|Home Continent: Vestin|
|Territories: Mosi, Pili, Atatu, Aishi|
|Languages: Duendai, Illphi|
|Slavery: Banned in all tribes|
|Relationships: Friendly with the Illph, borderline hostile with the Drude and Vorgess. Neutral to everyone else.|
|Average Height: 5'8"-6'4"|
|Average Weight: 160 lbs|
|Lifespan: 150 years (Capable of living 250)|
|Focus: Hunting, fishing, farming, ceremonies and festivals|
|Holidays/Festivals: Summer Solstance, Winter Solstance|
|Notable Members: N/A|
Duendo are a tribal people -- they have no true organized countries, just tribal territories that are loosely governed by a council of elders/chiefs from the territory's tribes. They are mainly a warrior culture, but are not aggressive to most outsiders -- unless given a reason to be. Their lives revolve around training with weaponry, hunting, farming, and other such chores that survival depends on. Despite this, they are a folk that enjoys a celebration just as much as the other Faeri -- they just have fewer festivals around the year than most others. Though capable of living to be about 250 years like any other Faeri, many Duendo only live to about 150-200 due to "lower living standards" and the danger of the environment they live in.
Most Duendo are friendly, but "rough around the edges"; survival in the wild requires them to be tough. The biggest goals in a Duendo's life are to survive and protect their families. In Duendo culture, family ties run deep, and a true Duendo would put his family before anything else -- even over the local law. Respect towards elders is important, and Duendo in their golden years are well taken care of by their descendants. They revere nature and often domesticate exotic animals as pets. In the past centuries Duendo owned Human slaves, leading to a large Half-Duendo population. In more recent times, the Duendo were victims of the (now almost dead) Drude slave trade, and therefore now despise slavery and the Drude alike. No matter how different the tribe, all Duendo communities share the same law -- slavery is absolutely forbidden.
Duendo are the largest of the Faeri -- many reach over six feet (including the women), and very few Ehrdians outside of their subrace can match their muscle. Duendo skin ranges from near black to medium brown, and adults are always covered in symbolic tattoos to represent the tribe they're from/father's tribe (chest tattoo), their mother's tribe (arm and leg tattoos) and symbols representing their name (facial tattoo). Black and brown are natural hair colors, but most Duendo men dye their hair red upon reaching manhood, while many women dye theirs yellow. The red represents the blood Duendo men must shed as hunters and warriors, while the golden yellow dye in women's hair symbolizes their role as life-givers - just as the sun provides life. Duendo's eyes are often black, dark brown, or light brown, and rarely blue or light blue.
Because the climate the Duendo live in varies, the types of domesticated animals found within their tribes also changes from region to region. Generally, dogs are common pets in most Duendo areas. Depending on the area, "house" cats, cheetahs and wildcats are also popular pets. In the jungle, some Duendo domesticate parrots or other birds, as well as smaller breeds of snake.
For livestock, cattle are very common all around the Duendo nation. Depending on the climate, other common livestock animals include llamas, goats, donkeys, and sheep.
Mount animals differ greatly from region to region, and the most common mount animals in each Duendo climate are as such:
- Desert - Camels
- Jungles - Elephants
- Mountains - Llamas and donkeys
- Savannas - Ostriches
As with many other aspects of the Duendo, their artwork is very diverse and unique to each region and tribe, but there are several common and unifying artistic themes.
- Emphasis on the "human" figure: The primary subject matter in Duendo art are the Duendo themselves. Whether through sculpture, pottery, or other art outlits, Humans/Faeri/Half-Faeri appear on a majority of Duendo work.
- Visual abstraction: Though some Duendo artwork is more naturalistic, it tends to favor abstraction. This is perhaps due to the fact many Duendo artworks tend to represent objects and ideas rather than depicting them. Even portraits of rulers and other important figures tend to have some sort of smoothing or other simplification done to them to stylistic forms.
- Emphasis on sculpture: Though paintings can be found on pottery and sometimes clothing or other tapestry, Duendo artists usually favor works of a three-dimensional nature rather than those of a two-dimensional one. Even when clothes, pottery, houses or other objects are painted, they are usually done in such a manner that they need to be walked around to experience the entire work.
- Emphasis on performance art: Duendo art is rarely static -- that is, made just to look nice. Much of their artwork is practice and/or ceremonial and are used in many social circumstances, such as festivals. Masks are a popular type of ceremonial art.
The media that Duendo use for their artwork are often made to be relatively lasting. Common art materials include clay pottery, wood, ivory, animal bones/claws, grass/straw (for weaving), stone, gems and various metals.
Duendo tend to be in close-knit families, often with at least three children to a couple, though less isn't extremely uncommon. Families often include paternal grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins within the same village -- women often move in with their husband's family, and since intra-village marriages are more common than inter-village marriages, it is not unusual for the mother's side of the family to live in another location. Villages are often made up of at least fifteen families, and rarely more than fifty.
Children are highly valued in Duendo society, and watched carefully in their younger years so danger doesn't befall them. They are encouraged to play, but when they hit around age six or seven, it is common for them to become supporters of the tribe and learn their parents' ways. Duendo children are given simpler chores such as helping their mothers gather food, watching and tending to livestock, and fetching water. As they get older, children are taught more gender-specific roles, like how to fight (some tribes teach their girls how to fight just as much as their boys), hunt, skin animals, weave, build houses, and other important skills. Duendo children are usually grouped together with other children of their age (within a year or two), and much of their activities and chores growing up involves fellow members of their age group. Because the Duendo rarely use the Vestus Calendar, age and dates are estimated or the astrological calendar is used.
Babies and children ten and under have their heads shaved -- only adults are allowed to grow hair. When they reach around eleven or twelve, children are allowed to begin growing their hair out so they have something to dye when they have their coming of age ceremony -- often held between the ages of 12-15. Because baldness is associated with childhood, very few adults keep their heads fully shaved.
Birth and NamingEdit
In most areas, only women are allowed in during childbirth -- the fathers are expected to go about their regular day and are only able to see their newborns once the mother has had some time to rest. Duendo do not traditionally name their children right away -- generally, babies are named at least a week after birth, and sometimes as late as two years old. In longer periods before naming, the new toddlers are often simply called things such as "son/daughter," "little one" or "baby." When they are named, Duendo tend to be given names that either describe their budding personality (one of the reasons for delaying a naming), a trait the parents hope their child to embody (such as bravery or kindness), or the circumstances of their birth (what day they were born, a festival, a good omen near their birthday, etc).
Though specific duties vary from region to region, Duendo have the same basic gender-based chores and positions in life. Men serve as the warriors and hunters, while women tend to build homes, forage, weave, skin animals, and raise the children with their husbands. Unmarried men and women often have duties similar to the children, or even sometimes serve as babysitters until they form their own families. In some tribes, marriages are always prearranged, but in others they are free to choose their grooms and brides. Even when they are free to choose, most tribes at least set up matchmaking options when Duendo youngsters reach around age 16-18.
Because the Duendo are spread out across the rainforests, subtropics, plains, and deserts, their clothing depends strongly on the region. Universally, most Duendo wear very little and rarely cover up their torso tattoos much -- some do, but they will remove their trappings partially to reveal their tattoos if need be. Children of most tribes in all regions rarely wear much, if anything at all. Preteens who are allowed to start growing their hair out tend to start wearing scant clothing at the waist. Most young women wear nothing or little for tops, though women who have bore children or have larger breasts tend to wear some clothing on their torso for support.
The Duendo of Mosi live in the rainforests. Their attire is primarily out of cloth made from bark. They wear little -- usually just loincloths, skirts, or other simple drapery around their waists. Sometimes the cloth is dyed into various neutral and cool tones in simple patterns.
The people of Pili inhabit subtropical and desert areas. Their clothing comes primarily from cowhide and other animal skins. Men's and younger women's clothing usually only covers the front and back of their pelvis. Older women usually wear clothes that cover their bodies, including a pleated skirt made of animal hide. Pili women of all ages tend to wear wide hats made of straw; the younger women decorating theirs with beads while the older women usually keep theirs plain.
Duendo in Atatu live in the desert and plains. Those in the desert often wear clothing made from bark. These are formed into loincloths and dresses for the women, while men wear shirts and pants/shorts. Designs and patterns are often colorfully dyed into this cloth, though sometimes it is kept plain. In the plains, the men usually wear loincloths or sheets wrapped around their bodies (depending on the tribe). The cloth used for this is made from cowhide and is usually dyed red, blue or black in the case of sheets while loincloths are either dyed in earthen tones or left plain. Women usually wear skirts (also undyed or set to earthen tones) or sarongs (dyed red, blue, or black). Patterns are sometimes found in plains clothing, but not often. They sometimes wear cowhide sandals, but being barefoot is more commonplace.
In Aishi, the people live in the desert. Though sometimes their clothing is similar to the Atatuan desertfolk, Aishi Duendo usually wear clothing made from bits of hide around the waist. They are also known to wear fur robes over the back, though this is usually reserved for rainy and cold weather. The women's cloaks can serve as a sling to carry babies, firewood, and food when tied correctly. The Aishi, especially the women, are fond of ornaments and tend to wear many forms of jewelry made from beads and animal teeth/claws/bone.
Because the Duendo are tribal, there is not much diversity in their general classes/professions. Most Duendo are a form of rural laymen, warriors, or artisans (in the terms of Duendo art, not the main artisan descriptions). What they do for a living usually accounts for survival, such as hunting and food gathering. Shamen are also commonplace, often acting as both spiritual leaders and medicine men. Duendai "royalty" generally consists of tribal chiefs and councils made up of village elders.
Duendo have no formal school education and are illiterate, except sometimes in the case of runes. Rather, they learn their skills from their relatives -- mostly parents and older siblings. History and other culture is passed down orally and through artwork. Though their sense of world history is rarely as broad as the more developed parts of the world, the Duendo still have plenty of basic knowledge of The Ancients and other world-shaking events of the past. They know of the other races, but a majority of their knowledge is based upon hearsay and myth. The Illph are perhaps the only race they have consistent, non-hostile contact with and many Duendo speak Illphi as a trade language.
Though they do not have as many elaborate celebrations as other races, the Duendo still enjoy many holidays and celebrations. Most of their festivals including killing rarer or dangerous game and collecting more fruit for the feast as a treat and to mark the specialness of the event.
The type of celebration for birthdays depends on the size of the tribe and the importance of the person or people celebrating the birthday. In smaller villages, birthdays are often a wide celebration recognized by the entire tribe; larger tribes tend to keep birthdays confined to individual families or age groups, unless the birthday is for someone of great import, such as a chief/elder or a decorated warrior. Whatever the size, birthdays are often celebrated with a special feast and singing. At landmark ages, sometimes gifts or honors are bestowed upon the group or individual.
Birth and NamingEdit
New babies are often presented to the rest of the tribe nine to eighteen days after their birth. Often, the newborn is then blessed by the local shaman or the elders/chief. Sometimes a large festival is held in honor of the new baby if their parents are of great importance.
When a baby is finally named, it is usually held in two stages: The first occurs in the morning and is a personal matter between the immediate family with the shaman or elders as witnesses. The family prays to the gods to grant the child and parents a long, healthy and prosperous life. Often, the new parents drink palm wine or another type of wine as part of the prayer. The name is then presented by the parents (or by the father's father in some places) to the witnesses. Usually, its head is shaved for the first time during this stage, and will continue to be shaved regularly until the child reaches ten or eleven years of age.
The second stage of the naming ceremony occurs in the evening, where others are reintroduced to the baby and its new name. Though the entire tribe is invited, the evening ceremony is usually recognized specifically by friends and family of the parents. A small meal, often yams (or some other local staple food) is provided. A second prayer is given, this time taken with gin or some other hot drink by the adults involved. This symbolizes an appeal to the gods to not let a drunkard harm the child during its life, nor to let the child become an alcoholic themselves.
Coming-of-age ceremonies are held when the village believes the child skilled and able enough to assume to full responsibilities of an adult. These ceremonies are often a two-day event. The first day involves the dyeing of the teenager's hair and tattooing the body. On the second day, the young Duendo boys often must preform a special task. Usually, this task is to go on a solo hunt and catch a rare or dangerous animal (such as a lion). In some areas, girls are required to go hunting as well, or do another task associated with women. However, for most girls the day of tattooing and hair dyeing is the only main ordeal they must endure before they are considered full women. Coming-of-age ceremonies are held on an individual level in smaller villages, while larger villages hold them on a group basis.
The Duendo believe their soul resides in their body for several days and requires a shaman to send their body into the afterlife before they are doomed to roam Ehrdi as ghost. Once they are sent on, they are either sent on into their next reincarnation cycle (Mungu has sixteen reincarnations before an eternal afterlife) or into the afterlife for good. Ancestors that have entered the afterlife are believed to have powers over the living, and are treated with respect. Because of the vulnerability to necromancy or demonic soul-stealing during the week period before a shaman sends the soul off, the Duendo tend to be very protective and superstitious of the dead during funeral times.
Once a week has passed after death, a shaman ritually frees the dead person's spirit onto its next stage of existence. Afterwards, the dead body is often removed through a temporary hole made in the house rather than the door. This is done because the Duendo believe that doing this prevents a spirit from remembering a way back to the living, where it can trouble its relatives and disrupt the natural balance. The corpse is sometimes removed feet-first, symbolically pointing away from the former home. After the body is removed, the hole is immediately closed.
Western Duendo tend to bury their dead near their homes, while eastern Duendo are usually buried further away, often on village borders. Wherever the grave site, a zigzag path is often taken by the carriers and mourners to further throw off the spirits. Personal belongings are commonly buried with the deceased to accompany them in the afterlife. During this time, an animal is usually killed (often livestock rather than game) ritualistically to guide and protect the spirit into the afterlife; this also serves to feed the funeral guests. While grave markers are not always used, wood or stones are the most common materials used for them. Markers are usually shaped into a circle - a symbol of eternity.
Burial rites are often led by shaman and sometimes village elders as well. They begin with a request to the departed that they do not bring trouble to the living, and end with a plea to strengthen the life on Ehrdi and all that favors life. Some communities include dancing and other merriment by all but the immediate family of the deceased, in hopes to limit the destructive powers of death and providing the dead with "light feet" for their journey into the next world.
Because the Duendo do not follow the Vestus calendar, but rather the stars and the weather, they often celebrate New Year's at the end of the dry season. They clean their houses and empty all their food storages. The tribe shares their remaining food during a celebration filled with singing and dancing. Sons ask the gods for a good harvest in the upcoming wet season while the older men fill gourds of water from their main source (often a nearby river/pond/waterhole) and bring it back to the village, signifying their gratitude for the upcoming rains.
Usuhuba is a festival often celebrated during the summertime/dry season that celebrates and encourages friendship building and good will towards neighbors. Neighboring villages will join with each other and celebrate for up to five days. Large feasts, dancing and fighting competitions are common events during Usuhuba. Most Duendo celebrate some form of this festival, though there is variation in the frequency (some areas hold it annually, others monthly or somewhere in between) and size of the celebration.
Duendo men propose to women by carving a mahaba necklace out of wood or sometimes bone. The carving represents the woman's name (often a form of her facial tattoo). If the woman accepts, she wears the necklace in front of the proposing man. If she rejects him, she simply returns the jewelry to him. Sometimes a "bride price" is required from the groom to the bride's family -- often in the form of livestock, beads, or other valuables.
Duendo weddings are usually simple affairs. Though certain details (such as the kind of animal blood or food used) varies from region to region, the essentials remain the same. Often, the bride and groom sit in colorful wedding garbs underneath a cloth “umbrella” with the shaman. The shaman blesses them with a mixture of milk and cow’s blood on their foreheads. Then, the groom has a blue band tattooed around the base of his left ring finger, while the bride has a blue band tattooed around the base of her right ring finger. Each of them then has part of an image tattooed to the inside of their palm - left palm on groom, right on bride. This image varies, but is always something highly symbolic and spiritual, such as an eye that represents the gods watching over the couple. When the bride and groom's hands are touching, the tattoos form the complete image, symbolizing that they are each half of one whole as husband and wife. After the tattooing, the shaman blesses them once more with the milk/blood mix, but this time over their hearts.
The hand-tattooing is done in most Duendo tribes and regions, though it is less common in the few areas that are polygamous. If a couple divorces -- which is extremely rare -- or one of them is widowed, the hand tattoo is altered upon remarrying. This is usually done by adding a second band slightly above the first one on the ring finger, and an extra mark or two made to the palm image to indicate the person is on their second marriage. Duendo rarely marry a third or more time.
Because of their different regional locations, Duendo food is very diverse and, like any culture, depends heavily on locally available fruits, grains and vegetables, milk and meat products. Stews, though different in specific ingredients, are found throughout the Duendo lands. Alcoholic beverages are often made in the forms of beers and wines and come from millet, sorghum, corn, tree sap, plantains, and sugar-cane juice. The most popular beers are dolo and pito (made from millet), while tembo (made from palm sap) is a common wine. Alcohol is usually reserved for festivals and spiritual celebrations and an alcoholic lifestyle is especially frowned upon.
Vegetables, especially green vegetables, are an important aspect of Duendo nutrition, as they are the main source of vitamins. Common crops are maize (imported from the Illph nation), yam, sweet potatoes, onions, cassava, and beans (both imported from the Drude nation back during the days of the Druden Empire). Generally, green vegetables are collected by the leaves and young stems to be chopped into either steamed or boiled with a combination of spices and other vegetables such as onions and tomatoes.
Because of their generally sweet nature, and their somewhat rarity compared to other foods, fruits are usually reserved as dessert and treat foods on special occasions. Common fruits found in the Duendo nation are apples, grapes, mangoes, bananas and papayas, avocado, oranges, peaches, apricots as well as oranges, lemons and limes (which are originally imported from the Senjo nation during the Age of Conquest). Fruits are very rare in the desert and as such do not appear often in the cuisine of desert-dwelling Duendo.
Grains are another cornerstone of the Duendo diet and often are found in the form of rice, peanuts, wheat, sorghum, millet, and various forms of fonio. They are most often made into simple foods or turned into breads and compliment most meals.
Especially in areas that depend on livestock, dairy products are a large part of Duendo diet. Much of their diet staples come from milk, curd and whey. These products are rarely in the jungle where it is difficult to keep plenty of livestock, but in most other regions, milk from cows and other animals is turned into various foods. Eggs and egg products are commonly found in the food of Duendo that keep chickens and other poultry.
Meat and FishEdit
Meat and fish are another important part of Duendo cuisine. It can come from livestock (such as cattle and chicken) in tribes that keep plenty of animals, but most of their meat comes from hunting. Due to the fact that game is harder to get consistently than vegetables and grains, meats and fish are used a bit more sparingly than some other foods. Common game includes venison, impala, and ostrich. Meat of predators such as lions, leopards, and tigers is also somewhat common -- especially since most boys are required to hunt such animals on their own for their coming-of-age. However, the hunting of predatory game is usually reserved for special occasions, due the the danger of the creatures. Seafood is more common than meat to Duendo living on the coasts, and often includes crayfish, prawns, tuna, mussels, oysters, calamari, mackerel, and lobster.
Though the Duendo share certain things in common, such as language (with different dialects) and the tattooing/hair dying traditions, they are still divided up into four main tribal-clans that are each further divided into other tribes. Each tribe-clan lives in a different region and shares similar housing traditions. These are detailed below.
Whatever the material of the shelter, Duendo tend to live with their immediate family until a certain age. For most boys, they live in a larger hut with other boys their age after they've had their coming-of-age. These are essentially "bachelor huts," because the boys move out once they're married. Girls tend to stay with their parents until they marry, though some areas have a communal hut for unwed girls as well as boys. Married Duendo move into a new home for themselves.
Because the Mosi tribes live mostly in the jungles and tend to be nomadic, their housing often resembles such a lifestyle. They build round-ish huts (mongulu) out of branches and leaves. These huts are often built by the women and are just big enough to fit a single family. In areas where the Mosi are more settled, their huts tend to be rectangular and built with bark.
The people of the Pili tribes live primarily in a subtropical and semi-desert climate. Their homes are known as "beehive" houses and are built with a wooden strip frame arranged in a large circle. Layers of thatch are woven over this frame to create the beehive shape.
The western Atatuians live mostly in the plains. Their houses are built low with a loaf shape and are often constructed out of sticks, mud/clay and sometimes cow dung if clay and mud are scarce in the area. Eastern Atatuians live more in the desert and tend to make their huts out of wattle (woven latticework of wooden stakes) and daub (mixed with clay and sand; sometimes with dung and straw). The roof is constructed out of grass.
The Aishi are a desert/savanna people, and their homes are often stick-and-grass huts or semicircle windbreaks tied together at the top and covered with grass. Some Aishi even live in rock caves, but most are out in the open with their shelters.
Though the magic art of rune inscribing is found throughout the world, the Duendo are the best known for it and are often the most advanced at it. Two main reasons for that perhaps led to this development are: 1. During the Age of the Ancients, the occupied Duendo territories were the main base of runic magical research. Even after the Ancients died out, their influence remained. 2. Duendo do not practice any other sort of Arcane magic on their own - proportionately, Duendo produce the least percentage of naturally-inclined spell casters. While the occasional natural mage is born, their skills are either never discovered or focused into rune magic instead.
Runes are actually the only writing system of any sort Duendo use, but they are reserved for special occasions like ceremonies. Runes are also sometimes implemented during times of war, as their use is considered sacred. Out of the four main Duendo tribe-clans, the Mosi and Atatu tend to produce the most rune inscribers. Rune inscribers are often also shamen or warriors, though other people have been known to be taught the art.