The People of the Ancúram are also known as Ancúram.
Population Statistics #
The Ancúram was founded by one of the three oldest races in Astrel, the Elves. They appeared on the continent around the same time as the Dwarves. Although peaceful for a time, much of the oldest known history speaks of great tension between the Ancúram and what is now the Baahir Republic. Originally founded by the Dwarves, the Baahir Republic had idealistic differences with the Ancúram which eventually led to war. This war lasted for quite some time leaving many casualties on both sides and taking a terrible toll on the world. The most devastating impact was on a part of the continent currently known as the Whispering Wilds. After one particular event both sides came together on the Summer Solstice to find peace. The anniversary of that day, known as Armistice Day, is still celebrated by both cultures.
Long after the war, the Ancúram saw the incursion of the Orcs to Astrel and watched a small group of Humans stand up to them and drive them off the continent. This event was known as the Expulsion. This group would later become the Halcyon Sovereignty.
Ancúram community is based around one main family unit, but it is not uncommon for multiple families to be close and join to make a larger community. No one individual leads the group, everyone takes responsibility doing things that need to be done. There is no formal structure to the family groups, and each one is independent.
It’s not uncommon for there to be 5-6 generations all living in the same area. Most communities center around a longhouse that is used as the community center. The elders of the community are looked upon as advisors and respected for their experience. The Ancúram make decisions independently without any form of leadership.
Much like the Dwarves, Ancúram are gender neutral however lean towards feminine rather than masculine. Most Ancúram choose to not grow beards.
Real world ties: Ancúram are influenced by Native American and Celtic cultures.
There are two locations where much larger groups of Ancúram reside. These are the two great Ancúram cities; Irhdell and Sheelin. These cities are composed of many communities all working together. Without a leader or a council, the Ancúram take their small community model and expand it to ensure that all residents and travelers are taken care of during their stay within the city. The buildings show ornate, elongated form based on the natural sinuous curves of plants, flowers and trees; They are very Art Nouveau in style.
Coins in the Ancúram community do not hold any intrinsic value, but they recognize that outside communities do. Any coin that is brought in is given to the community, since no individual of this culture has any use for it.
Ancúram are highly spiritual, not religious, in belief. Those beliefs are animistic in nature. For example, an Ancúram would ask the river for fish to eat, and if the river was feeling generous, then the river would give a successful fishing expedition. Making sure never to anger the river, the Ancúram would never take more than what they would use.
Ancúram represent the spirit of the things they make by carving or adding faces to everything they create. They then speak to these faces to commune with the spirits and items that they utilize. They thank the home for shelter, the bow for the hunt, etc.
To the Ancúram, this world is it. When one of their own dies, they don’t move on or transcend, they go back to the earth in which they came. An Ancúram funeral is a celebration of life that one had led and more importantly the family and friends that they live on through.
Hero Stories #
An intrinsic aspect of the Ancúram culture is the stories they tell known as Hero Stories. There are four major stories that they tell, one coinciding with each of their seasons, but there are hundreds more that they use to teach lessons and fill each other with joy and inspiration.
Stories mean much to the Ancúram and they judge outsiders based on the stories that they tell. It’s rare for an outsider to be welcomed into a community, and even rarer if the individual doesn’t have a good story to tell.
Arius the Swift #
Legends around this elf vary but hold true to a central theme. During the Expulsion, Arius traversed the vast Ancúram motherland to bring supplies to villages in need. He led caravans of refugees to safety and watched over travelers. The Ancúram now talk to him when they need to travel.
Ysobelle the Kind #
She is known to be supremely beautiful and humble. During her time, she travelled abroad liberating wrongly imprisoned Ancúram from their chains. She cared for the homeless and set up homes for lost children. It is said she guides those in family matters and anyone seeking justice.
The Hermit #
Not much is known about this figure. They come in times of trouble and war to heal the sick and feed the hungry. It is said they are the one originally responsible for uniting elven tribes into the Ancúram as they are currently. Some rumors say they are still alive but have taken on a more Fae-like form.
Caimoira the Watchful #
She is said to have been an oracle of great power, seeing threats before they appeared. Having several warnings against humans, she urged the Ancuram to distance themselves from the Halcyon Sovereignty. Some stories even say she became one with the moon.
For the Ancúram, they have one given name and then they follow it up with the season that they were born onto. Newer generations have started to add the location where they call home to their name as well. Example: Eion of Challenge Irhdell or Moya of Return Assana. It is important to note that Ancúram names can change as they move and go to new places. If they intend to stay at their new location, they would change the location in their name to reflect that.
The Seasons are detailed below in the Holidays, Events, and Celebrations.
When creating a member of this society their names are inspired by the real world Celtic and Gaelic Cultures. If you find a name that you would like to use, it doesn’t matter if it is masculine or feminine in nature. Any name can be used by anyone.
The Ancúram wear a lot of hand-spun natural fibers and colors, adorning themselves in wraps, drapery or flowing fabrics. The colors most used are that of the woodlands and the forest. Everything the Ancuram have is handmade and not mass-produced. All possessions have a face drawn or carved on to it allowing them to commune with the spirits.
Ancúram Cities #
Irhdell is the gateway city to the Ancúram lands. It sits on the edge of the Whispering Wilds, intertwined in the trees of the Ancient Wood. Around its borders there are a series of white marble spires climbing 200 to 300 feet high. They sit alongside the trees as if they were meant to be there. Each spire is about 500 feet apart, and between them there are strands of something blue and shimmering draped from peak to peak. These spires are the city’s only boundary without disturbing the wildlife that exists within the Ancient wood.
The entire city is one with the forest. Some structures are built directly into the trees and some on the ground, but they all look like they have always been a part of nature. Irhdell has a sprawling market area filled with carts and small stands but at its center is a large cauldron bubbling with an enticing aroma. Rumor is that no matter how many eat from this cauldron, it is always full, and that one bowl from it will sustain a person for up to 3 days.
Sheelin is hidden within the islands of the great lake and only known to the Ancúram. It is rare for any outsiders to ever be told about it, including the Baahir with which the Ancúram have strong ties.
Within the Ancúram lands is a large lake with several small islands scattered around it. Most of the Ancúram communities are built around this lake and on these islands.
Holidays, Events, and Celebrations #
The Ancúram follow the seasons. They call them Growth, Challenge, Celebration, and Return.
Growth is a time when the green returns to the land, making bushes and trees more full, and a breath of life is brought back into the natural world. Foraging for nuts and berries are important during this time. New opportunities and new relationships grow with much vigor during this season.
During this season there is the Equinox Celebration, a time when light and dark are once again in balance and light starts to take claim to the days. These celebrations are normally full of flowers and bright natural colors. Traditionally this event is symbolized by the great tree, a representation of all phases of life and how we are all connected like the roots of the ancient woods.
Challenge is when we reach the hottest parts of the year. A time for testing one’s abilities and finding new challenges to rise up to. This is also the season of the hunt; many of the Ancúram people hunt and fish during this season for food.
During this season, the Ancúram celebrate the Solstice, the point at which the Sun is the highest in the sky. The Solstice is a time of competitions, festivities, and large gatherings. These events are symbolized by the Sun, which imbues strength and radiance. The sun gives life and allows us to flourish.
Armistice Day #
A little before the solstice, a large caravan leaves Irhdell for the Baahir Capital, Nassaar. This caravan stops several times along the way to hold a carnival of sorts. At the same time, a Baahir caravan starts on the other side making their way to Irhdell. Half way through their journey, they both arrive in a Halcyon Sovereignty city named Dybbæk for the Solstice Celebration. After which, they continue their way to Nassaar.
Celebration is a time of accomplishment, taking pride in what they have accomplished as a community, family, or individuals. This is also a time of the harvest, reaping what has been sown and thanking the world for the many offerings it has given us.
During this season, the Ancúram traditionally recognizes the second equinox of the year with a massive feast. Once the harvest has been completed, the extended families have the opportunity to rest and reap what they have sown. The symbol for this event is the Cornucopia.
Return is a time for reflection, where most Ancúram return to their families and take time to reflect and remember those that have come before them. Being the coldest time of the year along with the nights being at their longest, the Ancúram look to the moon for guidance.
During this season is the final Solstice. This event is a time to celebrate the lives of those who have passed on, and it often involves paying respect to ancestors, family members, elders, friends, pets, and other loved ones who have returned to which they came. In some rituals, the spirits are invited to the festivities. Some even paint their faces allowing the spirits to take hold of them and feel again what it’s like in the physical world. This celebration culminates late at night with a massive fire creating very deep shadows. The Shadows are those who have gone before and who are still here with us.