Greymane Lodge

History of Greymane Lodge

Unfortunately Greymane Lodge is very secretive, and moreover represents the survival of a pre-literate tradition. At any sort of remove in time it becomes impossible to say exactly who in the lodge did what, or why. The Greymane adepts may know more, but they aren’t telling.

Greymane Lodge had its origins in the cult of Greymane, who is an ancient folk-hero of the area that is now the episkopies of Valina, Orio, and Gla, the western part of Periander and the eastern part of Guinmo. In ancient times, when the area was occupied by forest-dwelling hunters and swiddeners, this cult was very important in preparing boys with the skills and attitudes they were held to need in the forests. But with the rise of agriculture and cities it declined in importance. By 4600 AED the cult of Greymane was carried on only by rustics, though tales of Greymane were (and are) still told to children in the cities, by their nurses.

Sometime about 4700 the remaining Greymane mantises recognised that their lore was becoming dangerously fragmentary. Under leadership that is unrecorded, they instituted an annual festival, held in the forest at Thundering Vale, to which each adept brought his apprentice, and where all the lore of Grey-mane was recited, so that each practitioner might learn from others any sections of lore that his master, or his master, might have for-gotten. The festival became also an important occasion for the teaching of mantic skills and general lore of the World of Dreams. Thus was the Greymane Brotherhood formed.

Around the time of the Civil War (4792-4797) the adepts of Greymane became concerned that their sacred meeting-site was subject to some sort of threat—perhaps merely the threat of deforestation and encroaching agriculture. After performing epic quests in the World of Dreams, in 4802 they persuaded four other organisations that were struggling to preserve ancient traditions to join them in protecting the forests around Thundering Vale. From the point of view of the Greymane Brotherhood, the purpose of the original hunting college was to give the other four lodges a stake in the preservation of Thundering Vale and the surrounding forests.

The rise of permanent residence at Thundering Vale gradually changed the structure of the Greymane Brotherhood. Collegiate teaching by a shifting core of masters at Thundering Vale replaced the system of individual apprenticeships. The best mantises and wisest loremasters concentrated at Thundering Vale, and the quality of junior instruction and pastoral care in the community at large fell. The tradition of Greymane faltered even though the transmission of its lore was more secure than ever before.

The reorganisation of 4883 was a crisis for Greymane Lodge, which had the greatest difficulty in raising 8,000 minai to buy its shares in the College. Almost half of the forty masters then living either failed or refused to raise their stakes, and the lodge was forced to sell memberships to apprentices. The Brotherhood of Greymane was nearly destroyed. The part that stayed at Thundering Vale lost contact with any youth that it might instruct. The masters who resumed wandering found that they had lost the art of training successors by one-on-one apprenticeships. By 4930 no trace of their tradition survived. The future was in doubt for a tradition at least six hundred years old.

In 4889 Greymane Lodge elected a new Housemaster, Arkhan, who led it out of the wilderness. He gave up on the plan to fill the companionships with trainee mantises. Instead, he emulated Skywalker Lodge in taking in youths and ephebes as companions for a general education. And for these he arranged such a training as the Greymane mantises of long ago had given to the youngsters of their tribes. The pedagogical cult of Greymane, which had dwindled away three generations before, was gloriously reborn among the rural gentry of five episkopies. Struggling to fill ten places at the expansion of 4902, Greymane Lodge was at the forefront of the movement to add a further thirty in 4951.

Legends of Greymane Lodge

The story of Greymane is partly preserved in countless folk-tales now told mostly to children, and widely known over a great part of western Thelmond. These stories detail hundreds of incidents, but many of them are sheer invention, and some key facts are omitted from the folklore. Moreover, the folk stories are unordered, leaving incidents with-out context and meaning. The esoteric teachings of Greymane Lodge include certain obscure facts about Greymane, and a frame story that fits many of the incidents into a connected narrative. In addition, the lodge preserves many teachings of Greymane that are not mentioned in the stories.

The folklore

Greymane was a boy who was raised by wolves. He was suckled by a she-wolf, taught to hunt by a he-wolf, and initiated into a wolf-pack. In his infancy he had a great many adventures in which various animals appear as stock characters: a tiger, a black leopard, a jackal, several different wolves, a fox, a fishing cat, two elephants, a bear, a python, an orang-utan, a troop of gibbons…. Daimons of various numinous objects also figure: a volcano, a river, a waterfall, a thermal spring, several notable trees, at least one astronomical body of each sex….

In his adolescence Greymane was persuaded by all his wisest friends to leave the wolf-pack in which he had grown up and return to his proper people. He was adopted by a widow, became a swineherd, was denounced as a warlock for his dealings with wild animals, was stoned, called his animal friends to his aid, drove out his tormentors, and married a girl of great beauty. Later he was recognised as a king’s son who had been exposed in the forest by a wicked uncle. He returned to his palace, killed the usurper, and seized his rightful throne. For twenty years he was a conqueror, and for twenty years a law-giver, and then he returned to the forest as a hermit-priest.

The esoteric teachings

Customs of Greymane Lodge

In the hunt, Greymane Lodge cultivates a special expertise in strategies that depend on planning and co-ordination, such as driving game into nets or ambushes. Some members (the acolytes, generally) have tame wolves that are trained to co-operate with humans in this sort of hunting. Greymane Lodge therefore values stealth, patience, planning, and teamwork.

More significantly, Greymane Lodge concentrates on teaching ethics, the exegesis of dreams, and the management of relationships with daimons. Its esoteric teachings include mystic disciplines (such as Dreaming) and a considerable body of secret lore about its eponymous hero and sacred places in western Thelmond.

Greymane Lodge is dedicated to the practical and moral instruction of youth, to the preservation and transmission of its secret knowledge. It values loyalty and teamwork, and the reciprocal duty of subordinate and superior. Greymane Lodge considers itself to be a pack, in which leadership is service.

Recruitment

During the week of the Festival of Thundering Vale, prospective Greymane recruits stay in the lodge hall, watching and perhaps competing in the Games, and mingling socially with the members. Each is observed anonymously by an adept who has been appointed as his or her examiner. In the evenings they dine with the lodge, drink, sing Greymane folksongs and dance Greymane folk dances. At night the lodge dreamweavers take them on simple explorations and administer tests in the World of Dreams. On the afternoon of the seventh day each candidate recounts and explains one of his or her dreams of the week to the assembled members. Then the members meet in private. Each examiner gives a summing up of the candidate he or she has observed, and either nominates him or her or declares him or her to be ineligible. And then each member, in order of seniority from the most junior up, declares a vote for as many candidates as there are vacancies. The seneschal tallies the votes, and the suitable number of candidates with the most votes are admitted as probationary members. In the case of ties, the housemaster chooses. Those elected become probationary members, and have until the Festival of Greymane (six-and-a-half or seven-and-a-half months) to memorise the Epic of Greymane. Those who succeed become permanent members, those who fail have their shares refunded and are permanently barred from joining.

Companions

Members choose their own companions, and are expected to guide their studies and give them moral support. But the companions are accommodated in dormitories in groups of ten that live and hunt together, and study and train in small classes.

Festival

The annual festival of Greymane Lodge is the [of Greymane], which is celebrated at the last (eleventh or twelfth) New Moon each year. All the stories and sayings of Greymane are recited through the preceding days, each line declaimed by an adept and repeated by the members in chorus. Plays are performed, secrets told, dreams woven. And on the night of the feast itself the members perform a secret ceremony in a secret sacred site, in which new members are initiated and acolytes and adepts promoted.

Totem: wolf. Motto: The strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.

Officers of Greymane Lodge

Housemaster Greymane

The head of Greymane Lodge is Housemaster Greymane. The Housemaster is nominally elected by the members from among the huntmaster-adepts of the lodge, but often only one candidate stands and he is routinely acclaimed by the members. The term of office is indefinite, but the house-master is always subject to a vote of no confidence by the members provided that an adept moves it.

The Housemaster is responsible for the protection and transmission of the lodge traditions, and therefore directs the training of members as dreamweavers, mantises, and mystagogues. He has some disciplinary authority, and presides at the lodge assembly.

Seneschal

The Seneschal of Greymane Lodge is elected by the members from among the adepts. His term is indefinite. The seneschal is in charge of hiring or buying the lodge’s servants, organising their work, and disciplining their lapses.

Purser

The Purser of Greymane Lodge is elected by the members for an indefinite term, usually from among the adepts of the Lodge.
The Purser is the treasurer of Greymane Lodge, responsible for collecting and disbursing dues and incomes, paying expenses, and rendering accounts.

Master of Students

The Greymane Master of Students is appointed by the housemaster, usually from among the huntmaster-adepts of the lodge. He is in charge of the training and education of the companions, for their assignment to dormitories and classes, and for their discipline. It is up to the Master of Students to arrange with the masters of students in other lodges for the instruction of companions from each lodge in the specialities of other lodges, as required, and to make adjustments for the honorariums involved.

The Master of Students also chooses, within the limits of practicality, which members will teach what classes and earn the honorariums. This power brings some patron-age among the less experienced members.

Dream-chaser

The Dream-chaser is the official in charge of arranging those functions of Greymane lodge that involve the use of the mystic discipline Dreaming. He or she is also in overall charge of training Greymane acolytes in the use of Dreaming. The Dream-chaser is therefore in effect the chief dreamweaver and chief Dreaming instructor of Thundering Vale. He or she is also one of the chief advisors to the Housemaster.

The Dream-chaser is elected by the adepts of Greymane Lodge from among themselves. The term is indefinite, and on occasion a corrodian has continued to hold the post after retiring from the lodge.

Speaker to Streams and Stones

The Speaker to Streams and Stones is the chief mantis of Greymane Lodge and is in over-all charge of teaching the mystic discipline Spiritualism to Greymane acolytes. But as mantis and Spiritualism teacher to the College he or she is overshadowed by Skywalker Lodge’s Theomantis. He or she is also one of the chief advisors to the Housemaster.

The Speaker to Stones and Streams is elected by the adepts of Greymane Lodge from among themselves. The term is indefinite, and on occasion a corrodian has continued to hold the post after retiring from the lodge.

[Steward of Thundering Vale]

For reasons that are lost in antiquity, the Steward of Thundering Vale is usually chosen from among the huntmaster-adepts of Greymane Lodge. Filling that post is almost a right and duty of the lodge.

Priests

Greymane Lodge generally manages its relations with daimons through mantises rather than priests. Many retired members of Greymane indeed hold priesthoods, but there are none attached to the lodge except for the priesthood of the lodge-house, which is not very prestigious.

Retired Greymane housemasters use the title ‘Priest of Greymane’, but no functions are attached to this post.

Greymane Lodge treasures

Greymane Lodge does not own significant treasures in the conventional sense. It has a vast collection of ritual objects used and collected by twenty generations of Greymane mantises: masks, capes, rattles, drums, bone flutes, bullroarers, whisks, wands, aspergillums, censers, and such mantic paraphernalia. There is also a collection of mementos and trophies of forgotten adventures, and curious gifts from daimons. And there are a few written and more drawn materials: mandalas and so forth on various media. Many of these things are curious and beautiful, but few are of any great commercial value.

The Greymane adepts consider their secrets to be their great treasures.