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L. Shelby - Ialfa Fantasy World - Cultures - Fesc

Fesc

The fesc are a tall "redskinned" people (that means they are brown, with a slight reddish cast, as opposed to brown with a more golden cast, not that they are actually red. This is a fantasy, I probably ought to specify that.) Although the other peoples of the world refer to all members of the Puceser genetic grouping as "Fesc", culturally speaking the coastal Puceser should be considered seperately. The remainder of the Fesc consistedof two large groups: the settled agricultural people of the southern plains, and the nomadic people of the interior highlands. These two peoples have closely related interdependant social structures, and speak a variety of closely related dialects.

Both of these groups are further divided into two additional subgroups. The nomads -- "the people of the sky" are divided into the "people of the wind" (hunters) and the "people of the sun" (herders), and the settled fesc -- "the people of the plain" are divided into "the people of the dirt" (farmers) and "the people of the grass" (herders). Each noamdic tribe is made up of both sun and wind, and each of the plainspeople's villages is made up of both dirt and grass. Both are considered vital to the survival of each. Also, it is considered vaguely incestuous to marry a member of the same subgroup as yourself, and this is highly disaproved of. Marrying across the sky/plains border does occasionally occur, although only rarely between the people of the sun and the people of the grass -- who have just enough in common to really hate each other. Although it occasionally happens that a man gets adopted into the other subgroup because he is better suited to its lifestyle, this has a tendency to limit his matrimonial prospects to outsiders, since he is now 'related' to both subgroups amoung his own people.

Fesc nomads tend to be slightly taller than the other members of the Puseser genetic grouping. They are much despised by their neighbors for their harsh lifestyle, poverty and 'barbaric' ways, but physically they are an impressive group, often reaching six feet tall. Males typically wear a cloth wrapped around their waist, and very little else except for their tattoos and jewelry. They also make grass skirts to wear for festive occasions and cerimonies. Female nomads wear either a slightly wider cloth which they wrap around under their arms and which would typically fall to mid thigh, or if they cannot afford a cloth of that width, a cloth skirt and wrap around bodice. Capes and drapes made out of cloth, or ocassionally feathers are worn by both sexes, both as festive or cerimonial wear, and in the mornings and evenings when on particularly high ground, which can get chill.

The tattoos of the male nomad tell the story of their accomplishments, and since the "warriors of the wind" value different skills than the "warriors of the sun" they can be used to tell which subgroup he belongs to. Differences is style may also reveal tribal associations, but the nomadic tribes are informal groupings and usually lack the coehesiveness nessessary to devellop distinctive styles. Nomadic allegiences are made individual to individual. It does not appear to bother them to know that someone they are travelling with and sharing living space with today, they may be fighting next year. Part of that indifference may be because fights between nomadic groups are rarely with deadly intent. The two main goals of the nomadic warriors are to steal cattle, and subdue their opponents. A subdued opponent is taken as a slave... his wife, if he has one, may choose to join him in captivity or not.

While the nomadic males are fierce rivals and even enemies as often as they are friends, the nomadic woman favors strong cross family ties. Because she will marry a man of the other subgroup, her aunts are often a better source of wisdom and training in specialized skills than her mother is, and she is dependant upon her mother-in-law for a home when she first marries, for -- unless they give it away -- a women owns whatever she makes, and that includes the tent that she lives in... but tents are heavy, and a woman without a man to help her transport her tent in unlikely to be able to keep it. Women are responsible making and maintaining the tents, tanning and preparing hides, weaving and spinning, cooking and childcare.

The principal source of wealth of the nomads are their cattle. Which means that the people of the sun are inherantly wealthier than the people of the sky. (Anyone -- male, female sun or wind may own cattle. But a warrior of the wind is expected to leave the herds frequently on hunting trips, and it is difficult for him to amass as much hoofed gold as his cousins. On the other hand, he is more likely to be able to supply his wife with exotic luxury hides, which have a high trade value, and make prestigious gifts. Also, because of he travels a little more than a warrior of the wind is more likely to have the honor of being an "elephant friend".)

Hexblurb for Frozen Witness
 
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