Monday, February 17, 2014

the Athomians

Athomian lives are rigidly dictated by social status, measured by both strength and artistic talent. Athomians are presumed to be descended from the Noblei, as their clans migrated north along with the Junians and the Eldragoths. Their society spread further north following the last Turning. Forced to compete with the Beastmen of the northern hills and plains, they have become fiercely barbaric and truly anarchic.

Athomians do not have a traditional family structure, nor do they perform weddings. When Athomians have children they form families that last only until the child, or children, are capable of taking care of themselves. However, they are not as divided as outsiders believe them to be, there is little to no rivalry between clans. Conflicts are always resolved by individual warriors, and clan members respect the outcome of the battle or contest.

Athomians are rarely encountered as single individuals. Outcasts from the Athomian clans are scarred or branded in some way so that other Athomians will know them and reject them as well. The most important thing to an Athomian is their place in the clan. To be cast out is to be dead in the eyes of their goddess, because of this many outcasts would rather commit suicide than try to integrate into other cultures.

Athomians value both skill with a weapon and artistic ability. The leader of a clan is often both the best fighter and the one who spends most of their time working a trade for the benefit or glory of the clan. Athomians have perfected the art of swordfighting, as well as swordmaking. Their intricate but sturdy weapons are highly prized and sought after. Disputes that are not settled by dueling are resolved by a comparison of talent by the two opponents, this usually entails both parties forging a sword and allowing other members of the clan to inspect them, but it can also involve skills as decorative as embroidery or as practical as woodworking.

An Athomian always keeps their personal equipment immaculately clean and weapons are kept perfectly maintained and oiled. Athomians prefer to wear vivid colors that many consider unpleasant, such as vibrant orange, bright green, and deep purple. They will also tattoo their entire bodies in these colors. Paradoxically, their grooming habits are awful and their focus on outward appearance means they are actually very dirty and unkempt, and many jokes have been made about how their awful color coordination cannot mask their awful body odor. Athomians do not prize bodily hygiene as much as their fashion sense or a perfectly balanced blade.

Every clan worships the same vicious and secretive goddess. Her name is never revealed to outsiders, and she grants power to a very select few. Sacrifices to her are common among all Athomian clans. The formal rituals and ceremonies performed in her esoteric name last for hours and sometimes climax in a brutal death, of a member of the clan if an outsider hasn't been acquired.