The laulu, from the old word for “singers,” are perhaps the most misunderstood creatures of the Vale. This is because they are absent from the life of the wood and its societies for long periods of time–37 and 41 years to be precise.

Growing slowly deep underground and drawing their nutrients blindly and instinctively from the impressive roots of the largest trees, the laulu would seem to be a very simple people, especially given that very few of them live longer than 10 years after they finally emerge. But this is not so, for in their long adolescence underground, the laulu partake in a magnificent dreaming world that unites all of their kind past present and future.

They call this the kaskas, a word that defies translation but which might best be rendered as “ur-dreaming” or “all-dreaming.” Laulu describe the dreamspace as being quiet, reverent, and dignified, with the young coming of age under the tutelage of their long-deceased forebears with no distinction between the living and the dead. When a young laulu dies underground, as some do, its spirit remains in the kaskas, undisturbed. The rest gradually awaken, burrow to the surface, and assume their adult forms by shedding their childhood skin.

Laulu crusades, they are called, as the laulu emerge with their ancestors’ righteousness and a strong desire to perform noble deeds en masse. The other creatures of the Vale have long been able to count on their assistance in times of great need, for the laulu emerge ready for battle, requiring only a few days to make armor and weapons. The 37-year laulu, the junior brood, tends to be found at shallower depths and is therefore smaller. The 41-year laulu, the senior brood, burrow deeper and grow larger in both size and numbers. In times of the greatest distress, one brood has been able to awaken the other early, leading the laulu to crusade forth as a unified horde.

No foe can withstand them, from the wily apoc to the numerous but divided cucuj. Even the warriors of the symph, with their massive numbers and regimented ways, are unable to stand in the way of a laulu crusade. In fact, the laulu are often credited with preventing symph domination of the Vale altogether.

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