Stoics of the Snowy Reaches
The heartiest of all the human races, the Hiversteadians are descended from the prime military stock once bred for the purpose of war by the Empire. They were revered and respected as guardians of the human way of life for a century, until the Pact of Erindall was signed. It was agreed that the former military might of the Empire be disbanded and sent into a non detrimental exile. The Hiversteadians were granted first choice of lands, and they chose mountainous reaches of the north known as the God's Teeth. Conditions there are harsh and cold year round, but then perhaps that is why they chose it. Their culture is one of quiet obedience and strict discipline, but at the same time, "all are equal beneath the blade", has ever been the motto of their culture. In the century since the Blight, not a single murder or theft has occurred that is known about within their ranks. Due to the fact they were altered during the breeding process, to this day the average Hiversteadian can live to 150 years easily, though they are slow to breed. They spend most of their time, challenging the vicious and unpredictable conditions of mountains and have been known to allow themselves to be hired as mercenaries in times of war, provided the terms do not breach their cultural code of ethics; they will not kill the weak, the young, or the unarmed as a matter of principal, and to do so would be to lose face within their community leading to further exile, most often self inflicted. They have carved their homes into the faces of the mountains themselves and, over time have become quite proficient masons and stonecutters. They have a very strong alliance with both the Culvarkt and the Fouvienian Dwarves whom they neighbor, though they do all they can to avoid embroiling themselves in the conflict between the two. They do not understand humor or sarcasm, but have been known to sing the occasional bawdy song or two if there is large amounts of ale in question.
Major language groups and dialects
Culture and cultural heritage
The civil structure of the Hiversteadian people is best described as rigid. Everything is maintained in the most efficient and organized way possible, and there is a hierarchy for all of it. From the Commander Chief down, orders and doctrines are filtered through a series of officers and their subordinates and information is disseminated out from there. There is no member of this civilization that does not maintain some function, and due to their longer than normal life span and disciplined mind sets, they tend to become more than just proficient at the tasks they are assigned. The homes they build are structures of utility, providing warmth and shelter, and a place to store personal belongings and work on tasks assigned to them. While there is very little interest in the arts or literature, this does not mean there is a lack of it. The level of skill they are capable of allows for them to gain proficiency in any skill they apply themselves, and they use art as a system of communication, denoting ranks and specialities among their people and also to keep a form of visual record of the achievements of the best of them. This is done on a large section of the mountain face and considered a high honor to have your exploits recorded here. There have also been a number of books written by Hiversteadian veterans on strategy and tactics that are extremely well received in many military colleges. Beyond the mundane, these people do still enjoy the chance to unwind and drink, and for this purpose, one very large public hall was built and is maintained within their city, Hammerspark. Each member of society is assigned a portion of time based upon their most recent achievements that allows them to do as they choose. Many congregate there and swap stories, socialize, and occasionally brawl. There is no existing dedicated watch due to the nature of their society being built around the system as it is, they police themselves with incredible efficiency and any outsiders that visit, rare though that can be, are usually too intimidated to cause trouble. In the rare instance that does happen, the offenders are rounded up and brought before the Commander Chief for judgment and sentencing. Men and women enjoy an undeniable equality within Hiversteadian society, and are encouraged to mingle freely, though the societal mindset views fraternization as trivial and generally a waste of time. The Hiversteadians do enjoy a healthy relationship with both the Culvarkt and Fouvienian dwarves, and are very fond of both of them for differing reasons. The Fouvienians because of their dedication to maintaining the underground defense of the realm and the Culvarkt because of their resilience and acceptance of the Hiverstaedian way of life. There are always a handful of Hiversteadian defenders made available to the Fouvienian forces, and they have been utilized as a last line of defense should the remaining defenders fall. To the Culvarkt, they are the closest trade partners and the only open line of communication that remains to the Underhome. While the dwarves may not associate with one another any longer, the Hiversteadian command still does what it can to facilitate a possible future that may yet see the sundered race made whole again. The remaining races of Cairne the Hiversteadian people view in a very neutral way, content to live and let live for the most part and preferring if at all possible to avoid politics and petty squabbles.
Shared customary codes and values
Hiversteading culture is militaristic and efficient in all it does. Every person has a task and they are expected to honor that obligation as well as a clearly defined chain of command and communication.
Common Etiquette rules
Hiversteadians are expected to honor and respect the chain of command at all times. While this has been delegated to as much a social structure as it is a military one, it is only the rare exception that does not follow this cultural path.
Common Dress code
Due to the climate, leathers and furs are the common attire in almost all cases. The bone carved masks used to block the glare of the sun on the ice and the accoutrements of their furs are often made in colorful blues, reds, greens, and purples, and will commonly be used as a symbol of status and purpose.
Art & Architecture
The Hiversteadians are accomplished masons and have a very competent staff of engineers. Their homes are simple and made of earth-packed stone, usually in dome shapes and devoid of windows. Their settlements tend to be laid out in orderly fashion to allow for the most efficient travel and most effective defense.
Common Customs, traditions and rituals
As the descendants of a race that was engineered through breeding programs by the original Bechtlarite Empire, the Hiversteadians value freedom above all else. While many might view their rigid lifestyle as constricting, they believe it to be the best course of action to ensure they never again fall under the sway of powers that do not hold their interests at heart. They are one people, and view the failings of the individual as a failing of the entire culture. While strict, they are also quick to attempt to reform those that step outside of the the right path.
Funerary and Memorial customs
Hiversteadian funerary customs are remarkably efficient. The process begins with the building of a pyre upon one of the higher peaks within the God's Teeth Mountain range. The body is wrapped and prepared, bundled tightly in leathers and furs, and then placed aloft upon the pyre and ignited. The deceased individual's partner, comrades, family, or friends will remain in vigil until the entire body is consumed by the fire and the high winds of that altitude scatters the ashes. It is important to note that their weapons would be bequeathed to those they felt most honorable and deserving or an apprentice or understudy that was under their tutelage. The weapons of each individual Hiversteadian are considered their most valued possession and the return of them is, in many ways, more important than the body itself, as the legacy of the deceased is written upon the surface of their weapon, each mark and scar upon it telling the story of their exploits and efforts to defend and raise up their people.
- Jorgan Panuk
The tallest and heartiest of the human races by a large margin, the Hiversteadians favor utilitarianism in all things. Thei clothes and armor are fur, leather, and metal, as are their day to day clothes. Due to the processes of selection used to create them, they now have thick, black hair and dark eyes that tend to be more thin and angled than the other races. They prefer to keep their hair shaved or pulled back, and no longer have the ability to grow facial hair. In all things they wear and keep, there must be a need and use. They do not keep things such as jewelry or any strictly cosmetic items, though if there is a secondary use, some items may make their way into the wardrobe of an individual. Weapons are kept on the person at all times in public, and even in the comfort of home, most Hiversteadians will at least wear a knife or dagger. They will be seen, on occasion, wearing colorful masks with slitted eyes to shift the glare on the ice or snow.
Beyond the concept of intimacy, there is very little separating the genders within Hiversteadian culture. Men and women are seen as equal and expected to act as such.
Most Hiversteadians are reserved when it comes to affection, the culture not being particularly warm in regards to affection being openly displayed. There is however a great deal to be said of what is shared when they are alone, and to open up and be venerable with one another is the ultimate sign of trust and devotion.