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Offline CaptainPenguin

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The Agera Culture
« on: April 04, 2005, 11:02:04 PM »
The Agera Culture

Regardless of location and climate, whether they have picked up more or less of the autocthonian culture, whether they have mixed with Ahndat and Barbarians or whether they have remained pure blooded, whether Mysian, Parakonian, Izadan, or Tsartian, the Agera are all still descended of the same heritage, born forth from the same dead land.
As long ago as it may have been, though the Bloody Age and the Assembly of Warrior Gods lie between, all Agera nations retain certain characteristics of their ancient cultures.
Some of these aspects have evolved and changed with times, beliefs syncretizing and blood mixing, but for the most part, Agera traditions have remained quite strong and prominent in the cultures of Ageratos. This durability of Ageran customs has lent most Agera cultures very noticeable, almost archetypal similarities, despite huge cultural difference.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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War and Warriors
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2005, 11:20:30 PM »
"A Certain Boldness..."

Though few remember it now, the Agera were not always as civilized as they now are (excepting certain groups). They were once a vibrant and warlike barbarian culture, hardened by centuries of intertribal warfare in their homeland across the Sea of Death.

Of course, sailing across an arctic sea does little to help anyone keep up their enthusiasm for battle, and frost in one's sword-sheathe tends to discourage fighting, but from the landing of the first Agera rafts at Blacksand Beach on the Gulf of Shadows (where Ur-Belut now stands), they came out fighting, and the shock of their attacks, up and down the Sea of Death coast, threw the societies of the Ancients into chaos.

Many centuries later, during the late period of the Bloody Age, after the well-remembered Dragon's War, the rebel warlord known as Toron the Dragon (who would establish the long-standing dynasty of Toronoi who would eventually come to rule a newly-united Mysia) spoke of the Agera in these terms:
"Though I am of Mysathoi born, and though my enemy is a Cilician dog or a filthy pig of the Three Kingdoms, I respect him as the night respects the sun. For I know that when on the field of battle, when we wade in blood to clash swords, we are as equals. This is the Agera way- we are all born with a certain boldness."

Though many nations have cast off their ancient Agera traditions of warrior rule and ascendancy of the strong, it is still acknowledged, even in decadent Mysia and pious Carmania, that the warrior is something to be feared and respected.

It is an instinct built into Agera from birth- one offers just so much more respect to a warrior, be he the lowliest soldier of the army or the warrior king of a wilderness principality. Agera folk typically stand just a little farther away from brave warriors. Folktales in Ageratos show this subtle aspect- one would be hard-pressed to find a children's tale which did not feature a brave, hardy soldier or a boy who takes up a sword to defend himself.

Conversely, this aspect of warrior celebrity degrades the already-low status of cowards, poltroons, and those who lack the will to fight. There is an aspect of disgust in Ageran personalities for those who are unwilling or unable to show their combat prowess.

Mercenaries, though they would seem to run counter to this tradition, are actually well-respected in most Agera lands, if a touch unsavory. There is respect in the Ageran mind for one who has turned a warrior prowess into material gain.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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Warriors, Continued
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2005, 08:43:53 PM »
The Kit
Just as the archetypal image of the Norse warrior shows a fur-clad warrior in horned helmet and axe, and the archetypal image of the samurai includes the o-yoroi and katana, so to does the archetypal image of the Agera warrior have a certain "kit".
Traditionally, Agera warriors went into battle mostly naked (a tradition kept in Mysia and Parakonia), with a heavy fur cloak and bronze-toed sandals. They wore round helmets with t-shaped face openings which surrounded the neck and head entirely. They wore bracers of heavy leather. The traditional Agera weapon was the straightsword (this is the "basic" sword of Ageratos- when you think of Ageran swords, you think of a straightsword), a heavy, flat, triangular blade on a thick (about fist-width) hilt (there are no extended hand-guards), and a long, round handle topped with a counterbalancing pommel.

Melnasen
Though general Ageran opinion relegates the woman to the home and a confined life, there is an ancient Ageran tradition which has withstood the test of time. It is called melnasen, which translates from Old Agera literally into "woman-sword". In Mysia, this tradition is called malnason, in Carmania (where it is rare) it is milinisonon, in the Three Kingdoms (where it is comparatively common) it is mikalnsen, and so on.
This tradition is a revocation of traditional Agera social patterns, in which an Agera woman chooses to revoke all social status and the possibility of marriage in order to be deigned a "warrior-woman", to devote theirselves to swordswomanship and being warriors. Many famous Agera heroes were melnasen, and the practice is relatively common even in this era. Traditionally, the practice required solemn oaths taken before a Magus, though these days it is often more informal.
Melnasen are given a social position somewhat outside the hierarchical structures of Ageran societies. In some places, they are regarded as promiscuous and whorish women, while in others they are greatly respected. They bear the same stigma that many adventurers in Ageratos do- that of being aimless wanderers stained with blood.
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Offline Pengilly

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The Agera Culture
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2005, 10:07:35 PM »
Around what age is a woman considered elegible to take the vow? And I also take it that the women typically go semi-naked into battle as well.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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The Agera Culture
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2005, 08:28:28 AM »
Typically, melnasen take up the sword around their early 20s- it's an impulsive thing, you understand?
As for the naked thing... Probably. But that's just a traditional thing- just because soldiers in the Mysian army go into battle wearing only a breastplate, cloak, and helmet doesn't mean that adventurers walk around with no kilt on.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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The Agera Culture
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2005, 08:25:25 PM »
Religion

The Agera take on religion remains one of simplicity, a polytheistic belief with overtones of animism. The general Agera view of the spiritual world (not including the extreme multitudes of Parakonian gods and the Tsartian addition of ancestor spirits to the mix) is this- the world is full of gods; some of them are great, while others are small. Agera tend to think of anything which they percieve as supernatural as a "god" of some sort, and tend to refer to natural forces in terms of reverence, similar to practitioners of shamanism. What gods, precisely, an Agera believes in depends on the location and the person; most Agera tend to believe that one god is superior to all others, and even though other gods may exist than their chosen deity, said others are not worthy of reverence (this can be seen in the shift of the Mysians from worshipping a great multitude of gods simultaneously into worshipping the Phoenix almost exclusively, relegating the other gods to the status of helpers; note also the combination of the original Carmanian gods into "aspects" of Amalias).

The Atheists
Most Agera, beyond believing that their god (or gods) is the greatest above all others, tend to be rather tolerant of other (religious) viewpoints (though it is not uncommon to hear Mysians and Carmanians trade insults of "Goat-lover!" and "Chicken-worshipper!"). There is, however, one viewpoint to which almost all Agera respond with incredible horror and rage, that of the Atheists, a group who are reviled above all others as murderers, rapists, inverts, madmen, freaks, fools, blood-drinkers, cowards, destroyers, and generally as any other insult which can be thrown at them. The common belief of the Agera is that an Atheist is somebody who has sold his heart to a demon, and who intends to devour the souls of everyone around them, while a more nuanced view regards them as abominable dangers to the social order who threaten the collapse of Agera civilization.
Though many Magi would have one believe that the horrible Atheists are everywhere, waiting on every corner to leap out and strangle a child, poised behind every open door to cut a throat, there are actually very few of these folk in Ageratos, for reasons which must be obvious. In these days, Atheists have mostly been wiped out in religious pogroms- one of the most notable of these being the Burning of the Godless which took place in the Three Kingdoms roughly 50 years ago, in which over 400 communities of Atheists were hunted down and brutally murdered. Those Atheists which still exist live in tiny, isolated communities, generally in otherwise-empty wilderlands, and rarely seek outsiders.
(For reference, the Ageran concept of "Atheist" is slightly different than our own- rather than one who does not believe in the supernatural, an Ageratos Atheist is one who denies the divinity of gods, and regards them simply as another, more powerful group of beings of the Outer World who happen to share the world with mortals)
Currently Reading: "Kafka On The Shore" by Haruki Murakami

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