Berry Picking (was: Re: Detect Verbose Vulpine III.)

From: bethexton <bethexton_at_...>
Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2002 16:42:40 -0000

> Sure. But most won't. Or, worse, the poor chieftain gets
> by warnings and can't sort though them all. A paranoid wyter like
> Malan might drive its chief bonkers.
> "There's a planecrash in Burma next week."

It is suddenly clear to me that one of the things that young men do, along the lines of "boys will be boys will be macho idiots" is nip across the tula boundaries of other clans. Not on proper raids as such, but just to be brave and annoying in a manner that is less risky than it seems.

Get together with a few friends, slip out through the woods, nip past the boundary stones, carve your clan rune in a tree, relieve yourself, see if you can grab some berries on knock off one of "their" squirrels. I'd guess this would be informally known as "going berry picking" since everyone knows that a teenage boy volunteering to go berry picking is actually up to no good.

Against clans with which you have decent relations this is fairly low risk, probably the biggest danger is your chieftan raking you over the coals for hurting relations. Against clans you aren't so fond of, the danger if caught goes up, but the utility of the activity improves too--you want to give them lots of false alarms. Of course, their youth will retaliate in kind, and given half a chance (i.e. if they can slip away from their chores) they'll mount informal patrols to catch you. Probably a fair few kids get their first wounds this way. Once in a long while this sort of encounter could result in rivalries, or even start building towards a feud.

Of course, all this sneaking around is not just to prove to yourself and your buddies that your brave. You can bet the next cohort or two up keeps an eye on this sort of thing, and when they need one or two young spears to help cattle raiding, they'll know who to pick. Hmm, or for that matter, sometimes they may send some of the greenest spears, along with someone with a shade more experience, on a decoy cattle raid, nip across the boundary, stumble around for a bit, leave once the sun is clear of the horizon, you see anyone, you hear anything, or anything else happens. A useful tactic, except for the habit of the young bucks involved exceeding their instructions, causing things to go disasterously and lethally wrong...still, I bet some bright soul tries it at least once every generation.


Powered by hypermail