Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Center Cannot Hold: The Salaro

The Saltfolk: The Salaro, or Salish

Salira's name echoes from the oldest days of human civilization on Orphos.  Theirs is the land of a
hundred gods, a birthplace of ideas, and salt.  For the human tribe the Salaro, its harshness provided them their earliest motivation: exploration of the Maru Sea.

A great many words in other human languages have their origin in Salish, the Salaro's language.  They settled the lands that would be Ith before other human tribes had.  Salish can be found from Ainesia to Maliph.  Their travels only helped to spread the name of their ancient gods.  Ancient Salaro myths often are told because of their relevance to numerous historical figures throughout Ith and Ainesia.  In Ainesia they settled the lands of Salira, known for its gods and dragon cults since antiquity.

The Salaro claim that they were crafted from the white hard clays of their homeland.  After a great disaster, a man and woman, Salo and Ana, were rescued by the Gods.  To repopulate the world, the Gods bid them to toss salt over their right shoulders.  From the grains of salt, white clay became new men and women.  The Salaro, or People of the Salt were born that day.  The Salaro also believe each generation of human builds upon an older civilization.  Each of these ages end in disaster, but only for the next generation to stand up and become more than what had been before.

For the Salaro, they claim a number of firsts in the Maru Sea.  First to sail the Sleeping Straits.  First to write of Philosophy and Science.  First land to discover the Oracle and other classes.

To the rest of Ainesia, they were also the first to be conquered.  The Salish generals had carved great swathes of the Maru Sea between themselves prior to the arrival of the Ursyklon.  The Ursyklon bested them at every battlefield.  The Great Saga of Oretina relates the tale of the last great admiral of the Salaro.  A cunning woman, Oretina was known for outsmarting monsters of all kinds.  Salaro still remember the Saga well, it forming the basis of most Necruxa literature. She eventually surrendered at Othens, ending the Salaro's naval empire.

To this day, the Salish remain best known for their salt and their skill at sailing.  The rocky archipelagos of the Salaro homelands train them how to handle sea well.  Even in the age of Steamers, the Salaro are still best adapted to work at sea.  Even seaborn races like the Cecaelia remark at their adaptation to sea travel, a compliment the Salaro bear with pride.

Salaro or Salish Naming Conventions
Salaro names tend to follow the pattern of First Name, Matronymic, ending with "en" followed by the name of their birthplace.  The Matronymic tends to be personalized for the gender of the child.  If male, it ends in -ides, while for females it ends with -etzi.  For those who identify as neither, it ends with -akos.  Salaro have long named their first children after their paternal or maternal grandparents, continuing the name down the line.

Male Names: Zristos, Heo, Stavros, Vergios, Onstantinos, Brigorios, Dimizrios, Spyridon, Yrete, Nargus
Female Names: Hicodema, Soria, Ioulia, Ristina, Wichaela, Despina, Nike, Zassandra, Euridise, Oretia
Common Matronyms: Calliop-, Pandor-, Hicodem-, Sor-, Wichael-, Despin-, Nik-, Zassandr-, Othen-, Yret-
Common Salaro Places (for birthplaces): Ythonia, Halias, Rhedes, Zhrace, Ermopylae, Porta, Othens, Neopoli, Nikopoli, Salaropoli
Examples: Onstantinos Sorides en Zhrace, Ristina Niketzi en Halias, Zristos Wichaelakos en Crux

Salaro Hair and Fashions
Salish hair tends to be stark white, although a rare few have salt and pepper coloring to their hair.  Their eyes often are green, although a rare few have blue eyes.  Salaro never cut their hair, often letting it grow into long ropey braids, which they wear around their waists in belts.  For most Salish, learning to braid and knot one's own hair is seen as a key part of each child's life.

Those Salish who do cut their hair often do so out of protest (the Balds, as they were called during Ainesia's Revolutions) or have it cut as punishment.  Parents shave their children if they feel they are shaming them, although non-Salish often find it puzzling as a threat.  "Behave or I cut the braid!" oft is a parental tactic against many a upstart child- something even neighboring Tomasi don't quite understand.

The Salish also have a preference for the fez.  Originating in lands settled by both the Salaro and Ramelin in Maliph, the fez became closely favored by all Salish, including those in Ainesia and Ith.  The bright red caps are often embroidered with images of dragons, honoring the ancient wyrms that still dwell within the Salaro lands.

Salaro and the Dragons
The last bit to mention is on the relationship between the Salish and the many draconic lineages native to their part of Ainesia.  Centuries of conflict between dragons and humans oft rewarded dragonslayers of all kinds.  But Dragons have also been rulers of one kind or another in Salaro.

Many dragon cults have their origin in the salty lands of the Salaro.  More than a few claim that the old Salish gods were dragons whose names became forgotten long ago.  With the ascent of Revolutionary Empire of Ainesia, many Dragons suddenly were toppled from their centuries-long strongholds.  Old monarchies that claimed draconic blood were slain in the streets by Bald revolutionaries.  Dragons of all colors left Salira.  Many Salish nobles followed them.

Many settled south in Ith, where dragons were embraced as equals and granted citizenship.  Some Salish were too, but unlike the Tomasi, most Salaro lack a talent for innate Sorcery.  A seagoing folk, those who fled into Ith left one uncertain land for a foreign one instead.

Salaro Stunts
Seafolk's Eye: You can always orient yourself by the stars.  If you can observe them, you can quickly determine north.  If given a map and an accurate clock, you can also gauge your exact position fairly quickly.  In addition, you always can tell at least one detail about a ship you've been given time to look at.
Ropefingers: You can untie or tie up any rope easily.  You can identify knots on sight.  If tied up with rope, the only way to keep you tied is to manacle your hands.
Longbraid Voyager: You can talk any sailor or captain into letting you on board.  You always have a story to tell, and these always can sway them to hearing what you have to say.  You almost never have any difficulty convincing them to see things your way.