The far north of our great valley, the land of polar night and permafrost, is home to the Gaesati people. They have learned to live in the midst of snow and ice in conditions where no other nation can survive. Gaesati earn their living by hunting, collecting, and herding reindeer. They are masters of bone and leather making, but have to trade with the southern peoples to get iron for their arrows and other supplies.
At present, the Gaesati are in a state of great uncertainty. Most of them did not regret at all the crushing of the power of the blustering Eskaran people. In fact, many members of the Gaesati were eagerly awaiting the opportunity to trade with the Templars. Since then, however, as the Templars have expanded their power, it has become clear that these new rulers of the north are even more fierce than the previous rulers, and the doctrine of the Church of Elements spreading under their swords does not allow the Gaesati traditional animal-based religion, which during the Eskaran reign was never denied from them.
Most of them are currently doing their best to stay away from the problems and skirmishes of the southern peoples. After all, these fights are not theirs. Some, on the other hand, believe that the seemingly endless war between Eskara and the Templars will still extend to the lands of the Gaesati people, whether they like it or not. Some of them are willing to join the struggle alongside the Eskarans, hoping that perhaps the southern seitas may be revived into life again. Others have heard from preachers about the gentle doctrine of the Church of Elements and wondered if it really would be worse than the dark and bloody goddesses of the Eskarans.
The Gaesati live in small tribes that roam the fjells. Each tribe has its own place for a winter camp and a summer camp. There are no permanent leaders, but when a tribe establishes its winter camp or summer camp, it chooses a leader by negotiation. Religious leaders, shamans, who interpret the will of the seita, and can go to the spirit world for advice, also have a lot of say. They are unfamiliar with the concept of private ownership, and all the belongings of the tribe belong to the tribe. The manufacturer of the article has the primary right to use it for as long as he or she needs it, but if the author of the article does not have any use for it, anyone who needs it can loan it and use it for it himself. Likewise, food obtained by hunting or gathering is first used to feed one's own shelter, but the food left over is to be distributed to those most in need.
Good and Evil
It is a good thing to respect the will of the animal spirits and the seita. Breaking them will sooner or later lead to horror, such as when the mother wolverine in ancient times succumbed too much to her spirit and broke the law of the reindeer spirit by killing all his reindeer and devouring their flesh all at once, just to die of the coming winter. Respect for people and life is generally good, as well as prudence and frugality. Similarly, co-operation is not only good but also a necessity. Nobody can survive the northern winter on their own.
Gluttony, destroying things are considered bad acts, whether they were a violation of the will of a seita by overfishing the lake or bingeing over own need after catching the prey. Excessive use of fungi, except for powerful shamans, is equally unacceptable. It is also bad to go to the ways of the southern peoples. The horses that the southern people use, for some reason have been identified by many of the Gaesati as evil animals that do not belong to the north, and must be kept very far away. Getting too close to the Wilder mistresses is also bad because they are cruel and selfish creatures that demand their worshipers to do terrible things.
The Gaesati wear warm and durable leather garments and rich tribes pride their members on wearing dyed fabrics for celebrations. The Gaesati are a dark and short people whose eyes are oblique compared to the Eskaran people and the common people of Valkor. In fact, they resemble Templars surprisingly much, although they are generally smaller in size due to the scarcity they experience around them every day.
Members of the Gaesati tribe tend to do almost everything together. They enjoy each other's company, and since the families live together, there is not much room privacy in the shelter. Members of the same tribe tend to wrap their arms around each other and press their cheeks against each other as they meet. The habits of the Gaesati are about closeness, community and trust.
The religion of the Gaesati is based on respecting the seita and interpreting the will of the animal spirits. Each tribe has a common animal spirit that is especially sacred to it and has given its name to the tribe. From this spirit, the shamans also seek help in the most difficult and great matters which cannot be solved by a single seita. This animal is always treated with the utmost respect by the Gaesati tribe and is considered essential to the survival of the tribe. This does not mean that the spirit species of the spirit are not hunted or fed; on the contrary, the spirit is considered to offer the flesh and skins of its animals as gifts. All the great rites of the tribe are consecrated to its animal and usually follow its annual rhythms: mating, changing of coat, and so on.
Rites for the seita are the most common way of practicing religion for the Gaesati people. These expenditures are small-scale and usually offer small sacrifices to the Seita. They generally seek the favor of the seita and luck in the subsequent hunting, gathering, or fishing, and the secret skills taught by the seita. The tribes of the Gaesati people also occasionally indulge the Wilder mistresses on sacrificial animals, and some of them honor the numerous female god-like deities who are believed to decide about life and death, protect the children, creating the world, and so on. However, these rites of worship vary greatly from one tribe to another.
The Gaesati are not warlike, but in the course of history they have had to fight with both the Eskarans and the Goblins and nowadays also the Templars. They do not have weapons specifically designed for war, so they use the same tools as they do for hunting: spears, bows, knives, lassos which they use for reindeer capture, and traps set in the woods.
The Gaesati people will only fight when it is the absolutely last resort. Whenever possible, they hide in forests and marshes, or flee to the fjells where no one dares to follow them. They also tend to pay a lot of coercive tax on their meager assets rather than engage in a fight or open rebellion against their oppressors. However, if the tribe does engage in rebellion, it will do so with determination and steadfastness and will not give up until its blood is shed in the last drop. This is because the tribe then considers the alternative to be death anyway and has nothing to lose. Winter in the north teaches people that you do not give up if you want to live.
The Gaesati people get easily exploited when dealing with other nations. They are few in number and lack significant military or political power, but on the other hand stand out clearly from the Eskarans and other nations. Thus, it is rarely possible for them to claim directly for the injustice experienced by their members. Members of their people who deal with other nations will sooner or later have to decide what to do with this kind of treatment. Some try to prove their personal strength, some begin to hate other nations and seek indirect ways to get revenge, some simply accept their position and try to survive.
They settle their quarrels in courts arranged at their seita, in which they hear the wisest of the seita, the animal spirits, the tribes involved, and usually an extra third party who is not involved in the incident at all. The goal is to reach some kind of negotiated solution. If this does not happen, there may be inter-tribal teasing, such as breaking fishing nets, looting, or even fighting. However, large-scale bloodbaths are extremely rare.
Members of the Gaesati are generally not in a position to seek help against wrongdoing by outsiders. However, this does not mean that they do not try to make the lives of their enemies difficult. Instead of direct power, they have always had to rely on cunning to compensate for injustices. Members of the tribe usually look for small, discreet ways to bully their enemies. They sell them bad stuff, mix headaches with poisonous fungi, slice the hamstrings of their best horses, and ask for seitas to put curses on them.
This use of indirect retaliation has earned them a reputation of deceptive backstabbers among many Eskarans. Members of the Gaesati generally respond to this by saying that when a bear meets a fox, it is easy for the bear to be brave and insist on fair fighting. The fox, on the other hand, is forced to use cunning to survive.
Members of the Gaesati are generally cordial, friendly, and fair to each other, and if any outsider wins their trust, they will be treated in exactly the same way. However, until the good intentions of the outsider have been confirmed, they will take everything he says with reservation. With the exception of merchants, outsiders have rarely meant the good news, so usually they will focus on hoping to be left alone.
For their friends, the Gaesati cannot provide significant military or financial support. Instead, they have their own witchcraft and resources that other nations have no access to. These resources are information about local beliefs, spirits, and natural wonders. They generally get along well with a variety of animals. Almost all members of the Gaesati have their own dog and many also have a reindeer or some other rare pet such as a raven. Horses are an exception to this rule, and they alienate, fear or even hate these southern animals.