The Scarred Dreamers
The Blighted and the Lost Once one of the most coveted areas on the globe, the Islands of Seanachai glimmered in the Ephemeral sea like a beacon in the night, a place filled with artistic wonder, songs that never left the heart, and tangible magic that wove through every aspect of life. It is said that to visit their shores was to stumble upon a living dream, and many migrated there from every empire and kingdom. The Seanachaisians treasured concepts like freedom and expression and felt that when the Becht Empire began to grow in power, that they were a direct threat to this way of life. The Becht reach of power seemed to gain a foothold in every corner of the globe but their own, and the Seanachaisi began to fear that the eyes of the Empire had turned to them. There were whispers of coming invasion and espionage, and eventually even open declarations and threats from across the sea. The poets, artists, and musicians began to gather and create vast volumes of scathing satire and parody, songs of rebellion, and subversive art works. The Seanachaisian creations were greatly desired across the globe before this, and the rarity of the works that came from this period made them even more valuable to collectors and merchants alike, leading to a massive influx of Seanachaisian works on display everywhere, all of which served to degrade the Empire in their attempts to expand their power. Great performances were given at the most popular venues, songs of rebellion and plays told the stories of heroes who defied great powers and won. These powerful creations of propaganda quickly began to turn the tide of popular opinion away from the Empire and more in favor of the peaceful and downtrodden. As public opinion started to shift and more and more people, either silent or vocal began to side with the Seanachai, the Empire slowly came to recognize them as a very real threat to their reign, and in turn, devised an ill-conceived plan to remove the threat in such a way that no one would ever again question the might and rule of the Bechtlarite Empire. What followed was the greatest gathering and spell casters and focus of magic ever known, one that tricked the gods into mingling their divine gifts with the awesome arcane might of hundreds of wizards, culminating in a power so great it ripped an enormous section out of the negative energy plane and cast it down upon the Islands of Seanachai, blighting the world and wiping the Seanachaisian homeland away in a single day. The spells used were so powerful that the resulting holocaust left the straggling remains of the entire race scarred and changed forever, with even the offspring of the survivors being born showing the marks of the Blight on their skin. The surviving Seanachaisians are scattered and nationless, left to wander the world and remain in hiding divided between those who just wish to survive with the hopes of rebuilding, and those who consider themselves freedom fighters, bent upon revenge and justice for the wrong that was done to their race.
Major language groups and dialects
Culture and cultural heritage
The scattered remnants of Seanachisian society are only a society in the sense of racial recognition and the close held cultural practices of the remaining people. There are a number of small communities scattered about, mostly in the Outlands, but for the most part they live lives of isolation. Numerous descendants of survivors have attempted to integrate with other cultures and societies, but for some reason, it never works out for long. The communities themselves are made of very tight-knit family units that still practice an old tradition of building houses in circular patterns with a central community courtyard where they all dine and socialize often.
Shared customary codes and values
The Outlands make for a perfect place to hide and still remain close to their ancestral homelands, at least as close as they can get. Though the people generally don't seek one another out, there is still a great sense of understandable camaraderie among them, and they tend to be very strict about mingling with other races. The Outland communities are the most interconnected ones, and they pass between one another's borders fairly often, trading goods, sharing songs, and arranging marriages. Being the artists that they are, they seldom try to hide their disfigured faces, instead opting to accentuate it more by covering it up with flamboyant methods.
Common Etiquette rules
The other Outland dwellers generally leave them be, most likely due to the superstitions about them. Outside of the home and their small villages, the Seanachaisians are mild and fairly timid folk, and because of their marked appearance they have, over the years, developed a cultural flair for finding new and creative ways for hiding their marked skin from the public. They are quick to avoid trouble, and even quicker to hide, but if cornered they are not afraid to stand up and be counted, and will fight hard to do it.
Common Dress code
Long hair tied in braided patterns used to obscure the face, hoods, masks, and even paint and make up on occasion. they have taken to wearing large, loose fitting, drab colored clothes that can easily be used to mask their faces and bodies.
Art & Architecture
Despite their outward appearance, these are still the greatest artisans in the world, their skills unmatched and unequalled in most cases.
Coming of Age Rites
Seanachaisians mature at a slower rate than humans. They experience their most rapid growth period from birth to around age 20, at which point it slows considerably. To outsiders, the young Seanachaisian appears no different in relative physical age from a human adult with youthful features, but other Seanachaisians recognize them as adolescents. They typically reach sexual maturity in their late twenties and are considered an adult in Seanachaisian society by age 45 — the time they’re physically mature, though many don’t consider a Seanachaisian fully mentally mature until their early fifties. The first 20 years of a Seanachaisian’s childhood is a time of creative exploration. They’re encouraged to let their imaginations soar and try any creative pursuit that captures their attention. Seanachaisian adolescence is a very special coming-of-age period. This is typically the period when apprenticeships begin, and while they’re not considered full adults, Seanachaisian adolescents are granted much more independence, as an opportunity to experience the world through a child’s eyes. This particular experience is considered precious and invaluable to a Seanachaisian’s general and artistic outlook. Seanachaisians live to be about 400 years old and are considered middle-aged by 200. It’s unclear at this time if the Blight has had any impact on the natural lifespan of Seanachaisians like it has many of the other sentient races, but a disconcerting trend has begun to arise where their age of sexual maturity is gradually getting younger, which some have taken as a portent of a decreased lifespan.
Funerary and Memorial customs
Seanachaisians are known to compose a song on their deathbeds, an a cappella piece with heavy ornamentation. A final piece to remember them by, a way to cap off the legacy of their life on Cairne, their last word. This bittersweet song is performed for family, friends, and loved ones, but there always must be one person present the dying can trust to carry their song. Only then can the Seanachaisian pass on, and the deceased is cremated, their ashes placed inside of a funerary urn. In times before the Blight, these urns would be placed inside of passage tombs located in sacred locations on the Isles of Seanachai. Not wanting to relinquish the tradition, Seanachaisians living in Soliloquy found a suitable location for a singular passage tomb at the edge of the Dunn Dierdiere Bog. Its entrance is aligned such that the sunrise of the summer solstice directly lights the passageway. Though Seanachaisian settlements are spread far and wide across Cairne, they made sure to spread the word. Seanachaisians make the trek from all over to place their deceased's urns in the tomb in a form of funeral procession. Any number of people may make the journey, but the procession must always include the person who carries the deceased's song. Seanachaisians and other well-placed allies will often come to escort those making this somber journey alone because of the Blight-born dangers in Cairne. Once reached, the urn is placed inside of the tomb, and the person carrying the deceased's song will stand outside of the tomb, facing the entrance, and begin to sing it themselves. This is a final promise to the deceased, that they will live on in memory through the hearts and minds their final song has touched. It is said, then, that the deceased Seanachaisian can rest easily. Because of the unusual circumstances of the souls of the deceased in Cairne, this final song has become a special sort of divine magic in its own right. What everyone (except Spiritualists) doesn't know is this calls the soul of the deceased to the person chosen to sing their song, broken free from reliving their final moments over and over again in perpetuity. Then, their soul may enter the tomb and actually, truly rest while awaiting the day they're allowed to pass on. In times before the Blight, the bodies of high-ranking Seanachaisians were inhumed with a number of grave goods as comforts they could take with them to the afterlife. Nowadays, the associated risks are too great for such practices, and social rank can't exist without a society. Nevertheless, Seanachaisians who have made a significant contribution to Seanachaisian culture in these post-Blight times are considered culturally important enough to constitute a princely burial. Their ashes are placed in richly-decorated funerary urns and buried with a number of grave goods representative of their contributions to Seanachaisian culture.
Common Myths and Legends
There is a stigma attached to the Seanachai that brands them as bad luck or cursed to most other cultures, and within the Empire of the Bechtlarites, whole families have been known to disappear.
Once by far, one of the most beautiful races of Cairne, the Blight irrevocably disfigured the survivors and their future generations. The remaining refugees hide from the public as best they can for the most part, and because of this and the disfigurements they suffer, they have taken to wearing large, loose fitting, drab colored clothes that can easily be used to mask their faces and bodies. Beneath it all, they have hair that ranges between red and black, and eyes that are either brown or green. Beyond the disfigurements, they have fair to tan colored skin and are for the most part tall and slender. Many of them are still talented artisans, and in the comfort of their own kind or in private, they still enjoy wearing the things they create, elaborate and intricate jewelry and the like. While they prefer to stay out of sight, they cannot always hide the natural charisma they still manage to exude, and many outsiders still find them beautiful despite the scarring marks that cover them.