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Life-Paths

Many of the nomadic groups that inhabit the Orklands travel along a fixed path, passing by the same areas and landmarks at regular intervals. This circular journey, whether undertaken primarily for trade, shepherding or simply as a matter of tradition, is referred to as that community's Life-Path. If a particular community has a sedentary group of members, as most of the big ones do, the village they live in will be along this Life-Path, and the return of the main group to the village on each journey along the Life-Path will usually be marked with some kind of celebration.   The most well-known, and perhaps oldest, Life-Path is that of the Track-Makers, the largest of the Ork communities. Their Life-Path is so old and so consistent that it has become a part of the very ecology of the myriad places it passes by. Fauna migrations are set in motion by the coming or leaving of the Track-Makers, and pollen is carried from one area to another by their clothes and their cattle. It is said that there are whole valleys, particularly those near the Rifts, which stood barren in the times before the Track-Makers laid down their path. It is also the longest Life-Path currently in use, the trek covering a large portion of the Orklands as a whole, and the amount of time it takes the group to travel its full length is long enough for a child to go from a wailing newborn to a walking, talking toddler.    Not all nomadic Orks have a Life-Path in the literal sense - the term is not used for those groups who are nomadic on a more irregular basis, travelling sporadically to hunt or care for cattle. The exact point at which nomadic activities become lengthy and sustained enough to qualify is unclear, however it seems that most Life-Paths have to have existed for a few generations, and have to constitute a journey of at least a quarter of a season, in order to be widely acknowledged as such.    In Aruqumda'ru, the language of the Orks, the word for Life-Path can also designate the firmly held traditions of a particular social group or the deeply ingrained habits of an individual.


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