Return of the Righteous Moon
The Village of Oswa
Located two weeks east of White Wall, Oswa is home to a small group known as the tribe of the five faces. The area surrounding the village has four walls and three gates. The two mountain ranges hold a few watch towers where scouts can signal visitors or intruders using crystals that shine with a deep red or blue hue depending on the outsiders arriving. The tribe spends the late spring, summer, and early fall hunting, gathering, and raising crops that only can produce in the five month growing season. As it is closer to the pole of air, winters pass through Oswa very harshly. Through pacts brokered with local spirits and their heavy reliance on the help of surrounding settlements, the tribe of five faces continues to heartily grow in what can be a harsh climate.
The tribe is comprised of the five clans who are the bear, the elk, the fox, the squirrel, and the owl. The clans tend to favor particular roles in the village with the bear mainly as warriors, the fox as scouts and spies, the owls often tend towards medicine women and wise men and women, the elk as sachems and priests of Ashka, and he squirrel as diplomats and traders.
The tribe is led by the council of elders who are a representative body of the oldest members of each of the five clans. Each clan has three members who belong on the council. The council makes most decisions for the clan. There are very few laws in Oswa as the warriors main function is to hunt and protect the tribe from outsiders. Otherwise they spend most of their time with their families, helping with harvests and gathering supplies, trading with outsiders, or standing guard at the watch towers. The elders command the general respect of the village as they have seen and survived many winters, which shows they have the experience to lead the village through both difficult and easy times. However there are times the council must turn authority over to others who can make quicker decisions in certain crises.
The War Chiefs are a group of the greatest warriors in each clan. Each clan holds a tournament at the death of their war chief to choose a successor. When the winner is clear they join the chiefs from the other clan. At the death of the previous Great Chief, the other chiefs come together and choose a new one from among their ranks. This is usually an arrangement of who commands the greatest respect, is known to have the greatest martial prowess, and can marshal the most resources. If no clear chief has the greatest experience, they hold a tournament. The chiefs organize warriors for the hunt, but in times of war the other chiefs will rally around the great chief as attendants and aids once the elders have declared war and have handed the great chief the ceremonial war ax. The great chief organizes the villages resources and people to keep them safe and when battle is over it is the great chiefs duty to return the ceremonial ax. Chiefs fear trying to hold onto too much power however as the elder council plays the chiefs and the sachems off each other to maintain a harmonious balance within the village.
The Sachems are a group of elders usually women who have proven themselves capable of communing with the local spirits. Most often they call to Ashka who will negotiate or deal with the local spirits on the villages behalf but there are times when Ashka does not respond and the village must broker deals on her behalf. Through old ritual practices and prayer the Sachems are responsible for making sure local gods are appeased enough to provide bountiful harvests, plenty of fish, and lots of game. The position of head sachem is usually quite clear based on who controls the most spirits and who knows the most about medicine and other arcane arts. Sachems are chosen from those who show a natural talent for many of the arcane arts such as medicine, astrology, dream reading, bone reading, spiritual negotiation, spiritual possession, geomancy, and from time to time magic. Sachems are greatly respected and when a crisis occurs, the elders will often come to the sachems in times of great need, however it is very rare that they will pass control of the village over the to head sachem. Sachems are very powerful and the last Sachem to take control of the village was twenty years ago. It took a wyld hunt punishing the head sachems ally god Indra to return control of the tribe back to the Elders.
The Goddess of Five Faces
Located in the harsh north, the tribe of the five faces worship the goddess Ashka, a goddess who can control the emotions of those who obey or defy her. She is well known for setting those who displease her against each other. It is said in the times before Ashka, the five clans wondered seperate from one another warring amongst each other and outsiders for control of the valley. Each clan followed a great spirit, each one a large animal of their namesake. Ashka brought the great spirits low and united the tribes so that they might prosper and live together in her service. The five clans pulled together into one great tribe and have since learned to live off of the land and bring down their enemies together. Spirits from surrounding areas fear Ashka as it was said that the five great animals were some of the most powerful spirits in the Wawatusca valley. Ashka controlled the emotions of joy, mercy, contemplation, anger, and grief. It is said she used these to distract her enemies at the founding of the tribe and that she controls them to this day and can use them for or against her followers and enemies.
From time to time there are those who are called into Ashka’s service. Usually the individual will receive a dream that brings her to the temple of Ashka. Those who go through the trials have a very hazy recollection of them and most details of the temple elude them. Most cannot even agree on the temples lay out. Those who are called to her are called seedlings where as those who do not receive Ashka’s call are known as infertile seeds. Those who are seedlings often become powerful sachems and servants of the village and the goddess herself. Strangely enough each seedling loses some aspect of their personality and all seem to lose a few memories here and there after their trial. The greatest departure from this usual ceremony is that of Sini, a member of the owl clan who upon her return was no longer the little girl her family remembered but rather a different aspect of the goddess. Her mood changed every day with that of the goddess and who she claimed to be with it.
Ashka’s ability to negotiate with the surrounding spirits has kept most at bay but from time to time, Ashka goes silent. This leads to another local spirit coming in and trying to assert their dominance for a time. The last immaculate hunt left Ashka alone because they were focused on the goddess Indra. Ashka had remained silent when Indra’s mortal sachem ally, blooming lotus, took control of the village. Using her priestess Mother Oakheart as an intermediary she sent for the wyld hunt who restored balance to the village killing blooming lotus, injuring Abanii, defeating Indra, and purging the forest of her god blooded children. As part of the bargain, the Wyld Hunt turned a blind eye to Ashka’s small cult who often kept to themselves and whose defeat would require a longer protracted expedition.
The Haslanti league hardly knows about the village save a small company of mercenaries who usually bring the spoils of war to Oswa in their airship. They usually land once every six months with many strange artifacts and tales of glory. From time to time the mercenaries will hire members of the tribe and take them home to their land to perform various tasks that require an outsider. Usually it is a small task and the returning tribal member is able to return with many goods that help the tribe. The tribe of five faces has fond feelings regarding the Haslanti and when the odd citizen shows up in the village, they will be treated as a friend.
The city of White Wall far to the west has had very cool relations with Oswa. From time to time they trade with Oswa for small grains and other supplies that white wall gets from the dragon colonies, the guild, or other regional powers. White Wall officially doesn’t truly recognize the existence of Oswa and does not see it as an entity really worth dealing with but traders come through from time to time. Each time traders stay in Indra’s wood far enough out of reach of the tribe to maintain a neutral relationship.
Gethamane neither knows nor cares about the tribe of Oswa, as it is too far from their mountain stronghold to take notice. No member of the tribe has ever met anyone from Gethemane nor have they traveled there.
Many Ice Walker tribes frequent the village but recently they have started dropping off. Most of the Ice Walker tribes are friendly with the village, but from time to time disputes have been known to happen. Every once in a great while, an ice walker tribe tries to claim the valley for themselves, but due to Ashka’s interference, the negotiations of the sachems, and the efforts of the chiefs those tribes often are met with defeat and leave the tribe alone. Most recently, those tribes that do visit talk of the great father a man known as Yurgen Kaneko or the Bull of the North. His great victory against the immaculate order has left the village of Oswa curious and a little suspicious of the new Ice Walker warlord. Those tribes that do visit through the year are met with pleasant gifts and the company of the tribe. Yurgen’s ambassador, Fist of the Blazing Star, has recently met with the elder council and has persuaded them that an alliance would benefit them both.
The few ghosts, zombies, and servants of Marama’s fell who arrive are often immediately dispatched by the village. In fact, Ashka so greatly despises them that she is often aware of their presence long before they come close to the river valley. Villagers who do meet with the dead are often banished unless they fight the dead individual. Only once has a large group of the dead come near the village but strange creatures came from south west of White Wall to fight them. Ashka demanded the villagers stay out of it.