The modern Cellian Culture is the result of hundreds of years of Arcva influence upon the impressionable Ashanzu of the Callian rise. It has strict, regulated codes of conduct while also embracing the fluid, carefree nature of the Ashanzu in their art and mannerisms.
It is impossible to understand the Cellian way of life without understanding the significance of class to everyday life. Cellians do not take names at childhood, they earn names by their traits, profession, appearance, and most of all their social class. A typical name is broken down as follows:
Social Title + Physical Adjective + Personality Trait + Profession + Gender
There is plenty of room to play with the middle three. Some could take only two, while others may have four middle names. The first and last names (class and gender), however, are ubiquitous. The social classes are described below:
- Slave: Slaves are valuable tools who are often heavily invested in by their masters, and cared for in their old age, being allowed to retire. Poneius Rafil I issued laws in 1650 which required slaves to be able to buy freedom, made unjustified violence against slaves criminal, and made the eggs of slaves born free to prevent owners from "farming" slaves. Though these policies were not universally enforced, they have quelled much unrest among this social group.
- Grem: A commoner who is a citizen. Citizens of the Cellian Empire are given special status and are protected by the law codes of the Empai. Most Grems do physical work at a low-skilled level and are employed by higher-ups.
- Vanien: An upper-class citizen, such as a merchant or professional. While they have no official rights superior to Grems, they are considered more reputable and have access to guilds, banks, and can more easily navigate the bureaucracy. Nepotism, marriages, and protectionism ensure that a wealthy family of Vaniens does not lose their edge on rival families.
- Arcen: There are two distinct classes of Arcen. Some Arcen are Arcva, and are given this title because of their species. The minority of Arcen are Ashanzu, Alfar, or humans so wealthy that they were given the rank of nobles, capable of holding political office and commanding soldiers in battle.
- Chief/Loro: A baron who rules a single town, village, or tract of land. The title is most often appointed rather than inherited. Within the rise itself, most Loros are Arcva.
- Doga: A hereditary title given to the ruler of a region of land comprised of many Loros. All Dogas are Arcva.
- Zarod: The lieutenant of Zarodossa, highest authority in most lands.
- Empai: The "Zarod of Zarods" who rules from Werex Bankasorabeau.
Religion is secondary to the secular world for most Cellians. On the holidays of every god, there will be small festivals and merchants peddling souvenirs and trinkets. However, the only substantial temples are to Zarodossa, but worship is reserved for the clergy, and ordinary citizens may not know any religious verses.
The Cellians have worshiped Zarodossa for over a thousand years. She instructs them to work together and find their place in society which fits many of the Ashanzu's primal instincts to socialize and cooperate with each other. Zarodossa is not worshiped directly by most Ashanzu, but rather holds a special place as the "default" goddess in secular life.
Lesellia has another unique place in Cellian culture. She is the "mother" of all Ashanzu, and yet her teachings are contrary to accepted cultural practices. The carefree worship of Lesellia is reserved for holidays, relaxation, and childhood - and firmly not embraced as part of the "real world."
Darnus has another deity who is worshipped by some Cellians. Merchants, sailors, and fishermen constitute a non-trivial portion of Grems and Vaniens. Their livelihood is on the seas, and their crude ships are at the mercy of the Leviathan-God's wrath.
Husband and Wife are bound together in a family unit by a cleric of Zarodossa. Rather than a union of love, it is often business or family ties that make these matches possible. Usually both parents are young adults aged 18 to 20 at the time of union.
Couples do not raise their eggs directly. Instead, the entire extended family of a dozen married couples will offer their clutch to be raised by their grandparents, effectively skipping a generation. In some instances, middle-class Vaniens may pay for others to reproduce on their behalf, and the children will be adopted into the family. Genetic heritage is less important because there is little variance from one Ashanzu to the next.
Cellians are conformists by nature, tending towards a centralist "True neutral" alignment. Inherently, most are Good aligned in private and present a stoic, neutral face to the public. Their laws are powerful, making them behave Lawfully.
The Long Night
In the year 1358, the Callian Rise was united by Dondorius II. Celebrations were ended by the Rendiol named Cedorax, lord of the southern ocean. He was insulted that the Ashanzu in the Callian Rise had ceased to pay tribute to him, and sought revenge against the followers of Zarodossa. Dondorius Rafil II had the bulk of his army around Vitro Auq, and would be many weeks away if something happened to his capital city.
Cedorax flew to Werex Bankasorabeau the night of the 38th Zastiken, 1358. He unleashed magic and his acid breath upon the city and the Betalium Wall. Ships in the harbour floundered, and many hundreds were killed. Smoke from the fires blocked out the sun, and there was no light until the morning of the 40th of Zastiken. Cedorax returned to his lair, and vowed to return to the city each year unless tributes were resumed.
Dondorius II instead created powerful ballistae and placed them along the Betalium wall, equipping them with harpoons and chain to take down a rendiol. His Venificors trained in the art of fighting Rendiols, and slew many which lived in the islands around Arcellus. Cedorax did not return the the city, and continued to raid ships that sail through the sea which bears his name for many years. His recent inactivity suggest that the old Rendiol may have died or moved elsewhere.
Each year, large military parades take place. Officially, all citizens are forbidden from working and must practice fighting. In practice, it has become a day for wrestling, drunken melees, and play fighting.