- "You are perhaps surprised that a tribesman of water would be capable of talking to you, yes?"
|Date of birth:||2259|
|Occupation:||Tribal Hunter, Scout|
Barra-Kooda, known by his tribe, the River Men, as Land Walker, is perhaps one of the most well known Water Tribals largely for his ability to do something that is naturally rare amongst Water Tribals; both explore locales further inland in the Louisiana Vermillion Bay area and, as a consequence of this, engage in basic conversation with outsiders. Unlike his fellow Water Tribals, whose ultimately xenophobic distrust and hatred of outsiders makes such a simple idea very difficult in practice, Kooda's own, more positive attitudes towards outsiders and non-Water Tribals has made him something of an unofficial representative of the Water Tribals in the Vermillion Bay region, despite having loyalties only to his own tribe, especially following the massacre of the last post-war denizens of Laramie Point by his new-found, and rather abruptly appointed, nemesis, Pyr-Anrah.
Born in 2259 in the grim main encampment of the River Men, one of the two largest tribes of Water Tribals in the Vermillion Bay area, built in the ruins of Laramie Point, Barra-Kooda was but one of several children to a standard couple in the tribe, his name extracted from a rather poorly pronounced extract from an aged book on angling, with his mother and father being a young huntsman in his prime and a budding shaman in hers, a common thing in most tribes in the area. One difference brought on by the large tribal society that Kooda grew up in a more settled society, with less emphasis on the hunter-gatherer, nomadic lifestyle of most other Water Tribals and more on that of a farmer's; nevertheless, hunting was still the most noteworthy and respected profession for most males within the tribe. As a consequence, Kooda's brothers and, later in his childhood, Kooda himself were trained in the art of hunting. Prior to this, the young Kooda had developed a keen interest in the aging ruins of pre-war homes, stores and offices, despite elder warnings of the dangers inside; both practical dangers, namely the rather dilapidated state of most structures, and spiritual dangers, the supposed spirits of long dead "land-men" wandering their abandoned halls, however, were ignored by the young Kooda, keen both to prove himself as a brave scout amongst his peers and satiate his own personal appetite for adventure. For the most part, his adventures rarely turned up nothing but scars and admiration; sometimes, however, they turned up aged books, family photo albums and working radios, terminals and television sets - all of which fascinated the young Water Tribal deeply. On the rarest of occasions, the young Water Tribal would witness travellers quite unlike him roaming the wilderness of Louisiana's now largely swampish coast; whilst some, like the Ghouls, repulsed him and struck fear into him, other, more Human looking wanderers merely inspired yet more fascination into him, clad as some of them were in armours and clothes almost covering their entire bodies, armed with rifles and other firearms. These excursions from his camp were widely talked about by his peers and, following impressed congratulations, his elders; thus, the title Land Walker was awarded to the young tribal, given his status as one of the few tribesmen willing to explore further inland, sometimes a good few miles away from his camp in areas largely devoid of any large water sources. Despite hopes for great things, specifically further tribal honours, on his behalf, his elders would soon discover, much to their chagrin, that this would be one of the few honours that Kooda would ever earn, at least in their eyes.
His early teenage years were largely spent trying to better, or at least match, his peer's archery, scouting and hunting; naturally, his days spent doing neccesary, though not, surprisingly, mandatory, training consisted of watching settlers from afar and crawling amidst the ruins of long abandoned buildings - even growing so bold as to spy on groups of scavengers in said ruins; whereas his peers were more interested in settling old scores with the River Men's long-time antagonists, the Silver Fins, Kooda was far more interested in learning all he could about the long dead world of pre-war America. On the occasions where he wasn't discovered whilst spying on these groups, he learned to eavesdrop. At first largely unable to understand these post-war denizens of Louisiana, though able to make out the odd word or two, the young Kooda learned slowly but surely basic greetings and phrases; much to the chagrin and fascination of his fellow tribals, especially when he murmured these words whilst at the River Men's main encampment. No efforts were made to curtail his fascination with the "civilized" outsiders he saw in his excursions away from the camp; far greater overall tribal interest was placed in the continuing growth of the River Men's long-time rivals, the Silver Fins; thus, Kooda exploited this disinterest to it's fullest, claiming that he was scouting out Silver Fin territories when instead he was spying on further outsider activities; less out of a sense of duty to his tribe, more out of a deep longing to learn more about these outsiders. The more he observed, the more he learned about the situation in Louisiana; the hideously disfigured Ghouls of the Brethren of the Shroud were clearly aiding the organisation's expansion as they became more prominent, the frequency of Swamper appearances indicated whether or not they were working with or against smugglers and the spikes in activity of smugglers along the Vermillion Bay coast, referring to a locale called Ewing Bay all the while, indicated whether or not they were buying or selling supplies. All the while Kooda improved his understanding of the alien language that these outsiders spoke, his mind lingering on every adjective, noun and pronoun.
His early adult life was much of the same; except now with a far better understanding of the previously incomprehensible language that the outsiders spoke. Kooda felt now that he could properly converse with these outsiders, pushed along both by an appetite to know more and an arrogance reinforced by his self-perceived bilingual expertise. His very first, poorly pronounced conversation with his still relatively new grasp on the English language, a huge step for the young Water Tribal, was a fairly one-sided affair; the young Kooda asking simplistic questions to an at-first-terrified-then-surprised hunter. The answers he received, though few, satisfied some of his questions but also created new ones that the young tribal strove to answer. This process, interspersed by the odd hunting and scouting trip, was repeated over and over as the young Water Tribal engaged with travellers frequently; sometimes with his own peers watching with a mix of nervousness and fascination from trees, marshes and ditches as the oddly conversationalist Kooda chatted awkwardly with surprised travellers, some of whom would answer his questions in detail whilst most would would give quick, limited answers and run off quickly, convinced they had inadvertently stumbled into a Water Tribal ambush. None of this seemed to phase the ever-keen Kooda - but it did affect his standing in the tribe. Many of his elders, his parents and elder brothers included, distrusted and despised his continuing "conversations" with outsiders; this had led to the young Kooda being turned down consistently in regards to attaining his own tribal honours and war paints that others in his tribe held; a fair bit of resentment was thus held both by himself and his tribe. Despite this all-but-exile approach by the River Men, Kooda continued to engage with outsiders in his best attempts at conversation - to the exasperation of his immediate family. Though his loyalties to his tribe remained, instilled throughout his childhood, his own fascination with those not of his tribe drove him to continue fulfilling his own fascination with outsiders. Despite the threat posed by certain outsiders, like those of the smugglers of Ewing Bay, during their increased presence in the town throughout 2075, and the resurgence in tribal conflict between Kooda's own tribe and the Silver Fins, the River Men's long time enemies, Kooda still made almost constant trips out of the main encampment in search of outsiders to eavesdrop on at the least and engage in conversation with at the most; for the fascinated young man, these events, specifically the latter, had no baring on his own personal life and, in the case of the former, were excellent times to further indulge his inquisitive nature and see these outsiders practice their own, very alien ways - either from the natural safety of water or the aging ruins of old buildings.
By the age of 27 Kooda's understanding of the English language had improved to the point where he could now manage conversations with groups of travellers; less and less frequent though they were, with some specifically risking travel in the hopes of bumping in to the now mildly famous "Talking Water Tribal". Further, Kooda's appetitie for adventure had taken him from exploring the odd abandoned structure or two to actively watching inhabitted shanty settlements. One such shanty settlement largely consisted of the last post-war survivors of Laramie Point, now controlled largely by smugglers operating out of Ewing Bay. It was here that Kooda began interacting with his first static groups of citizens; at first, these citizens were largely distrusting, for obvious reasons. After a few months of enduring rather simple and somewhat annoying questions by the inquisitive yet impassive tribal, most citizens of this fledgling shanty came to trust him - to the point where, when his peers accompanied him, he was no longer welcomed by the sight of a few of the more cautious citizens reaching for sidearms tucked into pockets and holsters. It was here also that these citizens' trust reaped a certain dividend that grew to matter quite closely to Kooda; a young woman and he had become quite close, at first meeting through one of Kooda's quite common questioning sessions and then continuing to do so when their relationship become slowly warmer. Over the course of these few months, Kooda had become something of an unofficial representative of his tribe to these citizens - his efforts had led to the point where even some of his elders had somewhat nurtured a small hope that the tribe and the last outsider survivors would come to work together. Kooda himself, now openly courting his romantic interest, had great aspirations for their own relationship. This was, however, never the case. In January 2287, the River Men's rivals, the Silver Fins, attacked the small shanty town, all but wiping out the shanty. In the ensuing confrontation, Kooda practically had to be dragged off by his fellow Water Tribals as a sizeable force of Silver Fin tribals slaughtered nearly everyone in the little shanty town; Kooda's lover included amongst them, murdered by a Silver Fin tribal by the name of Pyr Anrah that, in the later months, would become a personal antagonist to Kooda. The hours spent watching the burning shacks from a short distance away filling the formerly impassive Kooda with a growing hatred for tribal enemies that he had once not given a second thought too.
Upon returning to the tribe's main camp, Kooda was disheartened to learn that his tribe had simply shrugged their shoulders and marched on with their lives; to them, the loss of a few cordial outsiders was no arch-disaster. But to the young Kooda, this loss inspired firey notions of revenge; something that his elders were keen to foster. Kooda's hunting abilities, whilst not noteworthy in any regard, still made him a prime candidate for further scouting missions; this time against the Silver Fins. Where once Kooda had dodged these missions, he now accepted them heartily. From distances, Kooda and his fellow scouts would execute minor feats of archery against his now personal enemies, executing oblivious Silver Fin warriors with well-placed arrows. These continuing escapades, however, meant that Kooda rarely, if ever, now talked with outsiders on the road; many simply forgot about the educated Water Tribal and instead regressed back to remembering the Water Tribals as simple savage beasts, akin to Feral Ghouls. Kooda's own rage partly gave credence to this; but it was not, as most outsiders suspected, ingrained from birth hatred - rather, it was learned. The present day Kooda, as of October 23rd 2287, has continued with his own bitter campaign against the Silver Fins; even rewarding his long time nemesis with a few minor injuries in the process. Despite all this, Kooda still clings to his old, somewhat dormant interest in the pre-war world and the world of outsiders at large; sometimes bumping into the odd traveller or two, asking them a question about the outside world.
- "Unfortunate that I once again find myself surrounded by the forgotten structures of the land-men, yes?"
- "The gods request your death; I shall honour their requests!"
- Tattered Loincloth: Typical of many tribal warriors not just of the Water Tribals but also of the entire wastes, what makes these garments different is their rather ornate decorations; teeth snatched from Yao Guai, chipped Antlers from Radstags and even the severed skulls of mostly deformed Swampers serve a mostly spiritual function in the ensemble of otherwise strictly utilitarian materials of fur and leather pelts, largely designed to stop the cold and wet and little else.
- Bow: A handcrafted bow, built to perfection, or what can be considered perfection by the Water Tribals finest armourers, serves as Barra-Kooda's main weapon; though hardly as effective as an R91 or an AK-112, this hardy bow has forced many an arrow through even the hardiest of leather armours and, in one or two lucky cases, the weakest joints of combat armour plating.
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