Silvano in the form of Rhyt Sporebare-Pommeson stood in the center of Gold Leaf gazing upon the massive embroidered family-tree-tapestries that hung from the oldest and largest trees in the forest. Upon them, his own bloodline, thousands of years of genealogy which he had never known, were listed among the ranks. Her name was there. He thought of their time together, running through the woods, naked. He could smell her in his memories. She smelled of herbs and wildflowers and wind, like a warm breeze on a summer day, collecting the scents of the different plants in bloom. They were listed as Silvano and Ila Pommeson, the first of their line, but he had no recollection of ever calling her that. During his stay he learned that she was called Ila because it was believed she came directly from heavenly island of Pomme’s Shrine. Their House symbol was a totem of their Goddess Pomme, holding a flowering plant.
His white-blond hair hung wildly around his charcoal horns; a consequence of his penchant for flight. The sun was just now rising but he had already been flying for hours. The older he became, the less sleep he wanted or needed. He had already met the other members that would comprise his crew, for they had spent days planning, organizing and discussing their best route, their best gear, and their best course of action. What they did not know was that The House Elders had secretly contacted the other sentient races and major cities of Ebos, enlisting the help of the willing and capable few. Silvano and the others had just discovered that their unit of dignified and educated Dendra would be joined by barbarians from all of Ebos: Wanderers and mercenaries and sorcerers. Silvano was thankful for this, but as Rhyt, he had to pretend as though this intrusion was an affront to all of their kind, for the Dendra, regardless of all of their scientific advancements, had forgotten the importance of fellowship. One mercenary in particular, who was quite infamous in the underground, went by the name of Pervius. Based on his reputation alone, Silvano both suspected and hoped he would be one of his many elusive offspring, but he did not yet know for sure. The Dendra of his own bloodline he had so far met in Gold Lead were… disappointing. He considered that, perhaps, the dilution of his own blood had allowed them to become as soft and academic as they now were. There was but one among the company, Chlor Phytos-Pommeson, a young expert in aerial combat, who had spent his entire three-hundred and twenty three year lifespan perfecting his skills. Silvano had high hopes for this young Dendra, for even his horns branched the way his own had back in his glory days.
The clearing began to fill with members of the party. Leafies flittered joyously from branch to branch, engaged in an early morning game of catch. Their golden bodies flickered in the rays of the rising sun. The buzzing of their wings was a comforting and familiar sound, and their tiny puffs of breath in the cold morning weather reminded all those in eyesight of the everlasting winter. Gymn Sporebare-Phytos, an eccentric botanist who had outlived his welcome in the community, handed Silvano a container of nutriment. Perfectly seasoned mushrooms and green herbs were folded into whipped serpent eggs, fried in rendered Transgrisnir tallow, and baked into a shell made from the flour of ground seasonal grains and seeds. The egg pie came with a warm stoneware mug of hot brewed Klah* bark. Silvano nodded solemnly to Gymn, who sat next to him in silence on the intricately carved park bench, while they quietly broke their fast. Unlike most Dendra, Gymn was not interested in only one female with which to share his life and continue his bloodline, but many. As a genetic outlier, and disturber of the peace, his amplified libido and unchallenged knowledge of medicinal, edible and otherwise useful plants had landed him a position on Rhyt’s expedition, far from the civilized society of Gold Leaf.
*Shout-out to Dragonriders of Pern coffee substitute
Flora Phytos-Sporebare, a five-hundred and thirty-seven year old expert in animal behaviors and animal psychology entered the clearing. Her usual draping feminine garb had been replaced with plant and earth colored traveling gear. She wore a small dagger at her hip and carried a large sack on her back. Her own white-gold hair had several streaks of white; whether it was from age or the long winter Silvano did not know, but she still had a certain youthfulness about her. She was a widow from a very young age, and hoped to discover new species on this journey, or simply offer insights into the behavioral patterns of those that the party did cross. Her golden-brown eyes twinkled with a thirst for knowledge and adventure. As an expert in animal behaviors, her assistance in hunting could not be understated.
The medical staff lead by Sal* Phytos-Osier followed. They wore similarly colored forest-camouflage, with the typical pale-blue arm-band signifying those of the profession. Experts in anatomy, physiology, as well as medicinal plants, fungi and combat surgery would certainly be useful during their travels.
*Shout-out to the great Saen medical experts Salix and Saule
Other outdoorsman and sportsman with which Rhyt was not so well acquainted joined them in the clearing, taking positions among the wooden benches, eating their first daily meal. Youngsters from various houses walked among them, filling their mugs from glass caraffes of hot brewed Klah, readying them for the day ahead. It was at this time that the outsiders, mercenaries and races with which Silvano and the Dendra had little knowledge of, began to arrive. They ate their strange, odd smelling foods and drank their sour smelling beverages from weathered skins as the locals studied them unabashedly. Whispers among the crowd once again raised a very obvious question: why were they taking outsiders who couldn’t fly? Would this not significantly slow them down?
Among the group of outsiders was an odd creature seemingly made of stone, with a winged girl the size of a Leafie upon his shoulder, whispering in his ear. Several short but stout creatures, which could only be Svirfneblins, huddled together in collective distaste and confusion about the forest dwellings and odd inhabitants.
The creature with the reddish fur growing from its pale flesh could only be Pervius, since the stories of the infamous mercenary included only the description of his fiery hair. He was not what Silvano had expected, but still hoped that their time together would unravel the mysteries of this particular adventurer.
Stranger still was a surprise addition of a Dendra from the Rose Forest. His pale skin, red eyes, and white streaked pale pink hair were unnerving. Unlike the Dendra of Gold Leaf who devoted their lives to the knowledge of nature, the Dendra of the Rose Forest had long ago become obsessed with its mysteries. Living on nothing but the flora and fauna of the forest for millennia had allowed their cousins to take on the same strange properties of its other inhabitants. Their skills in healing seemed, even to the Dendra of Gold Leaf, just short of magic. He wore a heavy white cloak that did not move when the wind blew.
Eight Major Houses of the Dendra:
Pommeson, Osier, Phytos, Sporebare, Fernfrond, Leadblade, Chlorophi, Zillfluer
Minor house offshoots happen sporadically throughout the Dendra history when an individual or group of significance adds their own name or a group name (religious sect, combat unit, research group, etc.) to their housename.
Individuals often have two surnames, one from their mother and one from their father (i.e. Rhyt Sporebare-Pommeson’s mother was a Sporebare and Father was a Pommeson. Depending on the name of Rhyt’s deceased wife, their daughter Willa could have any number of surnames. If her last name was Osier-Fernfrond, Willa would be a Fernfrond-Pommeson. If she came from and identified with a minor house, she could be a Vena’Fernfrond-Pommeson (the Dendra offshoot in the Rose Forest which heavily worship Venatrix as much as their own Goddess Pomme long ago added the name to theirs). Also, because there are so many Dendra, but so few traditional Dendra names, oftentimes Surnames will be chosen differently from their family line to differentiate between newborn individuals, or to gain familial favor, etc.
Dendra of the Rose Forest are generally considered weird by those in Gold Leaf, spending their time in the Mother City, mingling with the “barbarians” of Ebos. Living in the Rose Forest for millennium, eating the weird things that grow there and live there, assisted by the mutation enhancing microbes of Ebos, have allowed fairly quick generational “evolution” or adaption to the forest, so that they are significantly different than their golden cousins. Having higher base Savagery and skills in healing making them more difficult to kill, but there aren't nearly as many. They're kind of loners who wander around the Rose Forest, eating hummers and drinking the dew, talking to the Forest Keepers and whatnot, so they don't breed often.
If anyone else wants to jump into the fray, please feel free :) First Stop: The Forest Keepers for some Global insight; we may need The God of Weather for this...