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Xai Wun

Location:

Mountains of Hasseran and Sundast

Maximum Age:

late 60's

Societal Structure:

Permanent villages and seasonal tent-cities for inter-village gatherings

Age of Adulthood:

14

Diet:

Root vegetables, meat, dairy. Fruit and grains are traded for.

Trades:

Herding, Weaving, Mining

Part of the "Human" race. See Tiverian for the generally light-skinned plains-dwelling humans of Hasseran and Jiskadar, Siverni  for the fair Siyari-dwellers, Baldioss for the dark-skinned people of Sundast, and Timbervastian for the residents of New Timbervast and its outlying villages.

OverviewEdit

The Mountain Folk are a hardy group of people who tend to live in small, familial settlements in the Tabbagir mountains of Hasseran and Sundast. They live a semi-nomadic life, closely tied to the seasons and movements of the herds of domesticated creatures they care for. They have semi-permanent settlements, usually in sheltered valleys, with good grazing areas around. They will engage in limited agriculture, for the mountain soil isn't good for growing large crops or anything more frail than hardy root vegetables. They trade milk, meat, and with towns near the mountaisn for what they cannot obtain or craft themselves, and lead a very simple existence. In Hasseran, their primary point of trade is with the town of Edge near the Dreyscar, which is nestled against the more southern part of the Tabbagir range in Hasseran.

Physique & AppearanceEdit

Short and leanly built, with great stamina and endurance, necessary for a hard life climbing the mountains and dealing with weather that ranges from from blustery and chilly with blizzards, to sun-baked drought, depending on the season and latitude.

Hair is most commonly dark brown or black, with rare instances of reddish brown. Eyes are almond shaped and come in a range of browns from light to nearly black, occassionally green or grey, and very, very rarely blue. Within the culture, blue eyes hold a certain mysticism due to their rarity and the way they stand out in stark contrast to their light to tan olive skin tones. Such people are said to be gifted in the way of the spirits and tend to be trained in the ways of a shaman or seer.

AttireEdit

Garments are mostly of leather and wool, from the animals they herd for their skins, milk, and meat. They are servicible, with both men and women wearing shirts and vests, and pants that reach to the knees in summer, to the ankles in winter, with rugged boots. Women will also often wear an overskirt or apron full of pockets to assist with gathering or gardening. Nearly everyone carries some sort of walking staff - some with blades at the end - which can be used as a weapon to fend off predators, as well as various daggers, bows, and arrows, depending on the person's particular talent. Slingshots and throwing knives are also popular, particularly among the younger males.

TemperamentEdit

Somewhat gruff and quiet, they live a rather strict existence full of hard work. They are a very driven people, but can open up in riotous celebrations at their cultural festivals, full of stories and beautiful costumery depicting heroes and beasts from their tales. They are a bit suspicious of outsiders, as there is a cultural disconnect between living as a mountain herder, and as a valley farmer or merchant in one of the prosperous plains towns, with their higher levels of technology. They perfer the older, simpler ways, whispering unfavorably of "magic" in regards to modern advancements like steam power and gunpowder.

Society & DwellingsEdit

The Mountain Folk are grouped into familial clans, usually 20-60 individuals from three to five distinct families. When intermarriage blurs the lines between the families too much, a promising young male will break off with a contingent of his generation and form a new clan, usually joining up with another group from another clan along the way. Rank within each clan is determined by both lineage and skill, with the highest ranking members belonging to the Village Leader's family. Leadership of the village is usually steady, but can be challenged for by a younger male, and won if he can best the current leader in individual combat, or by vote of the council if that particular village places more emphasis on leadership and ideas than strength. In most villages, it is a combination of sense, good ideas, and the strength and charisma to back them up that determines who is leader.


Dwellings vary depending on what is available to each clan in their chosen area of settlement, and range from caves, adpated for human use by additional mining and carving, to stone and sod huts. Wood is a rare building component in most areas, as trees are harder to come by in areas that have the best grazing grounds for their herds. Each building is small, usually square, and has a few rooms that house many members of an extended family, with one common room at the center and leather curtains dividing out other living and sleeping quarters. There is a communal hall for meetings and celebrations, usually at the center of each settlement, or at the highest part near the leader's dwelling.

Culture & ReligionEdit

The mountain folk believe that a great dragon, black of scales with glimmering lights showing through the cracks in his armor, carried the humans to this world, and let them settle there. His most favored people were kept closest to him, atop the mountains where they could work just beneath his shifting scales. Though they do not pay direct tribute to him, they believe that by toiling honestly and caring for their families and elders, they will be blessed with clear skies, good grazing, and good health. Reaffirming this belief was the Sundering, which resulted in many deaths among the mountain folk. In the years leading up to it, they had begun trading more freely with the people of the plains, and had begun bringing back some early technological advancements that were purported to make their lives easier. They began drifting from their ways, closely linked to the animals and land they relied upon, and many of the young folk began leaving the villages for the more exiting plains towns. The quakes that shook the mountains were seen as the blow of the dragon's fist, a reminder for them to stay close to the skies, rooted in the mountains and their traditions of hard work and honor. Thus, after the Sundering they became more withdrawn from other human societies, and purged themselves of any of the strange magitech and gunpowder items they had aquired - tools which had brought their dragon guardian's disdain down upon them.


The two major cultural celebrations are during the spring when the coming of a new year is celebrated, the gardens are planted, and the herds are shorn, with the ewes giving birth to new lambs. The second is in the fall, where the fattest of the animals are slaughtered and smoked for winter provisions, hides tanned for wear and trading, and eyes turn to the winter time of waiting. Both times of celebration are marked by colorful costume, with individuals dressing up their normally drab garb with strips of tanned leather and wool dyed in bright colors, and costumed dancers guised as dragons of earth, fire, sky, and water engaging in elaborately coreographed pantomimes, paying honor to the great black dragon that guards the clans.

NamingEdit

Each individual has both family name (surname) which is placed before their individual, personal name, and a clan name after. The family names have a lyrical but slightly harsh tone, and personal names are given based on the aspirations a parent has for their child, or a child's attributes. Thus, a young girl might be introduced as Kin'yar Willow, of The Bend - a girl named Willow for her slight, lovely looks, of the family Kin'yar, from a village called The Bend for its geographical position above a tributary pass.

Growth & AgingEdit

Infancy lasts from birth through the third year, when childhood begins. Children are entrusted with assisting the women at gardening and other village tasks like tanning and weaving, with older children allowed to accompany the herders. Childhood ends at the onset of puberty or age of 12, when they become a young adult and are expected to do more, and become the primary herders. True adulthood and responsibilities, along with marriage, begins at the age of 16 when an individual proves their worth through strength of mind or body, and takes on tasks like homebuilding, hunting, and trading.

MagicsEdit

Magic is regarded with suspicion, though mysticism, astrology, and herbal lore are popular. As humans, they have no inherent magical ability, and those cursed by a magistorm are regarded as abominations and cast out from the mountain, banished forever from the villages.

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