(The Ceenal culture observed and examined by Thrimgir the Wanderer)
Ceenal are technologically rather developed and magic and alchemy favoring people. They may be better known of the Moon Island where they live, because that was only place in the War of the Black sun what forces of Gxotar couldn’t conquer.
Typical Ceenal’s appearance doesn’t differ much of other people living around the Ring Sea. Their skin color is rather light, like most of the northern climate people have. Hair is usually light or light-brown and usually slightly wavy or curly. Body hair is as well light and easily gives an image that there wouldn’t be any body hair. Typical Ceenal male is about 180cm tall and weighs about 70 kilos. Females to same extend are 160-170cm tall weighing about 60 kilos. Physique of Ceenal can be said to be very balanced.
Features are as well very similar to other people around the Ring Sea. It is almost impossible to say just by features is someone Ceenal, Alcanian or Ararian. Ceenal living in different parts of the Moon Island doesn’t differ if judged by appearance. Among males short chin beard is popular. Males usually also keep their hair short. Females to same extend usually have long hair, which are kept in ponytail or braided.
Life expectancy of Ceenal is about 65 years. Developed culture and rather safe living areas rise lifetime this high.
Ceenal are peaceful, systematic and thorough. They are open-minded for anything new. For them new matters or ways of thinking are not things to fear, but a chance to make world and own life better. They can’t be said to attach to good old ways to do things. One common thing is that eagerness to invent something new often goes ahead of carefulness and therefore “inventing” is largest individual cause of accidents among Ceenal. Ceenal are rather safe in their island if compared to many other nations and partly because of this they have time to concentrate on all kinds of “futile” matters.
(Writer’s note: I would like to specify inventing a little more. When I spent time with Ceenal and learned to know them and their culture, also this eagerness to invent and tinker clarified for me. These inventions and developing new mainly concern rather small things. It doesn’t concern architecture for example, but mainly small matters of everyday life. For example one could try to improve wheel, which I think is complete waste of time, because how one could make such as working and very old invention any better. Right here we can see the typical Ceenal characteristic what comes to inventing: Any matter is not perfect enough one couldn’t try to improve it somehow even if failing seems certain. And what comes to accidents, with all kind of block and tackle systems and such and testing own inventions doesn’t always go as planned. In my opinion there are drawbacks in trying to improve things too much, because there are several matters where old way is better than a bagful of new.)
Open mindedness and happiness belong to mutual relations. Music, poetry and many other arts are respected and popular ways of spending time. Exclusive theatrical performances of large towns always gather full audience. Also in streets and inns one can encounter many street musicians, troubadours and bards, who entertain people and also maintain and spread folklores.
(Writer’s note: Absolutely best way to get acquainted with Ceenal is to ask opinion concerning some invention or idea of one. And in this case smallness of matter doesn’t count. One should however note that he could have to spend long time pondering and developing the invention in question.)
Clothing / Decorations / Architecture
Typical clothing comprises of many kind of garments. Use of colors is common even amongst peasantry, so far as colors or ready dyed clothes are available and people have enough wealth to afford them. In summer peasantry usually uses loose cloth or leather pants and loose cloth shirt. Shoes are usually made of leather. In winter cold is rejected with different fur clothes. Wealthier people favor silk, velvet or satin at summer. Shoes are often made of fines materials available. Those kinds of materials are skins of rare lizards or other rare animals. Also different cloaks and headgears belong to clothing of wealthy people. In winter clothing is often finalized with soft and warm for cloaks and fur headgears. Peasantry rarely uses any headgear at summer, but in winter they use any headgear available.
Decorating and use of jewels don’t have any restrictions and anyone can freely tattoo, pierce or use some other means of decorating. Of course some kind of consideration is advisable as it wouldn’t be good to one’s reliability to take face full of tattoos or piercings. Most common jewels among women of peasantry are different iron necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings. Men usually wear only some kind of necklace or ring. Wealthier people usually only use jewels made of precious metals, which are often also decorated with gems. Noblewomen for example willingly use any possible jewels they got and can’t have too many of them. Noblemen usually use only rings and necklaces. Most common decorative motifs are all kind of shapes duplicating magical runes and subjects of ancient happenings and natural forces.
Mostly because of avoiding the devastating war one can sense the gust of past times while traveling in narrow and labyrinthine streets of towns of Moon Island. The Ceenal architecture is very multiform and sturdy. It has plenty of influences of dwarven architecture. Surely dwarves have been used in planning and building of many very old buildings and dwarven architecture has strongly affected on Ceenal architecture and formed it to what it is nowadays. Largest towns still have buildings in their centers that have been built in the New age of dragons. Rare of these buildings however is even close to their original form or condition, because time has greatly affected to them. Large towns also have palatial buildings, which are typical to architectural style of the beginning of the Age of miracles. Tows also have high towers. A certain kind of agelessly and fortress like are emphasizes in all building. For this being stone is the most common construction material in towns. In countryside wooden building on a stone foundation is most common
Housing / society
Ceenal mainly live in Moon Island. Some of them also live in other nations around the Ring Sea, except Velnor. Ceenal are main population of Meneria and Teseria. Habitation hasn’t mainly concentrated on towns, even though many large towns exist in the Moon Island.
Class division is clear in Ceenal society and differences between social classes are big. Naturally the most powerful class is the nobility, who can be found everywhere. Old noble families are very powerful and prosperous and have great influence on area where they live. Next powerful class is merchants, who could be as powerful as nobles in some areas. Old merchant families are very prosperous as well. Third class is clergy. Next are artisans, peasantry and last are crofters.
Money is the main reason for high position of merchants. Social position can easily be bought for money and everything has price on it. For an outsider Ceenal society seems almost like dreamlike nest of peace, where everyone has good to be. Like in so many cases, also in this one the truth is a bit disparate than nice outer casing implies. Because there isn’t any actual outside threats, Ceenal have plenty of time to concentrate on improving their own social position. Therefore bribery is deplorably common among highest social classes and morale of nobles can be said to be rotten. For an appropriate fee things are watched through fingers and position of poorer parts of people is weak.
(Writer’s note: It is very difficult to see what happens below the surface, but some kind of image can be caught by that the largest merchant families have almost monopoly in some areas even though everyone could trade there. Accidents happen to rivals or local baron or other high noble accuses them for crimes and acts they haven’t surely done.)
Livelihood and economy
Livelihood methods vary much depending on living area. In coasts and close to rivers and lakes most common livelihood method for peasantry is fishing. In forests and plains of inland hunting and farming are prevailing methods. In towns and producing of merchandise and high quality alchemy are important ways of income. Especially nobles and respected merchants earn large sums by selling items and services of alchemy. Peasantry rarely has to do with alchemy, because all energy is directed to farming, fishing or some other hard work. Limited ability to read is also limiting possibility to practice alchemy.
(Writer’s note: All towns and even largest villages have at least one known alchemist, who prepares many kind of goods and recipes made to order. In case of Ceenal alchemy rare has nothing to do with magic, even though some alchemists may know and use magic. Nowadays most common products of alchemists are preparing of all kind of lucky charms and “magical potions.” These so called magical potions comprise very wide spectrum of drinks that are believed to help from love life to cure diseases and even beating rivals.)
Magic is very highly respected among Ceenal and wizards can be found nearly every town. These wizards often offer high quality services of magic and some of them even prepare lesser magical items. These items however are very expensive and making one takes long time and the result won’t always even be desired due to certain kind of incalculability of magic.
In addition to alchemy and magic craftsmanship in western side of the Moon Island has focused on growing high quality horses and refining different wood products. To same extend in eastern part of the island craftsmanship has focused on refining metals in addition to magic and alchemy.
There is many trading goods and Ceenal trade with nearly all nations around the Ring Sea and especially with Saagi.
Ceenal culture is rather equal and family can descent either by man or woman. Descending usually depends on “value” of the family. Especially among nobles the descending always happens by older and most powerful family. Among peasantry descending is resolved by agreeing and if either of the families don’t have anything special, it is common that family descends by man.
Language and penmanship
Language of Ceenal is Carn. It resembles a bit Alcean, but number of consonants is bigger and words are longer on the average. One who knows Alcean can rather easily learn Carn, which on the other hand is relatively difficult language. About 5% of Ceenal are able to read and write. Of peasantry only few can read and write.
Religion and religious festivals
Ceenal worship many gods of which the most important ones are An’Gaia, Achali, Qunaidus and Garneird. Many temples different can be found from towns. Ceenal don’t have any “state religion”, which would be official religion of entire nation. Religiousness isn’t after all very important matter for ceenal, even though many divine beings are commonly respected and worshipped. Religion is everyone’s personal matter and god closest to own way of thinking is praised and respected if one seems it appropriate. All in all Ceenal attitude towards gods is little contradictory and unsure. They conceive that gods have great influence on all happenings in Meln, but don’t feel that they after all can affect on their opinions.
Most important religious festivals are: Beginning of new year at 1st of starturn of Hourglass. At this day people celebrate new year and thank gods for the past one and wish everything good for the future. The Day of Freedom is celebrated at 28th of starturn of Dragon on a day when Drakarsus was slain.
Myths and Legends
Ceenal legends commonly tell about known heroes, who despite of dangers fought against great enemies and finally win with their toughness and stubbornness. The heroes are often warriors. They almost always have a powerful wizard as their advisor. The wizard usually stays in background from the center of happenings, but is very important person for the perspective of reaching goals. Other popular and common subjects of legends are stories of establishments of towns and villages. Dwarves appear often in legends and they are described to be diligent builders and defenders of the underground.
Most known legends among ceenal are legends of Novan Malavan and legendary battle of the Shield of Teseria.
Death of Drakarsus
Drakarsus was enormous and cruel dragon, who had ruled Moon Island with an iron grip for centuries. Humans and dwarves were his cattle and slaves. Ruthlessly Drakarsus had his slaves to do enormous amounts of work and life of human could be said to consist only work and only change to rest came by death.
Drakarsus was feared and powerful even amongst dragons. At older age it had become arrogant and even careless. It had lot of enemies among dragons, but he didn’t fear them, but believed to be above them and safe in his own island.
Existence of dragons had become more and more uncomfortable when time passed towards the end of the new age of Dragons. Drakarsus had elite army consisted of humans and dwarves. He believed that his army could protect him and the island if needed. Drakarsus had no idea that part of the humans had already got more than enough. Some young warrior named Novan Malavan had tried to find out ways to beat Drakarsus and free people of slavery.
Gradually he searched other warriors to join his group and waited for appropriate moment when they could try to beat Drakarsus. That wasn’t easy task because Drakarsus had firm grip of his slaves and he ruled by fear. The fear could force a slave to tell Drakarsus what was going on even with a risk of loosing life. The waited moment surprisingly rose when three metal colored dragons attacked against Drakarsus. They attacked openly straight into palace of Drakarsus.
Drakarsus had repelled some random attacks of small dragons earlier and didn’t take this attack very seriously either. He commanded his army to defensive positions against dragons. Humans and dwarves don’t have much change against dragon even though they would have been protected by powerful magic. Drakarsus knew that humans couldn’t beat even young dragon. He had given armor to every warrior of his army and had said it to be heavily charmed. It was true that the armors were charmed, but the charm was very least and gave only slight advance against other enemies than dragons, because often dragon attacked with army of humans. Purpose of these armors was to courage defenders. Even though Drakarsus knew that his elite army had only little change against dragons, it believed them to disturb attackers enough so that he himself could strike them death faster and more easily.
Bravely the defenders defended against the three attackers, but were quickly outnumbered especially because the defenders lacked rather big group of warriors of their lines. The three attackers broke the lines easily and attacked Drakarsus. The battle would become long and bloody, because Drakarsus wasn’t easily won and it wasn’t even said that these attackers could win.
When the battle was raging among dragons, young Novan had withdrawn with his group of 50 soldiers farther from the battle. They used labyrinthine structures of the palace for their advantage and slowly moved towards the battle. One of the three attackers had already faced dreadful power of Drakarsus and was lying torn death on stony floor. Even though Drakarsus was badly wounded, it continued fighting and the two other dragons were under dogged.
Novan waited some time that Drakarsus would get more wounded, before he would command his group to attack. When the other attacker succeeded in scratching bad looking wound on head of Drakarsus, Novan ordered his group to attack. Furiously they attacked against Drakarsus, who was greatly surprised. It however wasn’t worried, but stroke first attackers death with his tail even they could even get close. At the same time the two dragons thought their change to arisen and attacked same time. Drakarsus however succeeded in evading other dragon and bite its throat so that it would die in moments. Other one of attackers succeeded again scratching Drakarsus and scratched large cut on its wing.
Novan’s men spread on wider area and attacked from many directions. Drakarsus had to concentrate on beating the last attacked dragon and didn’t believe Novan and his men could cause much harm to him. He was attacked from all directions, but toughly it stood fast and stroke Novan’s men to death here and there while fighting with the other dragon. Long battle began demanding its tax and Drakarsus began getting tired. In addition to that numerous wounds and bruises taxed its strength more.
The battle continued and continued and finally only one was standing among blood and bodies. He was Novan Malavan, who had succeeded in striking his sword wholly to Drakarsus’ stomach while it had stroke the last dragon death. Drakarsus and the three attackers were death and the Moon Island was freed from cruel and long ruling.
Battle of the Shield of Teseria
During the War of the Black sun the Moon Island was continuously under attack when forces of chaos tried to conquer it without result. Because shores of the island are so rocky entire island has only few places where large army could go ashore. Of course it is possible to go ashore in many places, but for a larger army it would be so slow that ships waiting their turn would be easy targets for catapults and other large siege weapons. Only suitable place is west coast north from town of Lenor. There the shore is open.
Teserinis I the first king of Teseria decided to protects his kingdom’s only weak spot with a massive fortress, which would cover entire 10 kilometers long beach. Ambitious work began and all went well. The task was enormous and soon difficulties started to rise. Greed advisors had ceased building works, but told king that everything proceeded as was planned and put money for their own pockets. In addition to that the king didn’t manage to see his mighty coastal fortress to become ready, because oldness took him.
Teserinis I had son Teserinis II, who found out the real situation quickly after his father had died. At first he beheaded treacherous advisors and after that construction began again. The fortress wasn’t his only worry, because those treacherous conspirators had nearly disbanded army. Either landlords were not very eager to maintain an army, because neighboring nation Meneria believed to be only threat and that was very unlikely to attack.
Construction continued normally, but gathering the army was difficult due to constant opposition. Even alarming messages from continent that orcs and giants had made joint attacks didn’t convince landlords for the necessity of army and good defense. They were safety in island. Soon Teserinis II got messages that there was full scale war raging in continent. Massive armies of orcs, goblins and giants had conquered town after town. And soon happened also what king had feared, the attack against Moon Island. Rather small group of orcs attacked town of Alver with devastating results and nearly entire town was burned down before army of Teseria arrived. The orcs were driven away and opinion of landlords began finally changing. The fortress was finished soon after this and it was equipped with large siege weapons.
Not a long time after that more alarming news came from the continent, which was badly under dogged against forces of chaos. Massive fleet of even three thousand ships was prepared on the coast of Zrual. Target of that fleet wasn’t unclear. Because almost entire area of the Ring Sea was conquered except the Moon Island, the Moon Island was natural next target. Unluckily the ships were equipped with very destructive long range siege weapons, which could made attempt to destroy the fortress from sea successful.
Emergency meeting was arranged to discuss about ways to defend against that mighty fleet. That meeting lasted for ever two weeks and three days and during that time information about incoming attack become certain. When the situation had turned to almost agonizingly hopeless, Teserinis II remembered an old spell. It was possible to create a certain kind of shield with that spell so that incoming projectiles would be slowed down and even stopped and projectiles fired from the other side would pass the shield normally.
All wizards of the nation were ordered to defend the fortress, because Teserinis II believed them to be able to create and maintain the shield long enough so that the attack could be repelled. At the same time siege weapons of the fortress could hammer the fleet incessantly and cavalry and bowmen could beat attackers who reach the shore.
That only suitable place for going ashore north of town of Lenor was target of the enemy just as Teserinis II had feared. And so the attack began. Horizon was filled up of large ships that were rushing towards fortress. War wizards created the shield for protection of the fortress and concentrated on maintaining it. Some of the wizards were also able to cast destructing spells on enemy ships and even burn whole ships with their fireballs or sink them with other kind of powerful blows. Siege weapons of the fortress fires closing ships incessantly and ships which got closer got deadly rain of arrows upon them.
For a several days battle raged incessantly and many times it seemed that defense couldn’t endure and attackers would break through. But where defense was close to break and strength of men started to fade, Teserinis II himself encouraged men to stand emboldened them. Heroes were born and life of many brave soldiers ended to early death.
The battle ended for the victory of defenders and after all casualties of the defender was relatively minor if compared to casualties of attacker. Large amount of wizards who had maintained the shield died on exhaustion. This furious and bloody battle, where nothing was given free was turning-point for entire Moon Island. All upcoming battles and expeditions of conquest were child’s play compared to this battle. This may be said to have been most important victory in the history of Moon Island.
History / comprehensions about history
First mentions about humans living in Moon Island can be found from historical books from the Age of Stability. Only few texts have preserved of that age and no name of people have been mentioned. There isn’t much knowledge about happenings in Ceenal residential areas in those times. Humans have lived in small and simple villages close to fortresses of dragons. Through the ages the Moon Island has been important and central “fortress” for dragons and they have fought furiously for it. Humans and other intuals have had less to do amidst power struggle of dragons.
Ruling of dragons came to an end and humans got time to breath and develop free. Number of humans increased rapidly, because there were no bloody wars and cruel governing. Small villages grew larger and people spread wider area around the island. First minor fortresses were built basing on styles of fortresses and palaces of dragons.
Development declined when New Age of Dragons began and dragons returned continuing their ruling. Drakarsus named powerful dragon arrived into Moon Island and began fortifying the island for his own purposes. Difficult and gloomy times came upon intuals. Drakarsus was heartless towards all lesser races and ruthlessly used them as a work force. Drakarsus knew the important strategic location of the island and importance of covering against attacks. Therefore he built three massive fortresses for himself. One fortress on each “corner” of the island. Southern fortress was built on volcanic island south of Moon Island. Northern fortress was built on north-east corner of Moon Mountains and western fortress was built on vast hilly region at west side of Moon Mountains.
(Writer’s note: Only one of those three fortresses has preserved on these days. That is the Southern fortress which is nowadays known as towercity Chardon. Two other fortresses were destroyed in furious battles at the end of New age of Dragons and only minor ruins are left of them.)
Life under governing of Drakarsus was continuous war. He had many enemies and good location of the Moon Island attracted attackers. Drakarsus however endured and became stronger. It was mighty dragon, whose cruelty didn’t lose to its size.
New age of Dragons lapsed towards its end so ended time of Drakarsus as a ruler of the Moon Island. Little later ended also time of dragons in Meln. Ceenal were the new masters of the island and new age began.
Ceenal had time to live develop rather peacefully in their island till the War of the Black sun. The island was attacked by forces of chaos several times, but its defenses endured and repelled all attacks. After the war Ceenal didn’t have as large rebuilding work as most of other people in Meln had. Even though the war left deep scars on all intuals, Ceenal were those who survived it relatively easy.
Ceenal are amongst the most developed nations in area of Ring Sea. They know how to manufacture field classes and sextants. Towns and nearly all villages have wind or water mill. They are trying to manufacture gun powder, but without succession. They have bought it from Harans, but haven’t figured out how to make it.
Military / common weapons and techniques
Ceenal armies consist of many kind of troops and versatility can be said to be their power. Main troops consist of footmen, cavalry and bowmen. Foot- and bowmen are usually equipped with rather light armor and weapons to maintain good mobility. Cavalry to same extend represent the heavy part of army and usually are very heavily equipped. In addition to these, forces of Meneria have dwarven warriors and priests of Urgan among them.
War wizards are important part of Ceenal armies due to their enormous striking force. A wizard who wishes to become a war wizard must begin his training at very young age and training is hard. Used spells are mainly elemental magic, which makes it possible to cause large damage among enemy forces. Counterweight of destructive force is vulnerability, especially when the wizard concentrates on strong spell. For that reason war wizards never move among first troops, but work behind. Largest difference between Ceenal war wizards and Velmeran Xaors may be that Ceenal war wizards aim to cause massive damage on enemy and Xaor ways to work are quite unknown.
Both Meneria and Teseria have rather large fleets, because possible enemy must attack by ships. In addition to fleets, all coastal towns are heavily fortified. Coastal fortresses are equipped with large amount siege weapons, which try to cause damage to the enemy and their ships before they land. Common tactics are to use ballistae to fire burning arrows or chains containing sharp hooks and weighs to sails. When sharp hook sticks on tight sail, the weigh helps tearing the sail to tatters. Burning projectiles to same extend aim to light to sails on fire.
Relations to other races
Ceenal are very open-minded towards other cultures and races. They get along well with all human cultures around the Ring Sea, except Methal. Reason to bad relations between Ceenal and Methal is mainly caused by Methal hatred towards magic.
Of other races Ceenal get along well with dwarves, which work as black smiths and mine workers especially in Meneria. Ceenal have moderate relations with wood elves and the relations are chilled by felling, which always cause argument. Number of paladries is small and they are encountered only rarely. A paladri arriving to town often attracts attention even though their existence is commonly known.
Ceenal may be said to admire everything involving magic. Largest towns usually have several wizards and villages usually have at least one. Magic is highly respected and all kind of professions involving magic are very popular. Good prerequisites for learning magic are persistence and organization that belong to basic character of Ceenal. Laws acceding to magic and its use are strict and literal, as in most magic favoring nations. Ceenal don’t use punishment called magic-castration, but sentence to death for severe crimes. Smaller crimes are punished by cutting fingers, because it makes using of magic very hard and in some cases even impossible.
Priests are not as numerous as wizards, but they also can be found from all temples. In largest towns temples are lead by very high level priests.
Psi-powers are not common. Attitude towards psi-powers is clashing and in many places people fear them. Fear is mostly caused by that people think all psychicists are telepaths and able to read thoughts and use their power to their own benefits. On the other hand psychicists are thought to be useful, because they are thought to be able to easily reveal cheaters.
In Moon Island on the slopes of Moon Mountains grows a tree called Kirtera. It doesn’t grow any other place in Meln. Small cones of this tree are used to make delicious and sweet dessert Kirnah. Kirnah is one of the national dishes of Ceenal and it is made by boiling fresh green cones from two to thee hours. After that soft cones are poured on bowl and plenty of fresh honey is spilled on them. The dessert is left cooling down before serving.
Known organizations among Ceenal:
Anvil of Urgan
Anvil of Urgan is certain kind of guild of blacksmiths. Its task is to care for blacksmithing skills and examine and develop everything acceding to blacksmithing and working with metal. This guild has several hundred members and it has centers in nearly all towns throughout the Moon Island. The organization operates openly ad help everyone with problems with metals and blacksmithing.
This organization is rather badly known and it is specialized on smuggling and illegal trade. This can be said to be criminal organization. Violence or other hard criminality doesn’t belong to modes of action of this organization. Only selling and smuggling taxable products in smuggling trade. It operates mainly in area of Moon Island, but amount of members and exact distribution can only be guessed.
Written by : MoRPrintable version of this text
Translated by : MoR