The lands of Areg'On lie to the frozen north, in a land which sees the sun not set or rise for days at a time. It is a land of untamed wilderness, bordering the lands of the faerie. The people of Areg'On are survivors, strong and hardy, and often stand a foot or two taller than those around them. They are a proud, physical people, and are often portrayed as larger than life. The name Areg'On applies both to the island of Areg'On and the entire chain if islands, including the largest island, D'Remes. As you get closer to D'Remes, the name Areg'On and D'Remes becomes interchangeable.
It is said that the people of Areg'On sailed from the mists of D'Remes, from another land entirely, and settled onto the islands in the distant past. While there is little record of the original land of the people, the name of the land is called Gairnéad, and is said to be a paradise.
The Clann of Areg'On
Areg'On is not a unified kingdom, and has not seen a ruling body in quite some time. Instead, it consists of scattered tribes which exist throughout the entire island chain. Each tribe is called a clann, and usually consists of a single extended family line. Each clan has their own territory, marked by low walls constructed of stone. The clanns often compete with each other, and arrange marriages to promote unity.
Each clan answers to a chieftain, who handles physical and political matters, a druid who acts as a spiritual advisor, and a bard who acts as a historian and advisor on tradition and law. Twice a year, during the longest night and the longest day, the chieftains gather for a thing -- a meeting to discuss serious matters between the clann, to settle disputes, and to ensure harmony between the people.
Each clan has a totemic animal which symbolises them as a people, and is often used in everyday language and in oaths. A clan who has Raven as their totem may say 'by Raven's claw!' when surprised, or 'you have Raven's eye!' to note someone with keen vision.
The people of Areg'On are called Areg'Onian.
The Kindly Ones
The fairies of D'Remes play a grand role in the history of the people, and are never spoken of by name. Instead, they are called the fair folk or the kindly ones. Using the name faerie is thought to draw their attention, and one never, ever speaks ill of them for fear of drawing their ire. The stories of encounters between the fair folk and the people of Areg'On are often things of legend, and more often then not play up the tragedy, humiliation, or loss suffered by the people of Areg'On. Rarely, however, there are stories of fair folk who aid the people in times of need, and there is always one or two members of any given clan with a show of faerie heritage.
The most notable of the fair folk to step foot on Areg'On soil are the Aes Sidhe, the faerie nobles. These are often powerful individuals, skilled with the weapon and with the power of glamour to them. These nobles are met as equals by the chieftains, and are dealt with very carefully. For those who live closer to D'Remes, the Aes Sidhe are considered respected equals and treated with respect and some deference, but deeper into the west, they are seen as a danger to be avoided.
The clann of Areg'On revere Arion in his role as Arawn, Lord of the Underworld. It is said that he is the Grand Father, lord of a vast army of souls, and that any warrior who dies in battle will join this army. The warrior-women of Moira, the Shadow Queen (a manifestation of Sanguine), walk the battlefields, choosing those who are worthy from the slain to serve Arawn. To not die in battle, or without honour, means to be denied entrance into the armies of Arawn, and is believed to be a great shame.
Belet-Silla (Zillah) is the daughter of Arawn and Moira, and is the Scibe of the Earth. She records the names of all who pass into the underworld, and those who are deemed unworthy are held there and tormented. Ceridwen (Mana) is the mother of all magic, and is the wise woman who provides insight to Arawn, and is thought to be the mother of Taleis, the first magician. Taleis (The Twins) is often depicted either as a boy or a girl, nobody is certain which is which.
The goddess Maeya is not worshipped, but is simply recognized as the land itself (Maya), the provider and nature in all forms. She is guarded and protected by the Horned Lord Cerne (Tempest), who rides along the coast and across the islands, ensuring her safety.
Two Hidden Gods exist among the people of Areg'On -- Morgana, The Raven, and Rook. These two immortals are warriors without peer, and are considered good omens among the clann. As wife and husband, the immortals have begun to produce the new choosers of the slain, immortal children who share an empathic link with their parents, and who are, themselves, nearly unkillable. While not worshipped themselves, these two are seen as champions and heroes among the clann.
The Joshuite Problem
Within the last three decades, the Joshuite faith has encroached into Areg'On. Part of this was from the raids and piracy of some of the coastal Areg'On clann, while another reason involved attempting to claim a spiritual foothold in the north. Those clann who have taken on the Joshuite traditions found favoured trade with Tarantis, including food, clothing, superior weapons, and other goods, while gaining the blessings of the Joshuites themselves. Ambitious chieftains used this influence to give them an edge when performing raids upon neighbouring clann, with the tacit approval of some of the more ambitious Joshuites.
While Morgana has often taken part in these conflicts, acting on the side of the more traditional clann, with the coming of the Rook and their new children, the conflict has intensified. The immortal children of Morgana and Rook are still only children, but their very presence has caused concerns for the Joshuite ambassadors to the north, who foresee these children as a dire threat in the future. With an Arin king and queen on the throne of Tarantis, however, there is some question as to how much time the Joshuites have before their favoured trade status will continue.
Areg'On is known for extreme weather patterns and even more extreme seasons. The summer temperatures can go as high as 34C (90F), while the winter months can see temperatures as low as -52C (-60F). There is almost no permafrost in Areg'On unless one goes to the furthest northern reaches.
Vegetation in the region is generally of low diversity, as very few trees can survive the long winters and have the ability to make use of the short summes. Trees are mostly limited to ferns and conifers, and the type of forests found in Areg'On are known as taiga. While there are not many different types of trees in the north, they make up for their low variety by population -- the forests found on the larger islands are thick and numerous.
Agriculture is poor in Areg'On, due to the natural infertility of the soil and the prevalence of swamps and peat bogs. In some areas, ice has scoured rock surfaces bare, entirely stripping the land of any soil which can be used. As one goes north, the summer temperature does not go beyond 10C (50F), making even the sturdiest plants few and far between.
The most unusual feature of Areg'On is the polar night and the midnight sun. At the height of summer, the sun does not set... at the lower reaches of Areg'On this phenomenon lasts for only a week, but as one goes further north, the sun will not set for up to 73 days. When this period starts, the sun just barely touches the horizon, then begins to travel in a slow arc, touching the horizon again. As the days progress, it begins to drift back and forth, until it spends one day fixed in the sky. This is called the Eye of Arawn. After the day passes (the summer solstice), the sun reverses, and begins the process of swinging back and forth until it finally dips over the horizon and night returns. During the sun's height, the people of Areg'On celebrate the White Night festival.
During the winter, the sun begins to dip below the horizon, not to be seen for days on end. At the southern points of Areg'On, the sun is not seen for perhaps 20 hours, but as one travels north, this draws out. The northernmost regions may not see the sun for as long as a hundred days. Even at the beginning of these polar nights, the sun's light rises up from the horizon, providing a perpetual twilight for days on end, before it fades off into the longest night. It is believed, during this time, that Arawn has retired to feast, and that his companion, Moira, walks the land, collecting the dead and placing judgement upon them. The warriors who join Arawn are fed and sheltered, and a celebration in their honour continues until the god once more rises to watch his people. The people of Areg'On believe that the celebration is unending, lasting for days upon days, and is unlike any festive event known to man.
A list of more notable animals of Areg'On include: caribou / elk, bear (polar, grizzly, and black), killer whale, blue crab (a delicacy), albatross, sea lion, seal, walrus, wolverine, and badger. Wolves and foxes are found in the lower regions, as well as hare.
The people of Areg'On have a fierce code of honour. To them, a person is not an adult until they know how to fight and take a beating. They believe in ‘sins of the blood’, thus the crimes of the parents are carried to the children, and this can last up to seven generations. This becomes important when dealing with others – those who have infernal blood are thought to be especially cursed and evil – and no amount of talk will convince an Areg'Onian otherwise. Divine blooded people are considered touched by the gods and heroes, while faerie-blooded individuals are thought to be ‘strange’, and mistrusted. The Areg'Onian people fear dragons, having stories handed down for generations of the Age of Dragons and the atrocities that were committed.
Names are presented depends on the region the character comes from. Along the southern and east, under Joshuite influence, use the surname Mac<father’s name> or Mc<father’s name>. Mac- and Mc- translates as ‘son of’. In the north and west, the use of O’<father’s name> is often used instead. Thus, Bran, son of Finn, would be called either Bran MacFinn, or Bran O’Finn.
Male: Aden, Alistair, Blaine, Brandon, Caine, Conan, Daire, Donovan, Ennis, Ewan, Fionn, Flynn, Gallagher, Guthrie, Herne, Hogan, Keith, Kyle, Logan, Lynn, Malcolm, Murphy, Nevin, Niall, Oran, Oscar, Quade, Quinn, Reilly, Ryan, Shane, Sullivan, Teagan, Tremain, Zephan
Female: Aileen, Aisling, Breanna, Brynn, Caitlin, Ciara, Deirdre, Devin, Eileen, Erin, Fiona, Flynn, Gael, Guinivere, Hazel, Isleen, Isolde, Jeanine, Jeanne, Kaelyn, Kayla, Lassie, Lorna, Maeve, Moira, Naomh, Noreen, Ormanda, Ownah, Peigi, Phiala, Quillan, Quinn, Riona, Rosaleen, Shannon, Shea, Tara, Teagan, Una, Vevina, Zephan