Once a great nation of combined phae, a history of death and tragedy have ravaged the thickly forested isles of Vinelocke. Divisiveness and mistrust have split both god and mortal alike within the tangle of vines and foliage, but in recent years, the herd here has renewed harmony. Despite their losses and grand history of heartache, they have founded a great, multi-faceted nation that celebrates the individuality of the tribes that sprang up in the chaos, and brings all phae within its humid, emerald vales together.
Long ago, the tribes were a conflicted people, very much opposite of what they are today. They were led by warlord-like tribal leaders, seeking to grab anything and everything for themselves. At this time, there were six tribes Blood, Horn, Hoof, Life, Soul, and Breath. The tribe of Breath were scholarly and did not involve themselves in the fighting between the other tribes. Breath frequently made pacts with other tribal leaders, exchanging their goods and wealth for the stories of each different tribe. With their own unique language, they wrote down the entirety of the history of the tribes, logging every story, tale, and legend that they could. Over the centuries of war between the tribes, they amassed a wealth of knowledge and history about their homeland and the phae inhabiting it. The other unique trait to Breath was their ability to utilize magic to leave marks upon the body, representing their connection and communion with the gods. Frequently, symbols of animals or plants were used, alongside the runes of their language.
In this time, the only place the phae of Vinelocke found any neutrality was at the bioluminescent hubs, marking the places where they could communicate with their gods. Nectaris was founded sometime during these early years of conflict, and it has been held as a sacred site since. The phae of Breath and Soul would frequently meet at this site and exchange knowledge. Breath taught Soul the way of creating tattoos, but kept their sacred language to themselves.
Cephi and Kiora frequently looked upon their phae at this time with hearts full of sorrow to see them so at war. In the infrequent times they would communicate with the herd, it was to send messages of peace and help. But none of their words seemed to get through. Soon, it became apparent as to why
A little over three centuries before the start of the Dark Age, the jungle island was swept with plague and pestilence. The deity Emnos had waited for long, long millennia to enact his plan upon Cephi’s people. As the tribes entered a heightened era of battle and war, Emnos’ disease swept through them. The disease killed countless phae, and even spread to other fauna. The least war-like tribe, Breath, was affected more than any of the others. For 103 years the tribes battled the sickness, plagues, and pests sent upon them by Emnos. At the end of this century, none of the phae of Breath had survived. When the other tribes visited their homes, they found nothing but bones.
The tablets, scrolls, and standing stones upon which they had written the history of Vinelocke were largely lost. None of the other tribes could understand the strange symbols, and so much of what was found was regarded as useless and left in their ancient ruins to decay. Many of the secrets of tattooing were lost, though some were carried forward by the few members of Soul that had passed the talent down through the decades.
At the end of the reign of pestilence, Cephi gave of her life force to cleanse the jungle of Emnos’ disease. It is from this event that many phae of Vinelocke believe Cephi locked away their glow, hiding them away from Emnos’ sight, protecting them from his disease.
For the next 200 years, the phae of Vinelocke continued to exist in disarray, forming as a semi-unified people underneath one Chieftain. However, when this chieftain was mysteriously poisoned and died before the entire herd, fighting broke out again between the clans. Another Chieftain was quickly elected, and she worked tirelessly to try and bring unity back to her people.
A few decades later, Mirroweld was at their doorstep with armies, and Vinelocke found themselves utterly unprepared for a fight with another herd, let alone one that seemed to fight with single-minded determination. Battles between tribes and the armies of Mirroweld existed for years, with the phae of Vinelocke using the dangers of the jungle to give them any advantage they could. Many phae were lost during this time.
It wasn’t until Nué was able to pull together a gathering of the gods to fight Vronne and free Izmir that the phae of Vinelocke once again saw freedom from war. Cephi, Kiora, and Hadhan had aided the dream goddess in her war, thus freeing the phae of Vinelocke from the tines of Vronne’s acolytes.
After Mirroweld’s withdrawal, Vinelocke began to repair and heal. If there was any good that came from the conflict with Mirroweld, it was to show the tribes of Vinelocke that they are stronger together. In the early decades of the Dark Age, the political structure of Vinelocke was completely changed, and many new ranks and positions were introduced to balance power and tasks across the tribes.
For the first time in centuries, the phae of Vinelocke were truly unified, and Cephi rejoiced.
Within the last five years, almost every head of tribe has changed hooves, with the exception of the Commander, who has held his position for twelve years. With their current leader coming from a political rank rather than a spiritual one, the herd as a whole has become slightly more focused on feeling out the other herds across the archipelago, with intensifying focus on running information and reports. Between making lasting connections and political allies, a resurgence in deep spirituality is coming from the hooves of the newly elected High Priestess, whose deeply religious roots and views are sometimes at odds with how her leader wants to proceed. Still, despite some differences and a fair few new phae figuring out their intrapersonal relationships and teamwork with new leaders, Vinelocke looks towards a prosperous future.
Beyond the reach of historic record – Cephi is born and creates the world and cosmos. She is one of the ancient gods, along with Emons, Kaea, and many others. Her crown jewel of creation is the land of Vinelocke, with brilliant colors in both flora and fauna. It is a land of abundance and life, and she is very proud.
Emnos is jealous.
Year -806 to -624 – Cephi gives birth to two fawns: Kiora and Nishay. They grow up within the jungle having various fawnly misadventures and playfulness. The two grow up, and Kiora marries Hadhan. They are happy together, but Hadhan is an incorrigible flirt. Nishay capitalizes on this and seduces her sister’s husband. Cephi discovers this and is furious; she exiles her daughters to the moons Tavebu and Mdima. Hadhan is forced to live without either sister on earth to distract him from his duties of tending to the jungle. Emnos takes note of the division and begins plotting.
Year -331 to -228 – Plague and pestilence hits the tribes. The one greatly affected is Breath and in an attempt to contain the spread they are isolated to (insert location name) with those who are infected from other tribes. When the tribes return, they find only bones in the place where Breath used to be.
Year -32 – The chieftain is poisoned and the tribes blame each other for not preventing it or being able to save her. The tribes start to drift apart with the new chieftain left to play mediator between the division.
Year -7 to -1 – War rages between Mirroweld and the other herds. Thousands of phae are killed, but most of the casualties lie on the side of the attackers. The tribes do their best to join forces after years of separation to fend off the oncoming forces.
Year -1 – Nué and her allies begin an assault upon the powerful illusions trapping Izmir. As the war dwindles, they succeed, breaking Vronne’s trap and stripping him of his stolen power. The war isn’t over but Vinelocke begins to push back the front lines.
Year 0 of the Dark Age – The Shattering of Mirroweld; Vronne is conquered, and magic has been disturbed across the archipelagoes. Vinelocke begins their repairs and healing.
Year 1 to 5 of the Dark Age –Bit by bit the tribes begin to rejoin and reform. They collectively realize that letting the tribes drift apart was the worst thing they could have done as they count their casualties and bury their dead. Together with the elders, Vinelocke starts working on repairing the interherd relationships.
Year 6 to 8 of the Dark Age – New ranks and strategies are formed to prevent the herd’s lack of preparedness should a catastrophic event like the war ever happen again.
Year 34 of the Dark Age – Mirroweld reaches out to make reparations and the new chieftain accepts the audience. After five long nights of discussion between the herds, a peace agreement is reached but Vinelocke keeps their watchful caution towards the scholars.
Year 135 of the Dark Age – Vinelocke starts reviewing its previously passive position in politics and creates the role of emissary towards other herds. The rank of shadow is also created to ensure their information about the other herds is up to date to catch up for years of little mingling and involvement.
Year 237 of the Dark Age – Chieftain Divya is elected from her position as Emissary, defying norms, but inspiring confidence with her political work and worldly knowledge.
Year 238 of the Dark Age – Commander Polos remains in his position for his third term alongside his mate and second, Hina. He remains unchallenged during the Confidence. Young Ena is elected Abundant, despite only just turning 15. She defeats the incumbent at the Confidence, and her predecessor retires into the position of Old-Growth.
Year 240 of the Dark Age – General Raakan is elected into his position after challenging the incumbent. His sister, Khama, becomes his second.
Year 241 of the Dark Age – High Priestess Rajani is elected into her position after the previous High Priestess retires and a vote is held to replace her position. Jaguar’s Fang Tvesa challenges the current incumbent and emerges victorious after a vote.