|Common Names||Itties, Court-fanatics, Menmancers|
|Social Classes||Artists, Clothiers, Rulers, Philosophers, Bureaucrats, Traders, Jewelers, Nobles|
|Major Cities||La Porte Du Paradis, Bijoux-Plus-Rême, Ancellois, Heress-Gervindres, Heress-Agellèmes, Prive-Dusois, Mont Selparchain de Puvière|
By far the Culture with the most political affluence among the Ailor people, the Ithanian Culture is a highly-developed court society originating from Ithania which has since spread out across Aloria, especially taking root in the Regalian Archipelago. The Ithanian Culture long influenced the court style of nearly all other Ailor Cultures, and despite recent reductions in their power, continues to be a major trendsetter in the world’s high fashion, cuisine, art, and lifestyle, much to the chagrin of others. It is strongly opposed by the New Regalians, and is often snubbed as excessive and merely seeking to cause shock and offense for the sake of it. However, these aspects of their society have much deeper roots than many would assume at first glance, and is only the tip of the iceberg of an immensely complex Culture. The most core aspect of Ithanian Culture is their heavy reliance on female preference, a direct opposition to the New Regalian male preference, and all cultural tendencies that flow out of that preference. Other aspects of this Culture are a radical support for the freedom of speech, public debate and discourse, a fervent support of non-confrontation and non-violence, and a high emphasis on economic development, usually at the expense of the poor and the downtrodden.
The Ithanian Culture was born during the emancipation of Ailor slaves, several decades before the collapse of the Allorn Empire in the region that roughly composes Ithania in the present day. The Ithanian Altalar principalities retained a very conservative (from the perspective of Altalar) outlook, rejecting the Archmages during the earlier periods, and avoiding the worst excesses of Void corruption that had permeated the Allorn Empire everywhere else. The Ithanian Altalar retained a very strong sense of liberty and autonomy, being geographically distant from the heartland of the Allorn Empire, and also protected by a strong geographical boundary through the Ithanian deserts and jungles. In order to bolster their defenses against the ever collapsing Allorn Empire’s chaos, the leading princes and princesses of the Altalar aristocracy decreed that all Ailor slaves were to be released, which at that point already outnumbered the Altalar population of Ithania. A sense of cooperation was established with the Ailor after this emancipation, as they started filling up various roles in civic and military duties, but also rose up to the higher echelons of Ithanian society. Through their mingling with the Altalar, and bringing various Ceardian Ailor customs, the Ithanian Culture was essentially created in emulation of Altalar Culture, but with an Ailor twist.
Ailor and Altalar cooperation protected the Ithanian principalities from the collapse of the Allorn Empire, and by pure luck, the region was relatively unharmed by the Wildering and Cataclysm, allowing these principalities to remain wealthy and independent. Through the continued slavery of Asha, and the resource wealth of the Ithanian heartlands, the principalities quickly recovered what minimal losses they had sustained, and continued to grow into prosperity as Ailor populations boomed. Around 50 AC, the principalities formally united into the Ithanian sovereign realm, though maintained strong local autonomy even in an elected central authority. While most of the principalities were ruled by Altalar, they would eventually come to be replaced by Ailor and half-Ailor half-Altalar. In modern times, fifteen of the twenty-one Hivres are ruled by Ailor, four are ruled by half-Ailor, while only two principalities are still ruled by an Altalar family. The Altalar that lived in Ithania eventually also gravitated towards the Ithanian Culture, meaning that there is a large and noteworthy Altalar minority in the Ithanian cultural hemisphere, and meeting an Ithanian Altalar is not entirely out of the ordinary, especially in Regalia. Eventually, when Ithania had a strong foundation, wealthy families sought other environments and states to expand their wealth into, leading them to Regalia.
The Regalian Empire, nearly complete in its conquest of the entire Regalian Archipelago, received a flood of Ithanian migrants, in particular towards the southern lands and the heartland regions. The large influx of Ithanian migrants brought court culture to Regalia, and eventually formed the foundation of court politics in major nations like the Kingdom of Lusits, the Regalian Empire itself, and even as far as the old Ceardian Kingdoms. The Regalian Empire eventually eclipsed the Ithanian Sovereignty in wealth, resulting in the Ithanians in Regalia funding and encouraging an invasion of Ithania to unify their distant cultural relatives. While Regalia continues to call it an invasion, the truth is much more complicated. While it is true that Regalia sent an army to Ithania, as soon as the army landed, the principalities and even the Sovereign of Ithania invited them in for the protection of the realm, supported by a large number of bribes from Regalian Ithanians. The event was puffed up as a sign of strength and glory for an Empire that was, at the time, going through major financial difficulties, but came out for the better in the end. Through the reunification of all the Ithanian emigres and homelanders, Regalia gained a substantial tax boost that would eventually encompass forty percent of the Regalian budget, and continues to cover roughly that number to the present day.
Current Situation in Ithania
In recent times, the last female Ithanian Sovereign of Ithania was executed by the invading king Florent de Gosselin, who was later approved and honored by the Regalian State, making his usurpation of control legal. De Gosselin who is theoretically Ithanian, but more commonly understood to be of Imperial Culture, has attempted to change much of Ithanian strata, however the Culture has remained extremely resilient, and the leading classes refused to change to his designs. As such, it is commonly believed that de Gosselin has already given up on trying to change the Ithanian people to become more Pro-Imperial, and is leaning to appointing his youngest daughter to become the new Ithanian Sovereign, albeit removing the elective crown principle, and establishing inherited royalty in the Ithanian Sovereign on his death in the future. The Ithanians in the Regalian Archipelago however are far less resilient to change, openly embracing Imperial tendencies, seeing much profit to be made by working more closely with the other Cultures and the central state that retains a distinct Imperial appeal. More and more, Ithanians are learning that antagonizing New-Regalians does not substitute a good political doctrine.
Language and Dialects
The Ithanian Language, also known as D’Ithanie, is one of the oldest Ailor tongues in the world. It emerged from Allorn Altalar when recently freed Ailor slaves from before the Cataclysm sought to speak their own Language. To many foreigners, Ithanian sounds complex and excessive with various grammatical constructions that do not exist in any other language, as one would expect having been subtracted from a convoluted Altalar standard. D’Ithanie shares some vocabulary similarities with Daendroquin and other tongues to have emerged from former Daen slaves, though none are mutually understandable. The Ithanians continue to pride themselves in the fact that they (along with Bragacao and Daendroque) speak some of the few Languages that did not develop out of the Ceardian, Velheim or other tribal bases that existed elsewhere in the world, whom they have often dejected as barbarian or savage.
Ithanians have both simple yet complicated naming customs. While a simple first and surname are the common trend for ease of use, Ithanians also enjoy their so called “Nom de Court”, or their Court Name, which is a long construction. A Nom de Court starts with a first name, which for men is often like: Hiber, Jean, Francois, Alucard, Guy, and for women is often like: Ella, Noulaise, Alaîs, Attenaïs, Julienne, Madileine, and so forth. This is then immediately followed by the so-called “Nom de Lune”, meaning Moon Name, as the moon has an important role in Ithanian culture. The Nom de Lune is derived from the month that the Ithanian was born in, followed by the term to describe the phase of the moon, described below:
- January is Javienne
- February is Vrière
- March is Marsalle
- April is Vrillaie
- May is Ailaise
- June is Huinousse
- July is Huiviesse
- August is Aoûte
- September is Ellaivre
- October is Tomaise
- November is Obraive
- December is Grande
- New Moon is Looxois
- Waxing Crescenti is Croissant
- First Quarter is Terrois
- Waxing Gibbous is Solarent
- Full Moon is Pouvoir
- Waning Gibbous is Illumin
- Third Quarter is Regalois
- Waning Crescent is Troissant
So for example, if an Ithanian male named Guy was born in December under the Full Moon, the name up to this point would be Guy Grande-Pouvoir. Following the Nom de Lune comes the “Nom de Coeur”, which translates to Name of the Heart. The Name of the Heart is chosen by the individual during their coming of age, and it always has to be a word that describes an emotion, item, animal, object or concept that they strong associate with. For example, if this Guy Grande-Pouvoir strongly associated with lions because they were a Lion’s Pelt knight, and they felt that lions would stand for courage, then his name would become Guy Grande-Pouvoir Lion Coeur. The Nom de Coeur must always be the chosen word or term, followed by the word Coeur. When the Nom de Coeur is complete, a surname is added, that signifies their family membership which for the sake of this example is Montvertu.
Then, finally, all Ithanians complete their Nom de Court with the “Nom de Noblesse”, or the name of Nobility. The word Nobility is a bit more widespread in Ithania, because the Ithanians consider themselves all to be noble as long as they are Ithanian, and ignoble if they are not. The Nom de Noblesse as such is less an aristocratic distinction held only by those of blue blood, and instead a widespread thing. The Nom de Noblesse must always be written this way: An animal chosen that they associate with or consider their spirit animal, followed by “de” (of), followed by the place they were born. So, for example, if this Guy Grande-Pouvoir Lion Coeur Montvertu was born in Theloise, and considered a dog his spirit animal, his full name would finally be: Guy Grande-Pouvoir Lion Coeur Montvertu Cien de Theloise.
Ithanian Law also called Lois-Penal, is the only real legal code existing outside of the Regalian judiciary that is comparable to the complexity of Regalian Law. While Lois-Penal was originally very different from the Regalian Law code, over the last few decades, Regalian laws have progressively been overwriting the laws of Lois-Penal. Lois-Penal can be requested in Regalia, as it is protected by the Ithanian citizenship laws. When an Ithanian citizen breaks Regalian Law, an Ithanian law book must always be present during their court trial. If during the court trial is appears that what the Ithanian did wrong does not break any Ithanian laws, the court trial is suspended and the Ithanian declared innocent. This can nowadays only occur due to a small selection of laws, as the Lois-Penal and Regalian Law are effectively the same. The differences between the law penal codes is described below:
- Any Regalian Law regarding the composition of a marriage, how many partners marry, adultery and the relation between citizenship and legal marriage are null and void in Lois-Penal. Ithanians are not legally punished for polygamy, polyandry, adultery and are not limited in who or where they can marry.
- Any Regalian Law regarding freedom of speech, insult or ridicule or name-calling are null and void in Lois-Penal. Ithanians are not legally punished ever for insulting or defaming anyone, even if they are noble.
- Any Regalian Law regarding violence, attempted murder, battery or assault, are punished twice as hard in Lois-Penal. If found guilty, those judged under Lois-Penal received increased penalties than if they had been judged under Regalian Law.
Lifestyle and Customs
Ithanian families are, simplest put, probably the most complicated family affair of any Ailor Culture. At its very base, Ithanian families are steeped in polyandry, though largely only in the upper echelons of their society, as commoners usually don’t have any time to be entertaining additional marital relations, though they do occur. In Ithanian Culture, polygamy is considered a great evil and repressive towards women, while polyandry is considered a fair and just way of binding multiple partners together. Ithanian families are deeply matriarchal and ‘ownership’ of a family passes down from grandmother to granddaughter, with the grandmother usually choosing the granddaughter to mass matriarchy onto, not necessarily the oldest born child of the oldest born daughter. Women marry their first husband, called the Homme de Coeur, whose job it is to be a loving and caring husband for his wife. This husband is primarily tasked with attentiveness but also caring to the emotional needs of the other husbands. The second husband, called the Homme des Bras, is the husband primarily tasked with the physical protection of all members of the family, including the wife, but also all other husbands of the wife. While the Homme de Coeur is usually a more beautiful husband, the Homme des Bras is usually a stronger and most imposing husband. Then finally, the third husband is the Homme des Oiseaux, who is primarily tasked with the management of the household, as well as information gathering and financial management. This results in a 4 person marriage where each member has a strict role, whether it be leadership, caring, protection, or administration. It is permitted for the woman to sire children from all husbands, but only daughters sired from the Homme de Coeur can become new matriarchs in further generations. When an Ithanian woman only marries a single man (which is uncommon, but does happen), this man is called Homme d’Unité, who has to fulfill all tasks. Most Ithanians take pity on Homme d’Unité, as they believe life is much better lived with the burdens of domestic relations spread out over multiple members. Leadership however must always reside in the woman. Additionally, once a Homme des Bras or Homme de Coeur has died, they cannot be replaced. While Ithanian Culture is polyandrist, it is also extremely devoted, and does not re-marry or divorce like Velheim or Ceardians do, and find the very concept of divorce despicable. Loveless marriages do exist, as arranged marriages also occur in Ithanian Culture.
Ithanians also tend to live in multigenerational households, usually three generations living in the same house, but on different levels. The grandparent generation usually lives on the ground floor, while the middle generation lives on the second floor, and the youngest generation on the highest floor. The idea is that in order to reach the younger generations, one has to pass through the older generations and additional layers of protection to reach to where one wants to go. Parents are rarely involved in the raising of their own children, this is usually given to the grandparents, specifically the grandmother and the Homme de Coeur grandfather. Grandchildren call their grandmother Sucré-Mère, or Sugar-Mother, and consider both their biological mother and their biological grandmother their mothers, though only ever acknowledge their biological father as their father, and their mother’s other husbands “uncles”. That being said, they do not consider their half-siblings not full-blooded relatives. As long as they belong to the same mother, all siblings are considered full-blooded. Ithanian families matriarchal training begins with sisters to brothers. Brothers are never permitted to choose who they wish to marry or court, rather, this is decided upon by the sister, even if she is not the matriarch. Same-sex relations in Ithanian families are a somewhat controversial topic. Female same-sex relations simply do not exist in the legal sense. A woman and another woman cannot be married. A woman can however take an extramarital lover (since adultery is not illegal in Ithanian law), called the Femme de Coeur. A woman having multiple female lovers however is strictly forbidden and taboo, and the idea that they must marry a man at some point remains true even if they are strictly same-sex oriented, because women in Ithanian culture have a duty to lead men. Same-sex relations among men are equally dubious. It is often encouraged of a Homme de Coeur to have more than friendly relations with the Homme des Bras and Homme des Oiseaux, though this only rarely actually happens. Married men are permitted to have male lovers to some degree, even numerous ones, but they may never be permitted inside the house or to be seen by the wife. Same-sex men in Ithanian society simply never marry, which Ithanians consider acceptable. An Ithanian man who never married and loves other men is said to have “Espirit d’Homme”, which as a concept allows them to live without needing the guidance and leadership of women.
Ithanian gender divisions are extreme and absolute. There is no violation or deviation possible (though there may have been some circumstances where the regulations were bent a bit). Women rule and fulfill all the various leadership positions. Men are the military, craftsmen, and physical laborers as well as the bureaucrats, managers, and caretakers. Asha are used exclusively as slaves for the lower-end jobs and positions that are considered too dirty or low for Humans to perform. The inclusion of Asha as first rank citizens in the Regalian Empire has had no effect on the slavery of Asha in Ithania. In fact, the Grand Sovereign of Ithania negotiated a deal (still upheld by King Florent) that any Asha in Ithania remains a slave-worthy creature and does not have first citizen rights within the borders of the Ithanian realm. It is believed that the Espirit de Lune dictates that women are charged and have the responsibility to contain the worst violent and authoritarian excesses inflicted by men in other Cultures by leading for them. Men who have Espirit d’Homme in turn are exempt from this, so it is in fact possible to encounter a man ruling something in Ithania, or managing something, as long as they are exclusively same-sex oriented and unmarried. Far from being de-masculated cuckolds, Ithanian men have a great deal of pride and take satisfaction making their contribution to family life and Ithania as a whole. All of Ithania (except the downtrodden and slaves) generally live in extremely high wealth standards, and as such, Ithanian men are far less prone to what they refer to as toxic masculinity that permeates other Cultures as they try to hold onto archaic male-dominated strength-based structures that have a habit of inflicting death and violence on itself. They generally have a high level of self-awareness and self-esteem due to the very open and involved Ithanian society that prioritizes mental welfare far more than any other Culture or race, allowing them to easily deflect any de-masculating comedy created by those who they believe insist on perpetuating misogynistic principles.
Ithanians are strong adherents of Unionism. While the Faith of Estel was once dominant, and while heresy faiths exist elsewhere in the Empire, Ithania has remained Unionist and converted virtually as soon as the period of Regalian domination began. This conversion had two reasons. Primarily, they converted because the Unionist faith is central to the idea of the Ithanian liberties, or more specifically, the Ithanian liberties at the expense of the other Races. Unionism as a faith allows for Ailor to abuse or degrade other Races, thus expanding the individual liberties of the faithful at the expense of the non-faithful, who are cast away and worthy of basic rights. This has allowed Ithanians a guilt-free pass at effectively developing the doctrine of Imperialism, colonizing far away lands both legally and militarily to extract all valuables from the land and locals, while leaving the locals behind in destitute conditions. Indeed, Ithania remains the largest slave-owning realm in the Regalian Empire, as their wealth continues to be built on the work of those in chains.
Literature and Folklore
Ithanian Culture knows the so-called Princois Decelles, or Principles of Divine Divinity. These Principles identify the cornerstone of Ithanian society, and why they engage in certain actions and expressions. They are as follows:
- Princois d’Elvellen: The Elvellen Principle exists to express that the Ithanians consider the Elves (Altalar only) a remarkably advanced and high Culture people worthy of emulating and integrating into their own society. Their finesse and poise is something worth rivalling and exceeding, but also incorporating. This has largely caused Ithanians to frequently side with Altalar over other Ailor-prone issues or business, causing them to sometimes be referred to as race-traitors. The Ithanians believe that the Altalar (particularly Teledden) are a kindred spirit, and as such are more prone to cooperating with them than anyone else. Many Ithanian nobles, despite not being Altalar, patronize Altalar organizations such as the School of Ïstorei.
- Princois Libresse: The Liberty Principle exists to express that Ithanians believe freedom of expression is the highest right that should be respected and exercised, and that their freedom of decadent expression is the hallmark of their Culture. Local autonomy, as well as choice of habitation and freedom are immensely important to the Ithanians. It is said that in Ithania and in Pays-Sud there is no such thing as a serf. Indeed, when comparing Pays Sud with Anglia, one finds that the jobs usually filled by semi-free serfs are instead filled by slaves, and even the poorest of Ithanian commoner is free to choose where they work, when, and how, instead of being locked to the land they were born on due to the debts of their parents to a landlord. Part of this principle is also that Ithanians are progressive, and seek to expand the liberties of their people, as well as others within their society with the exception of slaves. This is why most Ithanians tend to be on the side of progressive change and law reforms.
- Princois Duresse: The Peaceful Principle exists to express that warfare has no positive outcome ever and should be avoided at all costs. That being said, Ithanians aren’t strictly defenseless or incapable of going to war, it is just that they use all venues available before agreeing to military matters. When Ithanians go to war, they express that there must be “Beauty in death”, and that if death comes, it must come from the hands of those who decide. What this means in practice, is that Ithanian armies are the only armies in the world that have both women and men in it, but that stratify the roles of both genders. Men must always be the frontline soldiers, who never attack. Ithanian formations are designed around a core of female archers and skirmishers that are led by an all-female general’s camp. The job of the men is to form a strong shield formation to protect the women, and hold off the enemy, while the women whittle down their foe with projectiles. Mages of either gender are also used on the vanguards to ensure stability for the core. Ithanians never advance or go on the offense, and prefer to remain stationary and defensive, even on a battlefield of their choosing. Far from being predictable or outdated, Ithanian battle tactics around defensive formations are the most skilfully executed and well developed defensive doctrines in the world, taught at the military academy for generals in the capital of Ithania (but only to women). Knights exist separately from Ithanian armies, and are just as frequently male as they are female, acting as scouts or frontline commanders during battles. It is a frequently misused conception that Ithania does not have an Army. Ithania does in fact have an army, but rarely actually mobilizes it, as it has a tax arrangement with the Regalian Empire that charges the Empire with protection in exchange for increased payments from Ithania. Ithania also has a highly skilled Royal Guard that is only rivaled by the Imperial Guard of the Regalian Emperor.
- Princois Ancois: The Ancestor Principle exists to express that praise of one’s ancestors is a great virtue, and that ancestors deserve to be included even after death. This usually results in Ithanian estates or houses have numerous ancestral shrines, statues of deceased ancestors that have incense and flowers laid near them on a daily basis. Some Ithanians take it even further by including a statue of their deceased relative at the dining table, but this only tends to happen in the most excessive of households.
- Princois Vilois: The Vilification Principle exists to express that Ithanians should expend every financial means possible to themselves to diminish or destroy outside factors that could remove or limit their freedom of expression. It is also considered a good practice to try and enrich oneself, a glorification of capitalist tendencies and imperialist doctrines, usually at the expense of the poor and the slaves. Finances are a measure of a person’s success in Ithanian Culture, and financial success in itself can be used as a means to prove someone’s effectiveness.
Ithanian art is extremely similar to Imperial art in the realm of statuary, given that they both represent glorification of the bodily figure, though Ithanian style instead focuses on thinly shrouding the figure’s body with really thin silks complete with complex folds. Usually, the folds produced by the contours of the body are of higher artistic expression than the whole statue itself. As such, a sculptor will often create strange, unrealistic facial proportions but extremely realistic clothing folds, and still be considered a master sculptor. Surprisingly, Ithanian art is not exclusively aimed at women. Male statues are in fact more frequently seen, as the female attitude towards men is more complicated than just misandrist. While it is true that Ithanian women consider themselves emotionally superior to men, they also glorify and praise the physical superiority of men, and their intellectual capacity. It is more common for households ran by women to have male statues in their household, celebrating the male physique in various physical activities, and praising a standard of beauty set by the household. Statues are almost exclusively made out of the whitest of marble, as the color white is considered pure in Ithanian Culture. They believe dark stone colors are obscene and dirty, and refrain from showcasing anything that includes a tanned skin, as working under the sun to them shows poorness, and poorness does not belong in art. Jewelry is also an expression of art in Ithanian Culture, particularly adopting Altalar jewelry but also designing their own, often in combination with Altalar silks or Sihai silks, embroidered with gold-thread. Silver is considered a dirty metal in Ithania, and is rarely seen, as Ithanians consider silver a poor people’s metal.
Ithanian music is often imported from the Dressolini, as that Culture is considered to have the best musicians. However, it is thanks to the Ithanians that the music theatre genre known as the Opera was born in Aloria. Under Ithanian guidance and desire for decadent and beautiful theatre, Dressolini composers were directed to produce works for the stage, which led to the creation of Opera. While it quickly jumped back to the Regalian Archipelago, Ithanian Culture seized on it and formed their own traditions. Ithanian Opera heavily focuses on the political drama of the story as well as the costuming for all involved. A wholly original form of Ithanian music though is the Chanson, literally translated as “song” in Common, but referring to a genre of epic poetry songs that describe the harrowing early years of Ithanian society as they struggled to commit to pure pacifism. They also focus on the founding of the Ithanian Sovereignty, but both events are largely mythologized in these stories as a way to glorify the ancestors of modern Ithanian aristocrats.
Ithanian fashion is strongly dominated by silk, and often even by semi-translucent silks. In fact, their fervor for silk is so great, that they absorb nearly half the Empire’s silk production, and nearly 8 out of every 10 bales of silks arriving as imports from the Sihai lands. For women, modesty is covered, but skin is frequently exposed for the sake of attracting attention and showcasing what the women are proud of. For men, parts of the chest and stomach can be exposed, but arms and legs must always be strictly covered up, whether with silks or with gloves. A man who has peak physical fitness usually gets away with larger and more open pieces of clothing, while men who are overweight are forced to completely cover up including a hat, as their physique is considered too repulsive to public viewing. Ithanians have developed the fashionable clothing piece called the crop top (frequently worn by men), where it merely covers the chest and leaves the stomach exposed. This is normally a piece of clothing worn by commoners (due to the heat of Ithanian deserts and the countryside), however has made its way to the upper classes as a form of casual home dressing that is liberating and expressive, with high accessorization. Additionally, Ithanians must not under any circumstances wear furs or pelts, as these are considered barbarian clothing pieces.
Ithanian architecture is well known for representing some of the grandest and most complex work in Aloria, blending ancient Altalar design with Ailor materials and labor to produce glorious structures. It is important to note that commoners don’t necessarily live in palaces, but even the low stratas of Ithanian society live in reasonably large houses. The only true downtrodden of Ithanian society live in so-called undercities. These undercities are usually at the bottom end of the Ithanian waterfalls, artificial waterfalls are usually created in Ithanian cities for their beauty, while also creating a distinct undercity where the copious amount of dew and mist of the cascading water obscures view. It is generally said that while everything touched by the sunlight in Ithania is pristine and clean and rich and glorious, everything touched by the dew of the waterfalls where the sun does not reach is a hotbed of crime. Many Ithanians also still live in Altalar structures which remain remarkably well preserved even more than a thousand years of habitation. As for the structures entirely original and representative of Ithanian principles, one must look to the outskirts of major cities and the countryside. There, the Palace exists, occasionally referred to as a Hôtel. This luxury structure is the centerpiece of Ithanian design philosophy and it is also designed to service the extravagant needs of its owners. The structure has many major features, but in general can be described as existing in three parts, with a central hall possessing two grand wings outward and often extending backwards from a grand facade that makes up the front of the building. This facade features columns, multiple windows, and crenulations, as well as a grand front entrance with a short flight of steps required to reach it. In front of the facade is an enormous water feature, usually a pond to a fountain, surrounded by the path in and out of the Palace’s front. Within the structure, huge, vaulted ceilings with wall and ceiling murals displaying scenes of elegant beauty and Ithanian history give a ceremonial grandeur to the space, added to the frequent use of glass or crystal arranged along the walls, with everything gilded in Gold. The central hall is where the dining room, the ballroom, and all of the important rooms of ceremonial activity are located, in addition to the bedrooms of all the important women staying in the building.
Ithanian cuisine has a strong identity known as Haute Cuisine by the outside world. In many ways, Ithanian cooking is an almost daily full-day consuming business, where members of Ithanian society work all day long to provide abundant ingredients and rich flavors to Ithanian chefs for their creations (for a better example of the various exotic ingredients needed for only one Ithanian dish, look at Pix Castellois). These chefs are also some of the best paid in the world, and often have recipe books that they guard as feverishly as any holy scripture. Additionally, unlike in most other areas, Ithanian chefs are divided into several categories based on their specific skills and, in the major kitchens of the land’s nobility, are subdivided into their own area of said kitchens where they work to make their specific dishes. In terms of gastronomy, Ithanian cuisine is considered the most excellent in the world. Practically every other Culture and Race has adopted one form of Ithanian cooking technique, making it also the most wide-spread. Ithanian cuisine (aside from using cheese and wine in nearly every dish as a garnish or addition) makes use of all kinds of vegetables, spices, fruits, fish and meats, and eggs, though avoids raw grain products as those are considered crude and barbaric in Ithanian cuisine. Ithanians are also known for their sumptuous desserts, from the Eclair to the Macaron to Haute Puisse.
Ithanians do not possess many sports, as the natural competitive nature of such competitions is often shunned in their society. That being said, non-competitive sports with singular athletes are hugely popular, especially among the ruling classes. A common practice is “Expression de terre” which roughly translates to an expression of earth (or dirt). What this usually involves is a troupe of Ithanians (either female friends, or sisters) hosting a tea party or some sort of dining soiree in a gazebo or terrace. This gazebo or terrace usually overlooks a courtyard, or some sort of open air field, where an individual sportsman or sportswoman engages in their activities. This is usually for the sake of bodily glorification. For example, a strong man may engage in a variety of athletic activities such as spear-throwing, disk-throwing or lap sprinting while showcasing their physique with minimal clothing for the viewing pleasure of those hosting the party. A woman knight might engage in technique practice, and an archer might have disks thrown into the air to shoot through. The display is never the central focus, but rather a background beauty, like a painting, to decorate one’s social affairs with. In other cases, sports are usually done behind closed doors. Women have rowing machines, while men have weight lifting machines in private rooms just designed for them. Sweat is considered repulsive to Ithanians and must at all times not be smelled or even perceived. Those who are sweating and seen in public, consider this a great humiliation (unless if it is during an Expression de terre, in which case it is actually considered appealing.
The Ithanians are often known for possessing ample amounts leisure time, thanks to the majority of them being nobles with little real work to do. One of the games most commonly played during downtime, is Nine Handmaidens. Each player receives nine playing pieces, and first places them all into a board, before being allowed to move one single space in the area around them. The ultimate goal is to capture the opponent's nine tokens before she captures yours, or to deny the opponent's ability to make a move. The game is thought to teach political principals to Ithanian noblewomen, and is often called Ithanian Chess due to the similarities between the two games. Another form of leisure for Ithanians is a game called Twice Foretold. The idea is that a group of people sits in a circle at a table, and has 10 coins. Clockwise, each person must think of a rumor or gossip about a person either at the table, or not present at the table. Each person who believes that rumor to be really good or causing them to laugh, gives one coin to the person creating the gossip. When a full rotation of all members at the table has passed, the person with the most amount of coins decides who has lost that round, removing one participant and resetting all the coin counters. Eventually when only two players are left, there is a democratic election among all the losing members who is the winner of the game. Ithanian leisure as such is mostly about mind or card games, especially with elements of deceit or testing one’s vocabulary.
- Ithania is the largest consumer of the cheese and wine produced by Burdigalan lands. The Ithanians developed the so-called charcuterie, a large serving plate with small cheese, meat and fruit bites that is served during public events.
- Ithania, despite not being present in Regalian state matters on a daily basis, actually has an almost daily impact on the state, whether through the absence of their tax income, or through the acts of their less-known schemers.
- Ithania has some of the most world-renowned horse riders, particularly the Chevaux de l’Aïr. These horse riders ride winged horses in the sky, charging down at foes from the sky to support defensive formations by flanking those caught in the frontline.