The Shire of the Catlings

Carabas - Going Deeper

Who are your people on good terms with? How about bad terms? Why?

We actually get along with the Wood Elves … tolerably.

I mean, they are slow, and clumsy, and easily tracked in the forest, but they aren’t territorial, they have been known to give good scritchy-massages, they hunt reasonably well, and they have the most amazingly entertaining “aloof and superior” attitude you will ever run across.

Bad terms? Well, we’ve been really trying to avoid the Orcs, because, for all their “autonomous locals” stuff aside, they still want to take some of our stuff. (Plus, y’know … the rumors.)

What’s one thing your people have that no one else does?

Halfling Pipeleaf, almost exclusively grown in the Shire. Which is why we use it as the basis for trade. Others have alternative pipeleaf, etc., but there’s nothing like the original.

Mmmmmm, Pipeleaf. You can smoke it. You can chew it. You can rub it all over your fur. You can dab its essential oils on your hanky and breath in its minty aroma. Mmmmm.

What is the political structure of your peoples’ society?

Anarcho-individualist gatherings of equals. The will of the individual is valued more than the will of others; revolution is too much work; self-sacrifice is overrated except for protecting the kits.

So … people more or less do their own thing (that works), conflicts between neighbors are handled by escalating the stakes until someone decides its not worth it (or else consensus over who has been the most clever about tricking their opponent or swaying their community), and people more or less leave each other alone.

(My devotion to the protection of the “little people” against the predation of the powerful and bullying is a philosophical extension of the protection of the kits, as well as a projection of the individual freedom against the will of others.

What do your people most value? What do they least value?

Privacy and pleasure. Versus hard work as “its own reward.”

What is your people’s greatest accomplishment?

Being very satisfied (smugly so) as to how we have developed the perfect society. Other races and nations? War and revolution and existential dread and personal angst. Catlings? Naps in the sun cure all ills.

What is your largest city called, and what is it like?

We don’t do cities, per se. Our largest population center is the Shire, a secluded Upland vale of open fields for growing, hills for burrows, trees for flets, and, most importantly, no cross-traffic. For the most part, people live separately, spread across the countryside in family groups, coming together for festivals and parties, but glad to wander off back to their seclusion at their own time.

5 posts were split to a new topic: The Spread of Humanity

Questions of Carabas

I did one of those “writing character questionnaires” back before I even wrote the above.

Biography Questions

What is your full name?

Carabas Bluecream. Or Carabas the Protector. Or Carabas the Legend.

How did your parents decide on your name?

All right, all right, I picked Carabas myself, as a human name that my Great Great-Granduncle Pero mentions in his writings, so that I could pass in the human world… My parents called me Rory, after Father’s fifth brother.

How tall are you?

4’, slightly over average.

What color is your hair?

A beautiful dilute tortie blue-cream. lightly brindled with blue-gray and fawn.

What color are your eyes?

Brilliant blue.

How much do you weigh?

60# (less than a human of my size would)

What is your birthday (month, date, and year)?

9 May, T-22y

What is your father’s name? Mother’s name? Grandparents’ names?

Brolic and Merrine, Vared and Daleth.

Do you have any siblings? What are their names, birthdates, and birth order?

I am the 3rd of 7 from Mother’s third (and last) litter, the youngest to survive. My remaining litter mates are Brum (m), and Daline (f)

Where were you born? Where were your parents born? Your grandparents?

In the Shire, of course.
In the Shire, too.
Well, in the Shire. Der.

Where do you live now?

Well, I have a room at my parents dwelling (or I presume I still do), but presently the world is my home.

Do you have any medical problems, diseases, injuries?

Tubers make me gassy. Does that count?

Do you have any distinguishing marks on your body (a mole, a birthmark, a missing finger, a tattoo, etc.)?

Aside from my luxurious and lovely fur? I think not. I am also told my whiskers are most fetching.

What religion are you, and why?

Bastis is our patron, but we don’t get into the whole Temples and Worship and Liturgy thing, just some jolly hunting festivals and singalongs.

Do you have any pets?

I have a faithful War Dog, Hambone. He’s quite loyal and fierce, if not terribly bright.

Are you married? If so, what is your spouse’s name?

No, I’ve not tied the knot. There is a girl … Jaqueline … ah, but I must not torment myself this way.

History Questions

Where did you go to school?

I was lettered and numbered by the roving teacher who came to our hamlet in the Shire twice a week.

When you were a child, what did you dream of being when you grew up?

I wanted to be an adventurer like my Greats-Uncle Pero.

What jobs have you held and what years? (What does your resume look like?)

Well, helping on Father’s farm, of course. Odd jobs around the Shire. Since leaving there, I’ve been Sword-and-Claw for Hire.

What is the first historical event you remember?

The Great Freeze of River Yarnet when I was four, and the Ice Weasels that invaded and had to be fought off.

Who was your best friend as a child?

Krimbit, who lived in the house next door. He was the runt of his litter, and looked to me for protection against bullies and his larger brethren – which, of course, I was honored to provide.

Why did your relationship with each person you dated not work out?

They were just looking for someone to curl up with the rest of their lives – do the minimal work to bring home the vittles, engage in the expected friskiness, and then keep each other warm on cold nights. There was no sense of adventure, of dreaming beyond a warm spot on the porch. I had to leave each of them because they were so limited in their perspective (untrue: generally rejected by them as weird, frenetic, madcap)

What is the worst thing that ever happened to you? What is the best thing that ever happened to you? Who important to you has died in your life and how did you cope with their deaths?**


Personality Questions

What is your favorite color?

Cobalt blue.

What is your favorite place to vacation and why?

The World is my vacation resort. That said, there’s a lovely fishing village we passed through last week with the most marvelous catches of the day, just lying out there, waiting to be taken and eaten. I wouldn’t might passing through there again, once the hubbub dies down.

What is your favorite book?

Books are for the awake and introspective. Thus, they aren’t big with my people.

What is your favorite food(s)?

Yeah, definitely fish. Preferably the bigger sea ones, like swordfish, combining the best of fish and animal flesh.

What is your favorite restaurant?

The Holy Mackerel in Redcliff.

What most annoys you about (your mom, dad, brother, sister, wife, son, daughter, best friend, boss, co-worker)?

Utter lack of interest in anything outside the Shire.

How often do you exercise? What are your exercise goals?

My life, fighting evil on behalf the little guy, burns plenty of calories!

Which of your buttons does your mother (sister, brother, son, wife, girlfriend, etc.) like to push that sets you off?

“When are you going to grow up and settle down, like a normal person?”

Do you believe it’s okay to tell a lie and under what circumstances?

Of course! When the stakes are high to protect the weak and innocent. Or when it would be funny and tweak the nose of the powerful. Or, with certain caveats, when hungry.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

An extrovert, of course.

What things might you be asked to do that you hate doing but do anyway (attend birthday parties, weddings, do chores for your elderly aunt, etc.)?

Wake up when my sleeping spot is all nice and warm in order to walk around “keeping watch.”

Have you ever been arrested and why?

Yes, because they had no sense of humor!

Who would you lay down your life for?

For the weak and innocent. Also for my friends. And … probably … my people.

Who would you really like to tell off?

Drogo Brindleflanks. Tall and muscular and oh-so-certain that he knows the answers and he will have a happy successful life with all the mating and fish and pipeleaf he wants, while I will get myself in trouble and get eaten. I hope he gets eaten first.

What are your spending habits?

I prefer to spend others’ money.

Do you enjoy hot weather, or do you prefer colder temperatures?

Oh, warmer weather, definitely. Especially if there’s an opportunity to lie out in the sun.

What kind of relationship do you have with God?

I try not to bother her, in hopes that she won’t bother me.

If you could describe yourself in one sentence, what would you say?

A legend in his time.

If your (best friend, wife, daughter, boss, neighbor etc.) were to describe you in one sentence, what do you think he/she would say?

A legend in our time!

What do you think is the meaning of life?

To have made a difference in lives that matter.

Additional Questions

As inspired by Bill.

Do Catlings take slaves?

That sounds like a lot of work. I mean, certainly, if someone volunteers to take on burdens of a Catling’s feeding or grooming or care, that would duly accepted as one’s due. But forcing others to so? That’s not only hard work but … sort of distasteful. Catlings should never be slaves, and non-Catlings … should not be brought into the community as slaves, because that would be rather intrusive for everyone else.

Who runs the Shire?

“Run” sounds so effortful as well as contentious. As noted elsewhere, those who have an interest get together, do a lot of inspired speaking and focused staring, and eventually come to a conclusion based on diminishing returns of effort vs passion for the cause.

What are some problems with Catling society?

  • Other underestimate us for our size. Indeed, some are ridiculous enough to underestimate us for other reasons.
  • We don’t readily come up with long-range plans. We can react quickly when pressed, but if not pressed, questions and issues tend to take a long while to come close to resolution.
  • Too many of us do not think beyond the immediate needs of ourselves and close kin, let alone past the boundaries of our community.

[Ed. Note: The second two points make me think of the Catlings as Scots, only less energetic.]