The Shadow and the Flame
The Stone Men
The Stone People
“_We made the doors to our fathers. We are of the many chambered holds. We drew the first and we will draw the last.”_
Synopsis: Ancient Gossamer world matrolineal race. They were the original inhabitants of the All Wood on River World. They lived off the river and the game in the woods and then the people of the City came and pushed them further from the river. Hunting them initially and then eventually over several centuries in pre-history the pushed forward for total annihilation. The Stone People escaped through their chambered burial mounds to what they call the Dying Lands. A barren world with little in the way of natural resources, low water percentage and nothing but scrub plants. Since the devastation of the City people during the Great War they have attempted to push back in greater numbers and have begun to reclaim what was theirs.
That said as their total population base has dropped below three thousand they are now reliant on stealing children and inculcating them into their ways. Adults who are found by their hunting and scavenging parties are slaughtered and consumed. This is done partly from hatred and partly from the not too distant racial memory of starvation and hunger. The stolen children become Wood Folk and form an underclass in their society. Some interbreeding does exist but at this point the Stone People have yet to grasp how close they are to genetic oblivion.
They maintain their higher status through intimidation, and the use of homoncular Wrighting. All those who are brought through as captives have a clay image made of them. Should they prove untrustworthy or misbehave in any fashion then of the Stone People who have access to this icon are capable of inflicting terrible physical pain on the subject. This is something akin to a voodoo doll. However death is never instantly possible with this method, gruesome and painful modification to soft tissues (muscle, skin, tendon and ligament) is possible. Also the fact that they need an underclass to carry out the mundane matters of hunting means they are loath to simply kill their captives.
They are skilled and gifted Wrighters, working mainly in stone icons, clay figures and raised tattoos occasionally they manage two dimensional representations of icons however this is extremely rare and the idea of a mere two dimensional image does not sit well with their mindset. They have some rudimentary sorcery and this in conjunction with their skills at Wrighting enabled them to form the unstable holes between the River World and Dying Lands. These holes because they form through lintels and doorways in burial cairns may be sensed as Stair doors opening and closing.
As a people whilst they follow matrolineal dominance there are no clear cut boundaries between the roles played by men and women. There is a slight bias in more men acting as hunters and warriors and less as Wrighters and seers however it is insignificant to them culturally.
Their end goal is to return in force one day and reclaim their woods and return the city back to the verdant river delta it once was. They have mapped the locations of almost all of the farmsteads along the Great River which they call the spine of the Goddess. They have as yet to dare entry into the City itself as they are too scared of the ghoul inhabitants and the river patrols that the River Folk still run there.