Located in the tropical forests of the southernmost peninsula of western Nybelmar the human tribe of the Krean later became an autonomous state under the Grand Empire of Krath (after 4.500 b.S.). What is known as the Krean men was actually an elusive mixture of two tribes, the Aestera and the Lillivear, distinct but complementary to each other like the ocean is to the earth. The members of this tribe were passionate adherents of meritocracy; no public role was cast in immovable stone or preset by gender.
Picture description. A Lillivear priestess immersed in the splendour of the Krean rainforests, lost in their inexhaustible glory. Note the wings on her back – an artistic indication of her vocation. Picture drawn by Sheil.
Originally these men are mentioned in Nybelmarian history as "Aestera
Kreankra Lillivear", which can roughly be translated as "the Aestera and the
Lillivear united as one". The name first appeared in historical documents
after the Pact of 5.491 b.S. when the two sister tribes, the Aestera and the
Lillivear, decided to unite against the invasions of the surrounding kingdoms
and forged the famous Twin Kingdom. In the course of time people from the Twin
Realm were simply referred to as the "Krean".
In Santharia the term “Krean” has come to connote anyone whose lineage can be traced back to the Twin Kingdom. However this usage is quite misleading and perhaps the focus of the term should be refined a little bit: Even after the two tribes merged, ethnic margins remained quite apparent – especially in the countryside. For instance, many of the villages east of River Amaris (which previously was Aesteran territory) remained mostly “Aesteran” even after the Twin Kingdom sprang into existence. Similarly the Lillivear predominantly lived within the confines of their former realm to the west. This should be attributed principally to family ties and cultural differences however – and of course the diametrically opposite sleeping cycles of the tribes (more on this can be found in the People section). So one could divide the Twin Kingdom into three ethnic groups: The Lillivear, the Aestera, and finally the “Krean” (in the true sensed of the word) where the two bloodlines mixed. Confusion results because the tribes are so similar in certain aspects due to their shared history that outsiders often did not feel the need to differentiate between the two. For most of the time the Krean (in the general sense of the word) did not bother to correct the other citizens of the Krath Empire, as they themselves, unlike Sarvonian humans, were never very intent on rigid classifications.
From keeping the rainforests under control to creating celestial flower gardens, from creating the most spectacular paintings in Krath to crafting devious plots at the imperial court, the Krean were the artists, mages, diplomats and gardeners of the Empire. From dance to music, from poetry and prose to sculpture, all art forms flourished in the breathtaking cities of these patrons of creativity.
With an endless passion for learning and improving and an amazing lifespan, both groups are extremely talented in diplomacy, rhetoric and magic - whether it comes from a divine or a more secular source.
Appearance. Shielded by the great canopy of their rainforests the slender Krean figure complemented a soft, light skin touched with the faintest of grain tones. The Krean had an average height of eighteen palmspans to two peds for the males. The females were slightly shorter, averaging between a ped and two to three fores. Both genders had a slender appearance and soft, admirable skin. Sinewy bodies for the men and well-defined and long legs for the women were distinctive physical traits for these humans.
Most Lillivear had radiant green eyes that glowed with an eerie light under the dark cover of the Sacred Woods where the High Temple of Ankriss (the High Goddess of Earth) is located. While dark green eyes were common among the Aestera, although quite rare, piercing azure and dark blue eyes are also present. A wide range of dark hair colours, especially jet black and dark brown hues, could be seen among these humans. Among the “Krean” (term properly used to denote those of a joint lineage) brown eyes are prevalent.
Surrounded by a serene and mystical aura the Krean have close ties with the nature around them. They are quite welcoming and hospitable towards strangers, especially elves, since their guests’ safety and wellbeing are thought to be the Earth’s entrustment to their lands. The elven empathy towards nature is greatly appreciated by the Krean.
Compared to the rest of the Krath’amar (citizens of the Krath Empire), the Krean had an amazingly long lifespan – around a hundred and ten years for the average Krean (term properly used). The Lillivear oftentimes outlived the Aestera by roughly thirty years; a Lillivear commoner could dance in salutation of a hundred and twenty springs . The well preserved sometimes made it for another half a century (passing away at around 180) but only the priestesses of the Earth Goddess could see two whole centuries unfold before them. Scholars associate this phenomenon with the priestesses’ close relation with the High Goddess and Her rejuvenating power.
By the time a Krean witnessed her/his two hundredth birthday, which is a rare occasion; the whites in her/his hair formed the pattern of the Eye of Aniss. This was believed to mark the completion of a Krean’s task on Caelereth. After this point, they had the choice of retreating to the solitude of a grove and return back to the essence of the High Goddess. It was a great shame if a Lillivear made it to her two hundredth year without receiving the Eye as that signified a wasted lifetime (i.e. the person had not been able to accomplish what she was here for).
The Aestera were the only people in the Grand Empire who had a hereditary attainment in water magic. Some among these talented women devoted their lives to the High Goddess of Water and Moonlight, Arléá. Aesteran ladies who served the High Goddess of Water were referred to by the rest of their tribe as the “Aestara” (note spelling). These water priestesses’ hair and eyes turned a calm and chilling silver the night they entered the Goddess’ service. Legend has it that their slithery silver eyes would change to a deep, piercing blue when casting water spells near a water source during the night. These water priestesses, however, lived a shorter life of up to ninety years maximum and never received the Eye of Aniss.
Picture description. An Aesteran lady on her way to a midnight soiree, momentarily delayed by a quite unexpected messenger... The Aesteran lady was drawn by Sheil.
Now let us study the physical characteristics of these two tribes separately:
Beautiful and elegant, the Lillivear measured approximately one and a half palmspans under two peds. Bright emerauld green eyes, which gleamed with an ethereal radiance in the Sacred Woods, harmonized a wide spectrum of dark brown hair hues. Jet black hair was rare and as such highly prized among the Lillivear.
If the Lillivear were the vivid, intense rays of the day, the Aestera then were the moonlight of the Krean. In classical portraits, the arresting azure or dark blue eyes distinctive of the Aestera contrast against a complexion even lighter than the Lillivear’s. As the keepers of dawn and the night, they rested when the rest of the world worked (again read more at the People section). Notwithstanding this traditional illustration dark green eyes were actually more prevalent among the Aestera. Perchance this aura of mystery and tranquillity that surrounds these humans arose from their unorthodox cycles, from sighting the secrets of Caelereth from the silence of such secluded hours. The Aestera are slightly taller than their Lillivear brethren, measuring up to nineteen palmspans. Although the Aestera also live notably longer (around eighty to ninety years) than the average human theirs is by no means close to the astounding Lillivear existence.
Coat of Arms/Sign.
The Aestera and the Lillivear have usually adopted the coat of arms of the
kingdom they live in. However, during the first twin Aestera and Lillivear
reigns between 5.500-5.100 b.S., their national banner had an island figure
surrounded by forests on all sides. Above the midnight grove of the island, the
brilliant moonlight illuminated the Eye of Aniss. The river flowing from the
grove to merge with the dark waters
surrounding the island also glistened with the silver light.
The Eye of Aniss among the Lillivear and Aestera, and the silver complexion among the Aestara still serve a secret symbol of their bloodline.
Territory. The ancient twin kingdom of 5.000 b.S. was located deep within the tropical jungles of the southernmost peninsula in western Nybelmar, close to the spot where the Tree of Ages was erected. Encircled by two rivers the Krean land was a most lush and lavish one. With the highly prized climate of southwestern Nybelmar, and the incredible vegetation of the forests tended by the Lillivear – not to mention the rare flora and fauna unique to their kingdom, the Krean lands were considered by the rest of the peninsula as the worldly representation of the High Goddess’s realm. Thus the twin kingdom has always been sought after by many a conqueror, yet the Lillivear’s skill in diplomacy and Aestera’s arcane knowledge was more than enough to shield their realm from intruders.
People. Most Lillivear females enter temple service in the spring of their seventh year. Although there have been notable male priests of the High Goddess Ankriss, men usually prefer a career in politics or diplomacy. Aesteran males on the other hand tend towards rather a magic occupation. The women of Aestera oftentimes join the male diplomats of Lillivear in the twin kingdom’s High Council. Those that wish not to dip into politics, dabble in the mysterious rites of the water goddess. This tradition also persisted in the Grand Empire of Krath.
No matter what occupation a Lillivear or an Aesteran chooses, they all receive a superior education in rhetoric, literature and calligraphy. Most Aestera are also interested in various esoteric sciences like alchemy and half mechanical half magically powered machinery.
Both sects give utmost importance to the preservation and nourishment of the nature around them and will go to extreme measures to guarantee their forests’ safeguarding. Although rare, especially among males, some Lillivear have the astonishing ability to 'commune' with nature. Especially when alone in the woods, these gifted ones enter a meditative state where they become extremely sensitive to the needs and calls of the flora around them. Some can even communicate with trees, which are believed to be sentient beings with souls in Krath, and converse with them about the past or the current events or ask for guidance in their travels. However, scholars cannot decide if such abilities truly exist or if these are merely the results of heightened senses during a deep trance.
The tribe puts little weight on warfare. Although most Lillivear and Aestera are capable of defending themselves with quarter staffs, they favour their magic to guard themselves and drive attackers off. As peaceful people neither of the sects have much to do with combat; they rather prefer the field of diplomacy over the battle field.
Their sophistication and intellectual accumulation has made them the foremost supporters of art and artists through the kingdom of Krath. The wealthy aristocratic families have their family painters, musicians and composers and enjoy rivaling with one another.
Housing. After the unification of the Aestera with the Lillivear under the guidance of the High Priestess, the two groups started to reside together in striking cities hidden deep within the Krath forests. Most united towns are surrounded by tall and elegant white walls and clear rivers on all sides. Although the Aesteran and Lillivear architects and rulers are most careful about the harm they cause to their surroundings, a large area of underbush around the cities great enough to be protected by walls is cleared. Since most such towns are located either in secluded areas with a geographical obstacle like a mountain shielding the city's rear or a waterfall, or on top of and around hills, the deforestation is minimized. During the process the plant life is slowly cleared, sometimes up to five or more years, via magic and the other most trees within the city's range are bent towards the direction of possible invasions to hinder the enemy's advance. The clearing also helps keeping a clear line of sight of the town's surroundings.
Retaining perfect symmetry in their main cities has always remained a firm objective for the architects and city planners of this tribe. In the ground towns, the roads are almost identical, with no place markers on either side of the intersections. The web-like jungle cities are always built around an axis of symmetry, sometimes the hexagonal administration quarters and sometimes the round base of the local temple. Unlike the outsiders that tend to become disoriented in even brief strolls along the pavements, the Aestera and Lillivear are very fond of this sense of order and unity present in their towns. In fact, their path tracing skills have always remained a spectacle to the eyes of a stranger. Ask any Lillivear and he/she would tell you that they cannot compherend how outsiders manage to lose track in their marvelous cities and that doing so is certainly a peculiar deed. What the rest of the Krath-esh'talath do not know, however, are the intricate rune patterns streching all the way across the city, into and out of even the murkiest corners of the houses, which are almost invisible to the naked eye. The runes were designed by the Lillivear priestesses of High Temple to respond to a proper inquiry in Krath-mélár'ián. These incantations were in fact devised from an ancient traveling prayer. The priestesses aimed to constantly remind their brethren of the significance of the Goddess and her ways in their lives by using this structure. When the question is properly phrased, the runes will light up with a brilliant green glow under the feet of the person that posed the query and lead him/her to the desired destination. Those taught in the Sacred Tongue can also alter the colour, visibility and brightness of the runes by changing the structure of the question.
The constant sound of waterfalls and the multitudinous rainbows forming between the water’s surface and the towering trees create a mystical and dreamlike atmosphere in these beautiful cities. While the wealthy Lillivear usually dwell in mansions built around ancient trees modified by magic to suit their purposes, the Aestera oftentimes have their houses built next to water sources so a constant flow of water passes through every room of the residence. These indoor streams and springs in the mansions of the rich sometimes have beautiful flowers, picked up by the servants early in the morning and refreshed throughout the day, flowing with the water. These not only provide stunning scenery but also adorn the household with the sweet scent of evergreen plant life. It should also be noted that both groups take utmost care to cause the least amount of damage possible to their surrounding.
Some Aesteran estates have small ponds in the gardens with various forms of water lilies floating on the surface. Family dinners take place around these small lakes. Guest rooms are also built on the wings facing the pond, so their windows always open to the serene night and the rejuvenating Aesteran waters.
As can be anticipated from their way of life, Lillivear gardens are a myth throughout western Nybelmar. The wealthy families of the Lillivear hire gardener mages and priestesses from the local Shas and the Temple to look after these well kept secrets. Shaping the flora, especially the trees and the evergreen bush, in various shapes and patterns as well as growing beautiful flowers of unique colouring and scents – obviously altered by the gardeners’ magic – are a common pursuit for Lillivear ladies, who are responsible for everything that goes on in the house. Oftentimes a fortune is spent for these garden arrangements. Furthermore, every Lillivear house, rich or poor, has its own private herb garden – sometimes also a greenhouse in the estates – and a secret passage (or passages) leading to the closest shelter for the immediate evacuation of the towns in times of great danger.
It is tradition among the rich men of both groups to build study houses and a family library in the estates’ vast gardens.
Both tribes prefer long, flowing clothing not only due to their yearning for
comfort but also to be able to withstand the hot and humid climate of their
Nature serves as the primary muse for most Lillivear designs. They mainly have long, wide cut flowing garments, which don‘t touch the skin any more than absolutely necessary. Even an occasional skirt sits loose. How the clothes are tailored, depends on which material is used.
There are three main sources: The most cherished cloth, the spilk, a fabric made out of the cobweb of a spider living in their forests, is the softest and sleekest. How it was processed, which spider it was, is lost in the mist of the past. Today only the wealthiest families have clothes made from spilk, as the only source of this precious cloth is garments passed on from one generation to another. A sturdier material is made from the leaves of the giant aspidi, a fern-like plant of the jungle. The leaves are soaked and combed and then the inner lying fibres are woven into different forms and intricate patterns. The strongest brin provided the li‘ana plant, which was used to give the clothes the desired form.
Out of these three materials the Krean make clothes of an intriguing beauty. In general their clothes resemble a plant. Thus, the dresses would look as if they were made entirely out of fern leaves. On the other hand, the two tribes more often than not try to make their clothes look like one of the lovely flowers of the jungle. How flowing and glossy a gown is, made mostly out of spilk, or if made out of aspidi mainly, how robust it is depended partly on the gender, but mostly on the task a Krean had to accomplish on this very day - if he or she went to a party or was sampling cobweb in the jungle.
However, regardless if it's the relatively coarse tunic of a jungle worker or the dress of an upper lady - every single piece shows the mastership and elegance of this tribe. There never was or is anything which doesn't fit, or look in any way, imperfect.
Diet. Although major differences are not seen, the Aestera Lillivear diet seems to depend on the consumption of fruits and vegetables a bit more than an average Krath-esh’talath plate. Various teas and drinks made from the numerous plants and herbs found in the imposing Krath forests are delightfully sipped at an hour or so before the breakfast, at dawn, and in the afternoon. Lillivear beverages are eminent throughout the kingdom for their exotic flavours and pleasant scents.
Weapons. Although not fighters it was the Lillivear that started the Krath tradition of imbuing almost every weapon in with rare poisons and toxins. This is perhaps the unspoken reason behind the unfathomable effort put in Lillivear herb gardens.
The curved Aestaran dagger is also known throughout the Empire of Krath. However, chances of coming by such a weapon is very low. And oftentimes, those that have the privilege of seeing the silver blade do not live long to tell the story.
Occupations. Lillivear priestesses are sought after throughout the west for their ability to transform even the tiniest patch of wild flora into a remarkable bliss. And the reputation Aesteran architect mages are almost legendary in Krath. Most rich men hire two groups of architects: One responsible for the exterior and interior construction and the other for the indoor pluming and water system. Aestera’s ability to combine water with science to produce mechanical and architectural masterpieces is well-known in the Empire.
Government. Matters concerning the state are discussed in the Twin Kingdom's capital, the city of Rháásthár, in the Twin Council (also known as the High Council). Representatives of the various guilds, sects and governmental organizations as well as the people’s spokesmen make up the High Council.
The Council of the Cities on the other hand may choose to congregate in case the mayors feel further discussion, clarification or amendments to an issue or resolution discussed in the High Council is needed. If not the Council of the Cities assemble twice a year, on the seventeenth day of the months of the Awakening Earth and the Fallen Leaf.
Although the mayor has absolute authority over most of the issues going on in
the town of his or her responsibility, the citizens may feel the need to gather
the Assembly of Rights for reasons similar to those mentioned above. In order
to do so, a mere seventh of the residents must vote for the proposition.
Perhaps the number of requisite votes should have been increased to avoid
redundant and time consuming meetings every other week. However, both tribes
love a hot, comprehensive debate anytime so this option was never even
discussed. The ballots of the Twin Kingdom are rather unlike those elsewhere on
Nybelmar: Each citizen, when they reach
the mandatory age for voting, gains the right to carve a rune designed and
oftentimes only known by him/herself on the massive obelisk found in a secluded
corner of the city. The Aestera and the Lillivear feel that all decisions must
be made without the pressure of the public or being watched, so whenever
someone feels an issue needs to be brought up in the Assembly he or she would
“write” the topic and/or his/her concerns on the obelisk. Other residents, if
they share the same concerns, may then come to the obelisk and “vote” for the
proposal by activating the rune they had carved during their citizenship
ceremony. Lillivear runes will glow bright green whereas Aesteran ones will be
a radiant blue when activated. Once the proposal passes or is called off for
the lack of support, the mayor will “reset” the obelisk by clearing the
proposal and de-activating the runes.
Production/Trade. In the days of the Grand Empire of Krath, the Lillivear almost single-handedly handled the entire spice and herb trade. Most Lillivear would deal with Krul'thunt merchants for the distribution of their goods. In Ank-raos and Kho'brast almost all of the overseers and families appointed by the High Temple were of Lillivear heritage. This was associated with the deep sense of unity and safeguarding amongst the tribe. Unless there was concrete evidence, a Lillivear judge would trust the word of one of his/her kin; unless there was a good reason not to do so, a Lillivear will do everything in his/her power to help out or promote a brother. On the other hand, in the city of El-ahmu'phitalehyn, they faced a rather humiliating defeat against the Zhuns and could only control a mere tenth of the sector. Along the many spices and antidotes Lillivear beverages are quite in demand in many countries, especially as refreshments in a hot summer day. After 2.700b.S., they began to export some of their herb mixtures used to brew teas in exchange for the famed Anpagan tobacco.
Picture description. Evania ASAEN, at the tomb of her recently deceased father, one of the most influential Krean merchants of the era. Picture drawn by Linda Tso.
The Lillivear are also responsible for all the wood-cutting operations in the
Conversely, the Aestera are famous for their water systems and the diverse range of apparatus they conceived using the combined force of their magic and scientific knowledge. The singing of water priestesses is also legendary throughout western Nybelmar and many rich men throughout the continent are willing to spend a fortune to buy one of a Shell of Harmony. The priestesses have found a way to imprison the music they make inside the delicate conches purchased from the cities of Zhun. Depending on the size of the shell the music coming from it can range from a soft whisper into an entire symphony. The shells of the latter kind, although they are incredibly expensive, are a favoured source of entertainment in any wealthy women’s ball. However, great care must be taken during the transportation of these enchanted shells as they easily shatter under even the slightest tremor and once the conches come in contact with water they are activated and there is no known to reprocess the music. Many a merchant got bankrupted when they failed to bring these exquisite wares to their stores without damaging the shells. The fragility and instant expiration of the shells are – although claimed to be a side effect of the priestesses’ enchantments – rumored to be an Aesteran scheme to keep the sector running.
Although the tunes and the sounds of water
falling always remind one of the mystical rituals of the Water Goddess, the
music and the language may be changed if a merchant is willing to pay the
outrageous price. It should be noted that in such cases the Aestara only accept
direct payment in Aesteran silver coins.
After the treaty of 2.673 b.S., Anis Anpagan became a central trade partner as they placed almost two thirds of the entire commissions. Thus the role of Anpagan traders in promoting the mystical and enthralling perception of the West among the civilized kingdoms of the East is indisputable.
Natural Resources. Living in the largest and perhaps the best kept jungle in all of western Nybelmar, wood and other forest goods such as herbs, a wide range of plants, highly priced tropical birds were perhaps the most abundant resource during the Twin Kingdoms. Little has changed over the centuries as Krean still dominate the exotic flora trade in the Grand Empire of Krath.
Holidays, Festivals and Observances. The main festivals celebrated by the Aestera and the Lillivear are as follows:
Change of the Tide
On the last day of the Passing Clouds the people of the Twin Kingdom come together to celebrate the defeat of Té’árún the Orange and mourn the death of their first High Queen Mseríá the Silver of the Aestara. The Aesterans are likely to spend this day ruminating over the sacrifice of Mseríá, praying for her soul and offering their gifts to the Great River. Since every stream in the Twin Kingdom connects up to Rhsáll in one way or the other, no matter to which torrent an Aesteran put his/her offerings they will be by the capital before dawn the following day. The Lillivear will also spend most of their day in a meditative mood, however, the chances of finding one of their kin among the solace of the woods is far greater than beside a rushing riverbed. Some will use this time to “adorn” the land and prepare the trees for the ceremonies.
The Gift of Tender
The last day of the month of the Frozen Rivers marks the death of Kliám the Loyal, the first High King of the Twin Kingdom. While the Aesteran families will revere Mseríá’s sacrifice; the Lillivear will treat the day as one of devotion. By shunning all their longings and desires from sunrise to twilight the Lillivear commemorate King Kliám’s fidelity to his Queen. No matter which tradition is followed, this is a day of individual observance; thus no grand festivity should be expected to take place in the kingdom.
Achievements. It is an indubitable fact that the designs of the
first pluming and indoor water system
belong to the Aestera. Even today none can wrestle against the Aesteran
supremacy in this field. The enchantments control the flow of
the pipes and mechanisms designed by the Aesteran architects. They also ensure
the exit of all water
from the household. Oftentimes the Lillivear and the
Aestera work together to construct a distillation system which is half
biological and half magic-mechanic. As
anticipated, the Lillivear priestesses are responsible for the growing of
Aside from their splendid citadels in the Twin Forests, the Lillivear were also the masterminds behind the renown and feared Tree Guardians of the High Temple. The first person to devise a way to use the Sacred Tongue to animate things and control them from afar was a Lillivear priestess. Unfortunately the multitudinous waves of time have brushed the memory of who this gifted one was from our records.
The Banishing Suns, a set incense serving as insect repellants, were invented by the Lillivear around 5700 b.S. Shaped like a hexagonal sun with rays shaped as pentagons or various circular alcoves around the main sphere, a Banishing Sun would have candles made from a mixture of various leaves placed in each of these small holes and a larger, white spiral candle as an offering to the High Goddess. These candles, when burned, would emit a lavender like fragrance sweet to humans and quite revolting to insects. The smoke coming from the candle would then drive the insects away from the rooms of the sleeping and into a bright blue sphere usually hung in the center of the upper floor living room. If truth be told, the ornate steel covering of these traps contained the nest of small, dancing lights known as "Blue Snares" across the Twin Kingdom. Believed to be distant relatives of will'o'wisps, some of these blue creatures, known as the Blue Hunters, would search the household at night for malevolent bugs and would lure them to the nest where the rest of Snare community waited to feast. Later on, the most lethal and stealthy sentries of the Twin Kingdom, the Blue Wardens, would be named after these creatures.
 Since "Krea" in ancient Krath'mélar means "to link", the most up-to-date translation of "Kreank" would be "(something) that is linked", describing the state of being interconnected. This is in fact where one of the High Goddess' names originated from as well. [Back]
 This quaint phrase will probably make more sense if the reader is informed about one eccentric Krean birthday rite: A Lillivear would spend several meditative hours at dawn dancing alone in the tranquillity of a grove on their birthday as an ex-pression of his thanksgiving towards Life. [Back]