The great herd is on the move again, heading south to where the winter rains will flood the Lebonear Savannah and Ku-Aya and her tribe will once again follow them. For generations the Kuri tribe have wandered north and south and south and north following the great herd as it follows the rains to the fresh vegetation. For 5 months they camp on the Lebonear Savannah before a month’s journey north to Canocam Veld for another 5 months before returning back to Lebonear Savannah to begin the cycle again. The great herd of animals is the lifeblood of the tribe, a six million strong mass of herbivores.
The tribe supplements what it gathers from the herd and its surroundings by trading with locals. The journey with the migrating herd across the middle badlands is difficult and unpleasant, so few undertake it by themselves or in small numbers. It’s much easier to either travel with the tribe or to have them carry your wares. The Kuri tribe make quite a bit of currency as hauliers and merchants, selling gems from the north and silk from the south.
The tribe acts like one huge extended family, though sometimes the actual camps are quite scattered when they settle and they aren’t all related by blood. Ku-Aya is part of the Aplaa caravan, where she’s a guard and a cook. She learnt her combat from her aunt Ia who taught her how to smash aside defences and she learnt her cooking from uncle Ligish who taught her patience with soup. Her father had hoped that Ku-Aya would show an aptitude for handling the herdbeasts like her four older siblings but Ku-Aya has found herself more suited to working with dogs.
Her family is getting ready for the move north as the winds have changed and the yellow moon has set, signs that the seasons are changing. Ku-Aya will go north with them, but won’t be making camp this season. It is time for her to undergo her expedition. She will carry on going north and explore the lands of Trasnverne. She’ll meet up with the tribe again in a year, just as the yellow moon is rising. She’s not looking forward to her expedition. The tribe and herd are all she’s known since she was born and it is where she feels safe and at home. Whilst she has no problems socialising with her peers and tribes fellows, she’s always found the outsiders strange and their language hard to understand. Their clothes, their mannerisms, and their way of doing things are all so different from the tribe. Stories of the dirt and crowdedness of these “cities” don’t excite her. Fortunately, her new pup, Dip, is proving to be a very good boy and should make an excellent expedition companion.
Her aunt and uncle aren’t concerned as her last right of passage went very well. Ku-Aya recited the incantations perfectly and the spirits of the Nur-Ayya tree were happy to give her the wood she needed for the shaft of her axe. Finding the bone she needed for the blade was a harder task, for she had to journey into a shadowed jungle and hunt a were-stegosaurus for its bones. It was a difficult fight and the beast gave her the nasty scar on her belly with a tusk. When she returned, the tribe bone smith guided her through the bone forging to sharpen and shape one of the were-stegosaurus’ back plates into the blade for her axe.
Ku-Aya has another reason for mixed feelings about this migration. The weather is shaping so that the herd will follow a path that leads to the Lucent River, where Balathu lies. The dire crocodile is over 20 metres long and has lived in the murk of the Lucent for longer than the tribe’s oral traditions can tell. Whilst it can easily feast itself on the passing herd, it seems to delight in hunting for the tribefellows. Three years ago it came for Ku-Aya. She only escaped with a dozen scars thanks to the intervention of the beastmaster but it cost him his hand. She finds herself both fearful of Balathu but also seeking to encounter it again, so that she can show it just how sharp her axe is.
Image Credit – Barbarian Druid by IbolyaPocsi – CC-BY-NC-ND-3.0