The largest group in the South East is the Herders, consisting of several separate tribes of a few dozen individuals each - exact numbers change constantly as tribes merge or split apart, and individuals often move from one tribe to another. This group lives on the South and North Downs in Sussex and Kent, and large swathes of the land in between. They exist principally through herding great flocks of sheep across the landscape, from which they take meat, milk and wool. The Herders are almost entirely nomadic, and have become highly skilled in living off the land without resorting to scavenging pre-infection equipment.
This is as well, as the Herders are highly superstitious regarding the ‘old buildings’, more so than most groups. What knowledge of science and technology they retain has become confused and subject to degeneration. It should be remembered that these people were children, only partially educated, when Mixi came, and that what knowledge they did possess was incomplete and simplified at best. They are aware, for example, that Mixi is caused by viruses, and hold that a virus is a tiny, evil spirit. Similarly, they mistrust a lot of old technology, believing that electrical items are essentially possessed by ‘electric spirits’- the absence of tame ‘electric spirits’ is why they no longer function.
Herders do not build permanent homes, instead claiming a large area of land as their own and following herds of cattle or sheep through it, setting up camp for a few days before moving on as the herds do. Many Herders have carts drawn by cattle or horses to carry their supplies, and a rare few use motorized vehicles. Whilst they do not make any permanent buildings, must Herder tribes leave a number of supply drops across their territory. These drops will be well hidden so that only those in the know can find them, and contain a few essential supplies- medicinal herbs, preserved food, clean water and spare arrows for example. A Herder that is in trouble can find one of these drops and use the goods stored within, but is expected to replace the goods they used within a few weeks. The Herder tribes violently - sometimes lethally - punish those who abuse this system.
Each Herder tribe has a somewhat fluid membership, with members joining and leaving freely and tribes merging or splitting fairly frequently. Each tribe has a mark or symbol to identify itself and members will display their allegiance by wearing it as face-paint or marking it on their clothing. Similarly, livestock and vehicles claimed by the tribe will be branded with this mark as a sign of ownership. As the tribe moves, they leave this mark behind them by carving it into tree-trunks, arranging piles of stones or cutting it into the turf. As a general rule, the larger the mark is the more successful the tribe is and the more permanent the mark the more territorial the tribe is, but there are myriad of other meanings that can be conveyed as well. In this way, a smart Herder can make an assessment of the people occupying an area of land by studying the marks they have left behind.
Whilst the tribes are in a constant state of flux, there are three tribes that are particularly successful and well known: the Broken Horn in Kent, the Three Eyes on the South coast and the Burning Man near Lewes.
The Broken Horn tribe live in south Kent and numbers around eighty individuals. They follow herds of cows for milk, meat and leather, but are better known as brewers - alcoholic drinks made by the Broken Horn tribe are eagerly traded for across the south east and commonly reach as far as Worthing. Their most well known drink is Hedge Beer, a liquor made with hops and various berries, but the tribe also makes a large number of drinks using the pulp from hallucinogenic mushrooms and herbs, and are well known for the mind-altering effects their creations can have.
The Three Eyes tribe claims a huge length of the South coast as their territory. Unlike most tribes, they do not follow herds of animals, instead sustaining themselves through fishing. They set of nets to catch fish and traps for crabs and lobsters, as well as harvesting shellfish. The Three Eyes are often held to be similar to a Villager community as they maintain a number of caves in the chalk cliffs, with barrels of fresh water, beds and fire-pits, and are much less nomadic than most other tribes, often staying in one place for up to a month before moving to another established camp.
The Burning Man tribe herd sheep on the South Downs around Lewes and numbers around thirty individuals. However, they have strong links with a number of other local tribes, and they and their allies comprise a much larger force. Every autumn, the tribe and their allies gather on the hills above Lewes and assemble a huge bonfire from wood, petrol cans and dried dung - this bonfire usually reaches thirty feet high or more and can be seen from as far away as Brighton when lit. When the bonfire is lit, the tribe throw weak or sick livestock onto it as offerings to ‘momma chalk’, an entity who they take to be their patron. The tribe’s name comes from rumours that they also throw captured enemies onto the fire as human sacrifices, and the tribe maintains a sinister reputation due to its territorial nature- they carve their tribe’s mark onto the downs as huge chalk figures visible from miles off as a show of bravado.

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