The Great Honor of the Barley Hold Sojourns

The various holds of dwarves, spread across the Flanaess, putatively have a single culture that they share. In practice, of course, the distances involved, and the dangers of travel, mean that trade between these holds is often sporadic to non-existent. They loose touch over time gradually.

Nine centuries ago, the Dwarves began to take notice of the human migrations into what had until that time been a largely unpopulated Flanaess (called that now, in fact, because of the first to arrive, the Flan). A few wise dwarved foresaw that this would lead to worsening isolation between the holds.

As it happens, one of the issues with this is that the holds had, until this point, exchanged barley stocks from time to time, to keep improving the beer produced at each hold. After a while, they began to notice that the beer was getting a bit… repetitive. So the wise dwarves decided to formalize the barley exchange program, which essentially serves as a guise for what is a larger cultural exchange program. This undertaking would occur once each century (on the 78th year of the century by the common year reckoning).

The quest entails sending out a party from each of the Barley Holds, which number 8, to make a circuit of each of the holds. Each party is lead by a “Beersage,” which are actually druids of Hanseath, who sanctify a quantity of barley to preserve it before leaving, and then store it for the trip in a sacred vessel. The group then travels to each barley hold, sojourning at each to perform some rituals with the barley, and generally to get to know the dwarf populations of not only that hold, but the surrounding area. They are, essentially, treated like welcome guests, and shown about quite a bit.

The process generally takes a few years to complete, and the hoped for result is that it will spark new trading between dwarves everywhere, both economically and culturally. It has been generally successful in the past, and the years following the soujourns are full of a revival of interaction.

Then, over the course of the next century, things slow down over time, until once again it is time for another Great Honor of the Barley Hold Sojourns.

The patron deity of this quest is Hanseath, and it is in some ways a replacement for the long lost Dwarven Councils (where the various dwarf kings would actually meet from time to time) .

The Great Honor of the Barley Hold Sojourns

Beer Run Mike_Holmes