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The Cszunli, the vibrant and hearty people of Arlos, are a group whose rich culture is as radiant as the sun that bathes their homeland.   The majority of the Cszunli speak Iakali, a lyrical language that mimics the rhythm of the surrounding seas and reflects the warmth of their people. Yet, as an open society, the Cszunli also see a variety of other tongues spoken, notably Draksi, Hezdel, and Timeredrhu. This linguistic diversity is a reflection of the Cszunli's welcoming nature and their historical role as a trade hub between continents.   Cszunli customs and practices are intrinsically tied to their bountiful land and sea. The annual Albanteri celebration is a notable practice, marking the peak of the summer season. People flock to the coast for a day-long festivity of music, dance, and food, culminating in a spectacular bonfire ceremony at sunset to honour the sun's nurturing energy. "To live an Albanteri day" is a Cszunli phrase, which means to savour life's moments with joy and gratitude.   The Cszunli are devout followers of the Congregation of the Ascended, with particular reverence for The Aspects The Father’s Feast Table and The Cracked Colossus. Spirituality interweaves with everyday life, infusing their routines with a profound sense of meaning. They believe in Tranavira, a concept of harmony between the spiritual and physical realms, and this belief guides their actions and interactions.   Cszunli cuisine is a testament to their love for their land and sea. With a diet heavy on fresh seafood, sun-ripened fruits, and robust local wines like the famed Zirnitra's Kiss, their food is a celebration of Arlos's abundance. A typical Cszunli phrase "Szikora tei Viroka" meaning "to taste the kiss of Viroka", an old Cszunli goddess of harvest, reflects their appreciation for food as a divine gift.   Cszunli's relationship with their environment is symbiotic. They are skilled vineyard keepers, fisherfolk, and artisans who mould the local clay into striking pottery. This interdependence fosters a strong sense of stewardship, encapsulated in their belief of Koltura, a pact with nature to protect and preserve.   Historically a key trade vein, the Cszunli society is characterized by socio-political dynamism. They maintain strong bonds with their allies, like Draksineon, while navigating the complexities brought about by changing demographics and the resulting socio-political tensions. Cszunli are known for their diplomatic finesse, skilfully balancing the demands of tradition and the pulls of progress.   To be Cszunli is to be at once deeply rooted in tradition and open to the world's ebb and flow. It is to enjoy life's pleasures, honour the spiritual, and celebrate the land's abundance, all under the warming embrace of the Arlosian sun. The Cszunli spirit is one of joyful resilience, a testament to their vibrant heritage and a beacon guiding them through their dynamic future.

Cover image: Ancient statue of Hercules in repose from the Parthian empire in Iran. 153 bce by Ronald Douglas Frazier


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