BUILD YOUR OWN WORLD Like what you see? Become the Master of your own Universe!

Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild


It is easy to forget just how far back cravvik culture stretches. When the Kingdom of Ethana pillaged and desecrated their venerable island holding, the very notion of the Imperium as an empire was seemingly eradicated as well. Their people—those longstanding denizens of the Cravvik Isles who were victim to King Minos Tiergarn's ambition—were scattered across the western half of the continent to fend for themselves.

Our knowledge of the cravvik people is equally scattered. It amounts to fragments garnered from the Imperium's outposts, and from those traditions passed down by the remaining cravvik people. The Cravven Imperium was insular in relation with the rest of our own continent, and even what little glimpses we have today only offer insight into a single piece of the Cravven Imperium as a whole.
by Gustave Dore

Birth of the Cravvik Isles

According to legend, an early iteration of the Imperium blossomed on the shores of Cravv approximately four thousand years ago, a group of explorers led by several knights known as the rydé or ryden. For unknown reasons, they did not venture any further east than the isle of Yrvaega, but rather built their capital on Cravv's eastern coast and erected massive stone walls around both Cravv and Yrvaega.

Presumably the Imperium was already spread across an impressive spanse to the west, as the founders of Cravv are said to have arrived with immense riches with which to found their city. However even centuries after the Imperium's disintigration this remains uncertain; no one has made it across the isles and returned.

City of Cravv: te Masqe'e te Sanyl

Cravv is heralded by multiple Age Prior texts as a main anchor of the Imperium despite its peripheral location, and even through the rubble leftover from the Rape of the Imperium its somber decadance is easily discernable. With gray marble edifices, elegant grotesques, and arcanic stained glass, the Masked Hall of Cravv is an impressive display even in its current shattered state.

Outside the city's main thoroughfares the architecture grows quickly unadorned, and this is the standard for much of the Cravvik Isles. Especially early on in the Imperium, the majority of cravvik folk were soldiers and farmers—thus the islands are dotted with a number of fortresses and holdings that were thought to be somewhat independently insular.

A number of grotesques and pieces of marble statue have also been found buried underwater several miles around the isles' perimeter, indicating that either there may have been more to the civilization than what we've found above water today or that the cravviks for some reason dumped entire chunks of their own marble into the sea.

The Masked Hall
Twenty to thirty buildings with cathedralesque designs where the Imperium's government and high society conducted their affairs.
by midjourney

Dress Customs

The Cravvik Isles, and particularly the Masked Hall, are thought to have gone through countless variations of fashion and dresswear, however the clothing of poorer folk and countrymen was more attuned to the practicalities of life and labor. This is the apparel with which we can speak of on more authority as most of the surviving cravviks after the fall were poorer countrymen, and a few features that are still commonly worn by cravvik folk today are shown below:

Cravvik Common Clothing

Social Culture

Cravvik social culture is a delicate subject but a crucial one nonetheless, in part because of its hand in the Rape of the Imperium and the subsequent effects through history. Many cravviks, during mid to late adolescence, left their family's home for that of a sort of mentor figure who would guide them in both professional and personal aspects of early adulthood, as well as a particular apprenticeship or study. Often, the 'apprentice' lived with this individual until they were thirty to thirty-five, the standard age for cravviks to marry and have children.

Rús Masket
From around 1500-1400 Prior, the Cravvik Isles, and in particular Cravv, saw a flourish of art and literature, much of which was religious-based and attributed to the gods. Many farmers and poor-soldiers who showed promise in the arts were taken in and offered patronage at the Masked Hall, which gave rise to a wealth of infused artistic perspective from the more provincial and coastal sides of cravvik culture.

The flag above is one of the few salvaged tatters from the era, and is considered symbolic of the 'High Imperium' period and cravvik artistry in general. The gray roses are thought to be from a religious story concerning Elver and Ulfur, and are also a feature of House Ryker's sigil.

To our current understanding, cravvik culture did not share the same notions of romance as most other dominant parts of the continent. Romantic love did happen, but it wasn't seen as an integral or expected part of adult life. Marriage was expected, but the relationship was predominantly platonic aside from the necessity of reproduction, and other sexual relations didn't typically include romantic intimacies.

Despite cravvik children leaving their family homes slightly earlier, families still remained close throughout an individual's life and were considered integral to an individual's identity; especially today, cravvik parents are often fairly protective of their children and in Beourjen many cravvik children live with their parent/s for the majority of their life.

Fall of the Cravvik Isles

The Isles' fall was mostly unprecedented, however they had for a time been highly criticized by much of the continent both for their cold international diplomacy as well as their social culture. While it is not for certain, many would argue that Minos Tiergarn's invasion aimed at eradicating all cravvik folk and not just those he believed immoral.

Today, cravvik culture is mainly present in cauvhs and western Beourjen. The integration of cravvik folk into the rest of the world has been fraught with strain and discomfort on a number of angles, and many would argue that much of the 'heart' of cravvik culture was ruined in the events of the fall. There are, however, small surges of cultural revival seen particularly in places like Jzakaar and Beourjen City.

Rape of the Imperium
Though many small sects of cravvik culture still persist throughout the western half of the continent, the end of cravvik and Imperium civilization is generally attributed to Minos Tiergarn's invasion of the Cravvik Isles in 1294.

The Rape of the Imperium is considered one of the most horrific events in history, with atrocities commited by a number of different hegemonies in a snowball effect with the cravvik people pitted at the very bottom. While the Kingdom of Ethana was determined ultimately to blame, many other parties were found guilty in the trials afterward, and Beourjen's own role in the calamity has been controversial within the Confederacy for centuries since.

The Isle of Cravv
The word 'cravven' has been widely appropriated as referring to people from the Cravvik Isles and their ancestors, however the original meaning of the term referred to all people from the Imperium. For the purposes of this article, the original term for the islanders, 'cravvik,' is used, however the two terms today are used interchangeably.

by mirescosmo

Generally when referring to the language spoken by the cravvik people, it's defined as either Cravven or Old Cravven. There are myriad further dialects within these two overviews, however this general specification stresses the impact of the Wars of Liberation on cravvik society and culture. Old Cravven does hold traces of Jzarmillan and High Gelid influence, but following the Wars of Liberation the language is essentially flooded with Vladican and Taephic derivatives. Today's Cravven dialects still resemble the language spoken and written in 600-500 Prior, whereas Old Cravven is near obsolete.

Common phrases adopted into Beourjen:
Cravven Meaning
baethateth A mulled cider and whiskey drink for holidays.
tyne'e eygh Fire and ice.
odh rene At home (can also mean 'go home').
ealé duvh Black swans.

It is impossible to discuss most aspects of cravvik culture without encroaching also on the pervasiveness of body inking. Tattoos served many purposes for the the cravviks: for some they were embedded with arcanium that would build upon one's own arcanic or slighen abilities, but they were also a means of worship, a method of remembering important dates or names, or mapped out parts of the body used for pain and pleasure. The cravven language has half a dozen words to delineate different 'genres' of tattoos, and by the time a child came of age they might be inked with four or five sizeable pieces.

by mirescosmo

Though cravvik culture was undoubtedly religious, and following the same basis of pyramism present across the rest of the continent, their understanding of the gods is contradicted across their art and texts. It's clear they worshipped all three pyramisic deities, however most individuals seemed to have 'patron gods' as well—a minor deity that they regularly worshipped, that was often related to some major aspect of their life. However, the exact personalities, or domains, of these gods aren't consistent across all of the isles, and only seem to become concurrent with our modern understanding of the gods at around 1400-1200 Prior.
Dirge of the Imperium

So do these peals of sorrow
Rise from the sepulchral embers,
The last notes of a people
Undone, unbound.

There is a palimpsest now
On the lapping, the stroke of waves.
The ichor and seed beneath
That you have blazed—

And who are we to speak of
Vagrancy that has stolen them?
Stolen their cities, their reins;
Their glory slain.

No man has e’er hailed his rest
As the shores pull in their carrion,
Clapping with the wind’s barrage
And the crow’s wail.

O how the sounds of finish
Scourge out through the sea’s silver hymn
‘Til there is nothing more than

for further reading:
Cravvik-Beourjen Integration
A history of the fall of the Imperium.

Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild

Cover image: by Francisco Hayez


Author's Notes

Everything's kinda still in progress, because I'm unsure how I feel about it, but the timeline especially I want to add a bit more to. All the art without a credit is mine, and I appreciate all feedback!

Please Login in order to comment!
24 Sep, 2022 13:20

Good article and great use of a map to show and explain clothing instead of just having a list. I'm gonna have to remember that one...

27 Sep, 2022 02:25

Thank you for the feedback!

Grandmaster tlcassis
Tlcassis Polgara | Arrhynsia
30 Sep, 2022 05:50

I really liked the styling and layout of this article. The data was presented in a beautiful way and the map for clothing showed a very creative approach and probably took a lot of work.

Master FibroJedi
F. J. Brodie
19 Mar, 2023 20:24

I love your use of maps here - great thinking!

F. J. Brodie Writing The Chronicles of Qal'ath, doing my own artwork and fighting chronic pain.
27 Mar, 2023 01:18

Thank you!