We will continue to fight. The only other option is to give in and become Them. They already steal away some of our young in the dead of night and corrupt them. So we will fight, til the last of us shed the life’s blood. It is all we can do.”
-Abbot Gwelltyn at the launch of the ship Daranau
The Scarred are a people that were constantly engaged in a battle for their survival for centuries. It was not a battle that they would give up on, for they know that they have been blessed by the powers. The unending war that they waged is one that they nearly lost. Still they would not give up.
At first glance the Scarred are easily mistaken for humans, but they are not. The Scarred can live to see up to 500 cycles, but they rarely get the chance to live half that long. The Scarred get their name from the facial tattoos and ritual scarification that all members have. Most of these markings are simple geometric designs on the forehead or around the eyes, but elaborate markings are not unheard of. Wounds upon the body of one of the Scarred close and heal within a matter of minutes. Disease is unheard of amongst their people, because of this there is very little medical knowledge among the Scarred. Clothing is unique to each of the three islands that the Scarred inhabit, but the majority of their clothing consists of robes. Being islanders, the Scarred never wear armor. They feel it is far too restrictive and impractical for their constant ship to ship fighting. Warriors from the islands learned to fight without armor and prefer it that way. The very best of their people learn how to tap into their racial heritage and shield themselves in divine armor.
Religion and Magic
The Scarred were the caretakers of the powers. They are fiercely religious and devoted to their god.
The people of each island are dedicated to one of the powers. Each island is ruled over by an Abbot, one who has been proven through trials of faith and ritual combat to be the best suited to lead the island. Magic is unheard of among the Scarred, in fact almost none of their legends mention magic at all.
That none of the Scarred know or care about magic is due to the prevalence of artifacts scattered about the three islands. These artifacts accomplish extraordinary things with minimal effort. Some artifacts that see use among the Scarred are: a carding brush that cleans and repairs any garment it is used on, a hammer that can forge metal without heat, and a rod that causes fish to spring into the boat of the user. These artifacts were used when they were servants of the powers before the God War. Their original uses are mostly unknown. To the Scarred, the artifacts are simply a fact of life.
Relations with other races
The Scarred know of only two people of the world; themselves and the Qidar. They hate the Qidar with a fierce passion and will fight them til their dying breath. They believe that the Qidar came from the central island hundreds of cycles ago. Now the Scarred only go there to wage war.
Relations amongst the three islands of the Scarred are complicated. They will always unite in their battles against the Qidar. Many of their oldest tales talk of raiding other islands for resources, but now most things are obtained by bartering. There is also a fair amount of intermarriage between the islands. When this happens one of the newlyweds moves to the home island of their spouse and integrates with their culture. Any differences fade against the persistent threat from the Qidar.
The Northernmost of the three islands where the Scarred make their home is a rolling vista of mountains and valleys. Some of the valleys have fields of wheat planted in their fertile soil, while others are covered in towering forests. The coasts of the island are protected by ships built by the master artisans of the island. They fly flags of blue and green with the symbol of Aranayan proudly displayed in the center.
The Scarred of Seallaidhean follow Aranayan to a fault. Very few of them are able to read or care to learn. Instead, the history of their people is passed down in stories and the intricate carvings that cover the interior of every building on the island.
Signs, omens, and portents guide many of the actions of the Scarred that live here. They also have elaborate rituals that they believe influence the weather and the outcome of the harvest. The cloth woven on the island can be thick and warm or light and airy depending on the need, but each piece is brightly dyed in patterns thanks to the abundance of dye available on the island. When the Scarred of Seallaidhean go to battle they prefer using axes and clubs, if their weapons are not two handed they also will carry small round shields.
There are a few small silver and gold mines upon the island that the Scarred use to craft jewelry and trinkets. They never use the precious metals to make coins, instead preferring to barter item for item. Something common among the other islands as well. The Scarred of all three islands are unused to currency.
Houses upon Seallaidhean are large affairs out of necessity. Several generations of the same family living under one roof. Extensions are usually added onto the family complex when children reach adulthood rather than them moving out and building their own home. Familial ties are extremely important to these Scarred. Each child is taught to recite an unbroken line of their ancestors back at least 6 generations.
To the Scarred of Seallaidhean family is the most important thing besides faith. When they go to battle, family members always try to fight alongside the other members of their family. The greatest honor one of the Seallaidhean Scarred can bestow on another person is declaring them a part of their family. This honor is rarely offered and even more rarely declined. When accepted, the person is considered a full member of the family. Their name is added to the family line, they are invited to live in the family home, and they oftentimes have to deal with their new family taking an interest in their personal lives.
Rhodd y Ddaear
The Easternmost of the three islands is mostly flat with a few rivers bisecting it and a grouping of small mountains on the Southern shore. Dotted around the island are small forests, but most of the island is devoted to grazing land for the multitude of sheep kept by the Scarred. The borders of the island are kept safe by archers and scouts who gather the spear and axe wielders should a Qidar ship be spotted. Their banner is a brown field with a yellow daffodil placed in the center.
The Scarred of Rhodd y Ddaear are all followers of Enoth. Their oldest stories say that he raised their home out of the sea as a gift to them.
The wool from their sheep is usually dyed in earth tones to honor Enoth. The wool is woven into the robes that almost every Scarred on the island wears. The Scarred of the island seldom wear any type of jewelry, believing that it is too ostentatious.
Though mutton is the main food of choice on Rhodd y Ddaear, the Scarred supplement their diet with fish from the sea and grain grown on their own farms.
In addition to raising sheep, the Scarred of Rhodd y Ddaear are skilled in the arts of crafting ceramics and mining. The small mountains on the Southern shore have an abundance of iron ore within them.
Each Scarred child upon the island is taught music as a part of their education. As they get older they are encouraged to compete in games of tactics and strategy. They are also taught to meditate in times of stress, so that they may stay in balance.
The most elaborate rituals upon the island are the death rites. Most funerals are a three day affair, though for a few great heroes they have gone on longer. The first day is devoted to remembering the life that was well lived. The second day is mourning the life that was cut short. The final day is spent adding the deeds of the Scarred that died to the great history rolls kept by the Abbot of the island. The final day of the funeral a song is sung by the family and friends left behind, this song is usually about the deeds done by the Scarred during their life and how they served Enoth.
In times of battle against the Enemy, the Scarred of Rhodd y Ddaear are the ones that the other two islands look to for leadership. The maps and sea charts made by them are essential in ensuring any type of victory.
Houses upon Rhodd y Ddaear are wooden with thatch roofs. They typically only house a single family. When a man or woman reaches the age of adulthood they are only allowed to stay with their parents until they have built their own dwelling or found a spouse to live with.
Tân y Galon
The southernmost island is also the coldest of the three. It is covered in snow for six months out of the year. The island itself is dominated by a single towering mountain in its center. The caldera of the mountain glows red against the night sky, though it rarely erupts anymore. The south part of the island is covered in a forest of massive evergreens while the northern part of the island are covered by plains when not dusted with snow. The banners that they raise feature a purple mountain on a field of red and orange.
The Scarred of Tân y Galon are devoted worshippers of Belendor, believing that the glow and warmth coming from the mountain are a sign of the power’s blessing.
The robes that the Scarred of this island wear are usually one of the colors of their banner and are decorated with ribbons and beads. The robes for ceremonies feature elaborate embroidery.
No music or songs come from the Scarred of Tân y Galon. Instead, they compose and tell epic poems that tell of the great deeds their ancestors took part in. Ancestors are an intrinsic part of their life. Each of these Scarred keep and tend to a small shrine devoted to their ancestors and will often ask them for advice.
Massive herds of reindeer roam Tân y Galon. They serve as the principal food of the Scarred that make their home here. To follow the movements of the reindeer, the Scarred use sleds pulled by hounds that have far more in common with wolves than dogs. Rice and fish add to the variety of their diet. The Scarred of Tân y Galon like their food to be as hot as the depths of the mountain on their island.
When hunting the reindeer the Scarred favor bows, though they will switch to spears when they close. When they make war against the Qidar, they are ingenious crafters of poison and explosives. The catapults upon their ships lob large bombs more often than stones.
Marriage is an elaborate affair for the Scarred of Tân y Galon. Usually because it means bringing a Scarred from another island to them. Marriages are large, joyous occasions. Always accompanied by a gigantic bonfire.
Each new birth on the island is welcomed with a solemn ritual to Belendor. An entire reindeer is sacrificed, and its entrails are used to divine a name for the child. Favorite poems are shared as the birth is celebrated among family and friends.
The Scarred of the island live in yurts than can be easily moved when needed, but some stay in place for years at a time. Each family keeps their own yurt, but familial groups tend to keep their homes close to each other.