Ghidovians were conquered abruptly in the year 240 by Muat Rafil, Zarod of Ghidovia. Their many cultures were brought together and forced into the mould that fit the purpose of their Arcva overlords. Upon winning their freedom in the year 936, Ghidovia did not fragment back into its various regions. The people of Donoughen, Wheat Tribute, Firesky, and the Tundra had become so tightly knit by the Arcva that their new culture was now more similar than it was different. Ghidovians made for strict rulers and disciplined subjects who possessed remarkable bravery and curiosity.
The thread that binds most Ghidovian culture together is magic. Ghidovians are students of the Arcane and have become unmatched on Altus, capable of the most complex and powerful rituals ever to exist. They feel as if the titan mother gave their species a special power that makes them the only species with a claim to the titan's throne. Although their past has been painful, no Ghidovian doubts that one day their nation's destiny is to rise from the ashes and claim the cosmos with their sapphire banners.
Ghidovians are polytheistic by nature, and hold all of the gods in tempered reverence. Religion in Ghidovia centers around food. Ever since Ghidovians settled here, they have struggled to feed themselves. The wildlife is scarce and migrates over harsh terrain in the winter, making hunting difficult except for those adapted to the winter. Fishing was often impossible due to Cellian control of the coast, though even then Ghidovians lack the naval expertise to man large oceanic ships. The forest itself is toxic, and the acidic soil of Donoughen was difficult to grow food in. The cruel joke of Ghidovia is that the land is plentiful in every resource except the ones needed to survive, and religion reflects this morbid reality.
Though they live in a Zarodom, and are sworn to give their lives to Zarodossa, old ways from before the Arcva conquered them remain strong such as their worship of both Alnasian Creatures such as the Phoenix Menelion that lives in the Storm Mountains or regular contact with petty Demons hidden within the dark depths Donoughen. Nonetheless, Zarodossa is patron of the arcane arts which have ameliorated the lived of all Ghidovians, and her disciples are deeply integrated with the Mana Seeker and the Archmages.
The dark, cold Donoughen forest is inhospitable during the summer and permits only the most meager of agriculture in areas with less acidic soil near dried lakebeds or reclaimed land, or far to the north. Perhaps this is why the winter brings stories of Akatu like the Starland Visit and an obsession with death. In death, bodies become chilled and can have adverse magical effects, and it was the First Winter that brought about the seasons.
Lesellia is mother of all humans, and her words are in conflict with the society that many now live in. Respect is given, but generally Lesellia is not worshiped in Ghidovia except by the nomads who roam the southern tundra. Hunter-gatherers who rely on fate to feed their children are an exception, at least until things become truly dire.
During the long summers, northern Ghidovians rely on Feyus' light to farm. Rituals like the Sun Dance are carried out in most villages before crops are placed. Farmers whose crops are ruined by freak frosts or short growing seasons may be skeptical of Feyus, but fear angering the sun god.
Ghidovian families are headed by the eldest female, and families trace their ancestry through mothers. The difference between the sexes dates to nomads who relied on men as soldiers and women to carry knowledge from one generation to the next. Most families will live together in large groups, with all the children marrying and staying in the house of the mother. Always keeping the same hearth within the family means that many Ghidovians are extremely attached to their birthplaces, and never leave a few dozen kilometers of home.
Men are able to enter contracts and participate in lawful society. However, they are restricted from holding authority greater than a Winter Augyr. Some notable men have become members of the Retuvian Guard. Another exception from the nobility exclusion is the Mana Seeker, typically a close male relative of the Zarodess, who leads and trains all ritual casters within the Zarodom.
The culture of Ghidovia is most likely to be Lawful Neutral. The nomads of the south are more likely to be Chaotic than the rest of the country.
When the world was young, Ghidovia was a great meadow at the base of a colossal pine tree as large as a mountain. Its people grew all variety of food beneath the canopy from the light of giant glowing pine cones touched by Alnasia. Millions of Ghidovians lived in a city named Ailt in the deepest part of the basin, and they never had to fight, go hungry, or work hard. One Ghidovian named Falir grew old, and wondered if the pine cones could help keep him young.
He climbed a tree and knocked down one of the cones. When it fell, the trees shriveled and died, its trunk turned to stone and became Kryus peak. The needles turned to ash and fell to the ground, ruining all of the fields and making them become barren. Though the pine cones grew new trees, none were tall, and none had the power to feed Ghidovia. So many people were sick and hungry that Akatu descended from the starlands and had to shepherd the entire civilization to join her in the heavens. Only Falir and his children survived, and they were forced to live in the harsh land their father had created.
As the dead grew colder, the rivers froze and snow began to fall. The death caused by Falir made the First Winter. It was because of this that each season the chill of death returns. Some clerics believe that if all war and suffering were to end, the winters would cease to occur and Akatu would no longer seek revenge against their race.
The people of Ghidovia close their doors and stay indoors well before dark on the 30th of Akaken, when they believe Akatu returns to look for Falir. During the following day, a large celebratory breakfast is held and most stores and work is postponed while they celebrate having survived another Starlands Visit.
A tall pyre of wood is stacked in alternating rows in the center of town each spring around the start of Lesiken. These stores are not to be used over the winter even if the temperature grows cold and peat runs empty. The plains north of Donoughen are bare of wood, and it must often be brought up the Wheat Tribute for more elaborate pyres in New Ghidovia.
Then, as dusk settles on the evening of the 61st of Lesiken, one day before the spring equinox, drummers start to hammer out a rapid song. As they do, archmages conjure fire blasts to ignite the bonfires and accelerate the burning. Dancing and music entertains at night in the first party most villages have in the year. Then, the next morning everyone returns to have a ceremonial breakfast and watch the end of the bonfire. If the archmages were successful the night before in crafting the blaze, there will be no dark for the entire night until the sun rises again, stronger than before and ready to warm Ghidovia all summer.