You finally decide to ask your berilar guide why he looks like he has a crown of twigs that he never takes off. You immediately hear Quinër chuckle in response and shake his head, causing a couple of thin branches to fall to the ground. "It's not a crown. That's my hair." You must have looked incredulous, because he immediately follows this with, "I have branches for hair. I'm aware that's not normal, but you have scales for skin, so." Despite anything resembling the conventions your parents taught you, your curiosity gets the better of you and you immediately ask, "So you're supposed to look like a tree? That's normal for you?" Quinër giggles, which is the most ridiculous sound you have ever heard. "Yes, all of my people look a little like trees. It is very normal for us. I am getting a little old, so my season is autumn." He gestures to the dark brown of his skin and the yellow-orange leaves on the branches. "It won't be long before I become winter, and then I will become too old to do this journey." You apologize for the strange question, but Quinër waves a hand. "All of us do our part to keep the forest safe. Mine is making sure you don't do anything stupid that will hurt us later."
AppearanceThe berilar have a very specific set of looks, tied to the four stages of a berilar's life, which in turn reference the four seasons:
- The youngest berilar are tied to the season of spring. Their skin is a light green, and their hair is likewise a mixture of brown and green. Some have small pink or red buds form in their hair, blooming into small flowers.
- Once a berilar comes of age, this is shown by switching to summer. The hair is now a yellowed-green, the skin becoming a light brown and begins to develop small lines like grooves in tree bark.
- As they age, the leaves turn to yellow, then to orange before reaching the season of autumn. Their hair begins to shed leaves, leaving behind a series of bare branches. The skin darkens and darkens, the grooves becoming even more apparent.
- When a berilar reaches the age of 500, their leaves are nearly gone, and their skin begins to become more wrinkled. These are winter berilar, and they are highly regarded as the wisest in their community.
Beauty IdealsThe most beautiful berilar are those who make the most of their current season. Berilar children that want to be pretty will accentuate the budding leaves and flowers in their hair, and older berilar will draw intricate designs on their arms and legs to accentuate the bark-like colouration of their skin.
Shared customary codes and values
The berilar have a very deep connection with the forests where they live, and the protection of the forest takes precedence over everything. The tales of forest elves attacking hunting parties and expeditions that stray too deep into the woods were berilar forcing intruders away from protected areas.
Common Etiquette rules
A simple flowing speech is the norm among the berilar, and anyone who raises their voice or becomes too overly arrogant in their tone is considered rude. Non-berilar get a bit of leniency in this regard, but flaunting that too often will get disapproving glares from other berilar. A hand placed in the centre of the chest is a customary greeting. The response is to do a slight bow. Anyone who fails to do this might lose some respect in the community.
Common Dress code
The berilar traditionally wear simple clothing, even the elders. Plain fibrous shirts and the like are expected clothing items, with maybe the occasional piece of jewelry or small charm. In more exotic locales such as Sunset Isle, clothing made from plant leaves and adorned with flowers is much more common.
Art & Architecture
The berilar are particularly enamoured of the art of oratory. Well-crafted speeches are the hallmark of a great leader, and the berilar are so skilled that the leaders of many Sedestan nations hire berilar to help plan their discourses and accompany them on diplomatic missions. In terms of architecture, the berilar enjoy small buildings built into the sides of or inside of trees. They feel like an extension of the forest, so their architecture reflects this.
Coming of Age Rites
A ceremony is conducted when a young berilar finally begins to lose the flowers and buds in their hair, known as the Flowering. In short, the young berilar is taken to a local priest of Beri'ways. The priest tells them about the importance of growing up and becoming a benefit to the community and the forest while attendants or acolytes clip the flowers from their hair. They are then allowed to return to the community, now considered adults and able to fully take on responsibilities.
Funerary and Memorial customs
When a berilar dies, they are usually buried with their earthly and a sapling is placed over the grave. The sapling is tended to by the family of the deceased until it is strong enough to survive on its own, and the tree remains a memorial of the person for as long as the tree stands. The graves of famous heroes are easily recognized by the carefully constructed monuments using the hero's tree.
Naming TraditionsMale Names: Abëlir, Banisar, Cilarë, Coldanër, Doldar, Ëlenir, Lötar, Miltir, Nilar, Quinër, Rëdirir, Solgar, Tilanër, Voltar, Zinë Female Names: Acanë, Caldiwë, Cëldi, Distar, Ëleri, Faxisë, Lasa, Moriwë, Nazë, Orowë, Ristawë, Sanër, Sildawë, Waldiwë, Zira
Major LanguagesBerian is obviously the most common language spoken among the berilar, although many learn the complicated language of the Fay or learn the language of the various beasts of the forest.
Geographic DistributionThe two major ibelilar strongholds of Voldawë and Nollar were originally berilar strongholds before they were used to house many other ibelilar. Smaller scattered communities of them are found in the Slagetil Forest and other large forested regions of Sedesta. In the Thousand Stars, many villages of berilar populate the jungles of the islands, and rarely welcome strangers.
- The Elders of Voldawë for the elves of Voldawë.
- Elders of Nollar in the city of Nollar, with caldilar also making up a portion of that council.
- The Blades of the Slagetil is a collection of monster hunters and elite archers that roam the Slagetil Forest. They are mostly composed of berilar and the occasional astanlar.
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