Human - Fortali Enclave Ethnicity in Laethelle: the Starlight Age | World Anvil
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Human - Fortali Enclave

While the majority of human cultures collapsed after the Occlusion Event and the coming of the Thramorri, one nation managed to remain standing, thanks largely to geography. Far to the west of the Palinspire (which is itself the westernmost of the known Spires) lies a wide, fertile basin set deep within the Kennokan Mountains. The basin is large enough that during the last Dawn Age it held a number of cities with a combined population of somewhat over a million. The basin was ringed by sharp, rugged mountains that feature steep outward slopes, but more gently sloping inner surfaces. The basin was formed several hundred thousand years earlier by a large asteroid impact; as a result, the region is incredibly rich in mineral resources.   There is a large, deep lake at the center of the basin, fed by two large glacier-fed rivers flowing from the northeast ranges. The lake drains through a fertile valley and down a rocky gorge before slowing and widening on the prairies at the foot of the mountains. This makes the land approach to the region difficult in the best of times. In the last Dawn Age, the region was connected to the outside world by highway tunnels carved into the mountains, but these have long since collapsed with age. Now, the region is almost totally isolated.   The valley has long been recognized as a refuge for humanity; in the Age of the Spire-builders, the region was fortified with a dense system of lamps; small Lamps ring the mountain ridges around the valley while medium-sized Lamps stand at regular intervals along the inner base of the mountains. At the center of the lake stands one of the largest spires on the continent, rising well over two thousand feet into the sky, its crowning light blazing forth like a miniature star to illuminate the region in the most powerful spirelight known. This deep concentration ensures that virtually no area within the basin is touched by shadow and because of this, many of the communities remained whole after the Occlusion Event. The fact that the basin sported extraction and refining facilities, in addition to numerous factories, powerplants, and agricultural zones made the region almost completely self-sufficient.   Over time, as fewer children were born (due almost entirely to heightened levels of anxiety about the future they might have), the population of the basin shrunk, before finally stabilizing at roughly 300,000. The leaders of the various communities in the basin had realized, almost immediately, that the region’s long-term survival depended on the citizens being able to pass on their knowledge to subsequent generations. As a result, technical and scientific training became mandatory for all citizens – everyone would learn at least one technical skill so that should they be required, they could step in to ensure vital industries continued to function.   The humans living in this region have never known a period of darkness; there are so many lamps, and in such concentration, that for all intents and purposes, the local climate appears much as it did during the last Dawn Age. There is ample food, water, and resources present, and the medical care available to residents is of exceptional quality (in comparison to anything found in the surrounding human civilizations).   These humans retain the dark features and taller builds of the Dawn Children. In addition, their language has, due to their isolation, remained quite similar to the root language of the region spoken in the last Age. In practical terms, this makes them impossible to understand to anyone from outside the region – and such visits are rare.

Naming Traditions

Unisex names

Kendo, Oljowe, Zelar, Ashel, Mwinda, Asha, Zieri, Dilenn, Shakta, Olijwe

Family names

Akambe, Mwandi, Ikomba, Isendalo


Average technological level

Despite a cultural aversion to the use of arcane energies - or perhaps because of it - the Fortali humans possess technological prowess that is unrivaled by any other peoples. By earth-standards, the Fortali possess a roughly 21st-century level of technology, with a focus on renewable energies like solar, geothermal, and wind. In addition, the Fortali possess an affinity for working with light-producing technologies and have even developed several light-based weapons and defensive systems for use against the Thramorri

Common Dress code

Fortali seem to prefer utilitarian garb with a plethora of pouches, pockets, and satchels. They make heavy use of natural fibers, though they also make some use of synthetic materials.


Gender Ideals

Gender isn't easily applied to the Fortali. Unlike some other cultures on Laethelle, Fortali "gender" is non-binary, and expressed through preferred occupations and interests. Those who become artisans are thought to share similar souls, just as those who gravitate towards service, martial pursuits, the sciences, or governance. Differences in biological sex are recognized, but gender, such as it is, does not appear to map to them.

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