“aka the Gypsies”
The people known as the Sojourners are a nomadic subset of humanity. They are a people unto themselves, being not quite a nation, yet not a separate race of people. Sojourners are most certainly human, but they are both like and unlike to their more common cousins. Little real knowledge of this enigmatic people has filtered out into the wider society. Most of what is known is common observation, mixed liberally with rumor and hearsay.
In Faedrun, the Sojourners often knew as much about the goings on in a region as the local people did, mainly because their tendency to avoid large concentrations of other humans. This tendency is partially a result of the semi-closed society that exists among the various bands and tribes. Unfortunately, this semi-closed society and extensive knowledge of the goings on resulted in many misconceptions about them.
Until the coming of the undead, the nomadic nature of the Sojourners would often lead the bands away from the main cities in Vandregon, Aldoria, and Maykar for a year or more at a time. Courtesy of their travels, Sojourners were often sought after for rare goods and items from far distant places. Due to Sojourners only periodically showing up in communities, has lead them to become convenient scapegoats, creating and building the reputation as thieves and cutpurses. While there are indeed many rogues and renegades among them, they are no more prone to be such than any other poor person. Local law enforcement looked on them with an unkindly eye, and many a gypsy man or woman has fallen on the wrong side of village leaders with too many crimes and not enough suspects. The coming of the undead only worsened that situation. Unfortunately due to this undeserved reputation, the Sojourners were not trusted. This resulted in Sojourner caravans were required to remain outside the limits of any village, even in times of war.
They are often reputed to have mystical powers, or carry remnant knowledge from forgotten times. A few of their wise people do have the gift of prophecy, but it is rare, even among them. During the Sojourner Faire, which happened ever three years, it could be hard to pick the true prophets from the charlatans. Sojourners are well aware of their eldritch reputations and some make free use of it to win a few coins from someone eager to be told what they want to hear. It has also served them well when ignorant villages try to threaten them. The threat of a curse is often more effective than the real thing, which didn’t help them any with the rise of the undead. Their apothecaries and healers were also known in Faedrun. Because they traveled so often and so far, Sojourners had access to remedies that required the rarest of herbs, and special knowledge. To the current day they do not write the recipes, but pass them through apprenticeship from one generation to the next.
Sojourners are excellent musicians and performers. Dance and music is an important part of their culture and children are taught from the cradle the traditional songs and dances. While they were not trusted, and not always the most welcomed of visitors to any given town or village, performers on the other hand were generally liked and well paid for their art. Among the Sojourners, they are known as the Lautari, a word for musician or dancer.
During most of Faedrun’s history Sojourners have largely stood aloof, not getting involved in the affairs of their domestic kin. As a result, they have no great warriors and their legendary figures are more along the line of the Trickster, the Con Artist, or the Lautari. While they are not warriors, Sojourners are excellent with a knife when the need arises. This is true of both men and women, because there is no discrimination based on gender within Sojourner society. Conflicts among themselves are often resolved with duels, but only in the most extreme cases is it a duel to the death. Outsiders are not permitted to watch such duels, as the duel itself is considered a sacred cleansing act for the two participants.
The society of the Sojourners is largely closed to outsiders. While outsiders are welcomed in, they will only be permitted to see and interact with the very surface of the group. An exception to this is in the event of young children adopted into the band. Sojourners feel that children can be molded and become true Sojourners as adults after undergoing an initiation ritual. If outsiders wish to join the band as adults and are diligent in learning Sojourner ways and prove themselves to be of value, the same initiation ritual is performed. Though for adults this is rare and those rituals were only done during the Sojourner Faire in the presence of the high elders of all the bands.
A little of what is known about Sojourners was that they were found in most corners of Faedrun. Their livestock were the lifeline of most bands and were used to pull the elaborate wagons that were the mobile houses of the Sojourners. Along the coast and in rivers were bands that traveled not by wagons but by small boats. Due to their nomadic nature Sojourners were mostly a hunter gatherer type people. They had a diverse set of customs with a common undertone. They had a common language with many different dialects unique to the different bands. Because of their travels, Sojourners were a tolerant, welcoming and flexible society. Most of the bands practice a form of polyamory, with men and women having multiple husbands and wives, sometimes with lovers on the side, and any resulting children raised by the whole community. Bands rarely consisted of more than 50 individuals.
The coming of the undead to Faedrun, found the Sojourners in trouble. They tried for many years to keep moving way from outbreaks and when that was no longer possible they banded together to move to the cities. The Sojourners had hoped to find protection, but wasn’t meant to be. It is unknown how or how many Sojourners made it to Mardrun. Those that made it to the new colony are scattered, traveling around to try and pull their people back together.