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The People of Teddin

The Eduim of Teddin

The population of imperial Teddin is comprised of a mixture of Perannic Flanne immigrants and Mura settlers. The Parranic Flanne themselves are from a largely Flanne population base with a minority of Perran, Frunze, Kea and Nyrondal Aerdy. Their language is Flanne. Most of those who’ve emigrated are either surplus population from farming communities, New urbanites with a vision of a new start or persons from Nyrond whose worship of the Suel gods has been made illegal. These have mixed with Mura who have left the stone age life of the hunter gathers to become part of the emerging society.

The first immigrants began arriving in 2792. Their leaders fought almost continual war for the first one hundred years of settlement. Some of the hunter-gatherer tribes saw these newcomers fighting the hurgilin and sided with them, becoming partially integrated within two generations. It is only later, as the wars drift northwards that the first of the population of modern Teddin appear (fourth generation mixed families). The practical side of the Flanne quickly realised that the Mura had something to offer; local knowledge and acquired resistance to certain local biological agents. The Mura, long deprived of any form of structured belief system, gained their choice of three new religions – The Flanne Circle, the warlike gods of the Suel or the cult of the Dragon God of the Empire[1] .

The oldest of these mixed families is now on their eleventh generations. Every year, more immigrants arrive from the Flanaess. Some are farmers or entrepreneurs. Others are ilin moving to either find positions closer to the Lords of the Empire or avoid conflict in their homelands. As the edge of the jungle is pushed back northwards, the remaining hunter gathers either remove themselves to the central plateau or become absorbed into the mainstream. Hard working people are always in demand in what remains a frontier society. However, some ghettoisation of Muri speakers does occur within urban areas such as Burnraas, Diaton or Kamveluna.

The general Perranic Flanne view of the Mura, having resisted oppression by the Hurgilin ‘since ancient times’ is of a proud, woodcrafty people. The view of the tribes is either of an alien race invading the jungle and changing it in a way they don’t understand or of a wonderful new way of living – farming. Farming brings with it an initially bewildering number of possible religions, something they have been missing for a long time.

The ennoblement of the Al’Nabrish in 2950 has done much to stabilise Teddin’s society. An obviously Mura family in a Nyrondal Flanne framework reaching the heights of power has given hope both to immigrants and to Mura that they too are valued and can achieve greatness. There are now perhaps half a dozen other minor ilin clans who have originated from within Teddin.

The population of Teddin call themselves Eduim, with a meaning close to “citizen”. In conversation it could have slight diminutive connotations, such as ‘folk’ or ‘dwellers’ might have. It’s use as a noun is has elevated the word’s meaning to indicate having a ‘right of abode’ and the protection of the empire.

The most widespread cloth available to the Eduim is a form of material similar to linen. The wives and daughters of the well-to-do weave ‘linen’ at home. This is then sold on at market. Most of the urban Eduim wear a linen toga or dress. Workers in the fields will wear a kilt or breech-clout. Rope or leather sandals are common in urban areas, being by-products of heavier industries. In day to day wear, the Eduim will display an amount of their wealth in jewellery. Torcs, a Kea affectation, are popular. Wide, engraved bands or copper, bronze or silver are worn about the upper arm. Broad articulated necklaces of semiprecious stones are also very popular. Sophisticated urbanites might wear coloured clothing on a day to day basis but most persons will preserve their coloured attire for festival days and other special occasions. The majority population wear plain unadorned linen.

Almost all adults will bear a rod or staff. This is a walking stick, adding machine, parrying weapon, probe, measuring device and of course, status symbol. Dyr wood for preference, others are carved from other woods and dyed black. All are carved about the head with a repeated leaf pattern to improve grip. Conical hats, woven from straw are the Flanne answer to the tropical rains. At certain times of year, everyone carries a hat for the downpours. These hats are supposed to be disposable. Wealthier persons will have a supply of these, allowing a hat to be discarded, one less thing for the otherwise unencumbered man-about-town to think about. This is one of the few times the Flanne circle countenances conspicuous consumption[2].

At some point during puberty, children of both sexes will have a coming of age ceremony. For those being initiated as full members of the Suel faith, that will include circumcision. For all of the Eduim, it will mean a new hair arrangement. Both men and women will have the front of their head shaved, effectively extending their forehead back by several inches. This is possibly to indicate accumulated wisdom, mimicking hereditary man pattern baldness. Women’s hair tends to be braided, sometimes elaborately and often decorated with beading or other small charms. Men’s hair is commonly swept back and gathered in a simple thong to keep it out of the way.

Those of Frunze descent will still begin a lifetime of body art at this point. This begins with tattooing, beginning with their face at their coming of age ceremony. These tattoos are common to their extended family grouping and serve as ready identifiers. The tattoos themselves are geometrically stylised ancestors and animal spirits. In Teddin, the male Eduim of Frunze descent will stop at having their ‘family colours’. Females will continue to be tattooed until they are finished having children. These tattoos tell the story of the life of the individual and often describe the attributes and deeds of their children in glowing terms.

The other aspect of body art is piercing. The Frunze practice the art extensively, with jewelled metal decorations adorning every conceivable part of an individual’s body, depending on their wealth and status. The Mura, also of Suel descent, also practice piercing. Their piercings are decorated with ivory (teeth) or carved wooden objects. For the modern Eduim of any extraction, discrete adornments in the nose and lip are normal. Individuals may choose to be further pierced, however, these are normally hidden from public view by their attire. Pierced ears are now considered passé in urban areas.

For most people, living a peasant life in a Flanne-type village community, piercing and tattooing are a big event and will normally commemorate some life-changing event (birth, death or wedding). For the sophisticated urbanites, it’s more a matter of fashion and a display of status.

In Diaton and the surrounding areas, farming is the major occupation of most of the population. They are concerned with bringing in their harvest, which tends to be mostly soft grains. There are areas where hard grains have been imported and survived to grow unsupported. Away from central Diaton, these are invariably left for the precious horses of Teddin, and not squandered on mere people. The village-farms of Diaton are organised and productive. The normal diet contains a large amount of fruit, both native fruits gathered from the edge of the forests and imported fruits that have thrived in the warmer, wetter climate. Where there is access to the sea, fishing supplements their diet. Away to the north, in Rythym, there is more hunting and gathering and less agriculture. Fields are jealously guarded. Fish from the sea are served up with fish from the wetlands, some caught by netting and others by cormorant fisherman.

In more remote rural areas, the balance of nature and the faith of the circle have produced a sub-culture that is in tune with its environment. The people of Rythym are respectful of their environment and it’s other inhabitants. Here the hunters and fishers have a certain amount of pride that they are more able to sustain them selves individually than their more agrarian neighbours.

The steep lands of Burnraas, Southern Diaton and Eagle’s Reach are bedecked with terraces to grow both soft grains and, at higher altitudes, root vegetables. Again their economy is not yet free of the seasonal vagaries of hunting and gathering.

Cattle do well in central Diaton and it’s flat and cleared neighbours. There are cattle, but not as many, in Rythym and the southern provinces. The ubiquitous goat provides dairy products where the cattle cannot. Only in the northern island archipelagos will you find Eduim farming sheep. All of the m’choai eaten in Teddin is either re-cooked smoked mutton or live export from the Impassode and Damiffission Isles.

The Eduim year is fairly constant and dictated by the calendar rather than the seasons, which are all much of a muchness. There is a wide difference in the Island archipelagos but not in the main body of Teddin. There is a service and feast of thanks, presided over by the hierarchs of the circle, at the beginning of the year. This feast features the eating of stored items and leftovers, symbolising the passing year. And the drinking of clean water, symbolising the New Year to come.

There is then work to do, ploughing and sowing. At the height of spring there is a form of national Jukpudhar. This held on the date at which the Càma family’s illustrious city-port fell into darkness. There is a day of mourning for Hurin, then a day for Turgon, then a day for the city, then one for all the others who have given their lives to protect the Eduim. The Eduim shed all of their jewellery[3] and whiten their faces with gypsum. They draw circles around their eyes with ashes. They process out to places where battles were fought or ilin lie under their mounds. There they remember the two kings who began the process of freeing the land form the hurgilin. They stay out at these places until the close of the forth day when they return to their homes. There is no feast associated with this period, as fasting is strictly optional.

Quite often this happens during a period of consistent heavy rain. If it does, this is viewed as good, it means that the gods have not forgotten the Eduim and watching their behaviour (piety, respect for their protectors, etc).

The summer is a season for trades to be made and deals struck, very often betrothals are made now. There may be more than one harvest in a year, if the weather allows[4].

After the harvest, the hierarchs again hold a service of thanks. This also involves feasting. This feast is of the foodstuffs that won’t keep over the winter and the first of the year’s wines and beers. It is important to dress for this feast. Green and gold are the de rigour colours, to show affinity with the land and gratefulness for the produce received. Dressing one’s children up as domestic animals is also popular.

Weddings are two-day affairs. The two families gather and the terms and conditions laid out for agreement by each side and public scrutiny. There is usually a convivial atmosphere of bon home but no partying yet. The fathers of the betrothed hand them over to their priest. He or she takes them away from the mortal world to a place where they are under the scrutiny of their gods. ie they go to a private place to conduct the marriage. The priest will then leave them in that place and return to the families with some indication of how it went. The priest will then go back at dawn the next day and fetch the couple, returning them to the mortal world. There is then a party. This general model holds true for the Lords of Teddin and the lowest of their subjects.

[1] The aboriginal Mura inhabit a world with no gods, only devils and animistic spirits.
[2] The straw is a by product of farming, making hats provides employment, discarded hats are used by poorer folk, it’s all very Flanne really.
[3] And as many of their piercings as they can safely remove.
[4] The climate and growing year allow for two crops. However, there is a chance that rains might ruin one or other of them.

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