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Author Topic: Twilight Ramblings 7b - Fubarnii 101 Chapter 2  (Read 1347 times)
Carcharoth
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« on: August 26, 2012, 02:53:00 pm »

Chapter 2: The First Societies

Hunter-Gatherers

By the time the Fubarnii species had evolved, the extensive swamps of an earlier geological age had long since dried up and Anyaral was pretty much as it is today, though the Argoran Wastes were less barren, and the forests extended over a greater area.  The plains  of what is now the central Empire and the Casani Territories were their home, and as they spread throughout Anyaral they also adapted well to mountainous regions.  The forests however posed a greater danger as the early Devanu societies were established in those areas.  With the forest stretching most of the way across the continent at the time, the Fubarnii on either side developed somewhat independently.  The racial differences between the Fubarnii of the Casani and Argoran mountains and of the Empire and Delgon are apparent even today.  Later, as the forests were pushed back, the Fubarnii of the central area became something of a mongrel of these two, while the Delgon remained isolated in the highlands and developed their own characteristics such as the paler skin.  The recessive green colouring is characteristic of the Casani and Argoran branch, but not particularly common in the current Central Empire.

For thousands of years the two intelligent species lived side by side, the Devanu in the deep forests, the Fubarnii in the colder mountain regions where the Devanu could not live comfortably, and both in uneasy coexistence on the plains.  The Devanu were an old species; though not as dextrous as Fubarnii, they had long ago discovered that they were well adapted for plains life and were able to communicate and organise their social interactions such that working in packs to bring down large prey was a possibility that had not been open to their more primitive ancestors.  They had a preference for settling in the high places, however, where the Fubarnii tended towards low, hidden settlements.  Something of an arms race may have occurred as the newly sentient Fubarnii learned to adapt and protect themselves from this ancient, intelligent predator; what the Devanu lacked in dexterity and technological progress they made up for with cunning and increasingly complex social hierarchies, while the Fubarnii, without the natural weapons of a predator species, constructed their own.  In this way, the two species lived and developed together.

Plains-dwelling Fubarnii lived on naturally growing fruit, nuts, leaves and fungi, garkrid and small animals.  As their technological capability increased, they were able to cut up tough roots, set up nets in the rivers and set traps for larger or swifter prey.  Hunting of very large animals was a rarity – even an enuk would provide more meat than one extended family required, so large hunts were a special event at times of festivals or gatherings where the meat could be shared out among sufficient numbers.   Besides, enuk were at this time starting to be domesticated for riding.  Leatherworking therefore developed through the use of small pelts rather than large hides.

In the mountains, diet was very similar in variety, and differed mainly in the particular species available.  The harsher climate meant that food was generally more scarce, and every effort had to be made to derive nutrients from what was available.  It is likely that the idea of cooking food originated in mountainous areas.  In the Setir mountains in particular, the presence of various wooly species also initiated the development of spinning, weaving and felting.  The use of plant fibres to create fabrics on the plains developed much later (note that clothing for warmth is not as critical to Fubarnii as it is for humans – in modern times it is used extensively for fashion, status and modesty, but clothing for warmth is really only a necessity in the mountains).

Other materials in use at this time included stone, bone, horn, wood and shell, and later copper.  Jewellery was made from any of the above and more.  Weapons included spears, axes and slings.  Ochre pigments adorned cave walls and bodies; tattooing and piercing were not uncommon.  There was an essentially animist spirituality – the tradition of the Sky God who created the gods Kekekur, Shusur, Mek, Breye, Meded and Grak seems to have originated in the central and Setir regions, with a completely different mythology arising in the Casani and Argoran territories.

Early Fubarnii were nomadic, moving with the seasons.  In the mountains this generally meant moving to the lower slopes during the winter and back to higher altitudes in summer.  Each clan would have particular sites they tended to move between, where natural caves provided shelter.  The plains Fubarnii also frequented cave sites or set up temporary structures against cliffs, in natural hollows or wedged between rocks.  Some of these ancient sites show evidence of excavation to enlarge the living area, suggesting that they were returned to frequently.

A clan (being small enough to organise and move between sites and large enough to provide sufficient protection) usually consisted of around four families of one Kopa, three or four Sempa and their associated Jenta, around 40 individuals in all.  One of the Kopa would be clan leader – the others were often erstwhile wives who had developed and taken a family of their own.  Once the jenta came of age, they would marry into another clan.  Certain bonds would then exist between these clans, who would be the first port of call if larger numbers were needed to fight, trade or provide any other support.  Twice a year, in spring and autumn, clans across a wide area would get together for a celebration.  This would be an opportunity to trade, arrange marriage contracts, and mate.   Jenta therefore came in two seasons – winter babies, who gestated during the cold months and emerged in summer to plentiful supplies of food, and summer babies, whose birth came just before the cold season.  Evolutionarily speaking, the second mating is an insurance policy.  In Fubarnii life, summer babies were generally runts who had drawn the unfortunate short straw.  Though this doesn’t really apply in modern life, the concept of a “summer baby” is still understood and used as a derogatory term, with a greater or lesser harshness depending on culture.

Permanent settlements

It is likely that a combination of factors led to the eventual demise, for most Fubarnii, of the nomadic way of life.  Firstly, a rise in population would make for unwieldy clan sizes that were easier to manage in a permanent abode.  Secondly, the ever-inquisitive Fubarnii were progressing technologically.  The more posessions they could make, the more they could own, and would want to own – but posessions are difficult to transport, making staying in one place more attractive.  Finally, they had developed the capability to support themselves in one place, without having to move on to new resources on a regular basis, and without needing to go hungry during the winter.  These capabilities included the domestication of enuk for transport, the ability to farm fruit, vegetables and fungi (in higher density than they naturally occurred, and artificially selecting the most productive strains), the ability to store produce with preservative methods such as drying and pickling, and better weapons and structures for defence against predators.

Unknown to the Fubarnii, they may well have had the Devanu to thank for their rise in population.  Overhunting of their favourite prey seems to have diminished Fubarnii numbers greatly just prior to the end of the nomadic period, and perhaps in a deliberate attempt to manage stocks the Devanu diversified their hunting and cut down on the numbers of Fubarnii killed. 

Once settled, Fubarnii technology flourished further.  This was the era of ironworking, glass making, plant fibre fabrics and dyes, ceramics, paper and ink, distillation, precious metal and gemstones, and many more.  In the Setir mountains, rather than gathering wool from the hedgerows, Fubarnii took to herding and shearing the most placid of the wooly beasts.  The stories of the Enarii originated from around this time in oral tradition, as well as the modern versions of the Sky God myths.  There was still a completely different mythological tradition in the Casani territories at this time, which will be examined later.

On the plains, while the Devanu did not lose their taste for Fubarnii flesh,  it gradually became apparent to them that these creatures could have a use beyond food.  Initially, the Fubarnii would distract them with food left outside the village – Enuk who had outlived their usefulness as mounts, or a fresh kill from a Fubarnii hunting party.  But now they had more to offer.  What the Fubarnii made, the Devanu coveted, and it soon became a common ploy for the Fubarnii to leave bribes of jewellery, pottery, fabric etc. to buy the favour of the Devanu and avoid being eaten.  Not that some raids didn’t happen, but they were infrequent and took fewer casualties than might be expected.  To the Fubarnii, this was the Golden Age – life was on the whole peaceful and prosperous, a time of great cultural growth and stable population.

Although some Fubarnii did remain as hunter-gatherer societies, their relationship to modern Ferals is somewhat confused.  At the time of the first settlements, young Kopa who were troublemakers or even just excess to requirements could be cast out of the villages to make their own way in the world.  They generally banded together and caused further trouble by raiding the villages, provoking predators and occasionally abducting young Sempa.  This is where most of the prejudice against Ferals comes from.  In some cases however they stabilised into their own nomadic societies, interacting and even inbreeding with the remaining original hunter-gatherer clans, so that today they are a single, if varied, culture very much distinct from the Empire.
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