Helcrani derive from the word "Helcran" [pl. "Helcrani", adj. "Helcran"] =
"Firedamned". The word is used with a double meaning:
a) Helcrani (with a capital H): A member of a certain ethnic group of people consisting of humans, elves and dwarves. The Helcrani are mostly met in five settlements on the Fores Highlands in the area called Helcrah ("Firedamn"), in the city of Milkengrad and the rest of Efirhall island.
b) helcrani (with a plain h): A Centoraurian aristocrat. The word helcrani is used to indicate nobility instead of genetic origin for the first time in 624 b.S. right after the campaigns against Stratania and Erpheronia.
Picture description. A Helcran warrior getting ready for battle by saddling his horse. Image by Quellion.
The Helcrani are rather controversial as characters. They cherish freedom,
beauty, science and honour. However, they are reacting emotionally and are
easily carried away. They are disappointed as easily as they are excited and
have a tendency to fight among each other and - especially in the past - fought
bloody civil wars. The Helcrani take every risk and sacrifice in their pursue
for glory. In general, they appear to be hospitable to strangers, loyal to their
friends and stubborn when they have something in mind, although many times they
seem to be arrogant.
You have to discern between three different races within the Helcrani populace:
The human Helcrani (Menegulans, Ahai, Helerothi, Sostrian and Codomman) are of an average height of 1.70 -1.80 peds. Because of their origin as a mixture of many people with various genetic backgrounds it is hard to distinguish any predominant physical characteristics, except their complexion colour that is mostly white of various shades. Generally the Helcrani tend to have symmetric characteristics and well built bodies. They greatly appreciate sports and respect those who excel not only in the sports field but in any field.
The dwarven Helcrani (Nerters) genetically belong to the Thrumgolz clan. They have a strong affection for craft, mining and metallurgy. They focus on constructions, mining and industry. The dwarven majority lives in Helcrah. They share a mutual dislike with the elves, who are considered by the Nerters as culprits for the sufferings of the Helcrani.
The elven Helcrani (Styrani) genetically belong to the Goltherrhim elves. Their clan (Styran) is a factor of stability and common sense among their countrymen. They hold great appreciation for beauty, harmony, nature and reason. The Styrani consider themselves as the mentors of the rest of the Helcrani. The Styran advisor of the Anactar assures that there is a method and a goal in Helcran policy. The Styrani are many times considered arrogant by the rest of the Helcrani and sometimes they actually are.
Another race that is Helcrani but does not belong to any Fratra (and the first that used this name willingly) are the Milken Brownies. They belong to a family, are considered part of it and they help it any way they can. The Milken look just like LLaoihrr, Memnoor, and Aohu'o Brownies. The Milken do not have political rights although they participate in every war - civil or not - that their family is part of (although they do not raise arms against any other than other Milken at such civil wars). The Milken are generaly accepted by every helcran race and usually symbolize unity and cooperation among their countrymen.
The Milkengradian and Helcrani Coat of Arms, designed by Koldar Mondrakken.
Coat of Arms/Sign.
The helcran coat of arms consists of Curogane’s sword burning. The colour of the
background varies to indicate the clan (Fratra) in which the bearer belongs. The
common Coat of Arms takes the colour of the Fratra in which the helcran leader
(Anactar) belongs. The Curogane’s sword symbolizes the struggle of their first
common ruler to unite the Helcrani and his battles against the enemies of his
people. The fire symbolizes the Curse of Tacunija, which sealed their fate. Many
noblemen put also a small personal emblem of them in the Coat of Arms along with
the Sword. The right to do so was considered one of the highest privileges in
Centorauria, although the
noblemen descending from the old
Centoraurian Houses are allowed freely to use the helcran or the
Centoraurian coat of arms or
even a combination of these two (but not their personal emblem unless they are
granted this privilege).
Territory. Altheim, the initial helcrani homeland in the foothills of the High Fores Mountains was abandoned in 800 b.S. and ever since no Helcrani lived there. The Helcrani sought refuge in the Fores Mountains. There they established 5 settlements, Sostra, Heleroth, Ahaiwana, Menegula and Codomma (collectively called the villages) and they named their new homeland Helcrah ("Firedamn").
In 730 b.S. the Helcran majority migrated to Efirhal island, which was then unpopulated and built Milkengrad. Ever since these two areas, Helcrah and the Efirhal, are the homeland of the Helcrani. Nevertheless, after their assimilation with the rest of the Centoraurians, Helcrani are met all over Centorauria without losing however their bonds with their Fratrae (clans) or their metropolis’ in Helcrah.
|Image description: Map of Milkengrad and the former settlements of the Helcrani. The Helcrani initially lived in the region of Altheim, until they settled at the northern part of the Higher Fores. Map concepted by Curgan and drawn by Artimidor Federkiel.|
The Helcrani excel in many areas. Widespread is the belief among them that they
can do everything better than everybody, if they only want. They are scientists,
traders, sailors and artists and when abroad are often distinguished. However,
what made the Helcrani famous all over the
Sarvonian continent was their proficiency in warfare. The Helcrani master
every known weapon mounted or on foot. Centuries of warfare have earned them a
reputation in fighting. Exercise and weapons training to public gymnasiums is
considered a highly respectable social activity and gyms serve as meeting places
especially for the young. Their lifestyle includes a lot of exercise and their
regular call to arms combined with an innate hardship have resulted that the
Helcrani are one of the toughest and enduring people of the
Sarvonian continent. Even the wealthiest
among them can endure endless marches, pain, hunger and thirst with remarkable
patience. Stubborn and courageous, they are proud to declare arrogantly that the
worst unit of their army may be called elite in others.
The Helcrani have also mastered the art of psychological warfare. They use a series of means to intimidate their opponents, well known are their infamous Drums of War.
Although the Helcrani use many enchanted items, magic is practised scarcely among them and they hold little appreciation to wizards in general.
Housing. The Helcrani live in large houses, usually with two floors and many rooms. They use mainly stone and marble to construct them. Because of the many civil wars that ravaged throughout history Milkengrad and Helcrah, their houses are surrounded by a tall wall. Public buildings are easily distinguished by the lack of any fortification, because they are considered sacred and so they are left out of any conflict. The Helcrani have a developed sense of beauty that is reflected upon their housing. Magnificent columns, wall paintings, fountains and statues decorate their houses, which are usually surrounded by flourishing gardens. In general helcran houses are considered by the rest of the world as especially comfortable and luxurious.
In special structures in the garden or more often in a series of tunnels and underground halls in the basement live the Milken of the family. Many times their residence is as luxurious as their "master's". The Milken help the family in whatever they do for a living, or in whatever else they might need helping with and take care of the house.
Clothing. The Helcrani wear a blouse with short sleeves which ends in a short kilt till over the knee. The male prefer one-coloured clothes. They also wear a belt in their waist, where their sword and dagger hang. On their feet they wear the Centoraurian riding boots from soft leather. Older people wear longer clothes varying from togas to robes. In winter they are covered with cloaks with head covers and under their kilt they wear pants. In everyday life is very common for the Helcrani to wear leather mail or - at special occasions - an ornamental armour.
Helcran women wear usually long dresses without sleeves. The colour, length and style of their dresses varies according to the fashion. On their feet they wear sandals. Helcran women are also greatly fond of jewellery and perfumes. They pay great attention to their appearance and seldom are they not well dressed. Nevertheless, they don't hesitate to take up men’s clothes and weapons and fight when need occured.
Diet. The Helcrani eat everything without any special habit or diversion from the middle Santharian. However, for the Helcrani, as for all Centoraurians horse eating is a sacrilege, justified only by the Anactar’s explicit command in cases of severe famine or siege. The Helcrani favour especially meat, fish, olive oil and fresh fruit. Their cuisine is tasty although not heavy.
Weapons. The Helcrani use every known weapon, but they have a special affection for swords. Weapons are not only for fighting, but also a part of the helcran social status. Swords are named and inherited from father to son and every high born Helcrani takes at his 15th birthday his personal sword, which reflects his character and the history of his House. Moreover, because in Centorauria citizens are considered only those who bear weapons and defend their country swords symbolize political rights and denote a citizen. The Helcrani wears his swords always, even when he is allowed a meeting with the Anactar. In fact during his coronation, the Anactar passes through the citizens with sword drawn in a triumphant atmosphere, while a spokesman is heard over the pandemonium; "…and he walked in a sea of swords and he still stood proud".
As for the rest of offensive weapons: The Helcrani use also spears, axes, bows and every weapon that exists or appears in the Sarvonian continent is at least tested in the barracks of Milkengrad.
For defence the Helcrani wear various mails. To protect their shanks they wear metal stockings and metal bracelets in their hands. Their helmets are decorated with crests or horns. Only the Anactar wears a plain helmet and armor, all black, without any ornament or crest, because his presence only is enough to strike fear in the enemies' hearts according to the helcran belief.
Occupations. The Helcrani practise every known trade. Many of the humans are warriors, sailors, traders and scientists. The dwarves prefer to be smiths, architects or sculpturers, while the elves are scientists, artists, scholars and medics.
Government. Helcrani governmental issues can be summarized as follows:
Government of Milkengrad
- The Anactar. The Anactar (plural Anactari) represents the Ruler of the Helcrani in Milkengrad. After the Helcrani gained control over Centorauria in 637 b.S., the Anactar became king of the whole country. When Santharia was formed, the Anactar kept his title as governor of Centorauria.
- The Fratric Council. Assists and advises the anactar. The Council consists of the leaders of the seven Fratrae (Fratragetae). The Fratric Leaders supervise - and often are - the Anactar’s ministers and have some judicial duties too.
- The Great Assembly of Milkengrad. The Assembly is a gathering of every man capable of bearing arms (and thus having political rights). The Assembly is called in cases of disorder or great importance and after a vote decisions are made. The Assembly judges over treason committed by the king or noblemen.
Government of Helcrah
- The Council of Five. It is formed by the First of each Council of the Elder. It rules Helcrah as an autonomous province of Centorauria. The Council governs Helcrah and proposes the laws to the local Assemblies.
- The Council of the Elder. The Council of Elder has 10 members, one of them annointed First. The First of the Elder of each settlement participates to the Council of Five. The Council is the head of the Assembly and has local jurisdiction.
- The Gathering. Every settlement is ruled by a Gathering of men that can bear arms similar to the Great Assembly of Milkengrad with legislative and judicial power.
Other forms of authority, independent from governing issues are as follows:
The Helcrani are divided in 7 clans called Fratrae (singular Fratra). Five Fratrae are human, one elven and one dwarven. The human Fratrae originate from the different settlements in the initial Helcrani homeland in the plains of Altheim. The elven and dwarven Fratra (Styran and Nerter) were established after the founding of Milkengrad and took the place of the two villages that were burned down by the Goltherrhim. Latter on settlements with the same names (Ahaiwana, Sostra, Codomma, Heleroth, Menegula) as the 5 surviving villages in Altheim were created in Helcrah. Every Helcrani is tied with strong bonds with his Fratra and uses its name to determine himself (the Helcrani avoid to use their common name because it reminds them of the Curse). Each Fratra is ruled by a Fratric Leader (Fratrageta in their language) who serves as the Anactar’s advisor and is in charge of the Fratric Gathering.
The Fratrae, as an institution, have had both positive and negative effects. A series of wars among the Fratrae has sprung throughout helcran history with many casualties. Nevertheless, many times in times of need the Fratrae were "called" and thus every man that can bare arms was at his Fratrageta’s disposal providing a well organized force to deal with the emergency.
A Fratra consists of Houses i.e. a group of people deriving from a common ancestor. The Houses are further divided in Families, but this doesn't play any role as a form of social organization. It is something like a great family. Every Helcrani belong to a House just like they belong to a Fratra. Each son belongs to the House of his father and each daughter to the House of her father and later of her husband. Every House has its leader, its Oecetor in Helcran ("Head of the House"), who ideally is the last of the firstborn sons of each generation. The Oecetors represent the leaders of the Families that apart of the Houses, participate in the Fratric Gathering and have the right of vote and speech in it.
Helcrah is known for its excellent smiths and artisans. Every item that is built
from metal, stone or clay is produced and sold there. The dwarven architects are
notorious for their craft and are called all over
Santharia to provide their services.
The Efirhal is mainly a rural area. However, being near the trade route and hosting Milkengrad, Centorauria’s greatest harbour, favours all forms of economic activity in the island and especially shipbuilding and trade of various items.
Natural Resources. Helcrah is an area rich in minerals. Iron, copper, silver and gold are the area's main resources. These metals are further worked up and a series of goods is produced including items of all kinds. The mountains are also rich in livestock and wood. Famous all over the Helcrani is the market in Sostra, where "a green goat can find both a mate and a statue of itself" as the saying goes.
The Efirhal is mainly producing olives, grain, cotton, a series of fruit and has a significant industry including armouries, shipyards, cloth and pottery manufactories etc. Moreover, the trade route from North to South passes right outside the Golden Bridge that unites Efirhal with the rest of the Sarvonian continent's boosting trade.
Holidays, Festivals and Observances. The Helcrani are the only humans and dwarves that worship Avá, but not with religious ceremonies as they believe that they are of no use to the Beautiful Goddess. Instead, they try to live as she would like them to. However, there are "days of remembrance", when the Helcrani remember certain events in the past or gather to honour a man’s deeds. The reason these days exist is that the Helcrani believe that immortality is gained only with glory and the welfare of the descendants. Furthermore, they believe that these days are a good means for education and a motive for virtue. Thes celebration days are organized by the servants of the Temple in certain dates. For example the Fall of Mikengrad to the Red Alliance is remembered in the 31st of Rising Sun (Dál'injèrá) the day Milkengrad actually fell. Days of remembrance take place for Avá, the Gods, kings and other historical events.
Important Achievements. Following is a list of several important buildings/places of which the Helcrani are famous for:
The four trees of the elements located upon the Efirhal hill. Each of these four trees symbolizes an element and emanates a glow of light according to its element.
The palace upon Efirhal hill. One of the most impressive works of Helcran architecture. Hosts the Artapherana.
The White Walls
A massive series of walls and fortifications that surround Milkengrad. They took their name because they are covered by a white marble-like material that provides them not only with its bright white colour but also with unforeseen hardship.
The Golden Bridge
Unites the Efirhal with the Sarvonian continent. Spreads over hundreds of peds to unite both shores and has a total width of 30 peds. On each end the bridge is supported by columns that have the form of Curogane and Helronn on Efirhal’s side and Thar and Santhros on the mainland’s.
The Square of the Singing Heavens, Milkengrad’s largest square. It is decorated with a pleiad of statues, fountains and gardens. On its sides is located Avá’s temple, the Assembly building and the Hall of Honor, dedicated to the perished in war.
The Valley of the Kings
The burial grounds of the Anactari in a valley north of Milkengrad. Royal tombs are carved in stone and finely decorated. Some are built upon small hills. Each Tomb is protected by a building or is carved in stone. Usually, a tomb takes up to 250 square peds. Entrance to the valley is forbidden, unless there is a royal funeral or some other ceremony taking place. The valley is guarded by an orcish tribe, descendants of young orcs spared and raised by the Helcrani, when they captured their village.
Information provided by Curgan