The Faeborne (or Faeborn) are descendants of Nemea, goddess of the forests, hunting, seasons, grief and illusions. They are one of the older races of Meranthe, residing in the city of Delphina as nobles, scholars and architects.
Born in the early days of Meranthe, the Faeborne originally were created to guard the forests that surrounded Mount Pavonis. Once Nemea departed with the final primordials they were free to travel and build civilizations as they so chose. Many chose to stay in the forests for decades or even centuries; to this day there are ancient guardian families that stay within those enchanted woods, holy ground for all Faeborne, living in tandem with fairies and other mystical creatures.
Eventually, the age of city states and warring lords stabilized with the creation of Delphina, largely in part due to the advanced magical understanding of the Faeborne. Nowadays the Faeborne rule in the city of Delphina. While humans and nephilim can head noble houses, only a Faeborne can be chosen as reigning monarch.
Faeborne are typically slightly taller than humans, with a wide range of skin shades. They tend to have elegant, pointed faces and sharp eyes in vibrant, beautiful colours. Many faeborne have pointed ears and all have a small set of antlers, the shape of which varies, as a result of their lineage from the goddess of the hunt. Faeborne usually live longer than humans.
They have heightened perception of all senses, making them apt scouts, guardians and adventurers, rarely startled by traps. This extends to their emotions. Faeborne are known to be deeply emotional but also much more easily able to compose themselves than humans, lending to a surreal, distant air about them, almost mystical in nature.
Faeborne are able to tap into their Nemean lineage to bring forth fae magic, with the most powerful demonstrating a brilliant set of butterfly wings reminiscent of Nemea herself.
Faeborne may reproduce with other races, but lacking the Fae lineage unless coupled with another Faeborne. For this reason, Faeborne that pair with other races tend to raise Faeborne wards to become the next heir of their noble households, on the rare occasion that one is available. True bloodline descendants are preferred.
Note: This is culture regarding Faeborne, not Delphina as an entirety, unless otherwise specified.
One of the main reasons Delphina stands proudly as the most advanced nation in Meranthe is the mastery of Faeborne artificing. They have a natural attunement to the world and over time used this knowledge to create unique, deep-seated runes in the language of the earth itself. They pioneered methods of capturing solar, wind and thermal energies of volcanoes. Arguably the most iconic form of technology developed by Faeborne is the runeoak: Tall trees that crystals of mana grew freely of, with their roots aglow and functioning as a complex system of wires that linked one runeoak to another. Across Delphina and every town nearby, these runeoaks have established a reliable grid that could power each home and more. Defensive tools such as magical shields that could protect castles from attack were developed using this network.
- Faeborne first names tend to be elegant and flowing, often following the names of their predecessors. Faeborne will never be named after traditional words, and tend to avoid using nicknames unless close.
- Many Faeborne take up artificing, runecrafting, hunting or scholarly pursuits. All Faeborne have a strong education- there is no such thing as an urchin Faeborne in Delphina. Such a child would be immediately placed into the care of the monarchy and assigned education, a place to live, even a family.
- Due to their upbringing and heightened senses, many Faeborne are natural scholars or at least curious about the world around them, thinking critically yet in ways often lateral to simple human connections. This makes them excellent inventors. They are a pragmatic and socially intelligent people. Even if many dislike the idea of the Greathive, most could see the value in summoning them, some even naive enough to think they could befriend them.
- They do not use the polluting, 'crude' (if equally or more advanced) machines found in the now defunct Barsburg, as it is offensive to Nemea. Neither would a Faeborne with any dignity or respect attempt to create 'synthetics' or similar artificial life. It is much better to try and heal the already living.
All Faeborne pay their respects to Nemea and most actively participate in her worship. As part of their education Faeborne have a superficial understanding of the other primordials but few choose to pursue avenues worshipping them directly.
Respecting and worshipping Nemea is done in the following ways:
- Meditation, which Faeborne are oft inclined to do to reflect on their feelings and actions, in the name of Nemea. Particularly during grief.
- Blessings over food and freshly hunted game. Never hunt more than you need.
- Offering coin and flowers at shrines. The traditional flowers are Lumin, glowing in the night sky in half a dozen shades of gold.
- Pilgrimages to view Mount Pavonis and travel the forests (without trespassing in guardian territory of remaining clans).
- Wearing trinkets of Nemea around the neck or finger after great tragedy, to help your soul heal.
- Attending festivals at the start of every new season. Wearing appropriate seasonal attire.
Created to guard mystical forests, barred for hundreds of years from contact with the natives of Meranthe, the Faeborne had their own language to communicate- known now only as Wylden.. It is said that this is a language of power, drawn from the earth, and most of the runes that empower their great artificing draw roots from it. In the modern day the language is all but lost, studied tirelessly by some scholars, kept away in the forests by any who might still know it.
Although the language is not in popular circulation anymore, many common phrases and sayings survive to this day. These can be greetings, exclamations, insults or individual words. Many Faeborne last names can trace their origin to Wylden. Even the greatest scholars do not understand enough Wylden to hold meaningful conversation beyond these memorized sayings. It does not flow well off the human tongue or translate perfectly to common; attempting to address a Faeborne using any of these might provoke approval or rage in equal measure.
- Dor'alanor (Greeting, formal; original meaning unknown).
- Lora meni'al (Goodbye or warning, casual; 'Walk safely').
- Adell aul eruna (Goodbye, formal; 'Until next we meet').
- Dranal (Insult, possibly light hearted; 'Idiot').
- Elunanis (Insult, serious; 'trips over roots'; implied to flee from battle, coward).
- Nemal nui (Relationship; 'close friend', 'bond brother/sister')
- Sal'ashi (Exclamation; excitement; praise; 'Amazing' 'Excellent' 'Well done').
- Sal'asha (Informal greeting; friendly or mocking).
- Dal'Thala (Location, usually a place of rest; 'our home').
- Elzara (Group, the military of Delphinia; 'Leaf's Blade' 'Leafblade' 'Leafblades').
A few famous lines from poems and stories also survived and are oft cited in appropriate circumstances. The exact meanings and context of the phrases are up for debate, but much of Faeborne poetry is about love and grief.
- Suli'nalor lenwar sunne del'ador ( 'love is written on every flower').
- Lehpo sumnarel sum'ador ai tanar; danashi sum'ai ('the sweetest song I'd sing [to you], if my words did not escape me')
- Gala'shi vel somni au ('the night owes you to me')
- Due to their strong emotions, Faeborne are excellent at holding grudges, even if they rarely act on them. To avoid this, most Faeborne go out of their way to settle their differences. For Faeborne that have wronged each other, one ritual involves them writing their apology and deeds done on paper, exchanging it with the other party in front of a shrine to Nemea, then burning the paper and burying the ashes. "Today Nemea takes our grievances; tomorrow's sun will shine on us forgivingly."
- Drinking tea is a strong cultural custom in Delphina, brought by the Faeborne who know which leaves to use to create fantastic concoctions. Sharing tea with a friend is a small ritual in itself. Rejecting an offering of tea is considered an insult. The best tea is prepared by 'tea maidens' who are usually Faeborne; if not, they are trained in the ways and the religion of Nemea.
- The arts and creative pursuits are oft explored by Faeborne particularly in matters of courting. Poetry, singing, art, writing and any other muse is popular.
- Faeborne oft personify seasons in their conversations and artworks. Summer is decisive, angry, excited. Autumn is calm, ponderous, thoughtful. Winter is bitter, vengeful, slow. Spring is optimistic, cheerful, vibrant.
- A civilized Faeborne knows to always try and be polite with other races. The way this philosophy is taught subtly entwines a sense of superiority in culture for many.
- Mirrors have an important cultural role in Faeborne society. Mirrors represent travel through other realms, as Nemea does along Yggdrassil, and seeing through illusions. Mirrors in Delphina are made with special techniques that allow them to be more easily enchanted, reflecting different colours, impossible scenes, strange angles and generally warping who looks into them. Every Faeborne household has a mirror as a de facto link to Delphina, and many friendly competitions arise comparing the grandeur and majesty and enchantments of different mirrors (typically inconclusive as every family has different tastes).
- To this end, it is believed that the key to navigating the enchanted forests (and other realms of illusions) lay in mirrors.