This Ethnographic Outline gives a brief overview of all major ethnicities and societies of Elondor designed as a point of entry to those not familiar with its landscape of nations. The article is organized by primary ethnolinguistic groups, giving general information before proceeding to a listing of subgroups. Not that this is not an exhaustive list, but merely meant to introduce the reader to the most important ethnic groups and their characteristics. More detailed accounts can be found the respective main articles, which are linked throughout.
- Main Article: Ortûlékian peoples
The Ortûlékians have their origin in the cold and rainy plains of Belkondíl, but they do not easily remain in one place and can now be found in nearly every corner of Elondor; and that, upon their tendency towards conquests and massacres, mostly in powerful positions. Initially living in a clan-based and largely genderless society, their different ethnicities’ cultures and languages have diverted wide over the millennia, adopting many of the traditions of their host countries as well as conceiving of their own innovations. They are typically tall, light-skinned, and light-haired.
- Main Article: Olgish peoples
The Olgs might be the most famous of all Elondorian peoples. Their name originally meant ‘the crafty ones’, but this reading has long passed into the obsolete. The first to practice metallurgy, they were initially simple craftspeople under the rule of their Genian and Soskish neighbours before reaching for power and gaining it by violent means. They bring not only Belkondíl under their control but also nearly every other corner of Elondor, eventually drawing together all of their dominions in the Lécaronian Empire.
Their traditional culture was built on three pillars, the horse (a borrowing from the Sosks), cattle, and warfare, and their society organized in clans, each living in an assigned county. A High King or Queen could rule over all Olgs, but many claims are made to this title and few are successful. Gender plays almost no role in their society, and men and women are considered equals. Their religion has a strong disposition for eschatology, seeing an asymmetric and imperfect world. They know seven deities, which they believe were the servants of Titans who only survived the great cataclysm that ended the previous incarnation of the world because they had been banished for treason. They are known to have the palest skin and the reddest hair of all nations in Elondor.
Many of these things change as the Olgs disperse into the world; what remains common to almost all of them is a warlike unsteadiness and a tendency towards bloodshed. The Olgs of Belkondíl, who mostly live by their old traditions (many of which have, however, been altered significantly under the influence of Seligonian Fashions), can be divided into two groups, the Cëlacians, or Olgs proper, who live on the heaths and in the highlands of the continent and, along with the rest of the world, have adopted the Soskish language (the language of the Empire), and the Brethanians, who remain on the remote western coasts and the Mairn archipelago. Fierce mariners and fishermen, they speak their own language, Brethanian Olgish.
The Wertians live to the north of Belkondíl, in the Ilathw Valley and the Geranian Heath. They are known as particularly fearless riders, and their language, Wertian, for its pleasing sound. The second Olgish group of Geran, the Hajan Olgs, live in the Hajalad, the rich strip of coast between Dárinsford and Antarea, and on the Norides island chain. They are renowned for their commercial prowess and their obscure dialect (which they have mostly given up in favour of Soskish). The Olgs of the colonies are a group only in geographical terms. A region of great diversity between Olgs, Kalparians, and Aribelians, culture and society vary greatly from one place to another, merely sharing the fact that the rest of Elondor unanimously considers them uncultured.
The Olgs of the mountains are not unlike those of Belkondíl, but many have traded cattle for pickaxe, and their steel is renowned far beyond their borders. So are their superstitions, and their choral music. Seligon, much like colonies, is a place of great diversity, and no true ‘Seligonian Olgish’ group exists. Most identify merely as Olgs, or as Creoles if they descend from both Olgish and Seligonian ancestors, as is the case for most. They are closest to the Sosks of all Olgish groups, adopting their language long before mandated by the Empire. Known for their high arts and culture (a borrowing from the Seligonians), they wield great social respect in the later days of the Empire.
- Main Article: Aribelians
The Aribelians are, to most, among the more enigmatic nations. Descended from the Genians, they settled in the northwestern corner of Elondor, now named after them, and decided to dedicate their identity to the pursuit of knowledge and reason. Discarding they gods and founding the great Academy of Berán, they became known as curious and wise, great scientists, merchants, and particularly philosophers, self-centred chauvinists, elitists and unrepentant racists. With all their curiosity, they are said to have little respect for things they do not understand, and they are naturally contentious even about those they do understand.
Their state goes through multiple incarnations from kingdom to republic back to kingdom, and so forth, before their critical engagement against the Olgs in the Aribelian Wars, after which most of their lands are lost and turned into the colonies. Their society is stratified into the working and the academic classes, although a certain social mobility is given. Aribelians are known to dress in long light-coloured robes; blond hair is particularly common among them. The higher classes in Aribel speak High Aribelian (a language notoriously hard to learn), while the lower classes as well as most merchants use a more progressive variant of the Aribelian language, Vulgar Aribelian.
The Celdic Tribes, or Celsondach, as they are (somewhat pejoratively) known to many, are distant cousins of the Aribelians (both are said to descend from the Genians), but they bear little resembles to each other. The Celdic peoples inhabit the plains and forests of southern Celsond, a cold and unforgiving land north of the Reknayan mountains, and one of a few areas never under the sway of Lécaron. They vaguely fall into two groups: The Western Celsondach, proud riders occupying the Celdic Steppes and the direct neighbours (and archenemies) of the Aribelians, living lives centred on warfare, honour, and trade; and the Eastern Celsondach, who dwell in the more fertile and forested east of Celsond, living in harmony with nature and rarely engaging with the matters of the world beyond their borders, except for their easternmost tribes, who gained great wealth in the trade with Seligon and became allies of Lécaron.
If the Olgs are the most famous of Elondor’s nations, the Iiles are their closest competitors for the title. Born from an alliance of Auls, Amasians, and Sosks, the Iiles have their homeland on the marshy shores and rocky islands of the Gulf of Seligon, and they are known for their prowess as seafarers, explorers, and maritime traders, occupying all of the Gulf and the lands of Moreth and Amasia, and for a short time even commanding their own empire. Archfrenemy of the Olgs, their are known for their national pride and stubbornness, and above all their unwillingness to submit to foreign rulers.
Their language is an amalgamation of Aulish, Soskish, and several Avalian languages, written in the Iilish abugida, a descendant of the Old Besokian script. They are known to be tall, dark-haired but often light-eyed, and have a prominent epicanthic fold, presumably due to their Amasian ancestry.
As their name suggests, the Besokians have their origin along the Besokan river. An inquisitive and mystic people, they were early explorers of Old Seligon and the Reknaya and among the first to experiment with metals; but first and foremost, they were the first to farm grain on the fertile slopes of the lower Besokan Valley, and possibly the first to devise a writing system for their language. Dispersed almost as widely as the Ortûlékians, few Besokian ethnicities remain visible in Lécaronian society, but their inventions and insights have left an inextinguishable mark on Elondor.
They are said to be shorter and stockier than Ortûlékians, with light skin, heavy black hair, and light eyes, and generally presumed closely related to the Andrians and Yenmians.
The most prominent of Besokian groups are undoubtably the Sosks. Dwelling in the plains of Oakshire and Moreth, they were the first to domesticate the horse and use the power thus obtained to explore and conquer. The foundation of several kingdoms in Belkondíl brought them in touch with the Olgs, initially their servants, later their enemies, their allies, and finally their rulers. They become the constant companions of the Olgs in every enterprise, their cavalry feared, their epic poetry famed, but never fully integrate into Olgish society, remaining a separate nation with a separate language.
They also never gain the full approval of their Olgish overlords, who are suspicious of the still-foreign and powerful riders, and although Sosks make up a large part of the population in virtually all Olgish-conquered countries, they constantly battle ostracism and hostility, and even occasional pogroms. Nonetheless, they stand their ground and remain a significant minority in almost every part of Elondor (and a majority in others). Their role as military, diplomatic, and commercial force preceding all Olgish migrations grants their language a position as universal lingua franca in all of Elondor until it is declared the official language of Lécaron in 540 L.R. by Emperor Ésôrin the Wise.
They are said to be gifted in trade and commerce more than any other nation of Elondor, and many Sosks earn a livelihood as travelling merchants. They are likewise known for their great poetry, music, and theatre.
The Kattasians were once the largest of the Besokian peoples. They migrated west across the Reknayan mountains, founding many petty kingdoms beside the earlier Antarian inhabitants. Much of these early societies is lost in the later Olgish migrations into the Reknaya, but much of their culture is absorbed into that of the later Reknayan Olgs. One group, however, pushes further east, into the Geranian Heath, conquering the holy Kalparian city of Iamenna and from there much of Geran. The Yamenaens, and their Empire of Yamenna, will be a major force in the Bronze Age of Geran and Belkondíl and is the traditional archenemy of the classical Olgish heroes. The empire persists until the late Bronze Age, when it is overrun by the Wertians. Only few Kattasian groups remain, among them the Parkans and Wattites.
The Kattasians are known for their metalworking, relentlessness, warfare, and curiosity, possibly an important influence in the development of early Aribelian culture.
The Reknayans might be the most enigmatic of the Besokian peoples. They never travel very far from home, remaining in the Besokan Valley and its immediate surroundings. They are devoted to the soil that grows their rye, the sky that holds up their world, and their ancient mystic traditions. Their cult spans many monasteries in well-hidden mountain valleys, and they maintain an unbroken record of both secular and religious writings. One of the three major ethnicities of the free Reknaya, they rarely leave the safety of their home valleys, remaining reclusive and a mystery to most.
The Andarians and Yenmians are often seen as close relatives to the Besokians. They also originate from the mountains, resemble them in looks, and have a similar disposition for far and wide migrations. But throughout their history they have shown less the yearning for greatness and accomplishment and more that for a simple and satisfied life. That said, the Andaro-Yenmic peoples are as diverse as they are widespread, including mountain farmers as much as merchants, foragers, and fierce mariners.
The Andarian peoples originate around Mt. Andaron, whence they migrate west, anticipating a route that will much later be taken by the Kattasians. Some of them remain in the valleys of the western Reknaya alongside Kattasians and Olgs, others descend into Geran, settling in the Geranian Heath and later by the shores of the sea and in the fertile Kalpa Valley. These people will be known as the Hayans and, of course, the Kalparians, famous for their seafaring, their mountain goats, and their unwillingness to submit to anyone not of their own people (and most that would have been of their own people). The Hayans are mostly subdued by the Olgs, but the Kalparians fiercely stand their ground, rebelling against the Lécaronian Empire on multiple occasions and consistently refusing to give up their language.
If the Reknayans are enigmatic, the Yenmians are outright mysterious. Once a dominant and powerful force in the eastern Reknaya, they have entirely removed themselves from the mountains. The only remaining Yenmian group lives far off, and largely out of contact with, the rest of Elondor. They are the Erenic tribes, foragers of the extreme north of Celsond, peaceful but reclusive, and fierce when threaten to the point where they even brought the aggressive expansion of the Celsondach to a halt.