This isolationist tribe was quite different from what one may expect when they initially hear the word isolationist, especially in the context of Aurin life prior to the horrifying events of The Ravaging. Most would equate isolationism with violence or hostility to anyone outside of their own grouping or philosophy; largely due to the violence inherent in the times we find ourselves in collectively. The Moonfeather Tribe, on the other hand, was quite well known to be welcoming to outsiders, trader folk, and friendly adventurers. What made them isolationists was their controversial ideals and religious beliefs. Many are said to have sought out their counsel or trade with the Moonfeathers or to satisfy personal or scholarly curiosity about the tribe, but the Aurin culture largely stayed away due to this unfortunate view. They still worshipped The Weave and even went as far as to politically acknowledge the First Queen on down to the current one. The key differences from the overall norm, however, were the facts that the Moonfeathers believed fervently that there was a sacred connection between The Weave and to the birds of the night, primarily Hoogles, and that politically, or theologically as Matrias are viewed as both religious as well as tribal or communal leaders, the tribe 'stood apart' from the rest of Arborian culture united under the rule of the Arborian Queen, though it should be noted that this was not a hostile gesture. To learn more about this ancient tribe of Aurin, we must take a journey further into their history and outline many of their beliefs, tribal structure, and political views lest we forget one more part of our shared history and, by proxy, a little bit more of ourselves. Whether you are Aurin or simply a curious member or scholar of The Exile Alliance, I emplore you to read on.
Members of the tribe largely maintained an oral tradition of recounting their history right up to the end with the only exception reportedly being found in their art though sadly there are no known examples to have survived The Ravaging. They were not, however, opposed to scholars recording their stories or even revisiting past events through echos within The Weave itself. Though the oral tradition still leads scholars and the curious, past and present alike to the ubiquitous differences between tellings, one story that remains oddly consistant is the tale of the tribe's origin. It was said that they originated as part of a tribe now lost to history and the deepest parts of The Weave that began to recognize Hoogle activities around the tribe but chose not to heed the guidence of these great winged birds of prey. When this ancient tribe failed to choose their last Matria in accordance with the guidance of the Hoogles, who had signalled their choice by presenting themselves in an entire parliment at the time of her birth, they brought about their own downfall but only after those that chose to follow the First Matria of the Moonfeathers were exiled. The First Matria guided her people with visions she recieved both within The Weave and by physically spotting the movements of a particularly ancient Hoogle who seemed to guide them into the dusky unknown. They stopped when their winged savior stopped and moved when she moved until at last they came to the first area they would finally settle in. Though this location does change, depending on the telling, all of the origin tales of the tribe are adamant on the afore mentioned details concerning their origin.
Since that time, the tribe had continued many traditions such as choosing their Matria based not only on the strength of her connection to the Weave but in accordance with many signs as well as the presence of an ancient Hoogle or the presence of an entire parliment of Hoogles to include an Ancient One at the time of her birth, though the latter has only happened twice in their history. Tribal movements based on any sort of Hoogle migration witnessed by members and backed by the connection between the Matria and these winged creatures of the night, hunting patterns, and even a very patient approach when advising anyone seeking the wisdom granted by these sacred guardians of the night and its hidden truths are also strong traditions kept throughout their time. It was the common belief in the tribe that Hoogles would guide the spirits of both the newborn and those departing for The Weave. To break this tribal identifier down further, it was both belief and tradition within the tribe that a female Aurin born under the light of a full moon when the Arborian astrological symbol of the Hoogle was at its brightest and in the presence of one of these ancient and wise birds of prey, would be their next Matria or one that would become someone of great importance to the tribe if it was realized that the young kit had little connection to The Weave. Perhaps the basis for this belief lies in the fact that throughout the entire history of the tribe, not one single male has been born under all these same conditions, even in the descendants of former members of the tribe that left of their own volition. It should be noted that there have been males within tribal history and lore that have been born under the sign of the Hoogle and with Hoogles ushering in their births. While these fabled individuals were influencial and even sought after by ruling Matias as Consorts, they were never born under the light of a full moon and the Hoogles present at their birth were never ancient or overly large in number. Like many other tribes, the Moonfeather Tribe did not take more than what was needed, showed an incredible compassion for and connection to nature, had a devout belief in The Weave, were steadfast in the Aurin matriarchal tradition, and displayed a fierce aptitued for combat when needed. The difference in the latter was the way this tribe approached combat itself. Historically if pressed, tribal warriors, under the guidance of their Matria and exercising their unique bond with their avian benefactors, reportedly used guerrilla tactics employed at night where veteran warriors would silently soar in on the backs of larger Hoogles or were dropped from their talons onto unsuspecting enemies while less seasoned warriors would swoop in on vines or leap from trees to join the battle. When their assault was complete, these warriors of the night would fade away as silently as they had arrived, leaving their foes shaken and quite alone to count their losses and mourn their dead. In longer engagements, it is said that the Matria and her elite guard would accompany the tribe's warriors. In such recorded instances, the Matria rode on the back of an enormous, ancient Hoogle and launched devastating psychic assualts before leaping into the fray when her warriors and her enemies clashed, increasing the risk of area of effect blasts hurting her own people. Historically speaking, this tribe, among some others, maintained their ancient traditions as governed by their history and did not waiver even after the ascendance of the First Queen.
Reports from Aurin scholars, as well as a rather detailed first encounter report filed by Exile forces, showed that the tribe's connection to the Hoogle even permiated their style of dress as well as the importance they placed in items gifted by their Matria or ancient Hoogles within tribal boundries. The Matria was usually gifted with clothing containing Hoogle feathers freely given or of those brave winged allies that fell during tribal wars or fierce natural threats unique to Arboria. The more auspicious the occation, the finer the garment, with reports that the finest recorded garment was made entirely out of Hoogle feathers decorated only by what gifts the Hoogle in the area had seen fit to grant during the vestment's creation. As with many traditions in many different tribes, this garb is said to have accentuated her femininity, position within the tribe, and her strong connection to a particularly ancient Hoogle at the time, affectionately referred to as The Ancient One. Following tribal hierarchy, the presence of Hoogle feathers and other gifts became predominately less and less prevelant further down the matriarchal social ladder. It was seen as a high honor to be gifted with a single Hoogle feather by the reigning Matria or an ancient female Hoogle. Being gifted other items or Hoogle feathers from younger Hoogles was seen as a sign of good fortune. Such gifts were often displayed within the family home or were made a part of the clothing of the individual female who received the gift. Such articals of clothing were not passed down but rather put on display following the demise of their owners as it was seen as a perversion to essentually take credit for the actions that garnered these revered gifts in the first place. Males that recieved such gifts were often sought after by the ruling Matria as Consorts or even Joined with these tribal leaders as it was believed to be a favorable sign in regards to possible offspring that might result from such a relationship. Traditionally, males were only allowed to have these sort of gifts worked into their clothing on the day of their Joining with a Matria or in such positions as a Consort or other social leader though the latter two examples were far more rare. One item that was shared unanimously throughout the tribe was their tribal tail clasps that displayed the reigning Queen's sigil during the day but would eminate the tribal sigil under the light of a full moon. The only known variation was that of the reigning Matria, which always glowed during the night with the sigil of the tribe. This was seen by the tribe as a way of showing their support for Arboria's ruling Monarch as well as a testiment to their identity and origin.
One cannot know the depths of this tribe without examining its unique structure, a task we shall complete together presently. At the head of the tribe was, of course, the Matria followed by her Consorts, Elite Guard known as Talons within the tribe, Warriors known as Swoopers, Wardens known as Watchers, Tenders known as Nesters or Feathers depending on whether their tasks mainly revolved around caring for the tribe's natural surroundings or Hoogles within their borders, and Commoners known as Hooglets as most often commoners were the young kits within the tribes who had not fallen into one of the afore mentioned groups. The elders who were either too old or not fit enough for other tasks were often refered to as Wise Ones and those within the tribe that could no longer perform duties for the tribe due to injury were usually known as Hoots and were often teachers within the tribe in whatever field they knew most about. Those that committed grievous offences were often called Weeds if their offences were against other Aurin within the tribe or to the natural surroundings deemed to be within their tribal boundries. Individuals who committed offenses against the current reigning Matria or against any Hoogle within the tribe's borders were known as Droppings and more often than not, would be either exiled or shunned by the tribe as well as their feathered allies. One interesting note should be stated about the Matrias themselves. When a new Matria was birthed within the tribe, it was the sacred duty of the current Matria to educate the young one until such time as she could ascend to this most auspicious position, even if this meant taking her away from her natural family. This was never viewed with sadness but rather with pride as families that "lost" a Hooglet were gaining a Matria. When it came time for the young Matria to ascend within the tribe, the prior Matria would remain as the First Consort to her successor and would step in only if either something happened to the reigning Matria or if she was asked to take command of the tribe during times of war or even when the Matria was called away for peace talks or other such tasks though such occations were rare. Predominantly this was rarely a romantic relationship athough there are one or two instances where it is rumored to have occured. This tradition ensured that there would always be a Matria to guide the tribe, commune with The Weave, and receive guidance from their feathered allies. As stated before, only two know instances of a Matria being ushured into the land of the living were ever documented in tribal tales. The First Matria of the Moonfeathers and, regrettably, the Final Matria, one Matria Trisha Whisperwind. Though information is surprisingly scarce pertaining to this Final Matria, what is known is that she was beloved by her people and known for her kindness, wisdom, and incredible ability to both heal the sick or injured as well as fiercely defend her tribe if needed. She was the reigning Matria of the tribe when Exiles forces landed on Arboria to recieve much needed supplies and was the Matria who donned the finest Matriarchal gown noted in the prior paragraph though, strangely, no pictures or visual scans seem to be archived in Exile records. Arborian records hold no documented pictures of any member of the tribe or it's art and this seems to be due largely because of a strange and unexplained superstition.
Politically, the tribe has always prefered pacifism unless provoked according to lore prior to the First Queen, both in their own tribal lore as well as that of other tribes along with written historical documentation. After the rise of the First Queen, the Moonfeather Tribe chose to stand apart; not as an act of defiance, but rather one of caution. It has been said that at the time of the rise of the First Queen, the reigning Matria of the Moonfeather Tribe received a vision depicting an Ancient Hoogle with a broken branch of an Arborian willow tree clutched in it's claws. This was seen as an ill omen in regards to events of importance such as Joinings or Tribal Alliances though not necessarily a hostile one. In most historical lore, such visions were seen merely as warnings of future tragedy and advised strong caution. Long after this moneumental decision, members of the tribe were still often seen as indifferent or impartial and were often sought after for advice, guidance, and even in instances where someone was needed to mediate disputes or grievences between individuals or entire tribes. The Moonfeather Tribe never opposed any Queen and maintained good relations with the Arborian Monarch from The First until the current reigning Queen. Reports even state that Arborian Queens prior to the current one sought their counsel in certain matters of State and in some rare instances took on a former tribal Matria as a Consort if a third Matria came to reign while the former was still among the living. Prodominantly, tribal relations were good after the rise of the First Queen but in rare instances tensions did arise from their refusal to completely join under the Queen or from simple border disputes. Most were solved amicably but there were times when action was called for and in every case the ferocity, skill, and surgical precision of the tribe's Swoopers put a quick end to any violent hostility; usually after the first strike.
Sadly, it is largely believed that The Ravaging saw the end of this ancient tribe as the area that they were reportedly settled in at the time of the first assualt was completely leveled. Rumors of their last Matria and her Talons having escaped the horrors of this traumatic event abound and some even speak of Matria Trisha Whisperwind having been spotted in Thayd itself. Rumors that seem to be fueled by the fact that Hoogles were found aboard ships very soon after rescue operations were completed on Arboria by the Exile Fleet. Whether this is due to members of the Moonfeather Tribe having survived and placed the lives of their avian allies before their own or whether other Aurin rescued these feathery wonders or possibly even both instances has, as of yet, remained a mystery. Sources say that many Aurin still glance at the tail clasps of others in the moonlight to see if any bear the tell-tale signs of a certain glowing sigil though this seems to be largely for the sake of seeing how many individual tribes made it off their homeworld and how many are no longer with them. Nexus seems to hold many secrets. Could this be one of them? Could this ancient tribe be present within our numbers? Only time will truly tell, but to a people that have lost so much, so very recently within our Alliance, this scholar hopes that this is not one more loss to be counted and archived.
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