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The Survivalist Thieves
A clan to be reckoned with, the Damascan are a hawk-eyed, nomadic bunch who roam the vast steppe in a close-knit tribe. Its members are a bunch of predators who flourish knowing only their pack is able to persevere where others have not. Especially since the clan itself has recently been remade with the blood of those who were once considered thralls and outcasts. With their newly cemented freedom the Damascan are determined to forge their existence even with dubious means. During the harsher months, this den of thieves has to contend with limited prey and the constant erratic weather of their pack-lands. However, what the Damascan lack in wealth, it makes up for in strength. Once the seasons become rough, the horde sends out raids to loot.
Despite their struggles, the clan means everything to the Damascan, the wolves can be ruthless when provoked and rarely fear death. They will give it their all if it means protecting the horde, cause at the end of the day the Damascan have a bond that transcends blood and oath. They follow their own whims and are content on living on the edge rather than following the standard. The Damascan are often found scaling the highest cliffs or traversing the toughest terrain; these wolves live dangerously. Even in the heat of battle, they are reckless; dueling wildly as they rely on their worldliness and sharp wit to turn the outcome of battle.
DAMASCA AND OUTSIDERS
The Damascan are to rely on their judgement to determine whether or not a wolf and their party are worth crossing into their borders. When a new wolf approaches wanting to join he or she will be brought before the alpha. If the alpha sees potential then the outsider will be allowed to stay, but the individual will still be treated as an outsider until he or she proves themselves to the horde. Visiting diplomats and interested entrepreneurs etc., will be given a den during their visit. However, those who enter will be treated suspiciously and are under heavy surveillance until their departure.
As for other packs, the Damascan see outsiders as a source of information and not much else. Becoming involved in the politics of the domain doesn’t suit these free runners. Thus they live out as a neutral party most time, not seeing a pack as inherently good or evil; until they are double-crossed. Alliances are rare, but not impossible if the pack proves to them their undying loyalty. The Damascan respect strength, and thus respect those who are able to successfully resist them.
• Aryn: Neutral
• Chandor: Neutral
• Fellfang: Neutral
• Heyl: Neutral
• Highvalley: Neutral
• Tentaka: Neutral
• Vale: Neutral
• Vektren: Neutral
The horde was originally formed when a rival tribe conquered the local clan of Stormhaven, forcing them into servitude. When the task could no longer be completed by their fathers, their children, and their children’s children continued the cycle. A cycle which was stopped when Vargas incited a rebellion and liberated the slaves.
After eliminating the worst of Stormhaven's pack members, Vargas took the title of Khasar. The newly formed group of bandits left their homeland and founded Damasca, proudly laying claim to the area, despite the challenges it faces.
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With the long frigid winters and intense summers there is only a short amount of time the land is bountiful. Too proud to abandon their home the King of the Hunt (Lord is the prefix if the alpha isn’t present.) leads the nocturnal horde on a wild pursuit. During the wild hunt, the Damascans pilfer prey, herbs, etc., from outside their pack-lands for the survival of the clan. Usually using darker-pelted wolves during night raids and lighter-pelted for any daytime excursions, though it depends on the amount of able-bodied available. Wolves who have seen the horde during the hunt have likened them to ghastly spirits, their procession said to be marked with an otherworldly howl and blazing eyes. There have even been occasions where the Damascans have handed over their game and herbs to packs who were in dire need of supplies
The wolves of Damasca are a resilient pack, who are extremely proud of the fact they are able to survive in a land where others can not, even if they use dubious means to do so. The climate is erratic and harsh so it is essential for the pack to move around their home as the weather changes and the prey migrates. The Damascan use stars and landmarks to navigate across their pack-land.
Damascan wolves have strong bonds with the eagles that live within the Damascan lands and consider them sacred. The Eagles sometimes assist in wolven activities such as hunting, scouting, patrolling, and have even been used as messengers.
(Are not officially pack members. You can not give them names, personality, or a backstory unless you pay for an other creatures character.)
Before Vargas’s liberation, celebrations were only observed by the upper echelon. Any participation from the thralls was forbidden and those found ignoring the law were punished severely. So now in honor of their freedom, the Damascan celebrate rites of passage, marriages, hunts, midsummer, solstices, competitions, etc.,
Rite of Passage
All pups are trained at an early age to scavenge, generally as small exercises in the pack lands. When they come of age, they will be given an item to steal and if completed will graduate to joining the horde on looting outside of Damasca. As nomads, it’s also normal for the young adults of Damasca to get fidgety if they stay in place for too long. So it’s expected that some young adults leave to go on a journey of self-discovery for a short amount of time before returning to the pack.
Marriage in Damasca is seen as a testimony of two soul mates to stay with each other through thick and thin. To break that vow is looked down upon, often resulting in the offending party being ostracized by their peers. If you can’t manage loyalty to your partner then your loyalty to the horde is in question. To test the sincerity of their feelings a rite must first be passed by both parties for the marriage to become valid. However, practicing “free love” without a partnership is seen as healthy.
• The trial is chosen at the discretion of the alpha and the pack.
• The trial is to be kept secret. The location and challenge is not be shared with the hopeful couple.
• A mateship can be broken if there is adultery, maltreatment, or if a wolf is widowed.
Marriages usually begin at dawn and end at dusk. The couple is fitted with either flowers and feathers before being ushered to the ceremonial site. There the Divine performs the ceremony, giving them the element’s blessings as the stars begin to glow.
Death & Funerals
The ceremony among honoring the dead, consists of a procession of wolves journeying to the highest mountaintops in Damasca. There the family adorns the departed with flowers and their favorite baubles. The horde will then join the family in one last song before leaving the body to decompose while exposed to the elements. The sky burial is done so that the wolf’s remains are given back to nature in a generous way.
Damascan wolves believe in honoring the sky and the land. The bounty from either usually determining their survival. Made up of a ragtag group from old Stormhaven and rogues, the Damascan have a hodge podge of different views and religions within their pack. Whether or not you are religious means little to the free-faring Damascans.
One such religion from old Stormhaven honors two gods representing day and night: The Dawnwaker and the Duskweaver. Creation lore tells of the Dawnwaker and Duskweaver from whom all wolves are descended. Those practicing the religion believe the Damascans’s veins to run thick with the blood of these gods, their lustrous coats and fiery wills serving as proof of this divine lineage.
The Khasar Selection
New alphas must achieve rule through the support of most of the horde, by means of voting and giving a rallying speech as to why their leadership would be most beneficial. It is seen as a time to boast about your abilities, accomplishments, and your future plans as the Alpha.
After the speeches are done, the second act of the selection begins. The would-be alphas are then given a series of challenges to pass to see which wolf has what it takes to lead the wolves of Damasca.
The Blood Scar
A wound placed on those who the Damascan have deemed to spare even after their deception. Marking the wolf as irredeemable and as a reminder of the wolves treachery and impeding disposal should they once more cross paths with the horde.
Art & Entertainment
Despite the majority of the domain believing that the wolves of Damasca are classless, brutes the truth is the Damascan have an eye for beauty and the unusual. Often decorating their dens in the baubles and items they have collected from their scavenging trips. The wolves enjoy entertainment in the form of singing, dancing, partying, life-defying challenges, storytelling, and stargazing.
The Damascan believe there are a boundless amount of soulbonds out there that they will encounter during their lives. Not just lovers, but family, friends, acquaintances, and even enemies. Some souls will feel as though they have known each other from another lifetime, while others will clash. But, each soulbond will teach a lesson even if their presence is brief.
• According to legend, a wolf who devotes him or herself to count one hundred stars in the sky will dream about their future mate.
• When there is an eclipse, some Damascans believe that it means that the Duskweaver and Dawnwaker are fighting over prominence of their treasure. In response, the Damascans howl and make a lot of noise so that the two gods become distracted and cease their fighting. Once the eclipse has passed, they have a celebration.
• When the Damascan see shooting stars they imagine they are spirits of the dead trying to find their way home. There are even some wolves who believe that a shooting star represents someone who just recently passed.
• Damascan believe that anything of importance must take place underneath the open sky.
Omens & Superstitions
Ghost Wolves: A popular story in Damasca is one of the dreaded ghost pack. A pack of specters who wander the wastes at night to steal unsuspecting victims away, that wander too close or happen to startle their hunt. Usually told to pups to keep them from wandering too far out unsupervised into the dangerous Damascan land.
Blue Lightning: In the southern reaches of Damasca, wolves have said to see blue or whitish blue lightning strike the land. This is considered good luck especially since it heralds a tempest or a storm.
Symbols & Talismans: Some of the Damascan are a superstitious lot and believe that certain symbols and talismans (such as bones or feathers) help them when facing certain events in life, before battles or when they are tasked to leave the pack-lands to loot. Either attracting good luck or bad luck in the worst of cases.
Mud & Soot: Because of the low survival rate, a swap of mud or soot is sometimes rubbed on a pup’s forehead to ward away evil spirits. It is said to deceive the spirits into thinking the pup is a rabbit instead.
Perched between frozen, towering mountains, steppes, and an arid desert, Damasca is known for its cool to hot summers, long frigid winters, and its scant precipitation. The Damascan live in a constant fight for survival due to the erratic temperatures that plague their lands. Rainfall is rare and usually only occurs during the summer months in the form of thunderstorms. The amount and timing varies from year to year, but more precipitation usually occurs in the northern, elevated parts of Damasca.
Terrain: Steppe, Taiga, Rock Canyons, Hills, Deltas, Snow-Capped Mountains, Plateaus, Deserts, Mountains, Forests, Jagged Gorges, Lakes/Basins, Meadows, Extinct Volcanoes, Marshlands, Hot Springs, and Turbulent Rivers
Flora/Vegetation: There are four vegetation zones located within the Damasca pack-lands: The Steppes, Forest-Steppe, Desert, and Semi-Desert. In addition, the higher mountains have bands of coniferous forest (taiga) and, higher yet, an alpine zone. Other flora and vegetation include but are not limited to: Pines, cedars, spruces, firs, elms, birches, aspens, larches, poplars, berry bushes (blueberry and blackberry), wild wormwood, edelweiss, gentians, geraniums, eyelets, delphiniums, peas, ancolies, rhododendrons, asters, caryopteris(blue mist), saxauls, thorny bushes, wildflowers, feather grass, couch grass, hyacinths, mosses, ferns, and others.
Species: Mountain Goats, Sheep, Reindeer, Moose, Bison, Lynx, Badgers, Elk, Roe Deer, Musk Deer, Brown Bears, Wolverines, Wild Boars, Wildcats, Squirrels, Marmot, Lone Wolves, Larks, Cranes, Pheasants, Buzzards, Falcons, Geese, Ducks, Gulls, Pelicans, Swans, Snowy Owls, Golden Eagles, Hares, Bats, Lizards, Fish, and other small rodents
Hazards: Earthquakes, Thunderstorms, Sandstorms, Blizzards, Avalanches, Landslides, Hailstorms
• Pack members can come and go as they please, but if you commit any crimes off pack-lands, you are to keep silent about your involvement with the pack.
• Any large game scavenged is to be given to the pack. Those who fail to report their findings or refuse to hand over their items will be punished.
• Do not take more than is needed from other pack-lands.
• No mateship will be officially recognized unless they go through the marriage rites.
• Acts of maltreatment, rape, or adultery are a punishable offense.
• No thralls are to be kept within the pack.
• Any injuries or quarrels between parties that will not come to any reconciliation will face each other in a duel. The first to draw blood wins the duel.
• Any wolf that is found not pulling their weight, guilty of cowardice, or deception shall suffer a punishment the Alpha and the majority of the clan think fit.
• Going against the horde will be met with death, banishment, or injury depending on the severity of the offense. If the wolf is spared they will be given a wound, known as the “blood scar” to signify their deception and left to rot in the wastes.
(All rp matters regarding death, injury, adultery, maltreatment, etc., will be first discussed out of character with the roleplayer(s) involved.)
The first line of defense for Damasca, all matters of wolves are welcome to the task as long as you are able to keep up with the tedious regiment. Wild and strong, ravagers act as warriors, protecting the horde from threats, and usually go out as escorts with wayfarers on scouting and diplomatic missions. Around the clan, the Ravagers are the enforcers. They see to it that every wolf keeps up with his or her work and handles any disputes among its members.
Healers and scholars of Damasca, these wolves are tasked with the care and education of the entire pack. Shaman must be meticulous, patient, and detailed oriented as they strive to keep the horde healthy with their sometimes limited stock. However, the Shaman’s duties not only lie in the healing artes, but also in creating new and better herbal medicines or poisons for the Damascan to vendor off for more game.
The cartographers, the navigators, and the negotiators of Damasca. As scouts, Wayfarers must learn the lay of the land for they will have a variety of jobs in not only Damasca, but in other areas of the domain as well. Wayfarers are clever and well-spoken, often the first representatives sent out to serve as diplomats or scouts. They must also keep an eye out for vulnerable pack-lands that might interest the tribe.
Hawkers are the life-source of the pack. They act as hunters keeping the pack well-fed and sustained. Keen of sense and swift of foot these wolves assist the clan by detecting game trails and predicting prey migrations. Yearlong the hawkers are at work, trailing migrating herds and leading the horde to each food source in order for the pack to survive.
Meliha: Mate to the alpha. Has equal standing in the pack.
General (Beta): Handpicked by the Alpha, the Beta acts as their right hand. When the Alpha is absent the Beta will act in their stead. The beta is also known as the Reaver.
Divine:The highest ranked adviser. Mentors, councils, and performs cultural ceremonies.
The Sharakhai: Chosen by the Alpha. The Alpha’s trusted advisers; hands out duties to the captains. It’s members are known as scions.
Captain(s): Experts and teachers in their task; commands smaller companies.
Gamma(s): Midrank in their task these wolves are given more responsibility.
Delta(s): New recruits who are undergoing training from the Captains. Juveniles can not surpass this rank.
Omega(s): New members, those without tasks, or wolves who have been stripped of their task.
Lark (Nike), Clementine, Bast
Pup(s): Wolves who are too young to hold tasks.