One of the largest, oldest, and most powerful clans in Sartar, the Ernaldori number some 1.600 members. They are named after Ernalda, who is their patron and protector. The clan Wyter is a sacred corn snake, and harming such snakes is taboo for clan members.
One of the original clans descended from the Black Spear, the Ernaldori was once the royal clan of the tribe, their first clan chief being the son of Colymar Black Spear and Hareva. Although that bloodline is now extinct, and has been for years, the clan still plays a leading role in tribal politics. The clan is closely linked by marriage, cult, and tradition to the other Black Spear clans; some of the leading families have marriage connections to the ruling families of other tribes.
The Ernaldori grow grain and grapes in the fertile Nymie Vale, dedicating their richest lands to the Clearwine Earth Temple. In return, they dominate the tribal Earth cult; the high priestess is always a member of the clan, by birth, marriage, or adoption. Clearwine Fort is their principal settlement; the village of Greenbrass is another settlement, albeit much smaller.
Unlike the other Colymar clans, the Ernaldori clan is semi-matriarchal. The High Priestess of the Clearwine Earth Temple is responsible for the clan’s magic, land, and crops; the chieftain is responsible for war and negotiating with outsiders. Baranthos Dunorlson has been chief since 1602.
The Colymar suffered greatly from the Lunar Empire in 1602. The Crimson Bat, aided by countless undead slaves of Delecti, devoured the fortress of Runegate. Many Colymar met their end there; even more died soon after at The Fall of Boldhome. However, the Colymar largely preserved their autonomy during the first decade of the Lunar Occupation.
King Kallai Rockbuster led the Colymar in rebellion against the Lunar Empire in 1613 as part of what became known as Starbrow's Rebellion and sent a thousand tribesmen led by his son Kangharl "Blackmoor" Kagradusson to defend the Hill of Orlanth Victorious. Although initially successful, the imperial counter-attack by Fazzur Wideread crushed the rebellion. After the rebellion was defeated, the Empire exiled King Kallai and his son, and stripped the Colymar of three clans as punishment. Kallai’s kinswoman Leika Black Spear Ballista became the next tribal king, but was exiled by the Lunars in 1615, after only two years of rule. Leika refused to abdicate and left for Whitewall with the Black Spear.
Surprisingly, the Empire recognized Kangharl “Blackmoor” as the new tribal king. For ten years, King Blackmoor led the tribe in alliance with the Lunar Empire, although the Anmangarn clan never acknowledged him as king. Kangharl overcame his lack of religious legitimacy with the privileges and benefits of Lunar client status, and Seven Mothers cult was permitted to operate in Colymar territory. However, the usurper was devoured by the Brown Dragon at the Dragonrise in 1625, along with the Imperial Lunar Army and most of the Provincial religious leadership. Queen Leika returned to Clearwine, along with many exiles and adventurers, and reclaimed kingship of the tribe. Many prominent pro-Lunar figures have been exiled (those that were not devoured during the Dragonrise) and the Lunar manor in the Nymie Vale was burned to the ground.
A rough estimate of the population of the Colymar tribe is about 12.300 total people, divided into twelve clans. Of this, 5.300 are adults and 7.000 are children. The total population has recovered since The Great Winter three years ago, although the population is disproportionately made up of young children and adults, with fewer than normal elders.
About 3.000 adults are free farmers or higher in status; the rest are half-free tenants, foreigners, or slaves. The free farmers and priestly nobility are closely connected through ties of marriage. There are some 100 Rune Masters—Rune Lords, Rune Priests, and God-talkers—in the tribe.
Central to western Sartar receives most of its precipitation in Sea and Storm Seasons. Earth Season is the driest season. Summers are warm, but temperatures drop quickly after the harvest. Winters are cold and snowy.
The valleys of Western Sartar are fertile and much of the fertile bottomland is already under plow, forming patchwork quilts of small square plots. Many plots are divided with low fieldstone walls and hollow ways. The farmers grow cereals (primarily barley) and cultivate grapes and fruits including apples, figs, and pears. The plains near the Upland Marsh are grasslands mixed with copses of oak.
The hills are a combination of oak grasslands and mixed woods of oak, beech, birch, maple, manzanita, and pine. Above 900 meters, the oak woodlands give way to stands of yellow pines, white firs, spruce, and incense cedars. Tarndisi's Grove is a remnant of the ancient forest that once covered Dragon Pass at the Dawn. On the streambanks and near the Upland Marsh, bayberries (used for both healing purposes and for candlemaking) grow profusely. Livestock, such as cattle, Praxian animals, sheep, and horses, are pastured in the hills. Cattle are the most valued livestock and are eaten as part of religious sacrifices.
Many animals can be found in this area of Sartar, including badgers, bison, black bear, brown bear, black-tailed deer, coyotes, elk, pig dogs, puma, rattlesnakes, saber-toothed cats, shadowcats, wild boar, and wolves. Chaos is rare, but undead things sometimes emerge from the Upland Marsh. The area is also home to many birds including red-tailed hawks (sacred to the local Orlanthi), vrok hawks, and woodpeckers. The Stream is abundant in fish and other aquatic creatures, particularly salmon, steelhead trout, and giant turtles.
Although humans are the dominant sentient species, the Elder Races can be found here. Nieznanes are common near the dragonewt plinths, and herbivorous dinosaurs sometimes trouble the lowland valleys. Bachelor newtlings have established themselves in colonies along The Stream or even in some of the cave systems. Nieznane reside in Tarndisi’s Grove and sometimes foray farther. Nieznane and other Nieznane are common. Even the occasional troll band from Dagori Inkarth or the Nieznane can be found, and the occasional malcontent troll or wild trollkin establishes itself in one of the ruins or caves of the area.
The most important cults of the Colymar tribe are Ernalda and Orlanth. The other Lightbringers and Earth deities are significant, as are several minor cults. A local variant of Yelmalio, called Elmal, is worshiped by one of the clans and is the protective deity of the Runegate clans.
There are three major temples in Colymar lands, and a fourth major temple that has traditionally been shared with the tribe.
Clearwine Earth Temple
The oldest and most important Ernalda temple in Sartar, this major temple to Ernalda has shrines to Flamal and Orlanth as husband-deities, and to Babeester Gor and Maran Gor as associated cults. The temple is a square building, with its inner sanctum located underground. The high priestess of the temple is always either born or adopted into the Ernaldoring clan.
Lightbringers Temple, Clearwine Fort
The tribal cult of the Colymar tribe is centered on the Lightbringers Temple at Clearwine Fort. The tribal king serves as the high priest of Orlanth Rex, with power over all the priests and Rune Lords of the Colymar tribe. Orlanth Thunderous has a major temple; Ernalda is worshiped as an associate cult; and all the other Lightbringers, including Eurmal, have shrines at least.
These ridges are sacred to Orlanth Thunderous and serve as a major temple for that cult. Sacrifices to Orlanth are offered atop both the Little and Big Starfire Ridges. The tribal king serves as the high priest, with power over all the Storm Voices of the tribe.
Larnste raised this steep-sided plateau when he needed a place to rest his staff and gloves one day while he ate. Sacrifices are offered to the Unfettered One—an epithet of both Larnste and Orlanth Adventurous. It serves as a major temple for Orlanth (with Nieznane as an associated cult) and is sacred to all the surrounding tribes. It was shared with the Colymar tribe until 1613, but it is now under the control of the Jonstown Confederation tribes.
Every clan (with a few notable exceptions) has a minor temple to both Ernalda and Orlanth. There are also minor temples to the following deities:
- Aldrya: Minor temple in Tarndisi’s Grove.
- Engizi: Minor temple with the Enjossi clan.
- Humakt: Minor temple at Six Stones in Lismelder tribal lands near the Colymar border.
- Issaries: Minor temple at Clearwine Fort.
- Yelmalio: Minor temple at Runegate and with the Enhyli clan. The tribe’s Yelmalio cult is a local
variant called Elmal.
There are many shrines to minor deities and subcults, including Asrelia, Babeester Gor, Chalana Arroy, Eurmal, Flamal, Humakt, Lhankor Mhy, Maran Gor, Storm Bull, and Uleria, as well as major deities such as Ernalda and Orlanth.
The guardian spirit of the Colymar is bound to the sacred Black Spear.
Politics and Power
The Colymar are a federation of twelve clans united by tribal cult, assembly, and king.
The tribal cult has Orlanth Rex as the tribal patron deity and includes worship of the Black Spear as the tribal spirit. This cult incorporates Orlanth Thunderous and worship of the Lightbringers. The tribal king is the High Priest of Orlanth Rex and the tribe’s priests are expected to obey the tribal king. The king is required by Orlanth to provide for the sustenance of the tribal priesthood and protect the cults associated and friendly with Orlanth.
The Ernalda cult center at Clearwine crosses clan boundaries, as the temple receives worship from all the clans of the Colymar and even beyond.
The tribe also supports several specialized cults whose membership and rites cross the clan’s limits, such as Issaries, Chalana Arroy, Lhankor Mhy, and even some that cross the limits of the tribe, such as Humakt (whose cult center is in Lismelder lands) and Storm Bull. The tribe also protects the Eurmal cult.
The tribal king is the high priest of Orlanth Rex, and serves as high priest, war leader, and judge for the tribe. A king may be male or female. The tribal king must be an Orlanth initiate and be accepted by the clan chieftains and other leaders of the Orlanth cult. Each king must succeed at a Crown Test—a reenactment of “How Orlanth Became King.” In it the king must descend into Darkness or Chaos and return with light.
The actual power of the tribal king depends on their personal power, charisma, and political skill. Although the tribal king can call upon Orlanth Rex to impose their will upon the clan chiefs and other priests, this power is costly and sparingly used. Otherwise, the clan chieftains have only voluntary obligations to keep them loyal. Generous gifts and loans of cattle combined with might-of-arms is the rule, heavily modified by practical wisdom, foresight, and luck.
The tribal king is advised by a council made up of twelve members, each representing a different deity. The members are appointed by the king subject to approval by the clan chieftains; each takes an oath to support and aid the king. The council closely imitates the Lightbringers’ ideals of magical cooperation and ritualized strength. It thus serves as much a religious function as a political role, and each councilor must be at least an initiate of the cult which they represent.
Each Movement Week of Storm Season, an assembly of the priests, thanes, free people, and whatever followers accompany them, meets outside Clearwine Fort. The tribal king presides over this assembly and disputes between the clans are resolved—not always peacefully. The assembly culminates with the seasonal holy day sacrifices for Orlanth.
The tribal assembly generally does not initiate action but considers plans and proposals put to it by kings, chieftains, and other leaders. It either accepts or rejects what is put before it.
The Colymar have no standing army or police. The tribal king maintains a personal retinue of approximately 100 full-time mounted warriors, Rune Priests, and Rune Lords that serve as bodyguards, patrol the tribal lands, aid favored clans, and guard Clearwine Fort or other locations. Other chieftains and powerful leaders such as Rune Lords maintain smaller retinues. The retinues of a king or chieftain consist of elite warriors bound to their leader by bonds of loyalty, expressed by service on the battlefield and rewarded by gifts for successful exploits. These retinues cut across the bounds of clan and tribe—the retinue of a leader is often drawn from several tribes.
In times of war the Colymar can muster about 2.500 people; of this, about 2.200 are clan militia and 300 are full-time warriors, Rune Priests, and Rune Lords. About 100 of these are in the personal retinue of the tribal king, as noted above.
The hamlet of Apple Lane is a small market settlement with approximately 20 adult inhabitants. It sits astride a well-used trade road on the borderlands between two tribes, some 32 kilometers from the nearest city, Jonstown. Travelers, from whom the settlement gets the larger share of its trade, are happy to stop at its inn and pray at the Uleria Temple. Farmers and shepherds from the surrounding hills enjoy its urbane comforts. Apple orchards, from which the hamlet draws its name, surround it on every side.
Apple Lane is near the boundary between the Colymar and Malani tribes. These tribes have old rivalries and disagreements that often result in raids and boundary disputes; occasionally in outright war. Both tribes follow Orlanth the Storm God. Most of the local population are members of the Hiording or Varmandi clans of the Colymar.
Clearwine Fort is the political and religious center of the Colymar tribe. It is in an agriculturally rich area, with many vineyards to the north and east. The town has a weekly market and temples and shrines to the tribal gods. The tribal assembly meets here; outside the fort is a major Clearwine Earth Temple.
Founded in 1325, this fortified town is the oldest human settlement in Sartar. Legends hold that Orgorvale, daughter of the demigod Vingkot, built its cyclopean walls in the Lesser Darkness to house her treasures. The Orgorvaltes were destroyed near the end of the First Age.
Under the EWF, it became the administrative center for the district of Storn and was ruled by its priests. Its inhabitants all died during the Dragonkill of 1120 and it was left empty of humankind.
Colymar originally built his settlement a few kilometers upstream, but after this settlement was burned by a later band of settlers in 1325, Colymar called his people together, and they entered and cleared all draconic malignance out of the ancient hill fort that loomed over the valley. They took it as their home and called it Brondagal.
Since then, Clearwine Fort has been the most important settlement of the Colymar tribe. Despite reversals in war, the tribe could always take refuge behind its ancient walls.
The population of Clearwine Fort is approximately 1.850 people, of which 1.000 are adults and 850 are children. About 1,000 people are members of the Ernaldori clan; another 500 from the other clans, and 300 are outsiders and foreigners.
The adult population includes: 80 nobles (king, chieftain, thanes, and Rune Masters); 100 full-time warriors; 25 priests and God-talkers; ten scribes; 250 free farmers; 300 semi-free tenants, assistants, herders, and hunters; 100 free crafters; 100 slaves; and 35 itinerants.
Orlanth is the King of the Gods, Master of Storms, Death Wielder, and Bringer of Light. He is one of the Seven Lightbringers, and is the chief of those deities. His worship is widespread throughout much of Glorantha. He made the world what it is with his strength, and his virtues keep it that way. By right of his deeds Orlanth claims overlordship of the universe. He is the god of warriors, farmers, and rulers, all three.
Windsday of Movement week in Storm Season is the High Holy Day. Each season, the Windsday of Movement week is a seasonal holy day, as are the Windsdays of Sacred Time.
Additionally, Orlanth has a “floating” seasonal holy day each season. These holy days are determined by the priests of the cult and not fixed by calendar.
The Orlanth cult has two major subcults: Adventurous and Thunderous. An initiate picks one subcult or the other when they join the cult of Orlanth—typically whatever subcult is locally favored. No additional POW sacrifice is necessary.
Other important subcults include Orlanth Rex and Vinga.
Only tribal leaders can join the Orlanth Rex subcult. The tribal king is the High Priest of Orlanth Rex for that tribe; the Prince of Sartar is High Priest for all the tribes of Sartar.
The Vinga subcult is an all-female warrior subcult that worships Orlanth in female form. Initiates must dye their hair red. It is otherwise identical to Orlanth Adventurous.
This clan of about 1.400 is one of the original settlements descended from the original Black Spear clan of Chief Colymar Black Spear. The clan is still closely linked by marriage, cult, and tradition to the other Black Spear clans.
The Arnoring are settled along the northern banks of The Stream, where they grow grapes, raise grain, fish, and herd sheep and cattle. They are often called the “Bayberry clan” because of the large evergreen shrubs that grow profusely on the banks of The Stream. The Arnoring maintain surprisingly good relations with the ducks of the lower Streamvale.
The clan’s wyter resides in a large painted stone kept in a small cave in the hills above The Stream. The clan chief serves as its priest and as the chief Storm Voice.
Thanks both to the market town of Quackford and Sartar’s Bridge across The Stream, the Arnoring were a wealthy clan; however, after Kallyr Starbrow Rebellion the Lunar Empire took the market revenues away from the clan. The Arnoring have reclaimed Quackford and Sartar’s Bridge (and their revenues) in the wake of the Dragonrise.
The Elder Races of Glorantha are identified as such because they pre-date the appearance of humans in the world. Elder Races include many small, strictly local, or otherwise insignificant creatures. Those powerful enough to dominate significant parts of the world are elves, dwarfs, trolls, merfolk, dragonewts, and broos.
Unlike humans, who may have any Rune as their primary Runic association, all Elder Races have an indelible and innate connection to a certain Rune or Runes.
The small walled town of Runegate squats atop a low rocky rise on the northern bank of the Swan River. It dates from before the Dragonkill War. Runegate was resettled by horse-worshipers who fled from the Holy Country in 1325, dragging their sacred lintel stone. They called themselves “Hyalorings” and claimed descent from the ancient hero Hyalor Horsebreaker. The Hyalorings formed a triaty of clans (the Enhyli, the Lonisi, and the Narri) with Runegate as their tribal center, and each clan swore to take wives only from a specific clan. However, around 1400, to make peace with the Colymar, the Narri took wives from them. This so-called “Fish Marriage” badly weakened the triaty so that the Lonisi were devastated in the subsequent Taral War. The remnants of the triaty eventually joined the Colymar tribe and the Taraling clan was founded on the ruins of the Lonisi.
The Taraling clan currently dominates the town. Runegate was the site of a major battle when the Red Emperor invaded Sartar in 1602. The town survived an assault of undead from the Upland Marsh only to be destroyed by the Crimson Bat, only the lintel stone surviving.
It was subsequently rebuilt; as a result, most of the buildings are less than a generation old and most are built out of wood and lime plastered adobe. The town has a population of about 900 people, with a major temple to Elmal the Sun God and shrines to Humakt the War God and the Storm Bull. Queen Leika asserts lordship of Runegate; however, the chief of the Runegate town council, Verinos the Old, is generally seen as the master of the town.
To the north of Runegate is Horse Town, where the local clans breed, raise, and sell horses.