Hailing from the southern borders of the realm, Farin are known for their strict martial upbringing, their partiality to coffee, and cultural intolerance of alcohol. Their duchy, hot and dry in climate, borders the Daravi Sultante, constantly pitting their population against Lithmore’s fiercest enemies.
As a people, Farin tend to be far taller than most others, and powerfully built with heavy slabs of muscle. While many Farin are dark complexioned, from warm gold to deep ebony in skintone, their appearance can vary wildly with any hint of foreign blood. Their natural hair tends to range from a
darker brown to deep black, though a sun-bleached auburn is not peculiar, even on those black of skin. By and large, most Farins have naturally curly hair, though not all. Eyes are uniformly light brown to deep black. Sometimes, they are known to bleach or dye their hair with natural products such as lemon juice and henna.
Average Height/Weight Statistics:
Female: 1.85m (6’1″ ft) 70 kg (158 lbs)
Male: 1.90m (6’3″ft) 92 kg (207 lbs)
Farin climate varies depending on region. North Farin has hot, dry summers and mild winters with moderate rainfall and no snow, resulting in a savanna environment with short grasses and shrubbery. The Tarn Mountain region also has hot, dry summers, but its winters can get very cold (although it is usually too arid for snow to fall). The rest of Farin is famous for its scorching desert, which can be both beautiful and deadly. Rain does not fall at all during the hotter months and only a few showers manage to soak the ground during the winter. Relief from the heat comes after sunset, when the dry air cools rapidly and significantly. For this reason, most social events occur at night.
Engagement: The Farin engagement process is regarded as a business transaction between the two families involved, and the terms of the marriage often take months to negotiate. The intended husband is expected to present the bride’s family with a gift, usually gold or treasures, as a display of his ability to care for her and as a repayment for taking one of the family’s precious daughters. The daughter has no say in the decision; if her father agrees, she must marry the man or run away and risk being disowned. Numerous songs tell of pretty peasant girls who save their
families from destitution by marrying a wealthy Knight, or of wild-spirited girls who run away from a particularly cruel suitor.
Wedding Ceremony: The Farin wedding ceremony is an ancient ritual that was adopted by Farin Davites, and therefore it is unique in comparison to the other marriage customs in the Kingdom. Unlike most masses, weddings are conducted outdoors, usually at the most lush garden that can be located in the area. The bride is traditionally dressed in blue (or at least some blue elements, if the dye for an entire outfit cannot be afforded) and the groom in pure white. The audience is separated into the two sections, one for the bride’s family and one for the groom’s, with a wide aisle in between. The groom waits by the altar with the presiding priest while the elder of the bride’s family walks her down the aisle, then hands her to the groom. They hold hands while they give their vows (usually written
themselves), then the priest places one flower crown on the bride’s head and an identical one on the groom’s, murmuring a fertility blessing. Then the couple are paraded in a circle around the altar five times (some
whisper that this is to represent the blessings from the ancient gods, but most simply explain it as “old tradition” connected to the joining of a couple for the creation of life) before they finally kiss and the ceremony is over. A public feast usually follows, then the couple departs for their new home at the groom’s family house. In North Farin, some couples exchange wedding rings at the same time that they are crowned with flowers, but this is adopted from the Lithmorran ceremony rather than tradition.
Dancing: Music and dancing are present at just about every public occasion in Farin. Unless one is missing a leg, one does not avoid dancing. It would result in public ridicule. Children learn to dance at a young age, if not from formal lessons then simply from attending festivals. Dancing is not considered “girly” unless that particular song is meant to be danced to only by women; even the gruffest soldier will get up and dance when the music is appropriate (to admit that he cannot dance would be embarrassing and emasculating). Farin dances are typically done in circles or spirals, with the lead of the line performing fancy moves like kicks or flips for a few moments before moving to the end of the line to allow the next lead to take his spot. Some male-only dances even involve the juggling or swinging of knives and swords. Outsiders have remarked on Farin dances, “It is amazing to witness, that people who have suffered so much over the centuries yet retain such a zest for life, such bursting joy.”
General education is not priority in the minds of the Farin people. It is a luxury reserved for those who can afford it, where both finances and time are concerned. It is extremely rare for a poor Farin to know how to read or write, and most only ever learn basic counting from their meager monetary transactions. The poor are typically born into their profession, learning the trade from their parents and then going on to teach it to their own children in time. Most only know how to say a few simple sentences in Lithmorran, although they may learn more if their profession
Those of the middle class send their children to local one-room schoolhouses, where classes are taught by one or two members of the clergy. Children normally attend these schools from ages 4 to 10 and are taught a variety of subjects, including reading, writing, history, counting, computation, Lithmorran, and Davite religion. The length of a school year and hours of classes vary from town to town, but in most cases the semesters run from Maritus to Maius and Septembris to Novembris, with three-month breaks in between so that children can learn and perform their household duties as well. Classes are not held on holy days, Votumas, and Solisda. Attendance is not compulsory, but since the schools are run by the Church for no expense, most parents who do not need their children to work will insist on sending them. By age 11, most children go on to apprentice to local masters or to assist their parents at work or home.
Gentry and nobles look down upon the crowded classrooms of the public schools and prefer to keep their children at home. Instead, they hire private tutors, experts in their particular subject, to teach the children of the family (who are often numerous enough to fill a small classroom on their own). Boys are taught fencing, politics, economics, law, and military strategy. The education of girls focuses more on culture, dancing, music, painting, and embroidery, although they are increasingly allowed to sit in on the boys’ lessons. Both sexes learn history,
religion, and several languages. Lithmorran is the sole language used in the classroom, Farin being considered informal, and Vavardi is the most popular foreign language of study. Education usually begins at age 4 and goes on until age 16, when the boys leave home to serve in the military.
Farin clergy tend to wear dull colors, often foregoing robes entirely to appear humble and devout before their congregation. Mass in Farin is a highly social event, with significant attention to giving voice to community concerns. The sermons are usually highly interactive, freely inviting parishioners to add comments or opinions so long as they do not derail or interrupt the priest. Communal wine is prohibited entirely, and instead the chalice is filled with spring water. In the Farin culture, Knights Lithmorran are accorded primacy, and sip from the chalice even before the officiating priest. They also, on a fairly regular basis, lead the community in brief sermons; and it is not altogether unusual for Knights to retire into the service of the priesthood, becoming lay advisers and consulars attached directly to a reigning bishop.
Family in Farin
Due to its close proximity to Daravi lands, the Farin Duchy has been for some time under constant threat of attack. Old habits die hard, and for this reason the ability to produce children — especially children who will grow up to serve and protect the front — is highly valued by the Farin people. Families with fewer than four children are almost unheard of, and it is not uncommon for a widow/er to remarry relatively quickly after the death of his or her spouse. In addition, many Farin men who have served on the front return to marry women who have just reached the marriageable age of sixteen (help En Passant). To a lesser extent this holds true in reverse as well, and thus couples whose ages differ by ten years or more (in either direction) are perfectly commonplace and, in certain small areas, encouraged. Annulments are uncommon, unless the couple fails to produce a child within a few years, in which case most Farins would not think twice.
Farin clothing is designed primarily with practicality in mind. The Kingdom’s hottest duchy requires the appropriate clothing for its climate, which can at times be “skimpy” compared to the costumes of the northern duchies. That is not to say, however, that Lithmorran modesty has not influenced the Farin people, especially those of the upper classes. Married women are especially expected to maintain a high level of decency and remain covered even in the most sweltering weather. Yet even when covered head-to-toe, the Farin’s clothing is always loose and light enough
to allow for the free movement of air.
Status: Small details mark the differences in rank between people in Farin, making it more difficult for the casual observer to tell a noble from a commoner. Sumptuous fabrics like silk are difficult to obtain, especially in the far south, so even nobility are most frequently clad in common cotton or linen. The easiest way to determine who is of the highest rank is to look for the one who is dressed in the most colorful clothing. All Farin favor bright colors, but only the richest can afford multicolored patterns in their garments or elaborate embroidery. Stripes and flower
patterns are especially popular. The poorest can be found wearing undyed linen, and little of it, at that. Gold thread and jewelry is reserved for the nobility and high-ranking Knights. Members of the clergy, by great contrast to the ceremonious Lithmorrans, are often the most humbly dressed of all, and even a bishop would avoid wearing gold.
Colors: Warm-colored dyes are the easiest to obtain in the south, so most Farin clothing is crimson, pink, orange, or yellow, with the occasional splash of green. Black, white, or undyed fabric is also popular, particularly with the lower classes.
Jewelry: All Farin people, even peasants, adorn themselves with jewelry. The lower classes tend to wear wooden beads, plain or painted in bright colors, on necklaces, bracelets, or in their hair. Higher classes prefer ivory or precious stones. The most common stones are malachite, hematite, obsidian, turquoise, lapis lazuli, and jasper. Malachite and hematite are said to protect from witchcraft. Also, all Farin have some type of ear piercing, and frequently pierce the nose or navel as well. Metal armbands are popular when sleeveless.
Men’s Clothing: The cut of Farin men’s clothing is nearly identical no matter what social class the wearer comes from. Shirts are high-collared, long, and nearly formless. Their long sleeves billow out to give plenty of
space for air to circulate, and are sometimes gathered at the wrist. A decorative vest may be worn over the shirt. For formal occasions, a slightly more fitted, high-collared coat will replace the shirt altogether. In the cooler winter months, ponchos or shawls are worn over their attire. In the hottest months, men are excused from wearing shirts, even in public, although the practice of going topless is considered low class. On their legs, Farin men universally wear puffy pantaloons. These skirt-like trousers can be either knee- or ankle-length, but whatever the case, they are never tight like Lithmorran leggings. To protect them from the sun, Farin men wear a variety of headgear. Higher classes tend to prefer stylishly colorful turbans or bandannas, while workers choose the more
practical wide-brimmed straw hat.
Women’s Clothing: Unmarried women, particularly those serving in the military, are socially permitted to dress themselves as men, or wear gowns and shirts which are sleeveless. Traditional Farin women’s clothing, being
considerably more cumbersome than men’s clothing, is usually limited to wear by married women or women who are most interested in displaying their femininity, such as those seeking to soon be married. Many modern Farin women do not even wear gowns until the day of their En Passant. The proper woman wears a billowing, ankle-length, shapeless gown with a high collar and wide sleeves. In cooler months or on formal occasions, the gown is accompanied by layers of decorative shawls drooped over the shoulders. To complete this feminine outfit, a veil is worn over the hair. The veils can vary greatly in length, thickness, and style. The most modest woman would wear a veil which reaches her ankles and covers her entire face save her eyes, but this is hardly necessary by most standards.
Farin cuisine is known for its intense flavors, colorful decoration, and the great variety of spices used. Maize is a staple of the diet, being cheap and easy to produce even in dry climates. It is used in making pastes, broths, and tortilla which, along with pita bread, is used as a wrap. Most Farin meals are eaten as wraps. Chicken, beef, and lamb are the most common meats, but beans make an excellent substitute. Tomatoes, lettuce, onions, squash, chili peppers, avocados, sweet potatoes, papayas, pineapples, bananas, radishes, and cheese also find their way into wraps.
Spicy sauces, sour cream, and guacamole further serve to enhance the already strong flavors. Brown rice is a popular side dish.
Alcohol is uncommon in Farin and never served with a meal. Instead, Farin drink coffee (hot or cold), chocolate, milk, pineapple juice, or coconut milk. Sweet corn cake, flan, marzipan, and rice pudding with cinnamon are favorite desserts, although fresh fruit is preferable when possible. The most popular dessert fruits are watermelons, cantaloupes, pineapples, bananas, and grapes (including raisins). Sugarcane is also often chewed raw as a snack.
Honor is by far the most important virtue in Farin society. It is what makes a person truly human. To put up a facade is to refute one’s own existence. A liar is only a shadow of a man, someone who does not exist in reality. If one is revealed as a liar, the social ramifications are numerous. A single lie could cost someone a friendship, for if they have lied once, how can one ever know if they’ve lied numerous times? Infidelity, disloyalty, and lying are the greatest crimes after witchcraft and heresy, and in some fanatical places those crimes are punishable by branding or death.
Farin people also consider drinking alcohol immoral, for it dulls the mind and often leads to sinful acts. Cafes take the place of taverns as a town’s social gathering places. The Farin do, however, love a good party. Festivals are held often, even during times of war, to increase morale, and everyone is free to engage in boisterous dances with multiple partners. Smoking tabac is also a favorite means of relaxation for Farin, especially men.
Religion is important to Farin life. Mass in Farin is a highly social event, with significant attention to giving voice to community concerns. The sermons are usually highly interactive, freely inviting parishioners to
add comments or opinions so long as they do not derail or interrupt the priest. In the Farin culture, Knights are accorded primacy, and sip from the chalice even before the officiating priest. They also, on a fairly regular basis, lead the community in brief sermons; and it is not altogether unusual for Knights to retire into the service of the
priesthood, becoming lay advisers and consulars attached directly to a reigning bishop. Farin clergy tend to wear dull colors, often foregoing robes entirely to appear humble and devout before their congregation.
The Farin duchy is not only known for the excellent soldiers it produces, but also for its unique exports that are impossible to find in any other place in the Kingdom. Because Farin is a mostly desert environment, sand is in abundance and, as a result, glass is a major product. Glassblowers are some of the wealthiest artisans in the duchy and new varieties of colored glass are being developed every year, supplying churches around the Kingdom with their brilliant stained glass windows.
The Tarn Mountains in Farin are a large source of some of the Kingdom’s finest gems. Diamond, turquoise, opal, obsidian, jasper, garnet, and lapis are a few of the most important precious stones found in their mines.
Farin’s most important crops include sugarcane, coffee beans, bay laurel, mandrake, cumin, cotton, curry leaves, vanilla, coconuts, oregano, chili peppers, saffron, cloves, and myrrh.
Farin also supplies the Kingdom’s wealthy with exotic pets such as monkeys, parrots, tigers, lions, elephants, giraffes, and even rhinoceroses. The strange animals found in traveling Charali circuses were most likely
purchased or stolen from Farin.
Although in slight decline since the shaky peace at the border, the slave trade of Farin is still strong. The wealthy of the Kingdom look to Farin for its slave workers, and Farin delivers with captured Daravi, kidnapped
Charali, and even Farin who have been convicted of serious crimes which did not warrant the death penalty (such as failing to pay taxes or repay debts). The children of Farin slaves are born free, however, but it is not
so for the children of Daravi or Charali slaves. Therefore, Farin slaves tend to remain in Farin, often working for the people they are indebted to, while foreign slave owners prefer to purchase Daravi or Charali, knowing
that they can then breed more slaves. Slave trade is a dangerous but lucrative business, and a slave trader will usually not mention their business while traveling, for they are often met with distrust. While the kidnapping of Charali is not exactly smiled upon, there is no law which attempts to stop it.