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|Bristlefurs, the Wise Elders|
|Build||Portly and muscular|
|Height||8'0" - 8'9"|
|Hair||Brown, black, grey|
|Skin Tone||Dark fur and tough hide|
|Eye Colour||Brown, amber, green|
|Non-Playable Races Category|
The Bristlefur, sometimes referred to by other natives or those more closely intertwined with nature as the Wise Elders or the Timberkin, are a sentient, intelligent species of bipedal ursines now native to Vynland. Simple, isolationist and kind-hearted, the bristlefurs combine ancient wisdom with an impressive, towering figure, and are well liked as reliable helpers and foresighted beings. Found predominantly in the northern half of Vynland, the Bristlefur live in the various forests of the continent, only leaving them to hunt and travel between thickets, often coming to help crestfallen adventurers and those nearing death. They are shamanistic in tradition, and wield mending and natural magics of renown. Organized in tribes, this ursine race communicates in the mother tongue of their past land, the growling-like language of Kvigand. The Bristlefur are predominantly a peaceful species, although they will defend their homes like any other. They would rather resort to magic and reason with any threat, yet benefit from their impressive posture to dissuade most from targeting them.
The bristlefur are known to be amiable and otherwise friendly, being the only native race to be considered "allied" to the civilized races. They will come to one's aid should they be vanquished in the wilderness, making use of their formidable life magic to mend and stabilize those at death's door.
Foreigners to Vynland through their past, the Bristlefur contrast the other native races of the continent through their passive, amiable nature. Inquiries into their origin reveal that they once lived in a land far away, one called "Gandanes" in their own tongue. Some two thousand years ago, a chain of events forced the bristlefurs to flee from Gandanes, constructing basic and primitive rafts that allowed a portion of their kin to land unscathed on Vynland's northern shores, having lost everything they held dear but their spirit. The oldest Bristlefurs repeat the tales transmitted from generation to generation of their homeland as a single, large island somewhere in the Pale, the ocean that spans the North and West, beyond the great sea reefs and far West of the dwarven Northlands. There, the Bristlefur once lived as a relatively simple and primitive species of naturally-tuned ursines, traditionally gifted by their spiritual connections with a long-lasting lifespan of several hundred years, allowing an individual to amass a great deal of wisdom. Living on Gandanes through a simple hunter-gatherer lifestyle, the nordic climate of the island meant prey such as deer and various species of leporids (rabbits and hares) were abundant, dwelling amongst the thick forests of pine and timber. Hibernating for almost half of the year, the Bristlefur experienced a rather slow way of life for many millennia, able to slowly and thoughtfully develop a cultural balance with nature and the world around them, easily becoming the apex species of their subcontinent.
Rough approximates establish that it was about a century prior to Auros's coming when the seasonal lifestyle of the Bristlefur was suddenly interrupted. Having fostered a strong connection to the spiritual plane, and maybe even to unconfirmed divine beings residing in their region of Astra, bristlefur shamans and diviners begun experiencing regular and repeated visions of destruction, prophetic in nature. It took over a few decades for the various tribes of Gandanes to, through days-long conversations, convene on a common interpretation of the spiritual foresight they were granted with and begin pondering on a meaning to it. The widespread belief became and still is that those visions were transferred to the primal Bristlefur by their spirit protectors, the pagan gods of the forests that they perceive as patrons. That theory remains mere speculation to most. As the years passed, the contents and frequency of the reoccurring prophecy became clearer, limpid to those gifted in the diving arts, and came in three parts. Firstly, most saw a fiery rain from a darkened sky, of hues yet unseen on Gandanes. This rain was always, according to the tales of Bristlefur elders, shortly followed by intense feelings of desperation and pain, which felt as vivid as the real emotions by those that awoke from the Dream. This transe concluded in a third and final vision, upon which the only thing that could be felt is the coming of a great wave, and the same feeling of enveloping sleep the Bristlefur would experience when hibernating.
To many Edriel scholars, this spiritual dream experienced by the Bristlefur seems to have predicted the events of Fall of Eyrm by decades. It accurately assessed the firing of the Cilthosian by the elves on a different continent and its consequences for Astra, as the black moon shattered and a hail of Darkstone fell upon the world. Even those well learned in the mystical and occult arts have no real explanation or identity for the forces that saved the Bristlefur, only the assumption that they were benevolent in nature. It took a few more years for the Bristlefur to assume a great danger was looming over their kin, beginning to migrate all of their clans towards the shores of Gandanes, upon which many begun hard work. Their physical brawn was put to good use as they broke for the first time their oath to nature through the construction of massive rafts of logs and flotsam. Entire valleys were deforested with the blessing of their guardian spirits, as the Bristlefurs filled their bellies and slow-beating hearts with anticipation of the heralded doomsday. As the Black Moon fell under the gaze of their shamans, the people of Gandanes were ready, their rafts launched as a light show of auras and magic played across the skies. Through the rising tempest, the last gaze they could lift upon their ancestral home was one of black shards falling from the skies, pine forests catching alight with nefarious roars, only equaled by the crashing of the rising waves. Several of their primitive embarcations experienced a similar fate, as some can recall the names of entire tribes, lost to the depths of the sea in subsequent storms.
It was after a few weeks of hibernated, slow drifting that the remaining bristlefur tribes would beach on the shores of northern Vynland. Finding a climate much alike to the one they had left, woefully unaware of the cataclysm that had just wracked this new land, the Bristlefur reached for the forests. There, they sought once again their calm, slow way of life.
The Bristlefur are among the rarer species of Vynland who appear naturally amiable to explorers and newcomers alike. Although their physical appearance may come as downright threatening to many, clad in coarse fur, with a frame sometimes as wide as three humans side to side and a head or two taller, the bristlefur inspire little but respect. In sheer opposition to their physiology, they are some of the kinder beings one can come upon, often willing to help anyone in their times of need, as long as those individuals return the favor by being kind to the natural world.
Many adventurers, of all pasts and races, recall being saved from death in their times of need during quests within the wilds by bristlefur intervention. Those unlucky few who fall prey to the various dangerous monsters of the greater open lands can count, should they fall unconscious, to awake within the protection of the Bristlefur, who often take them back to safety, providing basic medical aid whilst doing so. While the larger motives of the Wise Timberkin for going on such endeavors are unknown, they are believed to see it as their duty towards nature and towards their patron spirits to bring aid to fellow sentient races. They often do so without getting themselves involved in fighting of any sorts, unless in self defence. While females still bear the children in the same way most mammalian species do, males on the other hand appear to have a stronger bond with the spiritual world, leading them to serve more often as shamans and spirit speakers by a slight margin, their fur appearing thicker and their eyes more translucent on average.
Found deep within the thickest forests, bristlefur settlements have rarely been observed by members of the civilized races as they tend to keep to themselves, remaining secretive when possible. The few testimonies recounted by imperial scholars describe a lifestyle organized in circular fashion, much like their belief system. Bristlefurs are said to construct houses out of primarily tree husks, re-using dead organic material to erect housing in a shape not unlike large, conic tents, made of wood and sap. These are laid out in circles around a communal clearing, often centered around specific landmarks, like oddly-shaped rocks or trees. These communal areas are both used for festivities and rituals, and represent the core of bristlefur culture. Should a tribe grow in large numbers, then several circles of habitations surround the first circle in perfect coherence, forming an overlap of structures all facing the same direction: the spiritual core of the village.
Unlike the Tusker, bristlefurs will shy away from marking the boundaries of their territory with skulls, broken weaponry and other military displays, rather simply marking it with paint upon rocks and mountain sides. These markings often depict the same network of circles with which they organize their settlements. Amongst bristlefur, there seems to even be a norm in the drawing of such, so that any bristlefur can recognize which tribe and settlement a landmark may point to by observing the layout and design of the circles.
Society and Culture
Although they tend to remain away from centers of civilizations, electing to life among their kin in the deepest forests, what little is known of bristlefur society is that they live in family structures, akin to a small tribe. A deeply religious species, those tribes are often led by their shamans and diviners, as well as any individual able to perform their nature-oriented magic, organized in a council of elders of sorts. Although very intelligent, bristlefurs are known to ponder extremely slowly, macerating solutions and possibilities in their minds for hours, if not days or weeks for particularly difficult choices. This can often result in entire councils falling in a state of group quasi-hibernation, where their own spirits combine and discuss. This phenomenon has never been observed, only described by bristlefurs who willingly communicated with explorers from Vynmark shortly upon their arrival. The wizened willingness of the Bristlefur to peacefully initiate discussion with the human newcomers has contributed in settling their reputation as the only real allies of the civilized races upon Vynland, contrasted by the vileness of Goblins and the threat-induced hatred of the Tuskers. Although the Bristlefur rarely engage in hostilities beyond hunting for subsistance, having established themselves as rulers of the northern forests with almost as much ease as they had on Gandanes, it is the duty of the larger females and males to defend the tribe when necessary, and also to often go out and interact with the outside world.
This has brought forwards the conclusion that bristlefur culture is rather egalitarian when it comes to classes and sex, as they appear to live almost as a racial family, where all contribute to the survival of the group and bears the same individual value. Bristlefur belief systems are organized around their ancestral set of spirits, whose names are rarely spoken or recorded, but with whom it is said the ursines maintain a near-constant mental link. These spirits are the divine energy from which the bristlefur draw their magical strength, as many of their ilk are experienced shamans, druids and magi of the wilds, able to protect and mend fellow woodland creatures.
Conflicts and Warfare
As mentioned previously, it is rather rare for the Bristlefur to bother considering and pondering upon the possibilities of warfare, as it is, at least for them, a heavy and thought-provoking topic. Slow to act and slow to think, it has been centuries since the shamans concluded that their physical brawn was more of a deterrent towards any would-be invader then a battle asset, as the bristlefur make for poor generals and strategists, thinking in a painstakingly methodical and lethargic manner. The few somewhat energic warriors that they possess are often the youngest, as the counterweight of their extended lifespan (over several centuries) means that they gradually lose interest and energy in most earthly confrontations. They nonetheless have experienced the need to defend themselves a few times in the past, usually against the intrusions of goblin or tusker warlords, or of an invasive wyvern. In such situations, bristlefurs tend to weave their magic in a dissuasive manner, trapping their foes in the great roots of their home trees, summoning walls of dirt and stone and casting great whirlwinds that lash and throw, all in order to dissuade most attacks.
|Creatures of Astra|
|Playable Races||Dragonkin • Dwarves • Elves • Humans|
|Non-Playable Races||Bristlefur • Centaurs • Goblins • Tuskers • Wraiths|
|Last editor: PrepareForDoug|
|Last edit: 18/04/2019|