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To be close to the Lake. The Lake is Mother and Father to us. From it comes all life. To it all life must return.
—Yolun about the Otter Clan camp, Outcast, chapter 18

Otter Clan is a Clan that lives a bit past the south shore of Lake Axehead. They are described as normally being laid back and cheerful people, although in Outcast they are withdrawn and hostile. They leave many offerings to the Lake, and are very respectful toward it.

Known members[]


Otter Clan members are small, lithe people. Their earlobes may be pierced by bone fish-hooks carved to look like leaping trout.[2] They wear fish-skin jerkin fringed at the neck to evoke the reeds. Their eyes are outlined with earthblood. Their weapons and tools are made of greenstone and arrows tipped with the beaks of divebirds. Otter Clan hunters use yellow reed boats to get around the Lake. Their clan-creature skin is a patch of otter fur.[3] They also wear elk-hide leggings that are calf-length high and sleeveless jerkins of finely woven sedge.[4]


Fin-Kedinn says the Otters are like their clan-creature. Always leaving little piles of half-chewed fish at the water's edge.
—Renn about the Otters, Outcast, chapter 17

Like the Sea Clans, Otter Clan honors the Lake and ask it for permission for everything they do. They make offerings to the Lake by creating clay and reed figures. They also honor the divebirds by leaving half-chewed fish carcasses at the edge of the Lake for them.[5] During times of sickness or trouble, Otter Clan members will cover their faces in the sacred green clay.[3]
Otter Clan hunters primarily feast on fish from the Lake. They also make a grease from stickleback fish that they pour over reed-pollen gruel and baked reed stems. They are primarily known as a cheerful people,[3] though at times hasty to gossip.[6] They do not remark on good hunting out loud out of fear of chasing away the good luck. Small fish bones are returned to the Lake so they may be reborn as new fish.[7]


The Otter Clan camp is located on the southern edge of the Lake. It floats on top of the lake with stilts and is linked to the land by a single narrow walkway. Their shelters are squat reed domes. Their camp is covered in an acrid haze from burned horsehoof mushrooms to keep away the midges.[3] The doorway to the Mages' shelter is edged with pike teeth and carved alder wood.[8]


  • Michelle Paver based Otter Clan culture and practices on indigenous american tribes from the Pacific Northwest, including the Tsimshian, the Kwakiutl, the Coast Salish, the Nuxalk, the Kwakwaka'wakw, and the Kyoukan Athapaskans. The Paite tribe of the American Southwest also informed their practice of making many things (such as boats) out of reeds (Outcast, extras).
  • The Otter Clan's diverbird is Gavia stellata, common name red-throated diverbird or red-throated loon.

Notes and references[]

  1. Outcast, chapter 13
  2. Outcast, chapter 13
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Outcast, chapter 18
  4. Outcast, chapter 19
  5. Outcast, chapter 17
  6. Spirit Walker, chapter 11
  7. Outcast, chapter 37
  8. Outcast, chapter 19
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Deep Forest Clans Bat ClanRed Deer ClanForest Horse ClanAuroch ClanOak ClanEagle Owl ClanLynx ClanBeaver ClanRoe Deer Clan
Sea Clans Seal ClanKelp ClanCormorant Clan
Mountain Clans Swan ClanMountain Hare ClanRowan Clan
Ice Clans White Fox ClanNarwhal ClanPtarmigan ClanWalrus Clan