Colonial culture is primarily found in the New Ceardian Colonies of Essalonia where it had its origins following a unique series of events. Refugees from the Destruction of Old Ceardia flocked to the Colonies in search of a new home while at a similar time, the stagnation of the Regalian Empire caused several Fathers of Piety to congregate in the region to preach a very earthly and “pure” form of Unionism to the people that had settled there. This influx of Ceardians blended with the already present colonists and the ideas instilled by these Fathers, created the current Colonial culture. The society is dominated by a religious adherence and zeal that some say rivals even the Etosians, but at the same time, a harshness that they claim helps them to survive out on the frontiers of Aloria. They have recently had to bear many weights. First, the refugees from Torse followed by those from Arlora, then attacks by the Bone Horrors, and a new Emperor whose sexuality challenges their conservative Sanchella beliefs. Only time will tell if all of these series of events undo what has been worked on for 30 years.
- 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 Colonial culture formed relatively recently in Alorian history compared to other Ailor cultures, over a span of time from 270 to 280 AC. Following the Destruction of Old Ceardia in 268, refugees flocked across Aloria with a number of them ending up in the New Ceardian Colonies. At the same time, the Regalian Pessimism still had its grip on the Regalian Archipelago and the major landholdings of the Empire. Fed up with the failures of the bureaucracy, the over-decadence of nobility, and the perceived sinfulness of the population, eight Fathers of Piety left the Archipelago for Essalonia, and the Regalian colonies found there. Their arrival could not have been more perfect. All experienced preachers, they spread their ideas of “pure” Unionism among the new arrivals while also vigorously pursuing the already present settlers. They did not form a sect of Unionism, however, only reinforcing a strict interpretation of the Creeds and Canon Law at the time. This religious fervor merged with the hardline ideals of the Old Ceardians, and by 280, the Colonial culture had been born.
Following this, a number of preachers, now trained in this dedicated form of Unionism by the Fathers, returned to Regalia, ultimately attaching themselves to the Iron Bulwark faction in the Regalian Senate. While they did not like the Senate, the faction’s senators pushed their religious agenda and used them to help stir up religious aggression against the Essa Empire. Following the Chrysant War, the Senate was dissolved, and these preachers were forced to return home. Since then, Colonials have played little to no significant role in world politics. However, their lands were stricken by the Bone Horror Crisis but were ultimately saved when numerous mercenaries of Ceardian origin serving nobles in Gallovia helped clean the Colonies of every significant Bone Horror presence. With the cataclysmic event now over, the Colonies now find themselves with a large population of Old Gods worshippers who fled from nearby ravaged Arlora and Torse, along with communities of mercenaries on top of the increased Regalian military presence. Some worry about Diviner-like actions against non-Unionists, as well as possible, chafing against Imperial authority but for the moment at least, Colonial piety is the key factor that ties them to the Empire.
Language and Dialects
Colonial culture uses a single language for communication, which being Common. As the different colonies were made up of several different ethnic groups and languages, Common became most prevalent in their everyday lives and remains so, to this day. There are unique dialects of Common found in the New Ceardian Colonies, with the five different regions having unique terminology, such as the word “wood-knocker” referring to a woodpecker in the north but meaning crazy in the south. This can sometimes result in unintentional insult throwing in large meetings.
Colonial society has no formal name customs as their culture is new. As a result, many name their children as their origin culture did. In recent years, names similar to those used by Heartland Ceardian have become widely used, as well as names of the past Emperors and Ceardianized names of House Kade members. Some examples below:
Colonial culture derives many of its laws from the laws of the Regalian Empire. They especially emphasize Canon Law due to their religious devotion but are looser on matters of the State Weapon Law since a number of mercenaries live in the Colonies. Also, many frontier towns need protection from wild animals or bandits, resulting in those areas often abandoning the Weapon Law entirely. As they live in a colonial territory, the laws are enforced by Regalian officials at the top and local sheriffs on the ground. These sheriffs are reinforced in investigations and violence situations by military forces from the Empire stationed there to help keep the peace. The problem is that these sheriffs take time to appoint and with the rapid expansion of the New Ceardian Colonies, a single sheriff now has to police a territory ranging anywhere from a small hamlet encompassing 10 miles to 50 miles of rural farmland and rugged forest. This occasional lack of a quick response can lead to community justice until a sheriff arrives and sometimes, mob justice. Sheriffs can also be unreliable because they can be corrupt and many tales are told of border town sheriffs taking the odd payoff or having an understanding with local bandits. This situation has only been exasperated with the recent Bone Horror Crisis as the Colonies now have twice as many troops as before and many of them are mercenaries, a group of people well known for their complicated relationship with the law.
Lifestyle and Customs
Colonial families are similar to those found in Anglian culture but also have their unique aspects. It is commonly made up of a set of parents and anywhere from two to six children as an emphasis is placed on procreation on this new frontier. Like Anglians, parents meet and often arrange marriages for their eldest children to neighbors or locals so that the family can be kept close to home and sections of land traded. However, younger siblings do not get such treatment and are free to make their own arrangements with a chosen spouse. Romance among Colonials is on equal par with Anglians as it is permitted so long as there is no pregnancy before marriage.
The household itself is very Anglian in mindset as well. The father and his sons will do manual labor in the fields or the man’s chosen line of work while the mother and her daughters perform domestic work. Children are not so numerous as in Anglia because, while there is an emphasis on children helping their parents in their line of work, it is not as pronounced as in that farming culture. Monogamy is common in Colonial families, but sometimes the father needs to leave for his work, especially if he is a lumberjack or fur trapper, resulting in women being alone and liable to brief flings with strangers or family friends.
Colonial families on the surface hold patriarchal values, but their frontier existence has undercut these ideals over the last four decades. When the man is home, he is in charge and the dominant role. During this time, women are the submissive role and serve as caretakers to the man and the children’s needs. While this unit usually consists of a father, a mother, and their offspring, sometimes women continue to take care of their fathers in their older age. However, the job market in Essalonia is unique in how many jobs require the man of the house to leave his home to work, sometimes for several months. During this period, his wife or eldest son takes over, especially if the son is older than 16. Sometimes wives are unwilling to relinquish the household over to their young and inexperienced sons, often causing family conflict.
Another way women exist in an empowered state is in rare “Adelaide” towns, named after the wife of Randulf the Endurer, Heron of Miners. These towns exist only in the New Ceardian Colonies and are designated as they are because they are towns where most if not all of the men have died in some accident or attack. This results in a strong matriarchy and women holding power. A final way women may hold power is when their husband has died, they are not obligated to remarry. Most do, but some grow into influential members of the community as widows who handle dealings with men on an equal level. Given recent events in the Colonies, it is unlikely these two practices will last as the noticeable increase in Imperial forces means they can enforce the Imperial agenda while the rise in mercenaries is likely to end Adelaide towns.
Colonial culture has very few shared holidays as each colony and settlement has its small local traditions such as their different founding days. A few shared holidays they possess are Winter’s Dawn festivals, which are not held in winter but instead in late autumn as a form of harvest festival. Everyone gathers together in their homes or public building to share a large meal while the Spirit is thanked for aiding the very first colonists who reached the shores of Essalonia. The other festival celebrated is Petrovium, a holiday celebrated in the name of Heron Petrovia, the Heron of Maidens. This day is filled with love poetry, gestures of affection and heavily encourages copulation between spouses as a way to remind them of their continued love for each other in the eyes of the Imperial Spirit.
Colonials are universally Sancella Unionists, as their culture is ingrained with the religion since their foundation. They are known to be zealous, and their region is often referred to as a Sancellan Etosil because of this enthusiasm. Since they were converted by Fathers of Piety, Colonials tend to emphasize service to the Great Way more than any other culture group. They feel that their services and existence are part of a vast interconnected network feeding back to further the power of the Spirit, such as their farmers making the grain that is fed to the troops, and animals which are killed also to feed others which then help support the Empire through their jobs, and so on. There is also an inherent belief that Unionism must spread across the world, not from person to person so much, but regarding actual land and raw square miles. This feature has made the New Ceardian Colonies constantly expand into Essalonia, though sometimes at the expense of properly developing one settlement before moving on to create another.
Literature and Folklore
Colonial literature is a new genre that has only developed within the last ten years, as the population seeks stories to call their own instead of relying solely on those from their ancestors’ culture. Their literature is short with very weak metaphors in it, resulting in straightforward works that have clear messages if any are attempting to present themselves. These writings are mainly religious texts, colonization stories, children’s tales and simple poetry describing the landscape. They are commonly mocked as “childish” and “simple” among High Ailor cultures, but many still read them anyway as they are a source of direct information from the populations found on the frontier. All of this is written in Common, the language of the region, and is not often translated from this language due to local printing houses believing that the Empire should require all to know Common.
Colonial philosophy is one of the harsher ones out of the Human cultures, and derives much of its philosophizing from Velheim ways of thinking, rather than how those methods are practiced. They recognize the importance of the state as the Regalian Empire is the force that protects them and helps facilitate commerce with others. Leadership in the Colonial mind is based on state, honor, but also religion. Local government officials may hold power given by the Empire, but local leaders such as prominent landholders and public servants hold power given by the people. Eternally, these two must balance each other, to make sure they are accountable for actions carried out by their respective groups but all these parties are subservient to religious authority, which rests (in an ideal scenario) with the Emperor. Since the Emperor does not live in the Colonies, however, Curates, Fathers of Piety and others who have turned their lives to worshipping the Spirit, hold great sway over the population.
Beyond this balance, the Colonials have been made out as a violent, ruggedly hairy people close to the Velheim in some circles of High Ailor culture. This image is, however, only an exaggeration of their rugged, aggressive inclination. Their landmass is harsh, with many strange and dangerous predators like the Kelp, which has enforced their ideas of discipline. This discipline has made a number of Colonials mercenaries, mainly in the School of Blackmark, who operate out of the Colonies and other Ceardian cultured locations or as formal soldiers serving the Empire. Also, Colonials are obsessed with expansion, of physically spreading their territory. This obsession mainly stems from their desire to acquire more resources and possibly, to strike it rich to aid the Empire, but their down-to-earth version of Unionism also advocates for territory claimed in the land of Spirit. As eastern Essalonia is vacant of any formal states, the Colonies seek to push into this wilderness and claim it at any cost, despite the dangers.
Colonials have an interesting folklore as it is one of the few things left untouched by the Fathers of Piety since many refugees clung hard to even the simplest superstition. However, Essalonia itself is well known for several unique forms of wildlife such as the Maerrow. The continent’s dark forests have also birthed many incredible tales from lumberjacks of large-haired men, half Ogre and half Ailor, or great black birds the size of houses. Many are stories designed to keep children in at night as many communities border forests or hazardous natural formations. Also, for every community living in the Colonies, there are small spins on classic stories as the tales travel up and down trade routes, being changed by those who tell them either on purpose or by accident. As Colonials push deeper into Essalonia, it is likely that many more folktales will fill the empty air around campfires and hearths.
Art is one of the weaker aspects of Colonial culture. While they do believe art has a purpose in serving the great way, the visual arts are not viewed with high esteem. This lack of belief in visual art, coupled with few skilled artists moving to the New Ceardian Colonies, has resulted in naive art that lacks the finesse or skill of Ithanians or other High Ailor cultures. Colonial artwork is religious or landscape based and commonly features incorrect depth perspectives and misshaped proportions on Human figures. Weaving is not an art form in Colonial culture because the culture lacks the upper class to shape it uniquely. Many young girls simply copy the patterns of their mothers and female relatives, resulting in the repeated iconography of plant and small animal life.
The only part of Colonial art that stands out is their woodcarving skills, carried over from Velheim immigrants from nearby Arlora, Torse, and the North Belt. Wooden statues are known to be realistic and painted, often depicting a Heron or important religious figure in an action stance. These carvings range in size from small items found at home to full-sized works in churches. Also, furniture produced by Colonial carpenters is high quality and very worth the cost as it includes small and beautiful flourishes.
Colonial music is one of the culture’s most vibrant features and fully developed. It has access to a wide variety of musical instruments from harps to violins to drums to bells to flutes, brought by the original colonists to entertain themselves. Now with a united culture, these tools of music are turned into throbbing soulful music. The most popular and prevalent songs for Colonials are hymns, often sung in church, chapel or at outdoor worship services. Many of these hymns are unique to the Colonials as they rely on local symbolism, geographical features, and history in their rhyming lyrics. Many are upbeat songs praising the Spirit, accompanied by instruments like the violin or flute as well as sections powered through with only the voice and stomping or clapping to keep the rhyme. These hymns are also sung outside of religious service at festivals and family gatherings, with optional lyrics of more suggestive or raunchier lyrics on some of them. Altogether, these songs are referred to as “Throbbers” as they get the blood pumping and the soul afire.
Colonial fashion is unoriginal, heavily deriving from both Anglian and the two other Ceardian cultures for clothing. The only notable aspect of Colonial fashion is their lack of everyday headgear usage except for important events or if they need to protect their head.
Colonial architecture is almost a non-aspect to their culture. As they are colonists sent by Regalia, over half the buildings look the same in layout and exterior design as demanded by building codes. They are also made mostly of wood with stone or bricks only present in well-off families or major settlements. They commonly feature a chimney leading up from a fireplace and a gable roof.
Colonial cuisine is also unoriginal as it possesses simpler versions of other culture’s dishes ranging from bland Varksoor to thin-iced Mouse Puille. As goods like sugar and spices are expensive to acquire, they are only used on major occasions resulting in plainer, blander foods. The only two discernible traits of Colonial cuisine are, firstly, that cattle meat dishes are commonplace due to a high number of ranchers in the Colonies. The other trait of their food is that they replace ingredients from foreign dishes with animals native to Essalonia, like instead of grilled Red Fairfin Fish, they eat grilled Flats Glider.
The Colonial people possess only one sport, which being Kickball. A simple sport, played by both male adults and children, though sometimes females are allowed to play, it involves kicking a leather ball across a field into a goal as the two teams compete to be the one to kick it in. A “neutral” party called the Guard protects this one goal from both teams and cannot be touched. The sport is aggressive because although young children don’t tackle or push each other too much, teenagers and adults tend to be sometimes quite vicious. The game is played at pickup games in lumber camps or major events and holidays.
Colonial culture is similar to Claith culture in that leisure time is often some form of work. When a child is done their schooling or work, they return home to instead help a relative with the food or cleaning the house or chopping firewood. Adults themselves are always busy with some form of work, as Colonial life often demands it. However, all parties get true leisure time in the evenings, where women will read or knit as men and boys talk and drink.
Colonial culture possesses few symbols of their own as they are deeply ingrained with a large group of Unionist symbols like the crane, Feathered Dragon or Essalonian imagery such as the Elasmo. Most recently, several frontier towns have embraced the symbol they call “The Urllon,” a creature that encompasses the wings of a Feathered Dragon onto an Url with two tails and a sword. This image is thought to reflect the new surge in Url tied to the Imperial Army and especially the tenure of Cedromar I as Emperor. Due to how the animal is being adopted quickly across many frontier towns, especially in the regional woodcarvings and woodwork, it is likely to represent the Colonial people soon.
- Some claim the Urllon is a real creature, a beast hiding in the eastern lands of Essalonia. Stories about it vary from a creature of warning to an aggressive beast that attacks Humans to a passive animal who flees at the first sign of trouble.
- Colonial culture demands harsh penalties to those who sin according to the Canon Law, which has resulted in some religious issues concerning homosexual Emperor Cedromar I, who rules without a wife. While their overall devotion to the Spirit remains strong enough to gloss over this small detail, Curates and other religious figures with a background in the Colonies have been one of the major, if not quiet, voices of discomfort with this.