|Dominant Race||Northern Taint-afflicted Altalar|
|Social Classes||Warriors, Scholars, Diplomats, Spies|
|Major Cities||Banner Holds of Ellatrix, Gladrin, Norras, Vel’unai, and Mae’ella|
The Sihndar are a Afflicted-based Culture of Nelfin that developed their own distinct and detached identity from their Altalar past, to the point where they are seen by most Alorians as their own unique Race. Originating as members of the Cult of Dronnal, the Sihndar took to the teachings of the Drovv, a now extinct people that serves as a client state of the Allorn Empire in the continent of Drowda. There the Drovv took on the duty of “protecting the world from darkness” which the Cult of Dronnal would grow to emulate. When the Fifth Void Invasion hit, the Drovv were wiped out in the first wave of demonic invasion, with the Altalar followers being the second line of defense against the eradication of the Allorn Empire. As the Empire fell when the Wildering and Cataclysm beset them, they too fell, though a different event occurred in Drowda. While the rest of the world was thrashed with natural disaster, Drowda faced a more unnatural disaster in what the Sihndar nowadays call the Wretching Tear. This event would be the origin of the Northern Taint Affliction, and the genesis of the Sihndar. Since then, the Sihndar have taken up the duty as protectors of Aloria, continuing to fight the residual Demons that come out from the Veil over Drowda, all in an effort to prevent a future Sixth Void Invasion from destroying life as Aloria knows it.
To be a Sihndar is to accept the thankless task of protecting and eventually ridding, the world of what they believe their ancestors unleashed upon it. The Sihndar are the most well-trained and highly disciplined demon hunters and anti-dimenthist warriors of the world, and continue to defend the Forsaken Continent against the Void and Exist incursions that still occur because of the chaotic nature of the dimensions. Trained from early childhood, the Sihndar reach out to the world that often remains oblivious and deaf to their cause, traveling far and wide to rid it of what they consider malign influences, or commit to acts to support the homeland. They are the polar opposite of the Kathar in terms of their hatred for the Void (and Exist), but their morality is often considered just as cruel albeit pragmatic and necessary. While it may be said that most notable kingdoms have court mages, many rulers ensure that they carry the reverse; a Sihndar Demon slayer, employed to defend against the schemes and actions of Vampires and Cahal. The Sihndar enjoy a professional reputation of knowledge and skill against the dimensions without equal, and use this to gain support for their people’s mission back in Drowda.
The language of the Sihndar, Sinnayed, is a language steeped in an unspoken history of Allorn cooperation and understanding before unseen and unheard of in the history of the empire. Originally a pidgin language between Allorn Altalar and the language of the Drovv people (now lost to the world), the Sihndar’s language was a means for communication between the Dronnal Cult and the Drovv who taught them, born out of appreciation and understanding, unlike the pidgin languages that developed between Ailor and Altalar which were necestitated through slavery. Since its inception, Sinnayed has diversified enough into being its own language, and is no longer compatible with Allorn Altalar. Notably, each Banner Hold seems to have its own unique terminology added to the language, and often Sihndar can tell where another is from based on their choice of words alone. Hold dialects are not differentiated enough to where two Sihndar from different Banner Holds could not easily and effectively understand each other.
The Sihndar have a strange relationship with Common. They are not particularly adverse to speaking it, and in truth it’s often within their teachings in their militaristic upbringing, due to the fact that Common is spoken just about everywhere, and is necessary when communicating with others. What’s most strange between the Sihndar and Common is that Sihndar that are raised to speak in Sinnayed invariably have an accent in Common, one that sounds very similar to modern day Australian accents. Most Sihndar have very flat accents when speaking in Common, though Sihndar typically embrace their accent at full lengths, though there are some who do try to speak in flatter tones with efforts to ‘fit in’ to whatever non-Sihndar society they may be living in.
Sihndar naming is pointedly different from other Nelfin naming conventions; most obviously in the fact that they are not often long, rarely do they exceed more than three or four syllables, and are comparatively curt and sharp. Sihndar names often (but not always) start with Sihn - as a prefix. Sihndar who wish to outcast or remove themselves from Sihndar culture and society have been known to drop the Sihn- prefix in their first name as an act of defiance, as the Sihn- prefix is often seen as a uniting component in Sihndar culture. Though, not all who lack this prefix in their name are self-outcasts. Surnames start with the first three letters of what Banner Hold they belong to - be it either their physical home or if they particularly align with the ideology of the Hold. Sihndar who change allegiances or ideologies to Holds often change this prefix in their surnames, though changing it too often is generally frowned upon. For example, a Sihndar from the Mae’ella Banner Hold might be named Sihn-Xartath Mae’baelluis. It’s not uncommon for Sihndar to keep the basics or entirety of their surname from their pre-Sihndar selves, though it’s also acceptable to change the surname entirely to fit the name of another Sihndar who assisted in the Embrace of Tainting ritual, or to something new entirely.
The faith of the Sihndar is considered the oddest of all Faith of Estel offshoots and for good reason. The only god that is actively worshiped is Evsrenllir-Mullontavan, better known to Regalians as the “Spider Queen.” This Unwritten God is commonly depicted as a female or a genderless dryder, with an upper body cloaked in ragged, ancient clothing and a hood covering her head. She is displayed with four to eight red eyes, gleaming in the shadow produced by the hood and her odd strands of wisping hair. Her arachnid half is also somewhat monstrous, appearing like that of a Drow Giant Spider but with an even more spindly, spined body and an unhealthy discoloration of green on the thorax of the body. Despite her hideous appearance, she is considered to be a servant of the greater good by the Sihndar, for she is a direct servant of Estel. After the Cataclysm, during the Wretching Tear, when the Sihndar were yet new to the world, it was the Spider Queen who came to them all. She led them on her Great Web to each other and ultimately helped them congregate. She did this in the name of Estel, who had formed her to watch over the Sihndar Race and to help create a Race of warriors strong enough to withstand the corruption of Magic. She then bestowed the Sihndar the gift of the Northern Taint, to serve as a way for the Sihndar to improve as a warrior people. The Spider Queen then departed to form her brood and, since then, she has tested the Sihndar people. The Sihndar believe that the Drow Giant Spider is her creation, made in her image and, somewhere deep on the Forbidden Continent, she lies at the center of a vast spawning web. From this den, she is able to listen to and sense the actions of the Sihndar through her Great Web and sends out Drow Giant Spiders to do her bidding such as to force hostile animals toward the Sihndar, or by directly attacking and challenging Sihndar warriors to improve themselves. As for the role of Estel in this religion, she is still a goddess, albeit a faded one, who sacrificed a physical form in Aloria to prevent the worst of the Cataclysm to instead descend into the earth to watch over the world. The Sihndar also harbor great distaste for the Altalar ideas of faith, as they are also taught that the world nearly perished because the Altalar invited decay and corruption into the world through their physical weakness and pursuit of vile energies. As a result, the Sihndar also reject The Pantheon of Gods, as they are the focus of Altalar worship.
Families and Romance
Sihndar society is often thought of as being perfectly gender-equal, as well as having a very brutal and critical, yet fair and honest, upbringing for their children. Sihndar family units are very cherishing, notably because Sihndar who face the evil of the world believe that any day could be their last. Making friends comes easily to most Sihndar, as the Sihndar are acutely aware of the dangers of life and Drowda. Pragmatism will drive a Sihndar, especially abroad, to gaining new allies, though pushing this dynamic beyond a transactional affair comes with some difficulty. Relation by blood is almost a moot concept in Sihndar culture, as the Sihndar believe that strength and excellence are what it takes to advance in society rather than being related to the right person. This part of their ideology, combined with the high mortality rate of demon hunters that leaves many children orphaned, has resulted in adoption being a very common way to form Sihndar families. Surviving hunters often adopt the child of a friend or professional hunter who fell in battle, with these children being considered completely equal to any blood-related children. Family units tend to be very small and compact, being made up of two parents who marry for life and between one to three children at the most. Intimacy can be difficult to express between Sihndar lovers, especially due to the understanding that duty always comes before personal desires along with the taboo on public displays of affection, resulting in couples showing intimacy more privately.
World view represents a more loose collection of ideals, customs and traditions that were not specific enough to deserve their own section, but are still thematically relevant. These are useful to help frame certain interactions between the Sihndar and others, and will show up again in further culture expansion.
- Sihndar traditionally wear very light or minimal clothing, both due to the warmer nature of Drowda, but also for the sake of mobility (they also avoid armor for similar reasons). On their feet they wear a long black ribbon which dampens the sound of their movement, along with drop-crotch pants fastened with a belt around the waist. Sihndar usually don’t wear anything on their torso, but a special kind of Lavoy chest piece exists of very flexible weaved leather strips that cover only the upper chest for both men and women. Sihndar frequently also wear clothing of foreign cultures and nations however, being culturally attuned enough to understand that always walking around shirtless is neither medically sound (due to the much lower temperatures of the south) nor culturally sound (for those cultures who dislike bodily exhibition).
- The Sihndar don’t have much in the way of art, finding it distracting from their purpose on demon hunting. They do however have a fondness for metallurgy, with each hold having a dedicated team of Sihndar blacksmiths which forge the famous Khoptars of their people.
- Sihndar go out of their way to hate everything Kathar, and to engage in the exact opposite of, or to punish acts which are perceived as Kathar. Are Kathar engaging in mass orgies and rites of pleasure? Then the Sihndar act to punish adulterers and public signs of affection. Are the Kathar slaughtering their slaves and bathing in blood? Then the Sihndar volunteer at the medical wards to help the sick and heal the injured to prevent their death. To the Sihndar, the Kathar (and by extension the Dread Empire) are the manifestation of everything which caused the Veil to tear in the first place, and believe that their ancestors were chiefly responsible for the current magical calamities in the world. Of note, the Northern Taint does not guarantee that one infected will go out of their way to commit to Sihndar Culture. There are fragmented individuals that are Northern Taint afflicted Nelfin that fall outside Sihndar Culture.
- The Sihndar consider the other Nelfin species (except for the Kathar) naive and deluded about what the main objective of all living beings should be, though they have a slight respect for the Avanthar as a fellow warrior society. This, in turn, contributes to an ironic sense of arrogance among the Sihndar, who consider themselves the only capable and truly interested in protecting the world from the corruption that the other dimensions spread.
- Sihndar are staunchly anti-Magic, and have a strong distaste towards Mages and the Occult in general. They are acutely aware that it was magic that led to the Veil to tear, causing the Fifth Void Invasion, and that Aloria is still in a state of recovery from the damage that was caused by it. Sihndar are known to execute any Afflicted individuals that arrive on Drowda, while lobbying for tighter restrictions on the Occult to prevent another Void Invasion. That said, some extreme Sihndar do dabble in magic themselves, believing in the concept of fighting fire with fire in their demon hunting mission.
Interactions and Customs
The Sihndar, no matter where they are, practice several customs, traditions, and interactions that differentiate their behavior to one another from others. Below are some of them outlined, though players are welcome to contribute their own if they stick around in the Sihndar player community (Making a Ticket).
- Sihndar specifically avoid wearing all black except when grieving or mourning.
- Sihndar treat their weapons very well and only let those they trust touch them. They will name their weapons but do not share their names openly. They will only share the names of their weapons to those they kill, and only when they harbour overwhelming disgust for the individual.
- Sihndar will brew tea only for themselves, seeing the act of accepting tea from another as a potential risk, and a kindness they do not deserve.
- Sihndar enjoy constant challenges from friend and foe alike. Spars are common among Sihndar, but never done with edged weapons, as fighting another without the intent to kill, but to bleed, is almost a taboo subject. To a Sihndar, they only see edged weapons as appropriate when determining a Demon, or protecting one of their own, or their kin.
- The traditional greeting between Sihndar is borrowed from the Altalar, albeit with a twist. Quite literally, as Sihndar will perform a slight bow, before twisting each palm upward to the other Sihndar. This is rarely done when potential enemies could be observing, as it is seen as a stance of partial submission.
- Sihndar greetings often include physical contact because they believe that it creates tight and personal bonds with people they want to be close to. They avoid touching aberrants, however.
- Sihndar tend to keep a small variety of pets.
- Sihndar will show their distaste for another individual by resting a closed fist over their weapon hilt. This is somewhat uncomfortable and awkward looking, and that is purposeful; Sihndar believe that any mortal foe should have the capacity to listen to reason, to note the open threat of violence, but also the restraint by keeping their fist closed and not actually grasping the weapon in question. Kathar and any sort of Demon do not receive such a warning, naturally.
- The Sihndar have an unusual love for ice-cream. Mount Helena Gelato produced by the Dressolini in Regalia can drive even a disciplined Sihndar wild, who love the creamy and ice-cold sugary flavor of the shaved mountain ice flavored with syrups and heavy cream, like a guilty pleasure.
- Because the Sihndar come from the continent of Drowda and originally were called the Cult of Dronnal, they are incorrectly identified as Drowdar. The Altalar in particular use this term as a means of insulting the Sihndar, because it carries the connotation of them being from a backward province of the Allorn Empire. The Altalar believe the Sihndar are fanatical and far too serious.
- Contrary to popular belief, not every member of the Cult of Dronnal migrated to Drowda before the Cataclysm. Many still remain in the Altalar territories, where they experiment with military technology.