Svantevit Pack ([[Areas/Portland]], Maine)
The Svantevit Pack
Statistics & Foundation
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The Svantevit pack is medium-sized, consisting of about twenty permanent members located just outside of Portland. Despite their proximity with the trade port, the pack maintains its separation. The lifestyle found therein is uniquely old-world and very much focused around horses.
The Svantevit pack consists entirely of Luperci wolves. They are semi-feral -- they all camp in one big farmhouse and live a communal, wolfish lifestyle despite their humanized settings.
As one might expect, the lifestyle is very centered on horses: all Svantevit pack members can ride and tend to the basic needs of the horses. A team of those specializing in horse ailments exists within the pack, as well as a pair of canines dedicated to selecting the best pairings for breeding and culling unfit horses. Lower-ranked members of the pack attend to the many duties associated with the horses: mucking stables, attending to feed, fixing tack, etc.
Trading is an important pursuit in the Svantevit pack, though perhaps less respected. Canines such as Dalimil and other traveling traders find themselves "outsiders" in their own home: as travel and trade is their pursuit, they often lose some of the traditions and behaviors associated with their homeland. Contact with Portland is also minimized: though the Svantevit canines accept visiting traders, rarely do they deign to trawl the streets of Portland. A rowdy teenager or two has made it a habit -- and found themselves ostracized or given a quiet "talking to" in a corner of the farmhouse.
The Svantevit pack has a defined structure with leadership and resembles the typical wolf pack -- Boris Kovachev and his mate Gobnait are the leaders. Their horses are perhaps the most humanized thing about them; their structure and society is otherwise very hierarchical. Dominance and submission are enforced, and most of the pack sleeps together in a communal room, with only the highest-ranked canines afforded the privacy of their own room.
The structure is somewhat patriarchal; a male has always been the definitive lead of the pack, and men tend to hold the greater positions within the pack. Recently, some women have won greater rights, such as Dalimil, who became a wandering trader of the horses despite clear segments of pack bias against her sex. However, the gender dynamics are entrenched within their religion and culture, with male-only deities and male-only legends, etc.
The Svantevit pack practices and believes Slavic-based faith, and it shows along the borders of their claimed home. Their practices are generally inconspicuous: in keeping with most things, one doesn't tend to find complicated rituals, priests, etc. Worship is typically done by quiet, solitary prayer. There is a simple belief system, mostly concentrated around the trio of gods, the Triglav:
- Svetovid, a god of fertility, abundance, and horses. Rides a black horse.
- Perun, a god of thunder, lightning, and storms. Rides a bay horse.
- Svarog, a god of celestial fire, blacksmithing, and war. Rides a chestnut horse.
The three most important founding stallions of the Svantevit horse lines were of these colors, considered a sign from their gods by the earliest Svantevit leader (the fact that there were four sets of three mares matching these colors is mentioned, but not generally held in such high regard).
Initially, when European wolves saw profit to be made in what they assumed was still a savage land, several families came together to send stock across the ocean. Many lost their investments due to storms and the unexpected savagery of Maine's winters. Those horses that survived were from hardy stock, and their owners sought to recuperate from loss. The remaining families consisted of the Irish/English Eachans and the Bulgarian Kovachevs. They have since become interwoven due to mateship, which both agree has strengthened their bond. While outsiders seldom join the pack, as most are simply passing through, it is not unheard of.
A barrel of a wolf with gray-white fur and yellow eyes. Despite getting on his years, he's the undisputed head of the Svantevit pack, and father and grandfather to many of its younger members. He's got a deep voice and heavy accent, and constantly yells at everything and everyone. However, he's actually very warm at heart--like a big teddy bear.
Boris' doting mate, Gobnait is a tiny woman with a spit-fire attitude. She's the one that keeps the younger members in check, and handles the "domestics" of the pack. Beyond this, she serves as Boris' second-in-command, and tends to be the one present during foalings.
The third-in-command. A member of the de le Poer family (though he uses his father's name) with trade ties to Europe. Stong and handsome, Aran is largely golden-brown with blue eyes. He is generally removed from trade, spending more time with the horses than people.
The son of Boris and Gobnait, another burly looking wolf who likes to yell a lot. He's quite a charmer otherwise, and the one that tends to be at the forefront of any Svantevit horse trades. Momchil has begun aiding his father more and more in these endeavors.
Radost is of the canines who decide Svantevit breeding pairs. He also attends to the culling of unfit horses. A sour, ill-tempered man suited to his job, Radost is avoided by many of Svantevit. Radost is a cousin of Boris. Vesna Kovachev, one of the rare outsiders to stay with the pack, is his mate -- she is rarely seen outside the room she shares with him.
Son of Radost and Vesna, Casimir is much friendlier than his father. A low-ranking stable-hand, essentially, Casi is content with his life and happy to spend it within the packlands. He dreams of accompanying Dalimil on her trading expeditions.
The daintier daughter of Boris and Gobnait, Danica is a young woman with a talent for making tack. She is very religious and serious about her beliefs. The Kovachev family doesn't like letting her out of their sight too long; she's developed a notable interest in Wielisław.
An up-and-coming young trainer, Wielisław has shown an aptitude for his work that borders supernatural. He is a timber-colored wolf with very pale eyes. Wielisław cares strongly for the Svantevit horses and is very defensive of them, believing that riders and owners to be more at fault for a "bad" horse.
A traveling horse trader lady who is kind of an outsider within Svantevit. She fought for her right to travel and do as she liked, but has found it came with a price.
The horses raised by the pack are referred to as Svantevit horses.
Known coat colors include black (very common), bay (very common), chestnut (common), grey (rare), and roan (blue, red, bay -- very rare). All bear the Svantevit brand; a small "fairy saddle" stripe over the whithers. Silky-long manes and feathering are typically found on the horses' legs, though some are without this trait.
The Svantevit pack does not have a "breed" -- their horses are of two differing types. The typings are separated according to each horse's conformation and size and typical use by the Svantevit wolves and encouraged through breeding between certain types of horses.
Though the types use classical medieval horse types of similar appearance, temperament, and use, they aren't meant to be precisely equivalent to those horses. The specific words used (destrier, palfrey) are only intended to convey a general similarity rather than any direct heritage or connection with real horses.
From their Estonian horse ancestry, the horses have inherited a particular hardiness and general good health. Their hooves are hard and well-formed, also a trait from the Estonian. The East Bulgarian donated a leggy, lean appearance, tempering the great mass of the Eachan horses. Horses of this type are typically more high-strung and energetic, though in accordance with Svantevit standards, never overly so.
The classical conformation Friesians of the breed contributed to the Baroque typing -- they tend toward larger and are more suited to carrying heavy Luperci, pulling carts, or other work requiring strength. These horses are usually more even-tempered and tend toward very docile.
Any male horse deemed unfit for the bloodline is culled; unfit mares are sometimes gifted to permanent residents of Freetown, but without the fairy saddle branding. The Svantevit pack vets their horses for evenness of temperament -- hot-blooded, ill-tempered, skittish, and other unwanted temperaments are deemed unfit. Any horses traded off are easy-going, generally difficult to spook, and obedient.
Traded horses are all trained as riding horses; a smaller fraction is cart trained (and accordingly worth more). The Svantevit horses are fantastic pullers with great strength. As riding horses, they are not exceptionally swift, but their strength and size makes them capable of bearing the weight of most Luperci.
The horses originally brought over from Europe were of varied stock -- the Eachans brought Friesian and Shire grade horses, whereas the Kovachevs brought East Bulgarian and Estonian horses. Various native horses were added to the standard, carefully selected. These bloodlines have begun to mix together; the pack aims to create a hardy animal capable of both draft work and trail-riding.
The horses are kept in the connected stables, allowed to roam in several large corrals.
The only genetic disease known within the Svantevit horses is CPL, an incurable and probably genetic disease -- it showed in one of the earliest generations of the horses -- all descendants of that horse were summarily culled, and the Svantevit pack hopes this will keep it from their stock. Knowledge of this occurrence is kept rather quiet, though this is also part of the reason for their general stinginess with trade -- they want to know where their horses are going so they might be monitored in the future.
Travelers to Portland may interact with members of the Svantevit family as long as bNPC rules are followed. Please keep any trades reasonable.
If you are unsure about whether or not a trade would be accepted, please PM the 'Souls Assemblage
The following are some examples of trades that might be accepted for the horses to give players an idea of what might be accepted for a Svantevit horse. This shouldn't be used as an exact guideline; however, keep in mind the approximate value of each of these items when formulating your trade!