Table of Contents
Melkuul Wesfar Map Key
- 1. Kassa(gag)ootkah (Pounding) - Blacksmithing family
- 2. Kassaootkahroom (Ironbeat) - Blacksmithing family
- 3. Kassa(snort)nr-r (Threebranch) - Midttary family
- 4. Kassapellukwoo-eee (Pinebright) - Woodworking family
- 5. Kassanik-k-glooah (Planetree) - Woodworking family
- 6. Kassamooktowkosseh (Mooktowwood) - Wood crafting family
- 7. Kassagkoo(gag)kosseh (Rivertree) - Reed farming family
- 8. Kassanyekekgakk (Swampman) - Reed farming family
- 9. Kassamaspktgookuk (Graincrusher) - Grain mildtng family
- 10. Kassanyeknyekmaspkt (Graingrow) - Farming family
- 11. Kassachcrookoo (Strongroot) - Military family
- 12. Kassaheegeeteema (Laughing) - Bard family
The structure of the Wesfar Kassa community in Forntol is one of a tight-knit family-oriented group. Everyday life revolves around the family, and their relationships are strong from early childhood on. Parents have jobs that, for the most part, are passed on from generation to generation. The children learn how to pursue the family occupation through schooling, both at the family and community level.
The normal workday in Wesfar stretches from dawn to dusk, and with a few exceptions, it stops there. The family structure is considered by all to be so important that work after dark is viewed as taking time away from the family and its development. Such ideals are rooted directly in the teachings of Bestra.
Occupations and Economics
There are quite a number of different occupations held by the Kassa. Only one person, the King, has a position that is partially paid for by the public funds, but even he is expected to perform some work as a member of the family. Kelmut Who Climbs, for instance, built a woodshop off the side of one of the dens of Heekgloo in which he could spend time supporting his family with fine wooden items. This shop was then replaced with a pottery shop and a sewing room for another ruler.
Other items of trade produced by the Kassa are blacksmithed railings, swords, wagon wheels, nails, pins, horse shoes, utensils, farming tools and woodworking tools; everyday pottery items (the Hilken are considered to be fine potters, and are too skilled for Kassa competition); woolen and cotton goods; rope; ek-a-ek (poultry) products; yak meat and wool; archery items (they are producers of fine bows and arrows) and fine chainmail clothing.
Due mostly to their worship of the good goddess Bestra, they often lean toward song and literature. Many fine songs and poetry are written by Kassa bards and clerics, although they are not fully appreciated by other races on the continent, due to the intricacies of the spoken language. Many times, song can be heard from marketplaces and along the paths that dot the forest.
A Typical Day in Wesfar
A typical day in Wesfar begins with the ek-a-ek's grunt. A particularly fat bird, it is kept and domesticated by many families for just that purpose – as an alarm. The low, rattling grunt is enough to wake the weariest of souls. And the eggs are excellent.
Mother and father cook a healthy breakfast for the children, usually consisting of eggs, maspkt grain flour and fresh goat's milk. Sometimes, a fire is built in the hearth and pieces of baconnahmuhmuh (literally, pig's butt) are cut off the preserved rump hanging over the stove, sprinkling over it some of the fine spices bought at the market—good fare for a Kassa breakfast.
Every day, the mother takes the children to the Eeoogloo, their main family hut, along with the children of other families of the extended hut. There, they take turns teaching them the basics of life and all they would need to follow in their parent's footsteps. The Heekgloo complex is too far to go on a daily basis, so the higher education is left for the school there. When they become the proper age, they will be taken to the main complex and assigned quarters, where they gain more specific training in blacksmithing, woodworking, farming, art, music, literature, social skills, military arts, business, theology, even teaching. The oot(snort)gakk, or eldest father, leads the hut in teaching, tradition, justice and in most major decisions. The elder and his wife teach the younger Kassa throughout their youth, and the mothers aid their in-laws in the schooling as well as keeping up the maintenance of the home and preparation of food.
Young Kassa are taught respect for their elders and reverence for Bestra the Good. They are given as much of the basic sciences, social studies, math, history and religion as was believed to be necessary to prepare them for trade school.
A trip through the woods of Wesfar will lead one past many different divisions or sub-cities, consisting of housing and shops for manufacturing of the different goods that make up a thriving economy.
The northwest corner of the city houses the blacksmith area. A little meetookgloo (town) in itself, Ootkahroomgloo (Blacksmithtown) Kassa of the Pounding and Ironbeat clan run the shops and mine the raw materials necessary to produce steel items. An iron ore mine is situated nearby, and has been in production, in various phases of use, for many years. The iron and coal are still plentiful, but much of the work as of late has been performed with scrap steel implements or from steel salvaged from battles. The pungent fragrance of sulphur fills the air, along with the ringing of the steel. A small sponge iron foundry is located at the edge of the town, where iron, wood and lime are poured, lit and aerated to produce steel.
Traveling southward, fields line each side of the road. The prodigious maspkt grain stalks wave in the breeze. This bluish-green plant produces an important part of the Wesfar diet. An occasional farm breaks up the monotony of the walk along the road. Each consists of several wooden-frame huts, a large thatched-roof barn and several stables. Horses and mules are used for farming power, necessarily so, because the fertile soil of a typical farm stretches for hundreds of loggoo (acres). A typical farmer's day extends into the early night, the only occupation for which this is expected. Straw for bedding, hay for feed and poultry/pig/goat products are by-products of a typical, well-managed Wesfar farm. The hut mentality is not forsaken in a farming community – the extended families live off the same land, are born there, and die there. It is the only occupation that does not require higher education for the youth, as their lives are tied up in their work from birth.
Further down the main south road, known as Heekectakpedaknoyt, a large trading post, or doopgoogloo, was established south of the city by Hakmut of the Land, a wise King under whose direction Wesfar thrived and grew. Nearby is the junction of important thoroughfares going to Fargold and Seahaven, two large trading ports. A few inns and town-house layovers dot the main road, making Wesfar an enjoyable and sometimes necessary stopover on long trips. Dried fish from Seahaven is an important staple, often traded for the fine flours from Kassa mills. Fargold traders often supply fish for the sturdy ropes crafted from reeds by Kassa hands.
As the passageway winds around to the south and toward the east, swamps line the road. It is here that reed and hemp farmers ply their trade. The government's decree of bridge repair and replacement brought a huge boon to these farmers and their associated crafts. Reed clowing and drying operations are not uncommon on the banks near the swamps. A typical day of reed farming is more often driven by the sun, and the hours are not as long as those of the grain farmer. The swamps also produce fish and lizards sold for food at the markets. Part of a farmer's day may be used to catch these morsels, which sell well.
Continuing north along the east side of the land, the roads follow hills and valleys through short deciduous forests. Here, quick-growing aspen, ash and the stubby but beautiful mooktow trees are planted and harvested to provide plenty of craft wood. Oaks, maples, conifers and bass are selectively harvested for their wood in this area, as well as some portions of the forest of the city itself. The teachings of Bestra provided for an extensive re-planting program, and two or three are planted for each one taken.
The typical day of a woodworker can vary. Most Kassa, no matter what their base occupation consists of, carve, woodburn, or build fine wooden items as a hobby. A few families have traditionally worked in wood for as long as they can remember. The "professional" woodworker will work in or around his home, usually in an addition to his den. Large pits saws are used to bring the logs down to workable size, and this is done as a job by a few of the members of the Planetree family and sold as rough-cut lumber. A very labor-intensive and arduous task, these men are among the largest and strongest (and best warriors) of Wesfar. Most items are joined by wooden pins, while some of the lesser-quality objects are nailed. A woodworker of good standing will sometimes have orders enough to require him to build into the night, after time has been spent with the children. Glue from hides and various grades of shellac are made by one particular family. It is a busy, intensive occupation, but once a Kassa woodman sees the grain rise on a mooktow table, the work is well worth it.
Finally, to the north is the main road going east to west across the continent. To the west is the huge city of Vetemus and the ever-important mecca of learning and religion, the Spire of Bestra. This main road links these western cities with the eastern towns of Bodop's Hut, Ropbadden Hill, and the important trading community of Sal'Baran. The dwarven hold of Walin's Cap is near as well. Quite a few inns and town-house layovers dots the main road.
A second, larger trading doopoogloo, named Heekihihihkpedaknoyt, was established north of the city near the main road. There, fine wooden furniture and implements are traded for iron from dwarves and ceramics from the Hilken. Flour and root vegetables are sold outright or traded for cloth and clothing.