The Grath vales, a series of steep, wooded valleys in the central foothills of the Eiglophian mountains.
Settled. The clan occupies a series of small, insular settlements spread throughout the Grath Vales. Each village comprises of no more than two families, and there are some twenty villages in all. In its entirety, the clan numbers 260 members, with 30 children, 12 elders and the remainder adults of warrior age.
Nangh. Twenty years ago the chief of the Nangh carried-off Nuadha, the much adored daughter of the Grath’s chieftain, and killed her father. This act was claimed to be in revenge for some slight caused at the Field of Chiefs although none in Grath recall any insult being levelled. The Grath are sworn to never rest until every member of the Nangh is dead and their hatred has cause the clan to degenerate.
Once, clan Grath could have considered itself one of the more cultured of the Cimmerian clans. Yet over the past two decades the clan has declined steadily into a savage, morose and hate-fuelled ennui.
Gone are the herds and tended ﬁelds; gone is the wisdom of the ancestors; gone are the colourful linens and woollen kilts. In their place are rough skins, rough people, a propensity for casual violence and a depressing self-pity that is completely driven by the kidnapping of Nuadha, the chieftain’s daughter.
The people of Grath the to centralised nature of most Cimmerian clans and are strung-out across the twenty villages of the Grath vales. The families of the villages are fractious, self-pitying and self-aggrandising, locked in a bitter blame-culture over Nuadha’s loss. Any pride they had as a clan has been replaced with semi-barbaric practices such as deep, ritual scarring, all in Nuadha’s name. She, the beautiful chieftain’s daughter, was considered the clan Grath’s soul, and her loss is seen as the loss of all clan dignity.
Each village of the Grath Vale represents its grief in different ways. Some scar their bodies along the arms and legs; others tattoo Nuadha’s symbol, a ﬁve-leafed clover, onto their temples. In one, all the females are called Nuadha and in another, the men-folk engage, every night, in a violent war-dance that whips them into a vicious frenzy as they act-out the revenge they will inevitably visit on clan Nachta.
Despite these perplexing actions and traditions, the Grath have not yet sent war bands to attack Nachta. Every time a counsel is gathered to decide on the course of action, family tensions and recriminations ﬂ are-up and the counsel dissolves into disagreement and sullenness. The chief, Euwolf, screams a good war-scream, and tub-thumps as loudly as any other Cimmerian warlord, but is powerless to command the families into a single, cohesive war band.
The gold and silver Grath once owned communally has been squandered in the twenty years since Nuadha’s disappearance. Now, the only treasures the clan considers to be of value are Nuadha’s distaff, her spinning wheel, and the dress that everyone presumes was ripped from her body when the Nachta took her. These items are kept in a shrine to Nuadha in her home village, Grathmuir, deep within Grath Vale by the Diamondrun River.
Euwolf is Grath’s incumbent chief although he does little more than provide the odd arbitration between the families of the clan and host the occasional Councils of War that descend into a disagreeable squabble. Like all Grath members, Euwolf is morose and taciturn, unconcerned with the old civilities of Cimmerian life and wrapped in a mixture of near barbaric self-loathing and misplaced hatred for the Nachta.
Euwolf is prone to furious rages for no reason and reminiscences of Nuadha’s beauty reduce him to enraged tears. He knew her when he was a young man and was, perhaps, in love with her. He hates his wife, Gherda, because she is, simply, not Nuadha. He wanted daughters, in the hope that Nuadha’s spirit might be returned somehow, but Gherda bore him only sons, each of which he considers a disappointment.
If the spell that curses Euwolf’s clan can be broken, he would be a changed man perfectly capable of uniting the families of the Grath Vale and creating a strong, proud, truly Cimmerian clan in the process.
Notable Clan Members: Vendra Vendra is the matriarch of Grathwold village, a gathering of eight huts on a rise overlooking the Diamondrun River and roughly in the middle of the Grath line of settlements. Of all the Graths, she is the least affected by Nuadha’s curse. She attempts to maintain the standards her people once had, and believes – though she dare not articulate it – that Nuadha was not taken by the Nachta but certainly met with foul play.
Vendra was not present in the clan at the time of Nuadha’s disappearance and this is why she has been spared the full toll of the curse. She was once married to a member of the Murrogh clan but, when her husband died, she returned to Grath seeking solace. This was three years after Nuadha vanished and she was shocked at the change in her people.
The folk of Grathwold are two interconnected families and both look to Vendra for guidance. She long ago gave up attempting to get the clan to see reason but she still believes that something mysterious holds Grath in a debilitating grip. Naively she blames Crom, as all good Cimmerians do, but is aware that something else might be involved.
History and Outlook
Grath’s recent history is clearly at odds with the typical state of the Cimmerian clans and it is more or less shunned for its communal afﬂiction. Those few who leave the clan ﬁnd themselves curiously relieved of Nuadha’s emotional burden and able to become fully-ﬂedged Cimmerians once more, unable to explain the ﬁxation on this near-mythical woman.
Within the clan, all is introspection. With every passing year the clan’s culture deteriorates a little more and, within 20 years, Grath will have become a community of savages, unable to fend for themselves save in the most bestial and selﬁsh of ways. Even Nuadha’s name will be forgotten, eventually, although her curse will remain