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it is currently season 1, the year 1449 NE. The continent of Tnarem balances on a precarious edge between survival and destruction. Wars rage between nations, fractures open in the Mete. The world as the Tnaremi people know it is dying and they are left with a choice: act or perish with it.
All of the information you need to become better acquainted with the world of Sergonia and its inhabitants can be found here. Anyone wishing to join the Ericourt will be able to find the essentials here.
he people of the Reiux are prideful and solitary, they hold their lands and their beliefs above all else. Theirs is a culture of magic and social progressiveness as compared to the Marks and Imperium. Despite their tendency to treat one another with more respect, it is not a sentiment that Lornesians afforded to outsiders or those who would even appear to be an outsider. There is nothing greater to a Lornesian than being a Lornesian, and often they will not shy away from telling you such.
An honor culture, Lornesians strive to better their lands and their Crown. Serving in any way is considered a point of pride, whether that be as a member of the military, a craftsman, or a pretre. The nobility are believed to have earned their status through either mingling with the gods, or by unparalleled devout service to them. In this way, they are no different from the general populace of the Vale: their duty is to serve Lornesse just as it is everyone's.
Views on ler Lornesian Reiux
Cunning is often used to describe the Lornesian nobility alongside treacherous, pretentious, and deceitful. Theirs is a reputation that warrants caution, and rightfully so. They are known for their gift of magic, their unwillingness to let go of their gods of old, and are often believed to be the most capable politicians of the continent, making them both coveted and begrudged allies. There is some distaste for the Lornesians, even among those who consider them close, for their open practice of inbreeding, their unfettered jingoism, and love of magic. The Imperium is held up as being the Reiux's antagonist; they have become the boogeymen of the Vale. Mercia's staunch anti-magic leanings and the tumultuous history between the Veturii and Caemires has led to a hatred deep-rooted in both ruling families.
With the Reiux's focus on social status, it comes as no surprise that their ladder is one of stark rungs with wide gaps. The three "estates," known in Lornesse as the lei treis nachleine are seen as entirely separate worlds that should not intermingle. Purposeful classism perpetuates the control of the nobility through unequal rights and an expansive wealth gap even between the majority of Lornesian gentry and the noble class.
The obaut nachlein, the first estate, is comprised of all nobility, landed and unlanded. The occupants of this strata, even though it represents only a small fraction of Lornesse's population, vary wildly in their power and wealth as the two are not necessarily related in the Reiux's political theater. While they exist as one rung on the larger social ladder, the nobility itself can be broken down further into three different strata: royalty, landed nobility, or edlenal and freial families, and unlanded nobility, or heural and coural families. These different ranks impact one's power within the Reiux, but there are notable examples of people who have broken free from their status, where unlanded nobles have transcended their typical power trappings to find themselves as influential as landed nobles or even as lesser royalty, despite never owning land.
The mitiue nachlein, the second estate, is comprised of Lornesse's gentile families. This strata is, by far, the least diverse. Those who occupy it fit neatly into a small group of wealthy commoner families who have managed to amass fortunes through trade and craft. Clergy and Mageirs often fall into this category as well, unless they hail from a noble family originally. The open courts of Lornesse allow for mingling between gentry and nobility, though it is only the lucky few gentry who are admitted to more private estates and events within the sprawling Lornesian castles. Theirs is a charmed life of somewhere between excessive opulence and the charmed quaint lives of the commoners; and to either party, they seem to fall into the opposite camp.
The third estate, or the unbas nachlein, contains the majority of the Reiux's population--the common men and women. This is a broad class and, like the upper echelon of Lornesian society, they are wont to arrange themselves in a hierarchy even among their fellow commoners. Low ranking clergy, craftsmen, farmers, and people of trade, business, or craft means fill the topmost rank, following them are the laborers whose wages are enough to afford them residency without serfdom. At the bottom of the hierarchy are the serfs, living in homes loaned to them on their lord's land on which they work for their food and keep. While it is lowly, it is not a disrespected role.
Lornesians are a sturdy people built to withstand cold weather and the expansive valley that has protected and provided for them for centuries. They are of moderate height, males ranging, on average, from 5'7" to 6'0", and females ranging from 5'0" to 5'6". Their features are strong and square, with prominent brows and jawlines. Thick, fair waves ranges from near silvery white to deep auburn, but will always be a shade of blonde or red. So few are those with dark hair and eyes that they are considered exotic commodities among the Reiuxians. Their skin is porcelain in complexion--the palest of all the Tnaremi people--and is likened to the white stone of the Veialt mountains.
Heavy, bright brocade, modest cuts, and opulence are considered fashionable in Lornesian court. Fur-lined, fur-accented, jewels sewn in to doublets and bodices, as well as lacing elaborate up-dos are all common sights among the nobility. Modesty panels are not only used, but expected below square-cut necklines, and corseting is something done by both men and women, though it is favored by the fairer sex. Hats are prevalent on both sexes, and maidens are expected to keep their hair covered with snoods or other headpieces. Long sleeves are prominent, even in the warmer months, and the bare skin of either sex are never to be exposed in public. Corsets are to be worn under clothing, and to not do so signifies that the wearer is some sort of sex worker as an exposed corset is far easier to put on and remove than one hidden below layers of garb.
In the frigid winter months of the North, bathing is an arduous and uncomfortable task. Water must be heated over a fire and a basin filled one bucket at a time; as such, a full-body bath is a luxury taken very seldom. Lornesians will wash their bodies (specifically their faces, groin, and underarms) each morning and take sponge baths when necessary, but rely heavily on floral perfumes to mask odors in the meantime. Both men and women apply these perfumes behind the ears, under the arms, and just above the pubic area.
Hair care is probably the most important part of hygiene in the Reiux, particularly to women. Because they do not often wash their hair, they first user a mixture of finely powdered clay to absorb dirt and excess grease. Those who can afford it then sprinkle rose water mixed with nutmeg, clove, watercress, and dried roses on their tresses for a fragrant scent before twisting and braiding the hair into elaborate styles -- not just for fashion, but also to prevent tangles.
Norms & Mores
While women are more common in realms of politics in the Reiux than in the Imperium or Marks, they are not afforded many other rights. While possible for women to own property and wealth, it is only through dire circumstances that they may inherit, and they may never purchase of their own accord. Until marriage, all daughters are property of their fathers, and after marriage, of their husband. Lornesse maintains a code of law by which a wife is capable of levying charges against her husband should he not behave in a way that is deemed appropriate. Offenses include physical harm, the neglect of necessities (this is vague in the law, and as such, it is exploited often), and instances of rape, though the last requires irrefutable proof of the act.
In general, women are held to a higher standard of chastity, meekness, and civility in the Reiux, though the Vale is by far the least repressive of the three northern lands.
The Jeu de Tanz
The politics of the Reiux are best described as an endlessly and needlessly complicated web of intrigue, ambition, scandal, and seduction. It's a web that the Lornesians fondly refer to as the jeu de tanz. This jeu de tanz is the culmination of all that is quintessentially Lornesian. To the Reiux, status and appearance are above all things, and such is doubly true for Lornesian nobility. The Errevetian court is renowned for its unforgiving and opulent political arena, making it the place where anyone who wishes to be anyone must be in order to join the jeu de tanz.
The rules of the jeu de tanz are numerous and change with what is in fashion among the aristocracy in Lornesse at any given time. They can be summed up as this: nothing save country, gods, and family are sacred. There is nothing that cannot be done so long as the participant is subtle in doing so. Social sabotage, bribery, seduction, dishonesty--all is fair in the jeu de tanz. That being said, direct culpability for unscrupulous behavior is undesirable as it creates scandal and ill reputation. However, credit and recognition for successful plays are demanded and required. The jeu de tanz is not all cloak and dagger strategy, however. Festivals, balls, salons, patronage, shows of charity, mercy, and great contributions to the betterment of Lornesse are all viable ways to gain favor of fellow courtiers. It is all about timing. One must play the right card at precisely the right time in the jeu de tanz.
The Gran Schecolei
A system of universities meant for the wealthy and affluent, the Gran Schecolei acts as a substitute for higher learning specifically for those who wish to learn the theory and practice of casting magic. These places of learning were established near a century earlier by the Roi Merek V. Since their establishing, they have become the head of magical research, scholarship, and culture in all of Tnarem. Those who have the honor of attending a Schecole find their time spent there rigorous but rewarding more often than not.
A point of controversy for the Schecolei, however, is the relationship they share with the Augury. While the two organizations often find themselves on opposite sides of the same coin, they are able to recognize the benefit of shared knowledge and cooperation. The Augury is not welcome in the Reiux, however, the research it conducts does find its ways to the Schecolei, and the research done at the Schecolei finds its way to the Augury as well.
February 12th to 15th
There are many variations on this near-Spring holiday, and several days in February on which it is celebrated, but in Errevet, the excitement for new plant growth and swollen mothers has given way for something more event-oriented. Liebejorne tradition come in the form of a game that changes depending on whether the participant is wed or not.
For those who are wed, the holiday begins two days prior to the fourteenth. On the twelfth, the couple dine with one another knowing that the evening will be the last time they see one another until the stroke of midnight on the fifteenth. On the thirteenth, the couple fasts, reflecting on their time apart as if their spouse is no longer a part of their life. On the fourteenth, the couple arrives apart from one another at the masquerade, not knowing what their partner is wearing. If the Gods think favorably of their union, the two will find one another before the end of the night.
Those who have yet to wed need not fast or reflect upon their marriage; they attend the masquerade intent on finding an object of courtly love or someone who will devote themselves in such a way. If a lord finds a lady he feels is worthy of such affections when the day turns from the fourteenth to the fifteenth, they reveal their identities to one another and the "relationship" begins, should the lady accept the lord.
The Masquerade itself takes place in the central halls of the Ericourt or Etethron, the throne hall being the center point of the event. The surrounding solars and gardens are also heavily used, decorated, and full of patrons throughout the evening of the fourteenth. While a mask is not necessary to attend the events, those who arrive without one are thought to be offending the Gods. Those who reveal their faces earlier than midnight are also said to be offending the powers that may be.
Religion & Superstition
In Lornesse, the people adhere to the Pantheon of Old, simultaneously a religion of convenience and necessity. Praying to the gods is done when something is needed, the worshiper would like to avoid some ill event, or when something lucky has happened to them. In short: Lornesians pray when there is a clear purpose for doing so (and the devout always have reasons to). The Pantheon is a relatively unobtrusive faith, and those who adhere to it tend to do so quietly and without proselytizing. This is not because they are accepting of other religions, but rather that they are firm in their belief that they are correct, and those who do not also believe are not worthy of the faith and the favor of the gods' that come with it.
Despite the convenience of loose worship, the Lornesians are zealous about their gods, the religion influencing much of the culture and the day-to-day lives of the people of the Vale. They do not tolerate disrespect toward their deities, for to do so is to invite their wrath. Even voicing the idea that you do not believe in one, or all, of the Pantheon is an affront to a Lornesian.
Mysticism, superstition, and worship of the Pantheon are more than just religion to the Lornesians, they are their culture and their everyday life. The use of sehers, mageirs, and witches is extensive and permeates all socioeconomic statuses, and pretres and pretresses act as advisors, midwives, governesses, historians, and other esteemed positions within society.
Source & Blood Drinking
Because source remains in the bloodstream, it is common practice for a body to be drained of blood prior to the funeral pyre in Lornesse. This blood is stored and used in various ceremonies particular to the Vale. Their blood-consuming rituals have led to many ghastly stories of witches killing and cannibalizing one another in order to gain the other caster's power. Some Lornesians do believe that by drinking another person's blood, they gain that person's power, and to a degree, they are correct, though such magic is considered vile, even within the Vale.
There is no escaping the mingling of languages in the northern parts of Tnarem. Lornesse is no exception to this, though it has vehemently tried to be. The original language of the region is harsh and guttural, though as it mingled with the more eloquent-sounding Mercian tongue and the whimsical Markish language, it has softened and transformed. Now, the base tongue is not spoken except for in the far northern reaches or by those of great status. High Lornesian remains the language of scholars and the script for the near-ubiquitously spoken Common Lornesian, however rare it may be.
Script (Base) - High Lornesian (Germanic)
Spoken (Secondary) - Common Lornesian (Alsatian French), Common Markish (English)
In the Reiux, a name is comprised of four parts: two parental names, each a gendered version of the father and mother's given names respectively; a given name unique to the child; and the surname (family name). Those familiar with the person will use only their given name, in more formal situations both parental names will be used in addition to the given name.
IE. Yvon Adela Odette Caemire
"Yvon" being the female version of the father's name, Yves; "Adela" being the female version of the mother's name; "Odette" being the given name; "Caemire" being the surname.
Names are an important indicator of wealth and status in the Reiux. Familial names are expected, especially among the influential; even given names are chosen from a few dozen of prominent names within the region. Among the lower class, there is less stress on rigid familial names, however, the pressure to choose a classically Lornesian name is ever-present.
If born to a Lornesian father (noble or otherwise), the child will be given the surname of Kinduhern. If born to a Lornesian roi, a child is given the surname of Kinduroi. They will always be addressed as "Sir/Madame" and never with a higher title, as they belong officially to no family.
Romance & Relationships
Lornesse's view on sex is one of simultaneous openness and privacy: not much about sex is considered taboo, but all is meant to be kept behind closed doors. Affairs are acceptable and even encouraged in marriages to help keep a married couple happy, though they are not meant for the public eye. Familial matters--including romance and sex--are to be kept within the family. Appearance is everything to a Lornesian, and maintaining a respectable facade is of the utmost importance. It is why modesty is essential for both men and women, though this is also born from practicality as well as the winter months are harsh and covering the body prevents heat loss and frostbite.
A person's sexuality is not something heavily scrutinized in the Vale. Sexual preference is fluid according to Lornesian values, and it is not uncommon at all for people to take same-sex lovers. Because of the inability to procreate in such unions however, marriage is reserved exclusively for heterosexual matches.
The union between husband and wife is meant as a purely political thing, and often arranged while the participants are yet young. It is not uncommon for a child to have a marriage arranged for them prior to birth, even. Because of how strictly the Lornesians use marriage as a political tool, love will never be considered when determining a match. In most cases, if two individuals are found to share a romantic attraction, a union between them will be avoided because of the potential drama that could ensue in lieu of such feelings.
Of all the nations, Lornesse has a middling average age for marriage. Those ages being 17-19 for males and 15-17 for females. Those of higher social status will marry considerably earlier, on average, than those of lower social status. Arranged marriages are extremely common in Lornesse (to the point of being expected for nobility), contributing to the low average age of marriage.
pregnancy & childbirth
Within the structure of a marriage, pregnancy is seen as a gift from the gods. Outside of marriage, it is a curse. While it is no secret that the people of Lornesse are promiscuous even if they are subtly so, the consequences for revealing such behavior via an extramarital conception is reputation ruining. Because of the threat of ruined potential marriage matches, women carrying bastards will often travel to summer homes or distant Reiux courts before their pregnancy begins to show, so as to avoid rumors. Unlike in Ostia and Argonne, Maiden's Milk is seen as a viable alternative to an unwanted child, and women are not deterred from using it in these cases.
Bastards are not uncommon among the nobility of Lornesse, and it is often that the father will acknowledge the child and bring it into his home, leaving the mother with exceedingly little to no contact with the child. Instead the wife of the man raises the child as her own, and in true Lornesian fashion, keeps any misgivings she may have about doing so away from the public eye.
Divorce & Annulment
It is extremely rare for marriages to end in anything but a death, but there are occasionally reasons for it to prematurely end. In the Reiux there is only one way a marriage is able to end legally aside from the death of one spouse: annulment, or the treatment of the marriage as if it never occurred. If there happen to be children in a marriage that is annulled, in most cases the children will be bastards under the care of their mother from that point forth. There are sometimes the rare case where the father will take the children to care for.
The reasons for an annulment are as follows:
1. Failure to consummate, or finding the wife was not virginal (if applicable).
2. Failure to produce a child.
3. Blatant and indiscriminate infidelity.
4. Crimes committed against the family/spouse.
Love & Romance
Romance, if it is found at all, is to be had in paramours. It is acceptable to "love" a lover, though to outwardly say as much is considered uncouth. Love is to be hidden, as to show it is considered a risk to the reputations of those involved in the romance. It is a romantic notion meant for fancy and not for marriage.