Augstawne Girene Dzirta
Augstawne Girene Dzirta
Known as the "Highland Family Pack" in common-speak, the Augstawne Girene Dzirta has maintained their existence since the beginning of recorded time among the Rakash peoples. While much of the history and lore has been lost to the past, a few of the most influential tales still circulate among the members of the pack. The structure of the Augstawne Girene Dzirta is one of family hierarchy, where the Augstawne House resides over the other houses which make up the pack.
For many years since the migration to the East, the Augstawne Girene Dzirta had been disbanded without a leader to follow. It was not until recent years that the last survivor of House Augstawne took the mantle of his forefathers and claimed Alpha of the pack.
West of Kermoria the pack laid claim to a vast territory occupying three attached peaks of a wide mountain range. Inside of these mountains, they located cave systems which they transformed into shelters and homes. The majority of the pack lived inside of these caves, but one group was allowed to occupy a small village in the valley which acted as an outpost for trading. This allowed for both new goods to enter the territory and also for new information on the movements of others.
Deals with both other packs and the government of Odcoru made it possible for the Augstawne to thrive in the frozen lands they called home. Using the outpost to filter goods crafted in the mountain out to those in the field, the pack was able to reinforce their position as honorable craftsman and hunters; providing many Rakash in the area with the best they had to offer.
For a number of years the pack was given a small territory atop a barren plateau in the Velaka Desert. This area resided on Outcast Tribal lands but due to the nomadic nature of the tribes their King allowed the pack to install a permanent dwelling atop the sandy highland. While the Alpha was a member of the Tribes, this agreement stood in place and the pack was allowed to prosper as much as the desert would allow.
Early years saw the arrival of many new members of the pack to this location despite the harsh living conditions. A large niche was carved out of the rocky side of the plateau and several tents were erected inside of it to house the growing pack away from the relentless weather. Life in the Velaka was hard and the resources limited, but the Rakash community was able to flourish.
The work would end up being in vain. When the Alpha was removed from the service of the Outcast Tribes, the Warrior King took back the territory for his people and the Augstawne had to abandon the land and relocate to a new area.
Several of the Asini of the Augstawne Girene Dzirta have recently moved to Siksraja, the Rakash village in Therengia, in order to promote the spirit of community within the small establishment. Members of the Asini Tal Veda, Chinoa and Naea, made the initial steps to establish an Augstawne presence in the village which was later reinforced by Dzirta-sponsored events and activities.
Following his departure from the Outcast Tribes, the Alpha has also taken up residence in the forests outside the gates in order to facilitate the transition from the desert for other pack members.
Literally translated into "family blood," Girene Asini can also be loosely translated into "family house" for those who speak common-speak. Girene Asini are what the members of the Rakash call their "house" in the pack hierarchy. There are several houses which have been in existence and once made up the Dzirta. However, due to various circumstances they have either been destroyed or have fallen into a state of disrepair. Most of the former houses from the West did not survive the migration into the East and their members were absorbed by the Asini Augstawne. While some of them have had their names lost to time, a select few have been kept alive through tales passed to the entire pack by their membership.
Other houses such as the Asini Verdan and Asini Ragana, have special conditions applied to them. In the case of the Asini Ragana, they have been exiled from the pack since the homelands due to betrayal and shadowy dealings. Unlike the Asini Verdan, who have been placed on hold due to their leader having taken a holy quest to the barrier.
Holding leadership over one's own Girene Asini is an honor which must be bestowed upon an individual or a couple who have been proven as deserving. The conditions to which one can earn leadership of an Asini differs from person to person, but common factors include: promoting the pack in an honorable fashion, instructing wayward Rakash on the ideals of the Augstawne Girene Dzirta, providing invaluable skill or resource to the other members of the pack, or providing the membership with an indispensable asset.
When a member of the pack has reached a level where their knowledge and experience have become invaluable and irreplaceable, one can generally guarantee they will be given the honor of an Asini in order for them to pass on what they can to others of the membership. Since the reformation of the pack, this honor has been given to very few.
The house of the Alpha.
All members of the pack belong to the Asini Augstawne. Even when gifted with a house, that house is still under the banner of the Asini Augstawne. Hence it is named the house of the alpha to reflect its status in the pack.
All members of the Asini Augstawne carry the Augstawne name.
Asini Tal Veda
The house of distant sorrow.
Originally known as Asini Tal Notis (the house of distant music) and responsible for spreading the collected tales and wisdom of the Augustawne Rakash through poetry, song and story, this small house was all but wiped out during a ferocious rearguard action during the migration eastwards. The House was temporarily renamed Asini Tal Veda as an official mark of mourning, but the name has since stuck.
All members of the Asini Tal Veda carry the tal'Augstawne name.
The house of the Moon
This house was established under the leadership of Moon Mage Malykai Daemonhart. Due to his own nomadic status; the asini, likewise, follow suit.
The house of the Shaman - HOLD
This house was established under the leadership of Cleric Bambina Verdan, a close friend of the Alpha and a spiritual leader for the Rakash people. Currently it is on hold due to Bambina taking up a holy quest to inspect the barrier which she has not returned from. It remains in the hopes that she will return to her people.
In-Active Membership: Bambina
The house of the Witch - EXILED
The Asini Ragna once held another title but was re-titled due to betrayal against other Dzirta (Pack) members. They were stripped of their ties to the Asini Augstawne and now stand alone. The last known surviving member was seen in the company of the Necromancer Lyras as the pack left the homeland. Nothing is known of her fate since the migration. Her name was taken from her by the former Alpha, Rakus, and he took it to the grave with him when he died.
Membership: Unknown Female Rakash
Symbols of the Augstawne
In the homeland, the membership of the pack prided themselves on being capable metalsmiths and gemsmiths. Their close proximity to deposits deep in the mountains where they made their home allowed for many to develop the skill, if only for a hobby. Due to this, silver and emerald (commonly found in the mines) was favored by the membership. Partly due to the frequency, but mostly due to the ease of working with the material.
The largest emeralds were often saved for the most skilled carvers to shape into strong symbols and placed in a setting to gain the most attention from onlookers. Several relics still exist from this time, which continue to be passed down through the membership to this day.
In addition to working with metals and gems, the membership of the pack were also skilled weavers. They commonly used both spidersilk and steelsilk to create a durable mesh for containers of all sizes.
Crest of the Pack
Eastern: a pair of crossed spears overlapped by a wolf's paw
Western: vilks furngals otrfus galotne divi skersot skefne
Translation: wolf foot over top two cross spear
Several variations exist using different colors and materials.
Mark of the Alpha
This is worn by the leader of the pack. It has been passed down from Alpha to Alpha through the many years. Upon joining with the Outcast Tribes it was given a "once over" by the tribe metal smiths who not only repaired the item, but also improved upon it using fine materials chosen by the current Alpha. Following his departure from the Outcast Tribes, the current Alpha has commissioned for it to be re-worked once more, adding to it even stronger materials to ensure its long life and continued use.
This item has not been documented since the most recent changes were made. Descriptions of the item will be provided soon.
Customs of the Augstawne
Differences in view and beliefs are one of the primary reasons for the separate packs that once existed in the Rakash homelands. As with all packs, the Augstawne Girene Dzirta have their own traditions and views which others have used to identify them.
The Augstawne view of the Gods
While many Rakash like to credit the gods with many actions and events, we of the Augstawne know that the gods gift us with the ability to do the things they wish to see done. It is this which has spawned the thinking that the Rakash gods do not force us on a path. Instead, they choose to guide and empower us in whatever we endeavor to accomplish. It is rare to see a member of the Augstawne Girene Dzirta honor a single of the Rakash gods; many choose to honor them all in their various deeds and efforts.
Dizens Dzivnawk Gars
The Dizens Dzivnawk Gars, the great animal spirits, are creatures which have been inspired by our gods to inspire us. The gods' own animal images stand as the lead for the group joined with wolf, bear, falcon, and coyote. Other packs may have other animals which they feel offer them power, but these were the creatures which shared the territory of the Augstawne in the homeland. The Dizens Dzivnawk Gars were considered messengers of our ancestors who had taken form in order to share something with us. Each was considered to carry a different type of message.
Vilks/Wolf: This was the standard messenger. It was often seen when a person had failed to take notice of an opportunity. The color of the wolf's coat would change depending on the situation. Black is a common sight. However, silvered tones are considered to be messages of the most importance.
Zirgs/Horse: The horse was considered to be a message of prosperity. When sighted, typically as a proud heard, it was assumed to mean that things were right and the ancestors' spirits were pleased. Though if a lone nag is seen, most of all one at the end of its years, it is believed that an elder will pass on soon to join Mrod's care. This, despite its morbidity, was still generally accepted as a positive message.
Fawkuns/Falcon: The image of the falcon was thought to be a warning sign that danger was looming on the horizon just out of view. It was said that the louder the falcon's call, the closer the danger. Several members of the pack would adorn themselves with feathers from this bird in hopes that it would grant them better luck against everyday dangers.
Lafsa/Fox: The sight of a fox, most of all one pure white in color, was considered to be about the worst messenger to receive. The fox was considered to be a messenger of death by means of foul play, either for you or one you loved. If the animal came to sit next to you, it was believed you were marked for death and would be meeting your end through trickery or betrayal.
Honored Guests of the Dzirta
Every so often, an outsider comes who has gained a great amount of respect from the membership. Sometimes this is due to their own actions, but often it is caused by their unwavering support for one of the membership. While in the homelands this practice was not commonplace, it has become far more frequent since coming to the East and becoming more social with the peoples here.
Guests of the pack are not members, and have no vote or say in the affairs of the pack. However, they are free to move among the membership and assist with any pack endeavor.
Since establishing themselves in the East, a new tradition has become part of the Augstawne's practices. The Rakash "Moot" was a common occurrence in the homelands, happening once a year or more, but has been rather infrequent here in Kermoira. Several members of the Augustawne Girene Dzirta have voiced concerns about this tradition of all Rakash perhaps becoming forgotten, but the Alpha himself has taken it on his shoulders to host these meetings with whatever help he can find.