The Brudvir are perhaps one of the most physically impressive tribes. Sharing a lineage as one of the original Proto-Neran, they look similar in appearance, however taller and more muscular in stature due to a meat-rich diet. Standing around 6'3" (190cm) on average, they are tied with the Janoa as the third tallest tribe behind the Yoru and Dras. Unlike the Janoa, their height comes with significant muscle on both the upper and lower body, giving them an average weight of between 225-250 lbs (102-113 kg). Adapted to life in the boreal forests that lie along the extreme latitudes of Elyria, they also have fairer skin than the Neran, with pinkish undertones. In addition, the Brudvir have hair - and often heavy beards - ranging in color from red, to strawberry blonde, to blonde. Combined with their yellow or hazel eyes and pronounced, flesh-rending canines, the massive Brudvir can be an intimidating tribe to encounter.
The Brudvir's physical adaptations owe much to the cold and hostile environments they've made home. Over time, they have developed several distinct adaptations similar to the creatures they live alongside.
Before the Neran, Kypiq, Hrothi, or Brudvir, there were what scholars refer to as the "Proto-Neran". It's believed that the aforementioned current-day tribes are all descendants from this pre-historic race of Mann. It is unknown how their distinct evolutions began but, at some point in the distant past, a catalyst lead to the fracturing of the Proto-Neran and forced them to flee from their established homelands.
During this Fracturing, the early Tribe of Mann fled in multiple directions in order to escape some unknown enemy or ailment. Some headed south, into the broad-leaf forest and took shelter within the trees themselves. Some burrowed deep within the mountains that bordered the temperate steppes, seeking security and safety in the timeless stone. And yet others, those who would eventually become the Brudvir, headed north, up into Alpine Forest and deep into the icy lands of the Taiga.
There in the mountain forests where the air was thin and the trees so dense that no one, or nothing, could follow them, they were forced to come to terms with the harsh reality of their own strengths and frailties. Only by coming together as a tight unit, and following the lead of the other animals of the Boreal Forest were the Brudvir able to survive.
Among the Brudvir, the realities of life are never hidden or sanitized, but instead merely accepted as fact. Birth, death, illness, disease, these things are all understood by young Brudvir by the time they are old enough to do so. Rather than fear these things they embrace them, using them as a reminder of the importance of family and the time spent together. As a result, the Brudvir have a particularly close family unit, and a unique name for it in Northerner which in Neran translates to "pack". This is no surprise to the other tribes, as the Brudvir's culture closely mirrors that of the wolves. Indeed, even the word Brudvir means "Brother to the Wolf."
Aside from their close family culture, the Brudvir are known as both expert hunters and trappers, as well as the most accomplished lumberjacks and carpenters in Elyria. This is a direct result of their chosen biome, as the coniferous trees make the soil too acidic to grow most types of edible plants. Instead, the Brudvir hunt and gather for their sustenance, clearing trees as necessary to raise animals for food and clothing.
The Brudvir are Faedin, an animist religion that roots much of its belief in the forces of nature. The Faedin believe that the physical and spiritual planes are inextricably linked, and that all living things - not just Mann - are filled with spirit. This belief is demonstrated throughout many, if not all, facets of a Fae's culture, from their ceremonial practices, to the prevalence of animal and plant symbolism in their artwork.
Like other religions, all Faedin share the same basic tenets. However there are individual differences between the various tribes of Mann. For example, while the Kypiq believe that all living things are filled with spirit and should be protected, the Brudvir believe that only animals have spirit, while trees, insects and other living things serve only as part of the food chain for the more advanced species.
But the Brudvir take their reverence for animals to an even higher level. They believe that all souls begin their journey as animals, and that only through repeated experiences and multiple lifetimes can a soul ascend to the form of a Mann. As a result, they have developed a meaningful kinship with most animals of the forest and are among the best animal tamers in Elyria. And while they must hunt to survive, they view their killing as providing the animal another opportunity to ascend to Mann-hood.
Finally, the Brudvir believe that a soul dictates what form it will take, both as an animal, as well as a Mann. In particular, the Brudvir believe that when a wolf has learned all the lessons it can in its current form it reincarnates as a Mann - specifically as a Brudvir.
The Brudvir, owing to their historical lineage as a Proto-Neran tribe, have the ability to speak Neran. However, because of their closer proximity to the Hrothi, combined with their slight distaste for the Neran, they have, over a period of time, become more prone to speaking a sub-arctic dialect of Neran tentatively referred to as Northerner. This language is shared with the Hrothi and, although nobody is quite certain how, the Yoru as well.
The Brudvir are famous for their wood carvings and mystical totems, with virtually all of their works hailed as the most impressive among the lands. Carved from the mighty conifers, a recurring theme in Brudvir art is the depiction of man and beast side by side, sometimes blurring the line between the two.
There is also a concept that exists in Brudvir culture of "The Tairm", or "vacant". This refers to those they believe have, through some event or punishment, lost their souls. The depiction of such an event can be found in certain works within the Great Libraries of the Hrothi, and stories of individuals who suffered such a fate are often told verbally to their children to encourage good behavior. The word "Tairm" is not used lightly, however, as having a lost spirit is a fate akin to eternal death.
They sing songs honoring the spirits of the world, and the greatness of those came before. Whether it is the personal accomplishments of a venerated leader, or a loved one, they may choose to honor them with song.
The Brudvir have long since made their homes in the northern regions of the world, those being the Boreal Forest (Taiga) and the Alpine Forests. While providing plenty of wood for housing and shelter, and plenty of animals for a small settlement, the scarcity of food and the inability to cultivate makes the northern region impractical for creating settlements much larger than a village or town.
Instead, the Brudvir typically create small villages or hamlets, referred to as dens, within relatively close proximity of one another. This provides reasonable access to neighbors, while still allowing enough space between them to hunt and gather for food. That all being said, the following list shows the typical resources available to Brudvir.
Due to the natural abundance, Brudvir architecture is mainly composed of cedar and other tall conifers which are native to the Taiga and Alpine Forest. Sometimes just looking like log cabins, the wealthier Alpha and Beta members of society take time to cut timber from the logs in order to create pleasant-looking framed houses. Due to the Brudvir's talent for carpentry it's not uncommon to see nicely cut square-cornered buildings with reliefs carved into the boards. Similarly, carvings of animals and Mann often adorn the Brudvir buildings and structures.
Social classes in Brudvir society follow a slightly different system than is seen on Earth. The social classes of the Brudvir are as follows:
Alphas are members of the Brudvir community who are responsible for the tribe's leadership. The overall leader of the Brudvir people is called the Bruékonne, or "Brudvir King". The individual clan leaders are called the Bruérag, or "Brudvir Commanders". Those that oversee the smaller regions are called Bruégot, or "Brudvir Chieftains". These are similar to the titles of King, Duke, and Count respectively.
Below the Alphas are the Betas whom are responsible for managing the individual dens, or settlements. Next are the Gammas, who are responsible for the crafting, construction, cooking and day-to-day running of the dens. Finally, the Omegas are responsible for the hunting and gathering of a den.
Leadership in the Brudvir society is made up of the Alphas and Betas, with leadership being a trait a person is believed to be born with. For that reason, any time an Alpha or Beta dies their role is filled by the most appropriate heir of their pack. In the event that no direct heir exists, a power vacuum is created and the underling with the highest Leadership attribute is given Casus Belli, and a cause to take possession of the land and role held by their predecessor.
While the Brudvir don't have an army, they do have a strong warrior caste. These individuals are found scattered throughout each of the dens and, in times when the call of war needs to be answered, they will band together and form the Brudvir's fighting force.
Yoru - The closest thing to neighbors the Brudvir have, the Yoru have never maintained much of what would be considered traditional friends. The Yoru have always kept to themselves, remaining distant. That said, when calamity has struck the lands of the North, the Yoru have ventured south from their kingdom of ice to come to the aid of the Brudvir. This is such a rare occurrence, however, and so few Brudvir have actually encountered a Yoru, that the Brudvir treat the Yoru with an awed respect, telling stories of the mysterious giants of the icelands to their children. This, of course, speaks nothing of Thandrus, The Bearded King.
Hrothi - The Hrothi and Burdvir have served as trading partners over the span of many generations. The fact that they have a shared language is a testament to their long and storied relationship. This is in-part because the Brudvir's capabilities with wood is only rivaled by the Hrothi's abilities with stone. This dedication to their art creates a mutual respect between the Hrothi and the Brudvir.
Neran - The Neran and Brudvir have a long history together - not always positive - with the Brudvir being another of the Proto-Neran tribes. While they share a language, the religious and cultural differences between the two causes them to be uneasy allies. The Brudvir view the Neran as disrespectful and prodigal. In spite of that, the skillful wood-working of the Brudvir is highly sought after by the Neran, and the Brudvir value the high-quality fabrics and food the Neran provide that make a long, harsh winter easier to weather.
Kypiq - While both Faedin, the Brudvir and Kypiq have very different beliefs about the need to protect the trees of Elyria. Where the Kypiq would see all forests preserved, the Brudvir cut the trees down without pause, using the wood as a resource for their homes and arts, as well as trading the lumber to other tribes for food and metals. While the Brudvir and Kypiq aren't particularly hostile toward one another, due to the obvious difference is size and strength, the Kypiq see the Brudvir's unnatural connection with wolves as being humorous and, combined with the Brudvir's propensity for growling and showing their canines, poke fun at the Brudvir by calling them dogs. Similarly, while the Brudvir believe that all wolves become Brudvir when they're ready to reincarnate, they say - whether they believe it or not is unknown, that all Kypiq comes from squirrels.