One of the five races in the West, the Briandynians are known for their white skin, pointed teeth and large jewel-like eyes. They possess a Racial Ability known as the Celestiere which enables them to consciously control of their body temperature and emitted sound, to move without disturbing their environment and to dash over short distances in the blink of an eye. They are the longest lived race in the known world, with a lifespan of 800 years by this point in time. They are physically very weak but extremely agile and intelligent, with tapered ears, doll-like proportions and pristine, flawless features. Both men and women grow to a height of 4’8” to 5’2”. Their hair is white or pale butter-coloured; their eyes are bright blue, purple or green. Mismatched eyes are common and considered beautiful.
The Briandynians are considered one of the living proofs that Magic exists. Their evolution was heavily tampered by magic, the Gods they worshipped (namely Cerato, Aspen, Vitellia and Clemetite), and their climate. This hybrid created a unique race that in a few generations became the longest lived mortal race in the world. Modern Briandynians live for 800-1000 years. Genetically speaking they evolved from a cross-breeding of Suoro and Tirivahni ancestry, but while the magical potency of both races remains in them, they further changed to become something entirely unique.
Briandynians are tiny, frail and unearthly in their beauty. They are extremely effeminate and androgynous, and their markers of beauty would be easily compared to the ideals of beauty for the women of some human nations: delicate features, smooth skin, large eyes, pouting lips, silken hair, long eyelashes and long slender bodies. This is their demand of beauty from both male and female, with a desire that it be nigh impossible (clothed) to tell the two genders apart. In fact, the more obvious one's womanhood - shapely hips or large breasts - the less appealing she becomes to Briandynians; likewise, the broader shouldered and stronger jawed a male becomes the less attractive he is considered. Regardless of gender, the Briandynians grow to between 4'8" and 5'2".
Briandynians have white, hairless skin, smooth and transluscent as alabaster and as completely white as snow. Their hair is fine and wispy, straight and silken, at times so fine it is transluscent. It grows either white or Swedish blond, though the later is preferred aesthetically. Their ears are tapered and curved slightly towards the skull at the end, and have a distinctive conch shell shape to the body of the ear. In some cases this distinction is so sharp that it looks like a small rounded sphere or ear with a thin, curved sickle rising from behind it. Their teeth are all small, pointed and fang-like in shape, commonly referred to as fanglets. These teeth help them shred and grind through the tough root vegetables of their climate, the hard, lean game meat, and many dishes made with frozen foods or ice. Their eyes are unusually large in the skull taking up anywhere from 40 to 60% of the face, leaving their noses and mouths tiny by comparison, delicate and barely protruding from their smooth, elegant mask-like faces. Their eyes in colour and vibrancy are jewel like and often have been equated to faceted gemstones; they are either purple, blue or green, though mismatched eyes are common - about 25 to 35% of the population have one blue and one mismatched eyecolour. This is considered desirable and strikingly beautiful. Their pupils are round like a human's but proportionate to the size oft he eye itself. Their heads are proportionately large for their small, slender, frail bodies, with their limbs long and slender, with little to no muscle definition. They have small-palmed, long-digited hands and feet, with small shiny nails. While their bodies have hair follicles, the hair is so soft, short and fine, that it is hard to see at all, and the only places where it has any prominance is under the arms, between the legs and the head and eyebrows/lashes. Neither men nor women grow facial hair until they reach the Elder stage of aging, in which the hair turns white if it is not already, and begins to curl, along with a long curling beard (on both genders). But this process will be discussed in more detail in the Celestiere Racial Ability below.
Fashion is a delicate and complicated art in Briandyna - nearly rivally the cultural implications of Suoro fashion. It is ever a balance between the tantalizing hints of flesh or body that are shown by the clothing, and the need to keep warm and dry in their cold, often-damp climate. While the Briandynians are capable of moderating their body temperature with their Racial ability, this requires the expenditure of calories, and when travelling in an often scarce landscape, frugal use of this ability has lead to their relying on warm clothing. While they do use a few padded garments, they prefer the sleeker method of layering and lining fine fabrics with warmer materials to keep in heat and out damp.
Briandynian silks are among the most valuable in the world, as they have a light, airy weave so fine that it pours like water and flutters like smoke. Some are so finely woven that they are transparent, others so tightly woven that they can carry water. Furs and feathers are commonly used for decoration, ringing cuffs or collars for warmth, lining boots, jackets and cloaks; white furs are most desireable and most plentiful, though rarer black or blue furs can be found, though usually dyes are utilized on white furs to give the appearance of these rarer commodities. Furs are often silk-screened to have patterns like spots or stripes, or even images of designs, flowers, birds or landscapes. Stiff taffetas, plush velvets, glossy satins, transparent organzas, waterproof camlets and fine wools are all used in their clothing. Colours are usually bold and jewel-tone, and an entire ensemble is made tailored to match. Rather than printed patterns, woven brocades, ribbon stitched decoration, beadwork or detailed embroidery to the point of tapestry-like appearances are used for decoration or to break up solid colours.
In design, both men and women wear robes within the city. Robes are usually layered with soft, delicate underclothes and heavier, warmer or more durable layers atop, but usually the cuts of outer robes are designed to show parts of the layers beneath, and sometimes of the skin beneath that. Verticle cuts or slashes are often in fashion, as are scooped necklines, corsets, waist bands, belts or bodices to bind the torso and make it have a more curved, flat-chested appearance. The length of robes is usually floor length, with long trains not uncommon, though panelled hems to allow for freer movement of the legs via a slit up one or both sides is also common. Cloaks are generally worn inside and outside of the cities, though the indoor cloaks are more decorative and light than the heavier, hooded, lined outdoor counterparts. Within cities, silk booties, stockings or socks are sufficient, whereas fur-lined boots and heavier footwear are for trekking outside. Leggings, tights, stockings or slim-cut underpants are usually worn for warmth or cover beneath robes. Glovelets, arm-covers, decorative sleeves with puffed fabric, slashes, ribbon or hanging bellsleeve hems are often worn in the upper classes or court finery.
Jewellery is usually silver or white gold, with yellow gold only used in ceremony or decoration, and rose gold reserved for marriage rites. The use of necklaces, rings, bracelets and earrings is common among the people. Mutiple piercings are common for both male and female, and dangling, moveable, drop-like jewellery utilizing set gemstones, engraving and laquered inlay are popular. Hair ornaments and crowns are reserved for the nobility, and are uniquely crafted for each monarch.
Briandynian culture is peculiar because of the longevity of the people. It does not operate on a system of night and day, but rather of a number of days or night in succession spent awake or asleep, working or relaxing. Also, because of how long they live, they do not rush, but take their time and prize perfection in all things. They are able to spend years on a simple project that another race would need to complete in shorter spans of time to make use of the end product.
In the West the Briandynians have the highest rate of homosexuality, though a great part of this has been attributed to the difficulty in distinguishing between the two genders. In fact, the numbers are more probably as follows: 70% are bisexual, 20% are heterosexual and 10% are homosexual. They also have about 12% of their population that are hermaphroditic in that they either possess both sexual organs or they shift from one gender to another over a span of about 100 years. The matters of preference are considered unimportant in Briandynian culture, and the orientation of one's sexual preference is not something that is ever a surprise. In sexual potency, Briandynians exude a semen-like fluid before intercourse that lubricates their sexual organs. The act of intercourse then spreads the sperm for best opportunity of insemination. If this fluid is cleaned off before intercourse, there's is little to no chance that pregnancy can happen. For this reason, the Briandynians usually use hand-made lubricants instead of their natural lubrication fluids.
The concept of marriage is a great deal different for Briandynians. Firstly, gender is not at all an issue, secondly it has nothing to do with their religion. The Briandynians believe in something they call "The Other", which is something like our concepts of Soul Mates. They believe that souls are bound to a person through an ethereal gateway or portal like a crystal or glass that refracts the energies, memories of past lives and personality into the husk that is the body. It is these souls that differentiate one person from the next. When the body dies, they believe this soul merely drifts off again to await the next body it will take as its own. Each soul, they argue, is merely half-complete when by itself. Only when it finds its corresponding partner or complement will the bond between body and soul open to its fullest extent. In this fully opened state, both Briandynians of a pairing will be at their best, most optimum potential of skill, memory and ability. Only in this state will memories from their life pass back through the gateway and imprint upon the soul to be remembered in later lives. So, when a Briandynian finds someone they feel a true connection with, and they believe them to be their Other, they go to the mystics to have their gateways opened to see if their souls are compatible. If they are, their gateways remain open and from then on their paths are intertwined. This connection of the gateways lasts for the remainder of the Briandynian's life, so there is no concept of divorce. A couple can remain involved even if they are not bound together, they simply are not as deeply connected. In a state of Connection, a heightened awareness of one's partner's emotion state, pains, desires and dreams are also connected and they literally share their lifes experiences with the one they love with their full body, mind and soul.
Briandynians have only 1 child at a time, though the gestation period takes 100 years, and goes in four quarters of 25 years during which various stages of the feotus developes. Each female Briandynian can have a maximum of 6 children in her lifetime, and it is not uncommon to have siblings with several hundred years between them. It is not required that there be both a mother and father present for the raising of the child, as all children are raised with help from the community - either the Briandynian's relatives or neighbours in the community. Because of the hive-like cities that the Briandynians reside it, one's neighbours can be merely across the hall or the next set of chambers.
Coming of Age: Edit
Natural death for the Briandynians has no associations with sadness, grief or mourning, but rather is a point of pride. As the Briandynian becomes an elder and then passes into death, their body undergoes the Racial Ability change called Sounaplastre (see the Racial Ability section below). When death is an issue to be lamented is during murder or accidents transpiring without other Briandynians being able to help the wounded. In these cases, dirges are held in which a Dirge Chorus is hired to sing for the deceased.
Because of the huge sprawling cities of the Briandynian people, their libraries and learning institutions are like small cities unto themselves. The Briandynians are said to have the most impressive libraries in the known world, with billions of records, tomes, parchments, scrolls, charts, maps, records, chronicles of history, theses on every subject under the sun from magic to mathematics. These Libraries are free to any citizen or traveller, but no works are allowed to be removed. Instead there are lavish sitting rooms where one may read, and even Scholar's Quarters where more long-term students can spend several nights' sleep while studying. Education on the whole is not organized, but is subsidized by the monarchy. There is no mandatory schooling and no testing of knowledge. Anyone who wishes to learn may enroll themselves in classes. There is usually a fee to cover the teacher's wages and materials, but the Monarchy covers tuition and often sponsers some courses for free. Similar to auditing a university level course, the students of these courses can take them at any time, and are free to learn at their own pace, often taking part in tutoring groups or study groups with other students for discussion and debate in the auditoriums. There are no final exams, and no diplomas given out, merely the record that they completed the course and a comment from the professor regarding the students involvement and understanding through discussion of the material. For courses in which one is training for a trade, hands on labs are required, often with practicum training so the students are able to practise their skills before 'graduating'. Courses can be taken by themselves, or with others as long as the student organizes their own schedule without overlaps, and can be taken at any age.
Briandynian cuisine is light, and often considered to scant to satisfy other races. It usually consists of thin watery soups with extremely subtle flavour usually lost on coarser tastebuds, plenty of steam, baked or roasted fowl, occassional salted or smoked fish, ice fruit, prepared roots and root vegetables, plenty of iced dishes and desserts, excellent ice wines, light, dry baked goods and a wide variety of sauces, preserves, marmalades, jellies, butters, creams, spreads, cheeses and caviars. Their meals are generally presented as smorgasboards of mutliple dishes with the idea being to taste many flavours and dishes, contrasting, complimenting and compounding flavours. In every meal there is at least one dish of spicy, salty, sweet, savoury, bitter, tangy, bland, sour or tart, and root/earthy flavoured. Because of this, there is a minimum of 9 repasts in a single meal. Dining is an affair that is to be done slowly, with relish, company and coversation, and takes no less than 3 hours.
The Briandynians have perhaps the most extremely imbalanced statistics of any race in Ul-Zaorith. They have among the highest and lowest of stats, and due to their unique physiology and long lifespans which affect their schedules and approach they are further differentiated from the rest.
Intelligence: 16/16. The Briandynians have an aptitude to fine detail, for complex layers of thought and a great ability to hold opposing views simultaneously, which makes for great debate, but also enables them to be contrary merely for the point of being disagreeable. They are creative with knowledge and open to new theory, development, discovery and integration of old knowledge with new. Because of their long periods available for study, they are able to assimilate a great deal of understanding in a single head offering unparalleled depth of vision. Because of their deep interest and investment in magic, this intelligence has been applied most ardently to the study of the Realms, and it has been the Briandynians who are one of the leaders in the world for study and travel into the other Realms. In fact, prior to contact with the East, the Briandynians made a great deal of progress and advancement, knowing a great deal about the Realms, and even helped to add to the Eastern bases of knowledge when they began sharing findings.
Wisdom: 16/16. Again, in wisdom, the Briandynians are keen and adept, with highly attuned senses of taste, smell, touch, sight and hearing. Because of this, their arts - musical, culinary, fashion, art, prose and poetry - are all among the most complex in the world. Indeed their textiles, their lace in particular, is considered the finest in the world. Their art, poetry, music and prose is layered with complex and subtle technique and execution of skill, harmony and implied depth so that it is often lost on other races on whom its nuances are lost. Because of its sublime level of achievement, however, even those who lose the meaning, still appreciate the beauty as one with no knowledge of geology can still gasp at the splendor of the mountains. Their hearing, eyesight and sense of smell are all double the capacity of a humans, with a much greater range of visible colours, higher and lower frequencies, and over 800 olfactory receptors. They are able to distinguish levels of flavour and distinguish independant ingredients in a mixed dish. Their touch is sensitive not only to tactile touch, but also to the sensation or feeling of manna in the air along with the weight of gravity, illness and imbalances, and even vibrations such as those of crystals and elements. Because of this physical sensitivity, their Racial Ability has enabled them to dampen their physical sensors to things like temperature or wind chill to better suit them to their climate.
Agility: 16/16. Small, lithe, nimble and extremely agile, Briandynians have reflexes twice as fast as a human, moving from stillness to full motion so quickly that they can move in the blink of an eye at full speed. Their actualy timed reaction cannot be measured with the tools available on Ul-Zaorith, but by comparative standards are reckoned to be mere fractions of a sentance. This speed is in part allowed by their small size, often enabling them to displace their low gravitational weight to move faster, however this frailty of their structure also provides little protection on impact or contact with other things when moving at their top speeds. Aside from being incredibly fast, they also possess incredible grace, having very dextrous, nimble finders and toes, highly adept flexibility and self control and highly develope ranges of movement. the majority of their people, for instance could easily perform the contortions achieved by the most skilled human circus performers. This has developed their dance forms to be very difficult and often alienating to other races who find their capacity super-mortal.
Strength: 6/16. By the extremes of their flexibility and lightness of their speed, they have completely sacrificed strength. The average Briandynian is weak as a baby. While the average human can lift their own body weight, a Briandynian is lucky if they are able to lift a third of their body weight, which is considerably lighter than a human frame. The average Briandynian weighs roughly 35 pounds, and can lift about 12 pounds. Because of this natural weakness, combined with their natural aptitude for magic, they use magics to madify their own strength or the weight of the things they are attempting to use to even the scale.
Resistance: 5/16. Also because of their lack of strength, low musculature, thin bone structure and small stature, the Briandynians are among the most naturally vulnerable race in the world. They break bones easily, tear skineven more easily, become riddled with poisons and diseases at the drop of a hat and have a weak constitution. The smallest disturbances in their normal daily routine can throw their immune system, emotional well-being, metabolism, digestion and equilibrium entirely out of whack. They have the benefit of extremely in-tune senses to these changes from their high wisdom and therefor are able to take steps to magically, medicinally and otherwise combat the issues that would plague them.
Recovery: 4/16. Briandynians heal perfectly and cannot scar. Why do they have such a horrifyingly low Recovery then? Because the way their bodies achieve this - and the secret to their longevity - is that their cells reproduce extremely slowly, lasting a lot longer because of their hale structure and copy perfectly every time. No cancers, no scarring, no tumours. However, the amount of time that it takes to undertake this slow, steady, deliberate renewal of the body's building blocks leaves them horribly vulnerable to the ravagings of quickly-reproducing vruses, poisins that interfere with this reproduction and the very seriosu threat of bleeding todeath before the blood would even begin to clot. Because of this, they rely extremely heavily on magic, their Racial Ability, medicine and support from their countrymen to stay alive. this has in part given rise to the huge conglommerate cityscapes and also has furthered their studies of medicine, magic and their Racial Ability.
NMP: 6/6. One of the three races in the world with a rating of 6 for their Natural Manna Potential, the Briandynians are incredible when it comes to casting. They easily channel the worlds energies, because they are so sensitive to the presence of magic around them and are well-aware of the Realms, they are able to master magic and accurately direct its course. Because of this, they have become somewhat the authorities on magic, and are respected throughout the world as experts on anything to do with casting magic, including things like Esoterics, Illusions, Enchantments, Alchemy, Charm Work, Spell Casting, Divinations, Metaphysics, Conjuring, Summoning, Rune Work, even Bardic or Druidic forms of casting which are not unique forms of magic in and of themselves.