The People and Cultures of Aladagia
Names - Families - Guilds
Naming Linguistic Structure
Though the human language has been preserved by the Council to prevent linguistic drift, a number of elements from other racial tongues and regions have become part of the Common tongue. Most of this can be seen in the naming practices of the region, which typically takes a prefix and suffix to create the name. Nicknames are usually formed from the first syllable (added to -a for women)
-a, -he, -ai, -ue : Additional suffix for the feminine
ne : Daughter of
en : Son of
et : Formerly of (clan)
-ast, -sat, -ust : Revered; from the old human
-ban, -bna, -na : Comely, Beautiful; from the old human
-echt, -ekh, -acht : Famous; from the Dwarvish kht
-ele, -el, -le : Glowing; from the Elvish ele
-elm, -heim, -alm : Protecting; from the Dwarvish helm
-eth, -et, -eh : Chosen (of the Gods); from the Dwarvish etr
-ian, -yan, -in : Follower; from the Elvish yhn
-ich, -ek, -ech : Powerful; from the Dwarvish rich
-ith, -iht, -it : Feared; from the Orcish ithk
-kras, -kris, -cras, -kra : Cherished; origin unknown
-nol, -oln, -lon : Beloved; from the Elvish lon
-och, -ok, -ock : Strong; from the Orcish okh
-rand, -nda, -dran : Faithful; from the Dwarvish rnt
-sal, -al, -als : Wise; from the Elvish hsl
-ur, -uhr, -hur : Brilliant; from the old human
-sic, -hisc, -cis : Questionable; from the old human
-en, -on, -ne : Child of; from the human
-bert, -ert, -ort : Complicated; from the Dwarvish brt
Bos-, Bes-, Seb- : Steel; from the Orcish Bose
Cor-, Char-, Cohr- : Spear; from the old human
Essel-, Esl-, Els- : Song; from the Dwarvish Esl
Fyt-, Ty-, Pyt- : Earth; from the old human
Lah-, Lha-, Las- : Sky; from the Elvish Llah
Ly-, Yal-, Lyr- : Fog, from the Elvish Lhry
Nol-, Nalo-, Nlo- : Flame; from the Dwarvish Gnl
Per-, Pre-, Phe- : Water; from the old human
Rab-, Rheb-, Rhe- : Thunder; unknown origin
Rav-, Rha-, Rah- : Bird; from the Dwarvish Rhv
Reg-, Ric-, Rhik- : Crown; from the Dwarvish Rhk
Val-, Uhl-, Vahl- : Vigor; from the Elvish Ual
Var-, Vha-, Vhar- : Wolf; from the old human
Jes-, Sej-, Ies- : Virtue; from the old human
Ar-, Ahr-, Er- : Knowledge; from the Dwarvish Hr
Steph-, Stef-, Schtief- : Raven; from the old human
Brand-, Brant-, Brandt- : Brand (of flame); from the human
Ro-, Roh-, Rho- : Humor; from the old human
Example: Varichai ne Arelm et Flamewolf means : Woman
of the Powerful Wolf, daughter of Protecting Knowledge, formerly of Clan
The Human Clan Structure
Moonthorn - Windsong - Darkblood - Flamewolf - Cragwalker - Blacksteel - Icemist - Heartrose - Silverdust - Stormraven - Deathknell - Crystaldawn - Goldmere - Whitesnow - Bonecry
Finding their new habitation required an amazing amount of warfare to secure, humanity early on developed a very fierce familial loyalty. During the war with the Orcs, areas were claimed by warriors and their extended families that provided non-martial assistance. The Council did away with this to some extent, and there has been a great deal of migration. Now clans are spread across several cities, and serve less purpose in government. However, blood is thicker than water, and humans can always find assistance in their families. Conversely, orphans and those who have been outcast by their families live a very hard life indeed. The only option for most is to seek adoption by another family, since many opportunities for advancement are denied to those with no family to back them up. Some who are very powerful may get along with no family, or even found a clan of their own. In the absence of exact ways to measure lineage, it is customary to marry outside one's clan in order to avoid inbreeding. Either males or females can give up their own clan to marry into another, and this is the primary method of leaving a family one cannot agree with.
The most well known clans in the central Council Lands follow:
Moonthorn - There is no doubt that this clan has been touched by the moon, both in magic and in insanity. Descended from the first mages that arrived on Aladagia, family members fill many scholarly roles across the country. It is said that they pick up the methods of magic easily, and almost all adventurers within the family find themselves with some skill in arcane magic or worship of Drandth or Cruithne. However, it is also said that the faster they learn the arts, the easier they are driven to madness by it. The current head of the family is Agnes, head librarian of the Great Library.
Windsong - Descended from the fastest runner and calvary of the early times, this clan excels at the arts of athletics and horsemanship. Many entertainers and warriors have come from this blood, though they occupy many positions of physical need. Rumor states that those who put their minds to it from within the family can become singers of amazing skill, sometimes tapping the magic of song almost unconsciously. The current head of the family is Rabuhr, who sits on the Council.
Darkblood - Perhaps the most maligned family in the history of the war, rumors seem to stick to them like glue. Though they say that their name refers to the orcish blood spilled by their ancestors on the fields of battle, their detractors say that it is due to the breeding stock of other races that has gone into their bloodlines, or perhaps dark pacts with the evil dieties of the orcs. However, they have remained strong, and serve as one of the few clans that makes practice of adopting the outcast into their blood. The current head of the family is Charelai, a woman whose young appearance despite her older years have done much to support rumors of elven crossbreeding.
Flamewolf - Named for the vision seen by the founders of the clan, this family broke off from several others not too many centuries ago. They claim to be favored by Urthana, and she has not countermanded their boasting. Thus they have become homemakers par-excellance, mastering many arts from etiquette, to architecture, to the defense of the home. Their ability with household matters, however, has put them in danger of being bred out as many other clans often seek to marry Flamewolves into their own clan. The current head of the family is Fardran, chief of etiquette for Council functions.
Cragwalker - Born of the preeminent mountaineers of the war, battles against the mountain-orcish legions that would have otherwise gone against the humans were instead won with the aid of this clan. Rumors of their crossbreeding with dwarves notwithstanding, the Cragwalkers show an astonishing skill with stone. Most find some line of work as miners or smiths, though many do this due to the intense pressure put on them by parents rather than following their preferred paths. Currently, the house is led by Regek, who maintains a seat on the Council.
Blacksteel - Thieves and robbers all, or so is often said of the Blacksteel. Consisting of early outlaws that banded together for mutual support in the days following the wars, this clan claims that such things were left behind them in their early days. However, lawmakers still note that many more criminals originate from the Blacksteel than other families, but they are one of the most unified of all clans, so little is done to them with lack of proof. The family is very diversified in its pursuits, but almost all receive extreme support from family members to boost their career, and in turn they follow suit for their cousins. At the current time, the head of the family is Tylona, a powerful merchant in the council city.
Icemist - The oldest clan by far, the Icemist came, fur-wearing barbarians, with the earliest human settlers. Centuries have not convinced them of the new ways, and they still follow the tribal structures practiced by their ancestors. They occupy the most rugged terrain of all the council lands, and produce fierce woodsmen and hunters. Most cityfolk would not know them, save for their rare appearances to ensure their vote in council matters of import to them. The tribal thane is Lysal, and those who have met the fierce giant understand why he leads.
Heartrose - Easily the oddest clan, this family is strange precisely because they seem to share no defining characteristics like the other families. Members show up in all professions and walks of life, pursuing their own goals and only falling back on their family in dire need. They refuse to be categorized, and shun the traditional clan stereotypes. There is no head of family, but rather a small council of elders that choose a representative to the Council if they feel their needs are not being met.
Silverdust - The origins of this family are murky, but they are believed to have originated from a band of lycanthrope hunters. In the early days the dark gods of the Orcish Empire cursed many humans with lycanthropy, and there was need for them to be put down before they could harm others. Currently the Silverdust serve as police and warriors across the council lands, and they are indespensible for the keeping of safe conduct within the cities. However, dark rumors persist that they have been corrupted by their early charge and that many of the family members are secret lycanthropes. The fact that the family often gathers on the day each month where neither moon is visible, the traditional trigger for the curse, does not help to dismiss these rumors. The head of the family is Esselsat, chief of the Council's guard.
Stormraven - Worshippers of Cruithne and Elleron, this clan takes great pride in their positions as messengers and seers. In legend, the first member of this family was transformed by the gods, temporarily, into a raven in order to travel quickly the leagues between her home and the site of a great battle, in order to warn the people of an orcish ambush. Family members serve most often as couriers, heralds, seers, and spies. Some detractors say that it was not the hand of the gods that transformed the messenger, but that the family bears the curse of lycanthropy and that many, if not all, are wereravens. The head of the family is Laselue, member of the Council.
Deathknell - Handpicked, some say created, by Reaver himself, this family bears the stigma of death. Traditionally they have served as morticians, coroners, gravediggers, and inquisitors, though some are confused by their recent outgrowth into the realms of banking and politics. All members of the family share very light skin and fair hair, and they never tan in sunlight, though they do not seem to burn either. At this time, the family's leader is Valith, a quiet old man that sits on many council sessions without seeming to be a member.
Crystaldawn - A recent family of sailors and fishermen, the clan is named after an innovative device that uses crystals and sunlight to determine position and direction on the open sea. Inland, family members are often farmers, rarely entering into the cities. Some say that they are the favored of Drandth due to the innovations they possess, while others point out that Sildaneveya would more favor an oceangoing people. The leader is Perethai, a powerful merchant who lives on the edge of the Sargesh Sea.
Goldmere - Members of this family seem to be universally attractive, and detractors, of which they have many, say that the clan name comes from their penchant for peering at themselves in lakes at dawn, not from their golden hair. Dark rumors say that those who are born unattractive within the family are killed, or at least quietly adopted into another family, and others indicate that family members are supposed to reach success before their beauty fades. Goldmere simply scoff and say that jealously inspires many hurtful rumors. Almost all family members work at jobs that can be helped by their physical appearance, such as mercantile ventures, performance arts, and politics. The head of the house is Ravna, at age 23 the youngest member of the Council by far.
Whitesnow - It is uncertain whether the name of this family originated outside Aladagia or in the snowcapped mountains. The family does not seem to know either, being comprised of rootless vagabonds and tenant farmers. Lineage is hard to trace in the family, and many suppose that the majority of family members simply claimed membership in the clan and were not disputed by the rest of them. It would seem that any outcast could claim membership in the family, but it is in many ways better to be an orphan than to be associated with the Whitesnow. There is no family head that anyone is aware of, and they have quietly resisted all Council pressure to declare one.
Bonecry - Most individuals shudder at the passage of a member of clan Bonecry. While the Deathknell have been chosen by the Council god of death, this clan seems to have been touched by necromantic forces beyond the ken of the common populace. All members of the family, despite their outwardly normal appearance, exude a carrion chill and have eyes that seem to be not windows to their souls, but to a darker place entirely. The family is well aware of its shortcomings, though it refuses to reveal their origin, and reacts accordingly. Backed by their curse, family members skilled in intimidation work to make certain that none of their cousins are refused job opportunities due to fear, and back this up as necessary. The head of the family currently is Nloheim, who sits on the Council whether or not the other council members like the notion.
A recent development in the Council Lands has been the guilds. Not so much political entities, the guilds are groups of like-minded individuals gathered around the purpose of teaching a trade. While this has sparked interest all over, inciting the growth of small, scattered guilds to many professions in cities all over, the biggest growth of guilds has been in the adventuring and illegal professions. Strong guilds have begun to spring up to support warriors with no aspirations of joining the Knights of Kent, bards and entertainers of all kinds, and the priesthood and the schools of magic can also be seen as kinds of guilds. However, darker professions have jumped into the guild-craze more fully, and many cities have begun to have operating thieves' guilds, while some have even developed guilds for assassins, necromancers, prostitutes, reincarnationists, heretics, and roleplayers. It remains to be seen what else will develop from this.