Clans and City-States
Clans cross state boundaries. For example, Walkers may be found in Dwen-Tarthil and in Dwen-Brin.
But not every clan can be found in every state. Dwen-Tarthil has 30 clans, but Dwen-Brin has only 9. Clan Broadfield, for example, is in Dwen-Tarthil, but not Dwen-Brin.
Dwen-Taleshi and Dwen-Yarvethi, the oldest city-states, have all 40 clans, but the others are more exclusive, ranging from 30 in Dwen-Tarthil to 5 in Dashar.
Except for Dwen-Taleshi, every city-state began as a colony. A colony generally has to exist for a century or two before the mother state will grant it independence. Even without independence, clans in a colony can negotiate for the right to keep other clans out. Recognition of exclusivity is a crucial step in the process to independence. It is an occasion for much deal making.
Expanding into a new colony is beneficial because it gives a clan a broader trade network. Clans Houser and Goodharvest have land in 9 city-states. On the other hand, some clans believe that colonization diminishes their power in the mother state. Clan Coldspring has land in only 4 city-states.
Although city-states do struggle against each other economically, they are always able to resolve territorial disputes peacefully. Most clans have cousins on both sides of any interstate dispute.
Each clan has certain marks that only cousins may use. The clan symbol may be worn as a brooch on a traveling cloak or it may be painted on a river boat.
A clan also has lore of secret symbols, signs, and countersigns that they can use to verify that a stranger is a cousin, entitled to the hospitality of the clan. Of course, very few Clanfolk would be so dishonest as to misrepresent their clan, but “very few” does not mean “zero”.
Livestock are marked by hiring a beastshaper to magically alter the animal’s color in the womb. All females are marked, as are any males kept for breeding stock. Gelded animals may be marked or unmarked.
Land, Livestock, and Seedstock
Land, Livestock, and Seedstock are owned by the clan. “Stock” means anything that can reproduce. If a farmer grinds grain into flour, it is his to sell, but if he keeps seeds for planting, they are part of the clan’s seedstock. Similarly, only unmarked gelded animals can be sold to another clan.
In practice, people do own their stock and they can sell marked animals and viable seeds to their cousins. But in theory, the clan can take stock and even land from one family and give it to another. For example, no household would be allowed to claim more land than they could work.
Cousins can always expect to stay at a cousin’s house without paying. In larger settlements, it is considered polite to visit the clan house, instead. The clan house functions as a free inn for members of the clan. (That is why Brin, with only 9 clan houses and many foreign merchants, has many inns, while Tarthil, with 30 clan houses, has few inns.)
Free hospitality, in most clans, extends for only one night. A cousin is welcome to stay longer, but he would be expected to work all day. For most merchants, this arrangement is impractical, unless they have nothing better to do while waiting for a particular shipment to arrive.
Cousins tend to give each other discounts and favorable deals.