Meritocratic State of Lothelia
|Meritocratic State of Lothelia|
Among the Elven realms of Enarion and on the eastern border of the ancient Tor Ascaran peoples from whom Aellen descends today, lay Lothelia; a realm long taken by the Calamity. The rocky, verdant east would be left alone by the rising powers of post-calamity Enarion, but for the Ionians and the descendants of pre-Calamity Lothelians. Reminded of home, they carved their theatres and bathhouses into the slopes- making them host to plays, festivals, pilgrimages, and parades unlike anywhere else in Enarion. The Ionian people are a multiracial cultural group accustomed to life on islands, shores, and rivers. They made their living by trade, bartering with many other cultures for goods. Thus was bred into them a natural affinity for all involved; making the Ionian a natural adventurer, sailor, or merchant alike. The significance of all waterways was not hidden to the Ionians, too. Wide or thin, deep or shallow, these people held a respect for them- one which would later come to bind them together in a society defined by its pluralism.
At an undisclosed time, the Ionians managed to escape the Calamity that befell the world. Beyond the portals was beheld a new land of strife, hardship, and wonder not unlike the scrawlings of their own mythologies. In but a few centuries the peoples’ first bootprints trekked across Enarion, which grew in rumor as a truly worthy pasture. The next twenty-five years would be spent fraternizing with the myriad peoples colonizing the continent, their own settlements notably few in making. Amongst foreigners the Ionian found none of the unity, character, nor discipline as they had so sought to attain in being there- making them rather disposed to dissidence. And so many settlers were driven to meet in secret, scorned by the overlords they had first sought to serve. They rallied under the leadership of the elder, Tindomiel Sercenona, an elven woman who reached a century old before even journeying to Enarion- proclaiming her Archon of the Ionian people, destined to build a city that might bring honor to all the Ionians in their trial against the vast land of Enarion. As the Ionians sought to stake their claim in Enarion, they happened upon the remainder of a Lothelian noble line, the House of Nevrakis, led by its current head, Lucien Nevrakis. Both Tindomiel and Lucien quickly befriended each other and upon discovering House Nevrakis’s ambition to restore his nobility and Lothelian culture, Tindomiel offered him a position by her side and the aid of the Ionian people. Thus a bond was formed between their two peoples and their future path laid before them.
The Upper Echelon: The Lothelian government is a meritocratic oligarchy ruled by the Archon. The Archon oversees the military, foreign affairs, and most day-to-day decisions concerning the government. The Berater is in charge of the domestic resources and the finances of the nation, overseeing most financial decisions that do not concern trade abroad. The Kyn'thorydd is in charge of foreign trade, acting as the head of a business conglomerate that acts in the interest of boosting trade.
The Legislative Branch: The Senate is made up of the Archon and six ‘Senators’ that will often vote on issues. During emergencies such as war or famine, the Archon has the ability to pass declarations and reforms without the Senate’s approval. All other actions must be voted on. Senators are elected by the populace to represent the populace. The Archon retains the right to overrule any decision made by the Senate without Senate approval.
The Judicial Branch: The Arbiter sits as the highest judge in the government of Lothelia, being the last resort in court cases and in most cases, a tiebreaker between the two Marnwyr that sit beneath them. The Arbiter’s decision may only be overturned by the Senate. There are only two Marnwyr that serve in the court of Lothelia. Most cases are assigned to a single Marnwyr, with only a few cases needing to have decisions reached by both or even rarer, heading to the Arbiter.
Foreign Affairs: Acting as the head of all foreign affairs, the Evn’gesaen oversees the many envoys sent to each nation, alliances, trade pacts, non-aggression clauses, and so forth. The Evn’gesaen finds themselves working with the Senate and the Arcarius most of their tenure. Acting as the envoys of the nation, An’givare are usually either stationed in other nations for most of their tenure or traveling across Enarion to meet other representatives for foreign nations. An’givare report directly to the Externis Rebus.
Internal Affairs: The Arcarius acts as the treasurer of Lothelia, handling all things related to coin and working in close tandem with the Evn’gasaen when trade pacts are being discussed. The Arcarius works directly under the Kyn'thorydd. Acting as the official for all domestic related issues, the Shil’draethwr is directly over the Forvol’tare and Maer and works in close tandem with the Arcarius on issues regarding jobs and labor conditions. Acting as the main steward for the government, the Forvol’tare reports to the Shil’draethwr and handles all matters regarding housing in the nation. The Forvol’tare is directly over the Inistain. The Inistain are the Stewards of the nation, overseeing all housing and market purchases in the nation. They are overseen by the Forvol’tare. The Maer acts as the elected leader for the city of Ionia, a mayor of sorts. They are in charge of all event planning and tourism for the city.
The only apparel that is “required” of citizens in Lothelia is the senators’ toga, promoting their status and importance within the government. The garb typically consisted of a white linen or woolen toga worn over a tunic of sorts. The toga is indicative of Ionian culture pre-Calamity. While there are no laws that restrict the apparel of the Ionians & Lothelians, most people can be found adorning a similar style of clothing. Typical male clothing consists of a fustanella, or a pleated-skirt like garment, with a cloth-made shirt or tunic. There is no strict colour scheme to the clothing but vivid colours were reserved for nobles and richer families while pastels were reserved for families with little wealth. In addition to the fustanella and cloth shirt, furs can be seen being worn during colder months with the quality of the fur showing some signs of status.Vrakas were also very commonly used by all classes with the colour of the vraka denoting social standing. The females of the Ionian people typically wore a garment called the “stola” which was usually made of wool with expensive silks reserved for the upper class and wealthy. The stola is a long, pleated dress that is typically worn over a slip and could be sleeveless or sleeved, depending on the time of year. Stolas varied in colour, but brighter colours were usually worn by the upper class and pastels for commoners.
The Festival of Feathers
The Festival of Feathers is among the most popular of traditions for the Ionian and Lothelian people. Taking concepts from both the Lothelian and Ionian festivals of love, this culturally combined festival is one that is all about courtship.The Lothelian’s “Festival of Love” and the Ionian’s “Dance of the Feathers” were combined and what resulted was a magnificent display of colour and love. During the festival, all women of the nation wear pastel colours bringing about a “dull” appearance like that of most species of female birds. Feathered clothing is usually worn as well, another ode to the inspiration of this festival. Yet it is not the feminine garb that takes the spotlight in this festival, it is the masculine, with males wearing eccentric and bright coloured clothing like male birds of many species, aiming to catch the attention of the ladies present. Bird-like masks are usually worn with the garb, both on the male and feminine sides of the festival. Besides the eccentric and pastel garb, the festival acts almost as a ball and speed dating hybrid. It includes a parade of the males who dance in the traditional Ionian style, with the dances being very akin to that of a male bird’s ritual dance. As the parade marches to the designated forum, all that participate and watch follow the parade and enter in a brightly decorated room that includes an area to dance and another to mingle. The dances between the two groups, the “Tierciels” and “Hens” or the males and females respectively. During this time partners will interchange and dance until a pair has settled on one another. After the dances, these pairs will sit at a table during the dinner service and mingle. This will go for some time and during this time the Hens and only the Hens have the option to abandon their partner. Any pair that remains together successfully will then take to the floor once more and cement their partnership. This festival acts not only as a parade of fun but also as an engagement announcement as the couples that make it all the way to the end shall be blessed and officially become a couple that are to be wed. After this, only the Hen may make the decision to end the engagement, with the Tierciels having little say in the issue culturally.
The Hallowed Walk
The Hallowed Walk acts as a festival of life and also a funeral for the passing of a loved one. Very few cultural customs remain from the Ionian society but this is one that the Archon, Tindomiel, firmly remembers. In Ionian society the loss of a loved one is a sad yet happy event where the mourning of the loved one is held as most funerals are but with the exception of there being a large festival for those gathered afterwards, to celebrate the life of the individual that has passed. At the beginning of this event, the body of the deceased is embalmed and preserved using ancient Ionian techniques only known to a few. In this state, the body is preserved to look as it did in life, allowing the kin of the deceased to view their loved one in a respectable and honourable state. The embalming process usually takes between two and four hours, during which time the festival promptly called the “Festival of Life” is set up. After the embalming process is completed, the deceased is dressed in a luxurious white garb and then transported to the mausoleum where it shall be laid to rest. All that participate in the memorial service for the deceased are required to wear white clothing, which represents the transition of one’s soul into the purity of the afterlife. It is thought that not wearing white to the event is disrespectful and to wear the colour black is considered blasphemy and a cause for the family of the deceased to call for honourable combat with the blasphemer. After the deceased is laid to rest, the denizens of the funeral will go to the gardens where the Festival of Life will take place. During this time, it is encouraged for all to mingle and eat, however the highlight of this festival is the end of it where many pails of differently coloured dyes are set out with the intended use of the dye being thrown at other denizens of the festival. It is encouraged to completely dye every member’s pure white clothing with various dyes, resulting in a rainbow of colours on the garb. This is usually done in a large mock battle where the denizens throw the dyes at each other as if children throwing their food during a lunch session. The cultural importance of this practice and its intended meaning, the colours representing the memories of the deceased loved one and the start of a new life for the soul of the deceased. It also displays the love and fun that each individual had with the deceased, showing their love for the person.