Caereni Organization in Caledonia | World Anvil
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Along the north western shores of Albion are a number of rivers and glens where the Caereni reside. A loose knit confederation of farming clans spread over a large expanse of territory. The principal settlement of the Caereni is to be found at the mouth of the River Naver where the river meets the sea. A large flat plateau causes the river to crook around it. In this place is found a market where all the clans of the Caereni from upstream and the surrounding glens congregate to trade, hold council and celebrate the sacred festivals. A small harbour provides shelter for traders from the Orcades and the Cornavii to draw up their vessels in the shore. The market is overlooked from high above by the broch situated on a rocky knoll on the steep sides of the glen. This place is known as Sandy Dun due to the sand that is blown onto the hillside from the dunes below the market. From here the river Naver is banked by many stout broch settlements stretching far inland. Mostly they are built on rocky knolls upon the high sides of the glen, overlooking the pastures and farmsteads below. They are all placed so intervisibility is achieved. Each broch can be seen by it's neighbour and messages may be quickly signalled between them in times of danger. Many brochs and clans of the Caereni bank the glen all the way upstream until the river finds its source at Loch Naver. Here a large long loch stretches across the land, banked on one side by the lofty mountain known as the speckled mountain or Ben klibreck. Here there are a number of brochs and crannogs to be found on the shores of the loch. One worthy of note is placed on an island close to the shore of the loch only accessible by a narrow causeway through the shallows of the loch.  


  Beyond loch Naver to the south are the lands of the dreaded and unruly Smertae who often lead bands of raiders into these parts to rustle cattle and sheep or take women if given the chance. To the east of the Naver clans are a number of small river glens dominated by broch settlements who are bonded to the Caerni through intermarriage. The largest of these rivers is Strath Halladale, stretching inland to the barren interior of the The Wet Desert and the watch hill of Ben Griam. From here another river finds its source and flows downstream into the territory of the Lugi who are on friendly terms with the Caereni.   To the east of the Caereni, beyond the glens, where the land becomes flat and fertile are to be found the vast and rich lands of the Cornavii . After the fall of the Druid kings the Cornavi no longer had enough supplies to sustain all the clansfolk due to the change in climate and the loss of fertile upland pastures. Fearing famine they sent out sons and daughters to settle lands far further from their homes. Coming upon the rivers and glens of the mountainous west they settled here and raised families. Oaths of bondship have withstood the test of time with friendly relations being held between the Cornavi and the Caereni.  


  The name Caereni was given to the settlements by the Druid order, meaning sheep farmers. They keep a great many herds of sheep in the glen and the surrounding hills. Although they are famed for raising sheep they also raise grice and are fond of hunting the wild beasts that roam the hinterlands and prey upon the shepherds. Wolves are also prevalent in these parts, so much so that the Caereni are famed for the breeding of many deerhounds to protect their flocks and give chase to the red deer during the hunt.   The Caereni are fond of ceremonies and merrymaking, above all the clans they are most renowned for this practice. Frequently they hold ceremonies and dances drawing clans from far around to take part in dancing, songs and storytelling. This serves to ensure the far flung communities keep close ties with one another even though they are separated by great distance and provides a frequent opportunity for the holding of markets and the trade of goods.  
  In appearance the Caereni are much like the Cornavi, though they are shorter and black hair is more prevelant amongst them. For clothing they wear woolen cloaks fixed with a brooch, each brooch pin sporting the device of the various clans as decoration. These cloaks are smeared in a wax that makes them waterproof and serves to keep them warm and dry during inclement weather. Beneath the cloak they wear a linen tunic fastened by a leather belt from which hangs a leather pouch in which they store their belongings. Their legs are covered by chequered trousers in a variety of colours signifying the dyes and loom patterns of their clan. For shoes they wear leather buskins with laces tied over woollen socks that come up to the shin. The laces tied tight around them.   In times of conflict for arms they carry several short spears with iron leaf tips and a small round shield. Swords are not common and only carried by the notable among them. The short spears are used for hunting and tend to be used in times of war. This is uncommon for them since they live in peace with one another and hold friendly relations with their neighbors apart from the occasional skirmish with the Smertae. They are still skilled in the arts of combat for they frequently hold athletic competitions and duals during their festivals. During these athletic competitions they are want to strip down to their waists, and fight naked, seeing their heavy garments as an encumbrance. Some of their number take horses as mounts but due to their scarcity and expense only a few can afford the luxury. To war they also bring their many hunting hounds, for these dogs are huge deerhounds, bred taller than a man on its hind legs and nimble enough to give chase to the red deer and even bring these beasts to the ground. These hounds often play as much of a role as the folk themselves, hunting in packs and following their masters signals by whistle, biting and grappling at the limbs of the enemy so that they more easily fall prey to the spears of their foe.   It is a peculiar thing amongst the Caereni that it is more common for a girl to be begotten as a child than a boy. So much so that there are more women in their numbers than men. For this reason it is as common to see women hunting and going to war and heading the household as it is men. There are so many women among them that the men are spoilt for choice and often father children to several women. The daughters are often married off to the neighbouring friendly tribes of the Cornavi and Orcades but they are loath to marry any men of the Smertae , thinking them unsightly and of foul character.   The druids are known to pass through the lands of the Caereni, making use of the easy passage through the interior made accessible by the glen of Strath Naver leading to the hinterland in the territory of the Smertae. On their pilgrimage they carry messages between the neighbouring tribes for them as part of their services to them. In this way although the Caereni dwell in the most remote regions of Albion they are kept informed about the various political changes and intrigues going on about them. The Bandruí favour the taking of this passage as they covet the sacred mushroom that grows in abundance on the pastures of the glen. Making use of it in their potions to induce the sacred trance and commune with the spirits of the land. These brews form an integral part of the festivities and ceremonies the Caereni are renowned for, partly because of the frequency and partly because of the merriment and laughter experienced there brought about by the strength of these brews.

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