On the surface, Terradinum is located in the central southern region of the Sorfjell Mountains. Beneath the surface is a series of cities built in naturally occurring caverns connected by natural, and constructed, tunnels. As a result, Terradinum stretches from the Sorfjell Mountains to south under the Storikdom Mountains and east almost to Fyellbyen. The underground cities do not extend beneath the Mutunga Wastes.
Ancient HistoryTerradinum was formerly known as Grote Unie Terradinum (the Grand Union of the Terradin). The citizens of Terradinum are known collectively as Terradin by the people of Sobukand. Millennia ago, the Terradin landed on the ice-covered southern coast at the recommendation of their ritualists. They followed the signs and omens and headed north coming to a large mountain range, now known as the Sorfjell Mountains. There they settled, but they were attacked by what legend would remember as giants from the mountains. The Terradin sought shelter in the caves they found and were able to fend off the attacks. They then explored the caves and found a vast underground network of caverns filled with riches beyond imagining and thus the underground realm of Terradinum was founded.
Kings WarsDuring the Kings Wars, the Terradin largely stayed directly out of the fighting. However, as a trading partner with Sorjund they did finance much of the sourthern kings exploits against Holthar. The southern kings traded coffee, wool, seafood, and fresh vegetables for metal, gems, and weapons. With the proximity of Ijzer to Sorjund it was a natural trade alliance for the Terradin to value.
Transition to EmpireWhen the Empire was created, the Terradin joined with little to no opposition. The Empresses made trade agreements to bring fresh produce from the north. They also promised esteemed positions to Terradin who chose to leave Terradinum and help introduce their guild structure to all of the major cities of Sobukand.
IjzerOne of the only surface trade cities in Terradinum is known as Ijzer, or more formally as Ijzer Zitadelle (the Iron Citadel). Built at the base of the Sorfjell mountains, this city protects the large cave entrance that leads beneath the surface. Ijzer is the original settlement from when the Terradin first came to Sobukand. Being so far south and at a higher altitude, the Terradin felt that the shelter offered by the extensive cave network provided them ample protection both from the weather as well as predators, either on two legs or four. While Ijzer was originally planned to be the capital of Terradinum, only a few years after its founding a massive assault by a tyrannical Mamac warlord forced the Terradin to rethink their plans. Ijzer barely held off the assault. After this, Ijzer became the fortress it is today. Over the centuries that followed, Ijzer grew both in terms of military defenses and in trade. Being the only Terradin trade city where other nations could acquire the precious metals and gems from deep beneath the Sorjfell Mountains, Izjer became a melting pot of cultures and peoples. While the Erdenkind (who make up a substantial portion of the Terradin people) feel the call of the earth as an ancestry, other Sobukanders felt the call of wealth and trade and settled here. Today, the city rivals Goudstad in size, totaling nearly fifty thousand souls. In fact, there exists a bit of a rivalry between the two cities in many areas of Terradin culture. Certain guilds, primarily the Engineers Guild (Ingenieren Gilde), have extensive compounds (and proving grounds) in Ijzer where the latest weaponry and alchemical components are tested. The two cities also boast the two best teams in the ambakh league, with the champion’s title being traded regularly.
GoudstadGoudstad (Gold City) was the former capital of the Grote Unie Terradinum, but now serves as the regional capital for Terradinum. The largest and most opulent of the Terradinum subterranean cities, Goudstad is home to just over sixty thousand souls. Set in the center of a massive subsurface cavern nearly a mile in height and bisected by a fast moving river, the Snelfluss, this city is the hub of life in Terradinum both physically and financially. Each of the Great Guilds is represented by massive complexes along the Gilde Laan, Goudstad’s main thoroughfare. At the center of the city stands the great Gilder Toren, the Guild Tower, a marvel of architectural engineering nearly five hundred feet tall. Each of its four sides is inscribed with the names of Terradin luminaries who have earned the privilege of Der Inschrijven, or The Inscription, which is one of the greatest honors a Terradin can hope to achieve. Atop each of the four sides of the Gilder Toren, the tower magically displays the time and date, the temperature, and the surface conditions above Goudstad in an almost indecipherable series of constantly shifting interlocking circles and numbers. This gives rise to the idiom “more complicated than a Terradin clock”.
SmaragdestadSmaragdestad (Emerald City) is another large subsurface city of Terradinum where a substantial amount of mining occurs. The oldest of the subsurface Terradin cities, Smaragdstad sits above a seemingly bottomless chasm known as Bodenlos, or more simply, The Drop. While not particularly wide, expeditions to find the bottom of the Bodenlos have always returned without success and more than one has never returned. The walls of the Bodenlos are run through with massive flows of precious metals and gems. The Goudfluss (or Gold River) is a massive vein of gold ore that runs for at least two miles up the side of the Bodenlos. A complicated series of elevators and single-person harnesses are used to lower mining teams down the sides of the Bodenlos to extract the precious contents.
RobjinstadRobjinstad (Ruby City) is one of the newer established Terradinum settlements. It is far deeper than any previous expansion, and a great deal warmer, as it is near several large magma flows. The precious ores that fuel the Terradinum economy and the Terradinum military all find their way to Robjinstad for smelting and processing. The freshly minted bars and coins find their way to the surface where they are exchanged for the goods and services of the surface world.
SaffierstadSaffierstad (Sapphire City) was, prior to Terradinum joining the Empire, a completely unknown military facility on the southern coast with access to the sea from several hidden cave entrances. Here, Terradinum experimented on new naval technologies, including submersible vessels and advanced cannons.
IndustryThe guild is the most important structure in Terradin society. An average Terradin will awaken in the morning, prepare and consume a pre-shift meal, and then head to their Guildhall. Work continues until a break at mid-shift for a meal. The worker will then finish their shift and may head directly home, or perhaps stop by one of the ale halls or taverns to share a drink with friends before going home. Once home, a Terradin will enjoy an after-shift meal with their family. They will engage in conversations with their family, or perhaps play games of cards or board games. They may also take time to read, either for pleasure or to catch up on news from their guild or the surface world. The Terradin will then go to sleep, repeating the process the following day. Terradin Guilds generally engage in productive activities for five days, whereupon they give their membership a Rest Day, followed then by a Guild Day, which involves Terradin guild members and their families coming together for camaraderie and community. The Guild will discuss future plans and invite commentary from the membership. For the people of Terradinum, good work is the core philosophy of their lives. Quality is of great importance in the creation of the goods and services produced by the Great Guilds. To make an item and cut corners without regard for quality is considered insulting. This doesn’t indicate a lack of interest in innovation, however. If an easier process can still produce the same quality product, such an innovator would be rewarded for their ingenuity. Major types of employment or industries include mining, gem cutting, smelting, and engineering. The Terradin are very innovative and take pride in making devices that aid and assist them in their Guild duties. After the Kings Wars ended, there was a keen interest in the cities underground, and many Northerners made the journey to Terradinum. Once their curiosity was sated, most returned to the surface. Likewise, many of the younger Terradin sought to explore other regions. Most returned home to the comfort of their underground cities. While Terradinum welcomes anyone who wishes to live there. and many non-Erdenkind do call the great cities of Terradinum home, this culture does primarily consist of Erdenkind because of Terradinum’s subterranean nature. The main source of Terradin power comes from the vast stores of mineral and crystalline wealth found beneath the Sorjfell Mountains and elsewhere deep beneath the surface. The Bodenlos chasm in Smaragdestad has legendary veins of precious ores running up and down its seemingly bottomless depths. Further into the earth, deposits of precious gems found near Robjinstad have yielded diamonds the size of a child’s fist, as well as the more mystically valuable khao crystals and obsidian. Other more commonly available surface resources, such as wood, are rarer beneath the surface, but the Terradin have discovered certain fungal forests with mushroom stalks as strong as oak. With the peace that settled over Sobukand after the Kings Wars, the Terradin began raising cattle and sheep on the surface. Their main source of meat comes from the hunting and harvesting of ubuk, a heavily armored but slow moving subterranean worm. A fully grown ubuk can, when harvested properly, provide food for several hundred Terradin for a month.
Culture, Clothing, and Traditions
EntertainmentThere is one sport that is very popular in Terradinum, and it is called Ambakh. There are two teams and a ball. The playing area is divided with teams on either side of a central line. They play in a cavern where they can bounce the ball off the walls and try to get it to the opposing side of the play area. Players are allowed to knock opponents down and steal the ball if they are able. Ambakh is only played in Terradinum because appropriately sized and shaped caverns do not exist anywhere else.
TransportationFor transportation, the Terradin utilize a sure-footed creature called an eselkh, which is similar in size and temperament to a surface camel. They are covered with a rich, thick fur, which is harvested and used in Terradin clothing. Other sources for making clothing are leather and furs from Sorjund, wool from the sheep raised on the surface and some silks, cottons, and linens. The latter are much more rare, but imported from Holthar and Teyen. The Terradin generally devote themselves to the colors of the earth, browns, black, darker metallics. However, a show of wealth and prominence will have a Terradin wear colors not often found beneath the surface, such as vibrant blues, yellows, green, and especially white.
FoodCuisine includes ubuk worm steak, as well as beef and mutton from surface raised cattle and sheep. There are also plenty of mushrooms, substantial varieties of which are found within the province. Root vegetables are grown near Goudstad, as well as glowberries, which are a rare sweet berry that glows softly when heated or held in the hand.
MusicTerradin music often involves singing. Instrumental pieces involve brass instruments and a variety of percussion instruments. Often the music mimics the song of the mountains. Things that one will seldom find in Terradinum are wood, birds, seafood, feathers, and light fabrics (cotton, linen, silk). Flowers are noticeably absent from all of Terradinum.
HolidaysEenwordingsdag (Unification Day) - This day celebrates the anniversary of when the Grote Unie Terradinum officially accepted the offer of Sorjund to join them as full citizens, an honor not given lightly. Since the foundation of the Empire, this day has also come to represent the day of the Imperial Founding. Grotefeestdag (Grand Feast Day) - Once a year, the Terradin offer thanks for the bounty they have reaped by holding grand feasts in their homes. Families gather and enjoy food, drink, and merriment. It is customary for each member of the household to give a small gift to the eldest member of the family. In return for their gifts, they are given a small token of esteem by the eldest.
Social TaboosLeaving the guild you selected during your first apprenticeship is frowned upon. When marrying, leaving your own guild but not choosing your spouse’s guild is considered improper. Dishonesty in business dealings is also unacceptable. Things that indicate the direction up are considered less favorably than down. “On the up and up” is not a favorable term to the Terradin. “Getting down to brass tacks” is a favorable term to the Terradin.
Superstitions and TraditionsThe tapping of feet to knock off any mud or dirt before entering a dwelling is a common sight in Terradin homes and businesses. When on the surface, those Terradin who have spent much of their lives underground tend to wear hats, often with wide brims, in order to provide them a sense of a roof above them. Many Terradin don’t tend to be fond of stargazing or looking up at the clouds during the day.
NamingChildren born in Terradinum receive their voornam, or first name, at birth. They are given an aachternam, or family name, which is the name of one of the parents with the suffix of son, daughter, or child (zoon, doter, or kind respectively in Terradin). When a Terradin youth joins a guild, the gildenam (guild name) is added after the aachternam. Most often, the youth join the guild of their parents, but some Terradin parents allow their children to choose their own path. In such a situation where the youth chooses a different guild than their parents, they will have a different gildenam than their parents. When citizens of Terradinum choose to marry, the couple each puts aside their aachternam and each takes an aangetroudnam, or married name. An aangetroudnam is chosen by selecting the name of the spouse followed by herr, frau, or echtgen (husband, wife, or spouse). If they are of the same guild, as is often the case, nothing changes in regards to their gildenam. However, this is the one of the few times in the life of a Terradin that the option exists to change their Guild. It is rare because the Terradin culture teaches that the choice of a Guild is a lifelong commitment, but when it does occur, the Terradin who has chosen to move to another Guild changes their gildenam to the gildenam of their spouse. It is theoretically possible for a spouse to choose an entirely different Guild, abandoning their first Guild but not choosing the Guild of their spouse. The social stigma that would come from such an act would most likely lead to complete disgrace, and possibly even permanent exile. For example, when Pietr Anriczoon van Verkenner and Magda Elsedottor van Hirten were married, they become Pietr Magdaherr van Verkenner and Magda Pietrfrau van Hirten.So when their son Beck is born, until his time of his first apprenticeship he would only be known as Beck Pietrzoon (or Pietrkind). Pietr is from the Explorers Guild (van Verkenner) and Magda is from the Herders Guild (van Hirten). If Beck chooses to follow in either of his parent’s footsteps, upon his first apprenticeship, he would become known as either Beck Pietrzoon van Verkenner or Beck Pietrzoon van Hirten. If he chose a different path, perhaps that of an engineer, he would take the name Beck Pietrzoon van Ingenier. It is common for Terradin to choose a nickname to differentiate themselves from other Terradin in the same Guild with the same voornam. For example, in the case of two Anders van Mijners, one chooses the nickname “Tall Anders” for his height and the other chooses “Red Anders” for the color of his hair.
DeathWhen a Terradin dies, the Guild gathers together and cares for the family during their bereavement. This may be as little as allowing the family to miss work for a week or as much as organizing the funeral, performing the final resting ritual, and feeding everyone. The deceased is washed, placed in clean garments, and viewed by the family and Guild. At this time people will bid farewell to the person. After all have had their say, the final resting ritual is performed. After this, the body is placed in a crypt. Each Guild maintains a crypt for their members.
ZwerverOn the rare occasions that a Terradin does not immediately choose to join a Guild, they are given the temporary suffix of Zwerver, which means Wanderer in the Terradin language. They tend to be looked on with pity by most Terradin, but they are never mistreated or shunned. No Guild will teach a Zwerver until they agree to officially join that guild.
The ChoppedThis is spoken of in hushed tones: when a Terradin commits an act of such a vile nature as to be banished from Terradin society, they are formally stripped of their aachternam and gildenam and given the name Verschloppling. This means Outcast in the Terradin language. Colloquially, these banished are collectively known as “the Chopped”.
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