THE SERANS


The family was once more gathered. This night they had been summoned to attend the stellar divination for the newest member of the most powerful family in Serdanos, an occasion no member could decline. In their ancient family halls, which had stood almost as long as Serdanos itself, they huddled like shadows in a circle around the mother and father who kneeled before the Dragoman of the Celestial Order. The Dragoman, a tall, gaunt woman clad in pure black robes with silver decorations, held a black sphere as big as a head above the two parents. Inside the sphere burned a bright, white light which shone through small holes, projecting the starry heavens around the dark room. For a long while, the room was completely silent, with each and everyone deep in contemplation and reverence. Finally, the Dragoman spoke.

She spoke of the sacred stars and their holy constellations. She spoke of the child's destiny, as written by the cosmos, and of its place in the great infinite. Solemn words about hardships and triumphs, honor and duty. A life in a dark nation under the light of the stars.

A brief history of the culture

The Seran culture got its start year 1 a.R., when a large group of people departed from the failing nation of Navaria. This happened as a result of a great exodus, when many of Navarias citizens headed east, to form the nation of Javenna.

The people who would form the nation of Serdanos were statesmen, scientists, artists and thinkers. They were the ones who could not watch Navaria fall into ruin while waiting for its vanished goddess, and so, set out to forge a new destiny. Heading westward, they came to cold, misty moors and ancient woods with giant trees. Old lands, which had never known a human presence. Here, they would start anew. This would be the realm of the enlightened, Serdanos.

Order was quickly established, when different great families all claimed a share of the power. This resulted in some early conflicts which resulted in small-scale bloodshed, but it was soon decided that this new nation could ill afford to waste lives. So a council made up of members from all great families was established. This would, in time, become the Senate which rules Serdanos.

The enmity between the families would never truly disappear however. Instead it took on another shape: political intrigue, merchant wars, spying, sabotage and much else. Family feuds would become a staple of life among the large families. In time, these arts where honed to perfection, where subtlety and finesse became the highest virtues.

During the expansion of the nation southwards, the Serans came in contact with the Lenorians. Initial apprehensiveness gave way to hostilities, resulting in small-scale wars over territories. During the second of these wars, however, a serious plague broke out, affecting both sides. The resulting suffering caused the fighting to come to a standstill, and brought an opportunity for peace talks. In time, this fragile peace became a lasting alliance, which has held even to this day.

Mentality

Serans as a whole have what other people would call a very serious, even cold demeanor. Some would even call them paranoid, a trait which often comes from a lifetime of watching your back. Furthermore, public displays of emotion (sometimes even amongst your own family) are frowned upon, as it lets your enemies know your weaknesses. Knowledge, intellect and long-sightedness are highly valued.

Though the Serans may sound horribly unsympathetic, their coolheaded and calculating demeanor has made their culture excel in scientific fields, especially medicine. They also have a deeply rooted distaste for violence, other than under extreme circumstances. Though their culture is rife with feuds and power struggles, they stand unflinchingly united against Javenna, which is still regarded as a dangerous enemy, though no large conflicts have erupted between the two nations yet.

Society

At the very top of society sits the Lord and Lady of Starlight, the most distinguished astronomers and astrologers in all of Serdanos. Their role is in large part to advise the senate regarding the course of the nation. But if they feel that the Senate is leading the nation down the wrong path or damaging its virtues, they have the power to veto any decision. The Lord and Lady are appointed by the Celestial order of dragomans, an order of the most skilled and insightful astronomers and astrologers in the entire nation.

The true governing body is the Senate, where all major families have representatives. This is where national matters are decided upon, and the Senate is the true battlefield between the families vying for power. The Senate is lead by the Speaker, who is appointed by the most powerful family. As influence and power shifts, so does the Speaker.

Beneath the Senate lies the different city councils, which reside in every major city in Serdanos. As with the Senate, every major family in the city or from its surroundings has representatives on the council. These councils govern the everyday matters of the land, as well as dispense justice via tribunals when necessary.

Most things in ordinary Seran life are dictated by the family you were born into. Honor is everything, and the more prominent your family is, the more severe its customs usually are. Not to mention that the feuds often become deeper rooted in history and all the more serious. But even though these feuds are commonplace, there is little bloodshed, as murder and similar violence are viewed as completely unacceptable and barbaric. Instead, feuds (and politics) become a game where you try to outsmart your enemies to rob them of their influence, or drive their names and careers into the filth.

Faith and beliefs

In Serdanos, people follow the Way of the Stars, an esoteric faith which was based on the alignment and fluctuations of the stars. This faith is guided by the Celestial order of Dragomans, who are astronomers, astrologers and oracles, who divine fate from the stars and their constellations. This celestial-based faith is deeply rooted, and has a part in everyday life, from birth to death and beyond. To go against that which the stars dictate is tantamount to heresy, and brings great shame.

But people also pay heed to the Epitomes, venerated individuals who during their lives accomplished great things, or were particularly virtuous. Each and everyone may choose themselves how (and if) to pay respects to the Epitomes, but often this is done in the same way in families as a whole.

Name culture examples

Female: Diaima, Eleniana, Jaljana, Firelena, Tanoali
Male: Petheso, Gastor, Maerol, Rothos, Kathos

Clothing and fashion

The Serans often prefer dark, somber colors. Their clothes have clean, straight lines, as severe as the Serans themselves. Heavy coats or multiple layers of fine cloth are vital in the chilly climate. Different types of dark lace is common, both as decorations on clothing as well as pieces of clothing in itself.

Serans mostly prefer minimalistic patterns, either with strict linework or floral motifs. Silver ribbons are often used to line the edges of clothing

Hair is almost always worn long, in simple, yet elegant styles with thin braids and only small, subtle decorations. Moustaches and beards are not too commonplace, but are always kept well managed and slim.

Jewelry is usually made of metal, as well as simple gems. Nothing should be too flashy or glimmering - they see beauty in the subtle more than in the extravagant.

Extra material

More can be found in the library