Wolves are howling in the glen,
Badgers are sleeping in the den,
But one soul is lying wide awake,
Hunting all manner of Beasty and Fey,
Don’t be afraid to fall asleep,
My little one, for you safe they keep,
Oh the Border-men,
Brave and Bold,
Armed with Sword and Bow,
They Stalk and Fight in Dead of Night,
Until the Morn
-Translation of a Borderlandese Lullaby
The Borderlanders (Iomallslaugh/Йомалслагь ) are a cultural minority in Miklagardian society predating the presence of “Maraslaugh” (Мараслагь “Sea people”, the term for the people of Sigurd and Aslaug). They are a semi-nomadic people, who while outlanders by default, often formed settlements in the forests, referred to as Dunfairs, that served as training grounds, and Forward Observational Bases (FOB’s), and also the ancestral homes of great Ranger Clans.
During The Settlement of Miklagard by the Maraslaugh, the clan of Fionn hold it in their history that they were amongst the clans that helped clear the way for the settlement of Miklagard Society, In an act of generosity, and they’ve carried out that tradition to this day as forest rangers (Forair/Форэр “Watchmen”). Other clans broke away from the supposed “invaders” and became the “Barbarian” (Beachdair/Беахдзр “Scout”) Tribes that also marauded the wilds.
Borderlander Ranger Culture is rooted in ideals of ruggedness, kinship loyalties, and an aggressive survival instinct against dangerous, “unnatural” things, which Borderlanders refer to as their “Hardness” (Cruas/Круас). Thus, an extremely ethnocentric term for the Borderlanders people is “Cruaslaugh” (Круаслагь), While Miklagardians are sometimes derogatorily referred to as “Soft People” (Bogslaugh/Богслагь)
Borderlanders are humans exhibiting a wide variety of physical characteristics. Borderlanders vary in skin tone from light brown to pale white, with olive-skin being the most common color. Dark eyes and dark hair are extremely common in Borderlander circles, but lighter colored hair and eyes are not unheard of. Borderlanders tend to be shorter and leaner than Miklagardians in general, but generally more sinewy. Whether this is a genetic trait, or the result of a wilderness upbringing is uncomformed.
The Four Ranger clans:
Fionn (Фйон or Фён)) (Worshippers of Arawn – Аран)
The Clan of Fionn are based on the outer villages of Miklagard, and they primarily act as Trappers, hunting beasts and patrolling the forests in search of poachers, outlaws, and dangerous creatures. While they are loathe to kill other humans, they aren’t forbidden from it in cases of self-defense, or if another human life is in danger. However, they will attempt to make arrests and defer to either Law Enforcement or Military Personnel whenever possible.
The Cult of Arawn behind the Fionn clan religion is based on the idea of being “Arawn’s Chosen Children”. The Fionn clan interprets this as a Humans being naturally endowed with both the survival instinct and ruthlessness of beasts, but also wisdom and grace of higher beings. As such, the Fionn are tasked with protecting mankind, and the Maraslaugh in particular, from Monsters and Unnatural threats.
Kieron (Кирон) (Worshippers of Nuada – Нуада)
The Clan of Kieron are amongst the most strongly linked to Miklagardian Society by virtue of their roles as mercenaries. More specifically, They are infiltrators and scouts that can traverse rugged terrain and occupy unconventional fighting roles. Many Guerilla Conflicts and skirmishes fought against orcs or hostile neighbors were fought with Kieron clan Rangers rather than conventional troops
The Kieron Clan’s Cult of Nuada is based on the idea that Borderlanders were tougher and stronger warriors than other people, and also that they would be fighting “just” wars for the protection and interest of their motherland. Whether or not that is true will change for each war and/or military conflict.
Flann (Флан) (Worshippers of Belenus – Беланус)
The Clan of Flann were reputed for their role as guides and convoy escorts. They protected travelers on their journeys through the wilderness. As such, they were located around the border villages, and hired their services out to travelers. Most of the contracts they took were from private individuals, rather than local governments, though they did contracts for government services, too.
The Flann’s Cult of Belenus centers on the idea of being the “guiding light” that shines over and protects others in time of need. It maintains the idea of brotherhood and guardianship over common folk. Their religious leanings require them to be neutral in Miklagardian affairs, but that they usually place an emphasis on their roles as protectors of civilians who are passing through dangerous terrain, and will abstain from shepherding military caravans, as those jobs are reserved for Kieron Rangers.
Oren (Орен) (Worshippers of Silvanus – Силванус)
The Clan of Oren are Foresters that protect forested land, rather than settlements. Usually, they patrol the forests under private contracts, culling the population of dangerous animals and eliminating poachers. Their actions are in the interest of protecting a piece of land and preserving nature, rather than protecting humans from the dangers that might be found in said areas.
The Oren Clan’s Cult of Silvanus is based upon the idea that humans are a part of nature, and must learn to live in harmony with it and accept its ways. While they do protect of forests and pieces of land that are under a person’s/state’s ownership and boundaries, they regard this as pragmatic, small steps required to be effective in their goals of preserving nature.
Intersectional conflicts and Allegiances:
The Four Ranger Clans are unique families, that while having large overlap in bloodline and lineages, consider themselves to be distinct enough in culture and lifestyle to exist as separate clans. As such, the Four Clans, while not openly hostile with one another, and all allied to the Miklagardian crown, hold some feuds and rivalry with one another
The Fionn-Oren Feud: Protecting People vs. Protecting Nature
The feud between the two clans of Fionn and Oren is a disagreement in ethics and Ideology regarding their role as forest guardians. Specifically, the Fionn clan frown on the Oren clan’s seemingly inappropriate concern with the preservation of the forest and inherently seeking , when that very same forest habitat can be a capricious, merciless death trap. Conversely, The Oren clan see the Fionn clan as obstinate and self-destructive in their efforts to dominate and vanquish nature.
The Kieron-Flann Feud: Warriors vs. Guardians
The feud between those two clans is rooted in the idea of what specific role Ranger Clans had in Miklagardian conflicts, and the moral ramifications of their involvement In given areas of that society. The Flann clan believes in maintaining Neutrality amongst factions within Miklagard, and only wish to protect travelers crossing dangerous areas as peacekeepers. The Kieron clan, however, feel no Moral dissonance in fighting in partisan conflicts for the interest of their collective Motherland.
The Three Barbarian Clans
The Barbarian Tribes live around the southern and eastern parts of the MIklagardian Forest, though they’re numbers are somewhat more common in the Peninsula. The Barbarians are suspicious of Outsiders, but grant free passage to travelers and temporary inhabitants under rules of hospitality. Some individual groups join in Orc Battalions, but as a whole, the clan tends to shun Orcs.
Falco/Falka: The Tribe of Falco are worshipers of Silvanus and totemists of The Wolf. They usually fight with axe-like weapons.
Iolar/Iolana: The Tribe of Iolar are worshipers of Silvanus and Totemists of The Eagle. They usually fight with spear-like weapons, with the occasional bow.
Mann/Manna: The Tribe of Mann are worshipers of Silvanus and Totemists of The Bear. They usually fight with club-like weapons.
Borderlanders often are stereotyped as being loud, uncouth, and belligerent, enjoying drinking, fighting, and huffing “druidbane” (Друидбэн) mushrooms way too much. However, they are the loyalest friends you can have in the world, and will never back down from a threat.
Society and Culture
Borderlanders all value “cruas” in one form or another (Круас, lit. “hardness”). While “Hardness” does ‘describes physical resilience in one form another, it’s metaphorical meaning is meant to imply strength of character, synonymous with “discipline”, “integrity”, and “determination”. According to the late Fionn Clan Chief Fionn O’Connell, “Rangers are hard men. Show them hatred, and they learn to value love. Show them cruelty, and they learn to value mercy. Show them death, and they learn to value life. Fear and Pain turn Soft men into Monsters. All it does to Hard Men, is make them stronger”. As such, calling anything or anyone “soft” is seen as a great affront in Borderlander Society, because above all, it implies That someone is lacking in moral fiber.
Another important concept in Borderlander culture is the idea of “Aonar Againn” (lit. “One of Us”). This term used for their collateral kinship-based social structure that treats membership within a clan as the result of mutual respect and reciprocity, rather than heritage and descent. In several instances, Elves and Orcs have been accepted into Borderlander society, and many individuals can trace their family tree back to a nonhuman ancestor. Leadership and hierarchy within the society is based upon the respect that a leader commands from his peers, and authority is only legitimate through the consent of one’s subordinates. With that said, though, Clan leadership is most commonly Hereditary, because of the unspoken belief that a good leader will raise their children to also be good leaders.
“Aoyach” is The Borderlander Tradition of Hospitality, and one of the most sacred rules of their culture. It is customary to allow lost travelers and Individuals in need residence amongst Borderlander camps or the Dunfair itself, although usually it’s only for a brief period of time. Food and Strong Drink hold a special significance as tokens of Hospitality, so much that by tradition, Borderlanders are obligated to look after individuals who share meals with them. The ritualistic exchange and consumption of Hard Liquor was used to ratify treaties between The Clans. Whiskey was even used as currency before the adoptionl of metal coins!
Druvach: On the divine magic of Borderlander peoples
Druvach(“Siphoning”), is the Borderlander Term for a form of Divine Magic based on Natural Forces. Borderlanders believe that because their race was made from the combined powers of Arawn and Silvanus, then they have an innate capacity for harnessing the power of nature.
The Pantheon of Borderlander gods provide for the worship of multiple deities. Kieron Clan and Belenus Clan ranger operate under the auspices of Nuada and Belenus respectively, but when performing magic, they invoke the powers of Arawn and Silvanus respectively. This relationship has been described as analogous to “Honoring thy king and also thy father”
The processes of learning and practicing Druvach (amongst other forms of divine magic) is a skill that is only achieved after years of meditation and practice. Whereas all sentient beings have the potential to manipulating magical forces, divine magic is based in a spiritual tradition that treats the use of magic and spell-casting as literally aspiring towards godhood. For example, with a verbal ranger spell like “Hail of thorns”, the incantation itself is akin to a chant used in meditation, meant to focus the practitioner into a state of being where he can access the godly power to make his arrow explode with thorns.
Barbarian Druvach: Totemism
Barbarians, on account of their nature as berserkers, practice Druvach in a more limited form than their ranger brethren. Barbarians are able to manifest their concentrated rage and bloodlust into the form of a totem, an archetypical “spirit” animal that grants them a certain range of abilities. The Totems of the Bear, Wolf, and Eagle are emblematic of clans Mann, Falco, and Iolar respectively, and more seasoned barbarians often have yellow eyes with vertical pupils to represent their animalistic duality.
While the benefits of Totemistic Druvach or tangible, they are less refined than Ranger Druvach techniques. Totemists fundamentally act as a conduit for magical energy, often in chaotic and unstable forms. This allows for its awesome power, but additionally causes the physical mutations that change a Barbarian’s physique, and a lower amount of applicability.
Ranger Druvach: Spellcasting
Rangers, on account of their discipline and dedication, manifest their Ranger Powers through manipulating magical energy tapped from the “sources” of Arawn and Silvanus.
“Arawn”= Life Manipulation. This involves the manipulating magic to command the powers of life and death itself, such as accelerating regeneration (“cure wounds”) or animating previously inanimate objects (“cordon of arrows”)
“Silvanus”=Form Manipulation. This involves manipulating magic to either generate or alter organic constructs, such as causing plant growth (“ensnaring strike”) or hardening one’s skin (“barkskin”)
All spells require both Life and Form Manipulation to be cast. However, different classes of spell require differing ratios of Life and Form Manipulation.
1. Abjuration: Primarily Life Manipulation to perform miracles such as “Accelerated Healing”, “rendering poison ineffective”, “Curing ailments”
2. Divination: More Life manipulation than Form manipulation. Used to gain a heightened connection to living things, where one becomes able to communicate with animals, or to more easily sense the presence of certain lifeforms
3. Conjuration: More Form manipulation than Life manipulation. The “spark of life” is produced, and the energy released becomes molded into physical things such as thorns, vines, or even complex lifeforms
4. Transmutation: Primarily Form Manipulation. The alteration of somethings physical properties and even outright transformation.
Borderlander Naming Conventions
Borderlander Ranger names follow a simple pattern of clan name and given name, with connective prefix. People with the name “Mac” or “Nic” (like Fionn Mac Culloch or Fiona Nic Shaugh) in their title (son and daughter respectively), are blood relatives in the clan. People who have the prefix “O’” (like Fionn O’Connell), are individuals who have married into the clan from outside. However, “O’” individuals will have children who will be called “Mac” or “Nic”. respectively, as they are born into the clan’s lineage.
To outside Mikelegardian society, Borderlanders will usually go by their clan name to avoid confusion, but sometimes go by pet names or diminutives. Fionn Mac Tire’s Nickname was “Ty” amongst clan members and some Miklagardians, but he currently accepts the name Fionn, because as far as he’s concerned, he’s the last ranger belonging to that house.
Gendered clan names for household:
“Fionn” or “Fiona”
“Kieron” or “Kiara”
“Flann” or “Felana”
“Oren” or “Orina”
Borderlanders were foragers with moderate horticultural practices before Miklagardian invasion, and still maintain that tradition somewhat. However, they still have contributed to Mikelegardian society in the culinary field, mainly through stews of bush meat, tubers, mushrooms, berries, and nuts.
Borderland liquor-Potent in any form. Borderlanders are well renowned for their strong Nettle Beers, berry and wildflower wines, home-made mead, and most famously, Borderlander Whiskey (from Uisce Crua – “Hard Water”). Borderlander Whiskey is made from the fermentation and distillation of extracts from a sugar beet like tuber that are flavored with fruit and spice extracts. (Despite the name, the spirit is more reminiscent in character of Gin or White Rum than real-world Whiskey) Even more famous is the white rabbit concoction, a solution made from hallucinogenic Dhuidbane Mushrooms and pure tuber ethanol. The sale and production of White Rabbit is considered a misdemeanor, and while drinking it is not illegal, chances are one would commit a sizable offense under the influence anyways.
Herbal Tea-Often produced from Dandelion Roots and/or foraged Mushrooms.Usually drunk hot, but sometimes cooled/chilled.
The Borderlander “Ranger” Accent bears a strong similarity to Midwestern American English with some Southern American properties. The Borderlander “Barbarian” Accent bears a strong resemblance to a Scottish Highlands or Irish Accent. The “Barbarian” Accent is actually the older form of speech when Borderlanders began speaking Miklagardian.
The Borderlander Language has a rich history and tradition, with the first recorded form made from an Alphabet based loosely on Dwarven script. It is referred to in the Borderlander tongue as “Iomallcant”. Iomallcant has a limited applications outside of Borderlander society, except for some Military Code used by Kieron-clan mercenaries.
There is a legend circled around Borderlander circles that the word “Mikllagard” was a corruption of the word “Ma Coilleagh-gard”. Ma Coilleagh ( Ma Koy-ya “Mother Forest”) was the word Borderlanders used to refer to the Miklagardian Forest, and such the Miklagardians used it to describe the country.
Attitudes towards Other Races
Dwarves – Dwarves are well respected in Borderlander circles for their contributions in craftsmanship, writing, and values. Dwarves are seen as kindred spirits for their good cheer, “Kinney” (“Determination”), and sociability. It’s said amongst Borderlanders that “Dwarves are little in body because the gods made their hearts too big.” However, Dwarves are seen as overly focused on wealth and treasure, and while Borderlanders respect their drive and mining traditions “You can always forge a good sword, but you can’t ever eat it”.
High elves – High Elves are treated with more than a little disdain by Borderlanders. It’s partially due to Elven physical endowments such as a natural affinity with magic, dark vision, great longevity, coupled with Elven fixation on beauty, harmony, and grace, and the perception that Elves have an “arrogance” (“Arden”) that derogates other races. Borderlanders believe “High Elves look down on those who wade through dirt, pain, and death, because they lack the courage to face such things themselves. As such, they are fundamentally lacking in the Hardness that makes other races good and moral people”
Wood elves – Wood Elves are afforded more respect than High Elves, because they choose to live in the wilderness, and are able to survive there. However, Borderlanders are nonplussed by Wood Elf aloofness, and even more so by their solitary natures. Borderlanders see Wood Elves as “Elves who adopted the forest, while humans were molded by it.” Borderlands also believe that there is something seriously wrong with wood elves if they require “Either Heaven (Religious rites) or Hell (outside threats) to bring them together”.
Rites of Passage: The Owlbear
Borderlanders Ritualistically Hunt Owlbears as their first “Trophy Kill”. This is usually a ritualistic re-enactment of “The First Hunt”, where Arawn killed a mythical, gigantic Owlbear called Oycharth Mor (lit. “Great Owbear”); from Mor’s body came the Borderlander tribes, with legendary MatriarchTara Ban Shalgair ("Tara The Huntress) Spawning from the skull. Usually, adolescents are required to take down an Owlbear as an initiation into Adulthood. After the beast is killed, a trophy is taken by each group.
Rangers – Owlbear Skull (Helmet)
Barbarians – Owlbear Pelt (Cloak)