|The Merrimac Tribe|
The Merrimac Nation
War-Chief Wamsutta "King William"
Eagle's Peak Area
Shawsheen, and the common tongue
The Merrimac were a tribe that broke off from the Shawsheen during their "Age of Desperation" due to initially peaceful religious differences. Since the Death of Guthix, they seem to have grown much more radical in their beliefs, likely in tune with Asgarnian Emissaries.
The Age of Conversion
With the Fourth Age imbound, it wasn't long until the Merrimac had their first encounter with another society, already developing well compared to Misthalin, Fremennik explorers came in the cold of winter to the shores, cutting down trees to build houses of wood and stones to build altars to their spirits. The Shawsheen and Merrimac noticed soon, fighting off the Fremennik and their long, metal "claws" due to sheer numbers, and their arrow-work. The War-Chief Sturdy Oak led the men to battle, the Shawsheen and Merrimac winning the day. However, those who lived by the coast initially were slain, dropping the population down to around 9,400.
After this first encounter with metal men, the Shawsheen decided it was best to form some kind of leadership, choosing the council of Clan Mothers. The Merrimac disagreed, the clans in agreement with them forming another Tribe under their Shamans
Within another 200 years, Saradominists exploring the world came to discover the Merrimac, finding their area poor in resources. They traded, and in turn the Saradominists converted the Shamans into the ways of the Monks. The Shamans who refused, soon found themselves killed. The Merrimac soon became a Saradominist society, led by their brutal, now unrestrained warriors.
The Age of Exploration
With the death of Guthix, men in white and gold armour persuaded War Chief Wamsutta to begin attacks against their rival tribe, the Shawsheen.
Wamsutta "King William" - The Current War Chief of the Merrimac.
- The War Chief (Osamekin)
Within Merrimac Culture, the War Chief is a permanent position appointed by the Council of Shamans to lead all combative needs of the people. He is known as the undisputed leader, chosen for skills, faith, and humility. The War Chief negotiates all treaties, and acts as a figurehead for the Tribe and the Shamans.
- The Clan Mother (Akshotha)
At the head of every clan is the clan mother. Due to the Matriarchal heritage, the Clan Mother was considered the most important leader among the Merrimac. Their government is now run by a council of Saradominist Shamans, compared to the Clan Mother Council of before. All day to day life is run by the Clan Mothers, who approve marriages and teach working trades to the youth.
When a Clan Mother dies, it is the job of the Shaman to lay her to rest, and hail the next Clan Mother of that clan.
- The Clan Champion (Ashkii)
The most fit warrior of a clan, as chosen by that clan's warriors. The Champion, or Ashkii, is a dedicated warrior to teach the youth combat. He defends the honour of the clan if needed. All warriors of his clan serve him, over the Clan Mother. The Champion can be of any age, from his naming to his death. He could be married into the Clan, or born into it, but when he leaves the clan due to marriage a new Champion must be chosen.
In modern days, the Clan Champion has taken a role as a Knight, enforcing Chivalry, wearing armour, and protecting his populace with faith and fury.
- The Shaman (Otkon-Ronkwe)
Literally named "Spirit-Man," the Shaman plays a heavily important role in ceremonies concerning his clan, and the world around them. It is his or her job to speak to the Spirits about them, fulfilling similar roles to the Monks of Entrana through the practice of preaching Saradomin's word in translation, or the Seers of the Fremennik through predicting the weather to come.
- The Brave
A Merrimac Brave is a standard warrior among the Tribe. Braves learn most of their combat through hunting and practice. Their style of fighting obsessed with patience and eventual swift, clean tactics to preserve as much of the body as possible.
Braves often fight with either Tomahawks, Bow and Arrow, or Spears. Each serves as having multiple purposes in survival and combat.
Braves can only be male in the Merrimac, due in part to religious circumstances of Saradominism.
- The Crafters (Iktomi)
Coming from the Shawsheen word for Spider, the Iktomi are crafters who create all the tools and equipment used by the society. Traditionally women, the crafters shape what was taken in death to protect, aid, and cultivate life. They are considered somewhat sacred in their task to put an animal's spirit to its full use, as to not waste the life they had taken.
Weapons are made solely by the warriors themselves, for the dual purpose of women not crafting tools of death, and the men knowing how to repair their own weapons, should they break.
Lifestyle and Traditions
The Merrimac are staunch Saradominists, the religion creeping into their culture. Much like other Saradominists, the Merrimac have crafted towns to live in, with large wooden walls and stone houses, sturdy structures that they believe to be impenetrable. They are used by missionaries as places of refuge, and trade.
The Merrimac go for up to ten years of their lives without having a tribal name set in stone, to be remembered for generations to come. However, they also have baptismal names coming from Saradominism that are strictly common tongue names used for and by the church.
Names mean more to the Merrimac than what someone is called. Each name marks an achievement, or a quality the person carries with them through life. As an example, Three Arrows could be the name of a man who fired three arrows into the sky, and took down three geese of the same flock.
A Merrimac, like a Shawsheen, can have many, many names. Each name acts almost as a title. A Merrimac is considered an adult as soon as they earn their first name that doesn't come from a baptismal name.
Clan names come from the Maternal side of the family, passed Mother to Child.
The Merrimac have largely diverted from the traditional dyes in day to day lifestyle, however when they do use dyes upon their skin, they use blues, whites, and gold to symbolise loyalty to Saradomin in their warrior-cutlture. White dye is used mostly by clergy, whereas the dark blue is used by warriors, with gold accenting both.
The Merrimac have a deep love with keeping and grooming various hairstyles in their culture. Merrimac hair is jet black in youth, but darker gray with age.
- The "Mohawk"
Used by the real world Pawnee tribe, not the Mohawk Tribe, the Mohawk hairstyle is a single crest of hair over the head, the sides methodically picked clean of hair. The crest is often greased up with animal fat or plant resin for wartime, giving an addition to the wearer's height for intimidation. It is favoured by males of the society.
- The River
Long, flowing hair, kept loose by the sides of the wearer. This style of hair is natural, never cut since birth. It is the first hairstyle worn by all Merrimac, and many choose to keep it until death. It was once considered a sign of humility to cut the long locks when asking for forgiveness from the Anima Mundi for taking a life. This practice has largely been abandoned since the conversion to Saradominism.
It is considered a good quality for women to let their hair grow as long as it can (To show they are pure), typically it doesn't get longer than the thigh area, however. This style was worn by the real-world Comanche.
- The Braid
A way to make long hair move out of the way for less formal events, the Braid is used among men and women alike. It is useful in everyday tasks to keep long hair from getting in their way of work.
Merrimac often tie their braids with copper wire, holding shells, feathers, and other ornaments into the hair. This style was worn by the real world Comanche, and some Iroquois.
A Merrimac with a Gustoweh is almost always a shaman. The shaman plucks tuft after tuft of hair from their head, leaving the scalp bald until they reach a patch behind the crown of the head, located on the back. Leaving a square there, three short braids are made with clay beads adorning them. This style was worn by the actual Mohawk Native Americans, as well as the rest of the Iroquois league.
Among the Merrimac, those who are ordained tattoo their bare scalps with the mark of Saradomin.
Some Merrimac of high repute have earned an armband, or Wampum. Someone carrying the beaded armband has earned it many times over, the band serving as a badge of office to a Shaman, Clan Mother, Champion, Chief, or Hero.
Wampum armbands are made of many beads tied together with wire or flax. The beads, are made from shells. Different coloured, but well arranged beaded patterns are worth more. The skill is considered honourable, and all Wampum go through the Clan Mother's hands, as well as the War-Chief in times of war.
The Shawsheen and Merrimac believe in weapons that also serve a function as tools of some kind. If it isn't effective as a tool, it isn't worth carrying to them. After all, they don't fight very often, and in fact its hardwired into their minds to take a peaceful lifestyle over a combative one.
The Tomahawk is both ceremonial and functional. An easily concealed weapon, the Tomahawk can be thrown or used in a swinging motion at a target, but it's main function is for cutting branches and ceremonial use.
Tomahawks are traditionally made of stone and oak, adorned with feathers, claws, and other trophies of importance to the holder. A special Tomahawk exists for each clan, held only by the Champion of the Clan. These are made of shining silver, and carved with scrimshaw on the bone handle. They are said to hold a mystical property to them.
The Bow is a weapon that permeates across all cultures, each bearing their own version, their own twist to make it unique. The Shawsheen adorn their bows with feathers, and only feathers. The feather is tied to sinew string, then left loose to the wind.
In this effect, the wind blows in such a way that the feather moves, accurately gauging how an arrow will move in the wind.
Each bow is symbolic and important to its holder, but it also has a dual purpose in being able to light a fire through friction.
The Merrimac spear is a two-handed spear originally used for fishing. The difference between a warrior's spear and a fishing spear is purely in ornamentation.
A Warrior's spear, like all Merrimac weapons, is adorned with various items of importance to its wielder. While this would be the case with a fishing spear, these ornaments could fall off into the water. Instead, a pair of warrior's spears can double as a stretcher with clothing between them, a walking stick, and a roasting spit.
A Fishing spear is kept simple in appearance, sometimes having only some feathers tied on.
- Skinning knife
Possibly the smallest tool used by the Shawsheen, is a skinner's knife. Made from sharpened steel, the blade is only an inch long. It it used to remove hides from animals cleanly, and efficiently to prevent waste. A simple tool, with a simple purpose. It's use in combat is near-obvious, as a knife.