Sgalein Ethnicity in Synergasia | World Anvil


I don't think I'll ever get used to how bright it is out there. The fire in the sky hurts far more than the fires of our torches, and the wind moves too much. I'd be happy if I never had to trade with the surface again.
— Bool Gwareg Kabswa
The Sgalein are the duanams of Yutromorch's underground and mountain peaks, mostly found in the region south of Glautorra Valley.


More than perhaps any other group, the Sgalein worship Be'ari, the deity of the earth and magic. This is because they have historically relied on their power to survive in the dark and desolate underground cave systems that they call home, as the sun deity Yisair is of absolutely no help to them there. Despite this, the Sgalein as a group are not universally devout - most would consider themselves followers, but only a smaller group regularly attend church or perform rites for the deity.   Though they are stereotyped as dwarvish sky-haters, there are groups who live on the highest peaks, far from the lush flat plains down below. These are often the most pious Sgalein, as they see the peaks as representing Be'ari's great strength, and living there as being closer to their god's power.


For many Sgalein, family is everything. Instead of moving away when they grow older, the family will simply extend their accommodation with new rooms in all directions, creating vast family complexes deep underground. It is not unheard of for some especially sheltered individuals to have never even seen walls outside these complexes. These places can be quite winding and narrow, aiming to be as space-efficient as possible while remaining comfortable.   Among those who live above ground, their homes are often slightly dug into the earth or surrounding mountainsides to simulate the underground warrens, or at the very least are crafted mostly of refined stones, clays, and metals. Though they make look simple and low-tech, the sophistication of roof supports and carvings put that thought to rest.


Due to the focus on family, a Sgalein's family name always comes first when their name is presented. This name will either be derived from a famous ancestor or from a geographical quirk in their home complex, with both being formatted as Bool (Surname).   As an individual family is usually quite large, it can be difficult to not have several people with the same personal name in one complex. One solution to this is the 'generation name', in which each generation of the family starts their personal name with the same sound, followed by an otherwise normal name. For example, one generation may have the sound 'kab', and the one below it may have the sound 'hel', leading to one individual being Kabswa and the other being Helswa.
Encompassed species


What drove the Sgalein to live deep under the ground and high above the plains isn't known, speculated to either be religious devotion or an attempt to escape the threat that Yisair posed in the early days of Yutromorch. If it was the latter, then some suggest they have traded one minor danger for a dozen major ones, for the belly of a god does not make an easy and safe home.   The most obvious risks are of cave-ins and total collapse, something which has eradicated many family lines. Others include the potential for magic crystals to spontaneously react, causing great damage to people and earth alike. And the Sgalein are not the only creatures who dwell in the dark, and for most of recorded history, they were certainly not the predator in the relationship.   Things have grown easier as technology advances, but locals know to watch their backs.
I'm the shortest in my family by a good three heads, and yet I tower over the Sgalein boy down the road. Does he not get fed properly, or something? I almost want to cook him dinner.
— Aila Je'Oche-Cruv

Cover image: Yutromorch Banner by Isaac Thompson and Steve Halama


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