|Origins||Gallovia Clannadh-Alba Talahm Gall|
|Social Classes||Sailors, Admirals, Generals, Shipwrights, Nobles|
|Major Cities||Kinwrey, Galloy, Llanswyrth, Dunfarrigh, Kinlass, Grisvarna|
Dominating the larger cities, castles, and upper-echelons of society in the Highland Territories are the Dunbrae, an inventive and cunning folk who are prideful in their survival of the tumultuous times of their conception, but also in the sharpness of their minds and the strength of their sword-arms. Conceived initially as a subculture of Caeren, the Dunbrae have since gained their own distinctions both in their home of the Highlands, but also in the wider political sphere of the Regalian Empire. The Dunbrae are an incredibly intellectual and studious people, intensely dedicated to their brethren and their craft, and hardworking in the endeavor to one day find peace in their time. The Dunbrae have had a great impact on the Regalian Empire as a whole, namely in their military and scientific sectors with their notable provision of more advanced military tactics and warfaring technologies. The Dunbrae are held high as an example of what the north should be, much to the chagrin of their Caeren sisters, and Velheim rivals.
In the midst of the strife and unrest caused by the Skagger Wars between 68 and 179AC, the Caeren people of Clannadh-Alba had seen many interactions with the burgeoning Regalian Empire through a mutual desire to repel the Velheim invaders out of their territories. The neighboring peoples having been harassed by the Skagger Hordes for many years before seeking aid from each other. This mutual desire led to the exchange of materials from the iron-rich highlands and manpower from the highly populous Regalian Empire, trading soldiers, tools and command in an endeavor to defend themselves. In the midst of these foreign exchanges, many Caeren men who were sent abroad on Regalian campaigns returned to their families with fresh ideals and excitement in their hearts, telling their families tales of the Regalian aristocracy, and the vibrancy and variety of the many cultural customs and cuisine held by those partaking in the Empire’s high society. Many notable clans in the region, notably the MacDomnhall, MacFelchad, and MacKinlass proved to be enthused by such tales and opted to more readily accept the influences of the Regalian Empire, and as such came to the agreement that they would adopt many of these notions, alongside Unionism, to further progress in the Empire they now sought to be a part of.
It was in the year of 130AC in the midst of the Skagger Wars that these clans, inspired by the Regalian Empire, finally came together to provide a unified front of their own. After witnessing the stubborn nature of many of their kinsmen (who had altogether refused the aid of the Regalians in favor of fighting the Skagger Hordes alone), these Caeren were now free to rule over the few coastal territories upon which their clans roamed, and opted to begin development of their own settlements, rapidly erecting temples and inviting preachers to their lands to rapidly convert their people to Unionism. It was during this rapid period of conversion that the Dunbrae culture had begun to form under the moniker of “The Men of Dunfarrigh’s Brae”, though this was rapidly shortened to the “Faction of Dunbrae”, centering themselves around the coastal city of Dunfarrigh. With the conversion to Unionism came an offer from the Regalian Empire to integrate them properly, yet peacefully into the Empire, with Emperor Henri III elevating the first Dunbrae Duke; The Duke of Dunfarrigh, from the clan leader of the MacFelchad. With this elevation came sweeping reform in the city of Dunfarrigh, the employment of Caeren from the surrounding settlements meant that the city could begin to expand at rapid speed, constructing great shipyards and metal foundries to support the ongoing war efforts with the Skaggers.
Following the establishment of the first truly Dunbrae-cultured settlement of Dunfarrigh in Clannadh-Alba, the Duke MacFelchad set his sights upon further expansion from the growing settlement, with the desire to spread his personal reach into the surrounding lands that were still dominated by the many Caeren villages and clans. The expansion of the Dunbrae was particularly light at first, many caravans and bards speaking of the greatness of life in the larger Dunbrae cities, as well as the riches that can be gotten from working there. This introduction of employment opportunities was something particularly foreign to many Caeren clansmen, who had until then operated on a system of barter and mutual need, as opposed to caring for concepts such as finances. The Duke’s desire to further spread his influence through the propagation of the Regal proved to be an excellent move, and many Caeren started to migrate to Dunfarrigh from the surrounding countrysides, with many families coming from as far beyond as Mannadh-Alba, in search of the rumored city on the shore. With a rapidly expanding workforce at his disposal, MacFelchad then started to begin construction of numerous sprawling castles and citadels, inspired by the architecture of the Breizh, establishing something of a border between the Duchy of Dunfarrigh and the rest of Clannadh-Alba. Whilst there were many Caeren arriving in the Duchy from afar, there were just as many Caeren who were disenfranchised with the Duke’s aggressive expansion and departed from his lands, rejecting conversions and telling tales of slander of the Duke’s establishments and holdings. Despite these, the influence of the Dunbrae began to expand far beyond the borders of Dunfarrigh. Despite the inception of the Dunbrae culture remaining exclusive to the region of Dunfarrigh, the culture actually blossomed in Talahm-Gall, Gallovia, where the culture and Unionist faith could spread somewhat unimpeded by Caeren traditionalists, and the frequented trade-routes that both Clannadh-Alba and the Gallovian Principality shared with the Regalian Empire.
Following the conclusion of the Skagger Wars the Dunbrae were afforded a brief period of peace in which the Culture could more rapidly spread and proliferate throughout Clannadh-Alba and Gallovia, with all efforts focused on expansion inwards, as opposed to repelling foreign invaders. The expansion of the Dunbrae was rapid, as was the construction and development of cities such as Kinlass and Grisvarna. The establishment of these two cities, similar in scale to Dunfarrigh marked the Dunbrae’s expansion from a mere offshoot people into a proper, fledgling society in their own right, and with the elevation of the Duke of Kinlass and the Duke of Grisvarna, more definitively put the Dunbrae in the Regalian political and military sphere, whilst also enabling the much more aggressive expansion of their influence.
This rapid expansion and growth of the Dunbrae and their strengthening influence over the political climate of Clannadh-Alba (which up to that point had remained fairly detached from region to region, with only clan warfare dictating any flow of power) through their wit and ruthless diplomatic strategies struck fear into the hearts of many Caeren, who believed that their freedoms of expression and their rights to their land were being infringed upon. With many Dunbrae travelers being beset upon by disgruntled Caeren thieves and brigands, and Unionist Missionaries sent out to convert the locals being mocked and shunned by the more staunchly traditional locals. These more defensive raids swiftly became offensive, and many Dunbrae villages found themselves set upon by bands (and entire clans in some more dire cases) of Caeren Skirmishers who would harass the locals and steal livestock. Many note that these raids were an attempt at provoking a retort from the Dunbrae locals, attempts to rouse them from their idleness, and to encourage them to return to their roots. This proved greatly unsuccessful, and had gruesome ramifications for both Cultures.
These smaller skirmishes and raids upon border villages would continue until the events of the Razing of Keirlochfan and the following Donnachad Massacre as a result in 195 AC. This battle was an overwhelming victory of Dunbrae levies over the disorganized Caeren skirmishers at the field of Donnacham, resulting in the first instance of open conflict between the two factions. The Donnachad Massacre struck terror into many Caeren, who started to determine that it was their fate to be ruled over by the Dunbrae, and taking advantage of the widespread despair, the Dunbrae sought out to do just that. They would gain many victories over the Caeren, outpacing them with superior military strategy until by 237 AC, the Dunbrae controlled much of Clannadh-Alba, soon establishing many larger cities. This string of overwhelming victories, however, came to a sudden and abrupt end with the emergence of Airdhan MacDomnhall, a Dunbrae officer turned Caeren-turncoat who saw the strength in the vaster numerical strength of the Caeren clansmen, provided they would take to a finer education in warfare. After fleeing from the field of battle at a smaller border skirmish, Airdhan approached the Caeren clan leaders, presenting himself as a means for them to end the war. In 240 AC, it was Aidhan MacDomnhall who led the unified Caeren clans against the formal Dunbrae standing army at the Battle of Talla nan Larks that resulted in a stalemate between the two largest armies seen throughout this entire conflict. Following the events of this battle, the war was brought to a close through the signing of the Declaration of Kir na Calle, a document that called for the unity and cooperation of the Caeren and Dunbrae peoples. Through this treaty, the Caeren would be able to maintain their personal way of living in exchange for Aidhan MacDomnhall to be given over to the Dunbrae for execution. These terms were accepted by the Caeren clansmen all too readily, and Airdhan MacDomnhall was executed in the city of Dunfarrigh on the 24th of August, 242AC following two years of imprisonment.
The following decades were a time of reclamation and reconstruction for the Dunbrae, who had already begun to rapidly reproduce and expand their populations’ influence once more, and established a greater hold over Clannadh-Alba. Many began to tout them as the victors over the Caeren, not through military might, but through their cunning wit and diplomatic strategies, striking many deals with the Caeren that seemed affluent to both sides, but most certainly benefited the Dunbrae more. Cities such as Grisvarna and Kinlass continued to further grow and expand into major trade hubs to Waldmark and Gallovia respectively, rebuilding the economy of Clannadh-Alba at a rapid rate, with endeavors towards reparations coming from both the Dunbrae, as the politicians and the gateway to interactions with the Regalian Empire, and the Caeren as their laborers and farmhands. This sense of mutual benefit led to an immense sense of pride and loyalty in many of the Dunbrae towards the Regalian Empire, and are currently reputable as some of the most fiercely loyal people to the Empire, though they commonly dismiss such claims.
Current situation in Clannadh-Alba
Similar to their Caeren cousins, the Dunbrae are currently experiencing a time of regrowth and repopulation following the constant strife the culture has experienced, though this internal conflict does not appear to be dying out anytime soon with many religious conflicts within their own populations. Small numbers of Dunbrae towns and villages have become disenfranchised with Unionism following a string of poor-performing High-Reverends that has led many to start nodding towards their Caeren roots in the faith of Creideamh Spiorad, however, remaining Unionist in primary belief. This partial conversion of some of the populace has led to the renewal of internal religious struggle beyond the natural and consistent struggle of the Caeren and Dunbrae.
Language and Dialects
The Dunbrae use Common almost exclusively, however distinguish themselves through their usage of regional ‘slang’, words, and accents that nod towards their roots in the Caeren Culture, but that are also influenced by their close relationship to their Caeren cousins. Slang dialects often vary from region to region, and these variations can be minimal - or they can entirely vary despite only moving from one village to the next. Many regions in Mannadh and Clannadh-Alba have hundreds of accents to them, and it is often used as a sort of playful mockery to ‘call out’ another on their peculiar accents or linguistic quirks. One particular quirk comes in the form of these dismissive retorts, usually said after someone has gone on about this huge sprawling tale that the Dunbrae (or even Caeren) had little interest in, or doubts the legitimacy of. There are few banquets where someone’s story isn’t met with a “Did ye, aye?” or a “That right, aye?” And such is usually taken in stride with a bit of laughter and banter, however, offense at the use of such a phrase is far from uncommon. There exists, however, a particularly odd term to refer to those who have such thickness to their accent that they become unintelligible, such individuals are labeled as ‘Bampots’ almost universally, though the origins of the phrase are rather unclear.
The naming customs of the Dunbrae aren’t too far removed from the Heartland Ceardians to the south, in that they use Imperial Standard Common for the majority of their names (although the Mac prefix remains popular), and opt to stick to a basis of one’s first name and surname taking precedence, although many of their names also draw from their own cultural standard. Many Dunbrae have middle names (often taken from the parent of the same gender as the child), but these are primarily for posterity and parental respect, and are rarely used in any official manner.
Lifestyle and Customs
Dunbrae families are in contrast to their origins, exceptionally small. Parents are only really expected to have one to two children, as their rate of survival is notably high, and children are expected to be incredibly well-educated to further their family’s reputation. While this can often branch to anything from military to artistry, Dunbrae families focus almost exclusively on intellectual and occasionally physical superiority in both themselves and their children, raising with the hopes that they will surpass both their parents in influence and capability. These children are then expected to leave and create small family pods of their own, only very loosely connected to their siblings if at all. The firstborn child being treated as the proverbial torch-carrier for the line. It is often joked about that Dunbrae parents are some of the most smothering in the Empire, with constant new ideas on how to bring their child up in the world.
Due to this rigid upbringing, many expect the Dunbrae to engage in arranged marriages, though this is not true. There are a few rare cases in which a marriage is arranged by the parents, though there is no actual societal pressure to marry early as the expectation is only one to two children maximum. It is also assumed that marrying for love will bring about more sturdy marriages with more time to properly raise their children, which has led to the concept of arranged marriage being very close to dead in Gallovia. Same-sex couplings are likewise accepted, and the independent structure of Dunbrae families means there is often no outside family member to pressure them into having a child if they choose not to. The right to succession is almost always given to the firstborn child, without regard to gender or intellectual capacity, with the only exception to this being children that actively refused their birthright or left the family before they would inherit. Even then, this is looked at strangely in the few rare cases in which it happens, as many parents are quick to assume the younger child coerced their older sibling in some way to convince them to give up what is rightfully theirs.
When compared to their more egalitarian cousins, the Dunbrae have a notably divided and stratified view on the roles each gender plays in the household. Women are raised traditionally to remain home and care for the house, though this is not performed with the consideration that women are inept outside of the home, but instead that women are exceptionally valuable to Dunbrae society as teachers and child bearers. It is a common Dunbrae belief that a woman will always be more readily trusted to educate their children than a man, and are much more capable of drawing out the individual talents of children than their male counterparts. The men, on the other hand, are often far from home, working a broad range of employments ranging from craftsmen to commanders, and often play very little role in the home beyond providing what is required by their wives to do their work. Despite these particularly firm gender norms, there are oftentimes exceptions, women who find themselves to be particularly talented in the more masculine trades are happily encouraged to pursue them, as the Dunbrae believe more firmly in the propagation of talent and progress over restricting oneself to a particular role from birth. It is in this trait that the Dunbrae stray from classic, traditionalist views, one’s talents, and usefulness will always override their particular set gender norms in the pursuit of greater benefit to oneself and the Dunbrae as a people.
The Dearth of the Dunbrae is a similar concept derivative of the Caeren concept of Dearths. These are conglomerations of Dunbrae with similar intentions, desires, hobbies, and interests who gather to create something more of themselves. Many Dunbrae craftsmen and inventors will belong to at least two Dearths in their lifetimes, as such remain the Dunbrae equivalent of Regalian craftsmen's guilds and societies, though this is not to say that Dunbrae Dearths are limited to such upstanding affairs. Many Dearths continue to harken back to their roots in their Caeren sister culture, in which gatherings of Dunbrae will come together to challenge themselves in feats of strength and resilience, though at much less risk to themselves than what the Caeren would engage in. Pastimes such as Lecgaen wrestling, Highland fencing, horseback riding, and jousting are popular amongst the more male-dominated Dearths, and in recent times are becoming arguably as popular with the women as well thanks to the recent shift in views of gender in the Empire. Dearths more dominated by women would traditionally engage in more artistic pursuits such as gatherings for painting, engaging in opera singing, dance, and, perhaps most curiously, climbing, it is often said that Lady-Dearths have been the source of some of the Dunbrae’s most intrepid exploration groups with their fiery spirit and hardy constitutions.
The Dunbrae have a great variety of holidays that often vary from city to city, with each region hosting their celebrations for a whole host of different reasons and excuses to party. However, there are a few almost universal celebrations that are found both in the Dunbrae of the cities and the Caeren of the towns and are the times where the two sister cultures conglomerate en-masse to celebrate their pride in their collective ancestry and their homeland.
- Laird's Night is held on the famous poet's birthday every year, being January 25th. Dunbrae will gather and host a mighty feast in the name of Connor Laird, reciting his works, as well as showcasing the newest works of upcoming bards. With a glass of whiskey and plate of tagais, Laird's Night is a celebration few miss out on.
- Ruitheadair’s Charge is an event most often hosted on both of the year’s solstices, being the 21st of June and the 21st of December. These events celebrate the very pinnacle of Dunbrae sportsmanship and serve as a ‘Grand Tournament’ of Jockey of Dearths from all over the lands towards the larger Dunbrae cities to participate in massive tournaments that often last for one to two weeks on end, and even through the night in some cases. The purpose of these events is twofold, to celebrate the grandeur of the Highlands, and as an excuse for each Dearth to brag about their particular Jockey, with the victor of these tournaments gaining almost immense wealth (at the behest of the bidding pool of the attendees), and almost universal bragging rights in the name of the Dearth and their hometown.
- The Great National is another grandiose celebration of Dunbrae cavaliers, but is not exclusive only to the Jockey, and is instead a grand derby race that is often set in a particular region. The race is of immense length and showcases the skill of the individual riders not only in their riding ability but their ability to forage for food and supply themselves on the oftentimes several-day long race. This race is often curiously held in honor of Hero of Merchants, as the race often makes use of avenues and roads most often used by traders, and serves as a faster-paced period in the life of a merchant traveling through the treacherous terrain of the highlands. This event is observed during the first Tuesday in July, and the last Tuesday of October.
- Welcoming Warmth is an important Dunbrae Festival, and often provides a platform upon which Dunbrae families come together to air their concerns and discontent with their siblings, parents, distant relatives and familial rivals in the hopes of instilling a sense of togetherness and sparking discussion. This festival often coincides with the celebrations held to honor Airdhan MacDomnhall, who died to unite the Dunbrae with their Caeren cousins. Similarly to such, this festival is held any time during August, though is most often held toward the end of the month.
- Burning Bridges is another Dunbrae festival with themes around the mending of schisms and broken relationships, and is often a day of recital and poetry by the Dunbrae. Large groups will gather in the centers of towns and cities and host a day of festivity in honor of the Battle of Talla nan Larks, and the diplomatic genius on their own behalf with tales of their intellect and dominance over the Caeren in the form of poetry, most often inspired by the style of Connor Laird and Laird’s Verse. This festival is also often attended by travellers who come from all over to experience the spectacle and the bizarre nature of Laird’s Verse and the slang language used therein. This festival takes place in April, May and September.
- Tatugh the Tatugh is a large and popular festival usually held in honor of the Unionist Faith and the Imperial Spirit in which many Dunbrae will gather in the streets of their towns and cities, donning the Imperial’s Tartan and march together from town to town, singing and chanting the praises of their ancestry, praising the Imperial Spirit, and encouraging the conversion of others. This festival is most often said to be the most violent of the Dunbrae festivals, as it often results in the aggressions of nearby Caeren who continue to worship the Creideamh Spiorad. As such, this festival is highly regulated and guarded by town militia in most circumstances. This festival takes place in November and March.
- The Braw Harvest is the Dunbrae equivalent to the Caeren Feis na Dansabuinne, and the two festivals often coincide with each other in collaboration. This festival is held in celebration of the Spirit’s gift of grain, and to celebrate the hard work of the Caeren farmers and the Dunbrae engineers who enable them to have such bountiful harvests. The festival is even held during times of famine, though the purpose of such is to beseech the land to provide a better harvest in the year following. Due to this difference, the Dunbrae often ramp up external trading during August, so that in October the festival may be celebrated with the harvests of other cultures, and is often a young Dunbrae’s first experience of foreign cuisine. This festival is especially popular amongst the Suvial Altalar and the Qadir, who take pleasure in importing their bright and flavorful foods to the Dunbrae at extortionate rates. This festival takes place in October.
The Dunbrae are firmly Unionist, with only very minor numbers of the Creideamh Spiorad Faith. Yet, the influence of their ancestors and Caeren’s faith has brought upon a rather unique twist on the faith. Although the Spirit is absolute, as is the Regalian Empire, tales of the Creideamh Spiorad are incorporated, with the heroes of legend acting as champions of the Spirit, and the countless Spiorad acting as either gifts the Spirit Itself to all, or as nefarious demons and great enemies to the faith. The existence of these emissaries of the Spirit never goes far enough to be considered heresy but does create an unquestionable sense of mysticism amongst the pious. Many cultural conventions of the Creideamh Spiorad persist beyond grand heroic tales, with reading the events of the lands and Spiorad as the Lair-Inniel do being commonplace. In this case, they are seen as divine interventions of the Spirit, vague yet powerful in the meaning, never having a direct benefactor. In many ways, the Dubrae faith shares many parallels to the Breizh and their similarly peculiar approach to Unionism. This unconventional approach to the faith has witnessed a decline in the last half-century with many instead turning to more “pure” forms of Unionism. Despite the popularity of this hybridization amongst the common folk and even some nobility, few if any Curates formally practice or recognize the Spiorad as extensions of the Spirit, instead preaching a more formal approach from their countless temples littering the land.
Literature and Folklore
Historically, literature has been absent from the Dunbrae (and in many ways, conventional prose is still absent from the scene), instead opting for oral and communal storytelling. As they developed, however, this love for public performance and speaking has grown into a rich and colorful society of bards and poets that have surged in popularity throughout the Regalian Empire. Amongst the most famed of these poets being Connor Laird, whose style known as “Laird’s Verse” continued to be emulated to this day. In a Laird’s Verse, the poem is separated into several four-line stanzas and makes extensive usage of the slang and linguistic quirks of the Dunbrae peoples, these particular traits lend the poems to carry a rather palpable sense of rhythm, and are recited by many bards accompanied by many theatrics. The popularity of these public performances has led many independent theatre groups to stitch and weave together many examples of a poet’s work to create a semi-cohesive narrative, may it be biographical or otherwise.
The themes of the natural world and Spiorad are commonplace amongst Dunbrae poetry, singing songs of the great highland Monroes, and wide-spanning lochs. The lingering influence of the Creideamh Spiorad and folklore of old have formed rich mythology within their literary canon. Creatures as selkies, sirens, unicorns, and the famed Loch Lennon Monster are commonplace alongside the Spiorad alongside other subjects of folklore. It is rare to find Dunbrae literature not centered around the natural world, and the few that do exist find themselves more melancholic, yearning for the great cities of Gallovia and Clannadh-Alba to give in to the everlasting beauty of nature.
The Dunbrae people, unlike their Caeren sister culture, are a people of ingenuity and progress, with eyes set constantly on the future and keeping themselves atop most technological advancements in the world around them. They are a people of constant dissatisfaction, always endeavoring to make more of themselves and to make more of the world around them. The Dunbrae as a culture was one developed during a time of strife during the Skagger Wars, where a large shift was seen by many people of the Caeren culture who saw themselves as above the encroaching Velheim and viewed their tribalistic roots as something barbaric that they sought to grow away from. Encouraged with further relations with the Regalian Empire, these dissatisfied Caeren stepped away from their past and embraced the developed, stately actions of the Regalian Empire.
Due to the rocky foundations of the culture’s development, the Dunbrae are a crafty people, with a strong cultural emphasis on philosophies of more mental and scientific study, believing that it was in making such technological and tactical advancements that the Dunbrae remained independent of the invading Skagger Hordes. They heavily emphasize a childhood full of education in literature, mathematics, and patronage in the arts to raise cultured individuals who are offered bright futures in Dunbrae industrial settings, a concept particularly familiar to the Caeren for all too different reasons. The Dunbrae are a people of challengers, thinkers, and movers, many families having grown up in environments where they had to use particularly underhanded means to survive, especially in military affairs when they were often forced into engagements with the Skagger Hordes, who had vastly superior manpower to their own. Unabashedly, the Dunbrae have proven themselves to be consistent in the promotion of excellent Generals and Admirals, and in a sense of pride to this accomplishment, their youth is often taught tales and lessons based upon the exploits of their successful ancestors in the hopes to encourage the youth to grow up to do better. It is in that desire to better one's ancestors as a means of respect that the Dunbrae share with the Caeren, albeit for different aspects of one’s character. The Dunbrae are a classy culture, and such is reflected in their drive towards study and their outlook on the world - but despite their abandonment of previously barbaric ways, they continue to share a close bond with their Caeren cousins.
Much of Dunbrae folklore has been absorbed into their heavy Unionist faith. Yet outside of that, there exist tales of many fanciful mythological creatures that prowl the highland moors, mountains, and lochs. To call the Dunbrae superstitious may be an understatement, with many tales of what goes bump in the night told to children at their bedside, or spoken about sitting at the tavern bar. To recite all of the strange traditions of superstition and mysterious sightings of creatures of legend would be near impossible, with how greatly these tales vary from settlement to settlement. Whilst one town may fear the color green due to their belief it attracts specters, the next one over might instead believe it to be blue. Such beliefs even persist through to the highest echelons of the Dunbrae people, although aristocrats usually take a more introverted path in addressing them.
Perhaps the most famous is the elusive Loch Lennon Monster, known beloved and colloquially as Lenny by the commoners. Many sailors and fishermen of the loch dock, rambling and raving about sighting the great creature (albeit many alcohol-fuelled), however, sightings are not uncommon elsewhere. This has led to some conspiracists believing that Lenny is not an isolated case, and instead of an undiscovered fauna not yet documented. Many scholars laugh such a notion off, but the limited few who believe there’s some credence spend their lives away on what many believe to be a wild goose chase. The existence of these fanatics are more than welcomed by the Dunbrae, as it provides a great boost to both the tourism in the region and the weight of their coin purses.
The pursuit of artistic talent has a particularly heavy emphasis in Dunbrae culture, though by far the most vibrant and apparent artistic pursuit is the art of glassmaking and mosaic. Intricate mosaics of stained glass line the walls and windows of much Dunbrae architecture, from temple walls to the windows of particularly upmarket tailoring shops, these glass mosaics, known as Seallaidhean Glainne are integral to the artistic representation of the Dunbrae as a people. A secondary pursuit that holds itself hand-in-hand with the Seallaidhean Glainne is the artistic expression involved in the intricacies of Dunbrae Architecture, vast buildings crafted of exquisitely carved basalt and stone line the cobbled streets of towns and cities in Gallovia, and the more wealthy regions of Clannadh-Alba, Dunbrae architects and stonemasons are known to be some of the finest and most meticulous stone craftsmen in the Regalian Archipelago, and are responsible for some particularly notable works of art in the forms of sprawling citadels and the tall, ageless temples that dot the landscape.
Dunbrae music is nigh indistinguishable from that of the Caeren, having survived through the ages from their common ancestry. The sound of the highlands is dominated by what is known as the “Bladderpipe” in common. Characterized by its bladder-like shape, the Bladderpipe is a wind instrument, with several pipes and a bag. Through the holes in the melody pipe, one can produce a tune, whilst the other pipes, called drones, produce only single notes, tuned to the melody pipe. The musician puffs air into a blowpipe, filling the bag, which is usually made from animal skin and is held beneath the arm, against the chest. The air blown in makes the reeds in the melody pipe and drones vibrate, producing a singular melody and three harmonies with one instrument. When the piper requires a breath, squeezing on the bag should keep the sound going. Many Bladderpipes are heavily ornamented, often boasting silver fittings, and a cover resembling the patterns of the family kiltach. There are few celebrations or conventions that do not feature a lone piper, playing songs and praises to the Dunbrae peoples.
Over time, the Bladderpipes have integrated into more conventional bands to create what is known as Ceilidh music. Ceilidh music is often played at social gatherings and parties, usually amongst commoners however some nobility may choose to sample it, to accompany a sort of dance known by the same name. Both Ceilidh music and dance are incredibly informal, where everyone tends to get involved, regardless of age or ability. The contents of the band vary from place to place, but they always include a caller, who announces the instructions to the dances, which are typically based on simple steps and formations. Such a simplistic form of dance, however, is often reviled by professionals of the trade, viewing it as little more than tomfoolery done by amateurs. Yet many a working Dunbrae, or even Caeren immigrant, will say there’s no better heart to a celebration.
The Kiltach is the national dress of the Dunbrae which is used by both women and men. Men traditionally wear a Vielt, which resembles a long sleeve and long front and back shirt with only minimal stitching around the shoulders and sides. This Vielt has no formal buttons or strings, meaning it is worn on the chest and arms like a bathrobe almost, tied by the waist with a leather belt. Then, they wear a Torld, which is a neck and shoulder piece usually made out of leather or copper, or silver. Upon the left shoulder of this Torld is attached a Kiltach Speld, a metal cast object that is often made in the image of a personal item, animal, or family symbol which is used to anchor the Kiltach to the Torld. The Kiltach is then allowed to drape down to the right hip, where it is tied with another Kiltach Speld against the belt that holds the Vielt in place. Finally, the Kiltach is then draped around the waist of the person, allowing to form a skirt of sorts. Normally, nothing is worn underneath the draped Kiltach aside from leather boots, but the more urbanized and aristocratic families have started wearing leather breeches to avoid accidents with strong winds and the ridicule of other Ailor cultures.
For men, the national dress is arranged in such a way that if one were to detach the Kiltach Speld on the Torld, it would cause the entire Kiltach to drape down, after which the male can then simply slip out of the Vielt while it remains attached by the belt and forms a back skirt over the Kiltach to expose the bare chest. This is largely practical because of the physical work that Dunbrae engage in, as well as their need to be ready for a match of Lecgaen wrestling at practically any turn, whether it be to settle an honor dispute at a pub or to engage in a religious wrestling match. Women wear their clothing very similarly, though their Kiltach is attached differently. While they also wear a Vielt, their Torld is made of thick wool stitched onto a soft leather surface that drapes halfway down their chest and elbows. Then their Kiltach is not attached by any Speld, rather, it is draped over the head like a scarf and then loosely pinned up against the top of the Torld with two Spelds, loose enough to make the whole Kiltach resemble a cape more than an actual headscarf. The loose ends are then usually weighed down with Kiltach Chestnuts, which are small metal weights attached to the cloth with small chains to give form to the fabric, something that only occurs for women. Kiltachs are only worn after the age of 14, while children continue to wear regular regalian lap clothing due to the Kiltachs having both religious and cultural connotations towards adulthood.
Dunbrae Architecture is a grand hallmark of their culture as a whole, responsible for the construction of enormous, intricate citadels and the most minute attention to detail in even the smaller, more practically minded castles, the Dunbrae aren’t a people to skimp out on any flair with regards to the construction of their cities. Dunbrae homes are crafted of stone in particular, with wooden framing and supports, of multiple floors, and with much decoration in their homes. Houses are constructed to survive the test of time against the elements and war, with incredibly sturdy foundations set deep into the earth through trenches. Their homes are often tall, featuring multiple floors with high ceilings much akin to the architecture of the city of Regalia, even in the poorer regions of their cities the homes are crafted with immense detail, and the indoor spaces are divided into individual apartments to allow for smaller, cheaper living spaces. The Dunbrae also has a great emphasis on religious architecture, with Clannadh-Alba being one of the most temple-populous landmasses in the Regalian Archipelago, it is often said that one “cannot throw a stone without striking a holy man’s home”, about the density of temples constructed in the region, with even smaller villages often housing between three and five temples of their own. It is due to this fervor that Dunbrae temples are constructed quickly and with much experience, yet do not slack in their structural foundations, nor the intricate details involved in their crafting of tall steeples and spires.
Dunbrae cuisine shares similarities with the neighboring Caeren at a base level. Whilst the poor indulge in the same dishes such as Tagais, Pancrùban, Bannuc and even some Marag Dubh, those with more coin in their pockets enjoy the tastes of great game, such as venison and pheasant. Sporting Hunts are commonplace amongst the middle and upper class of Dunbrae society, where they venture to game parks with the sole intention to hunt, usually accompanied by a pack of their hounds. There’s no greater pride than tucking into a fresh game caught by your hand, or your servants to the nobility of the lands. Such game is often comprised of elk or Deer, for their rich meat and numerous trophies that can be claimed from the swift beasts, however particularly challenge-hungry Dunbrae hunters are known to even pursue the Gallovian Black Bears deep into the highland forests, to slay them for their meat and their pelts, and the meat is often used in a dish known as Mathan-Cuirm, or “The Bear’s Feast”, though such is achieved on rare occurrences, meaning that whenever such a dish is made, it becomes the talk of any particular town. The Dunbrae make efficient and excellent use of all parts of their catches, lending themselves to the brutal efficiency of their Caeren cousins.
The liquor industry thrives in the highlands of Gallovia and Clannadh-Alba, being home to the great Dunbrae Whiskey Distilleries, known by many locals as “The Water of Life”. Made from malted barley, all Dunbrae Whiskey is expected to be aged at least three years within oak barrels. Many Dunbrae are very particular as to what constitutes Dunbrae Whiskey, and what does not. The rules of such are up to many debates and squabbles, but so long as it’s produced entirely within their homelands, is strong, and goes untouched by any unnecessary additives, it tends to be approved by most. Another commonly adored drink by the Dunbrae is known as the Steeliebrew, given such a name due to its amber color - oddly similar to the color of rust. It is a punchy drink with an almost indescribable flavor, vibrant and refreshing, and one of the Dunbrae people’s first experiences with the use of Clockwork devices for foodstuffs. Despite the recent creation of the Steeliebrew, its popularity spread like wildfire amongst Dunbrae and Caeren alike.
Dunbrae sports are a passion of their culture that almost rivals the intensity of the Caeren love for sports, however, they find themselves engaging in much more refined sports that host the concept of select ‘Sportsmen’ as something of much value, as opposed to the though of everyone engaging in a sport much like the Cluicheadair Ballacoisie of the Caeren - though it isn’t uncommon for Dunbrae to partake in such games on rare occasion. Instead, Dunbrae sportsmanship finds itself much more localized to the jousting lists, tourney fields, and the courses of the Dunbrae Peilear-Fada, or Courser, a well-renowned sport that is partaken in by many wealthy Dunbrae. Courser requires much space and much preparation to function properly, with the establishment of specific courses being massive financial and laborious undertakings - most often done by the Caeren. The sport itself is deceptively simple, one attempts to strike a ball along a course, from a point known as a ‘Tee’, to a hole in the ground some several-hundred yards away making use of a variety of clubs and techniques to avoid the often treacherous terrain that surrounds the courses and provides them with their challenge. Courser persists so much into Dunbrae society that many Dearths are dedicated entirely to the sport, with Caeren course-tenders, caddies, and gardeners, the sport itself provides a wealth of employment opportunities and proves to be universally favored by many. Dunbrae jousting lists are another equally valued brand of sportsmanship, and, where many would limit participation in such to the Knightly class, the Dunbrae instead have raised their concept of the “Ruitheadair” (or Jockey), a sportsman explicitly dedicated to the art of jousting that is often highly celebrated as a hero of one’s hometown, much tales of grandeur, filled with hyperbole follow these particular individuals wherever they go. The art of Lecgaen wrestling is also held in incredibly high regard amongst especially the upper echelons of Dunbrae society, however, it is engaged into at least some small capacity by the vast majority of men and women alike, be it for recreational enjoyment or learning of the foundations of self-defense, or simply watching a pair of experienced Stryngers go at it, the schooling is found almost everywhere in Dunbrae towns.
Outside of the Ceilidh Dances of the common folk, the Dunbrae enjoy engaging in debates and discussions regarding technological advancements and creations, it is often said that ‘a Dunbrae is best found in their Shed’, a testament to the intense creative vision of the Dunbrae during times of peace, and even more so in times of war, a vision that drives their armies and their industrial foundations right to their very core. The Dunbrae also tend to spend a great amount of time rearing horses, raising grand steeds and stallions for their use in hunting, travel and to impress their Dearth’s Jockey, many Dunbrae families have at least a single horse dedicated to their name and will offer their horses for breeding with those of their neighbors in exchange for goods in interactions known as “Stable Trades”, most often in the form of coin, though a family’s foal is something held to extremely high values. Dunbrae hunting expeditions are often particularly grand affairs, and the culture has propagated a particular enjoyment in cavalry and dog-hunting, making use of steeds and hounds to track and chase down their targets with fearsome efficiency, and such feeds into their close relationship with animals kept by the family, as the Dunbrae are a culture with a rich history in husbandry of many kinds.
Dunbrae are usually represented in popular culture through the Greatsword and the Kiltach, with very few animal comparisons and symbols after their full integration, as most deem them a barbaric property of the Caeren. Both cultures often argue about who should be represented by the bladderpipe. The Dunbrae push the idea that their more modern approach to an ancient instrument through Ceilidh music mirrors their modern, superior approach to the old traditions, which has generally been accepted by more modern cultures as fact, as most nobility and higher class people were first exposed to the instrument through Ceilidh music.
- The Dunbrae are best known for the Kiltach and are often highly regarded as the creators of such despite it being a creation of the Caeren, the Dunbrae often take this misnomer in stride.
- A Jockey by the name of Caleb MacDunfarrigh is highly respected as perhaps one of the finest riders in Dunbrae history, having won the yearly Great National seven years in a row. However, many other Jockeys at the time, and even now constantly accuse him of foul play.
- The Dunbrae sport of Courser has attracted much attention from the outside world, reaching as far as the Songaskian Masaya in the Farah’deen.