Tretallë (Lore)

This page is about the lore and culture. For the Dominion see Tretallë (Empire). For other uses see Tretallë (Disambiguation)

Known in IktOrryk as the IstFet and in the common tongue as the Bone Elves, the Tretallë are a cousin-race of the High Elves of IldSond. Their true ancestral home, at least according to High Elven Faith is at the foot of the Mountains of Mist. However, the oldest recorded home of the Tretallë, still the site of the Ivory Throne and the capital of the Dominion, is in the illustrious Forest of Bones.

Physiology

The Tretallë are close relatives of the elves. While the Elledynnë are typically more well built and shorter, the Tretallë are lankier and taller. The Tretallë are less adept than their contemporaries at sneaking around in the shadows, but their manual dexterity is quite unmatched in the West. They are, generally speaking, less capable than the High Elves or the Woodland and Rogue Elves of the East in terms of stealthiness in smaller spaces. However, they are more adept than the High Elves in stealthiness around an open chamber.

They excel at running long distances and have extraordinary endurance, provided that the terrain is flat. They are at around the same level of performance as High Elves in any other kind of terrain save for mountainous terrain for the High Elves are terrible at traversing them.

Males of the race are in general not very prone to promiscuity since of the Races of Elf, the Tretallë are the longest-lived. The females are often bereft of sexual release from the men and as such, the women tend to pair off unless their male partners are "in heat."

Facial Features

One of the telling features of a Tretallë is their long face and prominent jaw. Their cheekbones, like their jaws are very pronounced. More so in males than in females. Tretalleri eyebrows are often thin and long, fully framing the upper side of the hollows of the eyes. Male ears are sharper and longer than female ones which tend to curl more towards the head. The Tretallë do not have very large foreheads, though they are larger for the males than the females. Both genders generally possess a widow's peak centred on their forehead, but it is not unheard of for a Tretallë to not have one. They typically have long thin hooked noses and thin-lipped mouths.

There is little variation in eye-colour for the Tretallë, with steel grey being the most common. Tretalleri eyes come in shades of grey, gold, green, and rarely, violet. A child will generally have eyes with a middling colour between his/her parents, but it has happened that a child is born with completely different-coloured eyes, but the Tretallë just chalk it up to the will of the Nine.

Similarly, Tretalleri hair isn't varied. A typical Tretallë will have silvery-white hair, but their hair can be from light gray to platinum-coloured.

Finally, the most distinctive features of a Tretalleri face is the two bands of discoloured skin that run down their face in different areas defending on their gender. These bands are often the same colour as their eyes, but can be at times the same colour as the hair.

Sexual Dimorphism

Because they are trained from birth to run and ride horses into battle, The muscle density of Tretalleri males is generally concentrated around the legs, lower back, and the core. The Hunter corps of their military, however, have more muscles in their arms in order to throw their spears with more strength, speed and accuracy. Males tend to stand a full head taller than females of the same age, but even Tretalleri females are significantly taller than their High-Elven counterparts. Males tend to have slightly broader shoulders than their hips with a torso that tapers down subtly but from the hips down does not have much variation. Male face-bands run from either side of their widow's peaks to the inner edges of the corresponding eyebrows.

Females on the other hand are typically the masters of the Siege and as such they have an enormous amount of heavy equipment and lugging around to take care of. Females have greater upper body strength than the males, but are not as good at endurance running. Their muscle density is concentrated around the arms, legs, shoulders, and core. Tretalleri females do not possess the hourglass, effeminate physique of the High Elves, nor do they possess the diminutive, petite stature of the Woodland and Rogue elves. They typically have the same build as males, if a little more curvaceous. Female face-bands run from the temples to the jaw on either side of the face.

Culture

As a race, the Tretallë are not very festive nor are they particularly light-hearted like their High Elven brethren. They have often been described as a grim, people with a morbid sense of humour and fascination with the macabre. They do, however, celebrate every so often, mostly in reverence to the Ivory Throne and the race's past feats and conquests.

The Tretallë are devoted the most to the one they call the Stranger, much to the chagrin of the High Elves. Sacred to their people are bones and blood above all else. To them, ivory is the highest, most precious of bones. In fact, they call ivory Ifatallë, which in the Tretalleri tongue literally means purest bone. While they despise all sorts of arcane magic there is one form that they hold in great reverence: blood magic. The high priests of the Faith of the Nine are all trained hæmomancers, capable of performing anthropomancy and ritual sacrifice.

Additionally, birds of carrion are held in high regard in Tretallë culture, partly due to their tendency for warfare. They are considered sacred to the Stranger and the Tretallë believe that to leave carcasses out for three full days after a battle is to feed the messengers of their patron deity.

Battlescars are considered highly attractive in Tretallë society, being a warlike race. However, surprisingly enough, there is little to no violence that occurs in the streets. If anything, the violence is caused by the non-Tretalleri. This is due to the highly disciplined cultural mentality of the Tretallë. Their rowdiness and aggression is saved for the training grounds where often heads get knocked off of both dummies and nitwits.

Arcane Taboo

A race of warmongers and conquerors, the Tretallë are surprisingly loathing of anything arcane, probably in part due to their strong dislike of their high-elven contemporaries. Much of their society is based around being able to do things without resorting to the arcane, not that many of them are born with the spark to begin with. Particularly powerful magi are actually extracted from their deeply ashamed families at birth and taken away to the Mountains of Mist where they are, believe it or not, trained to use their abilities. However, they are only trained in two disciplines, delving for magic and manipulating metals, Elledtrillë in particular.

The Trigallarë, as they are called, are the slaves with the most rights in Tretalleri society. However, their task is to weed out any and all those who can use magic. While the blood of a Tretalleri is blue, the blood of a Trigallari is red. Iron runs in their veins, and they wear iron tattoos all over their bodies, that only allow magic to escape through their wrists, a necessity in the binding of other magic users.

The Tretallë are so indoctrinated in their hatred of magic that any who begin to manifest magical talent actually volunteer themselves to be taken as slaves, in order to not bring shame to their Blood. In fact, it is considered noble for a Tretalleri to do this. Though it may as well be a post-mortem form of recognition because the moment the Binding is performed, the individual is no longer an individual and is dead to his/her family and the records.

The Binding

When a mage is found that does not have the potential or the innate talent to become a Trigallarë, they are bound and made slaves. Upon capture, a Trigallarë clasps manacles and a collar made of Elledtrillë on the magus. The Trigallare also fastens a single manacle around either of his wrists and in a long, painful process, siphons the vast potential magic of the magus into the metal, leaving him nothing more than a sputtering candle flame compared to the raging inferno that he was prior to the ritual. Once this is done, the manacle that is around the Trigallarë's wrist is removed and given to the owner of the new slave. At this point, it possesses the ability to either burn out the mage entirely or to control the amount of magic that he is given access to.

Festivities

A somber race, the Tretallë don't celebrate a lot of things. However, they do have festivals every once in a while. Even these are decidedly less filled with pomp compared to the High Elves. Festivities in the Dominion are considered days of respite for everyone in the colonies and the motherland save for the Bound. There are some days of obligation, however. Apart from doing one's duties on those days, one is free to do anything within reason and bounds of their rights and freedoms.

The Festival of Victory Everlasting

A day dedicated to the celebration of the Ivory King, his throne, and his Dominion. A festival lasting a week that happens every nine years from the day of an Ivory King's coronation, this is one of the few truly festive celebrations in Tretalleri culture. Every day of this week is a day of religious obligation and all men under the Dominion are required to supplicate the Gods, particularly the Warrior and the Stranger for another nine years of victory and conquest for the Dominion. Nightly banquets are held in town squares and all are invited to join in and partake of the bounty of the Dominion and its lands. On the first night, however, the banquet is filled with foods from the motherland, which are hardy and less-than-succulent, in order to remind all of the King's subjects of the empire's humble beginnings. All the other days are filled with food and vintage from many different lands and more than a few people end up being sick because there is simply too much to eat.

Jomdtallë

The Day of Bones is a day of obligation prominent primarily to members of the Blood who have the resources to perform the day's duties. It is a day of solemnity for everyone, but the day's duty is only mandated to the Tretallë, though it has been an increasing fashion in the older colonies of the Dominion that any race under its sovereignty joins in on the obligation.

When any member of a family dies, their body is brought before one of the high priests for two reasons: anthropomancy, and a simple calculation. Based on centuries of experience and records, the high priests have devised a way to determine how fast rot takes a body and they give the family members a year when the bodies will have decayed sufficiently enough that only the bones remain and even these are fragile enough to shatter and in some cases, crush. On the Day of Bones, these bones are dug up and prepared to either be ground into a fine dust for infusion into wooden weapons or luxury furniture or broken into shards for integrating into the family Bone Tree.

Jomdcorvë

The Day of Ravens is the celebration of the Stranger in Tretalleri culture. On this day, rookeries set free their ravens for the day. Rest assured, they've been trained to return at sundown. Men and women alike are required to leave out scraps of meat, seeds, or any sort of food for the ravens. Occasionally, especially in more fanatical domains of the Dominion, blood is shed on the day. This is done through a series of duels called Urvelladcorvë, The Flight of Ravens where blood may be spilled but lives may not be taken.

In religious centres, however, particularly in the heartland of the Dominion, darker rituals take place in the temples of the Nine. Most outlying towns and agricultural hamlets partake in ritual animal sacrifice and haruspicy, the act of foretelling future events using the entrails and viscera of dead animals. In larger cities, however, with decent populations of the Gallarë, one of these mages are brought forth in a ritual sacrifice with much fanfare and pomp. After the sacrifice and anthropomancy is performed, and the fate of the city for the year has been determined, the body of the sacrificed is put to good use. The blood, which up until this point has been painstakingly collected, is used by the High Priests to create elixirs of strength and fortitude which are given to anyone who witnessed the event.

The corpse is taken to the High Rookery of the city, where its flesh is fed to the Bone Ravens, large ravens with bone-white plumage and infinitely more intelligent eyes than normal ravens. After taking part in their feast, they return to sleep in order to conserve energy until the next Jomdcorvë or the next ritual sacrifice because they can only partake of Tretalleri flesh, or until their services as long-distance fliers are needed.

The next day, when the flesh has been stripped from the body, the bones are painstakingly cleaned, fractured, polished and carved before being attached to the Bone Tree of Fate in the temple courtyard in a more elaborate and beautiful version of what is done during the Jomdtallë. Blood magic is rampant on this day of days for the Tretallë, and legend has it that the more Jomdcorvë'n you've celebrated in your life, the darker the stripes on your face turn, a sign of wisdom gained from the Stranger. It is also on this day that the Tretallë are at their strongest and the most successful campaigns of the Dominion have been done after sundown on the Day of Ravens.

The Family Unit

Family dynamics are quite complicated in Tretalleri society, seeing as how the females of the species tend to pair off together in same-sex relationships. Most families end up having a trifecta of parents, two female and one male. Though the reverse has not been unheard of. In terms of sexuality, the Tretalleri adopt a live-and-let-live philosophy as their principle deity the Stranger doesn't judge people based on whom they sleep with. Lines of descent are traced through the mothers as the males do not always end up with descendants and, particularly those who end up in a triple-parenthood, some end up having children with multiple females which muddles family trees.

The matrilineality of the Tretalleri plays a particular role in the True Blood as well as in succession to the Ivory Throne. Members of the Blood may only take on spouses of the same rank or lower rank than them (as long as they are the initiator). This is one of the primary reasons why the throne is vacant for long periods of time as the requirements for the right to attempt to accede to the the throne are immensely stringent, especially when it comes to purity of blood.

Typical family units in Tretalleri society are made up of the three parents and anywhere between one to three children. Due to the nature of the libido of males, these children are often twenty years apart in age. In order to foster their ability to socialise, every family in a neighbourhood is committed to what can be likened to a crèche where all the children can socialise with others of their same age group.

Tretalleri wear their hair as well as accessories in certain ways to show what their status is in society. Hair that is not tied up, but is let down is generally an indication of having a social status of being single. Those who do not wear a Kartallë — literally heart-bone — a bangle of either bone or ivory inlaid with gold, mithril or silver, are not looking for commitment. Those who do are either only looking for some action — wearing just one — or looking for a committed relationship — wearing two. The arm on which the bangle is worn is indicative of the gender that the Tretallë is looking for. Right is for a male, left is for a female.

A female who is committed but not bound in the eyes of the gods wears their hair in a braid hung over the shoulder, again, the side is significant in telling what gender the individual is committed to. If one is in a polyamorous relationship, with multiple genders, the braid is worn down the back and gold band and silver bands are added, one for each male or female respectively. Males, on the other hand, do not braid their entire head of hair, but rather only the sides or the back if that is the case. Married individuals wear feather charms on their braids, the number equalling the number of married spouses.

Mothers wear a pouch of bone shards around their necks, with the number of bone shards corresponding to the number of mothered children. This stems from an obsolete custom of the Faith wherein the last segment of the smallest finger on the left hand of an infant is removed and the bone is worn by the mother around her neck. The tradition quickly faded from popularity when people realised that those who did not follow the tradition tended to be better at swordfighting and at using lances. As a result, bone shards were used as a substitute.

Marriage

This pertains to how marriages are structured. For the marriage ceremony, see Averë Nenn.


In Tretalleri marriages, there is generally a principal couple. This does not necessarily mean that these are the two members of the union that are favoured but it is done for ease of recording and dowry. The First spouse takes on the name of the Principal spouse who is typically the female of the two, if there is one. The rest of the ones involved are either brother-spouses or sister-spouses to the First spouse. Females outside of the principal couple do not take on the name of the Principal spouse, and males traditionally do, but are not required to.

Residency is completely up to the people involved. Most of them remain in their respective homes, but it is typical that the First Spouse moves in with the Principal Spouse. This is particularly true for couples who do not live in the same general vicinity if only for ease of access to each other and the children.

Lignetallë

Many families, especially in the heartland, have ancestral homes. These ancestral lands are typically decently-sized. Members of the Blood have estates. Each of these ancestral homes have at least one bone tree. These trees are a special variant of the Lignebargë, a tall, ivory-white tree with drooping branches and silvery-grey foliage. What makes these trees special is that within the trunk of the tree are shards of the bones of all the members of the family since the tradition of having a bone tree began. On the Jomdtallë, families with bone trees, after preparing and shattering the bones of their ancestors(typically the thigh-bone), cut incisions into the soft bark of the tree and place the shards of bone in them. For the next two days, the incisions will bleed the light blue sap of the tree which the family collects reverently.

After the two days, any additional sap is collected and this sap can be sold by the family to those who do not have a bone tree. The sap is used for a lot of medicinal purposes, potions, and even delicacies. In fact, after the first day, the bark from the incisions of the bone tree is prepared and served with some of its caramelised sap and honey to members of the family present. For storage, the sap is boiled to rid it of excess water and pressed into either blocks or small chunks. Bark is typically dried and stored in glass jars. Additionally, the sap is used in the Tretalleri panacea which is pretty effective and has prevented plagues from devastating the empire.

Poorer families or more rural villages where people do not have their own ancestral homes instead share a communal bone tree. These villages typically assign a number of people to make the incisions and to collect the bark and sap. An individual of authority then takes the spoils and divides them equally to the population of the village. Both for private bone trees and communal ones, the Throne mandates that a portion of the sap is turned over to priests for preservation and storage as a contingency plan if ever a sickness takes root in the Dominion.

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