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(May 3rd, 2012)
Meet the Tribes of Tanglebrook: The Alphus!
      by Callista Skip

A fiercely proud tribe, it is the Alphus wolves who believe themselves to be distant cousins of the Drachin. Only their tribe holds those who are blessed with the ability read the land and speak with the spirits -- though this is only one source of their overall power. Their commanders and roving packs of soldiers are a constant along the borders of their territories, disciplining anyone they might consider a trespasser. These small camps were ultimately overseen by a Shaman who would give them what foresight they could glean with their small magic.

The Alphus and the Haidar have struggled against each other for as long as the tribes can remember, vying for power over everything, from territory boundaries to who should be able to visit with the Skaema Envoy first. The Alphus control the land South of Tanglebrook's main river, an area rich with dense jungle, bordered by lush Haidar plains and rocky Murodian foothills.

Art by Fishyboner

A system of town elders rule the few stationary towns that exist in their territory. These elders look to a central tribal leader-head for direction, a powerful Shaman who is closer in spirit to the dragons than the rest of them.

A Shaman is known after they reach a certain age, when their powers start to become evident in the way they look at the world. Many factors that would be expected to matter -- family line, mental prowess, size, success -- never affected the way the power was passed down. When a Shaman's power comes to fruition, they are given a simple corded necklace that is said to help shape and focus their power. These are in honor of the necklaces that the Drachin themselves are said to wear to do the same task.

Art by SilentRavyn

Though the Alphus are considered arrogant by many of the other tribes in Tanglebrook, they are always looked to when matters of the land are on the line. When the river runs low enough to drain the watering holes, the otters come looking for answers. The Murodians scrape together donations (sometimes made of the very items they had stolen the season before) when their crops go to spoil and they need remedy. And even the Haidar reluctantly send an adequately humble party when their herds start to thin.

No one but the Shamans know the details of their communion with the land, but whatever the case, grateful tribes take the Shaman's advice and follow it to the letter, and are never disappointed.

The Alphus put great faith in their leaders' abilities; the leaders put great faith in their commanders. The wolves are encouraged to help their soldiers in any way they can, be it through pottery so the encampments could have stored food, engineering armor, or constructing mud huts for semi-permanent camps. The Haidar believe themselves to be the logical peacekeepers over the land -- the Alphus hold a more instinctively dominant role. This has lead to victory over the worst of the Murodian raids through force, while the Haidar attempt at peace talks and trials. Within their own tribe, the Alphus maintain a conversation; outside it, they expect mute respect. Their commanders are both eloquent and blunt, generous and demanding.

Art by BloodhoundOmega

The last leader-head foretold of great strife in Tanglebrook in the coming generations, a vision that was more powerful than any in remembered history. The Alphus, ever prepared train their up-and-coming youth, redoubled their efforts over the following years, never sure what to be on the lookout for, but always determined to be ready.

Regardless of how peaceful Tanglebrook's history has been, the Alphus' drive to stay organized has kept the Haidar on their toes too. This healthy competition has resulted in two powerful forces that were sometimes friends, sometimes enemies.

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