|Common Names||Ériunin, Elf-Lovers|
|Social Classes||Farmers, Shepherds, Hunters, Mercenaries|
|Major Cities||Tír na nÍriel|
The Ériunin culture is a sheltered and ancient thing, protected from the changing winds of time inside of the isolated isle of Ériu-Innis. Ériunin is the result of pollination between Altalar slavers of the old Allorn Empire and Ceardian slaves, but tilts heavily towards the latter. The Ériunin have created a culture in complete separation from the rest of Aloria, with its own faith, clothing, arts, and traditions. In fact, the Ériunin were oblivious to the existence of civilized lands outside of their isle for centuries (aside from myths and legends) before Regalia discovered the island in 226 AC. Within the last hundred years Ériunins have began leaving their homeland for far flung places. Regalia is a prime location for these islanders who often come as sellswords seeking newer lives. Superstition is still high among the people of Ériu-Innis, and culture clashes are a common display between the foreigners and already established Regalian cultures.
- 1 History
- 2 Language and Dialects
- 3 Laws
- 4 Lifestyle and Customs
- 5 Holidays
- 6 Religion
- 7 Literature and Folklore
- 8 The Arts
- 9 Recreation
- 10 Symbols
- 11 Trivia
The Ériunin culture and ethnicity formed in what historians consider to have been an isolated incident many hundreds of years ago. Roughly around 200 BC, a fleet of Altalar slave ships heading back from a routine slaving raid on the coast of Ceardia hit land amid a storm. The vessels, their crew, and many Ailor slaves washed up on the isle of Ériu-Innis in stark and blizzard like conditions. The region was split up between three islands, the largest of the three crashed into by the ruined fleet. On the initial landing the Nelfin slavers were severely outnumbered by their Ailor merchandise being only roughly 500 in comparison to nearly 5,000 Ailor slaves. Livestock was in short supply and the food which survived was fit only for slaves, being gruels and unsavoury dishes. Within the first weeks of the landing conflict was rife. The Altalar using their Magic and arcane knowledge had subdued three-quarters of the slave population, keeping the rest at bay. The small supply of food was a major point of contention between the two factions and would eventually result in diplomacy, as both sides began to lose hope of rescue. What is now described in the Conchobhair Chronicles as The Síthcháin (Or the “Peace Pact” In Common) was the moment where the Altalar and their former Ailor slaves came together to discuss the terms of their mutual existence. Conchobhar, formerly the son of a Ceardian Warlord and a leader among the slaves, was chosen to represent their interests. On the reverse side, an Altalar known by the name Íriel to the slaves and their ancestors lead the Nelfin side of the talks, considered the most competent of the captains.
The Síthcháin resulted in an equality between the Ailor and Altalar, the establishment of leadership for each parties (Conchobhar representing the Ailor and Íriel for the Altalar), and an allocation of work which suited the strength and hardiness of the Ailor and the intellect and managerial nature of the Altalar. In time, the completely male crew of the Altalar slave ships would marry Ailor women, and so began the pollination of Ailor and Altalar genetics and culture. By 11 BC, two different ethnic groups had emerged; the Clochar (so named after the mythical Conchobhar) are those who were primarily Ailor without any Altalar mixture, throughout the histories of the Ériunin they were considered to be primarily warriors, farmers, woodsmen, and huntsmen (along with other more manual jobs); and the Írielac (so named after the mythical íriel) are the descendents of the Altalar slavers who had married and reproduced with the Ailor populace, despite being primarily Ailor in genetics they had split off culturally and in some minor ways visually from the Clochar. While the Clochar remained dispersed throughout the countryside, farming what land was tillable or taking to shepherding and fishing for sustenance, the Írielac had established themselves in the various Seraph ruins present on the isle, erecting a small city-state around the ancient structures which would later be known as Tír na nÍriel. The system of Cineán rule formed shortly after the Cataclysm, with the seven Cineán as they’re known today ruling over the Túatha. Infighting became so severe to the point they were forced to convene and elect a Rí Tuath, their equivalent of a king, to rule over the Isles. Since then, only twice have the Clochar come together to force one of theirs over the Írielac Cineán due to constant feuding between the rural clans.
Regalia discovered Ériu-Innis in 226 AC thanks to passing trade vessels, during the reign of Rí Tuath Niall Mac Fintan Ó Cathaín. Though contact between The Empire and the Ériunin had been made, very little cultural impact was impressed upon the isle. Isolationism remained a primary objective of the Rí Tuath, though this did not prevent Ériunins leaving to become mercenaries and sellswords in the new found world beyond their home. However, in the years following the Chrysant War, Regalia forced itself into the local atmosphere of the isles when surveyors discovered large deposits of Emeralds on the island in 293 AC. This led to an attempt by the Regalian Government to establish military governance over the island in order to extort these resources. The local petty aristocracy was fiercely resistant to these efforts, but were not equipped to overcome a power such as Regalia. In 297 AC, a treaty was signed by Rí Tuath Aodhán Mac Fionn Uí Táil, agreeing to Regalian settlement on the northern coast of the island and the Ériunins would provide labor for the mines in return for technological exchange and protection. The Ériunin people have slowly been integrated into the Empire since, however there is much discontent in the homeland over the excessive mining of what they believe to be a gift from their gods.
Language and Dialects
The Ériunin language is known as Ériunnach, or simply Ériu-Innin, which has remained relatively uniform across the isles throughout their isolation from the outside world. The language itself is derivative of Ceardian, but with heavy influences from Middle Altalar. One of the more noticeable features of the language is the fact all un-Altalar consonants were dropped, save for R and D, and alongside some of the poetic aspects which were carried over from the Altalar tongue, and makes it stand apart from its cousin languages as more than a split-off from Ceardian.
The naming customs of the Ériunin vary from simple, to extremely complex depending on the subculture they are apart of. The Clochar abide by very simple customs. A Clochar name consists of three parts; the given name, a patronym preceded by their language-equivalent of son of/daughter of (mac is strictly masculine, and is substituted for women by nic or ní) and then the name of their Túath. So, for example, a Clochar man called Nuadha whose father's name was Faelán with ties to Túath Eachmhacaid will be known as Nuadha Mac Faeláin Uí Eachmhacaid. Írielac naming custom, on the other hand, is far more complicated. The patronym and Túath are borrowed, however they are given a second patronym for their paternal grandfather following what is called a Rann. The Rann is a borrowed aspect of the old Middle Altalar tongue spoken by their forebears, an amalgamation of poetic verse to characterize the predicted fate desired for the child. A Rann is created in the same way as a name in the Imperial Altalar style, though by using the Ériunnach language instead of the former. For example, an Írielac man called Artt, whose father's name was Donnall and grandfather's name was Tadc of the Túath Annaidh will be known as Artt Mac Donnaill Taidc Ó/Uí hAnnaidh. The Rann falls between the patronyms, so with a Rann, he would be called Artt Mac Donnaill Lugalh ac ancrostil saibhneas a fháil thal an uisce nól Taidc Ó/Uí hAnnaidh. It is extremely unlikely his full name would be used at any time except his birth and death. A Cineán name is also used on occasion, but only on severely formal occasion and never in personal address.
Law among the Ériunin is deceivingly simple, but beneath the surface of an eye for eye Draconian justice are a handful of very Altalar concepts enforced by the upper crust of Ériunin society which separate them from total barbarity. Local conflicts between individuals and Túatha are generally resolved by the Túathacha and the druids which advise them. Lenience is shown in Túath-on-Túath violence, and resolved most often through monetary compensation, though Onóir-Cath will be invoked if the charges are more severe. This is not the case with internal matters within a Túath, and criminals are almost always dealt with heavy-handed and merciless justice. Iéllothach is a bastardization of the Altalar word which means "to discourse for peace", and it remains largely the same to this day. It most often occurs among the speakers of the various Cineán, who will engage in such debates to attempt and influence the election of a Rí Tuath, but they are not so intellectually-founded as the Iëllothon from which they are derived. These public dialogues are generally a contest of who can slander and defame the other more thoroughly, and to lose is to bring shame to one's Túath, and has often been grounds for a Cinén's speaker to be removed. Inheritance under Ériunin law is semi-elective, following the principle of Tanistry in which an heir is chosen from amongst the eligible males of a Túath, regardless of their relation to the current Túathach. These candidates are reviewed by senior members of the family, and the most suitable is chosen to be the Tánaiste, designated successor to the sitting Túathach. A similar principle stands for the election of the Rí Tuath, however the pool from which the Ard Tánaiste is chosen from every Cineán.
Lifestyle and Customs
The importance of family differs between the two culture groups of the Ériunin, however a concept that is universally embraced by both sides is the idea of Cineán and Túatha. Túatha are simply households and families which organize themselves under the clan structure of the Isles dictated by the Seanchas. They can be similarly compared to the Regalian concept of Noble and Common Houses, though differ slightly when introduced to the concept of Cineál. Cineán, or kindred, are overarching lineages which can be traced back to the original founding of the peoples as retold in the Conchobhair Chronicles. Though there are many countless Túatha, only seven Cineán exist among the Ériunin and each Túath claims affiliation to one of these seven clans. Cinén nÍriel, Cinén nÁnrothán and Cinén Naelechlainn represent the Túatha of the Írielac, while Cinén Conchobhair, Cinén Conchúir, Cinén Mhártain and Cinén hÁghnaill represent the Clochar Túatha. They are all at least distantly blood-relatives, as inbreeding is prevalent among both populations. Beyond that, Túatha are strictly patriarchal in nature as the Tánaiste, and therefore the Túathach can only be selected from the men of the bloodline. This does not mean women do not have a say. Once a couple joins in marriage, the wife essentially becomes an equal partner in the household of her spouse, holding equal right and say over all of his wealth, properties, and even social matters; in the case of a Túathach’s wife, this means they become practical co-deciders over the affairs of the Túatha. Marriage practices among the Ériunin vary. The Ériunin have a reputation as being barbaric for the tradition of bridal kidnapping observed amongst their culture. The practice is largely illegal in the boundaries of the Regalian Empire, however an exception is made for Ériu-Innis. Contrary to popular belief, these marriages are pre-arranged by the parents of those involved and to undertake it is considered to be a sacred joining of two Túatha under the Draoidh Feya which brings good luck and ensures a long-lasting marriage.
Gender roles among the Ériunin are generally typical of other Ailor cultures in its patriarchal structure. Women are homemakers, responsible for tending to the household and ensuring everything is in order on behalf of their husband. This does not, however, put them beneath men, so to speak. While unmarried women are expected to be submissive and docile, subservient to their fathers and brothers, when a woman marries as was mentioned before, she inherits half the responsibility of her spouse and becomes entitled to an equal say in their household affairs. This has led to a culture of empowered housewives who, by outsiders, are often perceived to be pulling at the strings of their husbands, yet this is far from the truth as married couples will most always work hand-in-hand to ensure the success of their house. Alongside all of this, when a man dies, his widow receives one-third of his belongings to ensure a comfortable living, though on her death, these properties fold back into the possession of the clan’s Túathach.
The Idbart is a month long religious festival during the month of September, where followers of the Uilemáthair bring large offerings of bread, meat, pelt, and even at times slaves to the Worship Groves of the faith. Sacrifices of livestock are made, and offerings are placed at the center of the grove. During the festival spirling whirls are painted onto the body in green and blue, the hair is braided, and the rich adorn themselves with bronze jewels to impress the gods. The festival often takes a large toll on the Clochar, eating away the little food they had saved for winter. Some Regalian scholars even believe the festival to be a purposeful method of slimming down the lower classes through starvation, though this is merely conjecture. The Great Dubshlán occurs in the month of May, where the Ériunin seek out Biastáes (Men with the head and legs of beasts) to challenge in combat and arm wrestling. Though on the isle of Ériu-Innis with the creature being merely mythical, often men will adorn the heads of animals upon themselves and mimic the tradition among friends. Those who have traveled to Regalia have found this tradition is realer than ever, often seeking out the Url who wander the capital, and causing a nuisance to the stoic beast men.
The religion of the Ériunin is befitting of their shared lineage and exists as a mix of Ceardian faiths with those of the traditional Altalar Pantheon. The Draoidh Feya, as it is known, calls for participants to either devote themselves to the gods completely as Druids or to dedicate and various actions in their name, such as kills during a hunt. The faith also has a rich mythology interwoven with more Ceardian elements from ideas of giants to the different realms of creation as formed by the Uilemáthair, their central goddess. The faith is largely detested by the Regalian Empire, but exists as a Protected Faith so long as those who worship it keep to religious sites of the Faith of Estel. Back in the homeland, Unionism has little sway in the region as missions sent there are confronted by the Druids, who thoroughly debate theology on par with the Unionist Fathers of Piety usually sent to do the converting. Only in regions which house Regalian citizens possess Unionism, but even then, few churches or even chapels have been built on the continent resulting in very few converts.
Literature and Folklore
A large amount of Ériunin literature comprises of poetic epics named Gérat-laíds depicting the feats of the gods, various demi-heroes, brave warriors, and wise Druids. These poems are often written in honour of an individual, and to have a Gérat-Laid written about oneself is considered a high honour, and a peak of one’s infamy or fame.
Apart from this poetry, the Druids of the Draoidh Feya often catalogue events of the island and are the sole scholars of the land. One historic cataloging of lore is the “Conchobhair Chronicles”, a large history of the isles of Ériu-Innis written by over a dozen Druid elders over a span of 40 years. The fact that historical writing is the sole domain of the priest case often means Ériunin history is laced with mythology and religion. Despite this, it is still largely accurate and speaks about the state of the Allorn Empire around 300 BC in its earliest pages, making it of extreme value to those scholars interested in that era. Such information was likely recorded by the original Altalar and then simply transferred over time as a sort of “standard introduction” to proper Ériunin history.
Ériunin philosophy focuses around the soul of Humans and its indestructibility. The Druids, who preside over philosophy and faith, have taught the idea that the Uilemáthair created the Human soul as an eternal entity, and thus death is a state not to be feared by the Ériunin. Warriors often charge into battle with reckless abandon if they are believers in the Uilemáthair, happy and content in the idea their spirit will live on. Souls are taught to leave the body, traveling either to the Cléithe to be with the Uilemáthair, to the Fó if the individual is a non-believer, or to wander the earth or sea if the individual is prevented from leaving to either by magics or other means. The Ériunin also tie Magic to the soul, and only those special or entirely devoted can receive its gifts (an explanation for why the region’s magic users are almost always Druids). As for matters of the physical world such as leadership, statehood and politics, the Ériunin wave almost all of it away. Their local leaders and even the kingship-level position that exists in the Rí Tuath are elected officials in an almost democratic process which makes all Regalian Imperialists shudder in disgust. They do not think highly of the Regalian Empire and most other nations ever since the Ailor abandoned their political ties with the Altalar in favor of the brutish Orcs, a move most Ériunin believe to be foolish. But, they do respect the Empire for its military power and armed forces, hence why most Ériunin seen out in wider Aloria serve in the military or large mercenary companies as a general sign of appreciation for force of arms.
Ériunin folklore and mythology is deeply connected to their faith of the Draoidh Feya, and the two are often hard to discern. A wide level of superstition is present within the people of Ériu-Innis and often tales of monsters, beasts, demi-heroes, and sídaige are passed from town to town by oral tradition.
- The two legendary leaders of the Ériunin, Conchobhar & Íriel are an important factor of folklore. Conchobhar was said to have been blessed by the Uilemáthair with the strength of a giant and the height of one too. Tales tell of Conchobhar defending the Clochar’s from beasts of the Fó with his bare hands. Íriel was believed to have been endowed with the gift of intellect. A popular fable often spread among the Írelac is that of Íriel’s deception of Calaoiseoir, telling the story of how the Altalar was able to dupe Calaoiseoir in a bet. The two stories retain a narrative arc, but all Ériunin tell them wildly differently so it is up to the creativity of the individual in question.
- The sídaige are small winged creatures said to roam the forests of Ériu-Innis and prey upon travelers who wander the woods alone. Often humanoid in nature, stark naked, bald, with pointed ears like that of an Altalar, and sharp little teeth. They have been rumoured to throw pebbles at those lost on woodland paths, giggling and laughing like evil children all the while. Sídaige are believed to steal away naughty children from their beds to turn them into one of their own, this is oft used as a scary story for misbehaving younglings.
- Clethfer are told to be towering men made of wicker and leaves who defend the most sacred parts of the forest from attackers and invaders. It is said that when the Uilemáthair first witnessed the desecration of a worshiping grove, she gave the tallest of the trees sentience and the ability to walk and move with hands and feet. Large antlers made of sticks protrude from these creatures heads, so the legends say. Ériunin abroad from their home often mistake Yanar as these creatures, to mixed reactions.
- Biastáes are minions of the hunt god, Fién Anailánh, and resemble him. These creatures are varied according to myth, but what connects them all is they appear to have the head and often legs of an animal, with the body of a man. An example of this is a Ériu-Innis bull, with the chest and arms of a man. Often Url are mistaken for these creatures when the islanders are in Regalia.
- Aithech are the giant folk, said to dwell in the uninhabited areas of Ériu-Innis. According to sightings and tales, they range from 10 feet tall, to 20 feet. They have been said to be neolithic in appearance, having stooping brows and savage visages. Their limbs are disproportionate, with large hands and feet, and long arms. Often when livestock goes missing, it is attributed to these reclusive creatures. The Druids tell that these tall men escaped from the Fó in the infancy of the world, and have been in isolation ever since. The large basalt columns off the southern coast of Ériu-Innis are said to be their creation, as are many naturally forming rock structures.
- Ald-Claid is a mythic water spirit in Ériu-Innis, who dwells the depths of lakes and ponds. He appears in legend as a soaking and frog-like man, with webbed hands and feet, and moss hanging from his face in the appearance of facial hair. Ériunin’s don’t walk by water alone, or at night, as it is said Ald-Claid grabs those who venture close to eat or serve him as slaves in the Fó. The first Ériunin to meet an Es-Allar caused quite the scene and such encounters are likely to do so for the foreseeable future.
Ériunin art focuses heavily around the idea of Bronze working, with a strong emphasis on brooches, circlets, arm-bands, and jewelry featuring the island’s famous Emeralds. Ériunin Bronze work is highly sought after, featuring intricate patterns and swirls, and at times depicting great mythic battles within its carvings. Pottery is another prominent feature of art on Ériu-Innis, vases, cups, and bowls often detailed and sophisticated. Greens, browns, oranges, and yellows are colours heavily used with Ériunin pottery.
The music of Ériu-Innis is a slow and melancholic one, designed with the intent purposes of expressing the harshness of life on Ériu-Innis through the string of the harp and the crying whistle of the feadóg (a Tin whistle). The music is often a reflection on the tides and waves, and at times features the slow beat of a sheep-skin drum. Though it isn’t something to be danced to or reveled among, the islanders will often sit and think deeply on their situations while bards play the winding tunes of their people.
Ériunin fashion has had some parallels drawn to their distant cousins in far-off Gallovia, with the primary garment being vaguely similar to the Gallovian Kiltach. The Fichtán is a pleated skirt garment, similar to the Kiltach, which is worn over the body and serves as the base component for the outfits of most Ériunin men. Similar to the Gallovian fashion, it comes in many layers; green and blue dyes are the most commonly seen for the sacred garment. Over the Fichtán is worn a wide leather belt known as the Claíomhchrios, which is of relative cultural significance as the duirc blade is worn alongside it and signifies a man's dedication to Ánradríeadh. Most often, the Fichtán is paired with a simple waist embroidered with silver or blue thread, and a short, sleeveless woolen jacket overtop, while simple gartered trousers are the common style of legwear. Clochar generally have a more threadbare appearance but observe the same clothing styles as their highborn kinsmen. The Írielac stand apart with their Bronze and Emerald accessories, as well as their chaperon hats, which are always worn with a colored cockade that signifies their clan allegiance. Women tend to favor simple dresses of wool and cotton, and are known beyond the isles for their modest appearances. Imperial styles have begun to catch on amongst the more well-off ladies on the isles in recent years. Male Fashion remains a pillar of Ériunin society, and it is commonplace for men to try and one-up one another with the sumptuousness of their attire, though especially the Fichtán; owning multiple or elaborate Fichtán has for long been a symbol of status among both the Clochar and Írielac.
For the standard Clochar clansman, housing is base and impoverished. The majority of Ériu-Innis’ population live in exceedingly small cobbled stone huts, adorned with sod roofing. Shambled bits of brick and rock scatter the outside of their homes, and often indoor fireplaces leak smoke from out of holes and cracks. Windows are unheard of due to the gales of wind, and Clochar huts are simple and sturdy. Some houses close to forests are build with timber, larger and more sheltered by the looming trees, but the overarching characteristic of sod roofing remains prevalent in all housing on the island as a matter of insulation and necessity. Often restrooms and toilet facilities are located outside of the house for those lucky few who have built an outhouse, however, more often than not a simple hole acts as the toilet area for an entire Túatha. Túatha live together within a single home most of the time, and the bigger the Túatha the larger the cobbled house usually is.
The Írelac often inhabit hill forts surrounding old Seraph ruins, protected by log clad wooden walls. Inside these enclaves are houses made of thatch, and generally more spacious dwellings. The most prestigious of Írelacmen sometimes live in keeps, though dwarfed in size to anything in Regalia or even Ithania, these small towers made of cobbled stone grant a view of the land and protection.
Ériunin cuisine comprises primarily of rabbit, deer, boar, and other game animal. Fishing is also another source of meat, but it is seasonal as the migrations of the Findt species of fish only pass by during the spring. This meat is often presented in the form of a stew, slow cooked in Ferr-Iron cooking pots over fire pits. The few vegetables which grow on the island are potatoes, leeks, and cauliflower, which are often diced and added into the pot along with the meat. Cooking is a communal activity for the Ériunins, and meals are served from large vats of soup or stew for many people, often filling the bellies of multiple families of a clan. Feasts are conducted on much the same level, for halls full of dozens of clansmen.
There are two main sporting activities those on Ériu-Innis like to partake in, primarily showing the fitness of the Ériuaen, and appeasing their gods in the process. The first is arm-wrestling, a practice made popular by a myth involving the God of Strength. Warriors from all over the land come together for massive events of arm-wrestling, a test of strength and endurance. Secondly, lake-swimming is popular among men and women. Often the faithful will swim the length of the Pools of Life, the two largest lakes, racing others to the opposite side. The Druids claim these activities to be spiritually cleansing.
Men and women both partake in hunting on the island to some degree. There are those who live and breath the activity, often followers of the Hunting God, and zealous in their devotion to the act. There are also those who either partake for fun, or for food. Hunting is done with a short-bow, and the peoples of the island have become adept at archery. Every boy and girl is often taught how to handle a short-bow from the age of seven, as hunting rabbit and deer is essential to survival. In addition to this, many also spend their free time in worship groves, making sacrifices of animals and presenting tributes of Gold and Emeralds to the gods.
The main symbol most associated with the Ériuaen is the ripple of the Life Pool. The symbol is basically a water ripple in a very base artistic form. A single swirl is often drawn, starting from the inside and curling outwards in a circular manner. This often adorns shields, banners, clothing, and jewelry. The ripple evokes the tale of the birth of the gods from the pool of life, the even having said to have unsettle the water, and created a perfect ripple from the very center. In addition, it pays homage to the Uilemáthair in the process.
- Some travelers walking the roads of Ériu-Innis have spoken of a tall, lanky, bronze man, who wears no frocks and appears suddenly before them from places they would not expect. They tell that the man wanted nothing but to dance rhythmically in front of them, upon finishing vanishing into the unknowns of the forest. They have taken to calling him Homhair the Stranger. The Druids have no explanation as of yet of his nature.
- It is said the first Regalian vessel to land on the island was greeted by an angry mob of Clochar. The mob proceeded to pelt the vessel with rocks, thinking it to be a Sea Serpent who had broken free from the Fó to desolate their fishing industry.