The Occupations of the Losterlies
What led to the conditions at the time of “The Man Who Forgot Himself.”
The first folk to come to the Losterlies were probably the Grey Elves. In their wanderings they became aware of it, used it as a shelter, and for provision, but one can not rule out the Fomorians as possible first arrivals. The Grey Elves, it can not be denied, certainly used the isles, stored cache’s in it, and used them, sometimes even wintering over on rare occasions. It is therefore safe to conclude that they were the first residents no matter how brief the occupations. *Considering their longevity there might be a written record or even living memory of Grey Elf occupation.*
A ship’s company of Wanderers, folk related to the Grey Elves but not long lived, are known to have been ship wrecked with a cargo of items including live goods from the far South, among these are a small species of Alpaca, potato, certain peppers, yams, and other tropical fare, many of these things did not and do not thrive in the climate of the Losterlies, but the wanderers have made the best of the available genetics, breeding things to the conditions and finding volcanically created micro climates that have allowed these stocks to be cultivated if only to preserve them and for very limited, sometimes medicinal, use. However some of these experiments in botany and animal husbandry have succeeded well enough to gift the islands with a unique and particularly favorably diverse and rich flora and fauna. The Wanderers have added these and continue to husband others in their mountain micro-climates. They continue a semi-nomadic lifestyle despite being limited to the Losterlies. They seem to prefer the mountains and seclusion coming out to trade their biologicals and crafts for the things that make their lives better.
It is a company of Grey Elves that tell Seabrooke about the Losterlies and they find and establish a colony in the sheltered bay of the main island. Though the going is difficult the group survives and begins to establish a strong presence. As soon as survival seems assured, a crew member, Calvin, begins to cause trouble. When the boat that bears them to the isle is no-longer needed for survival, Calvin takes charge of it and moved with a couple supporters and their families to the Northeastern side and establishes a separate village focused more on fishing and the sea.
The Coming of the Laird and the Celtic Overlay on the Seabrook Base
Despite numerous Fomorian raids over the years and the occasional interaction with the Gypsies, the Seabrook colony remains largely homogeneous until it is overwhelmed by a Celtic invasion. Initially the overlord Celts maintain a highly bifurcated population, but in just a few generations the two halves begin to integrate.
Homogenizing the Population
Defending against a wave of Fomorian attacks unifies the island in two (2) ways. 1) Working and fighting together is a great leveler and 2) the Fomorian wave isolates the island from greater Oceanic Celtia–Celtia contracts leaving the Losterlies isolated, embattled, and with these shakings the island’s population begins to homogenize. the survivors value their co-survivors and come out of the battle as islanders together. Celtia forgets them and the Folk of the Island become a people. Their is still a Laird and a Tanist, but Tanistry reaches deep into the community and by the time of “The Man Who Forgot Himself” it reaches across race, occupation, and even surname.
Initially, in the first generation, Capt. Seabrooke sought to keep the colony together in the one village, but Calvin’s defection, Fomorian attack, Celtic overlordship, Gypsie influence, intermitant growing and contracting population, trade, and even the Skellig Monastry all work to spread out the population.
Probably the biggest factor was the periodic Fomorian incursions. The benefits of having some resources decentralized and some population base to at least have a place to flee to, became apparent when Brookton was attacked by the Fomorian sea raiders for the first time.
Landmarks and Works of Man
The Celts build a stone ring fort, stripping the village surrounding fields of their walls. As agriculture moves up the valley and around the lake, crannogs are built for defense. There is a narrowing of the river bed that leads from the lake so it is a natural defensive point that the colony fortifies and the Celts improve making a stone stronghold between Brookton and the Lake region.
The Separatists use the black stone (basalt) of the North Shore in all their buildings and after the first Fomor attack they create a tightly organized village with narrow corridors, blind corners and various defensive strong points and escape routes, it becomes known as Blackwarren.
The southside of the island relies on poor moorage and remoteness for its safety. This is particularily true of the Skellig Monastry. The coast is very rugged. Even if a safe landing is made on the narrow beaches, raiders face a difficult climb up cliffs to reach the widely spaced farms and a long hike further into the interior to two or three settlements any larger than a single extended family compound.
The last act of the heroic heyday of the Losterlies was a pitched battle against a large Fomorian raid. In it the Celts are aided by both the “native peasantry” and the mysterious Wanderers. There is much death and destruction AND volcanic eruptions add to the chaos.
Harvests are poor for years after–the population dwindles–the Losterlies are forgotten and they too forget, focusing on survival again through the lean times. Volcanism in the Losterlies is only the local manifestation of world wide disasters and a much less generous climate — the Losterlies are spared the wars over diminishing resources. War with Fomorian raiders reduced the population already and the survivors used an infrastructure and an agricultural base built for a larger population. The living was hard and there were technological losses, but starvation was not a great concern.
So it is that a healthy and somewhat happy population of Celtoseabrookians is filling out the loose garment of the earlier golden days. There is much hope for progress, indeed this typifies the population, that they are eager for gain and not afraid of hard work to reach it. Trade has recently been re-established within the last 3 or 4 generations and young men have sought glory fighting for Celtic Kings in distant lands — The Oceanic Celtic world is the big city to the Losterlies village farm.