clan markings are red and the claim the forests as their home.
- The Wolf clan display great patience and a methodical approach to all they do. Their clan markings are brown and they hold sway over the Hinterland tundra.
- The people of the Elk hold the virtues of loyalty and family unity close to their hearts. Their clan markings are green and they are nomadic clan.
- The Selkie or Seal clan are a resourceful and adaptable people, well suited to survive the vagaries of Hinterland life. Their clan markings are dark blue and they dwell upon the coastlines of the land.
- The Wyrm are the least numerous clan of the 7 founding clans. They are respected for their guile and deep knowledge of many things both mundane and bizarre. Their clan markings are yellow and orange, they dwell in the treacherous marshlands and fens.
- The mighty Mastodon clan are famous for their feats of strength and endurance. Their clan markings are purple and they are a nomadic clan.
The nomadic Elk and Mastodon move freely on their travels through the lands of the other clans.
Ranks and Titles
- The King - leader of the Predani, chosen by the 7 chiefs of the clans
- The Speakers - the 2 chosen ‘leftenants’ of the King. Speak for him in his absence. Can be from any clan, chosen by King. Usually high ranking members or chiefs of other clans.
- The Chiefs - The leaders of the 7 clans. Chosen from inside the clan by their clan members.
- The Voices - Leaders of the towns and villages or in the case of the nomadic clans’ leaders of very large family groupings.
- Mothers/Fathers - Heads of households and smaller family groups.
Flags and Symbols - As well as coloured tattoos each clan can be recognised by its ‘glyph’ which is a stylised picture of the totem animal which is burnt, carved or painted onto surfaces as needed. Clan Banners usually consist of some sort of animal skull or ‘dream catcher’ on a pole, the pole (with or without cross piece) is then festooned with trinkets, smaller skulls, sacred parchments and clan glyphs.
The ‘Flag of the Predani’ is a large leather skin mounted on a cross pieced pole. Into the leather skin has been drawn a 6 pointed snowflake. In the middle of the snow flake is the glyph of the Kings Clan. The other 6 clan glyphs are found at the 6 points of the snow flake. The whole snowflake design is then surrounded by various inscriptions to the winter queen
Honours - If a Predani excels in any way, be it in battle, as a hunter, an advisor or inventor then they are awarded ‘Honour Marks’. These marks are simple coloured dots or scars along the cheek bones, nose and forehead. The awarding of the marks is done by the King or chiefs and then applied in the correct colour by a shaman in a rite commending the Predani to the Winter Queen for their actions. A Predani with many honour marks is one to be reckoned with in some way or the other. These honour marks can also be undone and removed for acts of failure or similar.
Enemies - As well as rivalries with other nations, the Predani have several internal foes and adversaries.
- The Manniken - Wooden and Stone constructs that have been made by the T’sil. The T’sil are a race of cold blooded lizard men that live in deep caves beneath the volcanoes of the far ranges. They cannot venture into the cold snow themselves so have constructed the Manniken to go out into the world to attack and pillage Predani settlements.
- Nidagrisur - Evil frozen spirits that take the form of wraiths made from ice and snow. They are the restless souls of those who die alone out in the snow - exiles, lost travellers, abandoned babies and the like. They seek to suck the warmth from the living beings that they hate with a passion.
- Hags - Twisted old ladies who have been tainted by the demons and driven out by their clan. Their demonic powers keep them alive in the snowy wastes and allow them to prey on the children of the Winter Queen.
- Toa - Suo - Snow apes. These ape-like beasts live in large troupes. Normally they steer clear of settlements but from time to time they grow brave and launch savage attacks on isolated homes and villages.
Towns and Villages - Each of the static clans has a main town in its territory which is the seat of its chief and his minions. As well as this there are a scattering of smaller towns and villages across the clan lands.
· ‘The Sky Stones’ a circle of standing stones to be found on the outskirts of the Capital city of High Hall. The Sky stones are in the care of the Osprey clan.
· ‘The Old Man’ - The lands of the Boar clan is home to this single huge tree of a species found no-where else in the land. Some people claim it has a face and talks to them.
· ‘Silent Lake’ – In the centre of the windswept tundra of the wolf clan is the silent lake. On the holiest nights of the year no sound of any kind can be heard within a mile of its shores.
· The ‘White Elk’, once a season the white Elk reveals itself to a woman of the tribe and if the elk can be hunted and killed by the clan the Winter Queen herself will join them in the feast made from its flesh.
· The tiny island of ‘Alaand’ in Kalaholm Bay. This most sacred of Predani sites is tended to by the Selkie, it is the place where the Winter Queen talked to the 7 founding sisters.
· ‘The Serpent Stones’ A series of sacred stones carved in the shape of mighty serpent consuming its own tail, it is said that the Wyrm clan hold bizarre and bloody rites to wise Niska within its boundaries.
· ‘The Valley of Bones’ – Its location is known only to the Predani of the Mastodon clan, it is the place where the great beasts themselves go to die.
Other Places of Note
· ‘The High Halls’ The Capital city of the Hinterlands perched high upon the sacred mountain that lies in the lands of the Osprey.
· Proudly tended to by the Boar clan the ‘Queens Orchard’ produces the ‘Snow Apples’ which are used in many medicines and alcoholic drinks.
· ‘Wolf Pit Mines’ - A large percentage of the metal used in the hinterlands can be traced back to this deep and sprawling system of pits, quarries and mines to be found in the wolf held tundra.
· ‘Hunts Holm’ - The Elk clan spend 1 month a year at this town and host a huge market that attracts folk from all across the hinterlands and beyond. The rest of the year it is almost abandoned save for a small group who volunteer to act as its keeper
· ‘Kalaholm’ – The biggest and most important port town in the Hinterlands is home to chief of the Selkie clan.
· ‘The Caves of Memory’ – These sprawling caves lie deep in the stinking marshlands that the Wyrm call home, they are said to contain all the history, records and learning of the Predani.
· ‘The Black Pools’ - Huge pits of hot tar that mark the half way point of the Mastodon migration route.
The importance of truth and oaths - The Predani place a good deal of value on honesty, especially amongst themselves. Lying is considered to be very bad form and an insult to the other person. They also place great value on promises and oaths. A Predani rarely gives his word or oath but once it is given then they will do all they can to uphold it. Woe betide those who break an oath without stretching every sinew to fulfil it first.
Liars - The Predani do accept that the rest of the world will lie to them and thus the rest of the world is not as worthy of the truth in return. The Predani do not have diplomats they have ‘Liars’, Liars are individuals appointed by the King who are given permission to lie on his behalf and suffer no stigma or dishonour for doing so.
Heroes of Legend - Each clan will have tales and legends that speak of great people from that clan. In addition to these there are a few heroes and tales that all Predani know and love.
- The Princess Stone
- Norrins Law
- The Battle of Hanniken
- The making of the Wyrm
- The Hollow Mountain.
The Kith - The land of the Predani is home to a large number of the Kith. These kith live in family groups or ‘nests’ as part of towns or villages. They are fully integrated and normal members of Predani society with all the rights and responsibilities that entails. The vast majority of them wear clan markings and colours just like any other Predani. A kith in the hinterlands is as entirely normal and unremarkable as a human.
The Risen - The Risen, just like the Kith, are part of the normal mix of society with all the loyalties, duties and rights that any living, breathing clansman has. Being a risen is seen as normal; being a risen is not a crime or judged as anyway abhorrent.
The Others - There are not many of the other races native to the Hinterland. Those that are ‘born and bred’ in the Hinterland are expected to act as any other clansman or face the consequences, their place of birth will dictate the clan they belong to and who they call chief.
Outsiders - Beings from outside the Hinterland that come to stay for any length of time usually stay in the capital town of High Hall or the port town of Kalaholm. Those outsiders who want to join the Predani as a clansman must first find a clan ‘Voice’ willing to accept him then get that clans chief to accept him and finally get the permission of the King or his Speakers.
The Law - There is no written code of law, there is only a sense of right or wrong. The leaders of families and townships are expected to police their own people. If they cannot deal with an issue it is passed onto the clan chief. Only issues that a chief cannot deal with come before the King.
The decision of a ‘Voice’ can be overruled by his chief, a chief can be overruled by the King, and the King can only be overruled by all the other 6 chiefs acting as one.
Only a Chief or the King can order execution or even worse, exile.
The Winter Queen - The Primary focus of Predani worship, she is seen as the creator, protector and provider all wrapped into one. Yes she deposited the Predani in a hard land but like any good parent she is seen as simply toughening up her children to make them mentally, physically and morally fit to survive the challenges that lie ahead. Human society fell once in the sundering due to weakness of body and spirit. The Winter Queen is determined that her children will never fail like that again.
Achta - The Father God
Mader - The Mother Goddess
Achta and Mader do not tend to have any priests in the Hinterlands but all wise and sensible Predani will acknowledge their power with a polite nod and mention during other ceremonies
Little Tuli - The Lord of the Sun
Brother Hittav - The Lord of the Hunt also known as the Wolf Lord
King Ahti - The Lord of the Seas also known as the Selkie Lord
Lord Tusk and Lady Tusk - The Twins of War – Children of the Mother Goddess and the Father God
Father Osprey - Lord of Summer - Son of the Father God and the Winter Queen
Great Ukko - Lord of Storms - Son of the Mother Goddess and the Lord of the Seas
Lady Peller - Goddess of Fertility – Daughter of the Mother Goddess and the Father God
Morla the Silent - Lady of the Dead - Daughter of the Mother Goddess and the Lord of War
The Wyrm - The Predani worship a great Wyrm spirit, The great Wyrm can be male or female and is referred to as ‘Wise Niska’. The Wyrm is revered for its wisdom, knowledge and cunning.
The Church - The Predani do not have an organised church. Each and every Predani can, and does, talk with their gods on a daily basis. It may be a prayer for aid or blessing, a simple thanks or a curse. For many Predani the gods seldom answer directly or quickly but for some, the more devout or in tune with the supernatural, the gods do answer. These Predani become the priests, spell weavers or shaman of the clans. These Predani are then called upon to take the lead in the festivals or greater rites, to give guidance to those who ask for it. The Shaman are most assuredly not a ‘caste apart’, they are part of society. When not wielding the powers of the gods they can be found hunting and working side by side with the others of their clan.
- The Godless day - On this day, when the year leaves the brief summer and plunges once more into winter, the Gods withdraw from the lands of the Predani. The people are left to truly fend for themselves and it is said that any actions done on this day is hidden from the sight of the gods.
- Darkest Night - This day is the deepest and darkest of the deep, dark hinterland winter. The Predani of a settlement gather at the house of their ‘Chief’ or ‘Voice’ and build a huge bonfire. The settlement feast together in a celebration of defiance at the dark beyond the flames and whatever lurks in it.
- First Day - The first day of the Hinterland spring is spent in a celebration of surviving the winter and remembering those that didn’t.
- Totem days - Each clan has a day that it devotes in worship to its totem spirit. These days are not at set times of the year, instead they fall on dates decided by a combination of full moons, eclipses and tides. Most years a clan will celebrate one totem day but some years they may celebrate none or two.
A Predani full name is based on a personal name, a family name/patronymic, a settlement and a clan.
'Poika' means son of, 'tytär' means daughter of.
E.g. Mahel Asmopoika of Kalaholm, son of the Selkie - (Mahel, son of Asmo, of the people of Kalaholm, member of the Selkie clan.)
Or Mahel Karvinen of Kalaholm, son of the Selkie - (Mahel, part of the Karvinen family, of the people of Kalaholm, member of the Selkie clan.)
The Predani do not have separate names for men and women, for the use of poika or tytär will generally refer to the sex of the person rather than needed a different personal name.