Firbolg in Bretonia
Long ago, there was a race of fey from the autumn kingdom of the Otherworld. These creatures resembled men or elves, but were taller, thicker in their build. Some called them giant-kin, and perhaps there was some truth to the name, for they were like giants in their appearance, though they bore little in common with them in their temperament. Although of the autumn fey, these creatures were lawful and good, and they loved peace, but above all they loved the sanctity of the great forest that grew from the great tree in Otherworld, and they tended to it and its offspring like priests attend to their congregation.
These creatures were named Firbolg, by Cerridwen when she discovered them hiding away in the sacred forests. She fled to the sacred grove to escape the enmity of Gwyndolien, who had been outraged by Finn’s affair with Cerridwen. The Firbolg showed her kindness, and protected her as Gwyndolien sought her using their power over the sacred groves to misdirect and hamper Gwyndolien in any way that they could. In the end, Gwyndolien found that she could not penetrate the forest. For every path she followed led her out of the forest again, and with time waning her fury, she left Cerridwen to the forest, and sailed back to her city.
In the days of Citadelion, the Firbolg crossed over from Otherworld to our world, and began to explore it. They found its forests lush and green, but unprotected, and filled with great evil. They settled here in family groups, until they came across in the great exodus. Gwyndolien, having learned of their ancient kindness to Cerridwen, and knowing them now to be her subjects, convinced many of the FIrbolg that the forests of earth were in need of them. And convinced all but one to leave the sacred groves of the Otherworld, and defend the new forests.
Then there was one Firbolg, who grew angry at his own kind for abandoning their duty, and he grew angry with Gwyndolien for convincing them to. He was an old and powerful druid of the sacred grove, and when Gwyndolien tried to scorn him and slander him, he turned the sacred groves against her to drive her out. The two did battle upon an ever-changing field, that shifted from Otherworld to this World with every passing of a spell. And the battle lasted from dusk to dawn to dusk again. In the end, Gwyndolien proved victorious, but not without suffering the humiliation of having been turned into a hen. For this mockery, heaped upon her present bitterness at their love of Cerridwen, the entirety of the Firbolg earned her enmity.
Then Citadelion withdrew, and the Firbolg, far from the civilizations that had arisen, were left behind. Gwyndolien barred them from returning through the familiar portals and gates between this world and the next, and she swore that no Firbolg would ever be welcome in her kingdom.
Thus the Firbolg were left in the wooded places of this world, where they have striven ever since to protect it.
Culture & Customs
Firbolgs are creatures who love peace and harmony between all living things. They are withdrawn from the civilizations of the world, and spend their time in quiet forests, tending to the trees and the animals as gardeners and caretakers. They see this as a sacred duty, their reason for being, either in this world, or the Otherworld.
They live off the land, and see to it that there is a balance between all things within their lands. They store away bounties of food and resources during the spring and the summer, and they dole out a portion to whomever, or whatever, needs the harsher seasons. This portion is in accordance with the individual needs of the creature, so that they can see to it that each creature can receive what they need, and no more. They do not indulge in hunting or other such activities for ‘sport’ but engage in it for food when necessary. They will eat meat, but prefer nuts, fruits, and berries.
They have an ingrained reverence for nature and the natural world, and insightful minds that make philosophies of their observations rather easily. This leads a great number of them toward Druidic magic, and they are more prone to such magic than most other mortal creatures in the world. Not that they seek to dominate the natural world through magic, but they use its powers for its own prosperity.
They do not worship the eight, the gods of the elves. They remember them as they were, or are, and do not wish to revere them. Rather most Firbolgs revere nature itself, and follow The Old Way.
When another mortal enters their domain Firbolg tend to try and remain out of sight, often using their magic to aid this. They do not care about the political or war-torn struggles of humans, elves, orcs, or other fey. Nor do they care whether one is an elf, a human, or an orc, but if one harms the forest or the animals under its care in order to take more than what is needed: the Firbolg will rise with righteous fury.
A lord may lay claim to a forest that is within the lands granted to him by a king, but he is careful of his use of it if the firbolg live there.
Initially, they attempt to prevent the damage to their forest in sneaky, indirect ways. Thievery, altering the paths and forest trees to make the intruders lost or better yet: lead them out of the forest, or using trickery to scare or frighten the intruders are all common Firbolg tactics. When these fail, they will get more forceful, until root and twig, stone and earth, and the very elements of nature turn to the violators in dread fury.
A Firbolg seen outside the forests, wandering on their own, is typically an exile. One who has been exiled from the clan either directly, or was born from exiled parents. These types of Firbolgs tend to be nomadic, but they make their way doing whatever they can to live peacefully. Sometimes these Firbolg might be orphaned, and left with someone who has the resources to care for them better than what remains of their clan. And sometimes a Firbolg of the forest is granted a sacred duty: to go out among the world, and bring news of its happenings, to be the eyes of the forest and protect it from dangers that might rise to threaten it.
The Firbolg do not name themselves as other races do, but they still have names in an informal manner. What other races might call ‘nick-names’, names that identify a person by their attributes, habits, deeds, or other informal things. Surnames are totally ignored and unused by Firbolgs, but when dealing with outsiders if a second name is asked for the Firbolg will give the name of the forest in which they dwell. At least, the name of the forest that the other creature knows it by.
When a Firbolg is born they undergo a dedication. Three days after birth they are taken to the oldest tree of the forest, and a ceremony is conducted by the oldest druid among them, welcoming the new life into the forest, and granting it the protection of the tribe.
There is no formal ‘coming of age’ ceremony for the Firbolg, but they are considered of age when they are capable of taking care of their responsibilities on their own. Their physical development typically stops around age thirty. They grow to be between seven and eight feet tall, typically, and weigh anywhere between two hundred and three hundred pounds. They have an average lifespan of five-hundred years.
Firbolg do not marry, and have very little concept of ‘personal property’. They observe family units that are made of those that have grown close together, regardless of actual blood relation. When a romantic relationship does bloom between two Firbolg, it lasts for as long as it lasts, and while many mate for life, some do not. Firbolg children are typically conceived in the spring, and pregnancies last for two years.