|Common Names||Jungle-Nelfin, Ant-Allorn, Green Fairies|
|Origins||Minoor Isles, Hadar|
|Social Classes||The Minoor fulfill all social classes, as they are their own self-contained society.|
|Major Cities||The Minoor do not have any cities, as their entire society is rural save for the palaces.|
The Minoor Altalar are a subrace of Altalar that have developed their own distinct and detached Altalar Culture. The Minoor developed close after the fall of the Allorn Empire, thriving on foreign contact and cooperation with other Races, and as such strongly diverging from the Altalar norms that were no longer possible to sustain following the collapse of the Allorn Empire. To many, especially the other Altalar, the Minoor Altalar seem uncivilized, anarchic even, due to their lack of a central government or a structured hierarchical society. These judgements always end up falling short, as the palace economy structure of the Minoor is quite deep and complex, and has allowed for a distinctly unique Culture to flourish on relatively uninhabitable islands. While the Minoor Culture is distinctly for the Minoor Altalar, it is not impossible for other Altalar or other Races to also have adopted this Culture, especially if they spent time living on the Minoor Isles, or are born to Minoor parents. It is extremely rare, but not impossible for example to meet a Minoor Eronidas, or even a Minoor Teledden.
The history of the Minoor Altalar starts around 300 BC, during the Mage Wars, where a large part of the colonists arriving on the Minoor Isles were refugees from the neighboring principalities that were all embroiled in civil strife and conflict. The Minoor Isles had long been defined as uninhabitable by the Altalar, who in general refrained from colonizing anything that wasn’t directly connected by land to the Allorn Empire, though no other Race was present on the Isles, not even an uncivilized species like the Ailor or Sendrassian Allar. As such, the early colonizers argued that they could turn the inhospitable islands somewhat more habitable through their innate Magic, and that they would be able to live there safely away from the struggles on the mainland, as these islands did not have any princes or Archmages present, and little to no resources for them to want.
A steady trickle of migrants bolstered the island populations, and a distinct artist Culture developed in the Minoor Islands, which were also named around this time. Previously, the Allorn Empire had simply distinguished it as undesirable land, however among the inhabitants, the “Peace Islands” (Minoor meaning Peace in Altalar) became a common term. Throughout the period leading up to the Cataclysm, the Minoor Altalar were simply Teledden and Lesarra, with a few Fin’ullen and no Suvial. So long as the Allorn Empire held, a combination of Magic and supplies from the mainland ensured that the Minoor Altalar were still strongly attached to Allorn Culture. This came to a very radical end during the Cataclysm and subsequent Wildering, both of which did not strongly affect the Minoor Isles, but ravaged Hadar and the Allorn Empire in particular. With trade routes disrupted and all Magic purged from the world, the Minoor Altalar were suddenly headed for extinction.
The Minoor Isles, due to their proximity to the hottest and wettest climates on Aloria, had many jungles filled with dangerous animals, insects that cause disease, and poisonous weeds that grew rapidly over any crops that the Altalar tried to grow. The Minoor Altalar could not travel back to the Allorn mainland as it had been consumed by warfare and destruction, and most of the Minoor ships were smashed by the rough seas during the Cataclysm. Hadar was not a viable option either, as the Allar had started proliferating under the Slizzar, and early contact had not been pleasant due to the Altalar’s disdain for both the uncivilized lizard-men and the insidious snake-folk. The Minoor Altalar might have simply vanished from history either from disease or famine, had it not been for a very curious structure that long predated their arrival.
Underneath the capital of the Minoor Altalar lay a labyrinth called the Minolassaar, a Seraph-stone marble structure with many interlinked and maze-like corridors that spread underneath most of the houses and buildings on the surface. While looking like a traditional maze, this structure was anything but a maze, as there was one entrance, and over a hundred exits, but not exits in the traditional sense. When one would reach one of these exits, a portal would open that would create an exit point somewhere in the world, allowing those in the maze to traverse long distances, albeit for limited amount of time. Those stepping through the portals took riches with them, left to them after the collapse of the Allorn Empire, and traded them for basic goods, before they were snapped back to the maze and the portal was closed. The Minoor Altalar could at most materialize for 2 hours away from the islands before the maze recalled them, but it was often enough time to pick up medicine and supplies for the colonies to sustain themselves, even if the Minoor started to run out of riches to pawn off.
Contact with the Eronidas and a few Suvial eventually created a breakthrough. The Minoor Altalar, while originally still very much having the Teledden disposition of disdain to other Races, had to repeatedly beg or barter with these lesser Races to survive. Increased contact with the Eronidas caused a gradual erosion of the slave-economy that the Minoor Altalar tried to hold onto, as the slaves had effectively become a supply burden for Altalar houses that were increasingly becoming poor due to pawning everything they owned. Around 50 AC, slavery was abolished on the Minoor Isles in a decree that set all slaves free, on the condition that they would claim a plot of land, and use at least half the land to grow cash-crops of particularly hardy and Minoor-climate loving plants. The Minoor reached a great deal of success with Saffran and Frankincense which had issues growing elsewhere in the world, but was bountiful on the Minoor Isles. With the slaves liberated, a combination of Asha, Ailor, and stray Allar joined Minoor society as equals to the average citizens. In order to keep trade with the outside going in a somewhat orderly manner, communities agreed on the palace-economy, where they all rejected currency in favor of a barter economy, where effort and produce would be exchanged with other labor and produce, the prices set by the people who bartered themselves. There were still several scribes present to record everything at the palatial complexes previously inhabited by the Altalar nobles who had long since become destitute, leading to these palatial scribes eventually rising to become the new palatial elite.
The scribes did not necessarily wield military or economic power over the Minoor, rather there was the implicit expectation of military protection and recording all trade and resource stockpiles, in exchange for having their life made comfortable by taking a portion of all trades. This worked relatively well, as the Minoor Isles never faced any external invasions, and as such did not have a very strong military. No single palatial bureaucrat family could rise to the status of a warlord, and even if they had, many of the families surviving on subsistence (many of which were ex-slave families) did not have any intentions to return to servitude under the old Allorn nobility. As the centuries progressed and the Minoor both physically and mentally diverged away from the Allorn norms, including the disappearance of all other Altalar sub-races, essentially became a subrace all of their own. It is said that the Minoor look different from the other Altalar Races specifically because they probably intermingled with all other Races on the island, meaning that each Minoor has some trace lineage of Asha, Ailor, Altalar, and perhaps even other ancestries, though this is hard to prove in practice.
In present-day times, the Minoor have rebuilt their trade fleet and rely less and less on the Minolassaar to move around the world, as the maze only permits small amounts of resources to be traded, bulk of which could be done on trade vessels. The Minoor also developed a larger military presence, especially knowing they would eventually meet a larger geopolitical power that would try to conquer them. The Minoor army, as a reflection of their society, is a true mixing pot of strengths and cooperation, with Eronidas frontline warriors, Minoor Altalar skirmishers, Allar sappers, Ailor horsemen (who actually ride on large jungle lizards) and more. Minoor society as a whole is a collection of different Races living in harmony, albeit with an 8 in 10 Minoor Altalar supermajority. The Minoor Altalar have diverged so far from the Teledden societal norm that many in the Allorn Empire now consider them uncivilized and barbaric, a cultural divide that is unlikely to ever be mended, which translates to the Minoor Altalar fiercely resisting joining the Allorn Empire, albeit for different reasons than the more independently minded Suvial Altalar.
Language and Dialects
Due to the need for cooperation and cross-culture boundaries being broken down, the formal Language among the Minoor Altalar is Common. Modern Altalar is still upheld as a second Language, and all Minoor Altalar speak Modern Altalar with a slight accent, but Common is more frequently used. Despite their separation from the Allorn supercontinent, Minoor Altalar did not develop a new Altalar language. This is largely due to the fact that while the Minoor Altalar sacrificed a lot of their society and norms to survive the disasters after the Cataclysm, their language was considered one of their last connections to their ancestry, wishing to keep Modern Altalar intact as mirrored from the main continent as possible so there would never be a language barrier (though some in their society do see the change from Allorn Altalar to Modern Altalar as a betrayal of this ideal). This was upheld early on by one of the palaces being used as a language palace, where both records of other languages are kept, and any local colloquialisms are stamped out quickly to prevent the creation of a dialect of Altalar, with publications of official grammatical guides and written dictionaries, the only Race in the world to produce them.
Minoor Altalar names are very simple. They did away with long naming principles around 150 AC, however many families still maintain their Altalar middle and last names, even if their first names are shortened to what is called Minoor Linear Standard. The way Minoor names are determined is based purely on the syllable sounds and harmony of a name. While Velheim, for example, name their children with meaning in mind, the Minoor base their names simply on the vowel and consonant sounds produced in certain syllables. Every Minoor first name is two syllables long, with each syllable being a single consonant and a single vowel. For example, the name Disa is produced from the syllables Di and Sa, while the name Siru is produced from the syllables Si and Ru. It is even possible for a name like Didi or Qeqe to be produced, though mirror syllable names are considered “quirky”. There is no difference between male and female names, though on average male names tend to use more throaty consonants like R, K, Q, P and T, while female names tend to use more soft consonants like S, J, M, N and V, but there is no hard rule. A list of example first names:
Note, the last 3 names feature two syllables, one of which written with one consonant and two vowels. This is because in the Altalar alphabet, two vowels are actually a new vowel, meaning that names may also be written with two vowels in each syllable. When it concerns completing these names into full names including middle and surnames, the following process is used:
- First name, as explained above.
- Middle name, commonly the old Altalar style like Saleï, Amalaan, Tuvereï, etc.
- Surname, commonly also the old Altalar style like Qarnalaar, Vese’ïriaal, Ylësseia, etc.
- Minoor suffix “Minos”, which is present in every Minoor Altalar name to define their birthright.
- Status suffix “Alas” for those at the palace, or “Veia” for those in the countryside.
To summarize, a full Minoor Altalar name could be:
- Dido Saleï Qarnalaar Minos Alas
- Viso Amalaan Ylësseia Minos Veia
- Reela Tulëi Fallaëlsei Minos Veia
Minoor society does not have any legislation or formal law code. There is a societal understanding that crime is bad, but crime is handled on a local level by either the palace scribes, or society itself What this means is that if someone feels slighted by someone else, the problem is proposed in a forum, usually at a town square. If the crowd jeers at the accuser, they don’t have a case and their matter is over. If they cheer the accuser, then some sort of public court case occurs, where the crowd decides what a fair punishment or repair payment would be. Community service is a very common punishment, as Minoor Altalar don’t have prisons or law enforcers. Citizens are encouraged to accept their punishment, as refusing to abide by the laws of the people results in economic expulsion, and without the means to barter for medicine or food, locals perish quickly. There are however some notable laws that contrast very strongly with the Allorn Empire:
- Currency is illegal. Capitalism is illegal, all financial business with other nations is arranged by public consensus through the palace scribes.
- Foreign trade is illegal. All produce must come through the Palace economy, or it must be thrown into the ocean and perish.
- Slavery is illegal. But Minoor Altalar are not permitted to interfere with other slave-owning populations or try to free any Slaves.
- Royalty is illegal. But Minoor Altalar are not permitted to interfere with other royal systems, and if existing in one abroad must obey it.
- Nobility is illegal. But palace scribes have consensual nobility by virtue of their hard work and merit, and foreign nobility must be respected.
- Mages are not permitted to use their Magic in any part of their barter produce or work, unless that Magic in itself provides irreplaceable labor.
- Consumption of meat or other dairy products is illegal. Pescetarianism is mandatory on the Minoor Isles and consuming the meat of cattle is a high crime.
- Worship of the Pantheon of Estel or the Avatars of the Gods is illegal and blasphemous on the Minoor Isles who have their own distinct religion.
Magic has a very dubious status among the Minoor Altalar. While they are generally tolerant of Magic, they shun it far more than their Magic loving Altalar brethren who adore Mages and raise them up to high political positions. The Minoor have a very deserved and valid concern that Mages might try to overthrow their barter and anarchy-based society, and also have living memory of the days of the Mage-Wars that forced many of their distant kin to move to the Minoor Isles to begin with. Magic is not strictly illegal or taboo on the Minoor Isles, but the Minoor force all Mages to do physical labor manually, even if they could use Magic to speed up the process. Magic is in many ways considered a cheat to the virtue of labor and effort of one’s fellow Minoorian, and as such Mages found to be using their Magic to reduce the labor value of their barter are expelled from the Minoor Isles. There are some exceptions, for example, a stone-Mage that can lift massive pillars up that would normally take hundreds of people to organize, can use their craft to build temples and parts of the Palace, so that the working population can spend more time on leisure or their own plantations, and thus earn more barter in the process.
As mentioned, the Minoor Altalar do not have a formal government, but rather have something called a Palace Economy. What this means is that the land is covered in Palace structures, many of which have been around for hundreds of years, which manage the land in a rough radius around them. This management could be considered taxation by outsiders, but it does not quite work that way in practice. Every person on the land of a Palace owns that land and the Palace cannot revoke the ownership of that land (though in some situations it can impose a manager if a plantation is being mismanaged). Many of these plots of land owned by landowners have plantations and farms on them which produce raw resources, particularly Saffran and Frankincense, but also cotton and sugarcane to a lesser degree. A large portion of the produce is taken by the palace, while the remainder is kept by the plantation owner to trade with other Minoor for food or medicine or luxury products or labor and entertainment.
The resources stockpiled at the palace are then exported for other goods to foreign nations, particularly for resources that cannot be acquired on the Minoor Isles like advanced medicine and alchemical ingredients from the Allar in Hadaria, silks and dyes from the Altalar in the Allorn Empire, and metal and coal from the Ailor in Etosil. The Minoor do not trade as much with the Eronidas or Suvial anymore, though some smaller diplomatic visits still make use of the maze to transport themselves rapidly around the world for a speedy update. The Palaces themselves are also permitted to keep a small part of the produce, to pay them for their scribe work and managerial duties. In turn, the produce they bring back from their trade, they divide over the people. For example, a season of palatial duties has the scribe collecting Saffran from the farmers out in the fields, stockpiling it. They then get to use some of it to buy food for themselves from the papaya and pineapple farmers, while sending the rest through for trade. In the Allorn Empire, they trade the valuable Saffran for purple silks, which are then stockpiled back at the Palace. There, at the Palace, the rough contributions of the various farms to this trade is calculated, and a rough average is established. Then, the silks are divided among the farms by that average, and sent out to them free of charge.
This system has allowed the Minoor to exist in relative comfort, albeit with a lack of economic progress. Nobody on the Minoor Isles is particularly wealthy, but nobody on the Minoor Isles is particularly destitute either. Money is illegal on the Minoor Isles, but is sometimes stored in the Palace in case a trade needs several legs between different nations, in which case it may be more convenient to store currency to buy products directly. Anyone that falls on hard times by a drought or crop failure usually is helped by Minoor society with donations, or takes a portion of the Palace’s stockpiles as a so called social safety net. The Minoor Isles also guarantee free healthcare and education to the Minoor, believing that a healthy and well-educated productivity and thus more, and thus more trade value.
Lifestyle and Customs
Minoor families are strictly monogamous, and the entire idea of adultery or polygamy is taboo among the Minoor. Minoor bond for life, and while divorce does exist, it does not exist in the traditional sense, as there is also no government office to register the marriage in the first place. In case of a divorce, a married couple simply starts living apart, but they still refer to each other as their spouse, and never take on a new spouse or engage in adultery. Spouses who are divorced are often encouraged to mend their relationship over the period of 50 years, to re-discover each other or do self-exploration before trying it again. Unlike most other monogamous societies however, the Minoor do have a great deal of pre-marital freedom. A vow of promise (which is the Ailor equivalent of an official boyfriend-girlfriend or other such pairings) creates a clear distinction that should not be broken. Once a vow of promise is broken however (which is not the same as a vow of matrimony) Minoor are free to romance and copulate. Minoor who produce children are expected to immediately marry, so Minoor are often religious with their practicing of protection. Minoor society is also fully accepting of homosexuality or other non-heteronormative pairings. Gender itself tends to be somewhat fluent among the Minoor, and while they do have a strictly sex-based understanding of pairings, what the exact pairing is does not matter to the Minoor.
Gender roles are fairly equal among the Minoor, though there are two distinctions. Primarily, women are praised for their pale skin tones, and as such tend to occupy more positions indoors, while men are praised for having more tan skin tones, and as such tend to occupy more positions outdoors. This is why most male Minoor can actually appear very tan, while female Minoor can sometimes have pale-porcelain colored skin, sometimes made more apparent with chalk based powders. Secondly, the priesthood in Minoor Estellianism is exclusively female. This has often led to the incorrect assumption that Minoor society is matrilineal, but this is not true. The only reason why priests are female, is because Estel is canonically considered female, the Mother Goddess, and as such, her will and doctrine is expressed by mothers also. It is as such additionally not possible for a child-less female to become a priestess.
Childhood among the Minoor is fair, happy, but with a great deal of responsibility. From a very young age, some as young as 5, children are taught to clean up after themselves and do tasks around the house while the parents are working. From the early age of 11, children usually help their parents in labor, though the parents always make sure the children don’t engage in any dangerous activities that could end up hurting them. Minoor children go through a coming of age ceremony at the age of 15 where they are for the first time allowed to grow out their hair and wear jewelry, but still not wear Minoor clothing. Minoor only officially become an adult at the age of 20 (even if they are physically so earlier), only then being allowed to wear traditional Minoor clothing and fulfill proper roles in society, prior being forced to work for their parents and wear the more traditional full-body covering tunic.
Minoor in Regalia
Staying true to Minoor Culture while outside of the Minoor Isles is very hard for Minoor Altalar. There is a general understanding among the Minoor that the world outside of the Minoor Isles is not as enlightened as them, and that this isn’t strictly their fault, because they did not go through the same tragedy and trauma as the early Minoor when it was life or death. Still, Minoor who are wildly uncomfortable with currency and capitalism still have to somehow survive in cities like Regalia where barter barely happens. Some Minoor solve the problem by visiting the more rural farmer markets where barter is still a valid way to do business, and as such, many Minoor are seasonal workers who move from job to job. Others yet end up serving Altalar households, which presents a bit of irony, as some of them may have to be surrounded by slavery while being strongly anti-slavery. Minoor are also known to work for Ailor noble houses, either as servant or guard (despite their general pacifism, Minoor have actually upheld Altalar martial training in some families), or scribe/steward. And some Minoor yet have adopted a guardian, usually an Altalar, who acts as a middleman. The Minoor gives them produce or labor, while they take care of exchanging that value for currency, manage the currency, and then give the Minoor back things they bought with the currency. This has unfortunately resulted in a criminal element invading the Minoor enclaves, particularly in Regalia, where they racketeer Minoor into unfavorable working conditions while being underpaid, the Minoor often not noticing because they have no concept of the value of currency. The Alms Ministry in particular continues to try and aid the Minoor community by performing raids on Minoor workhouses and giving them lessons on the value of the Regal.
The Minoor Altalar maintain several holidays, much like other Cultures and Religions, one for each month, always on the first day of the month:
- January first is the feast of after-winter where Minoor spend time with their friends and offer each other Saffron cookies and cakes to celebrate having made it through another year together. It is also common to offer Saffron cookies to non-Minoor as a way of thanking other Races for good barter and community.
- February first is the feast of love where Minoor spend time with their loved ones, or prospect loved one. The Minoor have very strict romantic rules, so more often than not, during this festival, when a Minoor has a crush on another, they proceed to shower them with gifts and praise while following them around, but never touching them. Only at midnight are they allowed to touch, but many are rejected before that time with a gentle statement of rejection.
- March first is the feast of poetry where the Minoor praise the work of the scribes by making poetry of hard work, and handing out copies to outsiders to encourage them to become diligent and hardworking people. Those living in larger cities outside of the Minoor isles usually gather their poems together into a collection to publish as a book.
- April first is the feast of comedy, where Minoor go out of their way to prank each other and outsiders with jokes and comedy. Minoor always try to make the humor delicate and not offensive or hurtful. It is especially considered bad humor or bad fortune if a Minoor causes another person to have a panic attack or cry at the result of their joke. Laughter is considered a blessing on this day, so a Minoor attempts to get as many people to laugh as possible.
- May first is the feast of vile caverns, where the Minoor take processions with other Races and teach them the darkness and evil that lies in caves, preaching about the illusions and tricks of the mind that caves play on those that enter, and suspending ropes with prayer tablets on them, to ward off evil. The day is usually closed off with a candle-light vigil and celebration of light outside of the cave to ward off the darkness of the cave with candle-light and paper lanterns that are released to float up into the sky.
- June first is the feast of summer life, where the Minoor remember the hunger and suffering the early Altalar went through. During this time, the Minoor do not consume any food for 3 days on end, only drinking water so as to not dehydrate. It is believed that by sensing a small amount of suffering, the Minoor can stay true to their heritage and not forget the lessons learned back then.
- July first is the feast of patronage, where the Minoor seek out an artist of any kind and patron their work for free, or rather for communal pleasure. The point is to get an artist to produce something for the community like a statue in a park or a painting on a public wall, while being paid for by the Minoor, and also not being made personal for the Minoor. That is to say, it is not permitted for the public art work to be linked back to the Minoor who paid for it, and the whole process should largely be anonymous.
- August first is the feast of parentage, where the Minoor bring gifts and offerings of thanks to their parents for good raising. For those who cannot reach their own parents, they bring gifts to others who they know are fresh parents, to offer them assistance in the monumentous task or raising.
- September first is the feast of perpetual harvest. Because of the climate of Minoor, there is no such thing as winter or harvest and planting season, which occur all-year-round in cycles. The feast of perpetual harvest rather is a celebration of the wealth of the earth itself, and Minoor engage in mud-slinging games or mud-wrestling to cover themselves in the mineral richness of the earth.
- October first is the feast of cleanliness and nature, where the Minoor go about tending to nature, but also removing the trash others have left behind in nature or even just on the street in cities. This festival is particularly popular in Regalia where more non-Minoor than Minoor participate in it to clean the streets of trash.
- November first is the feast of blue, where everyone dresses in blue and tries to share as much knowledge as possible. The feast of blue is considered a holiday praising the intellectuals and teachers, who often work for very little payment because they have to be paid from the Palace storages.
- December first is the feast of year’s end, where the Minoor spend time writing their best wishes for next year, and their regrets for last year on prayer tablets. These are then suspended on a rope which is hung over a bed or dining table inside a Minoor’s house, hoping that these wishes or regrets can be soothed in the transition of the year.
Minoor Altalar follow so called Minoor Estellianism, which is a syncretic faith, but also distinctly not compatible with either parent religion. It is almost identical to the Faith of Estel, but rather than believing in Estel’s slumber as a chapter of the religious canon, the Minoor believe that Estel was instead imprisoned by Demons (Arken in scholarly terms) and that Talea and the Avatars of the Gods (and by extension the Pantheon) are actually evil usurpers. Estel is also not traditionally just called Estel, but rather she is called the All-Mother Goddess Estel. All aspects that Teledden worship the Pantheon for are however present in Estel worship among the Minoor. The Minoor also believe in Ssepsston, the supreme Nesrassian being. But much like the contrast with proper Faith of Estel, the Minoor reject the Ssepsston division myth, believing Ssepsston to be a single being, a massive earth-wrapping deep-sea-serpent that causes the currents of the ocean.
The central belief in their religion is that both Estel and the Ssepsston are divine, but that they both rule different realms and are at war with each other. Estel rules the land and the sky, while the Ssepsston rules the ocean and caves. This is also why Minoor Altalar refuse under any circumstance to go into caves, believing them to be dens of evil, usually hanging thick ropes with prayer tablets suspended from them in front of caves to ward off the evil. In their belief, Estel represents the light and all that is good, while Ssepsston represents all that is evil and darkness. He belongs in the ocean, while she belongs in the sky, and the land (including the caves) is the middle ground where both own a part, and the Minoor dwell with the other Races. Prayers and worship of Estel occurs on so-called Bull-altars. Bulls are considered Estel’s second most beautiful creation after the Minoor themselves, and the shape of bull horns has a religious meaning to the Minoor. Each such altar always has some sort of stone or marble bull-horn shaped edifice in the back or front to mark it as a bull horn altar.
The Minoor are pescetarian because they believe the consumption of anything that dwells the surface land is like eating the creation of Estel, which is blasphemy. They believe that by eating creations of the sea and thus children of Ssepsston, they are aiding Estel in her battle against the vile god of the sea, besides the fact that seafood simply tastes better to them (and was likely historically more available). The Minoor believe that ships are blessed vessels of Estel where the wind is her will and a sea’s safe arrival is her blessing. Anyone who drowns or is lost at sea is considered in the grasp of Ssepsston in suffering. An afterlife does not exist for Minoor Estellians, though drowning is generally considered a gateway to purgatory.
Minoor Estellian worship takes place through the submersion of Potassium into a titanium bowl of water, causing the Potassium to glow hot white and evaporate the water by boiling. This process is considered worship of Estel by defeating the evil water spirit, and causing it to transcend to the sky with light. Another way to worship in Minoor Estellianism is to seek out cave entrances with prayer tablets on ropes and offer up animal carcasses. It is illegal for Minoor Estellians to kill except in self-defense, so when a Minoor Estellian finds a dead animal in the wilderness, they usually haul it to a cave entrance to offer up to Ssepsston. It is believed that by offering the dead animal, Ssepsston can be sated for his hunger for flesh of land dwellers, and as such his curses and ill-will can be warded off.
Minoor Estellianism does not have a state-approved hierarchy of priests or priesthood (as there is no state), but the official position of priest does exist. This position is transferred from priest to priest, which a priest having to go through 3 years of learning before they can teach others. From that point onward, they can take a student, and the student can then learn 3 years before they too can take students. Curiously, among the Minoor, priesthood is temporal, meaning that after 6 years, a Priest can choose to take 3 or 6 years off and do something else, before taking up the role of priest again. This is because the Minoor preach the freedom of the clergy to seek other employment and freedoms outside of the constraints of social service, while also forcing some clerics who acquire too much societal power through their preaching to take a break and lose some public respect to another priest so that no single priest can try to establish a theocracy.
Minoor and the Url
Url have only been present for the past 30 years in Minoor society, but the Minoor have developed an immense fascination with the Url to the point where they consider them equal to themselves in the Minoor Isles. Indeed, an Url’s vanity might be catered to by the Minoor, as they have started erecting statues of Urls and treating them like holy protector warriors in the Minoor Isles, and as part of their religion. The exact role of Url in Minoor society has not been fully explored or developed yet, however more and more ways of integrating the Url into Minoor society have begun. Symbiosis is surprisingly however not that high among the Minoor. Minoor appreciate Url for what they are, but have a very purist view of their own appearance and racial identity (despite all their tolerance towards other Races). Minoor and Url bonding is however not uncommon, and a Minoor marrying an Url can actually be considered a blessing in the Minoor Isles, and acceptable, as the children are still born as full-blood Minoor Altalar.
Minoor and other Altalar
The Minoor do not consider themselves part of the Wheel of Time philosophy of the other Altalar, and they certainly don’t consider them a part of it. Minoor Altalar are very rarely found anywhere in the Allorn Empire, and if they happen to be there, they are only there temporarily. The Minoor themselves considered the other Altalar backwards, but only in a pitiful sense. While a Teledden might degrade a Minoor, a Minoor would never say unkind words to their Altalar brethren, even if they might think of them as foolish. The Teledden, obviously, have a disdain for the Minoor, as barbarian rebels who have abandoned too much of their Altalar heritage to still be considered Altalar. The Fin’ullen similarly consider them cowards on account of their pacifism and ignorant on account of ignoring most of geo-politics while refusing those who haven’t been properly vetted from entering their Minoor Isles. The Lesarra and Suvial are far more at ease around the Minoor, the Suvial on account of their similar anti-Allorn stances, and the Lesarra simply because their personalities connect a lot with the Minoor who are also more prone to shyness and a calm demeanor.
Minoor Art is considered very rudimentary to some, though impressionist to others. The vast majority of Minoor art occurs on murals, depicting fantasy animals like the peacock-lion, a lion with a peacock’s head and tail, people in feasting, bull-leaping or religious festivals. People are always depicted with the same face and the same hair, meaning gender and personal identity are never distinguished. Among the Minoor, personability in art is considered vanity, or a sin of Ssepsston. Most if not all Minoor rooms have such murals, and any room without any murals or even simple wall patterns is considered a dead and empty room to the Minoor. Other forms of art are statues of bull heads, bulls, and more recently, Url. The depiction of a strong Url has become popular even on the Minoor Isles, where the Minoor have started erecting massive statues of Url facing the ocean out of granite and basalt, so as to ward off the evil ocean spirits.
Minoor music is usually played at festivities and parties at home, though Minoor music is always very muted and light-toned. Instruments like harps or gentle banjos are common, while heavier percussion or brass instruments are unseen in Minoor society. Music to the Minoor should be a gentle background distraction, not so loud that Music becomes the object of fixation itself. As such, Minoor are hardly seen at music festivals or musical displays, as they become uncomfortable with what they perceive as disorganized noise unsuppressed by the primary fixation of conversation.
Minoor Fashion is controversial among other Races, to say the least. It has been influenced by the various Races that integrated into their society after being released from slavery, but they also developed some strange dress practices due to the warm and humid environment of the Minoor Isles. Men and women alike often wear bodices, usually with laces, but sometimes just made of Elastaan traded with the Asha, which is meant to narrow the waist. A wasp-like figure is considered a beauty standard among the Minoor. Not everyone parakes, but some of the Minoor take it to excess by wearing a strung corset and a wide belt on their hips. Men’s and women’s bodices usually have a cutout of the fabric on the chest, meaning that the chest is open while the stomach and waist and shoulders are covered in fabric, with the sleeves usually reaching halfway the upper arm or to the elbow. Women in Regalia however, choose to wear an undershirt that covers up the bodice chest-cut, as most other societies do not look fondly on the exposure of women’s chests, choosing modesty over controversy.
Men sometimes also just wear the Asha Satoor dress however, a long dress usually to the ground, though it can also be cut shorter into a skirt, or bound to a loincloth while working, wearing nothing else on the upper body. Footwear among the Minoor is a simple leather slipper or binding to prevent the feet from acquiring any wounds during travel, but lacks the fashionable appearance of other Cultures’ footwear. For most Minoor, they wear long dresses to the ground, and as such legs and feet are never visible. Fabrics in clothing are mostly made out of linen flax, though some silk accessories can also be seen or entirely silk dresses, as traded with the Altalar.
Minoor Altalar can develop facial hair and body hair, but frequently shave all of it off. Minoor women always bind up their hair to appear short, with tresses (thin wavy strands of hair) hanging loose on the front and back. Men usually have very short hair, either short and jumpy, or with a shaved fade on the side. Without fail however, all men have a mullet that transitions into tresses also, either short ones that reach to the bottom of the neck, or long ones that reach all the way down to the waist. Children have their hair cut short to the scalp until they reach teenage years, where their hair is allowed to grow, and they rarely cut the tresses unless they go beyond the waist. To remove the tresses of a Minoor’s hair is a great insult, as the Minoor believe a great amount of beauty is derived from the curves of the tresses.
Minoor also wear forehead diadems, usually with longer threads with pearls or golden beads that parly obscure the face or are simply suspended in front of the face as part of a decoration, but also a sign of modesty. These diadems are usually worn by single Minoor Altalar, but can also be worn by married or coupled Minoor. Diadems are usually decorated with gems and gold thread, but should generally not look too opulent so as to imitate royalty. Finally, the Minoor also use the same diadem threads suspended from small earrings in their ear, as well as larger hoop-earrings. Female Minoor usually wear chokers, often made from gold-plate strung together with a string, or smaller golden thread and rings. Rings on the hands are considered an obstruction, so one will never see a Minoor with rings on their fingers. Gloves are also very rarely seen, or indeed any clothing below the elbow, as forearms are considered divine tools of labor, and as such should not be covered up.
Minoor architecture is largely what causes other Cultures and Races to consider them barbaric or uncivilized. The Minoor Palaces in particular use sandstone or gypsum walls with plaster coverings, where none of the rooms are ever really closed. Any room, whether it be one, two, three, or all sides, have at least one side open and replaced with a galley of pillars. No Minoor structure is higher than 3 floors, which each higher floor suspended with a thick support-beam pattern, resting on so called Minoor pillars. The Minoor pillars are thicker at the top as opposed to the base like most other Cultures. These pillars are dyed red or yellow, with a black pillowed top crest. All walls inside buildings have frescos and paintings on them, where furniture is often very simple or made out of solid granite blocks. The Minoor engage in most of their activities standing, or sitting on the floor with a carpet, with little to no furniture. Even in their bedroom, the Minoor sleep on sea-sponge-like mattresses that are simply laid out on the floor in a common room, with the entire family sleeping together. In contrast to the massive opulent Teledden palaces, the Minoor buildings look poor and simple, with the most decorations being dyed lines of sandstone and bull-horn shaped decorations at the top of the structures. Still, these palaces can be massive and have many corridors and rooms used to store perishables even underground. The largest of these palaces in the unofficial Minoor capital of Lossos on the island of Sastorïnï has a massive underground network of cooled rooms, eventually reaching into the Minolassaar. These underground structures are technically considered caverns of evil and dangerous to be in, but the Minoor have found religiously approved solutions for this, by filling the halls with bright lights, and particularly having the Minolassaar be patrolled by Url who are considered the guardians of the light by the Minoor. As such, the Ailor sometimes refer to the Minolassaar as the Minotaur maze, a combination of the name Minolassaar and Taurus.
Minoor cuisine is entirely pescatarian, based on fish, shell-fish, whale, edible mollusks and seaweed, sea-cucumbers, with complimentary vegetables and spices, the latter which are mostly imported. Daily dining for the Minoor is done in a series of light, flavorful snacks rather than typical meals as well. Breakfast is usually comprised of lightly breaded and fried fingerfish (small, narrow minnow-like fish with bones so thin they're edible) accompanied by the diner's choice of citrine or spicy jams, or a high-protein slurry consisting of the morning's catch of crab stewed with leftover breadmeal and the appropriate spices layered atop crusty bread. Then, throughout the day, plenty of other seafood dishes are snacked upon. Among the more popular are pieces of grilled octovin tossed with a smoky wine reduction, varieties of raw fish dressed with provincial herbs and plenty of citrus juices, segments of dried seaweed wrapped around layered bundles of grilled fish and crispy vegetables, raw oysters served chilled alongside lemon and a spicy root paste, and piping hot legs of crab eaten without accompaniment: as any Minoor will swear up and down that the flesh of the crabs that inhabit the local sea floor is as sweet and rich as the song of a siren.
In the case of feasts and other special occasions, the Minoor will prepare much larger dishes to suit the celebration. Often found among these are the bodies of massive fish dragged out of the sea and laid out as part-trophy, part-meal. The fish are roasted whole with great bonfires and often large enough that to glaze them with honey and citrus while they bake is similar to painting the hull of a boat, paintbrush and all. Additionally, massive vats of cream stew are kept hot over the flame, dense with shellfish and whatever catch or discarded pieces of fish were on the verge of expiry. The most skilled of Minoor cooks lay out great, round pans on the fire where their hands work in a flurry to cook the great swaths of rice, seafood broth and lobsters that simmer in them, serving them once the grain has had a chance to form a dark and caramelized crust from the pan.
One of the Minoor’s favorite sports is the act of Bull-leaping, where a Bull is enticed to charge at an athlete, which must then jump while swinging up their legs, and pushing off on the back of the Bull as it passes underneath them to perform a successful leap. This sport is quite dangerous and largely practiced by well trained athletes, doubling as entertainment as well as a competition, and also a religious festival. The bull is usually dressed up or painted to appear more snake-like, for example with a snake-mask or having its black fur painted with green paint to appear as if scaled. The religious implication is that Ssepsston reaches onto the land to try and drag a Minoor back into the ocean. The Minoor athletes then try to leap over the bull so as to illustrate that the Minoor avoid the temptations of evil and overcome Ssepsston despite all his efforts. Bull leaping is not always successful however. Some athletes are hit, or misplace their leap, performing an incomplete one, or being injured. This is considered bad luck for all spectators, and usually quite a dour situation. Successful bull leapers are well respected among Minoor populations, receiving gifts and adoration for their skill during festivals or public displays.
In Regalia, where bulls are in short supply, Url are instead used. The Minoor fascination for Url is based on the fact that Bulls are also considered semi-religious, as Estel’s most beautiful creation after the sentient Altalar (and, curiously, before the Ailor). It is not uncommon to see public displays of Url-leaping in Regalia, where the Minoor attempt to leap over a charging Url by pushing off on their heads instead of their backs, while the Url wear laminar armor which appears more scale-like. The act of Url leaping is far less dangerous than bull leaping in the Minoor Isles, as an Url is sentient and can stop a charge gone wrong, though many Url are asked to put their full strength into the act, which they are all too happy to comply with, giving them the thrill of the hunt. Other sports the Minoor engage in are disk-throwing, wrestling and spear-throwing. For the latter and former however, instead of distance being a skill (like among the Eronidas) the Minoor engage in this sport for accuracy. They attempt to throw a disk or javelin into a fish suspended from a wire from a tree or target. They only score points if they manage to impale the fish, or if they break the cord the fish is suspended to the object with.
Finally, boxing is also something that is both leisure and sport to the Minoor. The Minoor are a very pacifist and calm people and society, but do acknowledge the need to sometimes unleash or off-load pent up anger or aggression. Boxing has always been the obvious candidate, though unlike other Cultures and Races, the Minoor use leather cushioned boxing gloves. While wounds to the face and body are unavoidable, the Minoor believe that hands and particularly the fragile bones in fingers should be protected from repeated beating. As such, the inside of these gloves are cushioned with a cured leather outside (it is permissible for Minoor to use animal parts of animals that died of old age, so long as they do not eat them), which protects the fingers from breaking during heavy punches. The Minoor consider hands the most important part of the body, as hands are what makes produce and performs labor, and without hands, a Minoor would not be able to earn a living and become a drain on society.
Minoor leisure mostly takes place in smaller family or friend gatherings called bounty feasts. Bounty feasts usually take place at the end of a Palatial season, just as everyone has received their trade returns. It is common for friends and family to come together at one of their houses, and trade or gift each other small portions of their allotted resources so as to encourage a stronger connection and bonding. These gatherings are usually made more enjoyable with spiced wine, saffran cookies and large communal fish grilling or rice-based stew eating. The pleasure of food and eating together has a high status in Minoor society, and were it not for the Altalar metabolism and highly physical daily labor the Minoor engage in, they would certainly become obese due to their love for food. The best way to make friends with a Minoor is to offer them free food, or look pleased while receiving free food in return. Minoor also like conversing with others and exchanging ideas with the gentle sound of a harp in the background. Above all however, Minoor loathe political discussions or anyone criticizing their form of government or society, a sure-fire way to make a Minoor not like someone.
- Minoor Altalar do not ride animals or use animals for labor for religious reasons. Cattle is usually just allowed to roam freely, and bulls usually just trod freely between houses without anyone getting in their way. The Minoor have largely learned to cohabit peacefully with animals. The sole exception is the Corr'daga, a large reptile trained and wielded by the Minoor in a military capacity.
- Many of the Asha slaves that were freed actually stayed with the Minoor instead of going north to the Asha States. This is less of a conscious choice, and more of a choice born out of necessity, as many of the Asha that did try to leave were crashed on the coasts due to the rough post-Cataclysm seas.
- Minoor Altalar, despite being internally tolerant, are actually not that tolerant towards other cultural practices. While they might not say it, they will silently suffer the indignity of someone eating a steak in front of them.