The Covenfolk of Val-Negra are all members of the Aerie Clan, a specific and isolated ethnic group that have dwelled in the powerful aura of the Black Vale for countless generations. They are a race of magical humans, though it is unknown for certain if they have become warped and transmuted because of their environment, or if they have always been this strange. But they have dwelt here since time immemorial, since before the founding of Val-Negra. Members of the clan say that they have always lived here and can’t imagine living anywhere else. They have grayish skin, varying from a stone to a steel hue, depending on their complexion. They wander the halls of the covenant as ghost like figures, making little noise as they flit about their tasks. They are unnoticeable and practically invisible.
Though they can talk, they tend to be very quiet around others (actually, they are quiet amongst themselves as well, for they communicate telepathically. Their language is a unique dialect of Old Provencal, which is the tongue they spoke when they were first discovered by Delendar (Flambeau’s mentor). They also have some elements of the Basque language in their speech, especially in their slang and childhood vocabulary. However, they predate both the Celts and the Basques, and are the last remnants of a primordial age.
Though they were often employed by both Delendar and Flambeau, it was Apromor that recruited the clan as a whole as the staff of Val-Negra. They are a very proud folk, and are convinced that Val-Negra is the most powerful covenant in the world, blithely unaware of the decay that surrounds them. They are also utterly ignorant of the outside world. For most clan members, the thought of leaving the covenant fills them with fear, and they are grateful that the magi hardly go on expeditions anymore.
The number of grogs at Val-Negra never grows or shrinks, and there are always 300 members of the Aerie Clan that serve the covenant. They have strange cult beliefs and rituals, and they each believe that they are reborn from one of the legendary heroes of Val-Negra’s glory days. Whenever one of them dies, the rest of the clan gathers around a ceremonial bier and waits for a deceased spirit to enter them. They then take on the name and identity of the ancestor. Thus, the covenfolk feel that they are immortal and have tremendous loyalty and courage, since if they die they will be reborn in a new body.
The grogs are diligent and well trained, masters of their various crafts.
Likewise, custodes are highly skilled and highly trained. However, they have no actual combat experience since the magi have not formed an expedition of any sort in years. They would probably be easily routed by any halfway decent force.
Custodes are divided into three categories; Brown, Red, and Black Guards.
The Brown Guard consists of every able bodied male of the clan, and a few females, who have been trained in Martial skills and engage in occasional exercises to maintain them.
The Red Guard are an extension of the Brown, and are those who serve permanent military duty.
The Black Guard are the ultra elite of Val-Negra, highly trained and with exceptional melee skill. They don’t have the drawbacks that their clan fellows usually have. For example, they have no fear of the outside world and they have virtual field experience (thanks to Abaddon’s Mentem & Imaginem magic).
Though they are indeed exceptional, in their glory days they were even more so, and their numbers have dwindled down to a mere dozen.