The Arieanis (AR-ee-Ah-nis) Year of reckoning: Imperial System of Government: Royal Monarchy, Elder Council Not all who wander are Lost Arisen Dancing from the Ashes The Earliest Histories: The oldest of our songs tell of a glorious civilization, a city that was like a glittering jewel on the wide grassy plains some five thousand years past, bursting with promise, wealth, and art. In those days, the people were called the Celebrated Enclave of Arieanis. A boisterous people living away from the Empire and yet in the shadow of Imperial Envy, a sprawling metropolis of trade, and music, and art, and culture. Such was the esoteric and beautiful nature of the city that even the fair folk, the fey, would make occasion to visit. They traded for favors, and secrets. All of that was lost when the Kesh set against it a campaign of total war. Some stories say that it was the Cloud Empire that tricked the Kesh, normally a proud and honorable people, while other stories paint the Kesh as horrible and barbaric folk. Once upon a time, a young royal Prince named Artass was betrothed to marry a woman whom he had never met. In those days, marriages were arranged for political reasons and were completely monogamous for the Arieanis, not at all like it is today. It is said that the woman, Sherietta, was the child of the fairy Usantis, and a mortal. Usantis had a bargain with the King and Queen of the Celebrated Enclave - that his daughter would marry and be queen, and that the Arieanis would know the blessings of prosperity for as long as Sherietta’s line sat on the throne. But young Artass was afraid to be married, and worried that he would never know love, and so, a fortnight before the wedding he slipped from the palace, stole one of his father’s own horses and stole away into the night. Artass rode through the night and near dawn found a Kesh encampment. The Orcs had been hunting a great beast and had killed it, and they were celebrating their victory. Among them was the daughter of King Lucious of Orentis, a young woman named O’tahk. O’tahk and Artass found a kinship with each other and spent the day wandering around and talking. A great rider, Artass impressed O’tahk with his prowess, and she him with her great strength both of arm and of character. They found that they were each desirous of the other and so spent the next night in each other's embrace. Usantis saw all of this and was greatly displeased, so he appeared before King Lucious in mortal guise and told him of the young Artass and O’tahk, and that this prince planned to break O’tahk’s heart! The King left Orentis immediately seeking his daughter’s camp. In the morning he arrived and found the two young lovers together. He immediately demanded that the prince marry her, so that their people would be strengthened through this union. The prince, though smitten with O’tahk, was beholden to his family and the betrothal and thus refused. On the spot, King Lucioius beheaded the prince and had his head delivered to the Enclave. The Celebrated Enclave of Arieanis declared war on the Kesh. Proud and defiant, both races refused to concede to any sort of peacemaking. The Kesh, by far superior in battle, destroyed The Enclave. King Lucious claimed the lands for the Kesh Kingdom of Orentis and in his rage left nothing standing. He put fire to the city. All the death and burning erased any evidence of the once great city-state, nothing remained of the art galleries, the amphitheaters, or the great libraries of stories and histories. The King and Queen of the Arieanis, to make good on their pledge to the fair folk, adopted Sherietta as their heir and daughter. The fairy folk were so sad to see their friends lose their homes, and so moved by the King and Queen’s adoption of Sherietta, that they found Usantis and cursed him to a fate unknown to mortals, and taught Sherietta some of the secret ways of the roads. It is said that those descended from her know the secret paths of the fairies, and can lead caravans through the fairy lands. The Empire’s Betrayal: Though it was the Kesh that destroyed their home, it was the Empire that scattered their people. In the earliest days of the wandering of the Arieanis, they came to the Cloud Empire and sought refuge. The Empire bade them welcome but to accommodate such a large influx the people were split and settled in several areas throughout the Empire. The Empire constructed resettlement camps in far flung corners of the Empire, on the borders where they were subject to continued monster and pirate raids. The Imperial Government said that to provide adequate protection they must draft some of the Arieanis into soldiering and work even further removed from their families. Entire camps disappeared, and young Arieanis slaves began appearing among the Empires chattel. It took almost three generations for the Arieanis to escape the Empire and they never accepted Imperial aid again. To this day, it is considered an honorable success if one can swindle any person in the Empire. From the ashes of the Enclave a new way was born. Taking the inspiration from the great Phoenix of legend, the people took flight to all corners of the world adorning themselves often most in the shifting colors of fire, doing intricate dances sometimes with actual fire, the people held on to their passions. History through song became the new way of preserving traditions, and the road became the Arieanis’ new home.. The Incident with the Kel (Dark Elves): Once about four thousand years ago, the leader of the Kel, the Nungarri, requested that the Arienis come to their ancient underground city, Grimerlorinn, and be allowed to bring a caravan of surface world materials once per year to trade. The grand bazaar was decreed to be the place for the event. Their only stipulation was that the Arieanis must not bring anyone not of their famliia with them and must not bring any fairies with them. This thrilled the Arieanis so very much and they had a competition to see which of their troupes would be the one to take the contract each year. The first caravan arrived on the appointed day and they brought among them the granddaughter of their King! The Nungarri himself met the troupe but recoiled when he saw that this child was a Gryphon child. The Nungarri demanded that it was an Imperial spy, an interloper, and that the Arieanis betrayed their pact! The child was to be imprisoned and the Arieanis banished, but the Arieanis would not have it and said that the child was their familia and they would not abandon her, they would rather be imprisoned with the child than to abandon one of their own. The Kel imprisoned the entire band. For 25 years they dwelled in a prison until the day of the Great Quake came and all were released in death. It is said that on the day of the quake, the mother of the Gryphon child died having never seen her beautiful child again, and in her dying breath cursed the Kel, screaming her curse through into the ground - which is what caused the grand ground quake. Today: The Arieanis are politically neutral. They refuse to fight in any army, or become embroiled in any conflict. As such, they share special access to all of the lands within the Maelstrom but do not sell weapons, gas globes, or battle scrolls. They even have deals with some of the pirate clans. There are a couple of pirate ships whose crew is made up of mostly Arieanis. Despite the neutral stance they take, there are rumors of a familia called Tristesse, who accept assassination contracts. It is said that Tristesse do not travel as a unit, but scatter themselves among many bands. Supposedly they mark themselves with little black stars that are easily hidden and are told about contracts by the Fey who hear them whispered by mortals. Surely these are all campfire tales and no such family exists... The familia honors the deals of the individuals, as such, when a task is pledged to be done by the familia - it is carried out regardless of hardships (ie, a messenger or delivery is always reliable, for if they fail, their family will follow up on it). Family comes before all else, no one would allow a family member to suffer if they could prevent it, or to suffer alone if nothing else can be done. They have folkloric dealings with the fairy folk - leaving saucers of milk and rice out, that sort of thing, to work with the fey, thus their ability to remove fey curse and also their ability to wander without EVER being lost. They can even wander the roads unseen by mortals on the edge of Fairie, thus traversing great distances faster than normally possible - but often they must make a tithe to a fairy and/or defeat it in a contest of riddles. A very small number of the Arieanis can lead the wandering this way, they are called the Chreye (SHRAY-uh). They are finders of lost things, seekers of wisdom, and collectors of rare and unique oddities. In addition to ships on the seas, and wagons on the roads, each Arieanis carries a backpack, a knife, and a tent - given when they are strong enough to bear it, so that home is never far. While the Arieanis love their clothes, jewels, and decorations in and about their caravans, they do not cling to these items, preferring to trade for new things, causing their personas to be as varied and lively as their travels. Some dress very flashy, but many others adopt the dress of of whatever nation they travel through. They tend to hold grudges for long periods of time, as a familia, thus they treat less than fairly to the Cloud Empire, versus their dealings with other nations. Any individual who is found to have cheated or betrayed the familia will be escorted to the Fey realm and left there alone. If the person is exceptionally lucky, they will find Fortannis again and make their way towards the coast, hoping to join up with Arieanis pirates, who will accept any of their kin. Several extended families will generally travel together as small bands. These bands typically have only one main entertainment speciality which serves as their “troupe name” (ex: The Flying Colors, an acrobatic troupe known for high wire and swing work) but are universally messengers, package deliverers, musicians, dancers, and traders of healing elixirs, baubles, and oddities. They have a monarchy, but for the past several generations there has not been a king or queen, though there are so very many princes and princesses. The King/Queen is a largely symbolic role anyway since there is no central government. As the King/Queen serves as the main contact between the Areanis and the Fey, travel through the paths has not been as smooth for the Chreye as in the past. It may be time for a new King or Queen to arise. When it is time to coronate a new leader, all known troupes receive Whispering Winds and send emissaries to a single location with all the princesses and princes. Once gathered, those of the royal line, which are in no shortage, form a ring and join hands. They are rifted out for several hours to several days. When they rift back in, one person returns wearing a crown of ivy that never wilts or dries, and none but the new King or Queen has any recollection of what transpired while they were away. He or she is sworn to secrecy, but always gives a wry smile when asked about what happened.. Celebrations Celebration dates are difficult to keep track of due to the differences in the way time flows in the Fey realm. This time inconsistency makes it difficult for the Arieanis to gauge how long they have been in the world. Therefore, it is comical to ask about someone’s age. They basically have no idea. Birthdays are not celebrated, nor anniversaries, though the initial events, marriages and births, are boisterous affairs. One thing they can easily rely on is the fullness of the moon. Not every howl you hear on the full moon comes from a wolf. A full moon means a party! There aren’t many rules or rituals surrounding the full moon parties. They’re just for fun and everyone is welcome. There’s a legend of a band of Arieanis who had a princess of the royal lineage called Tammala. Tammala was a beautiful, busty blonde whose affections were highly sought after. So beautiful was she that a Seelie Fey fell for her and offered her a favor if she would lay with her for one night. Honored by the request, Tammala happily agreed. The Fey, a pretty purple and silver woman with a cat-like face, warned Tammala to be careful with her favor, for she was bound to fulfill her promise. Tammala was young and didn’t have a good understanding of consequences. She asked the woman for her troupe to have a party every night. The Fey tried to dissuade her, but Tammala insisted. So every night, her troupe would find themselves on a Fey road, and every night the road would spit them out on a full moon and they would have a party. This carried on until the troupe was out of food, money, and liquor and had very little sleep. They sold everything they had to continue to party and soon ran out of things to trade, but they were compelled to continue. The families had a meeting and decided that the best thing to do was to kill Tammala to end what they considered a curse. The Fey woman reappeared at Tammala’s funeral and said only one word to those assembled, “Sorry.” And then she was gone. Marriages are simple agreements and permanently binding for families, even if the couples go their separate ways. Polyamory is very common, and out of wedlock children are born regularly. If every Arieanis seems to know or be related to every other Arieanis, this is neither far-fetched, nor insulting. Nearly every troupe can claim some royal lineage through blood or marriage. When two Arieanis get married, the rest of the troupe builds the couple their own wagon to start a family in. Before the waxed canvas is affixed to the top, the young children of the troupe enter the structure and wait while the last pieces are assembled. The ceremony is brief. The couple hold hands, look into each other’s eyes and recite vows they wrote themselves while in a circle made up of the whole troupe. Then they are led to their new wagon and they enter with the children. One by one, the couple kiss the foreheads of the children inside and send them out of the wagon as a symbol of all the children that will come from that wagon and be added to the family. Then the couple paint the insides of the wagon while those gathered paint on the outside. As the sun sets and the paint dries, special wedding cookies made from cashews are served. Traditionally, some of the cookies are spiked with alchemy and mixed in with the rest, though not every troupe follows this tradition. Once the night is dark, the couple are led back into their new wagon and a party forms around it. It is considered good luck to be able to hear the couple inside over the din of the party. Births are the most joyous occasions among the Arieanis. While most babies cry when born, Arieanis babies emerge from the womb giggling and smiling, as though life is a joke they’ve been let in on. Some say that’s the Fey whispering in their ears. The babe is swaddled in the brightest cloths and carefully passed around the troupe, getting a kiss on the forehead from every member to welcome them into the family. Once the child gets back to its parents, people begin playing music and singing. A great line is formed by all the members of the extended familia, led by the father with the baby while the mother rests. They walk all around the camp, weaving between the carts and wagons,, dancing as they go. The procession ends up in the middle of camp and everyone sits down to feast on goat and barley. Every once in awhile, a baby born to the Arieanis has violet eyes. This is the mark of the Chreye who can guide the family through Fey roads. When a Chreye is born, it is bathed in warm goat milk and honey. The bath is then placed outside the wagon or camp to thank the Fey for the boon. The Arieanis have no cemeteries or tombs. They burn their dead on great pyres and scatter the ashes upon the roads they travel. Oddly, when the pyre is lit, the flames that envelop the body burn a bright purple. Some say that this is the Fey acknowledging the loss. The Unlucky Other races, collectively called eshdir, are not lucky enough to be born Arieanis, for the Arieanis are the luckiest! They do have broad general ideas of the other races, but base their judgement more on political affiliation and personal worth. So the Arieanis might like a Getregen as a free agent or dissenter, but a Biata representing the interest of the Cloud Empire would be a prime target for a crooked deal. There are races that are viewed with favor, such as the Hoblings and the Children of the Storm, and there are races that are generally disliked, such as the Kesh or the Getragen.