Latenes Sunt (Lay-ten-es Sunt)
"May we live in interesting times! Why would you curse us so? Did we not treat you well?!"In the heart of the Shattered Isles, the small island of Novam Domum hides, at its inmost heart, a people. Beautiful, intelligent, quiet people. People with a culture and history unique to them and to Arrhynsia. They are the remnant of a race of dark elves, redeemed from darkness, and hidden from evil.
The Origins of a Hidden PeopleSome people groups have origin stories that are broad and poorly defined. Not so the Latenes Sunt. Their story starts with an event they call "The Quest for the Tree" and others call The Uprising of the Dark. The "Quest for the Tree" is taught to all the children of the Larenes Sunt and forms a core part of their culture and beliefs:
"We were part of the dark, from the bowels of the world and the hearts of men, where evil lives and rules. The Nameless, the goddess of whom we will not speak, sent us forth from the darkness to do battle upon the dwarves, because she coveted the World Tree and had designs upon its power which is from the foundation of the world. But through treachery, the dwarves overcame us, but the All Father intervened, and stayed the hand of the betrayers, and moved the king of the dwarves to hide us from his people and exile us to this good land. And the High Priestess of the All Father took oath that if our people would remain upon this isle and not set foot upon other land, he would hide us from the notice of the Nameless, and shelter us from her power, for we would no longer belong to her, but would be his instead. And this terrified us, for the Nameless never forgives, and her vengeance is terrible. But Callidus spoke of hope, and the commander spoke of Vincere, and the soldiers were convinced. We came to this land which was not as you see it now, in dwarven ships laden with things that we knew not how to use. They gifted us with seeds and animals, tools to work the land, and books to teach us. And the All Father called his priestess whom we named Spesa, and she was wise in the ways of life in the light, and she traveled with us and became one with us. And we found in Novam Domum the good caves to shelter from the day, and the light of the sun to give life to the seed, and sweet water to drink, and it was a good land. But there could only be death for us, for we had no females. But the sterilis among us set aside their garments of war, and took to themselves their rightful place. There were three, Vincere Callidus Iratus, Ardentis the Willful of Iraenox, and Attrahenti Strong of Arm of Iratus. And Spesa was one with us, and she took to herself our males, and she was full of fruit and taught us to laugh. Callidus became our Matriarch, there was food enough in the fields, and our children did not die under the sun. We were hidden by the All Father, and there were no altars for us to fear. And so we thrive."
A Derivative CultureThe Latenes Sunt are a Matriarchal society genetically and culturally derivative of the dark elves. They retain a trace of the clan structure and the strong focus on fertility and survival which dominates dark elf culture, but the clan structure amongst the Latenes Sunt more represents lines of heritage than organizational power or lines of authority. The primary structural components are loose family groups which center around small groups of between one to five fertile females who are currently having children. These female groups attach males who ensure that the females and their offspring are provided for. The eldest female in the group is the Matriarch, and these females lead the family typically in a collaborative way, though this can vary from family to family. Poor leadership by the Matriarch will often result in loss of the males and a significant portion of the economic support for the females and offspring, or the split-up of the family into multiple groups which will also occur when family units have too many reproducing females in them. Unlike the dark elves, children and males are highly valued amongst the Latenes Sunt. Most children live to adulthood which is determined by their sexual maturation and ability to reproduce. Males are seen as essential contributors to the prosperity and longevity of the family, and they are able to participate in all forms of governance and commerce in the society.
A Community Surrounded by the OceanIsland peoples cannot ignore the bounty of the sea, and the Lantenes Sunt are no different, though they are protected from the "Nameless" only for as long as they do not set foot on another land outside the one given them Novam Domum. This prohibition was maintained firmly through the early centuries of the colony's life while people who had lived in the dark still lived. Their obvious terror of the Nameless was sufficient to keep the people landbound on the island. Eventually these people died, and it was only a matter of time before the endless bounty of sea life would call them away from their island home.
A Latenes Sunt Fishing Boat at SeaCurrently, the Matriarchs allow fishing from vessels, and fishermen may contact others to sell and trade with surrounding communities, but may not leave the docks to which their ships are tied or set foot on other land, complying strictly with the terms of their historical agreement with the All Father. This oddity has resulted in floating trade cities where products are bought and sold, even in modern days at the level of consumer goods.
by Nejron Photo