Heraldry is as old as the clowder itself and has been a feature of Grimalkin life since ancient times. We have a strong sense of identity and we want everyone else to know exactly who we are and what we stand for. Ever since the First Days, we have used the world around us to identify ourselves pictorially. Many of these motifs have been used over and over again in one form or another, changing as we or our family group evolve.
There are many heraldic shields and devices within the clowders, including those representing the various establishments within clowder. Many have changed over the years; the winged lion of Leptailura transformed into the rampant lion of Longwhisker for example. But the style depends on one’s ancestry. Those of Wildcat and gypsy heritage often have devices that feature knotwork and stylized animals and birds. Mottos reflect the ethics and the principles of the family to whom it belongs. Below is a list of Grimalkin families, their device and their mottos.
The House of Longwhisker
A gold lion rampant of a red field. Motto: strength, courage, fortitude. The lion is the symbol of the most influential family in Grimalhame. The Longwhisker lion is a variation of the winged lion of Leptailura, the ancestor of all Longwhiskers, a family that have produced a long line of Clowder Mothers and master healers.
The House of Moonpaw
A tawny owl spread on blue field. Motto: wisdom before knowledge.The owl of Moonpaw is also featured with a book and a moon. The book represents the traditional occupation of the Moonpaw family (historian/scholar), and also the long history of Moonpaws as librarians, teachers and scribes.
The House of Longleap
A white goat salient on a blue field. Motto: kindness rewards kindness. Longleaps have traditionally held the position of herbalists and physicians and work alongside the Longwhiskers in the healing profession. Many Longleaps have been named after plants, trees and flowers, such as our current Master Physician Hellebore Longleap.
The House of Woodharrow
A white hart couchant on a light blue field. Motto: no greater gift than love. The Woodharrow family has an illustrious history in the field of clairvoyance and mediumship. Some of the best mediums and psychics in Arcadia have been from the Woodharrow family. The Woodharrows are unusual as most of them are born white with blue or odd eyes. This is called heterochromia iridis, when one eye is a different colour from the other. Despite intermarriage with Orishame cats in the past (mostly tabbies), the children of these unions are still born white. It is often said the Great Mother marked them out as far-seers by always painting them white. Those who are born with blue eyes are clairvoyant (seeing spirits) and those born with odd eyes are clairaudient (hearing spirits) and are always deaf in one ear. Deafness occurs in these Grimalkins on the side of the blue eye but they can hear spirit sounds in the ear that cannot hear physical sound. Odd-eyes can be blue-orange, blue-green, or rarer still, blue-lilac. On the whole, it is the females who have blue eyes while the males are often odd-eyed. Blue-eyed males are nearly always profoundly deaf while blue-eyed females are not.
The House of Brightpaw
A pink paw pad, brown triquetra and yellow sun on a light blue field. Motto: Never a paw idling. Like the Moonpaws, the Brightpaws have a history of teaching. They make great lecturers and professors, and have penned many academic textbooks on medicine, healing and botany, often working in tandem with the Longleaps. They have also produced many Clowder Mothers over the millennia.
The House of Pawsley
A blue wyvern erect on a white field. Motto: the darkest hour is before dawn. The Pawsleys are also drawn to the teaching profession and have mainly taught the younger generation and founded many crèches and kindles. If there is a kindle in the quarter where you are staying, it will probably be run by a Pawsley. They make natural midwives and have worked with the Longwhiskers and Windshadows bringing many young ones into the world. It is said that the first paws to touch a child when entering the mortal word will be either a Longwhisker’s, a Windshadow’s or a Pawsley’s.
The House of Kilclawden
A fiddle with crossed bows behind it on a dark green field. Motto: strong grows the oak that bends with the wind. After Longwhisker and Moonpaw, the third most famous (or infamous) name in the world of Grimalkin is Kilclawden. The Kilclawdens have been famous amongst Grimalkins for as long as any creature can remember, not only because they are exceptionally gifted musicians, but because they can turn even the most simple gathering into a fully-fledged party. Their spirit literally lights up wherever they are in the world and will come to Grimalhame armed with whatever instruments they have and hold impromptu ceilidhs. But the most unusual and little-known element about the Kilclawdens only comes to light when it is called upon. Like the Woodharrows, the Kilclawdens have the extraordinary ability to see the future. While most psychics only see the past and present, Kilclawdens can see events often years ahead. This is a very rare gift in Grimalkins as only desert dragons are able to do this. They are also very skilled at dream interpretation and augury and many a Grimalkin has travelled a long way to seek advice from a Kilclawden. They have also been known to produce Holy or Blessed Fools. Kilclawdens are also unusual as they are the only tabbies in Arcadia who are silver. Long-haired silvers can be found in the Silurian clowders but only the Kilclawdens have the short, silver tabby fur.
The House of McShearclaw
A blue, black and white falcon on a white field. Motto: boldly forth. The McShearclaws are of Wildcat ancestry and are also masters and mistresses of entertainment. The McShearclaws specialise in music and will perform dramatic and spectacular epics in the wood henge of the clowder of Orishame. With their heavy black markings, they could be mistaken for Wildcats if it wasn’t for the fact they are a third smaller than their highland cousins.
The House of Aonbarr
A silver winged leocampus on turquoise field. Motto: triumphing by brave defence. The Aonbarr motto seems a little extreme for a Grimalhame family, but the Aonbarrs are a mix of Wildcat and forest cat, a true hybrid family. The Aonbarrs only came to Grimalhame six or seven generations ago and brought their motto with them. No-one knows why they came down from the borderlands but perhaps they tired of the cold and wild northern weather, or the feuding of the clans. Caught between the democracy of Grimalkins and the feudalism of Wildcats, the Aonbarrs were given the choice as to whether to go north and honour their Wildcat heritage or go south and integrate with Grimalkins. The Aonbarrs chose the sanctuary of the south, but brought with them their authentic Wildcat ways and customs.
The House of Merrow
a while yale sejant on a light green field. Motto: steady pace, steady gains. The Merrows are another hybrid family that came to Grimalhame long before the Aonbarrs, some three generations before. Although they have integrated fully with Grimalkin society, they still retain their Wildcat ways and traditions. Deeply superstitious and devout, the Merrows still acknowledge their own minor gods and goddesses as well as the divinity of the Great Mother Goddess. They will often leave votive offerings to the Irya Nos (the Dark Sister who takes Wildcats to the halls of their ancestors) on the death of a citizen, and leave food and offerings at the Henge every Ceramican full moon for the ancestors. Some Grimalkins have adopted this practice and created shrines of their own.
More families, professions and establishment heraldic symbols to be added.