We belong to the Hoof-Dancer Clan. Our horses are branded with two horseshoes, and are renowned for their nimbleness and speed. You can recognize the men of our clan by our beaded anklets, and you can recognize the women of our clan by the same beadwork in their hair.
The Feathered Horse Queen lives in North Post, but frequently travels among the clans.
Our herds provide for us in many other ways. Our tents are sewn from the hides of many horses. Our pants and women's dresses are also made from their hide, and the hair from their mane and tail is woven into ropes and rugs.
But most of all, the herds carry us and our possessions, so that we don't have to live in one place forever, which is a sign of poverty.
In eight years, your age group will be initiated as Warriors, and will be responsible for bearing arms in the defense of the clan. You will live in the Warriors' tents by the entrance to the camp. Once you gather sufficient wealth for a gift to a girl's father, you may marry, and set up your own tent. Your gift should be generous, for this helps bind her clan and ours together.
My own age group is the Leader. Leaders are chosen to direct slaves, lead small bands or for special functions, as I led a delegation to the Sun Dome last Storm Season.
In time, you will attain the Elder age group. These men speak with the voice of experience, and lead larger groups, even the clan. Their advice is sought and revered.
When you die your body will be burned in a great pyre. The sparks will carry your soul to Yu-kargzant, who will judge if you are ready to be reborn, or must spend time in the Underworld until you are purified.
Bandroste is loyal to the Feathered Horse Queen, Bearer of the Head, who incarnates the powers of the Feathered Horse Goddess. Her magic unites all of us, even the women and vendref, and she appoints the rulers of the trading posts. Bearer of the Head rules the tribe in times of peace.
Bandroste also owes allegiance to Jarsandron Ten-Herds, whom he helped elect as Chief. Jarsandron rules the Grazers in times of war.
Failure to follow Yu-kargzant's rules always takes a heavy price, if not in this life, then after death.
Never commit the folly of adding beasts to your herd. They might fill your belly, but they can't nourish your soul.
Strive to become prosperous, increasing your herd through raiding and careful breeding. Maybe you will become wealthy enough to take a second wife.
When I become an Elder or die, I will divide my herds among my sons. As the eldest, you will receive the most, Jalasdral half as much, and Melipolti half that.
I know your sister thinks she will grow up and become a shaman in the service of the Feathered Horse Queen, but I asked Dinalish about this, and he believes she is not blessed by the spirits.
Other Grazers may help you as well, but you will then owe them a favor. If you ever need to seek their aid, go first to your mother's Sun Ring clan, and avoid the greedy Sky Bows.
The vendref, our slaves, should be treated strictly but fairly. For the most part, they are hard-working and loyal, but they are prone to temptation from their cousins in Sartar or Tarsh.
Ironhoof aided us long ago, and the people of Beast Valley are our friends. But be warned: minotaurs mean well, but they can easily forget who their friends are, especially when they drink.
Dragonewt cities are located to the east and north of the Grazelands. They sometimes act as our intermediaries with other lands, but you would do well to avoid them, because none can truly predict their actions.
Years ago, Sartar came to challenge the Feathered Horse Queen, but ended up marrying her. For a while, his kingdom was on good terms with ours. However, the Orlanthi are an unruly lot, and some tribes have raided us.
Other foreigners should be treated with suspicion until they perform some act to earn your trust. If you offer your friendship, be sure it is as constant as the Sun.
Our war bands often serve in the armies of other lands. The Feathered Horse Queen makes sure that our employer will be trustworthy and generous. If she is unable to find to find such an employer, our war bands make swift raids deep into foreign lands and carry off great treasure to glorify her and Yu-kargzant.
Trolls, who skulk in darkness and eat our horses, are always our foes.
The vendref have their own gods: Kenkacho the loyal slave, Kanestal One-hand who runs the trading posts, Ernalda the earth mother, Barntar the plower of barley, Hiia Swordsman who serves the Feathered Horse Queen, and Lodril the plower of wheat.
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