Children of Ben Dudlach
The people of Dachaigh have carved out a satisfying, if difficult, life along the shores of Torren Firth. Fishing is plentiful and in Summer even the hard ground of these northern climes yields potatoes and carrots, wheat, onions, and beets. Winters can be harsh, but it has been 12 Winters since the Firth froze. So, even deep in the reign of the Stag Lord a brave sailor can make the journey to Dun Uillich for provisions most years. Thus the quiet rhythm of labor and rest carried the mothers and fathers, sons and daughters of Dachaigh through decades and generations.
But not every Winter can be so merciful. Eventually the white breath of Hel will turn the water to stone and the air to fire in your lungs, and when that happens the beasts of the forest will forget the laws of nature that keep them in their dens and their hunger will turn toward the flesh of men. On those nights stone walls are not protection enough.
Therefore the people of Dachaigh still faithfully follow an ancient practice, once widespread, but now scorned by most clans. Every seven years from among all the children born a handful are selected by secret signs. In infancy they are removed from their mothers and fathers homes. These children have no families, but are raised by the entire village as orphans. They are taught to be protectors – selfless warriors who think nothing of dying in battle to save the life of another. Some whisper that these protectors have another purpose also – to be the human sacrifice the Stag Lord demands in order to end an unusually brutal Winter.
Before these children can inherit the honorable mantle of service and self-sacrifice that they were born to they must complete an arduous journey on the Winter solstice in their fifteenth year to the peak of Ben Dudlach which looms over Dachaigh from the North-East. There at the summit what they learn is never shared with friend or lover, but when they return from those heights they are no longer orphans. They are Children of Ben Dudlach.