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Melrath Lore

Melrath Lore




Below are a list Lore writeups about Melrath. For new players to Melrath take you time getting to know these. I will highlight some writeups that will be important first readings for setting up a new Melrath PC, and for visiting PC I will also indicate any good starting reads for you. Welcome and enjoy.




Appearance and Geography
Citizenship
Climate
Demographics
Embla Tradition
Fashion
Food and Cuisine
Government
History
Holidays
Immortals and Legends
Known Induks (Melrathi Religious Pantheon)
Nobility
Regional Attitudes (Magic, Politics, etc)
Timeline
Traditions (Burial, Marriage, etc.)

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Re: Melrath Lore

Appearance and Geography



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The lands of Melrath possess an array of ecological features. The landscape itself is rugged and dominated by the wilderness.

To the west are the swirling snow capped heights of the Melrathi Mountains. Within the valleys of this place are evergreen glades and alpine streams. Numbering in the dozens are various mountain lakes known as the Dwynmer Lochs. Some are quite impressive in size, being several miles in diameter, while others may only be the size of a large pond. Within these Lochs dwell a local tribe of freshwater Mer who are quite friendly with the local Melrathi.

At lower elevations one can stumble upon a myriad of caves and tunnels dotting the mountains. Several mines are found in the foothills and mountains nearest to the city of Raelia. The Veldaris gems mines are perhaps the most famous of these.

The most wide reaching geographical feature of Melrath is the Myrkvior Forest. This woodland is a seemingly endless blanket of greenery that covers most of Melrath. The forest is filled with ancient spruces, groves of ageing redwoods and crystal clear pools of icy water draped in dappled shadows. Few ever venture into the darkest depths of the Myrkvior save for the Ydalir. These rangers leap through the canopy and hide in evergreen shadows, leaving passersby none the wiser that they were even there.

There are a few twisting forest paths that go through the wood, though few citizens take them unless they must. Most simply take the main road that reaches from the gates of Melrath to the seaside city of Raelia.

Along the coast of Melrath lie four distinct barrier islands. These islands are a mixture of craggy rocky shores and small emerald green forests. Animals do live on the islands although they are quite skittish and few in number, primarily because the islands are used by the Ragnari of the Melrath military. Each island contains a single tower made from the local azure stone found in the mountains. The towers serve as the headquarters for the Ragnari and their four branches.


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Re: Melrath Lore

Citizenship



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Natural Born

All those born in Melrath are naturally citizens. Those born to two Melrathi citizens are also considered a citizen as long as that citizenship is claimed by receiving the Embla.

Gaining Citizenship

After staying for one cycle in Melrath it is possible to petition the Circle in Raelia for permission to become a full Melrathi. This is normally a simple process that requires a minor amount of paperwork, although you must also bring a natural born Melrathi to stand before a representative of the Circle. They must stand beside you and speak briefly on your time in Melrath. They will mention any of your worthy contributions to society along with any of your possible crimes that they have witnessed. (If you have committed a crime and your “Witness” mentions it, you can be immediately taken to prison or wholly exiled from Melrath)

Once this process is complete and any problems have been discussed, you are allowed to anoint yourself with a proper Embla and fully take your place in Melrath’s society.


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Re: Melrath Lore

Climate



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Rebirth Cycle

The Rebirth Cycle often possess a biting cold that forces the Melrathi to bundle up in thick robes or knitted coats. Snow clings to the ground during this time but the land is not impassable as it can be during the Cold Cycle. Mornings are bright and laced with frost, forcing many to wait inside or at a fireside until the sun fully rises. As Ashan nears, greenery returns to the nation throughout the forests and mountains. Rains are light and often approach from the direction of the sea in the afternoons.



Hot Cycle

During the Hot Cycle the temperature does indeed rise substantially but not so much that that it takes the morning chill out of the air. The people of Melrath tend to enjoy the Hot Cycle the most as it is a time when there are regular rains and the land is resplendent with life. At the hottest points of the trial locals will only take to wearing simple linen or equally thin and light clothes. Little else is required in order to remain comfortable.



Cold Cycle

Once the Cold Cycle descends on the mountainous valleys of Meltath, the weather can turn cruel and unforgiving. Dense snows can appear out of nowhere, blanketing the region and leaving roofs collapsed and trees uprooted from the weight of snow clinging to branches. Locals wear thick furs during this time of the arc and special care is taken to ensure the prevention of frostbite. This is always the most deadly Cycle as temperatures drop well below freezing, especially during Zi'da into Cylus. Children and unsheltered livestock can easily freeze within a single break if left exposed to the elements. It is normally very difficult to traverse the main road to Raelia during this time, many will resort to traveling by way of Myrkvior Forest simply to have some shelter from the elements. Of course this route comes with its own risks.


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Re: Melrath Lore

Demographics




Population

Melrath Total Population: 6,000,000 +- approx.
Racial Breakdown: 60% Human, 12% Biqaj, 4% Sev'ryn, 12% Mer, 12% Other Races

Alivilda:

Population 5,000
Racial Breakdown 85% Human, 5% Sev'ryn, 5% Biqaj, 5% Other Races


Fensalir

Population 1,500,000
Racial Breakdown: 65% Human, 15% Biqaj, 15% Sev’ryn, 5% Other Races


Noatun Village

Population 10,000
Racial Breakdown 40% Human, 40% Biqaj, 10% Mer, 5% Other Races


Raelia

Population 2,700,000
Racial Breakdown 75% Human, 15% Biqaj, 5% Lotharro (Mostly Slaves), 5% Other Races.


Vorkund

Population 50,000
Racial Breakdown 75% Human,10% Avriel, 10% Biqaj, 5% Other Races


Verimeer

Population 250,000
Racial Breakdown 80% Mer, 10% Human, 10% Other Races


The Wilds

Population of the surrounding Wilds: 1,500,000
Racial Breakdown 70% human, 10% Biqaj, 10% Sev’ryn, 5% Mer, 5% Other Races



Languages

Widely Used:

Common
Melrathi: (Melrath Common Dialect): Spoken with deep sharp consonants and shortened words that sometimes make the speaker hard to understand if one is not local to the region. Spoken more commonly in Southern Melrath rather than the North.

Uncommon:

Rakahi
Lorien (Only in the Melrathi Mountains near Vorkund)



Lore to be reviewed.


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Re: Melrath Lore

Fashion



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Raelia:

Within the metropolis of Raelian clothing often follows fashion trends albiet all clothing worn is kept quite simple and elegant. Men and women of the working class will often wear belted wool robes that are subtly embellished with metallic or colorful thread along the trim.

The aristocracy of Raelia, specifically those that are members of one of the six great Houses wear elegant long robes or gowns that are typically belted with silken sashes rather than the simple leather belts that the other Melrathi might don. The wealthy will go to great lengths to acquire rich, deeply dyed fabrics for use in their clothing and especially in their cloaks. It is also quite common for the Embla of the wealthy to be written in either metallic ink or laid out in intricate gold leaf designs.

The poor of Raelia who managed to scratch out a living are lucky to own even a single warm coat that isn’t thin and threadbare. Those that do not contribute to society are left to deal with their problems on their own.


Fensalir:

Clothing within Fensalir is typically made from light comfortable fabrics that are embellished with fur or leather. Belted tunics are a common sight along with leather armor worn by the local rangers.

There are few within the city that are wealthier than others as most everything is shared fairly freely. Everyone contributes what they can to the community so that no one freezes in the cold or goes hungry. Those with wealth tend to wear rich soft leathers embellished with exotic furs and gold ornamentation.


Noatun Village:

The citizens of Noatun are perhaps the least pretentious residents of Melrath. This village of sailors and fishermen often wear simple canvas or cotton tunics that are belted at the hips or waist with either cord or a rope of braided leather. Dyed fabric is rare here and is considered a luxury. Only those with wealth manage to wear anything with a lick of color to it.

Scarves are popular among the people here as they help retain warmth and they allow for a bit of individuality. Because of this, the craft of knitting and crocheting is quite popular. Those who are skilled in the craft love to make woven sweaters and vests for their loved ones.

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Vorkund:

The clothing in Vorkund is as gritty and sturdy as the people. Clothes are made from thick leather, often harvested from local elk or rams that are hunted on the mountainsides. Cuffs and collars are typically lined in thick wolf’s fur. Fur cloaks are especially popular, especially those with a layer of oil cloth or leather to help ward off the damp cold of snowfall.

If there is any ornamentation it is typically no more than embellished pewter buttons and belt buckles. Jewelry is rare here, even the wealthy rarely wear it since it’s seen as garish to the people of Vorkund.


Alivilda

The citizens of Alivilda have two types of clothing. One set is a simple tunic and leggings of undyed cotton that is excellent to wear during the hot days in the fields. Though many of the men will go the day wearing just the leggings. The second set would be there public clothing that they wear for celebration or when meeting with people visiting the village. This more elaborate costume is composed of tunics dyed in the colors of their hold with fur trimming, and a wide worked leather belt. They all wear black leggings though to show community. During the colder season they all wear fur coats over their clothing to fight off the cold.


Verimeer

Clothing is not a common attribute for the Dwynmer tribe but much like their city, the Mer do enjoy their colors. Using the same paint they use for their Etchings they have taken up the art of body paint instead of clothing. The more colors the more beatific they are considered. That is not to say they do not wear any clothes, the people of Verimeer often adorn simple to extravagant headpieces made from all manner of sea life.

The non Mer within the city will often take up the same style (Tunawa growing beautiful flower head pieces, Avriel will wear brightly colored feathered headpieces, etc) and will be naked themselves save for their body art in the warmer seasons. "

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The Wilds:

Within the Wilds of Melrath people are seen in thick fur coats and sturdy leather boots. Everything is oriented around survival. During the Hot Cycle those living in the wilderness might wear loose flowing tunics along with similarly cut pants and skirts. Dyes such as blue and a bright yellow are favored by the locals of the Wilds. The colors mimic the hues of the earth and sky that they live on and beneath. Little thought is given to jewelry or ornamentation, the most anyone will wear is a particularly well crafted belt buckle or leather corded necklace.



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Re: Melrath Lore

Food and Cuisine


Melrathi cuisine varies depending on the city or village you visit. As this is the case I will be specific to each location moving forward.


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Raelia:

There is perhaps no greater variety of food in Melrath as is found in Raelia. As a port city as well as the home of much of the country’s wealth, people here enjoy the finer tastes in life. Seafood is the primary staple here due to a booming fishing trade. Those in the lower and middle classes tend to enjoy meals that might include steamed clams, shrimp, grilled salmon, as well as deep water fish such as tuna.

The upper crust of Raelia enjoy food from the ocean and rivers as well though they have more discerning tastes and also are known to eat the finest cuts of fish raw, prepared with seaweed, spices, and flavor infused oils. Known to Raelians as ‘Rhianshi’ only the wealthiest can employ chefs that know how to correctly prepare these delicate dishes.

Aside from seafood, the rich of Raelia will quite often pay handsomely for fresh produce and game meat to be delivered from the southern Wilds. Things such as elk, venison, and pheasant are quite popular, allowing opportunistic hunters to make a pretty penny when visiting the city.


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Fensalir:

The majority of the residents in Fensalir eat a mostly vegetarian diet that is based mostly on the bounty found within Myrkvior Forest. Fried and grilled mushrooms are incredibly popular, as are leafy greens and baked root vegetables.

Nuts roasted and baked with honey and cinnamon are a popular children's treat. More than a few booths line the central square of Fensalir serving sweet treats like this to the youth of the city. Berries and fruit are also plentiful here and part of nearly every meal.

Game meat is typically seen at least during dinner, mostly in the form of quail, duck, or venison. The people of Fensalir consider life sacred and ensure that they never upset the delicate balance of the Forest. So when animals are hunted for meat, it is done with respect and an understanding of environmental impact.


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Noatun:

Much like the city of Raelia, this little fishing village has a deep rooted love of seafood. Some claim that the rustic fare of Noatun even rivals the delicacies such as Rhianshi found in Raelia.

Batter fried cod and haddock are very popular among the locals, and is typically served with a dash of vinegar and a side of vegetables such as peas or potatoes. A couple street vendors are always working at the beaches and docks of the village, selling fried fish and potato wedges. Nearly every sailor and fishermen pays a visit to these carts at some point during their week making it the most common food in the settlement.

Calamari is also beloved as is grilled sea bass and baked trout. Some are known to hunt in the nearby Myrkvior Forest, though many people in the village avoid the forest as much as possible simply out of superstition concerning the Night Vixen.


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Alivilda:

In the home of brewing and ale-craft the people of Alivilda also specialize in baking a wide assortment of breads, pastries, pies, and cakes of all kinds. With good access to grain from their farms, there isn’t a trial that passes that one does not smell the scent of fresh baked bread or blackberry pie wafting through the air.

Beyond their baked goods, the citizens of Alivilda take full advantage of their access to the Vynmur River. Fish such as rainbow trout and salmon common fare, and are typically baked in stone fired ovens.


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Verimeer:

As one would expect in a Mer colony, fresh water fish from the Lochs are always on the menu. Often eaten raw or wrapped in delicate leaves, the Dwynmer people are experts at preparing the rare Rhianshi cuisine. More often than not these Mer are sometimes hired to serve as chefs in the distant city of Raelia for this reason alone. This food is robust in flavor due to a mixture of oils and spicy herbs which infuse the raw fish with flavor.


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Vorkund:

In the unforgiving landscape dominated by Mount Ymir, the people of Vorkund rely heavily on their huntsmen and women. Vegetables and fruits are very rare here, although in the spring and summer sometimes tubers and root vegetables can be found growing wild on the mountain or in the valleys. Things such as sweet potatoes and yams are highly prized when sold at market. Due to their limited access to produce most of their diet consists of game meat such as elk, goat, venison, and even caribou. Many locals keep cattle and goats so dairy products like milk and cheese are very common.




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Government



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Symbolism

The Melrathi Flag was created in the first decade of the nation's founding. It is said that Ashara's mother wove the first version of the flag. Initially the flag itself was a silver trinity knot placed on a field of crimson. This was to symbolize the blood of their people who had perished due to the feuding Immortals, so that no one would ever forget the wrath of those petty gods. On the flag itself the trinity knot stood as a reminder of the Melrath's desire for balance now that they sought to live alongside the spirits of their new land. A couple centuries following the nation's founding an alliance was brokered with Hochojobon Tunawa, leading the flag to be changed to include artistic renditions of ivy and leaves around the primary knot.

Centuries later the flag would change again the arc after the treaty between the Dwynmer Tribe and the Melrathi was forged. To ensure that their new citizens felt included as residents of the kingdom, the design of the flag was split into thirds with the central portion being a robust cobalt blue to note a lasting treaty with the friendly Dwynmer.

The flag of Melrath has remained much the same since Arc 591, bearing a backdrop of deep cobalt, silver, and a rich crimson. With the trinity knot at its core framed by leaves.


Laws

Trespassing: It is illegal to enter private property without reasonable cause. Reasonable cause is typically defined as helping someone in distress or entering the premises with permission from the owner. Members of the Ragnari, the Ydalir, and the Aesir are not impacted by this law so long as they are trespassing for reasons associated with their faction.

Thievery: All acts of thievery are illegal and are punishable by incarceration of at least one Cycle, or in extreme cases, the removal of one’s hands to ensure that they never steal again.

Murder/Violent Assault: Acts of murder or violent assault including sexual are punishable by incarceration of a at least five Arcs or death.

Magic Use: Mages are forbidden from using their magic on an unconsenting individual. The only exception to this are mages who work in Melrath’s service as members of the Ydalir, Ragnari, or Aesir. Circle members are also exempted from this law when required.

Mages Mark Requirement: All mages are required to register with the government of Melrath, including their domains and the location of their living quarters. Additionally, they must be tested in three phases by both the Aesir and the Syns. Once both factions agree that the mage is capable of discipline, then they will be given their Mage’s Mark. Resident native mages are often given their Mage's Mark either by age fifteen or within one season of becoming a mage. Those who cannot demonstrate acceptable control of their magic or who are a danger to the public will be required to attend compulsory education with the Aesir and the Syns in Raelia for at least a minimum of eighty Trials. Neglecting to do so will result in incarceration for an undetermined amount of time.

Blackmail/Extortion: Blackmail and threatening acts are not condoned and may be punishable by a fine or incarceration for at least fifty Trials.

Abduction: Abduction, or holding a person against their will is strictly prohibited unless they are a slave. This may be punishable by incarceration, exile, or even death.

Slavery: It is illegal to hold a Melrathi citizen as a slave. However, this is permissible in regards to Outlanders. All slave owners must have in their possession any and all records regarding how they purchased or came by their slaves.

Treason: Treason in any form against Melrath is forbidden, and shall be met with death or permanent exile.

Spiritual Harm: It is illegal to intentionally act in a way that would cause harm or distress to a spirit. Additionally it is against Melrathi law to try and influence a spirit to cause harm for nefarious reasons.



Disputes/Trial by Combat

Whether an argument over defending one's honor,dispute over trade or otherwise, all Melrathi possess the right to challenge anyone to a Trial by Combat. This is initiated by any of the involved parties and the challenge is issued. Each person who accepts to engage in the Trial must then choose a Second to negotiate the location, time, and terms for them with the chosen Seconds of the other participants. Trials by Combat may involve more than two people but no more than ten are permitted during a single Trial.

This can be done immediately or within the next three trials however once accepted all combatants are expected to appear at the agreed upon place and time in order to engage in the Trial. The Seconds will work to find a suitable location as Trials by Combat are not allowed in public roads or parks. They must be held either on private property or out in the Wilds for the safety of the general public.

The Seconds will choose among them as to who will announce the Trial and sound the start of combat. Once this has been done the combatants are free to attack each other until only one person or one side is left standing or all opponents yield. Death is a perfectly accepted result of this tradition and no one will be tried for murder if they have killed someone during a Trial by Combat.



The Circle

The Circle oversees the governance of the nation of Melrath. They tend to foreign/domestic affairs, trade negotiations along with crime and punishment. The Circle was founded soon after Ashara Veldaris founded the city of Raelia as a means of managing the needs of the budding country. The headquarters of the Circle is located within the capital of Raelia.

There are a total of fourteen Representatives who are part of the Circle. Three of these seats are guaranteed to the the three most prominent factions that work to protect Melrath. These include the Ragnari, the Aesir, and the Ydalir. There is also a fourth seat that is guaranteed to the Dwynmer people who hail from the city of Verimeer. This seat was given in exchange for the Dwynmer joining Melrath and yielding to the rule of the Circle.

Then there are ten other Circle positions that are open to the citizens of Melrath.

While it is not common knowledge to the public, the Circle Representatives often engage in political intrigue and a fair amount of backstabbing in order to push forward their goals. While some members have remained honest and true, many others have resorted to less than lawful activities in order to increase their own wealth and power.

As they say, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Please see The Circle Faction Page to join.



Dwynmer Council

The council are the true leaders of the tribe, any decision made by the current leader is put to vote by them. Because of the yearly change of leadership, day-to-day operations are often left to the council without the leader ever needing to vote or be asked beforehand. Any proposition or bills to be passed are open to the Peers of the council or any council member. Votings are held once a season for propositions with urgent votings being called for immediate needs.

Though technically made up of seven, including the current tribe leader, the council members themselves are only six. With the House of Peers making up the sub-council and offering citizens more power within their city, though many are happy to leave things to the council.

Please see The Dwynmer Faction Page to join.



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Re: Melrath Lore

History



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The nation of Melrath was founded during Arc 318 by a woman named Ashara Veldaris. Ashara was a respected woman who was known throughout her youth in Ne’haer as a talented archer and hunter. When the budding city of her youth was assaulted again and again by natural disasters, Ashara brought forth the proposition of finding a new home for her people in the north. Her family and friends were faithful to the Immortals and assured the young woman that they would be protected from such harm again.

Ashara never put much stock in the will of the gods to protect mortalkind. She trusted her own abilities and the abilities of her peers to save them, not some benevolent Immortal watching over from on high.

Over time, and after the fledgling city was assaulted again and again by disasters and Immortal caused violence, Ashara managed to convince a little over a thousand residents to follow her north into the wilderness in search of a new home.

Over the following two seasons Ashara and her followers traveled toward the northern shore of the western continent. They faced numerous unsavory encounters with the Lotharro, along with the customary perils of the road. However, Ashara and her people were resilient and eventually found themselves in a small corner of the west, protected by steep mountains, an ancient forest and even a swift river. It was there that the fleeing people encountered a settlement of humans living within a vast forest. They called their home Fensalir. These people followed no Immortals but instead gave their prayers to the spirits of the land, water, and air. Their strange wild ways were alien to Ashara and her people but they still accepted their aid with grace and poise. Those that had survived the trek from Ne’haer were happy to settle within these lands alongside their hosts. The sprawling Myrkvior Forest that surrounded Fensalir was rich was game and natural resources and so the strangers from the south made themselves at home.

Many arcs passed and Ashara’s people began to wish for their own city. While they had adapted quite well to life amongst the residents of Fensalir they wanted a place to call their own where they could foster their own traditions. Gathering together a caravan of hundreds of her countrymen, Ashara Veldaris set out northward again. They traveled alongside a swift running river known to the locals as the Vynmur River. They had been told that it would eventually lead them to the sea. As they had once been a people who dwelt on the southern seas, they sought out a new coast to call home.

It was nearly halfway into Vhalar of Arc 318 that Ashara Veldaris founded a settlement at the northern tip of the massive peninsula, right where the Vynmur River merged with the ocean. This new city was named Raelia and it would be the seat of their new government.

A fast and lasting alliance was formed between Raelia and Fensalir and soon people were traveling frequently between the two cities. The two populations soon merged over time and in time the people anointed themselves with a new name. They called themselves the Melrathi, “One People” and the lands surrounding the two cities would henceforth be known as Melrath.

Over a century passed, and after endless confrontations between their population and Lotharro raiders to the south, the Melrathi people began to close their borders. The Ragnari was formed, a military organization that would contend with any threats facing Melrath, especially those that originated outside of their borders.. The first generation of Melrathi remembered the floods and tidal waves that drowned their villages and slew their kinsmen in Ne’haer, so they were more than happy to barricade themselves behind, rivers, forests, and mountains. Soon all of those within Melrath clung to the belief that isolation was far better than risking the wrath of the divine or the savagery of foreigners.

Outsiders are dangerous, and only fools trust in Immortals

The capital city of Raelia that had been founded arcs before now boasted impressive walls and an imposing citadel at it’s gates that would be capable to turning away nearly any invader. The waters beyond Melrath were edged in barrier islands which funneled cruel, twisting currents along the shore making navigation of the coast dangerous for newcomers.

The Four Towers, Laerad, Nifhelm, Thrudhiem, and Lyngvi were later built, one to each barrier island, thus providing even more protection to the budding country and it’s isolationist culture.

The traditions and culture of the people of Fensalir had bled into the fabric of Melrath and barely anyone within the young nation followed the Immortals any longer. Spirits were revered and the Melrathi became highly self reliant upon themselves and their own abilities.



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Re: Melrath Lore

Holiday




Yulevri: (15th of Cylus)

The holiday of Yulevri is a time honored tradition that has helped many people survive the dark and cold of Cylus without losing hope. Yulevri is a celebration that is dedicated to reminding people that the long winter is nearly over.

It is expected for loved ones to exchange gifts and typically there will be feasting outdoors. Most villages and cities will host at least one public outdoor feast beneath tents or around campfires. Most food at public Yulevri celebrations comes in the form of a hearty stew along with a thick slice of fresh bread. Even the poor are invited to partake in these public feasts because all Melrathi believe that no one should be hungry on the night of Yulevri.

The Noble Houses and other wealthy families tend to enjoy finer fare such as delicate seafood bisques along with honeyed and roasted winter vegetables.

Melrathi also take this chance to decorate their homes and towns with garlands made from evergreen branches. It is custom to also make candied pears to gift to your dearest friends and spouses.



Ullried: (1th of Ashan)

The first trial of spring is especially sacred to the people who live in the Wilds of Melrath, as well as the citizens of Vorkund. On this trial people celebrate the return of warmth and life by hosting a hunt with fellow family members and loved ones. The Hunter's Holiday as it is sometimes called is when the hunters of Melarth go out into the wilderness to bring home the first kills of spring. Hunters will wake before sunrise in order to get an early start in order to have the best chance at finding game in the wilds. It is high discouraged on this trial for hunters to kill pregnant female animals, and are instead directed only to hunt the males of whatever quarry they are seeking. This is to ensure that the animal population is still able to successfully reproduce. It also works to cull male populations so to keep large herd animals from becoming overpopulated.

Hunters are allowed to make three kills each of whatever animal they wish, as to ensure that the culling is not too extreme. Hunters often prefer to carefully choose their three targets so they will be as impressive as possible. This tends to result in larger and older male quarry being chosen. The Ullried hunt concludes at sundown when the spoils of the hunt are brought home to be cleaned and prepared for a feast the following trial. It is during this time that kills are compared and the hunters sit around fires telling stories and enjoying themselves. Hunters who bring home the most impressive kills in a family are always rewarded with the best cuts of meat the following trial along with copious amounts of their favorite beer, or wine during the feasts.



Hesterfor:(12th of Ymiden through the 22nd)

Coming of age is incredibly important to all Melrathi when they become fifteen arcs old. It is on the 12th of Ymiden through the 22nd that all local settlements host a competition that stretches over ten full trials. During these ten trials young Melrathi who are either approaching their fifteenth birthtrial or will be doing so later that arc are permitted to compete. There are several accolades that a youngster can earn during Hesterfor.

There are several trials that a child can compete in so to gain honors amongst their seniors and peers. It is not required that a youngster compete in Hesterfor however doing well in the trials always brings honor to their family and aids them in earning apprenticeships and jobs.

Hesterfor Trials

Trial of the Lady

The Trial of the Lady is composed of three tests which embody the elements of Myrkvior; the Dark Mother of the Forest. Those who share in the ideals associated with her often end up finding that they can quite happily work as healers, scholars, or even soldiers. Children who do well in all three tests are granted a pewter ring with a small pale moonstone at its center as a reward. This piece of ornamentation is sacred and highly valued across Melrath. It is seen as a sign of a tactical and gifted thinker.

Test of the Mind: This test is always given by a local Aesir who will ask children to answer questions after listening to a story or a riddle that they tell them. Each arc the test is different for every group of children but always the Aesir given the test cares less about if the child is correct but more that they can think critically and for themselves. In essence,they prefer children who can make well reasoned arguments for why their answer is correct.

Test of Life: The test of life deals in the skills associated with healing. An Aesir Druid always conducts the Test of Life. Children are allowed to display their skills however they wish, either by mixing medicine, showing their skill at sutchering, or even demonstrating their ability in binding and dressing wounds.

Test of Ferocity: The Test of Ferocity is always a trial by melee combat between young Melrath. They may use whatever blunted weapons they wish (or simply their fists) but this test itself is as simple as they come. Any weapon or tool is permitted so long as it is not used with lethal force. It is perfectly legal to bruise and batter your opponent but all Tests of Ferocity are ended at first blood or when a person yields. This Test is most commonly treated as a spectacle by the people of Melrath. When this test is conducted in Raelia it is often held in impressive venues where a crowd is able to gather and watch.


Trial of the Mountain:

The Trial of the Mountain is customarily given by a member of Ydalir rangers and the Tests are all related to the ideals associated with Ymir, the Mountain Induk. Those who do well in the Trial of the Mountain tend to become hunters, survivalists, or craftsmen. Youngsters who do especially well in all these tests are granted a copper ring with a small dark red garnet at its core. This ring is seen as sacred and highly valued across Melrath. The ornament is associated with wise, skilled, and especially patient individuals.

Test of Resolve: Those who embody the attributes of the Mountain Induk must have within them the resolve to keep moving forward no matter the difficulties they may face. This test is always given by a local ranger who takes a small group of youngsters into the wilderness where they must survive on their on for the length of two full trials. They must find clean water, and find food as well during this time. It is permitted for them to work together, however the ranger is always watching from the shadows and will be sure to note who does most of the work and who does not.

Test of Craft: The Test of Craft is for those who are known to create useful and wondrous objects with their hands. Many children will seek to complete this Test by submitting craft work that they have completed. This could include woodworking, needlecraft, smithing, glassblowing, or any other highly desired talent that leads to the creation of especially useful objects. Many master craftsmen will attend these Tests to see the youngster’s work and to offer apprenticeships to the most talented children.

Test of the Hunt: Young hunters always seek out this particular test with excitement and vigor. In small groups of two or three, children are led into the Wilds by a Ydalir ranger who will watch as the children conduct a hunt for a creature of the wilderness. The kill must be made cleanly and quickly, otherwise the Ranger will finish the hunt for them to ensure that no animal suffers longer than needed. Those who cannot complete their hunt or who do not make a clean kill are often taunted for their failure by the other competitors. Failing to finish the Test of the Hunt is seen as bringing shame upon yourself and your family. On more than one occasion children have simply run away from home in failing the test.


Trial of the River

The Induk of the River is as much an enigma as he is childlike and fun loving. Vynmur is considered by many to be the Wise Fool, an entity who knows many secrets but shares them only with a few. It is because of this that he has been associated with skills and arts that are some of the rarest among the Melrathi. Those who succeed in his Tests are known to become artists, dancers, actors, animal trainers, and even most rarely...Aesir. Children who do well in each of these Trials are given an iron ring with a sphere of turquoise at it's center. This ring is seen as sacred and highly valued across Melrath. The ornament is associated with intuitive, talented, spiritual individuals.


Test of Spirit: The Test of Spirit is rarely even attempted by youngsters, and it’s even rarer for a child to show an aptitude for communing with the spirits. However an Aesir Shaman always attends local Hesterfor celebration in order to observe and conduct any Tests. The Test always consists of the children being brought into contact with an Anak. They must then show that they possess an understanding of the spirit and it’s concept. Those who are especially gifted also show early signs to manifesting spiritual empathy in that they have an almost supernatural understanding of spirits and how they reflect the balance of the world at large.

Test of the Arts: The Test of the Arts is probably the most fun and enjoyable to watch. Youngsters are brought forward to display their talents in things such as music, painting, theater, and even debate. Typically the children of wealthy parents do well in this Test since many have had tutors for years teaching them these skills. However there are always those two are truly gifted in art no matter their economic background that use this Test to display their talents.

Test of Bonds: Aptly named, the Test of Bonds hosts those of the youth who have a skill with training animals and working with animals. Animal trainers, breeders, and groomers will always come to this Test with their most trusted animals at their side to display their proficiency in working with the creatures. Stable masters and animal breeders will normally observe this particular test to assess which of the children deserve an apprenticeship or job with them once they have come of age.



Odinar (40th of Saun)

Held on the 40th of Saun, this hallowed day of heroes stands as a time when people remember fallen soldiers and celebrate those who still live and defend the nation. Ragnari and other notable and brave warriors are typically given rewards and accolades by the locals. This can include a bit of jewelry or even something as simple as a laurel wreath to wear on their heads. At night however the most highly regarded soldiers and fighters are anointed with new tattoos by a local member of the Aesir. Each tattoo is representative of the Melrath Induk the warrior shares the most traits with. Clever soldiers will find themselves tattooed with the shapes of leaves and foxes for Myrkvior, Steadfast men and women might find themselves marked with images of the Mountain Induk, where as intuitive and spiritual warriors will wear the markings of the serpent Vynmur.



Svarielle (60th of Vhalar):

The Holiday of Svarielle is perhaps the nearest and dearest to the Melrathi people. This day and night of celebration takes place on the 60th of Vhalar, beginning at dawn and then ending at dawn the following trial. During the daylight hours Melrathi spend the entire day enjoying feasts and festivals. This part of the holiday is sometimes called the Harvest Festival as the bounty collected from the first harvests is often used to supply all of the feasting.

Food such as meat pies, candied apples, and cinnamon buns are common festival fare. Large wealthy families tend to host their own private gatherings where chefs will prepare whole roasted boars and Melrathi delicacies such as sugared flowers and dried figs.

At sunset is when the celebratory nature of Svarielle becomes far more somber. This part of day is known as the Calling. The feasting ends and everyone will fast until dawn the following day. During the night it is common for locals to paint and release their own paper lanterns as a way to call the spirits of their ancestors home in order to share in the holiday and spend time with the living. After sundown on Svarielle is when Melrathi believe that the veil between this world and the Beneath thins, and the spirits of their dead are able to return home for the night.

Food is left out in tribute for the ancestors and family members with deceased loved ones will often sit outdoors all night talking of those they have lost in the hope that their spirits are there listening to their stories.

Many stay up all night sharing fond stories of those they have lost until the sun rises. At dawn the fast is broken by drinking a glass of either ale, beer, or wine in a gesture of honor to the spirits who have returned to the Beneath for another arc.

Note: For some reason Anak are far more common on this night. Some believe it is due to the thinning of the barrier between worlds.



Valhalea(1st of Zi’da):

Observed across the entirety of Melrath, Valhalea is the trial when the Induks and spirits of the kingdom are especially celebrated just as the first true snows set in. Just as the hills, mountains, and streams turn white with ice, people will light bonfires this night across the entire nation. In the dark of winter, with only the light of their fires to guard them from the shadows, the Melrathi experience a beautiful event known only to locals as ‘Spiritrise’.

During the entire night of the first of Zi’da the night sky becomes filled with thousands of lights as the pale silvery spirits of the air come forth to be seen by those below.

Within the waters of Melrath dance the spirits of water somehow reveal themselves in all their glory. Anak of water, rain, and all other forms can be seen swirling around the waters of the coast and all through the Vynmur River. The Induk Vynmur himself will even appear to mortal eyes in his bright luminescent blue serpent form to dance across the surface of his domain.

Anak of the forest appear as flickering motes of emerald and amber light which drift through Myrkvior Forest like fireflies. Myrkvior herself will even reveal herself to a few lucky mortals although her encounters are always quite brief, and she always appears in the form of a large white fox.

In the mountains of Melrath spirits of the earth, winds, and water dance through the air as well. Ymir like his cousins will also appear in his earthen form to the people of Vorkund, although he never speaks, he only honors the people on the mountain with his presence. Mortals will find that while they can observe the spirits they cannot touch them on this night.

During the night people will give offerings either symbolic or literal to the Anak and Induk of their world. Those who adore Myrkvior will bring gifts into her forest, such as planting saplings or giving food to the local wildlife. Ymir’s followers may leave gifts of food or even treasured tools and hunting weapons on the mountain’s slopes in offering. Vynmur’s might softly speak their darkest secrets over his waters, or write them down and cast them into his domain.

Each ritual is unique to each mortal, however they are all given freely to strengthen the spirits of their world.


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