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Kobucks

The goat-folk of Morvathia, people of peace and solitude, steadfast loyal to family and community

"I must admit, for the longest time, I avoided writing about the Kobucks in my studies. I thought they were rather dull and uninspiring, with nothing of value to offer. But I was mistaken. I witnessed their celebration of the harvest on the second day. Those seemingly harmless creatures dressed like the spirits of the dead, danced to the haunting rattle of a nightly melody, and chanted their gratitude to the Harvester. I swear, in the dim light of the moon, I saw him standing among his children, the skeletal figure draped in a cloak of autumn leaves, scythe in hand, grinning at his silly little children. It was a sight to behold, and it made me realize that the Kobucks might outlive us all. After all, they are Death's favorite creation."
— From: "A Comprehensive Guide to Morvathia's Mysteries" by Salama the Dragonwitch
  Amidst the rural expanse of Morvathia, one can find the Kobucks, a diminutive race with a striking resemblance to goats. With cloven hooves for feet and shaggy fur adorning their diminutive frames, they stand no higher than three to four feet tall - a size that sets them apart as one of the smallest humanoid races in the realm, second only to the Varlori. Yet, their most distinguishing feature are their long horns, which curl back from their heads in an unmistakable sign of their heritage. Though their appearance may suggest otherwise, Kobucks are a highly intelligent and social species, with their own customs and traditions that set them apart from their animalistic kin.    

Children of the Horned Father

  The Kobucks origins is shrouded in myths and tales of old. These creatures have wandered the untamed expanses of Morvathia for untold ages, pre-dating the very establishment of the Witchrealm itself. A prevailing belief suggests that their lineage descends from spirits of nature, freed during the Silence, who inhabited the bodies of goats, imbuing them with a deep connection to the earth and a natural aptitude for agriculture. Yet, this narrative does not align with how Kobucks recount the tale of their origin.   The Kobucks cherish their oral traditions and fables, one of which recounts their creation by a deity named the "Horned Father," also known as "the Harvester" to other cultures in Netherdyn. It is said that at the end of the Silence, the Horned Father One looked upon the war-ravaged and desolate lands of Morvathia and determined to create a race of beings that could cultivate and nourish the soil. Thus, the first Kobucks were molded from the earth itself, animated with the breath of life, and assigned the vital task of cultivating the land.   To the Kobucks, the earth itself is sacrosanct, a realm that demands safeguarding and nurturing, a duty they readily embrace as its guardians. In their eyes, they are the earth's custodians, fulfilling a divine calling bestowed upon them by their god. This kinship with their deity is profound and devout, manifesting in the form of regular offerings and prayers that stand as tokens of their unwavering devotion.  

From Isolated Villages to Flourishing Cities

  Kobucks, known for their communal spirit, reside in small communities scattered throughout Morvathia. Some of these hamlets are so remote and diminutive that they remain uncharted, save for one notable exception. In the northern region of Avasland lies Turniptat, the sole known Kobuck settlement to burgeon into a bustling city, complete with an expansive community and grand castle at its heart. Here, the Turnip Knights, an order of Kobucks devoted to safeguarding the land, reside. Today, Turniptat welcomes other inhabitants of Morvathia, earning recognition from the Thirteen as one of the realm's principal cities. Turniptat has even been bestowed the honor of choosing its own count to represent the city's interests in political discussions. As it stands, Turniptat remains the only city in Morvathia governed by a Kobuck count.   Though Kobucks are not solely confined to Turniptat. Most major cities with agrarian lands also harbor thriving populations of Kobucks. These small clusters of Kobuck villages often sprouted alongside the farms surrounding the cities, resulting in diverse communities of Kobucks, Humans, Alblings, and others. Spotting Kobucks peddling fresh produce at local markets has become a common occurrence throughout the realm. As Kobucks increasingly assimilate with human settlements, some have even foregone their pastoral lifestyles and embraced urban living. While still infrequent, some Kobucks have even enrolled in Morvathia's magic schools, covens, and military units. Several decades ago, the Arcanum Dona Viperia made history by registering their first-ever Kobuck witch.    

Traditions about Birth, Death, Anything in between

  Kobucks are creatures who highly value their familial ties, which has led to the formation of small, tight-knit communities with little contact with the outside world. Even as they move closer to civilization, they still uphold the tradition of supporting their herd. This value is reflected in their cultural festivals, which mark important family milestones such as the birth of a new child, marriage, coming-of-age, departing for travel or other significant tasks, and death.   One of the most important Kobuck celebrations is the "Festival of the Newborn." After a new child is born into a family, the entire village comes together to honor the arrival of the new addition. The celebration, which typically takes place a few weeks after the birth, involves a grand feast with traditional Kobuck dishes, music, and dancing. The new parents introduce their child to the community, and the community offers gifts and blessings for the child's future.   Another cherished Kobuck tradition is the Bow to the Harvest. Celebrated in late summer, on the 27th of Wyndvahl, this festival is a time when Kobucks offer the first fruits of their harvest to their deity, the Horned Father, in thanks for the bounty of the earth. The Kobucks wear colorful traditional clothing adorned with flowers and decorations, singing and dancing to the rhythm of the earth. On the following day, the 1st of Arnōt, the Kobucks take time for rest and reflection, while the night sees the second celebration filled with dance, with Kobucks wearing costumes of nocturnal creatures adorned with bones and skulls. The celebration culminates with the eldest member of the village reciting a poem to the Horned Father under the moons.  
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"The symbol of the Harvester: A horned skull sprouting wheats. While some view the Harvester as a frightening and foreboding deity, others revere this god as a comforting presence, providing a sense of order and purpose to the cycles of life and death. The Kobucks seem to regard him with the devotion and affection of a father figure."
— From: "A Comprehensive Guide to Morvathia's Mysteries" by Salama the Dragonwitch
  The "Coming-of-Age Ceremony" is another important Kobuck celebration, which marks the transition from childhood to adulthood. The ceremony involves a series of tests and challenges to prove their worth as an adult, and once they pass, they are welcomed into the community as a full-fledged member. The celebration includes a feast, music, and dancing, and the newly recognized adult is given a special piece of traditional clothing or jewelry to commemorate the occasion.   The "Festival of Reunions" takes place every few years, where Kobucks who have left their village to travel or seek fortune return home to reunite with their families and community. The celebration involves a grand feast, music, and dancing, and it is a time for storytelling and sharing news from the wider world. Returning Kobucks often bring back exotic gifts or treasures to share with their community, and the festival is a time of great excitement and joy.   Finally, the ultimate commemoration in the life of a Kobuck is their funeral, known as the "Last Light". This solemn ceremony takes place typically nine days following the Kobuck's passing, as they prepare to depart and reunite with the Horned Father. With twilight enveloping the village, the community gathers beneath the moons, encircling a single sky lantern held by a close relative or friend of the departed. Adorned with intricate decorations and tokens representing the essence of the deceased – their memories, wisdom, and love – the lantern embodies their spirit. A profound hush blankets the gathering as the lantern is transferred from one hand to the next, each person briefly holding it before passing it along. As the sky lantern is released, descending into the night sky, a poignant and haunting melody rises – the strains of an ancient tune called "Blathehreen Nozahn," roughly translating to "Everlasting Bond". Although the exact interpretation of this venerable song remains unknown, it is believed to encapsulate the enduring connection between the living and the departed, underscoring how every spirit remains a guiding presence, watching over the community for eternity.   These celebrations are no longer limited to Kobucks alone, with Humans in farming communities also adopting these traditions as part of Morvathia's larger cultural identity. Each of these Kobuck traditions reflects the importance of family bonds and the value of community, creating lasting memories and bringing people together in joy and celebration, or bringing hope and comfort in difficult times.    

Forging a Path to Equality

  Kobucks are traditionally known as people of peace and solitude, who keep to themselves and shy away from conflict. Their hearts beat to the rhythm of family ties and communal bonds, valuing them above all else. And thus, it comes as no surprise that Kobuck communities tend to be small and insular, consisting of only a handful of families, with little to no contact with the outside world.   Many of these enclaves remain stubbornly resistant to change, even as the Humans and Kobucks of Morvathia grow closer together. The Kobucks' inherent wariness towards outsiders has made them fiercely protective of their villages, some even hostile to the mere presence of strangers. Even among their own kind, the Kobucks' reservations can lead to a rejection of those who have become accustomed to the larger world beyond their isolated homes.   However, those Kobucks who have integrated into the Witchrealm display a greater willingness to engage with other species. While content in their current roles, some have pushed for a better representation of their people in the larger society of the Witchrealm. Demanding and campaigning for positions of power and influence, in guilds, covens, and even major houses, they strive to break down barriers and shatter the glass ceilings that have long hindered their advancement.   Though the road ahead is still long and arduous, a few houses have taken steps towards including Kobucks in key roles. Notably, House Florindale, House Caladrius, and House Girasola have embraced Kobucks, recognizing their unique talents and contributions. And so, the Kobucks continue to forge ahead, carving a path towards a future where they are seen and heard, not just as outsiders, but as equals among their peers.    

Naming Traditions

  Kobucks hold a naming tradition that echoes their ties to nature and the herd. With each new birth, the young one is blessed with a name that reflects the surroundings of their birth or the conditions of the time. In snowy winters, they might be known as Frost or Snow, while those born in the lap of verdant meadows are given the names of Meadow or Grass. It's also common for Kobucks to reuse names, believing that the essence of the previous owner carries over and brings blessings to the newborn. This creates clusters of certain names that become popular in particular regions or families.   As they grow and experience new things, Kobucks often acquire new names to mark important events, such as a successful harvest or a journey to unknown lands. Certain names are favored for either males or females, but there is an abundant selection of names that can be given to either gender. These names carry the spirit of the Kobucks, connecting them to the earth and each other in ways that run deep and true.  
Male Names:
Barley, Cedar, Flint, Juniper, Pike, Sage, Thistle, Yarrow   Female Names:
Bramble, Clover, Dahlia, Fern, Hazel, Ivy, Lilac, Poppy, Willow   Neutral Names:
Ash, Birch, Ember, Grove, Leaf, Moss, Reed, Thorn

Overview

  Type: Humanoid, Spirit
  Native to: Morvathia, Northern Galdorsmynd   Known Subspecies: Flatland Kobucks, Mountain Kobucks
  Average Lifespan: Kobucks reach adulthood around 15-16 years and live up to 60 years.
  Size: The average Kobuck is between 3 and 4 feet tall. Mountain Kobucks tend to be taller.
  Typical Language: Different dialects of Bleatongue, with certain isolated communities developing sub-forms that can hardly be understood by Kobucks speaking a more general version of it. Kobucks in Turniptat and around other cities usually speak Galdoric as well.

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