The Crunalans and their Society
The Crunalans are nomads that migrate across the vast Ckatlon Steppes, following the movement of their horse herds. Living in separate tribes, they constantly war among themselves over territory and resources. The Crunalans are polygamists, where one man can be simultaneously married to multiple wives. Marriage matches are as likely to be made through arrangement by respective parents and mutual consent as through abduction of the bride. Despite this, there is no huge difference in social status between Crunalan men and women. Both strength and wisdom (seen as a more feminine trait as Crunalan men tend towards being warriors) are valued equally in Crunalan society.
There is no written language among the Crunalans. History is passed down from generation to generation through recounting by elderly, retired warriors who no longer have the physical capacity for combat. These elders are deemed to be seasoned warriors of their times and greatly respected within their own tribes. Meanwhile, of equal importance in Crunalan society is the Sisters of Magul. These are women with special powers that make them especially valuable.
Magul and Crunalans
Magul (pronounced ma-goo) is the Crunalan term for horse, which they see as cousin to their race, as they believe themselves to be the descendents of the Gray Wolf and the White Stag. A Crunalan male is taught how to care for horses at the age of five and have regular duties of tending to the herd. At the age of seven, a male goes through the Rite of Choosing, where he and his magul-anta (anta means brother in Crunalan) go through a process of mutual selection. The end result of this is a man-horse partnership that confers equal status between the two parties and is expected to last for as long as both parties are alive. A Crunalan can communicate with his magul-anta via telepathy. This special ability is the basis of their superior horsemanship.
The Sisters of Magul
The Sisters of Magul are women who have the *unique ability of communicating with the Dream Steeds, the heads of the horse herd. According to Crunalan lore, it is this ability that set them onto their sustainable nomadic lifestyle instead of ultimate destruction in the form of pasture desertification (induced by overuse) that their ancestors once faced.
After the Rite of Choosing when a Crunalan has confirmed his bond with his magul-anta, the Sisters are called upon to instruct the youngsters on how to unlock the ability to communicate with their “mounts”. This may last either a few days or as long as half a year, depending on the progress of the child. No Crunalan male has ever failed as far as the elders can remember.
The Sisters of Magul enjoy special status in the Crunalan society over and above the respect that normal Crunalan women receive. No one can forcefully abduct a Sister of Magul and force her to be his bride. This will not just invoke a war between the two tribes but bring the wrath of all Crunalans down upon the offending individual (and tribe).
*No Dream Steed has ever accepted a Crunalan as a partner, whether at the Rite of Choosing or other times.