Forest Gnomes: Adornments on Ceremonial Clothing 09/11/2014 11:45 AM CDT
Long have the forest gnomes been using feathers to differentiate between their bloodlines. From the earliest days of the Wendwillows to the later formations of the Greengairs, these natural components, used to adorn their ceremonial apotl and apotla, have become part of core identification and traditions in this race.

Basingstokes, proud of their adherence to ancient traditions, and devout followers of Imaera, believe that a strong relationship with her will strengthen their bond with nature, providing them additional benefit and knowledge of their ever-changing environment. Given Imaera's connection with plants and animals, Basingstokes felt that the plumage from peacocks most accurately represented the diversity of their habitat, exhibiting natural brown tones to brilliant turquoise and green, illustrative of a variety of flora and fauna.

While a large majority of forest gnomes consume both animal and vegetable, the Greengairs consider meat-eaters to be disruptive to their symbiotic lifestyle and adopt a vegetarian approach to their nutritional needs. For this reason, they have developed an art of manipulating the outer covering of corn, shaping the husks to resemble avian feathers. These shaped feathers are called "umcor." The corn silk is then dyed and used as ornamentation on the feather-shaped husks. Colorations vary by family, but colorants tend to be those easily produced from berries, leaves, and lichen.

The albatross, or "Surfsoarers," have been dubbed the caretakers of the sea by the Wendwillow Bloodline. Folklore recounts the troubled days following the cataclysmic flood and details rookery swarms that soared above the drowning communities in an effort to lead them to higher ground. Their feathers dropped to the ground like rain and were collected in the thousands. Believed to be a sign to remain near the water, Wendwillows embrace these treasures and typically arrange them in complex black and white patterns.

Experts at experimentation, those of the Bloodline Rosengift strive for change, rather than preservation, of their existing environment. Skilled in the delicate art of cross-pollination and masters of crossbreeding, the Rosengifts do not limit adornments to any one type of feather. The mixture of feathers, both in size and color, is said to heighten their awareness and understanding of the limitations of their habitat, especially when worn during religious ceremonies when they are most susceptible to environmental influence.

Tawny owls have naturally arboraceous plumage, making them adept at remaining hidden from intruders. Those of the Angstholm Bloodline live a more reclusive lifestyle, enabling them to conduct their ardent research of elemental magic free from unsolicited inquisition. Seldom do visitors approach their island fortress, but when they do, the Angstholms don their apotl or apotla, and will attempt to remain unseen, sometimes for days. These cape-like garments are layered in overlapping rows of tawny feathers and are also worn during periods of research.

An apotl or apotla covered in black vulture feathers is recognized as a Felcour garment belonging to one of great strength and combat prowess. Feathers that are further stained with the blood of the battle hold a higher societal value, often the subject of arguments between brothers, especially when there was question as to who delivered the killing blow. It is assumed that an apotl bears the feathers of its owner's accomplishment, which carries enormous prideful rights within this bloodline.

The above serves as official clarification of the ceremonial wear for each Bloodline, but there have always been those who have chosen to leave the ways of their home. While the apotl and apotla serve a prominent role in forest gnome heritage, those who have broken ties their families have found alternate adornment methods and are recognized immediately as emigrants.

~ Haliste ~
The M & M Guru
Forest Gnomes