|Common Names||Leutzmen, Swamp-dwellers, Mud-bakers|
|Social Classes||Nobility, Tacticians, Merchants, Strategists, Mercenaries, Architects, Hunters, Bakers|
The Leutz-Vixe Culture is a bridge between Ithanian and New Regalian society, and has only recently emerged in the last handful of decades. Despite its minimal popularity and limited presence, emerging in the 230s AC, the Culture has contributed great things to modern society. Their preference toward fashion, the arts, fine dining, and other high society inclinations have allowed the Leutz to slip into the wider world and offer their unique opinion and resources to various endeavors. They have also slipped out into the world with a sense of pragmatism and militaristic enthusiasm that appalled their Ithanian cousins. Through Leutz Fencing, military leaders, great Houses, fashion, and even small things such as Croisse-Baking, the Leutz-Vixe Culture is making a mark on the world of the Regalian Empire.
The Leutz-Vixe have a relatively short history in Aloria, as their society only emerged nearly 80 years ago. Before their arrival to the region that is now Osteiermark, the area was relatively unpopulated, though the eastern and central regions had a patchwork of New Regalian settlements from those who had fled from the collapsing Wirtemcaller Kingdom several decades early. The major population influx came thanks to the Ithanians, who were shifted out of settling in older settlement regions in Vixhall thanks to the Tolonne Ailor, instead heading for the open pastures of the east. Known at the time as the “Ithanian Strip”, a swath of central land in the Regalian Archipelago was populated by Ithanian migrants, but they were isolated and disquieted living in such unfamiliar lands. Ithania was heavily urban and peaceful, while Vixhall was rural and calm, and the Ithanians of the Strip found their new land to be none of these things. Wild animals threatened many settlements, and the payment of mercenaries, especially the Calembergers of the east to protect them from these forces was straining the finances of the area. In the end, it took a brave man to boldly begin the process of abandoning the old Ithanian ways of life. Baron Conrad de Luxelle was that man, and thanks to training and aid from his New Regalian allies, this leader in the eastern lands closest to the New Regalian region of Greater Calemberg worked to set the ground work for the Leutz-Vixe Culture. In subsequent years, his efforts were taken up by larger families such as House Ravenstad, and officially in 238 AC, the region progressed into fully adopting this Culture.
This move, while unpopular and scornful in Ithanian regions, proved prudent, and the region seemed to be procognisient of coming troubles. First, there was the emergence of pirates in what is now known as the Venetinez Strait, but thanks to their newfound militarism, the Lordship quickly handled the situation themselves. Then came the Szabadok, whose arrival east of Osteiermark was first ignored, but then sharply confronted. As a result, the Leutz-Vixe avoided what likely would have been far greater damage had they not been military inclined. Other such incidents proved the value of Leutz-Vixe militarism even further, and so the society is one that has long feel justified, if not proud, of abandoning the “weakness” of their Ithanian ancestors. But issues have recently begun to occur in the region. House Ravenstad’s cyclical rise and fall in the past decade destabilized regional politics. Luckily, since these events, the region has substantially cooled down. and conflict between its regional leadership is quiet if non-existent, which has allowed the Leutz-Vixe to refocus on developing their society.
Language and Dialects
The Leutz-Vixe are inclined toward their native tongue called the Leutz-Vixe Dialect. This language, like the Culture itself, is a bridge between Ithanian and Regalisch, forming into one cohesive language known by few compared to their parent tongues. Compared to other languages, Leutz is spoken very quickly and sounds very slurred. This is due to the blending of Ithanian and Regalisch, as the hard-sounding words from the latter clash with the flowing elegance of the former. As a result, Leutz-Vixe folk speaking in Common have an incredibly thick accent, which is a remnant of their native language that is hard to shrug off.
Leutz-Vixe names are often a mixture of cultural blending and linger around three categories: New Regalian, Ithanian, and Leutz names, each being dependent upon where the person comes from. Those in Lorenthaus are most likely to have Ithanian names, those in the Hinterlands and Brissiaud are most likely to have Leutz names, and those in Prestelle are most likely to have New Regalian names. Below are a few examples of Leutz-Vixe names.
Lifestyle and Customs
Leutz-Vixe families are not as close-knit as others. The land they come from is harsh and cruel, and the Leutz people mimic this. Stoic formality is usually observed in familial units, and they typically follow a patriarchal, primogeniture succession line. The first son gets all his father had; the other siblings get next-to-nothing. This is especially the case for females, who often play background roles similar in the vein of New Regalian women. In extreme difference to their Ithanian roots, Leutz-Vixe families almost never follow a matriarchal system because women are shunned by the military, though it is possible in certain regions that allow it. In terms of their ideals of romance and marriage, the Leutz people can be a coin-toss, largely depending on where they come from. Their preference for the arts, fine dining, and other aspects of high society often inspire romance and storybook-esque relationships with lovers from outside the region. However, the Leutz people often defer to what simply suits them best when dealing with one another. Life can be tough in the swamplands and hostile forests of their home, and the Leutzmen often marry young and die young as a result, with the hope to produce offspring to keep their legacy going. In the case of Leutz living in other places within the Empire, this can be entirely different, as they will defer to their sense of high society to engage in very romantic and close activities with others.
Leutzmen follow patriarchal values, which contrasts their original Ithanian Culture. As a result, the Culture stands incredibly close to New Regalian in this regard, where men are perceived as superior to women. Women in power is little-heard-of in Leutz-controlled regions, as Leutz people go to great lengths to avoid placing power in the hands of a female, many regions even passing local laws against this. Despite this, women are granted an enormous amount of freedom. Occupations are the main point, where women are encouraged to pursue talents and hobbies as a means to better themselves. Hunting and fishing is also an exception, where Leutz women are pushed to be proficient in regards to the popular sports and traditions. Still, women are the homemakers above all things and are often challenged to pursue hobbies only when time permits. This is expected in the majority of households for both genders and idleness is perceived as laziness in Leutz society.
The Leutz people observe many holidays, as well as share multiple holidays with other Cultures due to their devotion to Unionism. Parades are the most commonplace form of holiday, and will take place in the middle of the day or on a weekend on occasion. This is because taking too much time off work is seen as lazy to Leutzmen. As a result, holidays are strategically placed as to not conflict with work schedules. The only exception is the Brissiaud holiday “Croissenpâtidag”, which is a day of relaxing and food. It is observed every summer solstice, and is anticipated by Leutz children above anyone else, as it dedicates all three main meals of the day to pastry-styled food. It holds no historical meaning, and started to become practice after the emergence of Croisse Baking within Leutz-Vixe kitchens. Famous pastries, baked goods, and sweets eaten specifically this day are varied, such as Wurst Roll, Zitrounbrout, and Fleeschbak.
The Leutz people show a predominant inclination toward Unionism. Due to the high regard the ruling families of Brissiaud hold Unionism in, the people of the Leutz inclination are often devout in their worship, attending service as often as time can be spared. However, it can be stated that Leutz Unionists are often less zealous in their beliefs. With their generally cold and wild landscape that the majority of the people live on, they are often far too pragmatic and focused on the now than to be occupied with the affairs of the faith. The Leutz Culture breeds this sense of pragmatic realism, and despite their dedication to Unionism, partake little in it outside of prayer. This is also the case in the Unionist Church itself, as very few reverends of the faith are actually Leutz in Culture, due to the religious fervour just simply being passive in their homeland.
Literature and Folklore
Literature from Leutz authors all follow the same themes of the military, with little exception. Poetry, fiction, and romance authors are all placed below the works of generals, tacticians, and admirals engaging with the world around them. In regard to more non-fiction work, this genre of their literature produces insight pieces on comparing and contrasting tactical theories, military campaign accounts, and theses on strategy. This makes Leutz literature acclaimed by New Regalians for its contributions to the military in the Empire, but is frowned upon by Ithanians for being “uncreative”. Finally, there are works of semi-fiction that have become popular in recent times within Osteiermark, which is a Leutz genre of writing called “Epikont,” or “Epic Account.” These are pieces regarding historical military campaigns of the Regalian Empire that are often embellished with heroic Leutz main characters who achieve great feats in battle. As a result, Epikonts are viewed with favor by Leutzmen, but seen as questionable by other Cultures due to the lacking, if not non-existence presence of the Culture in these battles (mainly as they hadn’t been created yet in half of these works).
Leutz modes of thought conform closely to their New Regalian cousins in multiple respects. For one, they are traditionalists, largely thanks to their influences from the Regalians, but also because of their pride in their accomplishments. Their society defied the label of “failures” given to them by their Ithanian cousins and has managed to succeed if not thrive in their unique blended society. Because of that pride, and also due to still possessing a focus on both beauty and rarity, material valuables and rich experiences are highly valued by their society. Additionally, Leutz people are traditional in how they present and carry themselves in their daily lives. Stoicism is dictated as the proper way to compose oneself, and conversation is lacking between strangers. Furthermore, small talk is unpopular among Leutz people, and is instead called “Schwätztnäischt” by them, which roughly translates to “Nothing-speak.” Small talk and friendly conversation is mostly engaged in by family units, and it is customary to not act out or be overly friendly towards strangers. Formality and practical nature is the custom of the Leutz people, and this way of acting is very commonplace. The Leutz-Vixe people have also been isolationist and conservative in ideology. Leutzmen actively partake in what they have dubbed “net involvéiert”. This was a commonplace term used by Leutz titleholders, which essentially just means “Non-Involvement”, and was incredibly popular during the Regalian Pessimism when the lack of aid from the outside world helped jumpstart and maintain the Leutz-Vixe focus on militarism. The families of Brissiaud typically engage in political intrigue, but usually among themselves, which is seen as volatile and largely self-destructive by outside nobles. That changed in recent times, which has seen many Leutzmen tred outside their comfort zone and into Regalian politics, to mixed results, which led to many returning to their former policies.
While the Leutz-Vixe are a very recent Culture, and largely remain in the realm of the modern-day, lacking much in the way of regional folklore, they still have a few tales either taken from peoples previously living in the region or from regions nearby. One of their original features of folklore is the creature known as Bullimelusse. Most devout Unionists would see her as a pagan deity in line with the many gods of the Old Gods, but to the Leutz-Vixe she is still a very real though now absent being often depicted as being half fish. She is said to have been the ancestor to Ailor who have since married into and formed the de Luxelle family, which helped to found Leutz-Vixe in the first place. Less original pieces of folklore include the Erdrénktte, the supposed spirits of women who drowned in sorrow that seek those that caused them pain in life, and the Moss Jongfras, small girl-like forest dwellers with mossy backs and stony skin to help them play hide and seek.
Sculpting is placed above other styles of visual art in Leutz society and is common throughout their lands. Noble estates feature excessive amounts of sculptures, which all use a dark stone or dark marble base. The Leutz-Vixe never use white marble. Their sculpting, while acclaimed, is also seen as bizarre compared to more traditional standards. Themes for sculpting center around merging people and animals in artistic ways, like a soldier with the head of a Great Jungle Cat, or a famous writer with bird wings. The style is called “Gemëschtent Szen,” meaning “mixed scene” or “blended scene”, and is rarely seen or done outside of Leutz-Vixe lands. In the realm of painting and drawing, the region is best known for its “Estate Fotoen” style, which features drawings and paintings of cities, towns, and major estates, with small labels in and around major physical landmarks.
The Leutz-Vixe people are scarcely known for their music, as most Leutz people abide by what is popular to New Regalians, with composers mimicking their styles frequently. Additionally, due to their military relationship with the Dressolini, Dressolini music occasionally also makes an appearance in the concert halls and venues of nobility in the area.
Leutz-Vixe architecture is best described as an amalgam of different styles. In general , the original Anglian architects hired by the Ithanians, who once lived across the region now dominated by the Leutz, resulted in most architecture maintaining Anglian ideals. Basic homes for the lower classes are often very simplistic, though most are designed in such a way to ensure that the residents are shielded from the climate and environmental hazards of the region. Those of the upper classes also follow Anglian principles, with shows of wealth and superfluous detail being looked down upon in structures, while castles, forts, and holdfasts are seen as architecturally superior. Leutzmen believe that a structure with multiple uses is better than an expensive palace, and as a result most serve dual purposes such as living quarters and shops and so on. In the upper classes, this leads to most noble families living in very plain though large structures, which are usually a form of converted castles or holdfasts that rest near, around, or in population centers where they serve a central locations for celebration and community get togethers. On the inside, decorations are sparse, and feature heirlooms, statues, or mementos alongside furniture, rather than expansive gardens or paintings, with communal spaces commonly found inside for those gatherings of the public. Though if it is not within the building, then in the lands around the structure there will be ample room to celebrate festivities.
Leutz fashion has evolved from Ithanian ideals and paired them with the militaristic ideals of the New Regalians over the last few decades, and has become popular apparel for many as a result. The Leutz style of fashion dictates that the design of clothes needs to accentuate the properties of either gender. For males, clothing is militaristic, dark, intimidating, but has constant use of superfluous detail as shows of wealth and status. For females, dresses often hug curves and feature skinny skirts at the legs to show off form. Skin isn’t shown much, as not covering can be looked down upon by other Leutzmen and women as scandalous. This high-class fashion takes up more money and time than other fashion types, and it is common for people to sacrifice other expenses in exchange for remaining in the latest fashion. As for physical decoration, it is typical of men to use eccentric designs in their beards to display status, while they crop their hair to be short and military in style. Females are encouraged to tie their hair up in exquisite buns or have it be pulled back into a braid. Women who do not manage their hair are mocked by others and frequently called “Betthoer” which means “Bed Hair.”
The Leutz-Vixe people have a rich cuisine based upon taking the decadence absurdity of Ithanian and limiting it to only the decadence. For the majority of the population though, fish and other water creatures are the most common part of a meal due to the swamps, rivers, and lakes that are common across Leutz-Vix controlled territory. These fish are often prepared in an alcohol-based sauce, and professional chefs from the Culture often include seafood in their dishes as a result. On the other hand, there is Croisse Baking, equal in popularity across Leutz society despite its cost in some areas. Croisse Baking is a popular form of culinary activity that makes up the baking of sweet pastries in a unique shape which often features physical knots, braiding, and crosses in the baked goods. Croisse Baking is very popular among wealthy Leutzmen, who often binge heavily on the treats, as well as chefs who look for new ways to be original with the design. Dishes from neither of these categories include Kartoffelpan, a savory potato-based pancake and Klengwurst, a spicy and generally smaller than normal sausage. Additionally, the Leutz-Vixe are well known connoisseurs of fine drinks, and their nobility often has the best vintages of wine from the Burdigalans and the Ithanians. On the local level though, for everyday drinking and celebrations, the Leutz-Vixe lands are well known for their many varieties of beer.
Leutz Fencing is the most practiced sport among the Leutz-Vixe people, and is championed in Brissiaud noble courts and guilds for its poise and entertainment value. The sport uses the Leutz Épée, practical rules, and is famously in contest with Dressolini Fencing, which is seen by the Leutz people as eccentric and over-the-top while the Dressolini retort that the Leutzmen have made a mockery of the sport by reducing the skill level of combatants.
The Leutz-Vixe are a very active society, and as such they rarely engage in strict leisuretime. When they do have down-time or at least time that they cannot spend doing work, hunting and fishing are two of the society’s favorite activities. These practices are seen throughout Leutz lands due to the abundance of wildlife, forests, and waterways in the region. Leutzmen with free time partake in these hobbies more than others, as it is seen as not only entertaining, but practical in that both yield food and teach skills.
The Leutz people often closely associate themselves with tree as, in their eyes, this represents the “Bos de Bris”, the concept of being rooted into the land by their Culture. It is exceedingly common for noble houses to use trees in some regard to their heraldry, or to plant what they call a “Kleng Bësch” or “Little Forest” around their estate or castle walls. In the past, there have been problems with the Sanchella of Union for the usage of a tree in symbolism, as it could be perceived to reference the Old Faiths. However, the Unionist faith is so abundantly abided by in Osteiermark that the issue scarcely emerges. As for what outsiders use to identify the Culture, the Hinterlandic Raven or the Raven in general is commonly used thanks to the prevalence of House Ravenstad in external affairs.
- Leutz people despise being referred to as Ithanians, and often get hastily aggressive when someone even dares compare them to the other culture. They find this a grievous insult.