The Nimean People
When the Folly of the Summerlords laid low the heartland of their empire with arcane ruin, its people were thrown out among their neighbors. Neighbors who had, for centuries, chafed under the Nimean heel, as their homes were plundered to feed Nimean decadence. There were some voices who called out for mercy, and for pity. But as the Summerland Empire crumbled, as the loss of the Nimean River Valley's fertile soil caused global food prices to skyrocket, and as the sudden increase in population drove up the incidence of disease, mercy and pity were in short supply. The following century would cement the place of the Nimean people at the bottom of the social ladder, looked upon with mistrust and suspicion, crimes against them oft overlooked, and they were the first choice when a scapegoat was needed. Ironically, they found the greatest mercy in the lands of the Dokhar League, and the former Godeaters' Legacy, the Summerland Empire's former rivals—but even then, they were relegated to a lower class, as memories of the bloody and fiery wars of the Summererland Empire lingered still.
Given names in the Nimean language tend to be derived from words pertaining to light, desire, and change. Certain names are considered uniquely feminine, particularly those with meanings relating to beauty and prosperity. Common examples include Malav (/maˑlaˑv/), Myuval (/mjuːvaˑl/), Laabel (laːbeˑl), Yevaal (/jeˑvaːl/), Yaleev (/jaˑleːv/). Malav is the feminine form of the name meaning "Shining One." Myuval means "Beautiful Sun." Laabel means "Beauty," or "Grace." Yevaal means "Red Morning." Yaleev means "Days of Plenty."
Given names in the Nimean language tend to be derived from words pertaining to light, desire, and change. Certain names are considered uniquely masculine, particularly those with meanings relating to war, struggle, and victory. Common given male names include Malor (/maˑloːr/), ʔob (/ʔoːb/), ʔaraan (/ʔaˑraːn/), Zaaren (/zaːreˑn/), Vezir (/veˑziˑr/). Malor is the masculine form of the name meaning "Shining One." ʔob means "Spear," or "Blade." ʔaraan means "Cunning One." Zaaren means "Swift Beast." Vezir means "Great Hunger."
In Nimean culture, a person's proper family name is inherited patrilineally. In most cases, these names constructed as patronymics derived from the given name of a male ancestor. These proper family names are not used frequently by most Nimeans. Instead, the members of a given family unit will use a common surname derived from the given name of the patriarch (derived as name + /aˑʔuːn/) Common family names include Maloraʔun (/maˑloːraˑʔuːn/), ʔobaʔun (/ʔoːbaˑʔuːn/), ʔaraanaʔun (/ʔaˑraːnaˑʔuːn/), Zaarenaʔun (/zaːreˑnaˑʔuːn/), Veziraʔun (/veˑziˑraˑʔuːn/).
Major language groups and dialects
The Nimean people, fittingly, make primary use of the Nimean language. However, because the Nimean language has not been even nominally unified under a single authority since the Folly of the Summerlords, there has been a considerable amount of regional dialectical variation. The influence of of other languages upon the Nimean tongue has been limited, due to the relatively insular nature of most Nimean communities, resulting from both the inclinations of Nimean culture and the disdain with which they are viewed by the dominant cultures of host countries. Most Nimean persons do not know more than a few words and phrases in any language other than their regional dialect of the Nimean language, but those who have greater contact with the outside world generally approach fluency in the primary language of the country in which they reside.
Culture and cultural heritage
Historically, the Nimeans have thought of themselves as great warriors and rulers, the Summerland Empire of Nimea having grown wealthy on the conquest and subjugation of neighboring peoples. Since the Folly of the Summerlords, this has coalesced into a sort of unity of pride in modern Nimean communities, rallying together in the face of oppression.
Shared customary codes and values
The root of Nimean culture is pride. For each Nimean person, the self is paramount, and is deserving of glorification. A person's desires is an important reflection of who they are, being those things to which they as a person are drawn, and as such desire is exalted as the purest form the self can take. In addition, there is, to a lesser extent, something of an exultation of the body, as the most physical reflection of the self, from which flows the Nimean concept of beauty as the body untarnished. Similarly, ambition, the advancement of the self to a greater station, follows from this pride, as well as being a means to better feed one's desires. From this also follows the Nimean allowance of, and even predilection for slavery. In the Nimean understanding, a slave is a person who has no self, because they were unable or unwilling to hold on to that self unto the bitter end, and so have no right to it. It is pride of another sort which has, broadly speaking, prevented the many Nimean communities that exist from assimilating into the primary cultures of the countries in which they live. This is a pride in history, in the accomplishments of one's ancestors upon which their culture is built. Assimilation would be an insult to those ancestors. This is all bound up in the family name, which is rarely spoken out of reverence. There have been those who questioned these values, as they were ultimately what motivated the succession crisis that led to the Folly of the Summerlords, and thus to the impoverished state of most Nimeans. Nevertheless, they persist as a driving force behind modern Nimean culture.
Common Customs, traditions and rituals
Prior to the Folly of the Summerlords, a great many Nimean traditions were intimately involve with the Myul Vorun, or the "Flame of Desire," an arcane practice in which the practitioner manifested their inner desires as light, heat and flame, allowing for a serious degree of control over these things. During the reign of the Myul Vorun, the Myl Vorun was implemented used violently in both warfare and occupation. As a result, those countries born from the formerly conquered peoples, and from the Summerland Empire of Nimea's old enemies, implement strict prohibition upon its practice. Thought tje Myul Vorun has survived in secret, the vast majority of Nimeans have had to adapt their traditions to maintain a hold on their cultural heritage.
Birth & Baptismal Rites
When a Nimean child is born, they are ritually waved over a bonfire, their mouth and nose covered to prevent smoke inhalation, to establish a spiritual connection between the infant and fire, to guarantee strength of spirit and body, healthy appetite, and the development of strong desires in the future, as well as burning away complacency and weakness. Before the Folly of the Summerlords, the ceremony was more dramatic, featuring a practitioner of Myul Vorun—"The Flame of Desire"—submerging the infant fully in the fire, using their arcane abilities to keep the child safe from the smoke and the heat. However, with the suppression of the Myul Vorun in the wake of the collapse of the Summerland Empire of Nimea, the Nimean people have had to adapt the custom.
Coming of Age Rites
Among the Nimean people, a children are considered to become adults at the age of sixteen, which is cause for celebration among the entire community. The whole community gorges itself on traditional foods, and the new adult is presented to the community with their family name by their father, and any community elders in attendance. Then, the new adult proves their maturity by running across a bed of coals, and jumping over a fire. This is descended from a practice from before the Folly of the Summerlords, in which the new adult would run directly through a line of burning fire, proving their maturity by expressing a capacity in Myul Vorun by protecting themselves from the fire, which in turn required them to be intimately in touch with their desires, and thus their purest selves. This would be the furthest extent to which most Nimeans would practice the Myul Vorun, but it was considered a very important cultural touchstone.
Funerary and Memorial customs
The funerary rites of the Nimean people have survived their impoverishment unscathed. When a person has died, their body is ritualistically set alight in as great a funeral pyre as their family can afford to, and the ash from this pyre is collected into an urn which is permanently sealed, to be either preserved in the home or buried.
The importance placed upon the family name, and the history and pride bound up in it, are the source of the single greatest taboo in Nimean society: romantic relations, even marriage, with someone who is not Nimean. Before the Folly of the Summerlords, Nimean interaction with other cultures was limited primarily to conquest, government, and enslavement, leading to the development of a sense of superiority. After the Folly of the Summerlords, other cultures had a tendency to oppress the Nimeans, and eagerly use them as scapegoats, out of a lingering resentment for the incredibly poor treatment they had received under Nimean rule. These come together to mean that most Nimeans would not even consider dishonoring their family name by marrying some a non-Nimean. Attraction and desire are another matter, of course, as the expressions of the self, so long as it stops there. Additionally, as the counterpoint to both ambition and desire, contentedness is deeply shameful. In the Nimean worldview, contentedness is at once when a person does not seek to advance their means and station, and when they have no desires to pursue—something that is almost unthinkable.
Above all else, Nimeans appreciate the physically pristine. Smooth skin, shining hair, fluid motion, clean clothes with vibrant colors. Variations from this is considered a sign of personal weakness: a scar or bruise is a sign of a blow that should have been avoided, frail hair or pale skin of poor health, dirty or plain clothes of low prosperity. That having been said, there is leeway for deviation from these ideals, especially among the impoverished, but they remain the ideal.
Nimean gender ideals are simplifications to the point of caricature, which nuanced psychological, social, and economic realities faced by all Nimeans. Furthermore, since the Folly of the Summerlords many have questioned the virtue of ambition and aggression, as they were what led the prospective heirs to the throne of the Summerland Empire of Nimea to destroy the Nimean homeland, directly leading for the dramatic reduction of the capacity for Nimeans to actually live up to said ideals. Nevertheless, the ideals persist.
MaleThe ideal Nimean male is possessed of voracious desire of all kinds, and is both aggressive and persistent in their pursuit. He is strong possessed of both strong body and deep cunning, a skilled warrior who exploits those opportunities which he faces to the furthest possible extent. He is virile, siring many children with his wife, all of whom he provides for and protects. He is loyal to his friends and comrades, and does not sacrifice them in pursuit of his desires.
FemaleThe ideal Nimean woman is beautiful and ferocious in the pursuit of her manifold desires. While it is normal for her to desire a wide array of physical pleasures, she is expected to desire the raising of her children to meet the Nimean ideal above all else. If she does not have children, she pursues their creation with vigor. If she does not have a husband, she actively seeks one out. She protects her children as a mother lion, fierce and exacting.
Nimeans place high value on the family of a prospective partner. It is expected that one pursue a partner from a family with which nuptial union would be honorable. It is considered shameful to court or marry a person from a significantly lower status family, but conversely it is praiseworthy to court or marry a person from a significantly higher status family. There is no greater shame or scandal, however, than courting a person who is not Nimean. This is born of great pride, before the Folly as conquerors and rulers, and after as a defiant oppressed people, now tinged with resentment. Lust plays a significant role in Nimean courtship. As the male and female ideal pursue their desires aggressively, it is only natural that sexual desire feature prominently in courtship, and that one seek out a partner who excites that sexual desire. For this reason, it is not unusual for courtship to produce a pregnancy before marital union, nor is it shameful. However, it is shameful for one party to reject marriage in the case of such a pregnancy. Additionally, attraction and even sexual relations between persons who cannot produce children, either due to infertility or being of the same gender, but courtship or marriage in such cases are viewed with confusion by those not involved.
In an established relationship between a man and a woman—the only arrangement common enough to have expectations—the man is expected to be the senior partner. That having been said, both partners are still expected to pursue their own desires and ambitions, and both are expected to consider the desires and ambitions of their partner. Partners are expected to be loyal to one another. For those who can afford their acquisition, attraction to persons other than one's partner are normal, but they should be redirected to one's partner. Attraction towards and sexual relations with slaves are not considered a violation of this loyalty, as Nimeans do not usually consider slaves to be people, and children produced from such a union are seen as lesser than children of the marriage.