Arenians, the People of Yesterday Species in Varen | World Anvil
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Arenians, the People of Yesterday

Basic Information

Anatomy

All Arenians are known for their small frames and relatively-low physical endurance - only standing around three feet tall and suffering from a weakened immune system. However, a remarkable quickness and flexibility are commonly observed in Arenians, and something that the species has become stereotyped for. In other, less-tolerant circles, the Arenian species have been compared to the miniature primates that dwell in the jungles north of Dorozar - something that should never be uttered in their presence.

Genetics and Reproduction

As with all other civilised races, Arenians reproduce through live birth. Pregnancy lasts roughly four months, before a relatively-easy delivery brings the child into this world. Babies are very likely to survive when born, and incidents of twins, triplets and even quadruplets are far more common than with the other civilised races of Varen.

Arenians can reproduce with any civilised race except Sylvar, in theory. Alas, in regards to Olthamites, an Arenian mother to such a child endangers herself so severely and assuredly - thanks to the size of the fetus - that the vast majority of these couples do not try to conceive with one another.

Growth Rate & Stages

Childhood for an Arenian is a very brief stage of life, with adolescence arriving around the age of seven and ten years old marking the beginning of adulthood. From there, an Arenian begins to grow old more slowly, with dark splotches on the skin and discolouration of the hair being the primary signs of advanced age.

Once upon a time, Arenians utilised ancient and powerful technology to keep themselves alive and youthful well beyond their years. Alas, such days are gone, and the average local to Aren is lucky to live past the age of forty years old.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Arenians are omnivorous by nature - akin to their Dorozi neighbours - but are well-known for their aversion to certain kinds of fish. Fish caught from the deeper reaches of the Sunless Sea can cause an ill reaction in an Arenian, and as such, most tend to avoid such meat.

Additional Information

Facial characteristics

Arenian faces, regardless of heritage, are typically long, oval shapes, with round chins and a plethora of different eye colours. Men have the capability to grow facial hair, but for a fair number, this hair grows particularly thickly on the jawline. Women are known to possess rounder button noses also, making it rather easy for most to discern the biological sex of the Arenian they are speaking to.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

While Arenians do not possess the highly-sensitive eyes of Sylvar and Olthamites, their vision is still more impressive than, say, the Dorozi and the Khords. Sitting within the happy medium, an Arenian can see perfectly in a room lit by one or two candles, but struggles to see well in complete darkness. Some have theorised this to be a vestigial remnant of the perfect night-vision the Arenians once possessed, which was eventually "trained out" of them, through extensive use of ancient, unknown technology to improve their eyesight even further.

Civilization and Culture

Beauty Ideals

Whilst Arenians don't have much in the way of preferences when it comes to beauty ideals, there are certainly features that this civilisation find unattractive. To name a few, the Arenians thoroughly dislike pale skin, white hair and long ears on their people. This may or may not have to do with the woeful injustices the Sylvar inflicted on their civilisation in the past.

Gender Ideals

Men and women are considered entirely equal in Arenian culture. Over the past seven-hundred years, freedom has become a keyword in most people's beliefs, and this extends from within their own country to their ultimate role on the world stage. What little gender norms exist in this nation are more the result of gender dymorphism between the species' sexes, as opposed to any political motivation.

Men in Aren are typically the physical workers of a family. They are the ones to venture out into the Sunless Sea in search of food for their children - or, in some cases, even venture into the No Man's Land north of what remains of their country, in search of anything to scavenge. They are the ones relied on to lay bricks, operate heavy machinery and, if necessary, fight in melee.

The women of an Arenian family are often viewed as the care-givers, though this has a different meaning than it would in, say, Olthambria. To the Arenians, the carer of the family does not just prepare the meals, tend to the home and birth the children. They are also the house's first line of defence. Should the worst happen, and an Arenian family find themselves under attack by any who wish them harm, it is more common than not to find the mother and daughters of the household in the highest windows and on the roof, putting bullet after bullet between the villains' eyes.

Courtship Ideals

In Arenian culture, it is traditional to express one's attraction to another by assembling a beautiful bouquet of flowers called a bundt - every flower tailored to their partner's taste - before striking them softly in the face with said bundt. If the individual reciprocates these feelings, then they take the flowers from the suitor. If not, they simply refuse. It is also expected for women in Arenian society to "make the first move", as it were.

Relationship Ideals

There is no stigma amongst Arenians against having sex early into a relationship, nor is there one against casual sex. Their neighbours do not permit them many luxuries, so they must take pleasure where they can find it. The stage in life for casual sex is typically limited from 10 years old to 25. From there, most Arenians settle down and start a family.

It is not taboo for a woman to fall pregnant early into a relationship, yet it is also acceptable for the father to forfeit any presence in the upbringing of this child. Marriage is not a social construct for Arenians, as they view it as wholly unnecessary. Their equivalent is the simple act of moving in together.

Average Technological Level

The technological level of Aren is, to most, a complicated and somewhat-sensitive topic. One does not bring up such a thing when visiting their nation, lest they risk the wrath of the local populace. For, as all who know the tale of The Cataclysm are privy to, the Arenians have been entirely cut-off from the technologies and magic of their neighbouring states. The reasoning for this might have been lost to time, but the other races of Varen have not been willing to let them forget their catastrophic mistake, nor their civilisation's poison pride.
arenian 3
by Un Lee

Many centuries ago - close to a millennia - the vast majority of Varen lived under the watchful eyes and staunch protection of The Arenian Empire - a conglomerate of nations with the unassuming race at its head, which spanned for thousands of years and just as many miles. Despite their bodies - which many might have called frail alongside their neighbours - the Arenians' strong drive for academia and creative spirit led them to craft absolute marvels of engineering at their peak. With a resourcefulness and intellect more befitting of a god than a mortal man, the Empire bestowed blessing after blessing upon the world. Carriages that moved without horses, and at far greater speed. Mechanical birds that soared high above the clouds, spiritng folk all around the continent - and beyond - in a matter of hours. Monolithian towers and sprawling cities emerged from the lush green earth, and were the envy of all other civilisations.

They did not accomplish this without help, however. Between the Arenians' intelligence, the Olthamites' hulking brawn, the Dorozi's sheer enthusiasm and the Khords' infinite wisdom all served to bring these creations to life. The only folk in Varen who did not contribute to these Great Works were the stubborn Sylvar, whose elitism had led them to distrust all who did not bear the cosmic blessing of magic. They remained in their pale towers and frozen forests, and slowly sank into irrelevance.

Great advances in medicine were made, and terminal illnesses became but a mild inconvenience one might solve by weaving metal and potions into their flesh. Folk could communicate from both ends of the globe at the drop of a hat, and should the need arise, the Empire could defend itself against foreign threats with weaponry more powerful than anything the world had ever seen, or seen since.

Eventually, there was little room for the Empire to expand without waging a war on its neighbours. Declining to do so, the wise rulers of the free world turned their gazes to the skies - to the nearby moon that the Sylvar called Ksieryca - and within a decade, the Empire's winged machines carried them up, up, up... above the clouds, and into the infinite darkness of the Void, so that they might establish their peoples beyond this world.

Alas, it was not to be. Something - we know not what - happened upon that accursed rock, and the very moon itself shattered. Varen and its inhabitants barely survived, seeking shelter with the Sylvar, who proceeded to poison the minds of all who once called the Empire their home, turning them against the people they once saw as friends. By the time the dust had cleared, the Sylvar's words had so thoroughly ingrained themselves in the minds of the Empire... that there was no hope for its return to normalcy. None at all.

Banding together against those who had once ruled the world, the people of Varen stripped the Arenians of all they had built over countless generations. The days of mechanical mounts were over, replaced by the ponies and dogs of old. Their means of self-defence was rendered into nothing more than obsolete firearms and medieval blades. The medical marvels that had once granted the people of Aren a life to be thoroughly enjoyed were no more. With this vital technology torn from their bodies, the Arenians were forced to wither and shrink back to their previous, pitifully-short lifespans. The towers were torn to the ground, leaving nought but scraps of metal and stone from which to fashion modest accomodation. The Arenian people were, in every sense of the word, regressed.

Today, an Arenian in possession of any technology from the old world is arrested and sent to prison for life. To find a former Imperial with a weapon more advanced than a six-shooter revolver is a rare sight indeed, and to see one travelling freely throughout Varen is even more so. Heating is accomplished through old-fashioned stoves and fireplaces, and healing is rendered by Druids or Witches, at best. Of course, after all was said and done, and Varen was stripped of the old world's masterpieces, the Sylvar were left virtually-untouched. The Arenians will always resent them for this, and despite their nation's forbiddance from all things scientific, many of their people still shun the magical arts out of spite.

Culture and Cultural Heritage

Arenians are fast-living beings, yet they do not dare go into a decision recklessly. This kind of thought has already cost their race – and the world – so much. With neither a selfish motive nor an altruistic mindset, Arenians simply work towards the pleasure of a quiet life – one free from persecution, poverty and the ever-judging eye of their neighbours. Despite this, they are prone to bouts of mania or rage in certain situations, and find comfort in the permitted pleasures of fishing, drinking and – occasionally – drug use.

Many Arenians are drawn to the life of a wandering bravo – yet another custom learned from their Dorozi neighbours. With a signed permit, an Arenian may venture out of their homeland and seek their fortune. These travellers are primarily driven by a sense of wanderlust, and a desire to find a land of opportunity. It is most common for Arenian adventurers to find their way to Dorozar, and work as hunters. However, those unwilling, or unable, to procure a travel permit often turn to a life of piracy, sailing their longships away from Aren, and raiding small villages all along the southern coast.

Faith

Arenians worship the elemental force of water. Their faith encourages the worship of the ocean, which lies right next to their coastal capital. There have also been rumours of Arenians worshipping something - or someone - deep beneath the Sunless Sea. Something that has dwelt there for a long, long time. However, most Arenians would insist this is nonsense, and merely an assumption made based on a scary folk tale for children.

Common Customs, Traditions and Rituals

arenian 6
by unknown
  • When a baby is to be delivered to an Arenian mother, it is traditional to have a water birth. A child of Aren's welcome into the world should not touch this accursed land.
  • Most Arenian homes have a secure chest - often made of metal, or in some cases, stone - close to the front door. It is customary for any and all visitors to the household to place any and all weapons into this container before moving further in, out of respect for the sanctity of their home.
  • On an Arenian's birthday, at the turn of midnight, it is customary for the birthday boy or girl to walk into the waters of the Sunless Sea, and remain there for at least an hour, alone. This is to provide them with a moment's quiet introspection at the beginning of their next year of life - something their rapid lifestyles do not often afford them.
  • Before every meal, an Arenian will often take a mouthful of sea water, which they summarily spit into a bowl situated in the centre of the table. When the bowl is full, it is emptied into the Sunless Sea, and takes with it the essence of those who used it.

Common Taboos

  • Certain folk have more recently taken to referring to the Arenians as Gnomes, as a means of demeaning them. It would just so happen that this slur has the desired effect on its people, and to utter such a word before an Arenian is to invite their wrath.
  • Do not mention new advancements in technology around an Arenian. They will hurt you.
  • To those visiting Aren, it is considered a grave insult to lower one's posture - or worse, kneel - when talking to a native. Simply stand as you would normally, and look them in the eyes.

Interspecies Relations and Assumptions

Arenians find difficulty interacting with other races. Not accounting for their past empire’s mistakes, it is common for a number of Veran’s denizens to view Aren as an inferior state. Arenian humour is also a particularly dark breed – one that can come across as insensitive to the other races. They get along best with the Dorozi, who had a great influence in Aren’s cultural resurrection after The Cataclysm. They often desire friendship with Olthamites, though this feeling is not always reciprocated. Their relationships with Khords and Sylvar, however, are still wrought with bitterness. The Khords still cling to the destruction of their land centuries ago. As for the Sylvar, some Arenians still feel unfairly treated by the Sylvar, and blame them for the neutered state of their nation. The Sylvar also feel resentment, condemning Aren for kickstarting the events that killed their Mother, Ksieryca.
arenian traits
Lifespan
40 Years
Average Height
3'2"
Average Weight
30-35lbs
Average Physique
Arenians are by far the smallest race on the continent, standing just over 3 feet in height. Their small forms naturally result in the Arenians being not particularly imposing – a problem their empire had previously rectified with technological implants… and once, slavery.
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
The Arenian people’s exposure to the polluted lands of their former empire has warped their bodies somewhat, giving them oddly-vibrant hair colours and skin that ranges from ghostly-white to pitch-black.

Male Names

Germund, Hans, Julius, Kresten, Marc, Rolf, Steffen, Uffe

Female Names

Agnete, Benedicte, Else, Helena, Karla, Marina, Oda, Vivian

Comments

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Sage Timepool
Garrett Grace Lewis
27 Jul, 2019 00:03

Combining the species and ethnicity template for a homogeneous race is a very good idea I wish I had thought of sooner— I may have to try this, myself.
  I like the ideal of women also being defenders of the home, that's a nice twist on things that not only equalizes things— to a degree— but also keeps things interesting.
  Brb I'm going to go slap someone in the face with a lovely bouquet.
Update: She slapped me in the face with her hand. Does that count as a bundt?
  I can understand the world shunning technology after something as terrible as the shattering— but the stripping of medical technology I find somewhat more difficult to believe. Was the belief, fear, and hatred truly that strong? What of the injured, the elderly, and the sick? Would they not have fought to keep that, at the very least— even if the rest opposed them? Who decided that firearms were acceptable, and what level of technology to regress to? I assume the Sylvar did— was that simply their own level?
  Nice tying in the significance of the Sunless Sea in their traditions, and I wonder what this something they worship could be? Funnily enough— that is fairly similar to one of my cultures as well, who also include a large body of water in ritual and tradition yet deny worship of it or something within.
  And that's the Arenians finally! That was surprisingly fast! I wouldn't have expected to see this for at least another week!

27 Jul, 2019 23:18

Hi there - this is the other writer for Varen, and the author of this article! Thanks for the kind words! We've been terribly eager to show off this exile species ever since people started asking about them, and it feels great to get it out there. Furthermore, I can agree that using the species template is a really handy way to put across the biological and social aspects of your races. I heartily recommend it.   To answer your questions: The stripping of technology was more of a unanimous decision than the Arenians believe, to be sure, and this article shows the era following the Cataclysm through their lens. To them, the Sylvar were almost certainly the sole engineers of the Empire's downfall, and through their ignorance destroyed some of the greatest feats of science and engineering ever created. Alas, the reality is not that simple. It was, in fact, the Sylvar and the Khords both who posited the idea of punishing the Arenians in this way. As mentioned in their article, the people of Khordepi had experienced something of an epiphany when it came time to return home, and cast out all of their technology - save for farming - to ensure this disaster never happened again. To them and the Sylvar, it seemed only right to ensure the same of Aren. The Olthamites and Dorozi, whilst not the first to have the idea, agreed after extensive talks to support this notion - the Dorozi out of fear, and the Olthamites out of a bitter hatred for the Arenian people, resulting from their long-standing enslavement by the dead Empire. With all races in support of this, the Arenians had no means of opposing it, save for war (which they were in no state to wage).   As for medical technology - that is actually something we intend to cover more in our article for Varen Central City, who oversee the distribution of Old World tech throughout the continent. But, in short - medical technology is certainly still used throughout Varen. In fact, it is one of the only pieces of the Old World that has been allowed to persist worldwide. It is, however, very heavily regulated. Only authorised Veran Central Medicinal Clinics (V.C.M.C.'s) are permitted to possess the most advanced pieces of medical technology. Some of these centres do exist in Aren - looking very out-of-place in their scorched landscape - but they are owned and run by the city state's government, entirely removed from Aren's ruling council. There, people deemed "in satisfactory need" of medical help - such as the terminally-ill or those in mortal danger - receive the aid they require, under close watch by security.   There are talks about allowing the Arenians to return to the modern age of technology with everybody else, but this movement doesn't carry much weight at present. Of course, if you are willing to break the law, you might find tech from the Old World on the black market, for extortionate prices, to be sure. There have even been rumours of Old World Arenians, kept alive by the medicinal pumps and apparatus they still possess, living reclusive lives beneath the ground, out in the Sunless Sea, or even in the Lunar Scar.   Wow, that turned out longer than expected, but I hope those answers are to your liking! Myself and astrandedrusalka have been going nuts over this setting recently, and we both love how interested you've gotten. If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask!   P.S. We've taken a peek at your world and I have to say we love it. I'll be sure to drop some comments on your articles soon!

Sage Timepool
Garrett Grace Lewis
28 Jul, 2019 02:30

Thank you for taking the time to answer those questions!
  Yeah, that clears things up a good bit— and I'll definitely look forward to hearing more! I'll keep an eye out for the Varen Central City article.
  Old-era Arenians kept alive by their technology in reclusion smacks of the Elder Scrolls' Dwemer a little, and I'm all for it!
  Yeah, those cleared things up a good bit, no worries for it being long! As someone who also makes things, I know very well that it feels great to see people interested in your work; I want to let people know when I am interested in the things they make, with that in mind.
  P.S. I'll look forward to it!