The Gaelan are the people of central Álfaserin, they mostly live on the plains and grasslands, but some households can be found on the edges of the northern forests and southern deserts. Unlike other Álfaserin cultures, the Gaelan are comprised of almost solely Ljósálfar.
Major language groups and dialects
Shared customary codes and values
The Gaelan share the two core values present among all Ljósálfar cultures, family and harmony. Due to the general structure of Ljósálfar society, their family is their life. While individuals might change families through marriage, the extended family unit or household is where most spend the majority of their lives. Households are self-sufficient meaning an individual can spend their entire life without leaving its comfort. Harmony is a less concrete value, yet that in itself is part of why it is present among all Ljósálfar cultures. Harmony can manifest as the balance between nature and the people, or the cooperation between family members, harmony is the flow of life that give the Ljósálfar their elegance and grace.
Common Etiquette rules
Common etiquette includes the traditional Ljósálfar greeting of saying hello and raising one's hand as a sign of peace and safety. More personal greetings have individuals grasp each other by the right forearm and draw themselves together in an embrace. Most etiquette boils down to respect, and respect isn't meant to manifest as fear, so actions such as lowering one's gaze or silencing one's self in the presence of an authority figure aren't present in any Ljósálfar culture.
Common Dress code
Gaelan clothing is elegant like most Ljósálfar clothing, with common colours being whites and blues, ultimately they prefer lighter tones and more subtle colours. The style of clothing tends to vary a fair amount, robes, tunics, pants and shirts are all common even if they aren't worn in all circumstances, a dress, for instance, won't be worn when fishing. The clothing worn by House-Lords tend to be more elaborate, designed to reflect their position of authority. Lesser family patriarchs and matriarchs or retired House-Lords may also wear finer garb. Otherwise, clothing largely only differs depending on one's occupation, a smith isn't going to wear his or her casual clothing while working the forge. Adornments are common among the Gaelan, often taking the form of silver or white gold bands shaped as plants or animals. Jewellery can also take the form of broaches or hair accessories, in the case of the Gaelan Monarch, they wear a crown fashioned out of white gold, in the style of vines wrapping around a sun which is made of yellow gold and forms the central focus of the crown. Most Gaelan prefer to wear adornments as broaches or pins, and hair accessories.
Art & Architecture
Gaelan fine art includes disciplines such as poetry, singing, and literature, with a fair number also practising sculpture and drawing. Their work is often focused on light and the sky, reflecting on both their nature as Ljósálfar and their life on the open plains. When it comes to crafts, the Gaelan practice weaving, stoneworking, jewellery making, glassblowing, and blacksmithing. Due to their centralised location, they are surrounded by a wealth of materials and resources which they can trade for, this has allowed them to pursue all manner of crafts. As with all Ljósálfar cultures, the Gaelan share the common architectural style, with their own unique twists. Their structures still take on the typical organic forms and are often still made from crystalline materials, allowing a great deal of light to shine through. They are known to build the tallest structures and have occasionally forsaken the heavily used crystalline materials for stone.
Common Customs, traditions and rituals
The Gaelan are a very formal people, enjoying orderly ceremonies, structured celebrations, and formal social dances when the mood is right. They tend to hold long wedding ceremonies and in cases of births, every member of the family unit meet to see the new member. While everything they do is surrounded by an air of formality, they otherwise live fairly relaxed lives including meditation and various communal activities.
Funerary and Memorial customs
Cremation is the most common funeral rite among the Gaelan; however, the ashes are rarely spread afterwards, they are kept and infused with their craft. While the ashes are most commonly utilised when building structures, they can also, for example, be used in the forging of swords or armour if the individual was a great warrior. While a House-Lord or greatly respected family member might receive a slightly grander send-off, there is typically little difference between ceremonies, with one exception. When the Gaelan monarch passes away all the Households come together and the monarch is placed on a grand pyre, their ashes are then used in creating further embellishments for the Gaelan crown. When an individual passes away, their belongings, whatever few private belongings they may have, are handed out to members of the household. Specific items such as weapons and armour go to the quartermaster, while books or journals are given to the librarian.
The Gaelan would refer to their beauty ideals as being centred around elegance. They are what most outsiders would think of when the word elf is mentioned, they are fair, with proud postures and silken clothing. Their hair tends to be long, straight, and loose, and they're often adorned with intricately crafted jewellery mostly resembling natural objects, such as vines, or leaves and flowers. However, there is also a careful balance to be had when they adorn themselves, jewellery must always be supplemental and never the main focus. While they appreciate jewellery made of fine metals and precious stones, because of it's strictly supplemental nature, they tend to have subtle colours and earthen tones, gems such as rubies would never be worn by a Gaelan. When it comes to physical features, they prefer defined forms, such as strong cheekbones and sharp brows. A somewhat inelegant compliment among the Gaelan would be to say someone has a face that can cut.
Most Ljósálfar cultures have fairly flexible and loose ideals between genders; however, the Gaelan have the most rigid. While neither gender is given more power within the social structure, duties are defined. Men mostly work laborious jobs such as hunting, gathering, smithing, and building, while women tend to cook, sew, teach, and generally care for the physical and emotional needs of individuals. The Gaelan believe that more defined gender ideals allow for a more productive society, having clear roles means less concern can be given to who must do what within a family unit, instead there is a sense of personal duty.
Like most Ljósálfar the Gaelan encourage courting outside of their household, but within their culture. Courting traditions themselves are fairly simple, once a suitor is decided upon the pair will first introduce each other to their family units. If both the family units approve, then they are free to spend time with each other as they wish and pursue an intimate relationship with the focus of marriage. However, due to the long lifespans of elves, their courting can take a number of years before it accumulates in marriage.
While they do not consider themselves xenophobic, they believe in keeping intimate relationships limited to other elves, some would push this ideal to keep intimate relationships limited to other Gaelan. Furthermore, they aren't very tolerant of homosexuality, believing that sexual relations should be reserved for the creation of a family. Outside of intimate relationships, the Gaelan are surprisingly open to befriending individuals of other races, even if they have opposing cultural ideals.
- The Four Monarchs