"I've got Vessene beer, Vessene deer sausage, some carved wooden totems from the Druids of the Vessa- what can I say, they know their crafts. Several, in fact."The Vessene are a people who inhabit the southernmost edges of the Heartlands of Arikanda; primarily the , the city of , and the . They are considered to be a sub-ethnicity of the Heartlander people, and share some similar cultural aspects to the others.
-an Avadian trader in Mirrelum, returning from an inland expedition
Kelja, Arijel, Revekah, Sonna, Natilde
Tralbahr, Hurst, Jarri, Verrnard, Runno
Like other Heartlanders, the Vessene people adopt both given names and family names. Common family names include Dalhauft, Olfenden. Kars, Tarpen and others.
Major language groups and dialects
The Vessene speak Dalhauft, the most common language among the Heartlanders, as a primary language. Many also speak Avadian as a trade language.
Culture and cultural heritage
The Vessene share a number of common cultural elements with other Heartlander people, albeit with some individual aspects not seen in other Heartlanders. In particular, the Vessene culinary culture is prominent. The Vessene pride themselves on producing high quality food and drink that is prized not only in the Heartlands but across most of southern Arikanda as well, thanks to the Avadian trade networks. Mead and beer produced in the Masscht Valley are considered a delicacy in the south, and is frequently exported through both the Avadian trade routes and across the Vessene Mountains through the Tanorite border. They are also famed for their sausages, produced from various types of meats - pork, beef and deer being the most prominent. These are often blended with spices and herbs and both consumed locally and exported. Another popular cultural export from the Vessene people are intricately carved wooden artwork such as figurines, dolls and statuettes. These are carved by local craftsmen in both the Masscht Valley and some by the Druids of the Vessa, and are often sought by the Tanorites to the south and by Avadian merchants. The most popular items are carved Elementalist symbols, wooden toys, and particularly impressive works of art for nobles. There are also a number of popular folk stories told by the Druids of the Vessa which have become quite commonplace across central and southern Arikanda. Other popular cultural exports include mystical remedies developed by the Druids, which can see people from as far as the Sapphire Coast seek out. Everyday Vessene clothing is also popular in northern Tanoron during the winter, and long-sleeved shirts, woolen clothing and trousers are regularly exported.
Shared customary codes and values
The Vessene place a particular emphasis on hard/good work and integrity in their dealings, particularly when it comes to crafts and business. Shoddy craftsmanship is a source of shame, and a Vessene craftsman will go out of his or her way to repair any defective item at no cost. Even nobles are expected to act with integrity and fairness; it is unacceptable to mistreat the peasants and labourers in their employ, and such acts if exposed will see a noble shunned by his peers. A general sense of 'do right by me and I will do right by you' attitude exists in this regard.
Common Dress code
Vessene dress for their climate; while they do not need to resort to the heavy furs of the northern Heartlands, the Masscht Valley and the Vessene Mountains are considerably colder than the southern empires. Long-sleeved shirts of linen and cloth are common, as are fur-lined vests, and trousers are much more prevalent than the one-piece tunics of the south. Clothing among the upper classes tends to be of the same sort of style, but made with finer materials.
Art & Architecture
Vessene architecture is a mixture of the wattle and daub and wooden buildings of the Heartlands, and worked stone buildings inspired by the Tanorite cities to the south.
Common Customs, traditions and rituals
Vessene are predominently Tanoron, and most cities and towns have priests of all four Elemental Gods who are integrated into the Templar hierarchies. The priesthood of Delthur and Essena are particularly popular along the farms and forests near the Masscht River. A second faith exists outside of Elementalism, deep in the forests and on the plains of the more isolated parts of the Masscht Valley and the Vessene Mountains. This group is known as the Druids of the Vessa, a group who revere the spirits of nature rather than the Elemental Gods, and have learned to use nature to their advantage rather than live in large cities. The Druids are generally allowed to practice their faith by the Elementalists, and are often sought out by more urbanised Vessene as scouts, guides, and their innate understanding of medical applications of the wilderness plants., following in the footsteps of missionaries from
As with most of the Heartlander states and Elementalist cities, there is no specific gender role prescribed in terms of careers; there are male and female soldiers, educators, crafters and farmers.
Among peasants, labourers and traders, it's generally accepted that there is no requirement as to who a person can court or marry, and in the farms and villages, a person marries someone they've known throughout life, although in the urban areas this can be somewhat more diverse. Courtships usually last a couple of years before becoming marriages. There is no requirement to have a family's permission to marry a person, although generally it's expected the person is known to the family during the courtship. Among nobles, there is an implied higher standard; while it is not unheard of for nobles to court commoners, it is frowned upon and often subject to stigma from both sides. Most nobles are introduced to other nobles, and are encouraged to court them, which they usually do in order to honour their families.
The largest Vessene political entity is the City-State of Vessen, the governing oligarchy of Vessen. The Druids of the Vessa are also prominent outside of the cities. Other prominent organisations include the Tanorite conflicts., a famed mercenary outfit used heavily in both Heartlander and