What We Do In Downtime III

I was looking for prompts on the Discord server again. Cassius asked, “How to recreate the daily life of an Orlanthi clan, which events, which scenes you can describe, which music you can choose?”

Well, I can’t. That’s not how my brain works. I can’t take a wide question like that and just answer it, and I don’t want to recreate the daily life of Orlanthi – I’m pretty happy with my own daily life. I mean, sure, I could go learn a hell of a lot about bronze age music, and read and write a lot about herding and farming with wooden implements… but I don’t have the years it would take. I like a light touch in my GMing because I don’t want to have to get to that level of detail. I’d have to get to every other level of detail first.

However, I can totally describe it from the point of view of a character who goes through it. Maybe even two. Here’s what happens when my PC goes back home, and stays with her sister.

A little before duskBerra arrives at the Blue Tree and puts her bison in with the horses. She has travelled all day, but she wipes down the bison and checks the tack.Yehna cooks for an extra person, and tells her son, Haran, that wonderful aunty Berra is here. Haran runs around shouting in excitement until Berra comes in and sits on her lap while she eats.
Dusk to late eveningYehna and Berra spend time in the great hall, with their friends. Berra tells the stories of what she has been up to. She is delighted that Yehna is pregnant with her second child, her husband’s first.Yehna makes sure that not too many people bother Berra, and puts Haran to bed in their own house. She has some standing in the village, so while they could sleep in the chief’s great hall, they usually don’t. Yehna has a young family and Haran is very noisy sometimes. It’s best for everyone. She makes up a bed for Berra on planks in the rafters, where her sister likes to sleep.
Late nightBerra puts on her armour and goes to guard the walls of her village. Even though she is not expected to be there, nobody dares to tell her to leave. She’s a Humakti.Sleep. Firewood costs labour. Oil costs money. The hours of deep darkness are for sleeping. Yehna has a husband, a son, an adopted daughter, and a child on the way. Sleep is very much needed. She misses having Haran close by, but he kept kicking so she helped him to decide to sleep on his own.
Midnight until the early hoursBerra goes to Yehna’s house to sleep. Her sister has left the door unbarred. Berra shares Haran’s bed, because it used to be hers, and she forgot to ask her sister where she would be sleeping.Still sleeping. Yehna dreams of her fields and her mother’s herd of horses, and the dance she needs to do at temple on Clayday, which is worrying her.
Pre-dawn hoursHaran wakes Berra by sitting on her and singing.Yehna sings to Haran to calm him down and get him back to sleep again. Her husband counts his blessings. Yehna gets up and begins cooking. Most meals are made on the hearth in the great hall, where fire is shared, but it is important to keep this hearth happy by using it. Anyway, Berra is home, and that means making sure that her sister gets breakfast.
Post-dawn, earlyBerra wakes up properly, and finds that Haran has been taken out for a walk by Yehna’s new husband, Mehrim. She gets a little time alone with her sister. They talk about whether Yehna should get a beehive. It’s a big investment because getting one always means getting five or six, in the end.Yehna has fried flat-bread to stuff with beef sausages and mushrooms, adding a sprinkle of flavoured salt, and brought porridge from the great hall, where it cooked overnight. It is an outrageously expensive breakfast, but she loves her sister. They used to live in Esrolia and they both enjoyed the food there. Yehna learned to cook, and Berra learned to heat food up.
Early morning for a couple of hoursBerra helps the horse-herders in her clan to take the horses from their river pasture to somewhere less damp. The river is up and looking angry. While she is there, Berra greets the river spirit ritually. It ignores her. It does not like people very much.Yehna takes her spinning and goes to help look after the knot of children who spend much of their time in the great hall. Little Haran needs plenty of attention. He was born in Disorder week, and it shows. Outside, taking advantage of the still-dry weather, the warriors of the village practice. Most of the women are weaving or spinning. Some people get on with repair jobs. The year’s sowing is finished and the village is waiting for winter.
Late morning, until noonAfter getting the horses to a different pasture, Berra can see the point of cows. Horses do not really like being herded around or constrained, but the villagers know that the river is about to rise, and when it does, that means danger. Berra’s mother used to own horses, but they all had to be slaughtered after a broo attack. Berra still knows enough about herding to be helpful.Yehna knows that her sister cannot eat vegetables, so she sends Haran off to be looked after by a group of mid-sized girls who are good at distracting him, and makes sure of the meal for Berra, cooking it in a small pot with stones on top, so that nobody adds anything helpfully. Once it is in the edge of the fire, she takes Haran back and lets him help her sort wool. His job is to find the parts that are not wool, and take them away. Yehna adds a few twigs when he is not looking, so he can be helpful.
NoonBerra eats with everyone else, and they tell her about the harvest, the planting, and the births, deaths, marriages, divorces, and major love affairs of the clan. She tells them about the time she fought a chaotic rock.After checking Berra’s food was undisturbed, and making sure she remembers to eat, Yehna has her own food from the communal pot; spiced vegetable stew, bread with honey and sesame seeds, and a dollop of butter. Her sister is one of the reasons why the family is rich, and Yehna likes showing off the money to other people by gifts of food. Other people like her cooking, so everyone benefits.
Early afternoonBerra persuades the warriors out for more practice. There are always visitors here, to see the village’s healers, and that means there are usually guards from outside the village. She is so used to teaching at the Humakti temple that she leads them all without thinking about this. They let her. Arguing with her can get very loud, very quickly.Yehna loads up a pony and takes it out to her sister’s hide. Berra brought a few tools that her tenant had been asking for, and gifts of cloth because his wife recently had twins and there will be little time for her to do anything else. Yehna checks on the mother and babies, and all of the other people in the area, because the houses are clustered together into a stead-group.
Late afternoonBerra curls up on one of the bed benches in the great hall, and takes a nap. Haran sleeps flopped over her. This is still more comfortable than the beds at the Humakti temple.Yehna gets back from her round trip, and sees that the Ernaldan temple pigpen is broken. The pigs have escaped, led by the two called Trouble and More Trouble. She calls for help to round up the pigs. More Trouble is hiding in the horse pen. Oinker is nowhere to be found, until the men search the Orlanthi temple grounds. Oinker has broken into the remains of last night’s beer, and is drunk. Yehna is very good at pig-calling, but Oinker cannot be persuaded to move.
DuskBerra checks her armour, and her weapons, and gets ready for duty on the walls. She meditates because her Sword Lord has told her to do it more, and then Yehna brings her food and she eats. She plays Haran lullabies on her buzz-flute to help him sleep, then goes to guard her people.Yehna makes sure Berra’s evening meal is free of vegetables, makes sure that Haran’s does not get in his hair, and manages to sit down for a few minutes with her husband. She normally gets to spend more time with him, but today was dealing with her sister’s business. They own land which Berra earned and gave to Yehna, and they help look after her other hide.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.