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Sôrijan Culture


Overview
The S˘rijan mentality's origin lies in the urge of their creator, the divine S˘r, to basically have scouts. The S˘rijan therefore are most of all curious explorers. Because of his policy of remaining hidden, S˘r did not prevent his creatures to compete and struggle against each other. On the contrary, he believed, that competition would encourage growth. This resulted in the first battles among each other. The whole S˘rijan map shows numerous smaller territories, ruled by scholars, warlords, kings and later priests.
Apart from the high recognition of scholars, their culture is dominated by merchants and the military. In the Eastern Realms, the academies and their leaders, the magistrates, often rule, since the Eastern Realms contain a lot of the old spirit of the founders originating from Tark. The Western Realms were for long ruled by a nobility that stems from Darto. But in later days the merchants gained more and more power, which first proved fatal for the city of B˘r˘k and later for Donarhar, which, weakened by the rise of the trade federation of Taipar, could not withstand the attacks from Okira. With the rise of the Cult of the Golden, religion seized power in the Western Realms, first in the ruins B˘r˘k, later in Naritor.


Family structure
S˘rijan live in small family units. Parents have one up to five children. The first two children, male or female, inherit half of the parent's estate each. This is mostly true in the rural areas, where land is divided. When the children marry, both, man and wife often bring in one share of land, so that in the end the estate of the new family retains a similar size to that of the parents. Their families often even exchange tracks of land so that the estate is not split into smaller units. Those being born later than second normally do not marry another first or second born, though this tradition sometimes is overcome. Those children that do not inherit any property move out of the family to start their own business or farm. Thus the S˘rijan spread further.
In the cities it sometimes happens that none of he children decide to learn their parent's trade. Mostly the parents do pay for their children's education, but the children do loose their inheritance. Instead, an apprentice from another family is often introduced into the family structure as if adopted, to replace the legal child as heir.
Older S˘rijan remain living with their children even if they are no longer able to act out their trade. They are honored for their knowledge and experience. In some rural backwaters the ancient tradition of euthanasia on senile individuals is still alive. This is true in some areas around Sirhapa or Pabaei.


Education
As stated above, knowledge plays an important role in S˘rijan life. Therefore, the academies or universities are always an integral part of every S˘rijan city. The city's academy defines its wealth and prestige even more than economic or military influence. In an academy, young S˘rijan can learn reading, writing, basic mathematics and fundamental pieces of their history. After one year of basic studies, they specialize in one of four areas: Cultural science (including history), natural science, technology and warfare. The latter is mostly strategy rather than fighting skills.
Apart from learning a craft, a second way for a S˘rijan to get education is the military school, which is normally situated near a city's walls or just outside its gates. Graduates from military school become officers in the militia or, if the city has, army. Foot soldiers are normally recruited from unskilled citizens or third born farmer children.
The third large educational institution in most larger cities, especially in the Western Realms, is the Merchant's Hall. Here, the sons of merchant princes learn the trade. Since in some of the larger cities of the Western Realms the merchants gained a lot of power, most diplomats are recruited from Merchant's Hall in these areas.
After the plague of 1011pD. the Cult of the Golden gained a lot of influence in most of the cities of the Western realm. Here and in many villages temples were erected. Priests were educated in Borok and in Naritor, where both a theocracy ruled.


Celebrations
Apart from special local events, S˘rijan culture knows four annual festivities: one at beginning of a season. The biggest of these events is the turn of the year. Due to differences in the reckoning, some of the areas of the Eastern Realms and a number of smaller villages on the outskirts of the inhabited areas, these festivities can be held on slightly different dates. These holidays are not to be compared with Kurmiric festivities. They are somber and quiet days on which the S˘rijan honor their ancestors and those protecting them, i.e. the local lord or priests of scholars. Both Borok and Naritor also celebrate the birth of Kaja, while Naritor also celebrates the liberation from secular powers in 1029pD.


Gender relations
S˘rijan culture makes no difference between genders. The one (big) exception is the position of a king or lord in the Western Realms. Darto, founder of the first royal dynasty, had only one son. By tradition, the kingship was handed to the oldest male descendant. In contrast, the highest positions in the Cult of the Golden are taken by mostly female S˘rijan. In all other areas, including academies and military, men and women equally assume high positions.


East vs. West
There is a great cultural rift between the eastern part of the area inhabited by S˘rijan and the western. The first settlements and larger cities developed along the south eastern shore of Baitikar, whilst the western cities, especially along river Fengkar are much younger. The Hatara mountains that separate the east from the west are a strong wall that made the two develop independently. Religion for example is unknown in the east. The academies wield more political power and the merchants much less. The constant fighting and the fact that the area is relatively small (being only a narrow strip of land between coast and mountains) makes life much more focused on relations of the different protectorates with each other, while in the vast west settlements can exist away from any conflict.


Rural vs. Urban
Especially after the rise and reign of terror of the empire of Katarka (211-128bD.) large numbers of peasants fled into the yet uninhabited west. Detached from all cultural and scientific development, these peasants retained a relatively rudimentary and primitive culture. When the larger cities were founded, the lords from the south (G˘rta and Donarhar) found themselves surrounded by an almost entirely different culture. As a result, cities that were founded by the lords and kings forbid the country people to enter the city. Trade was done in front of the gates, so that in many cases, suburbs arose outside the walls, sources of crime, violence and prostitution beyond the control of the city guards. Once in a while the city's military destroyed these suburbs in order to make way for an expansion of the walls or when the situation got out of control. Tanaki and Satanu on the other hand were founded by peasant population as trade centers with the other realms.


Protectorates
A protectorate is the prime political structure of the S˘rijan. A protectorate is the area that is protected by a city's government in return for tolls. These protectorates can have one or more larger cities under its influence. The cities within the protectorate are controlled by a governor with limited military power, while the capital is ruled by a supreme power. In the Eastern Realms this power is called the lord and is either also the magistrate, the head of the local academy, or installed by the magistrate. In the Western Realms, that supreme power is mostly the king. Here the political power is mostly independent from the academies, though he is advised by a council in which at least the magistrate or a number of academy tutors sit.


Cities Religion

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