Lithmore

The central duchy of the nation and seat of the Royal Family, Lithmorrans proudly lay claim to the City of Lithmore, capital of the realm. They exist in the middle of all trade, having the best access to goods from other duchies and regions, and thus have developed a distinct culture of their own. However, their religion has bred intolerance and deep-seated xenophobia. Lithmorrans make a concentrated effort to differentiate themselves from those of other duchies and believe their own ways to be superior as proven by the Lord of the Springs in their conquests during the Consolidation. Time has only further increased the close-minded attitudes of Lithmorrans as subsequent kings and nobles have themselves taken steps to secure the authority of Lithmore above all others.

Alternately, Lithmorrans enjoy the riches of all the duchies and are among the most educated peoples of the realm due to their culture of familial fidelity. Parents are duty bound to see their children with an education while children are bound to obey their parents until they are married (regardless of age, en passant, or gender).

Lithmorrans are the only distinctly fair peoples of the realm barring the fiery, redheaded Charali. However, their pale skin, blue, green and gray eyes, and blonde features tend towards the cooler palette. Women wear their hair long as do men, both typically tying it back and away from their faces, and it runs the gamut of straight to curly.

Average Height/Weight Statistics:

Female 1.63m (5’4″ ft) 55 kg (124 lbs)
Male 1.67m (5’6″ ft) 63 kg (139 lbs)

Appearance

Lithmorrans are the only distinctly fair peoples of the realm barring the fiery Charali. However, their pale skin, blue, green and gray eyes, and blonde features tend towards the cooler palette. Women wear their hair long as do men, both typically tying it back and away from their faces, and it runs the gambit of straight to curly.

Women stand on average about three inches shorter than their male counterparts at about 5’3″.

Architecture

The main building material for Lithmorran homes is timber, though larger public buildings in the city proper frequently have the benefit of Vandagan artisans who built, for example, the cathedral. Timber forms the main structure of most buildings either way, and wattle the filling. Daub covers the structures and is usually white-washed to prevent the seepage of rain. These basics of Lithmorran construction change with regards to the amount of money available to the owner of the property to build, however, as seen below:

Wealth in homes is displayed by the number of rooms available to those who live within it as well as the type of roofing. Rich homes have wooden or pottery shingles and wood or plaster floors. They may also have several rooms, or even several stories to their home.

Perhaps wiser than the rich, the poor use reed thatching to roof their homes. The waterproof material generally provides better insulation – but the rich can afford firewood more easily. Poor homes, however, are almost always one or two rooms and suffer hard-packed dirt for flooring.

Both rich and poor alike sweeten their homes with flowers and herbs, though rich prefer potpourri to rushes. Likewise, all Lithmorran homes have a hearth.

Climate

The Duchy of Lithmore enjoys the myriad weather offered by a temperate climate. This includes sweltering, humid summers and freezing, dry winters. Spring brings seasonal torrents of rain and fall icy breezes and gusts to shake leaves from the trees.

Customs

There are several customs that are distinctly Lithmorran and rarely shared by the other duchies:

Church Spires: No building may be higher than the local church or cathedral except the king’s palace – because of this custom, church steeples are usually visible all over towns and cities.

Masculine Bias: Despite the Decree of Sodality, while legally women are equals to men, the social times have yet to fully catch up. Women have less freedom to behave as they please and the concept of propriety binds them as strongly socially as the old laws did economically. For example, women who wear their hair loose are usually considered to have loose morals, and frequently it’s a signal that Lithmorran prostitutes use to ply their trade. Equally, however, men are expected to act the gallant or may lose esteem in the eyes of his peers. Ultimately, men and women enjoy very distinct gender roles, despite the equality inherent in Lithmorran law.

Taverns: During bad weather, Lithmorrans almost always visit the local tavern for gossip and company. The worse the weather, the more likely commoners and nobles alike will seek the company of others, both family and stranger. It is said to stem from the Law of Caring, but the true origins of this tradition are more likely in the farming cycle. Good, warm weather is reserved for time in the fields and cold, poor weather offers a break from self-imposed isolation. Regardless, whether a Troubadour is present or no, the onset of cold days and rainy weather calls for a good story or shared gossip at the local tavern.

Witch Balls: Lithmorrans often wear or hang hollow wax balls about their person or in their home to ward off witches. Particularly wealthy Lithmorrans may have glass balls instead of wax. It’s believed that these hollow balls will trap evil inside instead of letting it affect the ball’s surroundings.

Education

Education for Lithmorran children starts at the early age of five, although toddlers are taught rudimentary information such as colors and letter identification by their mothers or nurses, before entering the formal compulsory education system. Even the smallest of villages has a local school, usually taught by a younger woman or an acolyte of the church, for the Lithmorrans hold a basic education as much of a necessity as food and drink.

Boys and girls of all classes are taught the essential skills of reading, writing, counting and computation. These skills are taught by using the Erra Pater; children cut their teeth reading the holy text, and learn how to write by copying the Holy Scriptures. It is a rare occurrence for any Lithmorran child to have reached maturity without possessing these skills, as the church and state funds these mandatory schools, attended for 4 hours in the morning by the young pupils. For the lower classes, their education is completed by age twelve, leaving them free to work the fields or take up a trade with a master.

For all but the most base and impoverished of the classes, these are just the basic rudimentaries of an education that is built around diplomacy, theology and history. Children of the nobility, and those of aspirant gentry folk, spend longer hours with private tutors who drill children vigorously on church doctrine, foreign languages and historical fact. No child of fine birth would come away without having at least a sound knowledge of Vavardi as well, being a mark of pride to be at minimum bilingual.

In addition to those base sophisticated topics, children with a particular interest in a field will likely receive advanced training to prepare them for their vocation to come in the days ahead in areas such as economics, business, law, music theory, art appreciation or advanced theology.

Commonly, the daughters of the nobility learn the practical skills such as embroidery, singing, dancing, poetry recitation and potentially a simple instrument or two. Some show promise and become aficionados that make for entertaining pastimes in the evenings. The sons while also learning the finer skills of dance, music and occasionally art, are more likely to be taught the more practical skills of weapon handling and warfare. By the age of their majority, such children are typically afforded the opportunity to further their educations at the University, although frequently they will forgo this save the most scholarly of souls, or dedicated of students.

Faith
Lithmorran clergy tend to bear some of the most elaborate and ornate rituals, as well as some of the greatest overt wealth of any diocese save perhaps Vandago. However, perhaps to avoid the impression of excess opulence, Lithmorran priests forswear the wearing of gems or jewelry. Rather than glamorizing its members, the Lithmorran clergy devotes much of its money and energy into creating great monuments and works of art to the honor of Dav and the Lord of the Springs.

Utterly lacking in small shrines, Lithmore is dotted with medium-sized and especially large cathedrals, especially in the city proper, and thus is the traditional seat of the High Synod.

Family
Puritanical in nature, marriage is put on a pedestal by Lithmorrans. Once wedding vows are taken, they are inviolate, and frequently these vows are not for personal affection, but a contractual arrangement between families. Couples are usually no more than a few years apart in age, and rarely have more than five children. It is almost unheard of for widows and widowers to remarry except after a good length of time has passed; if one were to marry more quickly it may be viewed a sign of infidelity.

Similarly, divorce is absolutely not allowed, though annulments may occur at highly irregular intervals, and even so, Lithmorrans highly oppose the procedure (help Daisy Chain). Lithmorrans rarely lose contact with their more distant relatives, and the focus of relationships within a family unit is that of filial fidelity.

Fashion
In dress, Lithmorrans are one of the most conservative of the duchies though they enjoy some of the richest variety in cuts and styles due to their central location as the hub of the realm.

The entire body of both men and women is covered with material, including wrists, neck, and ankles. In art, a display of bosom indicates a prostitute, and anything below the collarbone is generally considered lewd.

Proper women wear dresses or skirts, or divided skirts if mobility is an issue. Ankles and wrists are considered objects of desire, making the dagger sleeve and other loose cuffs filled with laces and undercloths popular. Sleeves, therefore, almost always cover the wrists and frequently more, sometimes trailing loosely over the fingertips.

Women almost always braid their hair or wear it pinned up beneath the scarves and hats they wear. Loose hair, as with a visible bosom, is a sign of loose morals.

Lithmorran dress is distinctly medieval in style.

Basic Elements

Cloaks: Almost every Lithmorran, from richest to poorest, owns a voluminous cloak, and wears it frequently. The cut of such cloaks frequently bears a mantle and slit-arms to prevent drafts during winter months, though richer persons do tend to own a winter and summer cloak.

Hats: Both men and women are fond of hats, the more artistic the better. It is not uncommon for Lithmorran women to be seen in stylish wimples and pillboxes that are adorned with jewels or flowers, depending on the woman’s social standing as well as the season. Men, on the other hand, have taken to molded hats, often in shades of lightest gray to deepest black, of brushed wool or velvet, decorating them with such things as peacock plumes or a band of fur at the base.

Stockings: Equally, no Lithmorran garb, despite class or gender (or even weather) would be complete without some form of hose or stockings.

Status: Social status is apparent through the types of cloth, quality of dyes, fashionable design and the sheer amount of fabric a person wears. No matter the season, Lithmorrans frequently use a lot of fabric, layering clothing so that the colors and materials of clothing beneath are apparent, and the more money one has, the longer one’s tunic or blouse. No woman, however would wear a tunic without a skirt to cover her legs.

Colors: While not the “blind peacocks” typical in some duchies, Lithmorrans do prefer the bold use of colors, usually deep and gemlike greens and blues.

Trade

Being conveniently located along the Bren River and central in locale within the Kingdom, Lithmore is a bustling trade center, with merchants bringing in imported goods in exchange for the local export goods. There is a variety of naturally recurring resources that amply provide a preponderance of highly sought after commodities throughout the kingdom, including food stuffs, clothing concerns and minable alloys.

The Lithmorrans produce and trade in high quantity quality dyes in the following colors: blue, yellow, green, pink, grey and black. Among their other exports are wool and honey, products of the rolling hills in the southwestern reaches of the duchy. Mines produce copious quantities of quartz, tin, copper, and marble. Bronze is readily made from the tin and copper and also sold for a premium.