No Posts and Religion Part 1

Hey no posts for a few days there, mainly due to life stuff happening and getting in the way. It’s been mostly handled until next Wednesday anyway now so thats alright.

Religion on Eir is a very complicated affair with the most spiritual race being the nome by far. There are about five major followings these being in order of size:-

– Drifianum Orthodox Church

– Moksen Circles Belief

– Endis Templature

– Endis Conventional

– Bant Unison

There are a number of smaller followings as well with many of the being splinter sects of the larger religions. I’ll give them a full detail treatment later.

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Food and Preservatives

So I’ve talked about the northern whaling and fishing industry and eventually I’ll get around to talking about transportation of food but I wanted to talk about the other land’s various food supplies and their exports to give a general sense of what people are eating and what they have access to.

Humann cuisine is almost entirely built around meat with traditional dishes often including rock berries or their derivatives and often some lime or other zest fruit from the southern desert. The meats are almost always salted except in the rare circumstances you buy the meat straight from a hunter pack coming back form the west and there have been some other methods of preserving the food in the heat of the desert such as pickling or dust freezing both of which are somewhat experimental and not really trusted.

Gwarven food is very varied from coast to coast with the majority being grain focused, many towns having a series of bakeries primarily produce food for export. The other large staple of the gwarven diet is horse meat as they raise them both for riding and bearing goods and for food purposes with two breeds being raised specifically for this purpose. Gwaves often have fish on their plates too due the busy trade with the northern villages and the cobalt sea and their own fishing villages in the eastern lowlands.

The havlin are an aquatic people but they mostly export their fish and oysters to other places on Eir choosing for the most part to not eat them. This is mostly a cultural thing but it is also based on their physiology, most of the fish in the cobalt sea are high in amino acids which don’t sit well in high concentrations with the havlin people. They mostly live off imported grain, dried sea weed and a blue moss called Finner found near the bottom of the sea.

Orckran are a tribal majority so many of them simply eat meat but a lot of them have taken up large agricultural set ups farming large mushrooms called black stem that are great for eating. The black stem is native to the western coastline and only grows well out of the sunlight so most of the farms are in cave systems of the deepest parts of the swamplands near there. They also import fish from the cobalt sea.

The nomes don’t have much in the way of farmland with most of their settlements being at high altitudes although outside ┬áthe capital they do grow fennel flowers in large numbers which are then dried and pressed into chocolates which is perhaps their biggest export which they brought over from the western seas about forty years ago and is made with goat milk.

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Orckran Adulthood Ceremony and Elvarian Soul Finding

When an orckran reaches maturity, usually around 15 or so unless they have earned the contempt of the father of the tribe who can delay it for a few years, they are brought before the father and are presented with a knife made from pure umberine and are instructed to cut the back of their arms until they cannot do it anymore. This is mostly a show of strength and mental discipline but it is also a show of fealty and dedication.

After the ceremony the new adult is given the knife they cut themselves with and they are bandaged up to heal. The more they are scarred the more they are respected although there is no real stigma about having too few cuts. If the orckran begins to learn shadow magic they must repeat this ceremony with a new knife and must cut at least 60 times, it takes place over three days and is sometimes fatal among younger initiates. Orckran who wield shadow magic are known as sleepers as the night after their second ceremony is known to cause strange and powerful dreams.

The Elva have a more ruthless approach to adulthood, the results of which are seen in their general mannerisms. When a child reaches the age of 14 they are taken away from the other children and made to wear a blindfold and kneel at the tomb of the nine hundred the marks of every on of their names before them. They are then cut with silver blades across the back and head in specific patterns that mark them as an adult, the blood washing onto the stone in front of them, the few children who try to run are beaten and then placed before the tomb again. The markings cover the head, the shoulders and the back and sometimes the chest if the child shows willing and endurance.

The recovery process is a careful one as the cuts are kept to heal into distinct scars while also kept clean. Usually this care is done by the family but sometimes it is done by the hospital or town healer depending on the location. The trip to the city of Maer to visit the tomb is usually seen as a fun trip by the child but the return is often quiet and reserved. This ordeal is known as soul finding as the pain is said to link the child to the souls of the nine hundred.

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Coming of Age and Reaching Old Age

Well it’s my birthday today so I’ve been thinking about age as a concept, it’s a complicated construction and almost an entirely social one. This makes it a very variable concept from place to place and I like this dynamic.

In any case reaching adulthood is important for any creature and this is no different in Erdafel, the various races in Eir have even among themselves different milestones and celebrations in their lifespans.

Gwarves being the longest lived race live to almost 150 years on average with 182 being the oldest recorded. They reach maturity around the age of 30 and reach their physical peak around 50 depending on the individual of course. Gwarves don’t really celebrate birthdays year to year outside of acknowledgement but they do have certain rituals when the gwarve comes of age at 30 where the gwarve is given a large bar of iron and told to create something with it. Some sell the iron bar for profit, some create a weapon or armor piece with it, some create something personal like a plaque or trophy. Whatever is done with it is kept to the gwarve in question and is known as their “First Secret” which marks a turning point in their lives where such things are important. As gwarves reach the later stages in life, usually around the age of 120 if they live that long, they start to slow down, they suffer breathing problems commonly and find it harder to simply move around, they begin to lock up at their joints and their skin begins to crack and harden, very old gwarves spend almost all their time unmoving to avoid pain and after a time their heart simply slows to the point that it doesn’t pump blood with enough pressure and they lose sensation in their legs and arms for a few days before they finally quietly die. An old gwarves body is extremely heavy compared to a young gwarves body of the same build so burying them is more difficult, the added weight is known as the “Weight of Time”.

Nomes live comparatively short lives with not many of them reaching past the age of 50 and reach maturity at only 10 or so. Nomes celebrate every birthday up to about 15 or so usually and after that they aren’t really considered an important time outside of a passing mention. Nomes have no coming of age celebration although the age of 5 is important to nomes as that is the time they usually leave the outpost or town they have grown up in and first take to the skies on their parents gliders. As nomes grow to an older age they usually suffer mental degeneration, it’s subtle at first but they often find they can’t concentrate easily and eventually at all often talking about past event as if they were happening in front of them, this can be dangerous or scary to an outsider as the situation they are reliving may be a traumatic one. Nomes are usually killed by their children or at their own request before the degeneration gets too far along, often even earlier if they fear a particularly bad past coming back to them. It is a sad time for a family but a universal one so any nome will console another after such an event. Nomes who reach the last few years of their expectancy are usually much more wispy and withered, many also have severe cataracts and ligament softening which causes dislocation easily.

Humanns are perhaps the second longest living race with the majority of their population reaching 50 easily and with some individuals reaching 90 years in age. Humanns celebrate every birthday with a family gathering with the coming of age party at 20 being the most important. Humanns often give gifts at this coming of age gathering that will help the adult in their future life, be it a hammer, a traveling pack or a weapon of some description. It is seen as distasteful to give too great a gift as the recipient is meant to take the gifts and earn something greater so giving something great to start is most often seen as a curse unless they truly expect them to better it. Humanns who reach the age of 70 or so often find their hair whiten and their skin crease and darken, they suffer from internal pain in their stomach a lot and find it hard to swallow. They also often run fevers and are susceptible to illnesses even if they seem to recover faster than younger people. Humann corpses are almost always disposed of in funeral pyres given that burial in sand is not a lasting end.

Havlin are a robust bunch living to almost 70 at the oldest, many havlin usually live to only 40 but it’s variable. Havlin celebrate no birthdays at all, seeing the increase in age as only a negative thing in their society. Havlin who reach a great age often have intense trouble breathing out of water which only gets worse with time until they must stay submerged at all times, they also suffer from hallucinations and depression after a while although this is usually the last days of the havlin in question. Havlin bury their dead on tiny islands near the sea and mark them with either coral or large shells.

Orckran aging is perhaps the most curious as they live at most 80 years like elvarian but as they reach the age of 65 or sometimes as late as 70 they begin to “Fade”, they become slightly ethereal figures with their outlines becoming indistinct and their features blurred. You can still reach out and lay your hand on them but visually they start to appear a translucent black smudge eventually fading entirely until they barely have any visual presence, even touching them becomes hard as they seem to distort as you approach. Their strength at this stage is phenomenal, with the act of getting out of a chair often leaving a room in complete devastation. Every physical act at this stage of life is incredibly taxing and very powerful but thoughts are slow and hard to think, orckran at this age are almost always asleep and after a time their tangible visual and physical presence fades into non-existence. They can still be woken up and talked to for a few days after this if you call out to them in the area they were but their voice gets quieter and they become harder to rouse from slumber until one day they stop responding at all.

Elvarian aging is a slow process, they live around 80 years at the oldest, although stories tell of a time they lived forever and indeed the scion is a living example. They start to feel the effects of old age relatively early, sometimes as early as 40; they begin to have trouble sleeping and they start to have trouble seeing certain colors. After a time the insomnia worsens and they are lucky to get a few hours of sleep every few days, this leads to mental instability which isn’t helped by onset colorblindness and a slight glow to their skin in the dark. After a time the insomnia becomes fatal as they cannot sleep at all and they die within a week or so. The later stages of this don’t set in until late in life. Elva used eat their dead at mortuary feasts although this has fallen out of practice the last two centuries as medicine has warned against the practice. It is still common among the very rich though and even more common for their elders antlers to be taken from the corpse and displayed as a reminder of them, often placed above a painting of them.

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The Middlelands, The Norlor Uplands and The Nor Mountains

The middlelands are mostly hilly grasslands and steppes that gradually decline towards the river Mayke. The northwest of the grasslands builds up into the uplands of Norlor where the gwarven city of Angust sprawls among the rugged terrain; the jagged cliffs and spindly hills are known for their massive cave systems that stretch miles underground. The gwarves have set up a lot of outposts in the various caves and use them as checking posts for prospecting runs.

The mountains of Nor are known for their extreme height and danger, they have terrible storms during the winter which can kill a person unprepared in minutes. At the peaks of the maountains sit tiny settlements that by virtue of their altitude and population are known as nome roosts, or nome outposts. They are almost universally filled with families with the children waiting for the day they can take to the skies with their mothers, fathers and siblings. These communities are very rarely agricultural due to their remoteness and height so food is kept reserved in most roosts as any trading vessel must pay either a toll to land or give the value in food to the dock master.

There is a rare type of non-migratory falcon which hunts atop the peaks of the mountains, it is peaceful the the ariel traffic among the tops of the mountains but due to it’s huge size, almost 20ft in wingspan on average with certain specimens being almost 30ft, it is deadly to any mountaineers walking the snow as it hunts prey mercilessly and efficiently. There is a myth of a even greater bird known in nome legend as “Gray Sky” named for his gray plumage and immense size, supposedly reaching more than 50ft in wingspan if the legends are to be believed. It is said to bring a storm in it’s wake and have a call that chills the blood.

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The Eastern Waste and The Sea of Shadows

The central wastes of the north are mostly uninhabitable either through enviromental hazards like frozen lakes that crack underfoot or gullies that concentrate the cold winds into a killing chill; there are also super predators like the previously mentioned normus and other one like the calnar which is unique to the farthest north reaches of the central wastes, they stand fourteen feet tall and are covered with nigh impervious fur, they have four eyes and four arms and two legs although they will drop to two arms and four legs when hunting, their razor sharp tusks and massive muscle structure makes them one of the most deadly creature on Eir.

The eastern tundra waste is sometime called “The Soft” due to the amount of snow it sees year round, there are only a handful of outposts and no towns there due to the weather and the lack of mineral interest.

The sea that sits off the coast of the soft is called the sea of shadows due to the darker shade to the water, it still retains the blueness of ice water but quickly becomes impenetrably black only a few meters down, there are a few thoughts on this ranging from a lack of oxygen to a series of large shadow crystals on the ocean floor.

The main interest despite the dark waters is the local wildlife, ranging from the spear whale to the pale otter. There is a good diversity of life here and many fishing fleets come to these waters to hunt. There have always been worries about the creatures which live in the deepest parts of the sea due to the tales of shadows in the dark that stretch more than a mile in length although most people don’t believe such fanciful tales. Doesn’t stop nearly every fishing ship that goes to the sea of shadows from having a large guard detail though.

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The Frozen North and the Sea of Giants

The cold wilderness of the northern lands gives way to the dense ice shelves of the wastes further south than most people think. The people of the wastes are mostly northblood havlin near the coast and some gwaven settlements inland and the nome research institute in the far northern mountains that bare no name.

The wastes are known for their extreme winds in the autumn and their extreme cold during the long winters. The snow is near constant all year except for the height of summer with the worst blizzards around the start of spring. Temperatures vary wildly during the summer although it never gets too warm but during the winter they can become so cold that staying outside for more than a few minutes will kill even the well protected.

The western seas around the ice is called the sea of giants, so called because of the many large creatures which live and hunt along the coast of the region. Many kinds of whale and fish can be found along with several kinds of nornus, a particular breed of mostly aquatic wolf-like super predator. The nornus and the white tailed kind are particular to the wastes and hunt in packs of over fifty, their howls are said to freeze a man’s bones although the actual effect they have is variable and differs among the species.

The largest settlement is Ocanil, a large fishing and whaling town on the southern tip of the western ice shelf. It is mostly an extended butcher production line due to the high traffic of whale and fish from the sea of giants, and due to the size of the catches they need to be cut and salted quickly to avoid spoiling.

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