|Origins||Kingdom of Lusits|
|Social Classes||Fishermen, Sailors, Traders, Merchants, Explorers, Nobility|
|Major Cities||Portimao, Cidade do Paraiso, Bando do Pedra|
Fiery, passionate, and extravagant, the Bragacao people have no desire to leave themselves as a footnote in the history books of Aloria. Being proficient tradesmen has allowed the Bragacao people to spread themselves and their reputations out across Aloria. Originating in the Kingdom of Lusits, they made a name for themselves as merchants and explorers that brave the seas in the name of glory. Many Regalian Bragacao live in the same-named Lordship of Bragaco in the southwestern part of the Regalian Archipelago, ever an epicenter of Warmland Cultures and traditions. They recently flourished in prestige following the marriage of Lusits Queen Juliana do Lobo the Mad to Regalian Emperor Alexander Kade, and hope that such a union may allow for a better future for themselves and other Daen Cultures at large.
The Bragacao Culture began its life on the coastline of the Lusits Gulf located in northeastern Daendroc. The Daendroque Ailor that fled there found regions rich in seafood, and extensively settled the coastline and hugged the rivers that snaked inland. The region’s Altalar fled in the wake of the Wildering and the slave revolts, leaving behind their great architecture and many beautiful objects that, to them, were paltry in appearance. Thus began the Bragacao obsession with visual wealth. After several decades, the local Daendroque Ailor began to rethink their ideals on freedom. Nearby, Daenshore and other areas were proving to be fairly volatile as freedom-loving citizens clashed with governments trying to organize power. Thus, the Bragacao were born when, from between 48 to 60 AC, the governments of the various settlements met and organized a new system of principles to guide them. Their freedoms would be personal and assured by a republican system of government, and so the word of law gained prominence in their society, thus being the first major distinction between them and their sister Culture to the south. Lusits was born from this unification and, over a period of a hundred years, was ruled by a number of Doges, elected to their office by leading men and women of the land. A majority were men, but some were women, and all sought to expand trade, diplomacy, and exploration. It was under Doge Henrique de Gaviz in 112 AC that the people of Lusits reached and settled in the Regalian Archipelago, where they quickly encountered the Regalian Empire. Their territory soon became a Lordship under the Empire, and the Culture gradually became known as Bragacao over the coming decades. This time also saw rapid exploration of the world, and the Bragacao people became heavily invested in making a name for themselves and the glory that came with great success.
It was in 167 AC that the merchant republican nature of Lusits finally came to an end. Over the years, bribery and family alliances had increasingly seen the elected crown of the Doge pass between five major noble families,then the top three, and finally, the top two. The do Lobos and the Acostas fiercely competed with each other, but the do Lobos secured a direct hereditary succession from a father to his son, thus beginning the do Lobo reign of Lusits. Lusits by this time was a major trade partner with the Regalian Empire, with their vessels and sailors important contributors to the burgeoning Imperial Fleet. Over the coming decades, the Bragacao people prospered despite their monarchs becoming increasingly ceremonial, and increasingly worse. Seeking to ensure that their lands and titles remained within the do Lobo family, the house began to marry cousins to cousins. This had an extremely deleterious effect on the mental faculties on the do Lobo line, culminating in the mad monarch Juliana do Lobo. She was crowned with no issue at the age of nineteen after her father died, but her madness soon exploded into the open when she took lessons she learned from the Ithanian court, mixed with Bragacao fashion, to the extremes. Luckily, the Regalian Empire and various ministers beneath her held all the real power, and so her madness did nothing except shape the appearance and fashion of the local high society (to some rather odd conclusions). Lusits, the homeland of the Bragacao, was finally fully integrated into the Empire as a direct Imperial possession after the Mad Queen married Alexander Kade in the First Songaskian War, gaining her armies and personal treasury to aid him in the conflict. Today she is rarely seen with waking reports that indicate her health has only deteriorated from the process of producing children for the once-again Emperor. Her people are somewhat glad at her departure and maintain a strict loyalty to the Regalian Empire, and eagerly search for challenges and ways to carve out their own place in the world.
Language and Dialects
Bragacao language, known as Braggan, seems to be a melodic language fitting for such a poetic people. The Language is a pitch-accent language with distinct patterns, used to differentiate two-syllable words with otherwise identical pronunciation. Due to the written form of Braggan having no form of accent mark, these patterns giving the language a very melodiclike quality that sets it apart from other Languages. Braggan relies mostly on tone of voice to differentiate emotion within its sentence. The same sentence that may mean something completely vile and disgusting in Braggan could sound sweet and innocent to a non-native speaker if using the correct tone of voice. Even though they share a lot of similarities, Daendroquin and Braggan speakers are separated by a language barrier and aren’t easily understood by one another.
Bragacao naming conventions usually resort to many Daendroque or Ithanian names with slight differences in spelling to make them match the Culture. It is also common for them to have two “first names”, though most law views the second one as a middle name. As for surnames, Bragacao families are very proud of where they come from, but not in the way other societies are concerning their cities. Instead, Bragacao surnames directly refer to the house they were born in or location of birth. In the case of the nobility, they often use “provincial” names, titles for their region, area, or largest estate to show their prestige. The do Lobos for example, are “of Wolf/Wolves,” referring to the grey mountainous estate at the heart of the river valley where their power base formed. After one has married, an individual’s surname is retained, though women or the less powerful of the partnership add an “e” and then the surname of their male or more powerful partner. For example, Queen Juliana do Lobo became Juliana do Lobo e Kade after her marriage to Alexander. Some examples of first names are below:
- Nelson Francisco
- Pedro Luís
- Helena Ana
While very carefree and socially liberal, the Bragacao tend to be more lawful and less anarchical than the Daendroque, especially in the Kingdom of Lusits, and conform to most aspects of Regalian Law. Bragacao don’t see the absence of law and the rise of gangs as an opportunity of freedom, and the old days of Lusits as a merchant republic have taught the Bragacao that there needs to be some semblance of order so that personal expression can thrive. However, despite generally being more compliant with societal rules than their sister Culture, Bragacao merchants aren’t afraid to occasionally bend the law or engage in shadier practices in order to earn a greater profit. The Culture’s lust for gemstones and jewels is also a reason that their merchants have skirted the law in the past, all to acquire greater external expressions of their wealth. The Lordship of Bragaco in the Regalian Archipelago, for example, is dominated by wealthy merchant families who influence local nobility to pass laws in their own favor, but have been careful to keep a balance by also enriching those beneath them who are loyal.
Lifestyle and Customs
Bragacao families can be described as a “chain of respect” much in the same way Daendroque families are arranged. This invisible chain branches from the youngest of the family member to the oldest, and the higher you climb up this chain, the more respect is expected to be given to the individual, with elders expected to be the most respected out of any other member of the family. As the man (or woman in some cases) of the family grows older and takes on more responsibilities they, in turn, gain more respect. But when entering his 40 to 50s these responsibilities are slowly handed to others in return for higher levels of respect. A Bragacao knows how to respect their elders, in fact some take it to a degree of worship. A man or woman who’s proven to be able to provide for their family and continue to live long enough to reach this grace period is believed to deserve such treatment. Usually men take this role, but a respected matriarch isn’t unheard of, though most female elders are the wives of men who have reached this grace period.
Households usually consist of a husband, a wife, the man’s parents, and usually an abundant amount of children. Occasionally the woman’s parents reside in the home as well, or even her grandparents if they’ve been blessed to live that long. Married partners usually have no less than two children, despite houses already being filled up by their prolonged family. Elders will most likely live with their oldest son’s family, making the expectation for their younger sibling’s offspring to grow. The schedule of the house mainly consists of the husband and older offspring being set for work whilst the wife and grandmother remain at home to complete house chores and tutor children. Elder men are almost always completely absent from any sort of work that provides for their household, as it’s believed that when in their grace period they have already reserved the right to spend the rest of their days as they wish.
Bragacao gender roles are rather egalitarian and fair in both Lusits and Bragaco, as they have especially expanded under the cultural influence of Queen Juliana and her Ithanian upbringing. Though stereotypes are common, men or women aren’t discriminated against in performing unorthodox roles, meaning it isn’t surprising for a woman to work outside of the home or for a man to care for his family and do housework. Women have grown to occupy powerful positions in Bragacao nobility and merchant families, and enjoy liberties that wouldn't be traditionally seen in other Cultures.
The Bragacao are not the party animals the Daendroque are often portrayed as, though when they celebrate, they do so lavishly. Their only major non-Unionist holiday is Vinda-de-Idade, translated in Common as “Coming of Age.” Not so much a holiday as it is a tradition, the week after the New Year sees the next generation of adults (anyone who turned 18 over the course of the year) put to the test in a series of challenges. Each coming of age adult must engage in these festivities, and even if one fails, it is preferable to not participating. This week of events heavily involves alcohol, making these challenges a bit more difficult. This holiday isn’t about proving themselves to be of age, but instead to follow the Bragacao way of living, meaning to finally engage in their desires and fully enjoy their time being alive, with little work being rested on their shoulders. The challenges are essentially dares that vary in scope depending on the community or wishes of communal elders. For example, more rural Bragacao Vinda-de-Idade challenges will focus on climbing or ascending potentially hazardous local landmarks, or seeking to achieve a certain result in a game of sport, chance, or when making art, whereas those of the merchant class in the urban city may involve financial or diplomatic challenges of aiding parents in merchant deals.
Literature and Folklore
Bragacao literature is rich within their respective parts of Aloria. A majority of the popular Bragaco stories are epic poems and novels with grand heroes and larger-than-life adventures. As a people enamored with passion and art, they’ve grown a fascination with exaggerated tales and the idea of an eternal legacy through stories. Ghost stories and superstitious tales can be found throughout the common folk, meant to keep Bragacao children from heavily wooded or shady areas in fear they’d come face to face with the Lord of the Shore. Despite the Bragacao being a population consisting of a Unionist majority, Old Faiths and pagan folklore often makes way into these stories as a reminder of times long past.
The Bragacao are a people of freedom and creativity, passionate about their heritage and shameless in expressing who they are. The Culture places emphasis on writing one's name in the stars and creating a legacy to be remembered, whether it's through artistic expression or some other way to ascend to fame or notoriety. However, they also have a very blunt way of thinking and they're very set on keeping to one's space and not stepping on one another’s toes. As an expression of this they, oddly enough, avoid eye contact with others out of their own view of “respect”. As an additional expression of their bluntness, Bragacao meet everything with brutal honesty, and never tip toe in between the lines of what needs to be said. They also do not believe a first act of violence is necessary, though violent reactions to violence against them is obviously acceptable. They are also a society obsessed with beautiful things and decoration as a method of their personal expression, this particular trait taken to absurd lengths by their former monarch Queen Juliana and her sense of fashion. As a result, they can be seen as incredibly vain and also greedy, as they pursue whatever high-quality materials are within their reach to enrich their own personal image.
Many of the tales from Bragacao Culture revolve around forests and spiritual nature, though the tales of the Lord of the Shore is quite different, originating along the coastline of Portimao. The tale describes a two-horned stallion who’s lost its way from Basta, but on closer inspection had a much more ghostly and powerful vibe: it was completely white and translucent, with eyes of a light glowing green, horns stemming from its head and spiraling like tree branches. It is said that this beautiful beast lures children with its majestic aura, pleading for them to join it and help them find its way back home. If children approach it, the animal will then gesture for them to brush its mane. Doing so will infect the young one’s mind with the urge to agree to any request made by the creature, whereupon the ghostly being will then ask the child if it’d like to ride atop its back. Once the child agrees, they will be lifted and sat there, only for the beast to turn back for the ocean and run straight within the water. Its mane curling and tangling their weak legs and forearms to keep the child drowned beneath the water before feasting on their departed soul. It is also said that if a child were to somehow resist the spell and decline its offer, they would be granted an unspeakable gift. The stallion is said to stand atop a rock on the shoreline until sunrise, where it will mysteriously vanish into a work of sparkling dust.
In another variety of tale, it is said that children who have been abandoned by those unfaithful to the Old Faiths (and more recently, Unionism) will find a child’s spirit latched onto them. This occurs to anyone who comes across their burial grounds, even the innocent, and the spirit will beg and plead for the victim to carry them to a proper burial ground so it may rest. As the victim carries the child, they start to become heavier with each step as if a brick is being placed upon their shoulders. If they become too weak to carry on, the child will either act violently and vanish or disappear with it’s sobbing wails carrying out through the night. These children often appear like their original self, though dirtied in mud and dirt and clothed with things made of the forest’s surroundings. They are often unrecognizable as they wear masks of vegetation with exaggerated expressions of sadness or anger formed from the foliage and sticks. Some have even been speculated by non-believers to be mischievous Cielothar in disguise though the truth of such matters is, of course, vague.
Bragacao art is fairly standard affair and takes a realistic approach to painting and most work. What is notable about their visual arts is first, their tomb and burial markers. It is extremely rare for their markers of the dead to be flat and simple. Even the poorest of their citizenry can afford or seeks out an affordable bas-relief carved into a grave marker. For the wealthy citizens, whole statues or more elaborate carvings are available. These works serve to highlight an individual’s life, and to show his or her greatest moment or moments. In that sense, they are also memorials, and not just graves. The second unique feature of their art world is their complex tiling style. It is similar to Daendroque works, but reflect differences in that the tiles often extend onto the walls and sometimes even ceilings, and are also commonly glazed with Tin. The resulting surface is colored with a variety of bright shades, and then arranged to create either artistic wall works or geometric floor patterns, with the most common being octagons with squares.
The Bragacao are a passionate people like the Daendroque, where such passion is often characterized through physical action, but unlike them, the Bragacao consider themselves more refined and express it largely through their music. Love or “longing” songs are also a favorite staple in Bragacao society, originating among the nobility and elite classes as a form of courtship before the practice became commonplace across their society. These songs are usually written by young Bragacao men deeply infatuated with another woman, though a few bold ones have been composed by women for men and a few, even bolder and even more private ones have been composed by those interested in the same sex. These songs also do not have to be about people, and can instead be ode to places missed by the individual, thus becoming a form of lyrical homesickness. Another style of music in their society is performed almost exclusively by the youth after they turn nineteen. After their first year as adults, especially in the case of them receiving an education elsewhere, they express their happy times from this first year, but also bemoan that they will never experience such things again. Accompanying all of this is extensive dancing, with local variations on the same general style of line dancing. This often sees a lot of upward gesticulations to the beat, as well as footwork, but as each region, the only unifying part of the style is the high, celebratorial energy that is involved with it. The musical instruments involved in all of this is fairly standard for the region, with drums, guitars, flutes and others commonly used.
Women’s Bragacao fashion is quite unremarkable, influenced by the styles worn by the Daendroque with it’s only variants being within color or pattern. However, many exotic and unusual designs became commonplace during the reign of Queen Juliana do Lobo, taking their cues from her mad mind and the Ithanian fashion she grew up with. These involved bird-cages on heads, intricate and physically restrictive upper-body arrangements, and some fashion that even hid the eyes or entire facial features. As for men, similarly their fashion takes cues from external Cultures, particularly Daendroque styles. For headgear, women are known to wear a scarf while men often wear a type of beret. Particularly masculine or dominant women also wear this variety of floppy beret, though often with a feminine touch in the form of a small metal pin or broach somewhere in the front hemline. Both genders are also equally obsessed with appearing their best, whether that be in the fabric they wear, or in the way they arrange their hair. They are also deeply obsessed with gemstone-based jewelry, with men and women both having rings, earrings (usually studs in the case of men) and necklaces containing gemstones, though of course the value of these stones is accordingly equal to their wealth level.
Bragacao architecture takes heavy inspiration from the styles of the Daendroque, the Ithanians, and also the Altalar, given that many Altalar homes and forts were abandoned to the Ailor. Many of their castles and fortifications follow the model of Daendroque river towers, only expanded and constructed on a grander scale. One step up from that, and the truly unique feature of Bragacao design, is Henriline Design. Named in honor of the Doge who did the most to expand the knowledge and power of the Kingdom of Lusits, it is most commonly seen in urban or wealthy environments. It is marked by extensive use of aquatic and botanical imagery, as well as Henrique’s personal coat of arms, with pillars carved to look like twisted strands of rope, imagery and references to foreign lands, and a lack of symmetry, all in an attempt to represent his exploratory, diplomatic, and naval spirit. It is also commonly done in white stone, and some areas allow plantlife to grow over it in mimicry of the plant life that might attach itself to a ship’s hull.
The Bragacao are deeply involved in the consumption of seafood and the fruits of the sea in general, as their settlements hug the coastline while their homelands of Bragcao and Lusits are also densely river-crossed and surrounded on most sides by water. A staple of their meals is dried and salted fish, both saltwater and freshwater, known as Peixe-Seco, which is often incorporated into other dishes. Another variety of seafood commonly consumed is calamari, often served independently or in the unique dish known as Bolo do Polvo. The dish makes use of a local variety of flatbread known as Bolo, and wraps itself around cooked calamari and other food for an often low-brow hand food. As for drinks, they are most commonly exported from surrounding regions, with Ithanian wines being the most common.
One of the most recognizable Bragacao symbols is the Lord of the Shore’s face from the front, but the crest of a seashell and seaweed below a ship, all on a shield surrounded by rope and all on a field of teal is also commonly well known. It is both the personal crest of Doge Henrique de Gaviz and, after his death, the state of Lusits itself regardless of which Doge was in charge.
- Gang culture, so prevalent in Daendroque society, is almost non-existent among the Bragacao. Youth groups do exist with an almost gang-like loyalty to each other but such ties are expected to and often only extend to competition, and do not carry into adulthood.
- The reason Queen Juliana do Lobo’s official name is so often listed as de Lobo is because of her time in Ithania as a youth, where she adopted the change to better fit into the local Culture and Language of D’Ithanie.