(( TL;DR: irish peasant nomad gypsy guys who don't like war OR oppression and would rather move to a different country than deal with their problems repost ))
= The Gallic Clan =
A group of enigmatic human nomads owing most of their population to travelers and refugees, free-spirited to a fault. Their perceived nature shifts as often as they change homes; Some perceive them as pleasant and valuable neighbors, others as cowardly traitors-- All the way back to ancient history, as a footnote of the Daelish legacy. Cravens in the eyes of fiercer Highlander clans, cast out for their contentious ways. History sways to the notions of the one who wrote it, but can be traced back to a truth at its deepest roots.
The Gallic Clan are peaceful, nomadic hunter-gatherers with a distaste for authority, secretive at their core yet by appearances gregarious. Preferring diplomacy over war, many mistake them for cowards or prey, yet many of them hold great respect for martial skill.
Due to their reluctance to speak truthfully with outsiders, little of their deeper culture is known publicly, however some base facts about their way of life and history can be gleaned.
= History =
The saga of the Gallics, in its modern iteration, shows a restless people with too many known homes to count. In the past few decades alone, they have lived in a total of seven different territories. Their oldest recorded hold was within Mordring’s Forest, during the Westerlands conflict, while their oldest recorded history stretches back approximately two-hundred years.
Little is known conclusively of the period before then, but it is known that their wandering began, as mentioned above, with their exile from the lands of the ancient Daelish, and subsequent vanishing into cowardly obscurity.
Until recently, after the scattering that occured post-Mordring Hold, their people lived mostly in isolated family units at the outskirts of modern human society; Shepherds, hunters, laborers, and even some exotic sorts like whalers. Their nomadic nature left them unsure if others of their clan had even survived, or if they were the only remnants. During the upheaval of the past fifty years, a period of constant war, they were driven to reform in order to protect their people.
After rallying again, they had seen acceptance back into the fold of the unified Daelish Clans, for as long as the iteration lasted.
= Hierarchy =
The traditional hierarchy of the Gallic Clan does not waver much from the others of Daelish blood; A chief who leads, and subordinates who they care for. However, over time, a preference toward females has been shaped by their extended isolation. Prestige in families and bloodlines are traced matrilineally, females are considered wiser and more temperate, and indeed men find it difficult to gain respect in traditionally ‘female’ persuits, such as as a seer, administrator or healer.
Modern Gallics have had their hierarchy whittled down to a loose system based around the wisest and most experienced of their tribe:
+ Grandmother +
The “Grandmother” of the Gallic clan, a title generally holding little responsibility yet unquestionable power: Traditionally, the title of “Grandmother” is awarded the oldest woman amongst the Gallics, once over the age of 80 and ceremonially recognized: They are believed to hold immense wisdom, experience and spiritual power, and become somewhat of a figurehead for the rest of the clan. At the crudest, one may compare them to the tribe mascot-- At best, they might be compared to how a faithful Canonist views a bishop. In truth, the position is awarded by merit of simple old age, and so their relationship with the clan may vary.
The Grandmother’s only true responsibilities are an expectation of keeping the chief of the clan in check, to observe and advise, and to recant history to new generations. In the interest of these duties and the respect owed to their position, each person in the Clan is expected to follow her command, even if it means disregarding the wishes of the chief. All are meant to trust in the wisdom that living for at least two lifetimes grants.
= Chief =
The Chief is perhaps the most straightforward position of respect in the Gallics: They are responsible for leading and protecting their clan, as the name implies. They drive the caravans, they monitor morale, they plan for winter, and they settle quarrels. There is no particular expectation for the people they lead to follow their orders, as they are equals: Instead, the free-spirited clan follows a leader out of respect and trust, not obligation.
There is no particular mandate for when or how often a chief is elected, only that they are selected by the clan, or by the Grandmother on two simple merits: Leadership experience, and trust.
- Seer -
Seers, being the most enigmatic position of power in the Clan, are seldom even spoken of to outsiders: They are those with an affinity for knowledge, teaching, healing, and surprisingly advanced alchemical study, all of which is often done through entirely archaic means. They are extensively tested from a young age to be determined suitable for the position, as while it holds little political power it is one of great consideration and respect. Seers are selected by the Seer that came before them and taught them, and have no other elector.
Those without a special position are simply known for their profession, or as kinsmen. They are treated as equals; Simply those with a different path or preference. They are expected to contribute to the survival of their people and be strong enough to protect them if need arises, but little else.
- Special Positions -
Positions granted some special significance, but without more esteem than any other worker.
Peddlars: A catch-all term for tradesmen who travel to foreign lands to represent their people and return home with trinkets and gold, akin to the Highlander raiders of old, but with entirely peaceful intentions. Due to their dubious acknowledgement of national borders, in the past the peddlars of the Gallic Clan have been used as middle-men for warring nations to peacefully communicate with eachother.
Hunters: Hunters in Gallic culture take on an entirely different meaning-- While yes, they do hunt, they are also considered the closest thing to a “warrior” caste that the otherwise peace-minded clan has; In simple words, they are trained not just to hunt beasts, but monsters and men as well.
= Culture =
There are many intricacies to Gallic culture that are not openly spoken of for fear of misunderstanding, but three core values mark a system known as “clan law”: Family, spirituality, and humility. Within every aspect of their people, a thread can be traced back to these three ideologies. Acting against them violates “clan law”, an arbitrary system of justice with punishments ranging from ritual hypothermia to exile, but never intentional death.
Family is synonymous with community, and is put above all else;
Spirituality is to respect all that is gifted to you and show appreciation for your blessings, and;
Humility is to live modestly and to take pride in being one’s self.
Beyond such, there are many facets to Gallic-kind.
- Art -
A society's art portrays their people in the purest terms: Art and beauty is something highly respected in the Gallic Clan, yet found in different places from secular human culture: While one may look to a garden’s bed of flowers for a picture of beauty and grace, a Gallic might find the same joy in an unremarkable, unkempt field. Their idea of art reflects the same sentiment: They prefer simplicity, exceptional craft yet humble presentation. A work of art crafted by a Gallic might not seem like art at all upon a cursory glance, only revealing itself once one takes the time to look at the work and thought that went into the piece. Another idea of beauty they hold to are crafts that were created with a specific person in mind; Gifts. When a feeling or thought is inscribed into an object created for a person, it gains immeasurable value and beauty.
- Music -
An important, public aspect of Gallic spirituality is music: Not only is it for celebration and lifting morale, it also serves to connect one's soul with the world around them, or bridge gaps to entities that may not listen to the voice of a mere mortal. In keeping with this idea of “sacred music”, their preference toward archaic instruments such as lyres and simple flutes has been cemented by tradition, despite there being more more modern and convenient cousins readily available to use. Gallic music tends to take a humble approach, similar to their art: By itself, the Gallic Clan lacks sheet music or the notation necessary to create it completely, relying on ear, memory and improvisation to play their music, if it isn’t entirely improvised from the beginning.
- Faith -
Faith among the Gallics is something almost never spoken of to outsiders, though they have shown to have some almost religious distaste for both Druids and those who practice “corruptive” magics, such as the arcane or dark. Despite this, they have reportedly consorted with Druidic creatures, and have openly protected the Fae in the past. One of the only vaguely “religious” ceremonies the Gallics are openly known for is their tradition of “blooding”, an act of ritualistic adoption into the clan involving willing Gallics sharing their blood with a hopeful man or woman to encourage their ancestors to perceive them as true, full-blooded Gallics. Accounts of the ritual being truly religious in nature or simply a leftover tradition from their primitive days vary.
= Involvement in War =
Though a relatively unrefined clan of Highlanders, the Gallics have traditionally refused to take part in warfare, with the exception of defending their home or in great desperation: The idea of pinning the lives of honest men, children’s fathers, against eachother is repugnant to them. During the war across Atlas, they grew a reputation for their generosity toward men who were willing to lay down their arms and abandon the war, from both the North or the South.
Yet despite what would seem to be a pacifistic nature, they have, in the past, shown to be quite militant in certain regards, and adept at guerilla tactics: During the Westerlands conflict, after the city of Bastion fell, a small hold of Gallics, driven into a vindictive frenzy by the dark magic at play over the land, singlehandedly defended the countryside from undead incursion. They stood until Orcish warbands came to finally push against the armies of the dead, and the Gallics were seemingly gone. While some know the tale of what befell the unfortunate tribesmen trapped in the woods there, the Gallics themselves appear to consider openly speaking of the era social taboo.
By and large, the Gallics lack any formal military organization and, when forced into conflict, rely mostly on their institution of basic militia and hunting training for most able-bodied clansmen.