- 1 The Culture and Customs of Yeon-Guo
- 2 Traditions and Practices
- 3 Yeonyu
- 4 History
- 4.1 The Gong Dynasty [ 1315 B.D. - 1012 B.D ]
- 4.2 The Five Kingdoms Period [ 1012 B.D. - 617 B.D. ]
- 4.3 The Five Kingdoms Era
- 4.4 The Period of the Northern and Southern Dynasties [ 617 B.D. - 273 B.D. ]
- 4.5 The Unification of the Continent and the Empire of Leong [ 273 B.D. - 0 B.D. ]
- 4.6 The Return of the Kingdoms, Division, and Strife [ 1 A.D. - Present ]
The Culture and Customs of Yeon-Guo
Family, Society, and Filial Piety
At the heart of Heiyeong’s society is the family: the husband provides for the family, the wife takes care of the household and rears children. The children will grow up, and in return take care of their parents as they age. Family units are often more than just the typical nuclear family that other realms boast: a household may include the grandparents, great-grandparents, or even great-grandchildren. All are expected to uphold filial piety, to take care of each aging generation, and engage in good conduct publicly and privately to uphold respect and bring a good name to their family and ancestors. Filial piety extends beyond the home, and encompasses the culture as a whole. Even then, the practice varies from family to family. However there is a general code that most families follow: to be good to and to take care of one’s parents and family, to show love, respect, and support, and demonstrating courtesy. In a family, a woman is expected to bear a son, and the son is most prized, as they are the ones to pass on the family names. In terms of inheritance, it is the one who has passed away that determines who will receive what, though in general, possessions, as well as finances, are often shared. However, should the deceased choose so, they may bequeath any particular person whatever belonging they wish. Marriage is greatly valued in Yeon-guo society, as it is with the Heiyeong. In the ceremony of matrimony, the couple will present themselves in front of a shrine. The woman’s face is often shrouded, and had they not met before their match, their identity hidden from their soon-to-be groom. They will make a promise, not to each other, but to the gods, for their dedication to each other, as well as thanking them for the ceremony, and a fortuitous match. Despite the differing races that scatter across the continent, these various races lived together in relative peace, kingdoms and realms seldom were segregated by this fact. Even so, they once began as separate entities, and therefore over time, their own languages eventually developed into dialects, still spoken in these racial circles, though a more common, standardized tongue was adopted and enforced. While sons are prized, it is also recognized that the best matches for marriages do not necessarily align with one’s race, and in the case of such a marriage between a hybrid and another, adoption is generally accepted as a means of passing on the family name.
Academics, Education, and Relations
The importance of the pursuit of knowledge and academic excellence is stressed, as it displays how a child is raised in a household, and their future successes determine a family’s reputation and standing within the society. In addition to this, they must not only train their mind, but their body as well. It was not uncommon that, from the society which they left, that warriors, especially generals, were just as learned as scholars, and expected to be able to master both the sword and brush. These generals also often acted as advisors and peacemakers, in times of both peace and war. The Heiyeong-ren are also proud people. They pride themselves on resilience, being able to hold on to tradition generation after generation without fail, and passing their teachings and wisdom to their children. In society, everyone is considered when making a decision, to act as an individual without regard to how it will affect their family or society is rare, as well as looked down upon. To act selfishly and rashly would reflect poorly on not only themselves, but their family, and how they were raised. In addition to that, Heiyeong-ren will do their best to avoid unnecessary conflict, avoiding outward displays of anger and rudeness, when possible.
Lifestyle,Cuisine and Fashion
Following the footsteps of their ancestors, Heiyeong is primarily a society focused around fishing and agriculture. Having come from the coast of Yeon-guo, they are most accustomed to such a lifestyle, developing techniques for efficient fishing, as well as irrigation systems for farming. Due to this, the way of life of the Heiyeong people is largely adaptable to the environment around them, so long as a large body of water is present. Uncertain of where the eastern winds would take them, the people of Heiyeong brought with them some seeds of the rice plant, a staple of their diet. Along this rice plant, they brought with them new ways of cooking: with meats and fish, they brought preservation through burial in rice and salt. With rice, they brought porridge and ways of making noodles. Though lacking many traditional ingredients that they would find in their home continent, they found a way to adapt, taking local fauna and flora to make do, still creating delicious dishes that are akin to what they had. Alongside the rice, the Heiyeong people also brought over their clothing, different to the traditions of other people on Enarion. This style of clothing, or heiyi, is best characterized by a robe or shirt worn as an upper garment, and a pleated skirt commonly worn as the lower. The collar of the robe is worn, generally, diagonally crossing each other, the left layered over the right. Sleeves are long and loose, and buttons are sparingly used, concealed inside the garment. Belts and sashes are used to secure and fit garments around the waist. Traditionally this clothing would be woven with silk, and for chillier times, could easily be layered to provide warmth.
Traditions and Practices
Greeting others is important as a first impression, as well as a sign of respect for one’s peers and elders. To each person, the proper greeting must be given, respective to their given relationship.
When first introducing oneself to a stranger, it is customary to introduce beginning with the family name, and one’s personal name afterwards. Until the two are close with each other, it is common to refer to each other with honorifics.
To peers, siblings, and casual greetings to people one is close with, a general sign of respect:
Hands are put together, palm to fist, and raised in front of them, roughly to chest level. If one is feeling particularly respectful, they will bow their head slightly.
Arms to their sides, or folded neatly in front of them. A brief, singular bow, from the waist, before they return to standing.
When greeting rulers, or asking for forgiveness:
The action of kautau, or “knocking head,” is performed, most commonly by men, though by both genders when asking for forgiveness. Starting out with kneeling on the ground, body lifted, then bringing their hands forward into a folded-hand position. Move the body forward and down, into a bow, the hands separating in order to actually avoid knocking one’s head on the floor. For women, when greeting a ruler, it is most common to bring both hands into a folded position to the left side of their hip, then taking a deep curtsy and bowing their head.
Paying Respects to the Deceased
In the case of a proper ceremony, during a festival, or during a funeral, several methods are employed to ensure that the deceased are properly honored. The ancestors are held in high esteem, as it is their spirits that will guide those who are still living through their lives.
In a shrine, or at their grave, it is common practice to lay out fresh food and flowers, replacing the wilted and rotting ones. Three sticks of incense would be lit, and held in both hands in the same fashion as a greeting, then bowing three times. After doing so, the individual paying respects will leave the incense sticks in a jar of ashes above the food. In one’s home, it is common to have imagery, or a token, of the deceased. When paying respects in one’s home, simply three bows suffice.
Yeonyu is the language which the people of Heiyeong speak. It is derived from a single dialect from the imperial capital of the Empire of Leong, chosen and enforced to ensure mutual intelligibility across the vast empire. Other dialects, pertaining closely to each one’s respective races still exist, though is used privately within the household, or within their own racial groups, while the standardized language is used for official occasions, and in public spaces, for ease of communication. Written language is also standardized, adopting the Leong script. While in official documents, and in the native Leong region it is used most commonly, other unstandardized scripts are used within the provinces of the former conquered kingdoms. While the people of Heiyeong learn and adapt to the common speech and writing system of Enarion, they occasionally opt to use terms from their mother tongue, finding their meanings more precise and intimate than the Enari counterpart. Below are the translated pronunciations of common words.
The Gong Dynasty [ 1315 B.D. - 1012 B.D ]
The Gong Dynasty is the first ruling dynasty of the Yeon-guo people in recorded history. They were known for their relatively advanced technology and research in astronomy, and as a result had expansionist ambitions. Established around 1315 B.D by Gong Li Hwang, the Gong ruled for approximately 300 years, until 1012 B.D, when the Dynasty splintered into several states after decades of infighting and battles for succession. However, much of the knowledge regarding the history of the Gong Dynasty was lost in the successive regimes and are assumed to be destroyed after the Great Disaster
The Five Kingdoms Period [ 1012 B.D. - 617 B.D. ]
After the collapse of the Gong Dynasty, the land was splintered into twenty-four states. This spawned the era of The Five Kingdoms. A period of violent division in Yeon-Guo that lasted approximately four hundred years until 617 B.D. Within the first three decades, the twenty-four states were conquered by each other until the majority of the Yeon-guo territory was consolidated into the five major kingdoms: The Kingdoms of Wan, Leong, Lam, Pui, and Huan.
The Kingdom of Wan
- The Kingdom of Wan were proud people of the north who believed that they would eventually unite the continent, and would accordingly train all of their children in the art of warfare. It’s said that their soldiers were so efficient, cities would capitulate by the mere sight of their armies. Various schools of martial arts would develop within the Kingdom of Wan, and fighting was deeply incorporated into their culture.
The Kingdom of Leong
- The Kingdom of Leong emphasized the importance of knowledge and science. Despite the numerous inventions such as siege machines and stirrups, the people of Leong were taught to be humble, and instead to show their strength through actions rather than words. The Kingdom of Leong also shared borders with the other four states, and consequently their armies were almost in constant conflict. The numerous border skirmishes and technological progress enhanced their capabilities, enabling them to maintain their hold in central Yeon-Guo.
The Kingdom of Huan
- The Kingdom of Huan was the largest kingdom in terms of both land and population. It was a collective of various clans that struggled with one another for the royal crown, and as a result often found itself erupting in civil wars. Despite this, the royal army of Huan maintained its borders with the Kingdom of Wan, Leong, and Pui with strategically positioned fortresses and ruthless military tactics.
The Kingdom of Pui
- The Kingdom of Pui was perhaps the weakest of the five states, sharing its borders with the Kingdom of Huan, Leong and Lam. However, as all of the states were cautious with their battles, the Kingdom of Pui saw relative peace. Often referred to as the Kingdom of Wei, or the Kingdom of Flavour, they were known for their exports of food. Most notably were rice and various spices.
The Eastern Kingdom of Lam
- The Eastern Kingdom of Lam possessed unexplainable wealth. Due to the abundance of raw materials in the west, they experienced an influx of merchants and money entering its borders. They are said to have one of the most brilliant architecture of the five states, favouring the arts above all else. Many poems, ideologies, and written stories originate from the Kingdom of Lam. However, its people tend to be arrogant, and its unbalanced social structures and wealth led to a multitude of peasant rebellions along its borders.
The Five Kingdoms Era
The Five Kingdoms Era started in a fury of vicious fighting. Forty years after it began, in around 972 B.D, only five of the twenty-four states remained. However, as all the states shared borders with one another, no major conflicts erupted for fear that another state may invade while they were at war on another front.
It wasn’t until the Huan Rebellion of 632 B.D. that the decline of the Five Kingdoms era began. After Huan-Shi Hwang passed away, his sons battled for the throne. Though still united, the Kingdom of Huan was internally divided into four distinct factions - the north, west, east and south.
It was during this time of turmoil that the Kingdom of Leong chose to act. Looking to their northern and eastern border, they decided that it was easier to annex the weaker Kingdom of Pui than wage war against the Kingdoms of Wan or Lam. Sending envoys to both kingdoms to see if either would be interested in forming a non-aggression pact, the Leong diplomats were refused an audience with the King of Lam, but were invited to the court of the Kingdom of Wan.
Initially, the terms of the non-aggression pact was an agreement to a decade-long ceasefire. However, it was altered to a military alliance with an additional term to divide the lands of Huan. After both kingdoms agreed to the political agreement, the Kingdom of Leong promptly declared war on the Kingdom of Pui, while the Kingdom of Wan declared war on the Kingdom of Lam.
The Kingdom of Pui was successfully annexed by the Kingdom of Leong within four years in 628 B.D. During this time, the Kingdom of Leong established numerous fortresses along their northern border with Wan. This line of defence eventually came to be known as the Yeon Wei, or the Dragon’s Tail.
By the time the Kingdom of Wan successfully conquered the Kingdom of Lam in 623 B.D., the two kingdoms only had a year left remaining in their military pact. Both Kingdoms were aware of this fact, and it became a race to conquer as much of Huan was possible. Slowly, their armies converged on the western Kingdom - sieging the unconquerable fortresses that the Kingdom of Huan prided themselves upon. By 622 B.D., the agreement was over, and the three kingdoms, de facto became at war with one another. However, the Kingdom of Huan still suffered from the internal political strife, and was eventually conquered by the Kingdoms of Leong and Wan in 617 B.D.
The Period of the Northern and Southern Dynasties [ 617 B.D. - 273 B.D. ]
The Period of the Northern and Southern Dynasties lasted around three hundred years following the tumultuous era of the Five Kingdoms. Though considered to be a continuation of the Five Kingdom period, both the Kingdom of Leong and Wan became complacent with their wars against each other. It was a time where arts, culture and the spread of religious views flourished and advancements in technology and science became very rampant.
However, after over three hundred years of relative peace, a devastating flood and drought fell upon Yeon-Guo. Furthermore, accompanying the natural disasters, rumours of the death of the Wan-Yi Hwang of the Northern Lam Kingdom began to spread and accused the inner court of the Leong to be responsible. In 309 B.D., the two Kingdoms went to war once more.
Because of the Yeon Wei fortresses, the Kingdom of Wan was unable to penetrate the central border. Instead, Wan generals opted to invade from the west, and moved the bulk of their armed forces to the provinces of Huan. Unexpectedly, the Kingdom of Leong crossed the frozen rivers of the Jin in the east while coordinating a full on assault into central Wan. In 273 B.D. the Kingdom of Leong unified the continent, proclaiming itself to the Empire of Leong.
The Unification of the Continent and the Empire of Leong [ 273 B.D. - 0 B.D. ]
Having successfully conquered the continent, Leong made quick work in ensuring to suppress rebellions where they could. The old kingdoms became provinces, governed by lords who had proven their loyalty to the Emperor, and were content with their status. During this time, Leong flourished, as trade between provinces, and even to other lands, were facilitated. With this prosperity, religion and art thrived, particularly with the patronage of lords and of the imperial family themselves. Science and technology also prospered, with new inventions being created with each coming decade. Being one of the most prosperous regions, even their culture was exported and adapted from others, becoming a prominent player on their world stage.
However, as every dynasty in the past, and will so in the future, the prosperity of Leong began to flounder. Corruption became rife, and the emperors gradually became more and more powerless in the face of eunuchs, and their ever-growing factions. The people grew restless, in the face of famine and disaster, and rebellions began to erupt across the land. It would be around this time that the Great Disaster occured. Pushed to the center of the continent, it is unknown how the people managed to escape, it is only known that they did.
The Return of the Kingdoms, Division, and Strife [ 1 A.D. - Present ]
In the time of their escape, those who managed to woefully were unable to bring much with them, and as a result, much history was lost, limited to only what could be scavenged before their escape into a realm of refuge. Upon their return, they found the great cities ruined, though flora and fauna flourishing in their absence. Tracing to their historical roots, the people marched to their lands of old, attempting to reestablish their old provinces and kingdoms. The land came to be known as Yeon-guo, deriving from the old Empire of Leong.
Once more, the kingdoms found themselves at each other’s necks, all vying for control to restore the glory of the empire, from the stories of old. As cities were rebuilt, and the people returned to their farmsteads, all found themselves in the crossfire of war, and the people became desperate. Some fled to the cities, where there might be safe refuge, while others sailed off the continent, in hopes of a more peaceful existence. The people of Heiyeong are such a group. Seeking a new life, away from the continued conflict and strife, they sailed away with the eastern wind. After several months of sailing, they found themselves landing upon the western shores of Enarion, and established themselves in a village which they called Heiyeong, or Everlasting Peace.