The Ter'aysThe Ter'ays people evolved from a combination of Speritanian and Suoro bloodlines, with tampering from the Northern Ancients to develope their natural magical abilities. They developed a Racial ability due to this tampering which is their modern source of pride and power. Even though they are physically strong people and resisilient, they rely on their mental powers more, and take their physical capacities for granted. This is especially evident in their women, who will bend to a Fudorian man, even though they could easily overpower him in a contest of strength. Due to their desert climate, they are leathery, sinewy, angular people, and inherited the dark colours of their ancestral races.
Appearance:The Ter'ays are characterized by their russet skin, a reddish brown tan, with its nearly leathery texture and dry tightness over their bone structure. They do not have much fat or water in their make-up, making them looked nearly pinched or sallow in extreme cases, and lean and hard in the majority of the population. Their hair is either lustrous black or glossy auburn. Their eyes are either a brilliant malachite green or garnet red. Their features are generally angular and sharp, with excentuated skulls, long noses, strong jaws, long necks and limbs, defined joints and wide flat ribcages and hands and feet. They have straight teeth like a humans, with a small pair of incisors near the front and a row of molars. Their pupils are round like a human's and their ears, while rounded are longer along their skulls, with especially pronouned earlobes that become even more prominantly stretched from their heavy earrings.
Their women are very hourglass shaped, with strong shoulders and broad hips, with the torso nearly stretched between these two points. Their limbs ten to be thinner than their male counterparts, though this may arise from their exclusion from many male professions that make more use of the Ter'ays physical strength and stamina. The female hands and feet are also generally smaller and finer, and these are considered a point of beauty on a female, and in higher born females, or wives of wealthy men they go so far to bind or treat them with cosmetics to keep them frail and small looking. Ter'ays women range in height from 5'10" to 6'4".
Ter'ays men are broad and flat, with sharply angles shoulders, ropey, sinewy muscle and often prominent veins beneath the skin. They are rather straight in line, with very little curve to their waists, and can develope quite prominant bellies from overeating in the wealthier aristocracy. They generally develope more body hair than the females, though it is usually sparse and wiry over the backs of the shoulders and spine, buttocks and legs. They also grow rather thick beards which or usually styled with oil and jewellery. The men range in height from 6'0" to 6'5".
Fashion:Both men and women wear a great deal of jewellery in Ter'ays, including glass beads, gold plates, chains and talismans. They often pierce their ears multiple times and prefer earring sthat dangle, jingle or sparkle in the light. Such jewellery goes beyond the standard bracelets, broaches, rings, necklaces and earrings. They also wear hair pieces, including cuffs that wrap around sections of hair (including braids and dreadlocks), hair beads, combs, hair sticks, pins and hair broaches to adorn and decorate their ornate hairstyles. Both men and women often wear long hair. There are several orders and occult groups in Ter'ays that ritually cut or style their hair in certain ways, and these can be distinguishing features as members of certain groups, such as the Aezraito'Alokiev (the most powerful and famous magic school in the Western lands) that has all of their men keep their head hair short, no longer than 1 inch, and a long rat tail which is wrapped, braided or otherwise bound which they continue to grow down their backs. Men also grow their beards and decorate them with beard cuffs, hoops braided into the beard and scented oils and mineralized make-ups to colour or decorate the beard. While goatees, shin straps and other partial beard styles are most popular, there are those who grow longer beards and braid into them, but these fashions are more restricted to the wandering nomads of the La'nihm'ar deserts. Men of status or wealth often also wear kohl or other make-up around the eyes, usually a simple painting of the upper and lower lid black, blue, gold or red. Royalty often will also glue gold beads or mineral powders of sparkle along the top lid or outer edge of the eye or cheekbone.
Women wear generally more cosmetics than men. Unmarried women wear red, black or purple lipstick, but once married it needs to change to white, peach, rose or other pale colours to make the mouth less enticing to other men. They paint designs around their eyes in any colour they can acquire, though green, gold, blue and purple are generally more expensive than ochre, red or black. These designs can range from the temple to the bridge of the nose, and from the top of the eyebrow to the cheekbone and consists of swirls, angular lines, dots and geometric shapes. There are peddlers in the major cities who sell their skills as face painters, and go door to door applying cosmetics.
The standard garment of the Ter'ays people is the Tyrin, a length of fabric that is wound around the wearer and tied in different ways. The simplest forms of tyrins are single toned, single layered silks or muslins that one can tie without assistance. As the rank and wealth of a person increases, the Ter'ays layer their tyrins with complimenting or contrasting patterns, colours and textures, at the height of quality featuring embroidery of beads, coins, silk threading or metallic thread. These hi-end tyrins can be finished on the edges with beads, tassels, fringes, ribbon, embroidery, coins or - in the case of the court ceremonial fortune tellers - delicately folded paper birds. Bright bold colours, complicated patterns (either woven into the fabric, dyed or hand painted), and assymetrical knot patterns are the markers of good taste and wealth. It was said that the Emperor Sou Santai once wore a record 108 tyrins for a council, but had to remain seated the entire assembly, so weighed down was he by all the gold, beads and silks that he could not stand without his slaves carrying the folds of his sashes, sleeves and hem.
For footwear, it is not uncommon for the Ter'ays to go barefoot in lower stations. Clay sandals (usia), in some areas reed boots (yiu'yerut), leather booties called 'yerut', or in the palaces and fortresses silk slippers are worn by some Ter'ays. There is also a form of footware used by performers, tumblers and acrobats in the famous Ter'ays circus troops called 'asan'usia' which are flat hoops fastened at the front and back of the ankle to an anklet like secure. The Ter'ays foot hangs from the ankle and they walk instead on these hoops of metal in a bouyant, floating movement used to represent deities in pantomime and in circus performance dance and acrobatics.
Culture: The Ter'ays have had no little amount of clashing with the Koholeans and the Briandynians by turns for their differences of opinion on many topics, from faith to the role of women in society. The Ter'ays have an extremely mysogynistic culture, treating women no better than slaves. Their females have no rights and are counted among the possessions and property on the males in the family. Women are not allowed to enter churches, and have small temples specifically for their own worship to keep them separate from the men. They are not allowed to attend universities, but are allowed to study independantly or with a tutor if they have the time, money and talent. They are expected to bear children, run the household, care for the stables, do the mending and cleaning, cooking and finances. They are not allowed to publish works or theses, and are not allowed to enter assembly. Sexuality: The vast majority of Ter'ays are heterosexual, with a mere 4% of males and 6% of females developing same-sex leanings. Homosexuality is illegal and socially unexceptable, to the point of those caught in the act being punishable by death. The large majority of men who do find themselves unattracted to the opposite sex suffer in silence, marrying as they are expected to do and producing an heir and then pursuing a vow of celibacy. For homosexual women, they are either sold off into marriage by their fathers or brothers regardless, and are forced to a life of rape and childbearing. For the brave few, they masquerade as men, and seduce females as lovers. For the heterosexual, sometimes things can fare hardly any better with arranged marriages stiffling the marital happiness of many Ter'ays. The heterosexual at least have the freedom to take semi-secret lovers, mistresses or gigolos if they can afford to.
Marriage: Marriage is arranged in Ter'ays. Only the poorest of the poor can marry for personal desire. all tohers are forced by their families and their fortunes (or lack thereof) to try to couple with those of higher financial earning, better social status or better personal skills or qualities. In these marriages, the male selects the female that best matches his needs, and approaches her father (or brothers if the father is deceased) to negotiate terms of marriage. Terms generally include a compensation for the daughter - usually a one-time payment of goods or favours. The daughter's family is then tied to the groom's for the duration of the daughter's life, and they support each other financially and socially. If the groom wishes to divorce the wife, he must pay the initially terms amount plus a pre-agreed to multiplyer for the number of years they were married back to the daughter's family in order to break their ties. In some cases a male may choose to marry a group of sisters in order to ensure undivided loyalties from her family - especially if the family has especial clout. A man also has the right to take multiple wives if he can afford to support them all, and all the subsequent children. These harems usually also include any number of the female household staff who aside from their duties around the house also have no rights to refuse their master sexually. Children of slave unions are sometimes raised by the household wives - especially if male - but as often as not are sold into slavery. The poor, or anyone without a household, often buy themselves a wife from the slave traders, who offer girls as young as 12 for sale as wives, though these girls often have no social standing and little to no training as wives. Still, their one-time purchase price is usually half to a tenth of the price of an official terms marriage and there are no pesky alliances to be upheld afterwards. These wives can also be discarded when they become unattractive or if they fail to produce an heir with no additional issues. The actual act of marriage is literally a written contract done up between the groom and whomever is responsible for the bride. A notary is hired to countersign the contract, and a copy of it is kept on receipt by both parties. Physically nothing really changes between them, though many males do choose to regulate what they wish their wives to wear or not wear.
Pre-arranged marriages can be organized between friends or allies, or occassionally between old enemies to maintain alliances.
Family Units: Generally the goal of a wife is to produce an heir, which is almost always the eldest male. In extreme cases, the father can proclaim is rightful heir incompetant or toherwise unfit to inherit and completely disown him. To do this, he actually needs to have grounds to kick the man out of his household and has his name stricken from the will. Otherwise, the eldest male naturally succeeds the family fortune and becomes executor of the estate when the father passes away. his fathers surviving widows become the property of the son. He can distribute them as slaves or wives to himself and his brothers if he so chooses, or he can sell them back to her surviving family or slavehouses if he is so inclined. most keep them on as usually one of these women is their own mother, and they keep them to take over the books and oversee the slave household. A few take their own mothers as their own wives.
Usually a Ter'ays woman will bear from 3 to 5 children for her husband, although if there are many wives in a household, then she may only bear 1 or 2, and the other wives contribute their own offspring. On average a well-to-do family will have approximately 13 children. Coming of Age: The coming of age of females is when they spring their first menses. At this point they are eligible for marriage and for childbearing. This age is between 12 and 15. For boys it is when they begin to grow facial hair, usually between 13 and 17. Death: Death by natural causes is something looked towards with sobriety, but death by any other cause - murder, sickness, accident is feared as a bad omen or the wrath of the Demon Sarmin.
Comparative Statistics:Intelligence: 13/16. The Ter'ays are notoriously clever - but a great deal of their ability to use and manipulate information comes from their ability to read minds. They combine temporal earthly-bound law with spiritual law and use this combination of approaches to address matters of magic, science, religion, social structure, work and invention. For this reason they manage to excel in creating high works of art, music, textiles, spices and accessories despite their arid desert climate and harsh heat. Their one real downfall in intellect is their refusal to credit women with any intelligence whatsoever, going so far as to claim they cannot reason, make decisions or understand information. There are exceptions to this rule, such as fortune-telling, weaving or jewellery-making. This lack of female input leaves Ter'ays decision making cerebral, often biased and lacking compassion.Wisdom: 13/16. Ter'ays Wisdom is largely influenced by their deep pious faith in the Old Gods, the perceptions gathered by their Racial Ability, and their deep ties to the Dream World, the Shadow Realm, and the Realm of Ghosts. Their pursuit of metaphysics, fortune-telling, prayer and meditation lend them insight, perspective over time and information they might not otherwise have access to. This limitless possible knowledge is hampered only by their corporeal ties, their expectations of the world, and their deeply seeded cultural ideals.Agility: 10/16. The Ter'ays are marginally faster than humans, with excellent hand-eye coordination, balance and most Ter'ays are ambidextrous, easily dual-weilding weapons or tools. They have fast reflexes, and long, lithe, efficient limbs, enabling them to expend less energy for the same output of force or speed. They are endurance machines, designed for the long haul, and able to go for days at a time (even weeks for the most powerful) without food or water. They register information very quickly, enabling them to react nearly instantaneously.Strength: 15/16. The Ter'ays are not as strong as the Koholeans, but are still a great deal stronger than the Fudorians, making them one of the most physically formidable races in the West. They have strong grips and raw brute strength, but their real strength lies in endurance and stamina. They have a flexability to their sinews and muscles that enables them to resist rigid force well, and maintain dominance over another even on dubious terrain. However, in utilizing their Racial Ability, they lose a great deal of this flexibility, making them prone to injury if exerting themselves in this state. A great deal of their strength is not utilized, as they value acts of the mind over those of the body.Resistance: 13/16. The Ter'ays are highly resistant to the elements, especially to heat, wind, sand, lack of moisture and long distance travel. Their downfall is moisture, mold, and cold temperatures. They are fairly durable physically, with a natural bowing of their bones and flexibility of their tendons that helps prevent injury. Their skin can become hard and leathery from excessive exposure, but they are still easily pricked, punctured or stabbed. Their bodies are long and square, enabling them to set stances and bear great weights or forces, though blunt trauma directly to a bone, joint or muscle grouping can still be quite damaging. In stamina and endurance they are strongest, able to go for long distances and times without food or water - beginning at a single day, and increasing to nearly two weeks among those most highly developed.Recovery: 11/16. The Ter'ays recover well, though not exceptionally. They fight off illness and magical trauma well, with strong immune systems that deal well with defending the body. They are moderately suceptible to poisons, though many make a point to building up immunities to local toxins - such as certain snake venoms or scorpion stings. They have a harder time healing from open wounds, and almost always have thick, bad scarring - sometimes even if healed by a proficient magical healer. Their bones often don't set properly if broken, leading to permanent pain, disfigured shaping of the limb, loss of nervous function of muscle stability.NMP: 5/6. The Ter'ays have a great capacity for channeling magic. They are very good at learning rituals, formulas and recipeés. With their stamina they can complete a great deal of casting. While not the most proficient - limited as they are by their climate to their sensativity or competency summoning certain elements less connected to them - they do remarkably well and have managed to keep pace with many of the leaders in magical creation and practise in the world. In fact, on of the greatest academies for the instruction of magical forms is in the La'nihm'ar deserts of Ter'ays, called the Aezraito'Alokiev.
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