Peoples of Sevalia
The earliest people to inhabit the Sevachelle Valley were the Ellicarians. These people were a moon culture from the Andalors. Other tribes, mostly from Targelon, also inhabited the valley with the Ellicarians. Collectively these peoples are called the Sevalin.
The Porelians were a branch of Ellicarians who were chosen by mysterious group of sea-dwelling deities. The Porelians are on good terms with another mysterious sea-dwelling folk, the Solanfalk. Those are Andalorians who have chosen to live entirely at sea on board huge barges that have villages built atop them. They are kept safe from the ravages of the sea by the magic of Dervidorn.
The Sardians came out of Targelon, passed through what is now Morianda, and drove their way down to the Aurelian peninsula via Ventria. Sardians tend to be a bit shorter than average, but are stocky. They favor hair in shades of brown, or even black. Eyes range from hazel to dark brown. Complexions are average but can be very dark.
Eurideans: Inhabitants of the lower Eurivedea Valley, the Eurideans are lovers of sex, wine, and money. Their chief city is Bourdonne, whose patron goddess is Visetta.
Maletrians: The southern, hilly tip of the Aurelian peninsula was the center of power for the Maletrian Empire for centuries. The Maletrians are a bit decadent now; their passion for art and music somewhat perverted. Maldonne is still one of the most beautiful cities in the known lands, lavishly adorned by the many emperors who ruled from within her walls.
Tasserians: The isle of Tasseris was the last stronghold of the Sidovren to succumb to assimilation into Sardian culture. And yet, due to her cosmopolitan culture, once the process was started, it went faster and was more complete than anywhere else. There are probably no inhabitants on Tasseris that can still trace their roots cleanly back to Sidovren origins.
Ventrians: The source of Sardian power, Ventria is still comprised of the most purely Sardian population. Ventrians are excessively proud of their heritage and generally hot-tempered.
Scanirians are the inhabitants of Scadria and Rivardea. Though mostly assimilated into Verentian or Sardian culture, many families trace their roots back to Sidovren colonists from the Kruthad Peninsula. Most of them have lost their dark skin, but tend to have golden brown complexions.
The Verentians were the last group of peoples to come from the Andalors. They conquered the lower valley of the Sevachelle and founded the Kingdom of Colbria (named after their warchief Colber).
The Verentian language is common throughout Sevalia, heavily based upon the Maletrian language which prevails in many forms throughout the Albir Gulf region. The peoples of the Aurelian peninsula and Tassian islands speak the language closest to Maletrian, but standard Imperial Verentian is spoken in every major city.
See the article on the Verentian syllabary for more details.
Clans of the Antegene
Pure Verentian Clans
Pure Sevalin Clans
Pure Sardian Clans
Typical households consists of a nuclear family, servants, slaves, and animals. Women control private household affairs; men oversee public affairs.
Women are not given many rights in the Verentian Empire. Both Sardian and Verentian nobles are polygamous. However, Sardians have no customs of ceremony. The acquiring of a wife is something like making a major purchase. There is some haggling done, but little else.
Verentians still practice simple ceremonies very similar to those of the Andalors. Traditional northern costumes are worn, and flowers are strewn everywhere. The ceremony is performed by a common priest.
Names include a given name, a clan designation, and a family name. An additional nickname is also common.
Social Classes and Status
Foundations of Status
Status is traditionally derived from being Verentian, as opposed to any of the conquered or subdued peoples. This divides the Ruling Class from the other, Commoner classes. Within these, status is derived from wealth.
Customs and Rigidity of Status
Social mobility is relatively unrestricted as long as the boundary between Ruling Class and Commoner is not crossed. Likewise, status customs are relaxed except for those interactions between commoner and the ruling class.
Most Verentians belong to at least one, and possibly several, social groups. A social group might be based on similar interests in athletics, religion, swordsmanship, history, crafts, arts, or just about anything. Some of these are professional associations. Most have charters, take fees, and rent property for member use. Guilds in the Verentian Empire are really just wealthy social groups. They have little official legal power, but often acquire enough wealth to influence politics and legislation.
There are unspoken rules about joining social groups. Members can share clans, but they cannot be from immediate family.
Patrons and Clients
In addition to social groups, many young people also acquire patrons to help them along in their careers. Entire social groups can be formed simply by its members sharing a patron.
Choosing a patron is like choosing a mentor. A patron should be of the same career as the client, or else a noble who favors that career. A good patron is wise, respected, and wealthy. Like social groups, a patron can be from the same clan as the client, but not from the immediate family. Also, the patron is exclusive of the members of the client's social groups.
|Status Archetype||Vocational Clusters||Sample Occupations||Status Level|
|Ruling Class||Official||High Official||19|
|Ruling Class||Ecclesiastical||High Priest||17|
The Clerical schools train the Empire's religious officials. The term "Cleric" applies to official priests, whereas the plain term "Priest" applies to priests of religions other than the official state Temple, or of unorthodox sects of the state Temple. The body of official priests is the Clericate, ostensibly headed by the Emperor, but presided over by the Rede Verentis.
Clerical schools teach theology, the Codex of Ritual, history, reading and writing, and astrology.
The Empire also recognizes three other religious professions or occupations:
Seers are magically gifted (or blessed) individuals, without office. They are equivalent to Goerthan wizards. Seers are not allowed to hold regular employment, except for their gifted services. They may seek sponsorship from a noble, or community support, or attach themselves to a temple. Seers may also be called oracles.
Magicians are priests (state or otherwise) educated in the occult, particularly astrology and haurispicy (free of questionable legal issues). Also called diviners, astrologers, or haruspices.
Philosophers are the educated elite. They are teachers of thought, particularly theological. In a world in which the gods are demonstrably real, there is no other option. Technically not priests, philosophers are often equal in status to them.
There are two main branches of Verentian military academies:
Rider School: These schools teach riding (vardelens), mounted combat with the javelin and longsword, leadership, strategy and tactics, and general swordsmanship.
Naval School: This school teaches fleet tactics, navigation and piloting, leadership, and general swordsmanship.
The most general form of education is received at the Universities. These schools are primarily concerned with training scholars, philosophers, and politicians in law, literature, history, geography, mathematics, and theology.
No Verentian in his right mind would sponsor a society of commoners trying to get educated. Public schools are thus illegal. (All societies must be sponsored). This does not mean they do not exist, it only means that public schools are secret societies. A (stereo-)typical school is led by an altruistic philosopher working to bring light to the masses. This also means that the majority of philosophers are nobles. The rest are typically foreigners or, more rarely, foreign-educated commoners.
Verentians dress in long, loose-fitting tunics, hose, and short capes. They wear soft boots or shoes. Bold, striking patterns are the norm, with diamond and triangular shapes being popular. The Verentian men have adopted the southern habits of trimming their hair very short and disdaining hats. The women, however, are fond of wearing their hair long.
In contrast, the Sardians and other southern cultures favor shorter tunics, no hose, no capes (except those in the military), and sandals. They favor pastel colors and simple patterns for trim. As mentioned above, Sardians keep their hair close to the skull; the women do not shave their heads, but wear their hair up.
Cosmetics and Mutilation
Among the noble class, both men and women, wearing facial cosmetics is very popular. It is considering a sign of distinction to be a connoisseur of pigments and aromas, and a sure sign of wealth to be able to afford them. Cosmetics are not only a status symbol, but also serve as a means of self-expression. Much as feudal heraldry served to identify and highlight achievements, cosmetics of the Verentian noble class enable motifs of individual preferences.
Mutilation, on the other hand, is regarded as distasteful and vulgar, which means it is popular among the common people. Noble women do not even pierce their ears. Commoners, on the other hand, wear piercings as they please, tattoo themselves (since it is cheaper than cosmetics), and often apply ritual scars as a sign of belonging to a particular brotherhood or association.
Sardians, living in the pleasant Mediterranean climate of the Estirian region, disdain an overabundance of clothing; however, genital areas are expected to be covered when in public. Privately owned establishments are allowed private rules. Slaves may be clothed or nude at their owner's behest.
The Verentians, coming from northern traditions, use clothing as status symbols much as they do cosmetics and perfume. Styles and taste rarely coincide with comfort. Everything worn represents some aspect of the individual's life. Needless to say, great care and expense must be taken in assembling a wardrobe. The Verentians are much more conservative regarding nudity than the Sardians; not even slaves are allowed to appear in public nude.
Sardians eat fish of all sorts, and pasta. Verentians favor meats from orgs and game animals. Fruits and vegetables are enjoyed widely.
Rituals and Practices
Commoners are not permitted to eat within view of a noble. While commoner families tend to eat together, the wealthier a family gets, the more specializated eating arrangements become.
Sardians sleep naked. Verentians sleep in special bed clothes. Commoner families sleep together, men, women, and children alike. Noble families typically have separate bedrooms. Depending on wealth, husband and wife may sleep together apart. The Emperor and Empress have multiple bedrooms each, and share several rooms espressly for the purpose of copulation, with the rooms decorated according to season and astral signs.