The destination in our journey through Landia takes us to the west. To where the Weln live in servitude to the Gruun.
There is a common belief amongst the people of Landia that there are two sides to the Flow. A Light and a Dark. For the Lerofa, the Delia represent the light while the Arigru represent the dark. The faeries are beings of light, but there are darker forms beyond the Flow that lead Fadites into evil.
In the brief amount of research I’ve done on the Flow, this doesn’t seem to be the case. Instead of it haven’t inherent good and evil, as many claim, I believe light and dark energy come about through the method people use it. Some people use it to find food, Fadites use it to harvest it.
The Gruun use it to turn themselves into demons
I cannot tell you how, but sometime before the collapse, a group of men who proceeded the Gruun learned to infuse the Flow into their bodies, causing them to create a whirlpool of energy within themselves. The process changed them into wretched creatures with skin of leather; graying, ragged fur, and faces warped to become gruesome and beastly. In exchange though, they obtained magical powers that supposedly surpassed the elves.
One looking at a Gruun would assume them to be hideous, mindless trolls that break anything they cross. Those are the ones that end up dead. The Gruun are crafty, wise ogres. Because they hold the Flow within their bodies, they have a deeper understanding of life and the planet itself. Alas, they still have the arrogance of trolls. Think their race is superior in every way and believing all other creatures should be subservient to them—so they can learn properly from their superiors.
Following the collapse, the Gruun took up residence in the Western Fields of Weln, capturing the ruined elvish city of Leandorin for their capital. The people of the Weln were given three options: submit to the will and authority of the Gruun, flee to the east
to the Lands of the Sun, or be slaughtered under the Gruun’s mighty foot. Some submitted, most fled, others fought—then died.
Another trait the Gruun share with their overused stereotype is their love for meat. It must take a ton of energy to keep that inner Flow intact, so they must consume enough energy to keep it maintained. Because animals (sheep in particular) hold the strongest connection to the flow (I.E. hold the most potential energy), it only makes sense that the Gruun would use them as the focus of their diets.
Thus, the Weln people are expected to provide it. In exchange for the Gruun giving them protection, the Weln give them a tribute of 75% of what is gathered from the sheep in any given year.
Surprisingly though, the Weln are without some freedom. They are allowed to grow gardens in the lower city to grow some vegetables. They are also allowed to keep anything harvested from it as the Gruun do not eat anything other than meat (guess their bodies feed more off the energy of the flow than needing other nutrients to live off of.
But while the Weln have freedom, the Gruun keep a watchful eye on them, and the flock, through the Aetheric Flow. If the Weln ever tried to flee the lands with the flock, the Gruun would immediately teleport to their position and cut them down. Not only that, they’d drag their body back to Leandorin—preserved through magic—track down their family, kill them too, then hang all their bodies through the streets of the Weln section of the city.
The message is clear—you never steal from the Gruun.
Sadly, I didn’t get that message in time. Technically, I didn’t steal. I wanted to sketch out a picture of a Gruun for this article. The Gruun I had been sketching noticed and attacked, claiming I was “Stealing his image”… whatever that meant. Needless to say I needed to flee Leandorin before I could collect any more details. But that wasn’t the worse of it. I lost the wood pendant I got from the pretty Delia from Reolin. That was a truly tragic moment.
Anyways, the Key traits.
- Division of Labor – The Weln are expected to tend the flocks. Men go out into the fields while women stay home, tending the gardens and raising poultry. The Gruun are bred to harness the power within them. Males learn to use it in combat in order to protect the flocks. Females are expected to gather knowledge about it.
- Territory – The control of the fields surrounding Leandorin and keeping them accessible to the Weln is an important duty of the Gruun. All they need is land to graze, not strict borders. Though they keep a watchful out for their eastern neighbors.
- Kinship – Weln stick to large family groupings to care for their needs. The Gruun take on several wives for the expressed purpose of increasing the population. While women can be just as strong—if not more so—then men, their duty to keep the Gruun race alive outweighs their desire to swing a sword.
- Conflict Resolution – Conflict between the Weln is handled by the family or families and the traditions each have. The Gruun wise ones and leader are expected to handle disputes between each other. If issues ever arise between Weln and Gruun, it is the Gruun who pass judgment—and it rarely in the Weln’s favor (Hence my flight).
- Equality – The hierarchy of Leandorin is the Chieften, a Male Gruun, a Female Gruun, a Male Weln, and then Female Weln. The Weln have no leaders other than the heads of their family units. While the Weln have rights, they are never considered equal to the
- Religion – The Weln feel the force between the Flow. They see it in the land they graze and in the sheep they shepherd. They sense something deeper and greater behind it, and while they don’t have a name for it, they whisper about it between themselves. The Gruun work to suppress belief of this unknown force, as it is only they that the Weln should worship. They are the ones who protect them after all.
- Sustainability –Despite having the power of the Flow in them, the Gruun cannot make things grow. Once land is trampled, the Weln must travel further out, putting them at greater risk to the people of the East.
- Security – Food is plentiful for the Gruun, but the Weln barely get enough to eat. The gardens work to keep them sustained, but they aren’t abundant enough to feed them. Many Weln fall to sickness and not many age past forty.
- External Threats – Leandorin is at war with the rising empire to the east. The Children of the Sun constantly attack the Weln flocks and attempt to establish camps within their borders. Part of the reason the Gruun keep a watchful eye over the flocks is to protect them from the Empire. Even though one Gruun can easily take on a platoon of soldiers, there are some Children who have brought down a Gruun Warlock and dragged their body back to the east—denying the family the right to give a proper burial.