The Erpheronians (ancient form "Aerpheronians") are the pre-dominating and most influential human tribe at the southern Sarvonian continent. They represent a proud and elegant, but often also interpreted as presumptuous kind of people, whose acts on the brink of arrogance are reflected in the name "Proudmen", which is used by other tribes to mark an Erpheronian's heritage. The initial name for the ancient kingdom of Erpheronia probably derives from the legendary brothers Aerth and Norpheron, princes and fierce warlords alike, who ruled with strong hand over seperate parts of the then still very young kingdom around 2.200 b.S. Erpheronians inhabit the large and fertile portions of the northernmost regions of the southern Sarvonian continent, just south of the Tandala Highlands, a territory that comprises mainly today's Santharian provinces of Nermeran and Vardınn.
Picture description. Portrait of Karthach of Ishmarin, Warlord during SW II, in full Erpheronian armour. Picture drawn by Quellion.
Today's Erpheronians - referring to people who live up north and still see
themselves anchored in the Erpheronian tradition - come in a variety of shapes
and sizes, drawing from a large pool of physical characteristics that spans the
entire continent of Sarvonia. This of
course is due to the fact that the Erpheronians spread over the southern part
of the continent like no other tribe, but it was also mainly this tribe which
established major trading relations with
Northern Sarvonia over the
past centuries and millenia. So it doesn't surprise that you will discover
people with very different height, weight, hair and eye colour and varying skin
tones, sometimes to extremes, which claim to be Erpheronian.
If we look back in the past, however, appearances of Erpheronian folk were not as diverse as they are now, nevertheless many customs of ancient Erpheronia are still practiced today. So you can say that the average Erpheronian is about 1.85 peds in height, while the women are about a palmspan and a half smaller, making them 1.70 peds in height. Common eye colours are brown, grey or green, and Erpheronian faces - male and female alike - are known for their remarkably clear profile and their strong expressive look, which some writers like to call "piercing" or even "unforgiving". Their bodies are often muscular and sinewy. A young man, who doesn't fit into the tight armour is considered unworthy for society and frowned upon - or even excluded from certain activities.
Very characteristic for Erpheronians of e.g. the first or second millenium b.S. is for one their light and pale skin tones and the common reddish or reddish-brown hair colour, which also reflects in nicknames of kings and queens like "Redbeard", "Firehair" or "Woodrosy" as the daughter of King Erdolomin was called. Slightly darker complexions existed already back then as well, probably due to occasional barbarian influences of northern tribes, though they were only very marginal. Aside from the very widespread red and brunette hair colours blonde is also encountered to a minimal extent in the original Erpheronian territories, however, raven haired people were practically non-existing initially, and if so, they were seen as bad omen and Coór-ridden due to superstitious beliefs. This superstition of course didn't survive the unification with Centorauria, where people with raven hair are pretty common, and so reservations soon were overcome when the tribes began to mix. - As for hairstyle: Men of higher classes in the Erpheronian tribe use to wear their hair at shoulder length, often also in a ponytail fashion, lower ranks are advised to keep their hair short. Longer beards are very rare, and seen as a sign of being bedraggled, especially among the lower classes, while to the contrary older and respected men of the nobility wear beards as a sign of experience and wisdom. Womens hair is grown much longer than men's, falling deep into the back, then braided or coiled on top of their head to keep it out of the way for practical purposes. Maidens however have to distinguish themselves from married women by always wearing their hair open and uncovered on important occasions and festivities. Upper class women are known for their elaborately styled hairdos inlcuding various adornments and expensive materials as well as exclusively produced earrings.
What you won't find at Erpheronian warriors are tatoos for example (which are considered barbaric) or anything else which would stress the individuality of the single fighter. Erpheronians see themselves as a unit fighting for the same cause and wouldn't allow anyone amidst their ranks to stand out, except they prove themselves on the battleground.
Picture description. The Erpheronian Coat of Arms designed by Koldar.
Coat of Arms/Sign.
Since the year of 1643 b.S., reflecting
the incidents of the Vardınnian Atonement, the Erpheronian coat of arms consists of
a phoenix, placed above
a star of fire.
The phoenix is a mythical, immortal bird, being mentioned in many a legend, a beast that can be destroyed, but which will arise again and again from its ashes to rise up once more to roam the skies and demonstrate the world its beauty and power. The Erpheronians also see themselves related strongly to the element of fire and thus the mythical aura of the phoenix. For one their red hair colour already seems to reflect an ardent temper, and the many wars the tribe fought shows their tendency towards violence, or their willingness to take necessary action themselves, as the Erpheronians might call it. Fire also finally had been part of their kingdom's fate when the tribe's king in the 17th century b.S., Maengolth, was burned as a sacrifice on an altar by his own son, Caein. He did it out of a feeling of justice as well as out of selfishness to end the terrible assaults of the so-called Dragonstorm, which had been caused by the Erpheronian hero Wengerim slewing the dragon Seargon the Eternal, one of the three mythical adamant-dragons. But Caein himself perished in the firey breath of the unforgiving dragon Ol'dem'brey. It is said that Foiros, he God of Fire, made the orb of the sun disappear to punish both sides, but finally heard the bidings of the Erpheronian priests and made it possible for the tribe to resinstate their former position.
This story is all told in symblic form in the Erpheronian coat of arms. The depicted phoenix stands for the people of Erpheronia and their unceasable will to power, never giving in to anything that opposes their determination on their way to glory in the world, overcoming all the hardships their path might entail by rising up again from the ashes of destruction. Other tribes however might interpret the coat of arms in a negative way, seeing it as a sign of the fiery catastrophe the Erpheronians have brought upon the world, and as a token for the necessary divine punishment for human arrogance.
Territory. The territories of the ancient Erpheronians contained large and fertile portions of the northernmost regions of the southern Sarvonian continent. Before 482 b.S. all the lands stretching from the Tandala Highlands until the Aurora Fields, the Heaths of Jernais and Salazar to the east belonged to the Erpheronians, including the Peninsular of Paragonj and the Isle of Churican in the west, Narvoss to the northwest and Isles of Ram to the northeast, the latter being extremely rich on mineral resources of various kinds.
|Map of the ancient kingdoms of Santharia (482 b.S.). Click on any kingdom to read more details at other kingdom entries. Picture drawn by Artimidor Federkiel.|
Due to their dominating nature, the Erpheronians were involved in many
skirmishes on their borders and led many wars with their southern neighbours to
expand their territories. For a long time the Erpheronians were secure from the
northern borders, as the Tandala
offered an ideal protection from attackers from the north until the
orcish invasion of SW III. On the other hand
clashes with other tribes and arguments about borders often lead to fierce open
wars, e.g. with the Caltharians (846-822 b.S.) and
the Centoraurians (668-626 b.S.), resulting in
several smaller territorial changes.
In 482 b.S. King Thar - after having married the Centoraurian Queen Curogana in 501 b.S. already - formed the Grand Kingdom of Tharania, comprising Erpheronia plus all three southern former enemy kingdoms, Centorauria, Kyrania and Caltharia, expanding Erpheronian territory and influence to a degree no other Erpheronian king has ever managed to achieved through force alone. The first loose economocial association of the kingdoms strengthens over time as prejudices and reservations diminish, resulting in a strong political commitment. As a result Erpheronians more and more mingle with the southern tribes, and the formerly derogatorily used term "Proudmen" for the Erpheronians more and more gets another meaning, expressing respect and high esteem. Finally the great unification of the Sarvonian south to a large empire, the United Kingdom of Santharia, takes place under the Tharanian king Santhros the Wise. Erpheronian scholars often see the Santharian unification as a great achievement they'd like to attach exclusively to their own tribe, so that Santharia would basically just a Great-Erpheronia (e.g. as it also proven that the Stratanians also had Erpheronian ancestors), however, objective scholars cannot comply with that simplistic interpretation of history.
People. From the beginning of the recorded time the Erpheronians predominated the fertile regions south of the Tandala Highlands, which were also rich on mineral resources. From this lofty vantage point, they slowly took over all other existing tribes that lay south of their borders, either by subduing them by force or by convincing the other tribes to peacefully join the glory of the Erpheronian sovereignty. The fierce battles of the Sarvonian Wars, though they brought a lot of hardship over all tribes, often played directly into the hands of the most powerful human tribe. As without any doubt the Erpheronians played and still play the most important role of all existing tribes on the continent of Sarvonia. Due to the fact that they were the largest and most extensive tribe, the Erpheronians always wanted to live up to their extraordinary position and eventually succeeded in bringing together the tribes of Southern Sarvonia under the flag of Santharia. Nowadays Erpheronian influence is visible to a certain degree in nearly all Santharian provinces. At least it was also an Erpheronian who travelled south after the Vardınnian Atonement in 1649 b.S. and founded Strata at the southernmost tip of the continent, so that in the reunion of the ancinent kingdoms many Erpheronians still see just a confirmation that their lost children have found their way back home.
Of the Erpheronian culture much can be said. Erpheronians in general are a key tribe of southern Sarvonia, this is for sure. As such they are an exceptionally interesting, yet diverse, in many ways ambiguous and difficult people. Well, admittedly, they were even more difficult in ancient times when their realm blossomed as their main intent was to conquer further territories to expand their dominance over the regions south of the Tandala. Militaristic education therefore was and still is very common and valued among these people and the combination of the training of the body but also the mind was seen as essential to succeed. Erpheronians aren't people who use their force without thinking first what consequences such actions would entail, and whenever there is a way to solve a conflict diplomatically, they will prefer the non-violent solution. Nevertheless, an Erpheronian is always prepared to strike whenever necessary. Knowing about their readiness to confront any arising situation with the weapons of mind and strength, they have an innate conviction of their superiority, which might often come across as unjustified pride and arrogance. Their temper may be described in general as calm, weighing advantages and disadvantages before deciding, they are considerate and understanding, but once an Erpheronian has taken position against a subject it might be nearly impossible to convince him that he is wrong. An attempt to change an Erpheronian's opinion might easily end in making him irate and his action unpredictable and dangerous. A Centoraurian saying goes: "Don't talk twice to a Proudmen (about the same thing)!", which reflects pretty well that it might not be the best idea to try to change the mind of an Erpheronian, once he has already made up his mind.
Law and order had always been central components of Erpheronian society and everyday life. Every citizen has to know his/her place in the class structure and live up to it. This is very much unlike their Centoraurian neighbours for example, which still mostly prefer the freedom of a nomadic life in the plains and put trust in clan based government rather than seeing the advantages the directives but also the restraints of a centralized political system provides. These major differences between the tribes were softened to a good deal on both sides after the unification of the former opposing realms after 492 b.S., but nevertheless the main outlines of the ancient tribal structures prevailed in many aspects of life. This includes the Erpheronian tendency towards maintaining a militaristically influenced accuracy and exactness. Erpheronians are said to be strict, precise, correct and just, following the example of the God of War, Armeros.
Erpheronian nobility is also are renown for its incredible wealth, which is attained through their extensive trading policies with very distant parts of the world like Northern Sarvonia, Nybelmar and even Cyhalloi and Yamalquain. If you take a look at the goods sold at the Voldarian market there's practically nothing you won't get there. On the other hand the large gap between the rich and the poor within society regularly leads to tensions and the crime rate in former Erpheronian territories is rather high compared to southern regions, the Santharian Thieves Underground currently even seems to experience a renaissance in the provinces of Vardınn and Nermeran.
Finally it shouldn't be omitted here that Erpheronians are also famous for their documenting, researching and intellectual skills. There exist for example many guides written by very different people - philosophers, clerics, medics, captains or even poets - on nearly every aspect of daily life, dedicated to the training, healing and the improvement of the body's and the mind's energies, guides to make life endurable and/or as enjoyable as possible. Such educational guides are also often written in form of novels or impressive poems, meant to reach also the common folk and thus help to better the tribe as a whole. Therefore you will find many descriptions and depictions of various herbal remedies, medicinal texts from the Order of the White Knights, guides for swordsmen of prominent Erpheronian authors, mingling with educational novels, but also satirical literature written for the royal court in the days of Katya the Just on the dusty shelves of the Royal Santharian Archives. Erpheronia - a rare cultural combination of might and intellect.
Housing. Representation is everything - this could be the motto of Erpheronian housing. The intention of Proudman architecture is to marry might and beauty and leave an unforgetable impression on the guests. Especially the nobility is eager to show off its wealth and social affiliation in every aspect of their buildings. Merchants for example often build solid houses made completely of stone of deliberate fortress-like composition with coat of arms placed over the front door or painted at the outside walls. Turrets often adorn noblemen's houses as well as decorative battlements, imitating the representative dominance of the towers nearly every Erpheronian city calls its own. On the other hand nobles might favour the esthetical side of the Erpheronian spirit instead of demonstrating sheer might to visitors: The wealthier, the more pompuous ornaments you'll find in gardens for example, ranging from statuetes over excessive flowerbeds to complicated fountain constructions. In the interior wooden floors can often be found as well as carpets, tapestries and decorative weapons and shields, meant to make a good impression.
Picture description. A proud example of Erpheronian architecture, the tower of Astran, also called the "Guardian" by the inhabitants. Image drawn by Koldar Mondrakken.
The huge majority of people live in the cities. There the streets are made of
cobblestone, huge walls with high watch towers on strategical positions surround
the inhabited area, trenches are dug around the confines and prominent keeps
often dominate the whole area - apparently, Erpheronian cities have a long
history plagued with many wars.
The people who inhabit the cities, the workers of the middle class, live usually
in two to four storey high buildings, where the living conditions might be
different than at the peasant homes, but not necessarily for the better. Space
is dear in the larger cities and comfort is rare, but mostly there exists at
least one room in each home with wooden floor, representing a place for
community, serving also as sleeping room for larger families. Windows are only
small holes that are be kept shuttered for the night or during cold weather. The
wealthier might have latticed windows covered with resin and oil-soaked linen.
These homes might not seem very attractive, though they are practical.
Nevertheless, whenever there is an opportunity to add to the representative
value of a dwelling or the own person regarding clothes worn, even an
Erpheronian of narrow circumstanceswill see to make the difference known to the
Peasants however have little to show off - the state of their dwellings of the other end of the social hierarchy reflect the huge discrepancy between the rich and the poor. Farmers live in small one or two room houses, richer farmers in long-houses with three rooms: a living space, a central chamber including hearth, and a byre or animal room. Such buildings are mostly made out of wood, in rare cases of brick or stone, depending on the region and abundance of material. The wealthiest farmers can afford to seperate themselves from their livestock and live in different buildings. Furnishings, however, are extremely simple: A wooden bed needs to suffice for the whole family, one large table, a long bench, and various tools hanging on pegs are all peasant families possess. Floors are mostly earthen, richer people might have clay, wood, or even stone floors.
Clothing. Below we try to point out the main guidelines of archetypical Erpheronian Clothing, which has been common in the ancient Erpheronian lands, what today is the Santharian north. Clothing details are split into Lower Class, Middle Class, Nobility and Warrior Clothings. The style in all classes, though especially the middle and higher classes, can vary based on position and wealth.
Erpheronians of the lower class tend to wear clothing made of linen or wool, which can be purchased or produced rather cheaply. Clothing is most often times made rather large so that, as the person wearing it grows, they will come to fit it, or, more importantly, fail to outgrow it. It is also essential that clothing doesn't hinder the hard manual work peasants and their like have to do.
The men wear loose, long-sleeved shirts that can be rolled up to the shoulder in hot weather. The collar of the shirts are either a triangle-cut or cut in circular fashion. The pants worn are also loose, and are typically made of thick wool or, in rare cases, of cheap cow leather, and in their typical brownish hue.
Women of the lower class tend to wear bodices over a loose dress. The loose dress, because of the natural comfort of it being loose, is often also used as a nightgown. In the morning, all a girl has to do is lace up the bodice, which is often made to be thick and stiff.
Middle Class Clothing
The middle class, which typically includes merchants, storeowners, their wives, or handmaidens for the nobility, have more selection in what they wear than the poorer classes. The men will wear tunics connected in the front. These tunics are most often rather plain, though some of them may include small studs or cheap embroideries. Recently, the style of these tunics has also included strips of leather sown from shoulder to the end of the tunic. Most of these tunics are leather, though some may also be wool, and are black or brown, though some may come in green (a very popular colour), or else red or yellow. The sleeves of the tunics tend to be loose, and have almost small sleeves of themselves.
Women of the middle class wear a combination of poorer and higher-class styles, depending on their wealth. Bodices appear less often in the middle class than the lower classes. Too off-set the lower class bodice look, some bodices have been designed to look a bit more elegant, and conform better to a womens body. Some bodices have fashionable shoulder pieces stiffly protruding a bit past the shoulder, perhaps alluding to the higher-class tunics of the men. Other shoulders are thick, some with shell curve to them. Extensions on the bottom of the bodice, like a small, light skirt, are growing in popularity, though some still prefer only a stiff flap of cloth, similar to those in some of the middle-class tunics. The bodices, unlike the poorer class, are often patterned, sometimes in floral designs, but usually in an abstraction of colours and forms. The middle class, one might believe, is also rather fond of hats. Wide-brimmed hats with feathers stuck in them have become a growing attraction.
The higher classes are allowed much more variation in their clothing; lent, of course, buy their wealth. This ability to afford for differences has allowed the high class to afford things imported from other provinces. Silks are especially prized for their shimmer quality. Clothes from the Bolder, dyed by some of the best Caltharian dyers, are made into lovely vests, dresses, shirts, etc. Some of the styles worn by the nobles mimic other tribes, such as the Maeverhim, with wing-like appendages sewn into the seams. Noblemen of today even wear loose, light, Shendar clothing, dyed with the signifying Uderzan blue.
Tunics are popular among the men of the Erpheronian nobility. They are most often worn with short sleeves and with designs on either side, coming down the chest. These designs may be embroidery or small, metal-covered holes where leather string can be strung. The sleeves of the tunics typically protrude a little past the shoulder and are thick around the edges. The tunic will come down long, to the knees, and is most often held in place by a leather belt, usually black as this helps to even more widen distinction between the higher and lower class. This belt will often carry a noblemans sword, worn mostly for decoration.
The dresses of the women of the nobility are completely without bodices. These dresses are intricately designed and embroidered, and the dying in the colours is some of the most beautifully done. The collar of these dresses is not nearly as low as in the lower classes, and shows a certain amount of modesty in the higher, square-shaped design. A decorative belt may be worn, though often a piece of embroidery is used to outline the curve of the hips, and the design tips low in the front.
The Erpheronians are a very militaristic race. Being the tribe closest to the Tandala Highlands, they are the most susceptible to attack from the north. Erpheronian knights and warriors therefore have strong armour to help protect them in combat.
The helmet, wrought of metal as are most parts of the knights armour, has two basic styles: rounded and cylindrical. These helmets have slits for the eyes and small slits for breathing around the nose and mouth area.
The most popular body-armour, used for wealthier or skilled knights, is a full metal breast-plate and back-plate. Usually these plates are connected at the sides, similar to a Turtles shell. Not all torso-protecting armours are like this. Some of the greatest protection can be made out of chain mail, which is loose and, in some cases, is easily worn underneath ones clothing. Hauberk armour isnt often as tough as its full metal counterpart, but allows more flexibility. Hauberks typically extend beyond the waist, all the way to the knee, similar to a tunic. Such armour is often used for gentries that can display the Erpheronian symbol with a white, cloth over piece. Common warriors wear plain leather armour, usually enforced by multiple layers of leather for more protection.
In Erpheronian lands you can get plenty of food you probably won't find anywhere
else in southern Sarvonia due to the
extensive trading relations these people maintain with various parts of the
world. At least this diversity on food is valid for the nobility, for which the
best is just good enough. Whether you're looking for berry-jelly of
guiro fruit (of
Kanapan origin), rare milk goat cheese of the
Sharkion Zshararath Mountains (Nybelmar),
whale meat (Avennorians) or
woolly boar meat from
Northern Sarvonia - you can buy
it in the region occupied by Erpheronians, especially at the
Voldarian city market, taking place every
Day of Avis. All that you can find and
many, many spices and flavourings imported from overseas, as the Erpheronian
cuisine of the nobility has developed a liking for the exquisite and
extraordinary. Actually, calling a meal "bland" is seen as a major insult in
Vardınn, at least among the noblemen.
The common diet however is generally meat-based as seems fit for a tribe needing to mainly supply a populace focussed on a healthy body: lamb, beef, pork, fish, veal are said to be essential for the diets of strong men. Erpheronians keep themselves pigs, baneg cattle, sheep (sawis and dor'iyn varieties) as well as goats, and are especially famous for their krouvlards, large domesticated warane-related beasts with a sour-spicy natural taste of the meat. As delicacies bloodworms or giant kraken meat are often served - you can get paid high prices for this kind of food. Of course wheat, golden rain and bredden grain are grown as well, as are various kinds of beans, peasecods, caroots and onions, which are used to complement the diet consisting mostly of meat.
The middle and the lower classes of course can't be that choosy about food and live from the products of the domesticated animals and the plants and vegetables they grow (cheese, milk, dried fruits etc.) The most common meals for these kind of people are often related to cheese, like bean cheese, weed cheese and a special form of bread, cheebre or "cheese bread".
Weapons. Erpheronian weapons have always been state-of-the-art tools, famous for their quality, precision, sturdiness and durability at least to the people of southern Sarvonian continent. This is especially true in respect of their swords. First bronze swords were procduced by the Erpheronians, later iron ones, and finally steel swords, enhanced with various special kinds of ores and alchemical substances - the exact composition and the process of forging certain weapons still are kept as secrets according to family tradition of the smiths. The weapon smiths today produce all kinds of regular swords, ranging from daggers, short swords, broad swords to two-handers and flamberges as swords have always been the primary weapons of the Proudmen. The Ephord (short for "Erpheronian Broadsword") even has become a brand name by itself and is an often seen weapon also in southern regions among commoners, while the long sword (war sword) is primarily used among members of the nobility.
Erpheronian weapon smiths also produce bludgeoning weapons like maces, morning stars, but also axes, pikes and spears. Due to their constant strive to improve and get better than others you'll also find more exotic weapons produced directly by Proudmen like armoured fans, moonblades, scimitars (Kasumarii) or even Kassite tsubars - an Erpheronian weapon smith can accomplish everything - or so they say. Bows and especially crossbows are used as well of course, though Erpheronians don't reach elven efficiency with these kind of weapons. On the other hand the construction of war gear like catapults, battering rams and siege towers have to be accounted as an Erpheronian domain - their advanced technology helped them to succeed in many battles.
Occupations. The most important Erpheronian occupations are military positions, smiths, traders, scholars and miners.
Respect and wealth in the Erpheronian society is best attained by exerting a profession related to the military. A military career, be it as a soldier, a guard, at the navy or one of the Orders, is not only chosen by upperclass people, but also by males from the lower rungs as there exists a vast palette of titles to distinguish one's self from others and to gain fame through valorous deeds. People liviing in narrower pecuniary circumstances also like the prospect to possibly join one of the Knight's Orders, first to be promoted to a knight's squire and latter to reach the position of knight oneself by earing further merits. Such promotions are not entirely uncommon (as it might be the case in southern regions of the continent), which represents a great incentive and a means of motivation for every young Erpheronian. The knightly Orders dedciated to Santharian Gods (White Knights, Order of the Fallen, Order of Armeros etc.) stand in high esteem among the populace and also have a great political influence on the local governments. On the one hand they help whereever needed, on the other hand their might forces many gravens to conceed to many of their wishes. Belonging to an Order makes even the most inconspicious people to respected persons, even if they hold only minor positions.
and Armour Smiths
Related to the military positions are the Weapon and Armour Smiths. Erpheronians have acquired excquisite craftsmanship in this field and today provide large parts of the Santharian kingdom with their extraordinary quality. Weapon and Armour Smiths are therefore not only in high demand, but also constitute very prestigious jobs.
Less prestigious than military occupations and Weapon and Armour Smiths is the Miner's job. It's very common, though, as the mineral resources in Erpheronian regions, ranging from the Warnaka Mountains until the Allsiscaey and the Troll Mountains in the east, are abundant. Small mining camps exist near these mountains with town-like communities, the only difference being that the Miners don't stay permanently at these locations. Miners sign in at the larger cities, then get assigned a period of several months where they have to serve until they move back again. After half a year they are allowed to sign in for another temporary engagement.
Traders and Merchants
The Kingdom of Erpheronia thrived from its vast trading relations with nearly all parts of the world. Possessing essential resources themselves and an advanced fleet they had always had a key role in providing others with items they needed and attaining rare goods for themselves. A great variety of traders and merchants therefore dominate the Erpheronian region, occupations, which are especially common among the nobility.
Finally the high education level existing in the former Erpheronian Kingdom is mainly responsible for the high amount of scholars, researchers, alchemists and their kind, but there are also many celebrated novelists and playwrights among the Proudmen. Again, these jobs are mainly reserved for the nobility.
the mentioned professions also jewellers
or lately gearmakers (producing for example watches, but also larger machinery
like tower clocks) can achieve a good profit, but also artists or tapestry
weavers, who may export their goods through the Erpheronian trade connections to
distant lands, where these items will be sold to high prices.
Government. The kingdom of Erpheronia is probably the oldest monarchy at the Sarvonian continent and therefore has a long tradition. The society of the Erpheronians has largely been patriarchal, with fathers and male community leaders managing the ever-changing lives of their families and neighbourhood. Most important offices were hereditary and held by males in Erpheronian territories, which is mostly due to the fact that might and physical strength along with a clever, strategically calculating mind were seen as male domains, which needed to be worked on throughout a whole life. It was a question of honour to maintain and guarantee the cultivation of these virtues in the own bloodline to be able to represent a good leader.
Showing strength and determination in all his actions was also the key to a successful reign of the Erpheronian King. A large and powerful kingdom needed a strong, but wise hand to guide it, that's why you often see muscular and stern looking men in their best years shown at the Gallery of Kings in today's Thyrrinth's Hold. It wasnt until the reign of extraordinarily strong-willed women like Queen Jenefra in the late 1600s b.S. and later the legendary Katya the Just, that females of the tribe began to take the sceptre in their own hands. During these times also the women were allowed to took on roles as judges or councilors - though earlier scarce exceptions had been noted (e.g. Amalthea of the House of Eithar).
The King, who resided in the Capitol Voldar, was assisted by the Ten Houses of the town. They consisted of the most ancient and noblest families in the Erpheronian tribe, who controlled the lands to a vast degree by themselves, delegating further powers to gravens, barons, lord and ladies. In effect, the ten families together formed the Ruling Council of Voldar and the current head of each family represented a seat on the council. They generally acted in advisory roles to the Erpheronian Rulers although in times of dire need, they could take an active stance in political matters if all ten houses were in accord and with just cause. The Voldarian Ruling Council with its hierarchical branches of power reaching from the King himself to the lowest peasant, where every member of society has his/her defined role, can be seen as the key pattern, helping to establish the current Santharian Thane-system.
|Image description. A Quios Shipping Guild Merchant registering the goods he plans to load. Commissioned picture drawn by Faugar, used with friendly permission by Mystical Empire.|
The Erpheronian merchants have established trading relations to nearly all parts
of the known world, be it southern or northern
Nybelmar, Akdor or even the distant
icelands of Cyhalloi. They are main trading partners of the
Stormcloak Shipping Guild of the
Isles of Quios, connecting them
with the northwest, and have established trading outposts in
Denilou, the Runorian and the Crimson
Isles as Nybelmarian links and control
trade with the continent of Akdor through posts at the difficult to navigate
Kiirath coral reefs. The Erpheronian phoenix is seen on many a crate throughout
Exports mostly consist of the exquisite Erpheronian weapons, wood, wine, rare alchemical ingredients and potions, but also to a large degree of luxury goods like jewelry, tapestries or artificial figurines or tiles and lately as well of pocketwatches and similar gear. Also the sour-spicy natural taste of the original Erpheronian krouvlards meat is exported as a delicacy to other lands, where these beasts cannot be kept. Money, however, is also made by buying and re-selling rare goods for example from southern Sarvonian regions to oversea locations, gaining huge profits through the connections other tribes only possess to a marginal degree. Additionally Erpheronians have discovered that selling knowledge to others might be quite lucrative as well, which is why Proudmen often take advisory positions is distant lands, on the one hand earning money and respect and on the other hand working towards tying even stronger bonds to the homeland, in order to increase profits later.
As for imports: Already in ancient times it was said that there was nothing you couldn't get in Erpheronian lands, be it draperies, spices or flavourings, exotic foods, rare weapons, reagents for potions or spells or even small beasts to be kept as pets by the nobility. Missing something? A Proudman has it - or at least knows where to get it!
Natural Resources. Erpheronian territory has an enormous plethora on mineral resources uncompared throughout southern Sarvonia, making it a paradise for weapon and armour smiths.
The Warnaka of course are especially rich as well in uruyant, an extremely hard and precious kind of crystal, and on the nearby isle of Narvoss one of the largest diamond mines in southern Sarvonia is located. In the east, at the Allsiscaey, you can find ores like ithildin (moon silver), the rare aurium, a beautiful yet hardy metal with the soft glow of gold but the resistance of good steel, and vernik, mostly used in mixtures and alloys, but also part of the glass making procedure.
Metals are often mined from the southern foothills of the mighty Tandala Mountains as well and used for making weaponry, usually iron and coal. These products can be found relatively close to the surface. Mithril once existed in the mountains as well, precious stones and crystals still do, including the Dasthomm (Amethyst), the Oontrom (Ruby) and the Hotron (Garnet). These precious crystals are usually found deeper in the earth.
Finally the Troll Mountains offer various kinds of quartz, emeraude and metals like tin, silver and herne, a strong greyish-green metal with high resiliency but which is easily malleable. The Troll Mountains contain even more valuable iron than the Tandala, here of the blue and black kind, used to produce - in combination with vernik - nearly unbreakable steel for weapons and armour.
Holidays, Festivals and Observances. Erpheronians celebrate mainly two important feasts during the year, both being related to religious causes:
Picture description. Erpheronian knights demonstrating their prowess at the bi-annual Tribute to Armeros feast, the Armerenda. Image drawn by Eratinalinfalah.
In each of these towns qualification rounds take place in
various classical knightly disciplines like
sword fight, archery, and jousting, but
you'll also find more basic or exotic combat-related exercises like balancing
competitions, tug-of-war, obstacle races and the like. In the first week of the
Armerenda victors are determined before a delegation of the best knights is sent
to Nyermersys to compete in the final
tournament featuring only the elite of successful warriors. Traditionally the
second week is used for travelling - or more precisely parading - through the
land to this ancient and historically important town. Loud cheers welcome the
delegations, who will eventually withdraw in the Seagorn Garrison in the center
of Nyermersys. The garrison also
contains an Armourwain, a large temple dedicated to the
God of War, where the rest of the days
are spent praying to prepare for the deciding games. These take place at the
Victory Field at the Fortress of Ah'Tamaen, north of the town. Especially the
jousting tournaments are highly acclaimed by the public and regularly produce
new heroes. Each Armerenda festival determines the ultimate victor, who will
receive - aside from the fame - the so-called "Splitter", a black ceremonial
two-handed sword with two different edges
(one jagged, one sharp), respresenting a replica of the famous Truthsplitter
Armeros himself is said to be
wielding. The name of the winner is also added to a plaque of honour at the
Armourwain in the Seagorn Garrison. The sword
is returned at the next Armerenda by the winner himself, who opens the final round of
the tournament, but is not allowed to participate anymore after he won twice.
Needless to say, the Armerenda festivals are extremely popular and have to be accounted to the absolute highlights of all regular Santharian events. This is also one of the reason why they are held - to strengthen morale, determination and spirit of competition, even in times where wars are unlikely to happen. Furthermore the tournaments serve to show off military strength to the populace itself, assuring their security and protection in times of need.
In recent years not only Milkengrad was added to the cities who can participate in the Armerenda, but also a limited amount of southern knights may apply for the qualification rounds. So far, however, no southerner has succeeded in taking the Splitter home.
The Foyrocar (Foiros' Return)
The Foyrocar is celebrated at the night from the 9th to the 10th day of the Month of the Turning Star, representing a reminder of the re-appearing of the sun after the Year of Darkness in 1648 b.S. The event actually takes place in the winter, when the landscape is covered with snow, which helps to remind the celebrants of the harsh and nearly lethal conditions which existed during the legendary Year of Darkness.
During Foyrocar the night turns into day. In every single town and village the whole night people stream to a central square (or several squares at larger cities), keeping themsekves warm by carrying torches and praying for the victims of the Vardınnian Atonement. The torches, which symbolize the focussing of the people's prayers on Foiros, the Fire God, are either thrown into a bonfire and/or used by fire mages to create wondrous effects, cumulating in great fireworks during the hours of Nightsban. Then, when the day finally arrives with the sunlight itself replacing the fires of the humans, it is greeted with the so-called "Bow to Foiros" (commonly called "People's Murmur"), when all the amassed people recite Foirian prayers of thanks, ending with the Chants of Compassion. After that people embrace each other and a big meal will be held at the homes of the people.
Day of Avis (Day of Arrival)
The Day of Avis is a tradition in the province of Vardınn, today also marking the first day of each month in the Santharian Calendar. "Avis" (Avis) means - translated from Styrásh - "arrival" and stood for the regular visits of the elven ambassadors of the Aellenrhim elves to the capital of the former Erpheronians, Voldar. The visits were paid for a time span of several years after the peace was sealed between the races following SW II, the Oath of the Young, the Tethías'Quarón, at 501 b.S. They took place on the first day of each third month and served in order to discuss important political matters but mainly to strengthen the bonds between the former foes, humans and elves. Although these traditional visits don't exist anymore in this form, the Day of Avis is still celebrated in Vardınn and has turned to a common market-day. Don't miss the Day of Avis when travelling through Voldar or any other Vardınnian town, as drinks are sold to reduced prices!
Tribal Language. In today's Santharian kingdom people with Erpheronian roots speak a Tharian dialect, which is often referred to as "Aerpheriane". - Aerpheriane can be sketched as an elegant, arrogant, and diverse form of speaking, reflecting a militaristic but highly intellectual people. As such the language has a tendency to use active, elaborate constructions and nested phrases, in writing as well as in speech. Precision is considered important and takes precedence over brevity, so a larger range of vocabulary often features in Erpheriane. A good example phrase of formal Aerpheriane is the following:
"There is no reason for me to believe that, should you return, you would keep your promise and recompense me what is my due. You owe it me now, and will without further evasion or delay, pay down the coin on this spot!" - or - "In the face of the options, taking in the dangers, but also the vast possibilities, that lie therein, I declare it as our duty, but also as our outmost responsibility, that it is time to act: now and fast, determind, unwavering, with all the forces we have for disposition."
Some of the most formal and beautiful scholastic treatises have come from this
tribal group, and it has produced more than its share of epic poetry as well.
Some consider writing Aerpheriane a true art in itself, where precision of
information, but also logical construction and pace of sentences is of
importance. There are others of course who claim that the rich Erpheronian
tongue makes people feel dizzy and contributes to irritation instead of
fulfilling the purpose of being precise, as brevity is sacrificed to detailed
elaboration. This might especially sound valid if you're not used to this kind
of talking or writing and you basically interpret such language as overly
pedantic and unnecessarily engaged in its own schemes. The words of a southern
linguist might ring a bell therefore when he says: "An Erpheronian might get all
philosophical upon asking for a simple glass of
water - pray, that you don't die on
thirst before you actually get it. Your host might still be busy with clarifying
Affectations and slang words tend to run their course fairly swiftly but extravagantly among the Erpheronians, with their tendency to go to extremes, so that the youth of a city may be even less comprehensible to their elders than the usual! Currently these phrases - and many more peculiar - are heard about the streets:
|Cabal the concept!||Used when someone thinks the discussion is too farfetched - even for the fancy of an adolescent|
|Vouchsafe, vouchsafer, vouchsafest ||Rather pedestrian humour, but handily used to imply that an individual is being too talkative or too personal|
|Jitch!||A multi-purpose exclamation or expletive when something goes wrong. Should not be used by females, so naturally, IS - for the purpose of shocking their peers or elders.|
Aerpheriane, as an ancient variety of Tharian, has its own preferences in regard
of used syllables and word parts. Very common are the following
letters/syllables in names of persons and places: ach, ae, ey, ing, jer, gol,
ph, sh, th, ı, ıs. After vowels no "h" is used. Erpheronian names never begin
with letters like F, I, H, Q, X, Y or Z.
Location Names. Many names found in the north of Santharia of today are of ancient Aerpheriane origin, same examples should be given here: nais ("heath", as in Jernais), ring ("town", as in Weyring), thron ("furthest", Westhron for example meaning "furthest west"), thyrrinth ("thyr" meaning "high", "rinth" meaning "keep" as in Thyrrinth's Hold).
Male Names. Short names with one to three syllables are very common for males and often preferred over longer ones. Longer names are often compositions of two shorter names in case important ancestors are honoured through a name. Erpheronian names (especially males) are often very precise and straight to the point, intimidating and strong, expressing their militaristic philosophy.
|Male Names||Details (ordered alphabetically)|
|Beginning Syllables||Aer-, Cae-, Cal-, Dag-, Dek-, Eph-, Er-, Ey-, Kel-, Kor-, Lıs-, Mae-, Me-, Myr-, Nor-, Rae-, San-, Sıv-, Syv-, Th-, Thael-, Tri-, Vae-|
|Endings||-aar, -ach, -ar, -aec, -aein, -ael, -aer, -ale, -ach, -ash, -cor, -der, -doc, -el, -em, -ic, -is, -im, -irn, -licht, -mar, -min, -oan, -odin, -olo, -olth, -oc, -on, -os, -oyr, -rin, -ron, th, -vor|
|Celebrity Examples||Aelric, Aerlicht, Aerth, Caein, Dacor, Dagash, Dek, Engolmar, Erdolomin, Eyrin, Kale, Kartach, Kel, Korpicor, Laenthris, Lısander, Marzevash, Maengolth, Medoc, Myrwodin, Norpheron, Parem, Raegash, Santhros, Syveric, Thaelnoric, Thar, Trioan, Vaeleron, Wengerim|
Female Names. Typical for female names is the tendency to have double consonants at the end (like -alla, -ella, -issa, -linn, -lınn etc.), aside from that typical endings are on -a, but also on -en, -in or -ın.
|Female Names||Details (ordered alphabetically)|
|Beginning Syllables||Ael-, Aer-, Aes-, Ama-, Asa-, Bre-, Bry-, Bı-, Can-, Cath-, Co-, Dal-, Dass-, Er-, Jan-, Jen-, Kae-, Kat-, Mer-, Mır-, Kat-, Shae-, Tri-, Val-, Van-, Vı-, Wan-, Wey-|
|Endings||-ala, -alla, -ash, -dda, -een, -egin, -ella, -iga, -fer, -fra, -gar, -issa, -lin, -linn, -lın, -ona, -ossa, -ra, -rena, -rın, -tai, -thea, -trea, -ya, -ıa, -ısa, -ıssa|
|Celebrity Examples||Aelıssa, Amalthea, Brydda, Bıthrella, Candossa, Canissa, Cathretai, Clissa, Coretai, Dalmagar, Dassrın, Ertai, Jandrella, Jenefra, Jenthrella, Jenshtrea, Kaelin, Katya, Linn, Lınn, Meregin, Myrelın, Shaelriga, Shaegrın, Triona, Valıra, Vıalla, Weyrena|
Secondary Names/Titles. Secondary names (also called "titles") are usually awarded during lifetime or partly inherited in case they ar honourary or customary used names. Persons of noble origin also always have a house name which is added at the end of a formal mentioning of a name. Erpheronians have a name system consisting of four parts:
|Title||Upon reaching maturity a title is awarded to a person, usually indicating the status by mentioning the profession (examples: "King", "Baker", "Apprentice").|
|Birthname||This is the first and main name of a person, given at birth, according to male or female name rules (example: "Lınn" in case of a female or "Aerlicht" in case of a male)|
|Honourary Title||A Honourary Title is officially awarded by a town or village council for special deeds, or from even higher authorities if a person played an important role for a whole province or the kingdom itself. At people of the nobility the title is often awarded when manhood is reached (example: "Manyhorses")|
Similar to the Honourary Titles are the Customary
Titles, which commoners implicitly use when
talking about persons without making them official.
Customary Titles however can be acknowleged by the village or town council
and thus made "official", turning into Honourary Titles. Customary titles
can refer to locations, appearance or be a substitute for rank - people
are very creative in this respect actually and not always give titles in
favour of persons... (examples: "Hilldweller", "Broadnose", "Dimwit").
Such Customary Titles are also often referred to as House Names. House Names are musts at the nobility, and are give from father to son.
Baker Maeder Hilldweller
Merchant Golrael Manyhorses of Allyso
King Santhros the Wise of House Salazath
It is written that Knowledge is a well that has no bottom, and that Lore is a
story sea without a farther shore. When the night everlasting marches beneath
the gates and the calls of the dark penetrate walls of stone and bone alike -
only then shall you know what we speak of. For Legend lives not there, but in
the infinite souls of men. Carried over generations and cataclysms, with an
undeniable flame of pride and glory that will never succumb to the black of the
dark, legend lives on. Thriving in hearts. Such are the Erpheronians.
Their is a distinguished line of trials and victories in Erpheronian history. Failing to perish where others would have succumbed, the Erpheronian tribe fought fiercely and ultimately survived, sometimes under the harshest of conditions.
The dominant Erpheronians initially caused many bloody and terrible wars: not only wars among human tribes, but wars between the races (SW I and II) as well. Although the bloodshed for which the tribe is responsible is enormous, it should not be forgotten that the Erpheronian kings Thar, and later on Santhros, managed to unite all the human tribes of southern Sarvonia peacefully. They also were able to convince the other races into sharing their efforts to form the United Realms of Santharia.