People of SocietyThey are not solely merchants and trades-folk. There is a distinct culture of warriors within their ranks. Some crossover between these warriors and either the entertainers or more business minded people exists, but the warriors are elevated to a different status. There is a tendency for them to consider themselves above other members of the bands even though they would not be able to exist without them. The warriors are a necessary part of the community. Given the distances covered and areas traveled, the Carvorsth encounter enemies that range from beasts in the wild to those who would take their goods for their own. Thus, the protection that the warriors provide is necessary. However, of all of these people, it is the Holders that are often the most recognizable to outsiders. Practically, it would be the goods traded, but the Holders both sell their services and provide a piece of the entertainment that comes with them to each visited town. The Holders are those that possess the proclivity to effectively read tarot cards. There is an extent to which Holders are con artists. Not all of them are as connected to the stars. Without this strong connection it is difficult to channel the will and intent of the stars. Though some of the readings can be disingenuous, the Carvorsth do not allow those within their ranks that do not possess this innate connection to act as or pretend to possess this ability. Any Carvorsth that might leave their ranks for the outside world are asked to return their cards and stop the practice. It is a rare case when this is not asked of a Wanderer. If an outsider is found to be mimicking or pretending to possess this talent, the people tend to take dealing with this matter into their own hands. Some disappear. Some are found dead, often of natural causes. The secrets of their connection to the stars and the process of creating the cards necessary to utilize it are well guarded secrets. Additionally, the Holders and their practice are very distinct parts of Carvorsth culture and presentation. Misconduct and deceit by outsiders purportedly being a part of them will reflect negatively on their people as a whole. The relatively isolated and nomadic community already deal with suspicion from outsiders. If people outside their ranks have chosen to mimic them, it can damage their relationships with outside communities. There are elders in each caravan that lead that particular one. Typically a singular voted upon among their ranks will then represent that caravan in any decisions or political disputes when the Carvorsth are brought together. There is no requirement for the Elders to be of any particular part of society. Some are warriors, but others are musicians or Holders. It is the will of that caravan which chooses their representative. However, there is always one of the elders in each caravan that is a prodigious Holder.
The HoldersNot all Holders are necessarily spell casters. Though, the elders or the truly gifted ones simply might not realize that that have certain abilities, especially if the only spells they have are those that allow them to do the things they were already good at better. They simply have an uncanny connection with any magic that naturally exists around them. Thus, it would allow them to understand and draw or literally read pieces of it, though not actually manipulate in any meaningful way. It is the venerated elders that could be considered the exceptions in this case. Cards that are analogous with tarot cards are their primary method of divining. It is an ancient tradition whose origins, even among the memory of the Carvorsth, are largely forgotten. The associated rituals regarding them are still practiced, but without the context, associated practices have remained static through the years. There are always people pushing ideas and changes forward. However, it is not a largely pursued practice, and there have never been any real advances. Whys have been forgotten, but it is obvious that some people are able to read them better than others, and it is understood that some simply do not have the access to the weave of magic that is required to have any meaningful connection to the cards. Each set of cards is also unique to the Holder. The Holder may make multiple decks over the course of their lives as they see fit, but the process of the creation of them helps bond the cards to the person and connect them with the greater world.
"Fate and choices are like the cables. We venerate choice because so often it feels like we have none. The weight of the world behind and above and in front of you can seem insurmountable, but that doesn't mean it is. Changing your perspective on the path changes how it looks, and thus it changes how it is. Fate is like the cables. What is always consistent on the cables is that you will come to a Junction. There will always be a moment of choice coming, and though the path you were following leads you to this Junction, the steps you take afterwards are always your own. What the cards can tell us is what is influencing you on this path. What it can predict is Junctions coming your way. What we do, when we are truly reading, is remind you of the questions to come." Norma Gelliard - "Grand Cleric" version of the Holders
NomadsThe Carvorsth use the stars as a guide to follow the ley lines throughout Verkko. These connections through the land that tie everything together are what they refer to as the Cables. Different caravans tend to stick to particular areas as it is easier to have specialized vehicles. Wagons do not travel well in swamps, but the land they cover in their travel is still vast. Occasionally, caravans will come across each other, but they try not to travel together for long periods of time in an effort to not put too much strain on the land. Though, they will when tensions are particularly high or the beasts of the wilderness are out in force. The oceans are the one place that the Carvorsth do not go. Even along rivers, there is only one caravan that has ever braved the water. As it is, there are few rivers that follow the lines of power in the land
SpiritualityTheir connection to magic and the stars inform many of their traditions and belief. The stars are seen as both a physical and spiritual guide. The relationship between the stars and the people is not really one of worship. The idea is closer to one of partnership. The stars guide and see, and the Carvorsth convey and traverse. The stars cannot speak and interact without them. They are able to share and give and interact because of them. They are not fatalists in the traditional sense. Though, many outsiders simply assume this is the case. They deeply believe in the power of free will. People decide for themselves the direction they take in life. When divining the future, what the cards can show is simply the next juncture in the road. A split with any number of options that is laid before a person because of the choices they’ve made in the past. What they have decided has gotten them to that point, but what a person chooses for their next decision changes the course that their life shall take. Similarly, a lot of what they can read in people is about the person themselves. Every being is weaved into the patchwork of magic and existence around them. The cards help bridge this as a pathway into the heart of the person and can reveal parts of them. This is helpful as there is a distinct magic or proclivity to the art that can allow the practitioner to truly divine the future. It is much easier to read into a person, and it often leads to satisfied customers. Because of this practice in the community, there isn’t as much of a stigma around “reading” people as there could be. While your actions and choices are your own, your thoughts can always be gleaned by those around you or other beings can have the insight to see. Thus, they are often open and blunt with each other. However, this vulnerability does not extend to those that aren’t of the Carvorsth. It keeps their people connected and strong, but this sharing of thoughts is understood to be dangerous to themselves outside of their community.
Common Dress code
As with many tight knit groups living together, the Carvorsth have a much less strict view on propriety. They aren't concerned with individual dress expression. Often their dress is mediated by the common textiles made through the caravans and practicality. Loose, flowing clothes tend to dominate. In the day to day, colors or cuts aren't important. However, during traditional functions, it's customary to wear colors indicative of the path you've chosen, though shades of gold are the common thread among them. The Holders, for example, typically wear blues and gold. Whereas, the warriors are in black and gold.
Coming of Age Rites
When a Carvorsth reaches 18, they choose a tattoo design for themselves. It is most common for the tattoo to indicate were they are starting their journey with the rest of the caravan as it's unlikely they've seen enough life yet to have a more personal story to tell. Thus, the initial face tattoo tends to identify those in each profession. There is also a distinctive Wanderer tattoo. Those that choose to wander before coming back or staying away, similarly, get the same base for a tattoo. It doesn't have to be a face tattoo as something hidden gives the wanderer a chance to blend in wherever they go without potentially facing immediate discrimination. However, it's presence on their body ensures that they never lose where they come from and know that they have a place to come home to if they ever so choose.
Norma Gelliard was a notable Holder that refocused Holding and the practice of looking into the future/the weave for their people after much of it was decimated in the previous conflicts. They are regarded as starting it as a practice in modern times.
Metzi, a Carvorsth made using Hero Forge, has a blue flame in their left hand and a tarot deck in their right. They're wearing light tan robes and are adorned in much jewelry.
EconomicsThe Cabelers, are nomadic, entertainers and crafts people. Most of the products that they make are things such as weaving or simple food processing. Taking the raw materials that they transfer between the suppliers and the customers gives them time to create their own products with a portion of the crafts. This is one way that their collective economy is diversified. Relying only on transporting one thing leads to the potential of that crop/material failing or allows the shifting tides of mass consumption to have more power over their livelihood. Some key goods and resources that are transported are materials for clothing production, the clothes themselves, coffee beans, and other such cash crops.
Relationships and IdentityThe Cabelers believe in the power of choice above nearly all else. This manifests in many ways. There isn’t much of a stigma around Cabelers deciding to leave the bands to stay with a partner along the paths they take. However, it is encouraged that said partner join the band. Outsiders in general are allowed to join the Cabelers, if they so choose. While weddings are customary, divorce is generally accepted as a part of life. That is not to say that there aren’t similar emotions on whatever reasons for the dissolution of such, but the divorce itself isn’t looked down upon. LGBT issues are similarly non-issues. One chooses to express themselves and explore their identity as they personally decide.
TraditionsApproximately yearly, when the stars align, if you will, the different caravans get together in a larger celebration. This consists of feasts, games, trading of skills and information, weddings, fighting matches, and other such activities. It is lasts for 8 days. When the children reach 18, they can start on the path to becoming Holders. While training or sensitization can begin earlier, it is customary for people to wait until 20 to actually begin their decks.
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