Arenians, the People of Yesterday
Genetics and Reproduction
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
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
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
Civilization and Culture
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.
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
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
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.
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
- 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.
- 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.