The Tirivahni Edit
The Tirivahni are said to have descended from a race of Gods, rather than evolved from a beast. There are many legends (some contradictory) about which deities exactly birthed the Tirivahni race. That said, their difficulty in reproducing and their frequent homosexual tendencies keep their nation small and their populous in check. Considering the often awe-inspiring amount of power they can wield and their Racial ability on top of that, and it is perhaps nature's (or the God's) way of keeping them in balance with the other nations of the world.
The Tirivahni are a relatively small people, with the men ranging from 5'2" to 5'8" and the women from 5'3" to 5'10". They are androgynous and smooth-bodied with cream-coloured skin. Their hair can be any shade of blue or purple, from misty white-blue to deepest indigo-black. Their eyes are almond shaped and slightly slanted, and not set overly deep in the face. They have round pupils and their irises can be any shade of green or orange. They have smallish rounded ears, straight omnivorous teeth like a human's, and can occasionally have light smatterings of freckles or birthmarks on their bodies.
The men are small and delicate, with fine, girlish hands and soft figures. They have rounded shoulders and more pronounced hips than a human boy, with often a curvature to the chest that gives the illusion of a swell when wearing a corset. They have soft facial features as well with long supple lashes and full lips, with soft jawlines and fine brows. They can grow facial hair, and when they do it is for small, finely maintained styles like goatees, soul patches or small moustaches. The majority of Tirivahni males are incapable of growing a full beard, and many prefer to simply keep themselves clean shaven. In a sense of body hair, Tirivahni men have a concentration of pubic hair above the genitals, sometimes forming a treasure trail, under their arms and occasionally on their lower legs. It is interesting to note that Tirivahni men have only one testicle, and typically small penises.
The women are not much larger than the men, but they have typically stronger lines. Where the men are rather 'pretty' the women might be described as 'handsome'. They have slightly broader shoulders, certainly more square, with equally proportioned hips as the men, but generally a more scooped midriff between the two. They hand slightly heavier hands, though not generally larger than their male counterparts, merely a more broad palm and squarer fingers. Their faces have slightly more angled brows, stronger jawlines and often more prominant cheekbones to give them a striking look. While excess hair is not common in women, it does sometimes happen, but is usually pruned in younger women, and only really is visibly seen in matrons and crones. They have usually small breasts, though they tend to swell when they are pregnant. They have clusters of body hair on their pubic bone, underarms, and sometimes on their sternum between their breasts, or on the backs of their arms or legs. Like the men, the women have only one ovary. This combination has been cited as the reason they have such difficulty in reproducing.
Tirivahni fashion has led to some confusion abroad, especially in Speritan. Both men and women wear corsets and skirts, though to the practised eye the difference between male skirts and female skirts becomes apparent. Patterns like plaid, tartan, gingham, pinstripe, herringbone and houndstooth are preferred over brocades and embroidered motifs. While colours are up to personal preference and wealth, there are no cultural stigmas around the colours one wears.
For men, the style of corsets is designed to make the torso look slim and boyish, and sometimes have shoulder straps or collars in their design (sometimes even looking like vests). Men's corsets do up in the front or on the side with buckles, buttons or hooks. Beneath this they wear a chemise with typically a collar, poofy sleeves and cuffs with either ruffles or clasps. Jabots or cravats are typically worn, though in more active professions, a more modest ribbon, scarf or tie may be worn instead. Their skirts are slim fitting to accentuate the line of the hips and bottom, with a slit either in the back up to the knees or in the front (centre or on the side) to facilitate walking and ease of movement. Beneath this, depending on the season, nothing may be worn, or leggings, or woollen pantlets in the coldest seasons. Men wear various kinds of boots with thick soles, often heels, buckles, straps, lacing or ribbon adornments. Spats are often worn over the boots. The height of the boots can range from ankle to thigh height, depending on wealth and profession. Capes, tailed coats, brocee (two-piece coats) or rosaine (vest-like coats with detachable sleeves) may be worn. Hats for men are dependant of the period in history, and have ranged from short caps to tall coachman-style top hats.
Women's corsets are more V-shaped, with panelling or adornment up the front to further accentuate these lines. Their fasten up the back with lacing which can either be tied by the wearer with a pull string, or laced so that a servant or maid needs to assist the lady with her dressing. They wear more form-fitted sleeved undershirts with typically higher collars than men, though some periods of fashion have featured bare collars or backs for women. They sometimes wear oversleeves with puffy, slashed, ruffled, or layered upper arms over their formfitting undersleeves like a little bolero vest. Women's skirts are generally puffy, either from hoops, layers, darting, crinolines or other techniques. Their skirts can be as short as their knees or as long as boot-length and in width and style depends on the era. Beneath their skirts they wear bloomers, which range in puffiness and length to correspond with their skirts, in the younger girls a common practise is to dress them in short puffy skirts and long simple bloomers that dangle mid-calf height. Ladies of quality often also wear gloves - especially ones that serve no functional purpose, such as lace gloves, beaded gloves or velvet half-gloves called 'buircee'. For footwear the ladies wear shoes, sandals or boots, depending on the season, which have a thick sole and high heel (from 2 to 5 inches). More commonly than men, women cover their shoes almost entirely with gator coverings that match their skirts. Women wear capes, rosaine coats, brocee coats or 'podaine' a cape-jacket hybrid. Tirivahni lady's hats have been typically more ornamental than men's and often pin into upswept hair. While the shape and form have changed throughout the years, there have been a range of motifs used to decorate them, from full pastoral reflections of the seasons to recreations of spiders webs and even those that utilize illusions or magic to make them appear to be made of live flame, or to have living birds adorning it etc.
The Tirivahni lost a great deal of their culture during the occupation. The following is recompiled by the Greos Tirilys records of the Yuellisi Stofftiere hidden city that thrived until Emperor Falian freed his people and officialized their records, myths, religious practises and arts.
Tirivahni sexuality is perhaps one of the freest from stigma because of their androgynous people and their hermaphroditic origins. It was not uncommon for two Gods of the same gender to sire children, or for a female to impregnate a man in their mythologies. The belief that this dubious gender-specification related to an actual absence of sexual organs, and therefore procreation performed in some more metaphysical method led to the state of difficult reproduction in the Tirivahni people themselves. Coupled with the "prettiness" of the males of their species and the "handsomeness" of their females, homosexuality and bisexuality have a high percentage. In fact, 100% of Children of Apec (the Eagle type of Tirivahni) are homosexual, while conversely 100% of Children of Ida (The Rabbit) are heterosexual. Outside of these extremes, percentages of same-sex intimacy is roughly 67% including bisexual participants. All youth are "trained" in sexual acts by older members of the same gender, before they reach adulthood and can mingle with the opposite gender if they so choose. It is not uncommon for Tirivahni to switch orientations at certain stages in their lives, especially after a prolonged relationship with a specific gender.
Marriage, as we know of it, in Tirivahn directly relates to procreation (they use the term "pedhouny") . Pedhouny involves the union of a male and a female to create a family. This generally has a great deal to do with compatibility - regardless of whether or not that also involves love - and arranged marriages are not uncommon. The animal spirits of those involved need to be compatible for the involved to be married - for instance, it is almost impossible for a Tece Iseapo-housed Tirivahni to be allowed to marry a Tenye because the Tenye is considered too weak to withstand the conception process. Once a couple is married, they cannot be divorced until the child they begot reaches the age of maturity (usually 13-15). After this point, the child belongs to the parent of the opposite gender (sons go with mothers, and daughters with fathers) unless the parent in question abdicates their rights to the child - which can only be approved in a court divorce if the parent receiving rights to the child can afford to support the children on their own.
The other form of marriage, which is not considered marriage, but is rather a joining of love, called Leithny, can be between any partners (usually homosexual, but also includes bisexual parings between three people, two of one gender and one of the other, and occasionally heterosexual parings between "ill-matched" animal spirits (such as a Tece with a Tenye), etc.) for the purpose of love. The Leithny is formed between two people and rarely has any effect on the households or worldly possessions either has access to. The point of it is to bind two people's spirits together so that they can move through life together to experience what it has to offer with someone by one's side to share it with. Normally children are not a part of this arrangement, and if they become part of it (such as in threesome pairings) the two who begot the child usually are forced into a Pedhouny in order to legally keep the child. Leithnys have at certain points in history been allowed simultaneously as a Pedhouny, since the goals of the two are very different, and often a Leithny can allow a member of a Pedhouny a greater chance of keeping a child they normally would not have rights to because there will be another involved in the care-taking process. Leithnys must be assented to by a Pedhouny partner's spouse in order to be allowed. Leithnys can be divorced as well if the two partners go their own way, but they do not require any court, merely a marriage official to absolve their soul binding. Any possessions one entered the Leithny with return to their sole possession, and any gifts cannot be retracted. Some families forbid Leithnys simply because of the wandering nature of their love as if can weaken one's availability for eligibility in an arranged Pedhouny, but many romantic stories have been written through the ages touting the tales of forbidden Leithnys and the lengths one went to to form this bond of love.
Family Units: Edit
Family units in Tirivahn consist of a Pedhouny (or in certain time periods a Leithny) and any number of children. These do not need to be heterosexual parental units, but often are the biological parents of the children. A Tirivahni male is capable of fathering children between the ages of 12-13 to 67-70 on average. Tirivahni females ovulate every two to three months (depending on which animal form they have), between the ages of 14-15 to 35-40. It is common for the patterns of this cycle to become disrupted, especially if the female is malnourished, stressed, overly physically active, injured or ill. Because of this, despite the fact that a female's cycle will not fall every month, there are still Tirivahni born in every month throughout the year.
Tirivahni will have 1 to 2 children at a time, though twins only occur 2% of the time. Generally after a birth, a Tirivahni will stop ovulating for 10 to 12 months. This enables the body to fully recover and lessen the danger to the mother of dying in childbirth, as well as maintaining that the next child will be able to develop healthily will full access to the support and growth of a strong and healthy mother. Twins generally hold a connotation of power, magic, connection, prophecy, and strong omens. This association only increased after the lives of the Twins.
Coming of Age:
As the Tirivahni have such a close relationship with nature and animals, it may be surprising that they are not vegans on the whole. Meat is eaten from specific animals (at certain periods of history, the Iseapo animals have been taboo as a meat source), and only after they have been properly blessed by a priest. The animal's spirit is prayed to for permission, and hunting methods are only ever practised in careful and humane ways. There are certain areas throughout the country that are game preserves for fish, fowl or game animals where permits can be obtained to hunt. There are no battery farms or mistreatment of food animals in Tirivahn. They treat their environment, including their animals, with a great deal of reverence and respect.
While their diet does contain meat, it is always eaten in moderation. In general, food is considered a pleasure of life, and should be consumed thoughtfully, appreciatively, and with enjoyment. Cooks are commonly employed (by a household among the nobility, by a building for the commoners, or by the family for the poor or the Greos). Mealtimes are an opportunity for community and society.
In style and content, their meals are small, rich and utilize a great many sauces. Foods are typically poached, steamed, seared, or grilled. Their food is rarely greasy, and a great many of herbs and spices are used to ensure an aromatic and beautiful presentation of the meal. For special occasions, it is crucial to have components to a meal that represent all 9 elements in order for the meal to be nutritionally and energetically balanced.
The elements and corresponding flavours are: Planet = Savoury/salty; Sun = Sweet/fatty; Moons = Bitter/dry/astringent; Light = clean/fresh/minty/cool; Dark = fermented/smoky; Air = effervescent/mild/neutral; Fire = Spicy/peppery; Water = Sour/tangy/citrusy; Earth = musty/earthy/woody. These differentiations were appropriated by the Suoro during the Tirivahni Occupation, and have now become an integral part of Suoro feasts.
Comparative Statistics: Edit
14/16. The Tirivahni are one of the most intelligent and artistic nations. They have a good balance between the functional and the beautiful, easily picking up new tasks, with keen perception, even without using their corresponding beast talents. They learn quickly, able to understand everything from science to philosophy, trades to martial arts, languages to history with competent skill. They are creative, easily reconciling opposing points of view. They show foresight, tolerance and curiosity, making them an easily integrated part to negotiations, companies and still (despite the country's outrage towards the continuing practise) slavery.
16/16. The Tirivahni are one of the wisest races in the world. They are deeply connected with the earth, spirits, Gods, magic, each other and themselves. They have a deep capacity for empathy and compassion, for forgiveness and peacekeeping. Unfortunately their numbers are small, and like any culture embracing diversity and individuality, they do have their share of deviants. However, they have been one of the leading voices of reason and sustainability after the fall of the Twins - who were Tirivahni themselves. They have been working to reconcile new forms of Ore Craft, such as modified pole arms, firearms and more advanced explosives with the old ways of magic and casting.
12/16. The Tirivahni are agile, dexterous and extremely flexible, making them superb dancers, martial artists and prowess-based fighters (such as with thrown weapons, daggers or rapiers). They are fairly fast, more based on sprinting than endurance, but have excellent reflexes. These qualities are usually (though not always) enhanced by their beast forms to reach further heights of acrobatic and reflexive skills. Their flexible tendons and joints does, however, hamper their raw strength.
8/16. The Tirivahni are about as strong as your average human, with a basic grip and basic endurance. They can, of course, train themselves up well, but on average are not inclined to building muscle mass, and instead develop a sleek or stocky form of natural strength from daily labours or exercise. It takes a great deal of dieting, weight training and hard exercise to really build up considerable strength, and even then, they have a hard time maintaining it. Women are more prone to being able to maintain strength than men, but even they rarely achieve stark definition.
6/16. The Tirivahni have an extremely poor resistance. They are soft-bodied, delicately boned, sensitive beings, making them susceptible to a myriad of diseases that strike both mortals and beasts. They often die in childbirth, even with deities and magic at their aid. They are also highly susceptible to Realm Travel, exposing them to all manner of unknown illnesses, parasites, Realm Laws and dangers that easily overcome them. On a psychic level, they are equally sensitive and therefore often succumb to brain fevers, the illnesses associated with excessive magical casting, madness, league or spirits, and - should they live long enough - dementia in old age.
12/16. Their ability to recover from illnesses is largely due to their body's high absorption rates of minerals, vitamins and magic. In the same way that they are open to disease, their bodies are equally open to the powers that would heal them. They tend to be largely influenced by emotions and mental states in the efficacy of their healing, and their beast form's Attributes can greatly help or hinder this ability to bounce back. Some find it easier to heal in an animal form, if they have a safe place in which to rest, and someone to care for them.
6/6. One of the reasons the Tirivahni, despite having the lowest birth rate in the world and the smallest nation, continue to be a driving force of chance, cultural influence and an authority on matters of world science. While the Lisdanese are greatly revered for the more mathematical, sterile aspects of science, no one knows the layers and magics of the world more intimately than these people. Their natural ability to Planeswalk has given them more knowledge than any other race on the make up of the world, and their extensive, highly active pantheon has given them a pure insight into the spiritual world. These influences and sources of information combined with their natural connection with the planet make them potent casters, easily tapping into Manna Weave and Huskline.