Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Hearth & Home - Dwellings in Vale

There is a saying in Vale, that sums up the view of the home. "Some walls, a roof and a door. Windows, chimney, rooms and floor. A home is all these things, but much much more."

The Haelic folk that settled the valley brought with them their love of hearth and family and this can be seen in the care that they take in their homes. Though a great variety in homes can be found, determined by resources and means, the folk of Vale always do the best they can with what they have, often incorporating natural elements into structures to greater maximize what resources are available.

Central to any Haelic home is the main room and entry way known as the the "Halla" or "Portal Room". It is here that the majority of a Haelic family's homely assets will be focused. This is not for any petty sense of ego or need to display ones wealth but more for the simple fact that key to Haelic social structure is the open hopsitality that is paid to those that visit one's home. Guests to a home in Vale are treated to the best any family has, as long as such hospitality is not abused.

The second most important room in any Haelic home is the kitchen. Here the folk of Vale gather for meals, never straying too far from the place where the food is prepaired to consume it. It is thought that the closer one comes to the act of preparing the food, the more nourishing it will be to both body and spirit. For this reason, any mother or daughter in Vale will spend an amazing amount of time making sure that even the most meager of meals is given the utmost care and attention so that her family will have the most nourishing meal possible.

Such meals are rewarded with adoration and compliments from families and to forget to do so is the utmost in rudeness. No Haelic father or son of Vale would dare forget to thank his mothers, sisters or daughters for the hard work they put into making sure his table was the most grand it could be. It is not uncommon for The men of a house to clean up following a meal while their women take advantage of a moment's restand enjoy a warm drink and pleasant conversation while the meal is cleaned up.

Sleeping arrangements are often the most spartan of accomidations in Vale. This is not to say that they are not comfortable, but as they are for sleeping they are not given as great a priority as other areas of the home. Beds are often lined with comfortable down feathers or beaten straw or bowers, changed regularly. Blankets are woven from heavy whools from local sheep and goats or stitched together from softened hides and filled with more down or straw. Husbands and wives sleep together, often in the company of small children, while oder children and unmarried relations (sisters, cousins, aunts, in-laws, etc) share rooms usually no more than three to a room or as space allows. Where rooms are shared, each occupant sleeps in a pseronal set of sleeping wear and shares their space comfortably with others.

Accomidations for the privy are usually attached to the home by an interior door and a ditch that runs to a local stream or collection point. It is too dangerous in most places to have seperate privy facilities unless absolutely required by available drainage or some such. In households that require exterior trips to the facilities, there is often and a special light called a "Drungklaf" or "Pot Dagger" which can only be described as a cunning cross between a utility knife and a candle-holder. This device can be used to cut strips of fabric or leaves for cleaning or to fend off an angry beast in the dark fo the night.

All in all, the homes of the valley are best known for their warmth and inviting use of color. Pastel pigmants taken from local plants and minerals often make the homes seem to blend into their surroundings. It can be said that even the poorest folk in Vale live in better surroundings than some of the more well-off sorts in otherl ands.

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