The Balboth were an ancient, nomadic, and druidic people encamped alongside the banks of the St. Montaigne Delta, near the Great Mouth of the Saint Montaigne. The Balboth were likely the last followers of the ancient religion of the Isle of Aeretzvy and still spoke a pastiche of Old Montaignean and long since dead antecedent dialects of the modern tongue. They referred to themselves as ‘on Isle’ and to outsiders as ‘off Isle’ such was their connection. Their ancient faith largely determined their insularity and isolation, not to mention their hostility to outsiders. A deeply spiritual people, they incorporated a lot of peculiar rituals into their faith practices that informed the rest of their culture.
These nomads felt that by living off the land, among its creatures, and within its environment they could grow closer to their Gods-whom they would find in the trees, in the whistle of the wind, the flowing of the seas into the rivers which composed part of their interpretation of the Great Continuity. In addition to this love of the ancient spirit world was a deep mistrust and fear of the material plain. They strove to avoid the permanent possession of Earthly goods, preferring instead to live communally in clusters that moved back and forth along the river bank following the migratory patterns of the Montaignean Aurochs who grazed along the plains on the banks of the delta and roamed from east to west to avoid the harsh winters. The Balboth largely followed them, as they believed these creatures were endowed with great spiritual power and wisdom greater than that of people. They avoided consuming the Aurochs who they revered-save for occasions when they came across naturally dead Aurochs, in which case the community would cease its travels and immediately consume it in a ritual fire, by which the meat was smoked and glazed with sauces made from turmeric and wild tomatoes and consumed for weeks on end until every potion of the creature was gone, and thus, brought back into the Great Continuity. The emerald siren (Ambystoma vocalum) would be played at the conclusion of the great feast, after the consumption of “found” ales (likely violently seized from alesmiths who were ‘off the isle’) and naturally produced spirits.
While many outsiders envied the comparatively free and spiritually profound lives of the Balboth, free from both want and possession, few every penetrated their ranks. Druidic priests, garbed in bright purple, ensured that only the Elect few would be converted, after undergoing an intense trial by fire of sorts that could admit an outsider. Those that broke these codes and pursued property and committed offences against their neighbor would be swiftly caned to death by the Druidic priests, who treated offences as gravely as they would blasphemies such as killing an Auroch, consuming it in the wrong manner, or bathing. This aversion to bathing was well known, to the point that outside communities would guard against Balboth arrivals on their riverbanks far ahead of time since their stench could be detected for miles. It may also have contributed to many of the skin poxes that they were afflicted by, and that would form the basis of the Aletian Pox centuries later.