THE GABBARDANI


Morning sunlight was breaking over the ridges far above, and Vanshiyr-Doriyath was veiled in a fine mist. Though days had passed, the city still bore many scars from the recent turmoil, with rubble strewn in the streets and many misfigured buildings. Two men sat on a terrace overlooking the main square of their beloved city, considering all that had happened.

"I went by the Caster's path earlier. It was in dreadful condition. Broke my heart, it did." the older one started, sadness trailing his voice.

"Mm. The lower markets hadn't fared much better..." the younger one continued. "I just hope old Gothryn and his red balbeths didn't fare too badly" They sat in silence for a while, regarding the scene around them.

"So where do the Carvers go from here? These machinations has been a bad blow not only to the nation, but the house itself. Things must change."

"It for us to comment upon the actions of the house elders."

"Feh! Their power plays have caused us all a lot of hardship, and now there will be even more Rakkhari guards around. And we still are supposed to keep quiet and trust?"

"Remember, youngling" the older one replied with cold scorn "you are a carver for life, and such words will not prolong your life."

The younger one considered these words for a while. "True as that may be, it pains me to see this fair city so scarred.

"It pains us all. But this is the way of the world, and blood must be shed for change to happen and both the house and the city will heal. Do you duty as well you can, and through this serve your city." The younger nodded in resigned obedience. Time passed in solemn silence. After a while, the two men rose from their bench and walked in quiet conversation as the sun rose and the mists dispersed and the streets were once more filled with people. Life in Vanshiyr-Doriyath went on, as it had to.
With significant contributions by Torbjörn Anderssén

A brief history of the culture

The Gabbardani migrated into their current homelands from the east many hundreds of years ago, together with several other tribes. They fled a great disaster which had claimed their land, and now they sought a new future in the northwest. As the tribes spread out, the Gabbardani ventured southwards on the new continent. But as they came into the southern wildlands, some terrible affliction struck, claiming a large portion of their tribe (divine intervention would turn these into the Akropa). So the tribe fled northwards again, and came upon a massive crater, where the land was warm and fertile. This much the histories tell, but as the different tribes came upon a pantheon of wandering gods who took them under their care, records get vague and unreliable. Some records have even been willfully destroyed, as the Rakkhari crusade again all gods has resulted in the destruction of history and traditions.

However, the records of what happened after the gods left when the Godslayer Rakkhath rose are more definite. The Gabbardani saw as the Rakkhari people quickly expanded their lands, and soon allied with the Dalari. It did not take long until they turned their combined military might against Gabbardan, who fought valiantly to hold on to their lands. But in the end, they fought largely alone, and fell to an occupational force. Since then, they have been part of the Rakkhari commonwealth - at first very resistant, but as generations have passed, they have become more and more complacent in their position. There still exists resistance, though it is largely found in secret groups and gatherings.

These days, Gabbardan's position in the Rakkhari commonwealth is a bit of a complicated one. On the surface, they enjoy a good standing, and the wares they export fetch high prices in other provinces. However, it is also the heart of the House of Carvers, the largest criminal organization on the continent, whose influence is steadily growing, becoming more and more of a problem for the commonwealth. This coupled with the hardships of the Rakkhari-Norni and Rakkhari-Lenorian wars have turned Gabbardan from a very stable province into a risk for unrest and rebellion.

In recent times, Gabbardan has seen much turmoil, as the long-time Prefect who governed the province passed away. His successor and nephew, Caldoroana, rose to power and claimed the title with the support of criminal elements, and his disasterous rule threw the capital into borderline revolution, leaving many dead and the great city scarred.

Mentality

Gabbardan is a province of great contrast, much due to it's very varying geography and political influences, and the people are no different. They are at once a very simple, hardworking people who value craftsmanship and practical skills. They are forthright and honest without being brusque. But at the same time, no other culture has such a penchant for secret societies and shadowy influences. The merchant who so joyfully bargains with you during the day, might during night be a cold-blooded agent for the House of Carvers, ready to kill if necessary. This is not to say that the people of Gabbardan are all two-faced and false, but rather that it is a shared way of hiding true intentions. The brutal war and occupation by the Rakkhari-Dalari alliance in ages made the people more wary of displaying their true thoughts and feelings, and over the generation this has become and accepted way of things.

Society

To a certain extent, Gabbardan has enjoyed a good amount of self-governance, where a Prefect sits at the top of power, with a close relationship to the Rakkhari Warmaster Rabek of Rak Korh, who is the official governor and overseer. Due to old age, the Warmaster has been less and less involved, but after the recent turmoil, this may well change. The Prefect is largely chosen by the so called high council of representatives (who also advise the Prefect), but sometimes the Warmaster may intervene and choose a Prefect directly. The council of representatives have certain ranks, depending on how large or powerful groups they represent. The higher the rank, the more their vote weighs in matters.

Below this, there are the so called Boyars, who are noblemen and -women who either by deed or lineage has earned their title. This entitles them to a piece of land, as well as a place at official political gatherings, where important decisions are discussed and made. Exactly how much power and influence these Boyars enjoy depends a lot on the city, and whose support they enjoy.

Beyond this, there are many groups and unions of merchants who have joined together to affect change in society. These groups vary greatly in both size and influence, but almost everyone belongs to one group or another. These groups can be formed around professions, social status, or political motivations among other things. It is from the more influential of these groups that representatives are chosen for the high council.

Faith and beliefs

In Gabbardan, most people are either in line with the Rakkhari thought of freedom from all divine influece, or simply not concerned with debating divine things. However, this does not mean that the people of Gabbardan are dull-witted or shy from intellectual discussion, quite the contrary. Gabbardani thinkers have built a reputation as being great minds with many bright philosophers among them. Among these, there is a lot of individuals who actively question whether the legend of Rakkath Godslayer is actually based on real events, or if it is merely propaganda or a way to impose certain values on the people. Needless to say, this is a rather controversial topic, but one that has been tough to refute, when many historical records are very vague and in some cases contradictory.

But whatever the case, Gabbardan is home to many schools and houses of thought, some more serious than others, as it has become sort of a joke that one is "going out to debate the way of things" when you are really heading for a orrha house to soothe yourself with smokes.

Name culture examples

Female: Jenezía, Pelaria, Caletian, Elomea, Ferezin
Male: Taricras, Eldoroat, Felaríz, Gemoroen, Caldoroana

Clothing and fashion

Though the Gabbardani are not quite as concerned with their clothing as the Hineans, they never the less take great pride in good clothing. However, they value skillfully made clothes more than flashy style (though both is preferable, of course). The vest is an ever popular piece of clothing in many styles, both long and short, sometimes made into a long, slim, sleeveless coat. Pants in different models are mostly preferred, especially in the more humid lower regions of Gabbardan. Sashes are used more than belts, as leather is harder to come by, and shoes should be small and gentle.

Gabbardani patternwork is the envy of all other provinces - intricate designs where subtle patterns of marble veins meld with bold floral spires and spirals. Fine-threaded cloths where numberless colors join in diamond blankets as rich as the eye can handle, and the simplest embroderies carried out with such skill that it make a grown man weep.

Most Gabbardani wear their hair rather long, usually braided or bound so as not to be in the way. Hairpins and other decorations are used liberally, and it is not uncommon to see rather outlandish hairstyles among the upper class or dedicated thinkers. Mustaches are very commonplace, but beards less so.

Fine stones, gems and metal dominate the jewelry in Gabbardan, and with good reason. Most wear jewelry in the forms of brooches and hair decorations, as those are the least bothersome during work. The quality of the craftsmanship is very important indeed, as it shows what sort of people you surround yourself with - carrying a gifted work by a renowned craftsman may mean much more than mountains of riches.

Extra material

More can be found in the library