by Bramble Moonwilow
Although most kender shortly after the time of the graygem settled (to use
the term loosely) in the place that would one day be called Balifor, many did
not. Wanderlust and numerous other reasons caused many kender to not follow
Balif's lead. These set out exploring, mostly in groups, some of which became
nomadic tribes (including the ones who would eventually found Hylo) which still
wander the face of Krynn today. Many others, though, found their wanderlust
waning after about twenty years or so, and settled at the place which was most
convenient to have children. For many in the mostly virgin wilderness of ancient
Ansalon, the most convenient place was in the tall trees around them.
Kender tree villages were numerous before the cataclysm, but that massive event
shook them (in many cases literally) greatly. Suddenly, in many places where
trees had been there weren't anymore. Most of the adaptable kender wandered,
singly or perhaps forming nomadic tribes. Some of the older ones went to larger
towns like Hylo or the budding Kendermore. As a result, there are only about
half the amount of tree villages today than there were directly before the Kingpriest's
Although the architecture of tree villages is as varied as any other kender
town, all have one thing in common: they are dependent upon the trees. Some
carve out hollows likened to caves, painting the walls to avoid sap; others
build cozy cottages (usually half finished, with a little added on by each owner)
into the sides of the trees. Most tree villages have at least one hollow tree,
with floors added at sporadic intervals to allow for multiple tenants. Because
of their homes' vulnerability to fire, most tree villages have developed a way
of avoiding it, whether not using it, or special sap which is tapped regularly
from their homes.
The 'streets' in kender tree villages are where their true originality shines
through; no two are alike. There are walkways, rope bridges, spiraling stairs,
ladders, climbing ropes, swinging vines, or villages where the kender simply
climb the trees. Despite the villages' small size, it's often as easy to get
the lost as the larger cities, although it's easier to find your way again than
in the likes of Kendermore. Looking up from the ground, though, it's unlikely
you'll be able to see anything of this network of transportation.
Tree villages are typically very small, and very rarely do any non-kender live
in one. Generally, a tree village will hold from 20 to 60 kender, although there
are exceptions, most notably the tree town Lookit near Hylo, which has a fluctuating
population of 150 to 200, about 10% of which are non-kender.
As with most other kender towns, tree villages generally are inhabited by kender
under twenty or over forty. In tree villages, the young learn by example; their
natural curiosity makes them want to know what the adults are doing an how they
do it, whether it be writing something down for later, carving a hoopak or admiring
your neighbor's pouch. The more they see adults do something, the more curious
they get about what it is, and thus they learn.
Tree village society is a society of equals, but there are those who are respected
more than others. These are the Elders, and they consist of the members of the
community who are older than ninety- a bare minority. In many tree villages,
there is only one Elder. Elders are revered and respected as much as can be
expected of kender, but there is no doubt that they deserve their 'rank'; what
KENDER could live that long and not be one of the most experienced and knowledgeable
creatures on Krynn? Elders are loved by all of the community for their stories
and kind advice, especially the children, the latter to whom they often teach
what other kender simply cannot. While they certainly aren't leaders, there
words carry weight that few will find among kender.
The tree villages have gotten around the kender 'borrowing' urge quite nicely;
everything in the community is shared, nothing belongs to anyone, and if you
want something no one else is using, you take it. What would probably have been
a disaster in a society of more lawfully inclined or cruel beings, works perfectly
well for lighthanded, lighthearted kender. This arrangement sometimes causes
some trouble when members of other races visit, or when a wandering kender encounters
his first member of other races, but since the former almost never happens and
they never truly understand the latter, the system continues to govern (or rather
not) the kender as it always has.
Trade is nonexistent in tree villages, as implied by the previous section.
Kender just share, and since almost never talk to kender or other races from
elsewhere until wanderlust hits them, it never really hits them that anyone
else would do anything different. This doesn't prove a problem during wanderlust-
they just come off a bit more confused with human custom than most -but gods
help the poor unknowing man who wanders into one of their towns.