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The Ranch

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The Ranch

Post by Callista on Sat Jun 23, 2012 12:02 pm

The time is slightly medieval in nature so not much technology like cars and the like.

The Ranch stands within a deep, dark forest where horses shy away from and travellers sometimes don’t return...
If they ever manage to break free from the strange spell that hangs over the forest, they tell a mysterious tale of a place where strange beasts with silver outlines and glowing eyes drift past; where shadows appear and disappear out of the corner of your eye, and how a ring of metal suddenly surrounds you.

If they’re lucky they find themselves standing at the edges of the forest, their purses a little lighter and their heads spinning with missing information.

Habitat -
The main building system is built around the old trees that rest in the middle of the forest. Resting quarters are dotting through the branches, some joined by a rope bridge walkway. There are also quarters on the ground used for visitors. The Ranch rests in the middle of two massive trees and houses the main kitchen, pantry, eating area which has rough, worn benches and tables, most made from the roots of the trees that break through the packed down floor, meeting area and other smaller areas for discussion.
There is an open stable with a few closed at the back for horses, as well as a breeding stable and fenced paddock for young elk. Next to the paddock is a training ground which holds a variety of training equipment and stands; archery targets, a walking platform that is raised off the ground and surrounds a small copse of trees, among other things.

A typical living space is normally rotund in nature; the walls being made from mud and soil, packed tightly between branches and the trunk to provide protection. The floor is made from the same materials or even floorboards made from fallen branches, nailed in place. The roof is slightly peaked and mostly covered by the leafy branches of the tree.
The bed can be made from flexible young branches roped together to create a structure that can then be lifted off the ground or left on the floor, and lined with hides, sheets, grass filled/down filled mattresses and even duvets or more often, hand knitted quilts. There’s often a mosquito net that can be drawn over from the wall when the weather gets muggy and draws in little insects. Drawers and wardrobes are also made by twisting flexible branches to make small boxes that can be turned over for a table, stacked for open drawers or simply placed on the floor. There is always a window space (no glass) big enough for three people to get through and with a cloth that can be pulled over at night.

People -
The people of the dark forest are called Forest Singers, or Singers. They use a rare whistled language that is similar to bird call when hunting and foraging. They are a small population, male and female alike, consisting of orphans, reformed criminals and travellers that wished to remain. The descendents of the supposed extinct race help the others learn the old ways, including the rules of being a Singer.
It is a very family-oriented and informal system, even though most of the people aren’t related in any way, shape or form, with a main Ranger/Leader, sub leader (son of the leader) and advisers who are normally the heads of foraging or hunting missions.
When foraging the feet never touch the ground, moving through the trees and relying on the forest, their senses and their other halves to keep them from falling. The clothing is a simple tunic and shorts for the women and trousers for the men, soft soled shoes with grips underneath the toes to aid grip and help climb trees.
Only bonded pairs can join the hunting parties (explained below). The hunting parties consist of five to fifteen pairs depending on the prey. Clothing can be the same as foraging with boots instead of soft soles. Tribal markings are also painted on vertically down the right side of the face.
Only bonded pairs can guard (explained below). Guarding is a solitary life; guards will remain away from the Ranch for a period of one month. Guards wear similar clothing to foragers with short cloaks that hide the lower half of their faces, as well as extra clothing depending on the weather.

Bonding -
It is unknown why but the Singers are able to ‘bond’ with the dark elk, near extinct and much sought after deer-like creatures that herd in the dark forest. Their territories range far and wide but they tend to always return to near the Ranch. This could be something to do with the energy and small shrines that are dotted within the forest. The females are a deep purple, getting darker down the limbs with silver eyes, the males are a dark purple that is almost black with matt silver antlers and silver eyes. The fawns grow normally through the first year and then slow down dramatically. One of the oldest elk was seen to be over 500 years old.
Bonding happens through the eyes. A feeling or sensation occurs which many have tried to explain but have failed. It results in mental understanding as well as other things. (I won’t bother writing everything out as it isn’t really applicable)

Weapons -
Primarily bows and arrows that are made by hand and a small curved hunting dagger. When moving through the trees metal clawed tips are worn over the fingers. These metal devices are often worked into the inner glove and rest comfortably over the fingers, enabling the wearer to grip effectively. They can be used as a weapon but only as a last resort.
Whips are often used as well as an elongation of the arm as well as a weapon. Swords are only used when away from the forest and then only by the leader and anyone he deems fit.

Advancement and Religion –
Because the people come from a range of places – farmland, cities, shanty towns – the Ranch as a whole is quite advanced though tool making is promoted. People learn to make various tools which are then used to make weapons, skin animals, make clothing and create the numerous living quarters and walkways around the Ranch. The people are highly advanced in agriculture, handicrafts and woodwork and they sell their wares secretly.
The race of the Singers used to be a big community but due to the merciless hunting of the elk that resulted in a lot of deaths (when a bonded elk dies, its rider also dies), the Singers closed their community off and moved deeper into the dark forest

Religion again is diverse. The Singers are very spiritual people; able to listen to the forest and are respectful to the various mini shrines that are placed all round the forest. These shrines are ancient in appearance, only a few cm’s in height but the energy of the forest can clearly be felt near them by people that have no magical abilities.
The forest also has so much energy that it becomes alive at times; helping any rangers out if they slip or fall from the trees by wrapping vines round them. There have also been times when the forest will judge strangers, leading them into swamps or simply swallowing them up

Callista
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Re: The Ranch

Post by Callista on Sat Jun 23, 2012 12:11 pm

Sorry if some things don't make sense. I kinda boshed it out as I forgot yesterday.
In summary though they come from a variety of different places, they all learn the old ways with some new items thrown in - hammers, nails, proper bow string, wool.
They aren't tribal in any way (that's probably where I'm getting the feel that Arborel is really primitive) and they have a very relaxed and informal way of dealing with most things.
The forest acts as their first line of defence. If anyone gets past that then they use the trees as walkways to surround the opposition.

If there is anything else you want to know, please feel free to ask me Smile

Callista
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