|Common Names||Northern Minstrels, Pig-lovers, Winged Folk|
|Social Classes||Warrior, Farmer, Hunter, Shaman, Merchant, Noble|
A Culture forged by the raids from Greater Calemberg, and steeled by their unique variety of Old Gods, these militant people have a society unlike any other and an obsession for their ancestral origins. The Zvorun are a culture of staunch conservatives from the Regalian Archipelago who believe in revering ancestors and the gods, while carving, painting, and singing their history wherever they can. The Zvorun have invented many musical devices to orally record and perform their history, such as the Suguvõsanöör that is the centerpiece of any true Zvorun family. Though they have been ravaged by many raids, they now stand proudly in the sunlight after the Regalian Empire strode in and rescued them - even creating an entire holiday to celebrate that day.
The Zvorun Culture has uncertain roots, even to those who lived around them for centuries. Most scholars suggest a cultural group, once rather isolated and practicing a nature-focused form of pagan faith with a focus on birds and trees, were heavily impacted by the arrival of the Proto-Velheim likely sometime around 300 BC, who followed rivers inland to this unique people. From these early meetings, the Zvorun gained their own variation of the Old Gods faith, but also were opened up to the wider world, understanding the sheer scope of it. Unlike the Proto-Velheim who appear not to have settled in great numbers so far from the coastline, the Zvorun used this contact to galvanize their population, ergo expanding by the decade across the river-valley wilderness of Drixagh. By 200 AC, the Zvorun were mentioned in the records of the Wirtemcaller Kingdom to the south, but the nation saw them unkindly. They believed them to be trespassers on holy land given to the Wirtem by deities of the hunt, and thus began the next 250 years of Zvorun life. The Wirtemcaller lords in the north were used to dealing with barbarian groups, apparently having been raided on occasion, but for once they became the raiders. They expanded fortifications into Zvorun lands and set about attempts to conquer the local population. Unfortunately for them, the Zvorun proved highly resourceful at escaping, only to be betrayed later in 50 BC. One of their own, whose name has been struck from the record and is solely referred to as “The Accursed”, gave critical information to the Wirtemcaller warriors and they found many hiding places of the Zvorun people. In the aftermath, The Accursed was named “High Duke” of Zavoria and the warriors who aided him were given tracts of land in the region. In the modern-day, these warriors are called the Herebrand Knights (though the concept of knighthood didn’t exist until over a century later).
Then began the Halvustama, or “Belittlement” when the Zvorun were made the servants of the High Duke and the Herebrand Knights. However, it was during this time that the Zvorun perhaps solidified the most as a society and any sort of disunity died. United against the outside invaders, they waited for three decades until the death of The Accursed to rise up. Led by a religiously enlightened ruler, later dubbed Great King Kassamar, the Wirtemcaller forces were destroyed and forced back to their original fortresses from 200 years ago. Kassamar pushed further, the Zvorun proclaiming vengeance upon the south, and powerful horseback riding raiders against Wirtemcaller cavalry and border fortresses. This is when the Wraclav Culture was born, as those Zvorun who remained loyal to the Wirtem were protected, and later, heavily transformed due to outside influences. Eventually, the Zvorun were forced into retreat and they returned to their native territory, but the Wirtemcallers could be argued to have ultimately lost despite this apparent victory. The conflict engaged in by the Zvorun was little more than an attempt to punish the Wirtem people, and they succeeded. By 50 AC, half the northern frontier had been abandoned by civilians, fearing assaults from the Zvorun. It was at this time that both groups were beset upon by a long-ignored people: the Velheim.
The Skagger Horde began arriving in 50 AC and quickly overtook the existing population: groups of Velheim within Drixagh, but also the Fridurfolk and Tarkkin people found there. However, when they came into contact with the Zvorun, they steered around their territory or kept to the major waterways. Unlike the meetings of the past, the Zvorun were not open to outsiders. The Horde itself was warlike, and similarly far more aggressive than the Proto-Velheim of old. They often spoke of Zvorun land as cursed and filled with dark gods, but still raided it for slaves and supplies. At the same time, the Zvorun had to beat back the occasional attempt by the Wirtemcallers to take the initiative against the growing threats of the north, of which the Zvorun were but a small part. But then the Wirtemcaller Kingdom collapsed, and the Skagger Horde surged south. The Zvorun watched them go, content to see the nation that had so long tortured them be apparently destroyed. They retreated to their expansive borders, continuing to fend off the Skagger Horde, and remained unaware of what was happening in the south as they no longer sought knowledge of the surrounding world. Suddenly, there was chaos. First, thousands of Horde-members fled north through and around their territory, and the Zvorun came face to face with a new foe: the Regalian Empire. Unfortunately for all parties, the Wirtemcaller people, now known as the Wirtem, falsely advised the Regalian Military. They said that the Zvorun were just another part of the Skagger Horde, as they were just as savage and warlike with similarly strange gods. The Unionist Regalians were inclined to agree, and engaged in a brief but devastating campaign. Southern Zvorun lands were ravaged, and they fled in droves back to their more traditional territory in the north and northeast. A continuance of the war was averted when captured Zvorun combatants but also civilians finally demonstrated that they were not Velheim to the Regalians. The Empire thus made a deal with the Zvorun to give up claims on Wraclav land, to not war with those Wirtem to the south, and in return, all other lands they held would be kept.
The Zvorun agreed, but their troubles didn’t stop. Barely a few weeks after the treaty had been signed did there come a new invasion. Krainivaya, in large numbers, had arrived in the Regalian Archipelago to aid the Empire in defeating the Skaggers. The Zvorun, run ragged from fleeing the Regalians could barely mount a defense in their eastern lands and were sent tumbling back into the core of their territory, where they had originally emerged from. The newly formed Volgaria then asserted itself, and the Zvorun were again forced to accept their losses of territory. Yet there came still more bad news, as from Greater Calemberg came a crusading group of knights. This group was the Herebrand Holy Order, the name of the ancient order of “knights” taken up by successors of the Wirtemcaller Kingdom and largely by ancestors of the original Herebrands. The Holy Order proved to be a successor not just in name, but also in territorial ambition. Settled in the lands of and supported by the Wraclav, they constantly raided into the local territory of the Zvorun on the smallest pretenses, engaging in “disciplinary” actions against the “faithless” population and expanding their territory slowly over the next several decades. The last expansion of their territory was in 250 AC, where the Holy Order finally reached too far into Zavoria and ended up having to retreat. Still, the Zvorun were, and have remained, surrounded. From the south, Greater Calemberg ignores cooperation with the Culture instead advocating for its absorption by the Wraclav. To the east sits the Krainivaya of Volgaria as well as the Wraclav, groups who view the Zvorun as sad cousins in need of enlightenment. Then there is the north, Drixagh, and the Velheim. While tensions between them and the Zvorun had long been cool, the Burning of the North showed the Zvorun just how much the world had changed in the last several decades, and that the Velheim could perhaps no longer protect as they once might have.
However, in the final months of 307 AC, they joined with other northern peoples of Drixagh in warfare against the Wirtem. In this conflict, the Herebrand Order was smashed and completely pushed from Zvorun land, even being kicked out of Wraclav territory, and in the new year, the peace treaty made that condition permanent. Now separated from the Wirtem by Hadrian's Mountain Chain, the Zvorun are joyous, if not spread thin, their long-awaited goals accomplished with help from those around them. However, the new lands they now control are open and rugged, and the Zvorun have new challenges ahead in reforging their ancient state so long lost to the annals of history.
Language and Dialects
The Zvorun curiously speak the Tarkkin Language, albeit a sub-dialect which is mutually intelligible with that of their northern neighbors, the Tarkkin. Why this is the case of Skodje or another tongue of other northern groups is unknown, but is often attributed by the idea that the Tarkkin, the Zvorun and others in Drixagh all come from one ancient source of Ailor, though not necessarily the Proto-Velheim. Their variety has many curious letter combinations rare in Common, and so they can sound very foreign, and possess hard accents when speaking in Common.
The Zvorun have a similar naming system to the Velheim, though most think it is more by coincidence than design. Most Zvorun names are based on objects, animals, colors, or are from family naming traditions woven into their oral history. Some are adapted from other Cultures as well however, most commonly Tarkin but also Velheim and Wraclav. There is a high frequency of bird-based names overall though, due to the religious symbolism placed on birds in ancient Zvorun Culture. Then, it is surprisingly the middle name, which in Zvorun Culture is the indicator of family surname, and these are often similarly based on objects, animals, and so on. Finally, there is the last name, though it is better to state these are descriptors of a family’s origin and are Origin Names as a result. Each of these names correlates to nine ancient territories that existed among the Zvorun of old which are attested to in their folklore and stories. Below can be found a list of first name options, and then the list of nine Origin Names.
- Male First Names: Arved, Peet, Kaarel, Koit, Ruubert, Siimo, Madis, Juulius, Nigul, Vitsent
- Female First Names: Eha, Aemilie, Klaara, Riina, Ulli, Taimi, Hella, Aytama, Eluta, Luule
- Origin Names:
- Meriserv, the land found in the west of ancient Zvorun territory, abutted by The Balt Inland Sea. Families who descend from this area often have nautical-focused surnames.
- Kaksiksaar, the land located just beyond Meriserv and largely made up of the two islands in the eastern area of The Balt Inland Sea. Families who descend from this area often have nautical-focused surnames, but also surnames that reference the night, or take from Fridurfolk Culture.
- Roheline, one of the four central regions of ancient Zvorun territory. Coated in forests, the families who descend from this area often have forest nature-focused surnames.
- Põhikallas, the most northern territory of the ancient Zvorun, abutting the far eastern edge of The Balt Inland Sea and possibly reaching as far as some of the local lakes which are now in Tarkkin territory. Families who descend from this region have nautical-focused surnames, just like Meriserv and Roheline, but also names referencing winter and snow-heavy climates, as well as taking inspiration from Tarkkin Culture.
- Laabumarohi, a central region of ancient Zvorun territory and home to the nation’s greatest farms with rolling hills crossed by rivers. Families descended from this area often have agricultural-focused surnames.
- Tuuline-mets, one of the central regions of ancient Zvoria and a mix of plains and forests. Families who descend from this area often have forest-focused and plains-focused surnames, but also surnames that take inspiration from the wind, and birds, as the region was well known for its high winds centuries ago.
- Taevastõusma, the eastern land of the ancient Zvorun people. Known for its blend of plains, and rocky terrain, it was also the place where the sky rose each cycle of the day, earning it great symbolic importance. The families who claim descent from this area often have celestial-based surnames, as well as surnames involving mountains, whose peaks could be seen in the distance further east, beyond Zvorun borders.
- Jurrkodu, the smallest of all ancient Zvorun territories and one of the few they still hold today. The region was known as their Culture’s homeland, and those with descent from this area often have the oldest, and simplest surnames, accentuated with noble suffixes to indicate precious metals or materials, resulting in names like “Silver-winds” and “Amber-sparrows” when translated into Common.
- Võitlusvall, one of the largest ancient Zvorian regions and their northern border with the Wirtemcaller. The region was a series of rocky plains and poor soil and was home to the best raiders and warriors of their people. People who claim descent from this area have storm/bad weather-inspired and weapon-based surnames.
Zvorun Law follows Velheim Law in many respects, though has local adaptation to represent their divergence away from that Culture, which gave them so much. Overall, the practices of the Velheim have been simplified, with an emphasis placed upon communal judgment directly than a figure like the Jovrlov leading the charge. Any figure may attempt to bring another to justice over a breach of their laws, and upon an elder agreeing there has been a breach, a council of the community's elders is summoned to sit and hear the charges. While the assembled crowd may participate, and throw their support behind an involved party, it is the elders who determine someone’s fate. There is also the oddly pagan act of killing a chicken and reading its innards; a task undertaken by the community’s Sammun as a way of divining truth or favor regarding a specific question. Such events have grown rare over the years, as Regalian oversight in the region increased after the recent Northern Rebellion, and much like Velheim Law, Zvorun Law practices are not protected by the State. Instead, they have made a greater effort to force more cut and dry affairs, like that happen in Wraclav lands, and some Zvorun in their larger settlements have acquiesced.
Lifestyle and Customs
Zvorun people tend to be conservative in terms of family structure. A singular mother and father taking care of their children is the standard, and a woman is considered to have obligations with regards to making and then maintaining the family while the husband has the Soldi obligation to ensure their survival, though little more than that. This way of thinking has begun to decline, especially among younger Zvorun, and a more egalitarian society has emerged in the western lands facing Velheim and Tarkkin lands. The idea of extended families within Zvorun Culture is rather commonplace, as many families are related thanks to their claims of ancient origin in lands, which are often now not part of Zvorun territory. These family ties are kept alive through songs and stories, with families from the same Origin often clustering together in a small community part of the larger community. As a result, Zvorun settlements often have divisions of housing based on these Origins with aesthetics in design mimicking common symbols of their region of origin. Though, they are still friendly with those not of the same Origin in other neighborhoods or areas around them.
Zvorun society is still largely based on raid-era values and patriarchal importance within society. As mentioned earlier, women bear the brunt of maintaining the home and producing a family, while the husband is assigned to look after the security of his family. This can cause issues where men are distant from their family, sometimes physically, living separate from their families as they engage in seasonal work elsewhere in Drixagh, or migrate to larger settlements ahead of a family looking for better opportunities. Women and children are thus left behind in such situations, and so long as their future security is handled and their survival guaranteed, men have few to no more responsibilities. More is often demanded by the concept of Soldi, as its rewards for those who did more, and were just people are great, but due to Zvorun law devolving into debates over the merits of Soldi and the exact nature of individual Soldi, men have been known to almost fully ignore families they formed when young, providing them what they need to survive while living with others. This all stems from ancient traditions, when men raided or traded far from home, and what they provided in these voyages was honor bound to be returned to their families, even in their death. However, as the most recent generation of Zvorun have grown up with far different social orders around them, these old ways are rapidly washing away for greater gender equality, and more well-knit homes thanks to the concept of that gender equality.
The Zvorun follow the celebrations of the Old Gods festival calendar but have their own local traditions which are barely known to outsiders, largely due to the minor status of the Zvorun in the world, most of which are based around the mythology of their Old Gods variant.
- February 10th is Talvhind, or “The Winter’s Charge” which celebrates the ancient charge of Great King Kassamar in defeating a standing army of Herebrand and their levies. The celebration sees mock-ups of the same event take place, with a singular rider often slamming a flaming spear or lance into an effigy of a Herebrand Knight, before the community cooks their meal around the fire this creates, warming themselves by it as the winter evening wears on.
- March 10th is called Suur-Võitlus or “The Day of Great Battle.” The Zvorun purport that on this day, the sky was darkened as a flaming dragon approached the world, intent on devouring all life. The gods united and defeated this beast, ultimately hurling it into The Balt Inland Sea where it died to the saltwater. Its corpse thus became the palace of the Union of Water. This day often sees solemn prayer in communities, the entombment of a month’s worth of dead, and treks to The Balt Inland Sea where men and women collect stones, and bathe in the “death waters.”
- July 14th is known as the Ajastu-Impeerium, or “The Day of Empire” and is said to be the date the Regalian Empire reached its original, ancient deal with the Zvorun. Families travel and crowd into the largest cities where great stretches of pale purple fabric are stretched over special markets hosting goods from across the Empire, with many foreign merchants making a good sum from the trade that comes with this day. Foreign Races are also sought out, and the Zvorun seek to learn more about such groups, even if they are not part of the Regalian Empire. In recent years, the festivities have been marred by low attendance due to the Burning of the North, and then the Northern Rebellion.
- September 10th is called Suguvõsa-Koor, “Family Song Day”, and by some Drixagh outsiders as “The Second Øya.” Unlike the Old Gods Øya Festival, however, Suguvõsa-Koor sees families of the same Origin gathering and performing in co-ordinated groups for the rest of their community, telling some of the tales and myths of their Origin region through song and chants, as well as family histories should they intersect with such major events. Spectators are expected to pay attention, but after the last set, often at or around midnight, the entire community then sings the same melody, gets enormously drunk, and regrets it the next morning.
- October 10th is known as the Kord-Vaikus or “Time of Silence”, where special honor is given to the dead and ancestors. Communities actively support the efforts of the Soikustark (their term for the Valsung) and grant them all they need to converse and lay to rest the spirits of the dead alongside the Meerik (Zvorun term for Navner). The wider community also does not talk, which can be irritating for outsiders, especially those in major cities. However, most businesses and more close on this day, and silent prayers to the Union of Water are also conducted in the minds of the faithful.
- December 10th has many names, but is best described as a day of love among the Zvorun, or Armaeg (Day of Blessing). On this day, the Union of Fire is most emphasized, and great importance is also placed on the care of animals. Babies are blessed on this day, by wrapping a cord, yarn, or string about their head and tying it, before cutting the knot with words hoping the child will never know enslavement. Animals also have the same thing happen, but the cord, yarn, or string usually around their necks, and the prayer is that they will continue to provide for the family that cares for them.
The Zvorun Variant of Old Gods is well known for being one of the odder interpretations of the different gods of the pagan pantheon. Half of them, known as the Jumalad-Kivi, or the “Gods of Stone” are considered the older, more ancient set of deities. The second half, known as the Jumalad-Õhk, or the “Gods of Air”, are the younger, most spritely figures who possess wings. It is claimed the two sides were once antagonistic to one another, the Gods of Stone living in and upon the earth while the Gods of Air resided in a Great Tree which bore fruit and blossoms. Eventually, though, the two sides had to come together and defeat a great evil. Through this alliance, the two groups also came to form unions of companionship, and eventually became inseparable, the Tree becoming the center of the world and expanding across Aloria providing life and the gifts of the united gods to all. The Zvorun are said to have been from one of the blooms of the Great Tree, which snapped off and pushed by the winds, was carried to the land the Culture now calls home. Further differences between this and the mainline, Velheim-tied form of Old Gods are largely down to aesthetics and terminology, with each of the gods having different names, while places such as the Herrehem Himmel are nestled in the branches of the Great Tree above the valleys, which make up the afterlife rather than just hanging in the sky.
- For more information on the Zvorun Variant, click HERE
Literature and Folklore
The Zvorun have their philosophy birthed from their ancient religious views and the near-constant raids from the people in the past. They believe heavily in defending their heritage that was once almost constantly taken from them by the people south of them. Many of them feel an intense, almost unbreakable pride in their ancestors and history both built by their ancestral worship religion and the fact that the scars of the raids in their past are still fresh in many of their minds. Many adopt a very stoic outlook on life that reflects the bitter climate of their homeland and tend to remain implacable in the face of direct insult or attempts to bait them into aggression over that past. They believe that keeping such control maintains one’s Soldi and avoids outsiders from viewing them as savages. As a result, they are hard to anger, unlike how many Wirtem or Wraclav paint them, though they have a great range that can erupt should someone insult their style of music or storytelling. As for their outlook on other Races, they believe that all emerged by the will of the gods and that each Race should at least be queried on their values before a judgment is made. They do have a conservative outlook though, and often dislike the more alien or exotic Races, though find Maraya and especially Yanar quite fascinating along with certain Sihai due to their avian features.
Zvorun folklore is rich and varied, with a deep history tied to each Origin region of the ancient Zvorun and knitted into their version of Old Gods worship. The most prevalent myths among their people are those surrounding their interpretation of the Old Gods, with many tales describing the relationships between each of the Unions, the way the world existed before the Unions came together, and adventures that came later, when the Maarda (known as the Tähtapsed to the Zvorun) came into being and later heroes emerged to aid the ancient Zvorun. However, a number of other tales or motifs exist in Zvorun storytelling. One of the odder ones are moving forests, mountains or bodies of water which depart upon having been affronted or desecrated by acts of bad Soldi, and only return upon the situation being resolved. A few myths, however, are never resolved and are used to explain population migrations when rivers ran dry or forests suddenly died. Another myth holds that it is animals who are the bridge to the afterlife and tell of various disruptions in their journey to deliver souls to the high winds, which whisk them away to their eventual fate. There are also an array of monsters or creatures unique to Zvorun Culture. There is the “Sadness Deer”, or Nukrus-Uluk, servants of Lensa (known to the Zvorun as Sündema) who are unkillable cervids that drive away or hide all prey from forest hunters, to compel them to start a family; the “Good Giants” or Suurvalvur who were Giants that defended Zvorun land from Wirtem invasions of the past before they journeyed north in the dusk of their lives and finally; the more mystical Lumivaim, benevolent beings of ice and snow that herald the changing of seasons, though are capable of dramatically changing into huge bestial forms if dishonored or attacked. There is one myth of a more menacing bend, though: that of the Näguvõtman. These beings are said to be those of terrible Soldi who, in ancient days, made pacts with Bev (Näguvaras to the Zvorun) to remain alive, at the cost of their faces. They apparently seek out the faces of young men and women to skin, before eating the rest of the youth. The reason this is sometimes seen as having a grain of truth is that Velheim tales speak of faceless monsters that once dwelt on “Nattøy,” the more northern island of the two regions held by the Zvorun in ancient times as part of Kaksiksaar. Whether these tales were based on the Zvorun myth is unknown, but the Velheim state that an ancient hero slew all of these monsters after they abducted his daughter.
The Zvorun have sadly suffered the loss of much of their art over the generations. As a result of this, their society’s art has transferred to every day and immovable objects both. On the smaller side, in woven fabrics, carved into tools, hilts, and more, the symbolism of the Old Gods is prolific, but with local alterations, as well as unique local runic symbols or pictographs to represent greater themes. The style is often like that of the Velheim, but avoids lines crossing over one another, keeping swirls to a minimum as well. Zvorun fabrics generally feature simple colors, and unlike the mirroring style of the Velheim, Zvorun needleworks instead showcase united, singular images, often with the Great Tree in the middle, and images surrounding it in four parts. Also unlike the Velheim, the Zvorun lack a strong tattooing tradition, with their most well known form of art being their rock paintings. Large boulders and stones litter their territory, and hard to remove, were eventually made key to Zvorun Culture. In addition to painting them with designs and imagery mentioned earlier, small alcoves are carved into these stones to hold offerings, small blessings and more, as some of these rocks are said to be as old as the Zvorun themselves, and have a special connection with the world as a result. Another piece of artwork notable among the Zvorun are their feather creations. Small, woven together bundles of feathers from different birds, they can exist in a variety of forms and are said to be imbued with hopes, wishes, and blessings. These are commonly stored in the niches carved in the great boulders across Zvorun territory, or exist hanging around necks or from the fringes of clothing.
The usage of music within Zvorun Culture is incredibly important, as it plays both a recreational role but also as a way to perpetuate their history. It also has a military purpose, signaling calls to battle, retreat, and more. To accompany this devotion to music, the Zvorun people have created many unique instruments to fulfill the turbulent lifestyle of its people. Due to the destructive nature of Wirtem raids, most of Zvorun history is practiced orally through music or etched onto a family's Suguvõsanöör. Even religious practices have deep roots in the usage of musical instruments, those unique to the Zvorun are listed below.
- Kodusarv: Zvorun herders will typically use this large horn-shaped instrument to call the livestock back to the farm after pasture. The sound of the Kodusarv is similar to the piercing call of a deer with a trumpet undertone. In villages due to the herders living closer to the edge of town, they could spot incoming raids much better than anyone else. If spotted, they would quickly rush to a nearby well and begin blaring the Kodusarv at full force to help it resonate loudly within the village in order to warn others of the impending raid.
- Suguvõsanöör: The Suguvõsanöör is the centerpiece of a Zvorun family. Due to the tendency of potentially losing many belongings and literature during a Wirtem raid, the Zvorun people adapted to keep their family histories and legacy alive, and thus the Suguvõsanöör was born. The material of choice for this instrument was always wood, but the quality varied widely depending on the family's wealth and class. Generally, the instrument was a large, thick plank of wood with 5 strings running the length. The plank could be a simple rectangle design while richer families have been known to have curved or even circular Suguvõsanöörs. The common characteristic though is the etching of symbols into the Suguvõsanöör. These typically depicted the ancestors, legacy, and achievements of the family.
- Jumaladnöör: This large, complicated instrument is rarely ever seen outside Zvorun Old Gods temples, shrines, and Helbolwen. Typically used during a major religious ceremony or celebration, this instrument is a complex version of the Suguvõsanöör only invented around 100 AC. A small wooden or iron handle is turned on the end of the instrument that rolls a line through the instrument through a strum to create a sound that can be altered by pressing small wooden pedals with the fingers on the base of the instrument. The largest version of this instrument is operated by a two-man crew in the capital of the Zvorun Culture.
The style of dress for both Zvorun men and women are rather similar. Both wear plain, simple spun clothings of white and beige with the odd tone of brown thrown in due to leather boots or shoes. But, there are key differences to note. Men tend to wear predominantly more furs around the collar, hat, and the ends of their clothing while women are not allowed to put fur in their clothing, as this is seen as far too masculine. Men will also wear a coat over the robes they wear. Meanwhile, women are expected to wear a long dress down to the feet to cover their bodies. They are also expected to wear a large collar ruff of flexible pleats to cover their necks, and also tend to wear simple, but stiff, white caps that are richly decorated with colorful needlepoint work.
Zvorun buildings are one of the less remarkable aspects of their Culture, built to appear plain on the outside with simple wattle and daub for walls, and square or rectangular shapes to them, with simple doors and windows, often lacking a formal chimney and instead relying on a firepit inside set against a wall alcove, with ventilation through a hole in the roof capable of being covered. Such homes are often built in blocks of four in larger Zvorun settlements, in an identical square pattern to their design. However, while the outsides may look drab, the interior of these structures are very notable; interior walls are often richly painted, with years of drawings from generation after generation of family members on display. Larger communal buildings have the same visual, and outsiders often find it discordant, and lacking sophistication, but it is instead meant as a statement of a close-knit community.
Sausage, wheat, and pork are typically the staples of a Zvorun diet. Since pigs are the main livestock raised in Zvorun, they have learned to create a wide variety of dishes from this one main ingredient. Many spices and gamey meats are collected by hunters and typically added to the pork in a large grinding stone that feeds them all together to make a large sausage from all of it. There are also numerous competitions to see who can make the best Zvorun sausage, which outsiders enjoy due to the range of tastes and unique creations that can be produced. Though, sausage is not the only food in their lands. Another interesting recipe passed down by one woman to the next is the Pierogi. Due to the similarity in that dish to the Sihai dish of dumplings, some outsiders believe it somehow came from there though this is a complete myth and is well-known among ancient songs that it came from the ancient Zvorun capital of Kijow. Though the city itself is in ruins, many believe the eating of this dish is a symbol of remembering their heritage from that once grand city.
Physical activity on the farm is not the end for many as sports are an important facet of Zvorun people. Wrestling is particularly popular in Zvorun territory, and many young men will wrestle amongst each other to establish a hierarchy of dominance as outright fisticuffs could prove more detrimental than some shoving and holding down. Women are actively discouraged to engage in this kind of activity, and instead watch these contests from the sidelines.
Due to an overwhelming majority of the Zvorun population being rural, many of their leisure activities are outside or based around livestock. One of the most universally popular things to do is gather around the town square after work to listen to the elders play their Suguvõsanöörs and sing tales of yore. Though the ones that live within the city have taken to simply sitting near their hearth with their own family to gently play the Suguvõsanöör and sing tales of their ancestors' feats. Another interesting activity for many children of Zvorun is Swinsana or the act of pushing a pig over in the field. Though due to the size, they usually act within groups to perform the task. It is the mark of a Zvorun boy turning into a man when he can push a pig over on his own with no help.
Many symbols used to represent the Zvorun people come from the Zvorun Variant of Old Gods, but they also have some imagery unique to them. Wings, hammers, tall trees and their pictographic symbology are all used to represent the Culture, but there is also the flag the Zvorun have recently begun hoisting high following the Northern Rebellion, and the end of the Herebrand presence in their land. The symbol is a stylized white predator bird curved with a smaller, stylized songbird resting on a thin-striped field colored in pale reds, blues and greens repeated three times, resulting in nine stripes.
- There's a modern tale of a Calemberg noble using his retinue of men to steal an entire wall from the Zvorun capital city due to how taken aback he was by the artwork on it. He then supposedly dumped it into The Balt Inland Sea.
- Some believe that ancient Zvorun rites had elders sacrificed in the temple and the young would then drink their blood, but many religious figures deny this profusely, and it is broadly seen as an active demonization by the Wirtem.