Residing in the vast expanse of the Yalthar Jungle, which sweeps down the eastern to the southern coast of the continent of Hunar, the Yaltharmians are the native population in the area that has now been designated as Greltor Province by the Empire of Turelion. Despite coming under the yoke of Imperial rule, most Yaltharmians still reside in their smaller, much more family centric communities within the Yalthar Jungle itself, instead of moving to the towns and cities that have sprung up around the province since the establishment of Imperial rule. Whilst some thousands of Yaltharmians have migrated to the provincial settlements to seek work, higher wages or an easier life away from the hardships of life within the jungle, the vast majority have a strong desire to retain their traditional way of life and practices, regardless of what the Empire of Turelion and Greltor Province's Satraps wish for the province.
Common male names include: Albucia, Cenocantus, Dattovir, Eburius, Macaria, Nerta, Ulccagni, Rotama, Trogimarus,& Venixama
Common male names include: Ambisavus, Bannio, Catamandus, Epos, Itotagi, Maccis, Oclicnos, Samocinus, Taurio & Velenius
As standard, Yaltharmians do not tend to carry family names. Instead they will use their first name, followed by the name of the community they were born into, regardless of whether or not they continue to live there. If a high frequency of people with the same first name who live in the same place occurs, Yaltharmians will then begin to use the father’s name as a third name to help differentiate different people.
Major language groups and dialects
The native tongue of the Yaltharmians is Yaltharhan.
Shared customary codes and values
First and foremost, all Yaltharmians regard themselves as being children of the Yalthar Jungle and as a result they treat their jungle home with an immense amount of respect. This respect is clearly demonstrated in the Yaltharmian’s collective faith Shoshan, which revolves around the belief in deities that manifest themselves in animals and plants found in the Yalthar. This ingrained respect and reverence for their homeland means that Yaltharmians will try to take only what they need to survive from their surroundings and they make sure to give back a portion of their annual harvests to the forests, to give thanks for its bounty. As Yaltharmian’s live in tight familial units, the eldest man or woman within the family is deemed to be the head of the family, and is referred to as either the Matriarch or the Patriarch accordingly. Their word is deemed to be law within the family, even if their word actually contravenes the legal edicts of Greltor Province and the wider Empire, something which has brought communities of Yaltharmians into conflict with the Provincial authorities in the past. Another shared value amongst the Yaltharmians is that they believe themselves to be the chosen people to live harmoniously within the Yalthar Jungle and though they eventually came to be part of the Empire of Turelion, even if they haven’t fully assimilated, they still regard Turelites and others that move to live in the towns and cities of Greltor Province as outsiders and trespassers. The Yaltharmians believe that eventually, the Yalthar Jungle will itself drive the Empire of Turelion back into the Centric Sea from which Machestaro I's forces came, leaving the Yaltharmians and their way of life intact. Linked to this is the communal value amongst traditional communities is that Yaltharmians who abandon their familial units, are considered to be outcasts, who are no longer welcome within their family community. To clarify, this does not mean that Yaltharmians are never allowed to leave their home settlement, and many travel far and wide, sometimes spending years away from the family unit so that they can complete tasks or business deemed to be advantageous for the family unit. The value is really targeted at punishing Yaltharmians who leave their family units to go and dwell in one of Greltor Province's, or the wider Empire's towns or cities, which is regarded as being an abandonment of the Yaltharmian traditions and values.
Art & Architecture
The Yaltharmian people have a strong artistic tradition, particularly when it comes to woodwork, as the resource is so plentiful in their jungle homeland. However, their strong sense of not taking more resources from the natural world than they need means that for the most part, their woodworking is carried out on dead wood that has naturally fallen from trees, rather wood specifically cut for the purpose. In addition to this, Yaltharmians also practice the intricate carving of living trees, skilfully carving, decorating and shaping a tree so that it becomes a work of art in its own right, whilst still being able to live and thrive as it would normally. It is usual for a family unit to choose a specific tree, generally one nearby or within their settlement, to carve and decorate, with this tree then becoming the focal point for their religious offerings. These trees are referred to as Mir Lasa, or Mother Trees when translated into Turelite. In terms of architecture, Yaltharmians again tend to only construct out of wood, and more specifically using only the bark of certain trees that can be harvested from a tree without damaging it. As a result, Yaltharmian architecture is typified by round topped, single story houses, whose supports are made of timber, but whose walls and roofs are made of sheets of bark.
Common Customs, traditions and rituals
Yaltharmians traditionally live in communities that are heavily focused around the family unit. Yalthamian villages and communities will tend to be dominated by a single family, with additional members being drawn into the community when female children marry, as it is tradition that the spouse of a female child moves to live with their wife’s family. Occasionally, several separate family units, generally ones that are linked by marriage ties, will come together to form larger communities, something that generally happens when the communal safety of Yaltharmian families within a local area needs to be guaranteed, or when it would be economically advantageous for separate families to work cooperatively to achieve something that one family alone could not achieve. Normally, when separate families come to reside together in community, the smaller families up-sticks and move to the settlement of the largest family. Each year, at harvest, Yaltharmian family communities will separate a quarter portion of the harvest that they have grown and reaped themselves, or gathered from the forest and will place the food as an offering in the roots of their Mir Lasa. The idea behind this is to for the family or community to give thanks to the forest and its spirits for sustaining them for another year, and through giving back, hopefully receive a greater bounty in the next year. It also serves the purpose of fertilising their Mir Lasa, which means that these trees will generally grow to be larger than the others around them.
Birth & Baptismal Rites
When a child is born into a Yaltharmian family, provided that they are deemed to be healthy, the child will be taken to spend its first full night suspended in a basket from one of the boughs of the community’s Mir Lasa tree, a practice known as Chyok Chy’üsge, which to the Yaltharmians is emblematic of a life to be lived under the protection of the forest spirits. Children who are initially deemed to be not well enough to undergo the practice do not undertake Chyok Chy’üsge until they are deemed well enough. Unfortunately, as with all practices involving infant exposure, occasionally children do not survive, but the Yaltharmians regard this as being the will of the Yalthar, the jungle having claimed the child as their own.
Coming of Age Rites
Whilst there is no religious rite that marks ones coming of age, when a Yaltharmian female child reaches the age of 20 , they are regarded by the community a being an adult and from that point on they are expected to provide for themselves and to move out of the family home. This has morphed over the years into a custom whereby the child and their family collectively build a house for the child, generally only a few feet away from the home of her parents, and often when this construction is completed the family will hold a celebration to mark the finishing of the house and the coming of age. This custom is only enacted for female children, as male children are expected to marry and to therefore move into the family community that they marry into.
Funerary and Memorial customs
In a mirror to the Chyok Chy’üsge, where infants are suspended from their community’s Mir Lasa tree at birth, on their deaths Yaltharmians are buried in the ground around the roots of their Mir Lasa, so that their bodies can nourish the symbol of the community’s harmony with the Yalthar's spirit protectors. A burial beneath a Mir Lasa is referred to as an Ig-Dirapi, which translates into Turelite as ‘the last blessing’. Where it is not possible for a member of the community to be buried beneath their Mir Lasa, for example if they are away from the community, a family will try to arrange for the body to be cremated and then for some of their bones, preferably the skull to be brough back and rested nested in the tree’s roots.
In general, Yaltharmians will regard consuming plants or animals that are not native to the Yalthar Jungle as being taboo, as they believe it clashes with their belief that they are sustained and protected by the spirits of the jungle. In extreme circumstances, where the only alternative would be starvation, this taboo is often relaxed. Being wasteful, especially of natural resources is also seen as a great taboo in Yaltharmian culture, and is part of the reason that they dislike the culture, imported to their ancestral territory by the Empire of Turelion, of living in town’s and cities, which they deem to be the most wasteful way of living.