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“The wolves of ice and stone; a proud clan from the Western reaches where the blood of nobles runs deep like the roots of their silver mountains; crowned by mist and clad in ice and glaciers. Here hails the most cultured of creatures: purest in pedigree and finest in physique, there is neither rival nor equal in the sight of the dwellers of Highvalley.”
HIGHVALLEY AND ITS MEMBERS
Blood purity and status: This above all else is how Highvallians determine one’s true value. At the pinnacle of blood purity lies the Royal Family who's ancestors (due to inbreeding) are responsible for conceiving most of the pack’s members in an effort to maintain their genetic lineage. Nearly everyone shares some form of kinship to the High King and are thus known as Highbloods.
With an all-consuming culture revolving around maintaining reputations, social status and striving for perfection in everything they do, the wolves of Highvalley place great value on conformity and propriety. Rising to the top of the ranks, wedding a Highblood mate and maintaining one’s blood purity are but a few examples in their never-ending quest for excellence. Incompetence of any kind is intolerable and stepping outside of social norms may make one vulnerable to social ostracism. Formality in both speech and behavior is expected such as bowing the head in greeting and addressing one another according to one’s rank-denoted prefixes and titles. Outlandish, public displays of emotion and affection are looked down upon and respect above all else should always be given.
While the pack exists to preserve its ancient bloodline, Highbloods aren’t the only wolves within this realm. Lowbloods are permitted to live within the pack. Here they are treated as guests and are welcomed into Highvalley’s ranks and culture, however, Lowbloods are forbidden from breeding with one-another as that privilege belongs solely to Highbloods. Those who choose to violate this rule will be subjected to the Wolvenking's wrath. It is acceptable however for a Highblood to wed a Lowblood should they be given proper permission.
HIGHVALLEY AND OUTSIDERSCharacterized by their refined tastes, sophistication and traditional society, Highvalley's Highbloods consider themselves the most cultured beings of the domain; as a result, many harbor feelings of superiority towards Lowblood outsiders. Highvallians appear pretentious and condescending, but dig a little deeper and you won’t find a pack who cares more fiercely and deeply for their kin. Behind their cold formalities lies a mutual respect which extends to all members of Highvalley.
Highvalley acts much like a fortress. With steep cliffs, Icefields, and treacherous rivers surrounding their territory, it is highly unusual for outsiders to accidentally stumble onto their Highlands. With little love for the outside world, Highvallians are instructed to be suspicious and cautious of outsiders. Should a Lowblood wish to join their ranks, he/she must request an audience with the High King in the Wolvenking's halls where they will be judged accordingly. Those deemed worthy are welcomed into the ranks as an omega. Once the outsider has proven themselves they will be allowed to choose a task. Only then will they be considered a full-fledged member of the pack.
Trespassers are to be captured and brought forth to the High King for interrogation before being ushered out of the territory. Trespassing a second time is not tolerated and will invoke the wrath of the guards.
Should a relationship between a neighboring pack be seen as beneficial, Highvalley will seek out alliances with consenting partners at the price of an official, political mateship between both Alpha’s legitimate offspring to seal the deal. These children must be born to a wedded Alpha and Alphess in order to be considered “legitimate.” The Rite of Unification (wedding ceremony) will take place at the female’s pack. The she-wolf will then leave her home to join her mate’s. The alliance will last for three generations before a new one must be re-forged.
Long-standing packs with ancient bloodlines running through their veins are especially revered while newly formed packs are typically ignored or snubbed. These renowned packs are highly sought after for alliances in an effort to embed their ancient bloodline with their own. For no bond or troth is stronger than blood.
Aryn: No association (Interested in bloodline)
Fellfang: Bad Blood (historical enemies)
Tentaka: Suspicious of
Chandor: No association
Heylguard: No association
Vale: No association
Vektren: No association
Highvallians who fall under “Highblood” status are those who have inherited their position of nobility from birth and can trace their lineage back to Felduin, the founding Alpha. At the pinnacle of blood purity lies the Royal Family whose said to be the pack's direct descendant's of Felduin's offspring through the paternal line. While Highvalley is not a religious pack, they revere their founding ancestors with god-like admiration. Because of this, Highbloods are extremely proud of their heritage and strive to maintain their unbroken lineage through highly selective traditions surrounding mateship and reproduction.
Highvalley wolves who fall under "Lowblood" status are those who share no blood ties with Highvalley's monarchy OR to a recognized Alpha pair outside of the pack. While Lowbloods have restrictions regarding breeding rights, they are still considered an important part of the pack’s culture. The advantageous life of a Highblood comes with many privileges because of their families; in consequence, Lowbloods must then work even harder to obtain recognition and respect among their peers. It is rare for them to escape their social status unless one weds into nobility. This is rather difficult however, as bloodlines are carefully managed through arranged or political mateships. While there is no law against wedding Lowblood with Highblood, it is often viewed as scandalous and is heavily frowned upon by the community.
Consequences of Inbreeding
As a result of the pack's outlandish efforts in maintaining their blood purity, inbreeding is prevalent leading to a high pup mortality rate. Miscarriages are common, with living litters rarely exceeding 2 pups. Due to the lack of genetic diversity, Highvallians are at a higher risk of contracting cancer, heart diseases, joint and bone disorders, immune system and neurological diseases. Other physical irregularities such as albinism and ocular albinism are known to have a history within the pack as well.
Celebrations, Traditions & Ceremonies
Steeped heavily in tradition, the wolves of Highvalley practice many age-old traditions drawn from the pack's rich heritage. With a heavy focus on feasting, the pack will find just about any excuse to host a pack-wide gathering, whether it’s for seasonal changes, coming of age and coronation ceremonies, full moon socials, mated pair celebrations, pack alliances, victory feasts, winter and summer solstice, births and even deaths. Caribou is the prey of choice here and should only be hunted for these events unless otherwise stated.
For a more in-depth look CLICK HERE. (link coming soon)
There is nothing more sacred and pure to the Highbloods of Highvalley than a formal union between two wolves. With no higher purpose than securing the future of their kin with noble blood, parents will often set up advantageous courtships for their children before they leave the womb. This ceremony is such a celebrated event that many wolves will spend their entire young lives in preparation for it.
It is expected of both females and males to remain “pure” until they have become wedded to a mate. With reputations to uphold, to “sully” oneself before going through the Rite of Unification (wedding ceremony) can result in irreversible collateral damage for the families involved. Forever branded as "unclean", many of these families end up becoming the source of gossip and ridicule within their society. This can affect their chances of securing political mateships for their other children with more prestigious bachelors and bachelorettes.
Should an unwedded female become pregnant no matter the means, her blood will be deemed impure or tainted. Shunned by society, her pups will also be branded as bastards.
For a more in-depth look CLICK HERE. (link coming soon)
Those born out of wedlock no matter their parent's blood class are known as bastards and are the lowliest of the pack. Not considered as legitimate heirs, oftentimes bastards are ignored or neglected as they are the living proof of their parent’s transgressions. Illegitimate children are often placed in danger as many have been driven away or even killed to protect Highblood reputations and egos. In the eyes of Highvalley their blood is impure thus making them unfit to breed.
Rights of the Father
In order to ensure the pack’s blood purity is maintained, it is the Father’s right to choose his daughter’s mate. If a daughter wishes to choose her own mate, consent must be given from her father or no official mateship can occur. If no father is present then the matter should be brought up to the High King for approval. The same cannot be said for sons, as males cannot be compelled by another male to wed a female.
Should a father wish it he can hold a Blood Dance tournament where any unwedded males, Lowblood or Highblood, can compete for his daughter’s affection. By law, the champion then must take her as his bride.
A Blood Dance is an officially sanctioned match where any he-wolf can compete in the pursuit of a noble maiden. There is only one rule: the champion must take her as his bride by the end, replacing the need to go through the Rite of Unification altogether. These wolves are pitted against one-another in a match with only one suitor emerging victorious. These fights sometimes lead to death, but bowing out mid-competition is acceptable. At the end, the victor will then be able to claim his bride.
(Please note, your wolf must have enough bones to claim a mate to compete and all outcomes regarding fighting and / or death should be discussed beforehand.)
- The High King’s word is law.
- The High King has the final say on all of Highvalley affairs.
- Submit to all outranking superiors.
- Defecting from the pack is acceptable but discouraged.
- Eat in order of rank. Pups and pregnant females however may eat first after the Alphas.
- Pups, Juveniles, Omegas are forbidden from leaving the pack territory unless supervised by a superior. Deltas must check in with their superiors before leaving, and all higher ranks are permitted to come and go as they please.
- Acts of rape, theft, and deceit are punishable as seen fit by the High King.
- Acts of murder are punishable by death, unless done in self defence then a wolf may plead their case.
- Lowbloods are forbidden from taking a mate and breeding with fellow Lowbloods.
- Highbloods below the Gamma rank are forbidden from taking a mate.
- Bastards are forbidden from breeding.
- Taking a mate outside of the pack is forbidden unless it’s for political purposes and approved by the High King.
- All mateships must be approved by the father of the maiden. If no father exists, then as the father of Highvalley, the matter will then be brought forth to the High King.
- A wolf may only take one mate. If widowed, or if one’s partner has committed adultery, taking a new mate is permitted.
Highvalley follows a male-preference primogeniture system, where males inherit before females. It is the law of the land that the legitimate firstborn son on the High King should inherit his father’s position in preference to other candidates. The son of a deceased elder brother inherits before a living younger brother, etc... In the absence of any male heirs, the inheritance is allocated to the daughter in the line of succession. If there are no children to inherit, the inheritance is given to the next closest male relative. It should also be noted that an inheriting wolf can refuse the throne.
Alphason - The son of an Alpha.
Bastard - A wolf born out of wedlock.
Greypelt - A term for an elderly wolf who is greying out.
Highblood / Highborn - Legitimate blood relatives to a *recognized Alpha pair in the Domain.
Halfblood - Slang for a wolf born to both Lowblood and Highblood parents.
High One / Highvallian - Wolves belonging to Highvalley.
Highkin - The royal Alpha bloodline of Felduin, Highvalley’s founding Alpha.
Kin - How Highblood Highvalley wolves casually address one another.
Lowblood / Lowborn - Wolves with no blood ties to a recognized Alpha pair in the Domain.
Softpaw - A newcomer to the mountains who has yet to firm up their paw pads due to the harsh terrain.
Wolfling - A juvenile wolf or younger.
Wolven - Something pertaining to wolves.
Wolvenking - The Alpha wolf of a pack.
*Recognized = an official pack within Domain of the Wolf. Ex: Chandor, Vale, Aryn, etc...
Every wolf in Highvalley whether they be Highblood or Lowblood is expected to contribute to the pack and should assume a task pertaining to their unique strengths and skill sets, leaving no room for negligence. Regardless of rank, every wolf is expected to partake in pack hunts as long as they are physically able.
The Keepers of Highvalley are daring warriors who rejoice in their strength. Driven by loyalty and an unshakeable need to protect their own, these gallant fighters laugh at fear, afraid of nothing; they do not shy away from blood or fang. Striking fear into the hearts of their adversaries with unmatched strength, these proud wolves safeguard Highvalley, scouring the landscape for threats both foreign and domestic. Routinely scaling the mountainous heights and engaging in friendly sparring matches with other Keepers ensures that the members of this faction remain fit for the physical demands of their task.
In times of strife or cases of subterfuge, these wolves are the first to leap into the fray. Acting as the first line of defence, the pack looks to the Keepers amidst disaster and invasion. The most robust wolves in the realm, they possess peerless stamina and overwhelming adaptability. They are encouraged to assist the other tasks when physical prowess is required.
For the free-spirited who prefer to roam unrestricted, the life of a Seeker can be an attractive task. Quick in mind and body with an even temperament, novices are responsible for tracking prey and monitoring their movements. When necessary they move the herds, honing their skills and proving themselves to the Highbloods.
Once a wolf is deemed trustworthy and self-sufficient, they are permitted to serve as a diplomat or scout. During this time they must acclimate to life alone; honing their stealth, interacting with wolves from all walks of life and learning the lay of the land are just a few trials Seekers must overcome. Serving as the face of the pack and representatives of their kin abroad, they must remain civil in their dealings with foreigners. As they become familiar with life outside of Highvalley, they return to the pack often. Bringing with them knowledge of other packs, loners, and resources. Their work keeps the Wolvenking informed and the pack safe from the unknown.
Meisters are the pride of Highvalley, the pillars of its culture. Breathing life into the pack’s sophisticated traditions, they are the wolves who pass down legends and knowledge to the next generation. Acting as scholars, teachers, healers, and general champions of the mind, a Meister’s duty lies in the preservation and acquisition of information. With a primary focus in education and healing, they have an impressive grasp of nature’s changes.
While all members must hold intermediate understanding of all subjects, the highly ranked are allowed a field of specialization; these must be approved by the Wolvenking, as brilliant minds must not be wasted on purely intellectual pursuits, but those which would benefit the pack. Significant findings are reported to the alpha so that he may implement them as he deems fit.
Highvalley is a pack of traditions, one among them being the Stewards. Assigned to individual Highbloods as personal assistants, their function is to provide support whenever necessary; this can range from providing food to delivering messages or caring for Highblood pups. In times of emergency they are utilized as general assets, and can serve alongside the Keepers or Meisters as needed. Though not required, members are encouraged to learn basic combat, hunting, and survival to best serve their assigned Highblood and the pack.
Because of the submissive role Stewards are placed in, their number is comprised mostly of Lowbloods; there are Highbloods among them, though they are belittled for doing ‘a Lowblood’s job’. A Steward’s rank is determined by the wolf they serve, and often the higher the rank the more freedoms they are allowed. Even so, it is often regarded as an empty freedom, as regardless of the rank a Steward holds they live under the title of servitude. It’s not uncommon for a Steward to become close with their masters, but to outsiders they will rarely be seen as equals.
High King & Queen: Supreme leaders of the pack. High King is inherited while the High Queen is achieved through mateship. Referred to as the Wolvenking & Wolvenqueen respectfully.
Rodwen (currently out of commission due to illness)High Regent: Temporary leader of the pack while the High King is out of commission.
Omega(s): New members / members without task or members who have been stripped of their task.
(19 Females | 11 Males)
Xassa Pack Information Page
2020 Pack Vote Results
Riverfell Pack Information Page
Aryn Inquisition Announcement
That being said, characters in other packs can join a closed faction IF they post a plot explaining why and the relevant alpha approves. So for example, Highvalley politics requires females to move to the pack of their husband when married. So if you had a female character join Aryn Pack, and then she was betrothed to a Highvalley wolf, she would likely be able to transfer into Highvalley despite it being closed.
Hope that makes sense! Let me know if you have any questions! ^^
So I guess you could say they have a "positive" view on the practice, but it's so integrated into their culture and society it doesn't cause them to blink an eye.
As for Aryn, Highvalley is interested in wolf pack's that have been around for a very long time (example: Havir and Aryn). So they'd be more interested in packs like that as supposed to newly formed packs like Vale.
I hope that answers your question! If not let me know. x'D