Cymry

Overview

The Cymry are a powerful race of magic-users who can control the elements, create illusions and arcane devices. These powers do not just spring into being full-blown and ready to use right out of the box. The Cymry must be taught to use them, and it takes many years to become an adept. Also, due to their history, many Cymry have been taught that using their innate abilities is inherently wrong. Many individuals are not aware of their Cymry heritage.

The Cymry are a genetically unique race indigenous to Gaia and considered one of the Elder Races. It is also believed they are the oldest of all hominid races although the Sidhe quibble on that score. The Cymry’s physiology sustains a deep connection to the world and, more importantly, to the Ley – the lines of magical power that surround and permeate the planet.

General Information

Race Classification

Chimera, Atlantean

Note
Chimera is the name the Menfolk races gave to the main magic-using races (Cymry, Wyr, Ddraig, Sidhe). The Cymry, Wyr, and Ddraig all originated on the island-continent of Atlantis.

Race Name

Cymry (plural and singular; pronounced kim-ree, ree as in reed).

Name Origins

The true origins of the name Cymry and the origins of the language are unknown. If asked what Cymry means, they will blink and say, “It means us.”

Other Names of Race

  • The Old Race
  • The Elders
  • Stormborn
  • Magic-Users
  • Witches
  • Hags
  • Sorcerers

Population

Although the Cymry are very powerful and long-lived, the women use homeopathic methods of birth control because, with their very long lives, it would be easy to overpopulate. There have also been severe hits on the population. Many hundreds of thousands died during the battle for Atlantis and more were lost during its subsequent fall. Many thousand Cymry also died in 3539 at the Battle of D’hassa, both during the fighting and due to the excessive use of their powers when High Lord Kimber’s blood was spilled on the land.

Total Population: 500,000

Population Distribution

Cymeria (100%)

Harkania March, the oldest province and the first one settled has the highest ratio of Cymry to Celtic population (approximately 3:1). However, the majority of the race is evenly distributed throughout the remaining six marches. No Cymry resides full-time on the Ddraig island of Bassilth.

Because the Cymry are irrevocably bonded to their homeland. For this reason, very few choose to reside full-time in other lands. Some Cymry will take up temporary residence as envoys and diplomats, but they are not permanent residents.

Note
There is a very small population of Cymry living in Aquilonia made up of the descendants of the Tsarimova that fled Cymeria at the end of the Interregnum. This population is unknown to Cymeria and will figure in a later storyline.

Racial Characteristics

Height

Average: 5’6” to 6’6”

Both male and female Cymry tend to be tall with average heights ranging from 5’6” to 6’6”, although there have been both shorter and taller members of the race. The majority of Cymry are robust and strongly built. It is rare to see those of a delicate or frail physique unless they are quite ill or extremely elderly.

Eyes and Hair

The Cymry have the full range of eye colors. Their eyes tend to be slightly large and almond shaped. Their eyesight is very keen and, much like a bird of prey, they tend to note movement even at extreme distances. Unless illness or injury interferes, their eyesight usually remains strong and clear until the end of their lives.

Rarest Eye Color: True amber. Light shades of brown and even copper or gold-brown are common.

A Cymry’s hair is full and thick with a tendency to wave or curl although straight hair is not uncommon. Their hair will not usually start to gray until they have passed middle age (over 250 years). Receding hairlines or baldness is not unheard of, but is rather uncommon. In the heat of summer, some Cymry will clip or shave their heads to make wearing battle gear, such as helmets, more comfortable.

Rarest Hair Color: Platinum blond (silver, white, premature gray). True golden blond, reddish blond or light blond-brown are common.

Many people consider the Cymry fair of face and form. They are most commonly described by others as aristocratic and arrogant.

Features

A Cymry’s facial features and general skeletal structure tends to be refined and somewhat elegant. Those with pure bloodlines have high, wide cheekbones, wide, high foreheads, and square to almost pointed chins. Due to a predilection toward a varied and healthy diet as well as a basic understanding of disease prevention through careful hygiene, Cymry have strong, white teeth, although, like any other human race, they can suffer from gum and mouth disease, including tooth decay.

Their complexions tend to be smooth with skin ranging from a pale cream to a healthy deep bronze for those who spend a majority of their time outdoors. Freckles are not common, but not unknown.

General Appearance

Upon meeting a Cymry for the first time, most people would note luxurious and thick hair that is usually worn long, loose and flowing or pulled back in an ornate four-strand clubbed braid, normally secured with a plain clasp of some type. Another common style is to plait the sides into narrow braids and pull them back, thus securing longer hair away from the face. Both men and women with long hair often wear a narrow fillet (circlet) around their head to keep it out of their face. It has become fashionable as well as convenient for those in the military to have it cropped very short. There are no standard conventions governing hairstyles. For example, a married or unmarried woman may wear her hair loose or styled into braids, ponytails, etc. Some women, especially those serving in the Guard, have chosen to have their hair cropped short.

Men in their youth tend to favor being cleanly shaven although those living in higher elevations may grow beards for warmth. If so, they are kept neatly trimmed and shaped. Those of extreme age sometimes grow a full and flowing beard, even adding ornamentation such as beaded braids.

The overwhelming majority of Cymry are very hygiene conscious. One of the technologies that remain to them from the past is indoor plumbing and the knowledge of how to utilize geothermal heat sources and hydraulics for getting the hot water where it needs to go. Almost all Cymry households have an indoor bathing chamber consisting of an inset stone pool-tub.

Health

Most Cymry enjoy good health and overall well-being. Insanity and dementia (even senile dementia) are rare. The only Cymry known to have suffered from mental illness are those that allow themselves to become Shadow Touched. They go insane shortly after taking on the Shadow, and their lives tend to end soon after that, usually by suicide.

Diseases such as cancer are rare amongst the Cymry but do occur as do other illnesses. As they practice good hygiene and have healthy diets, they can usually survive all but the worst illnesses. Their ability to fight off illness diminishes with age and is sometimes a factor in making a Cymry decide to take the Crossing far sooner than normal.

Lifespan

450 – 500 years

Lifespan Details

According to myth and legend, in ancient times, the Cymry lived to be a thousand years old or older. In modern times, it is rare to see a Cymry of extremely advanced age. Kanan, the High Elder that led the Cymry to Harkania, was said to be over a thousand old at the time of his Crossing. This cannot be substantiated as all records of that time have either been lost or were destroyed during the backlash after the Interregnum.

The Cymry age from birth to their mid-thirties or early forties much like members of the Menfolk races. By their thirties, the physical signs of aging have slowed, and their overall appearance will change little until they approach mid-life (around 250 years). After the age of 250, the average Cymry will start showing signs of aging, graying hair, less firm skin, fine lines, and wrinkles.

Personality Traits

This is difficult to document as much of it depends on how the Cymry was raised (i.e., in a Derwyddon household that embraces their arcane heritage, no knowledge of being Cymry, etc.). Raised in an acknowledged Cymry household of any kind, they are likely to use formal styles of speech and dialect, avoiding the use of contractions and slang. A Cymry tends to be stoic and reserved where extreme emotions, such as grief, are concerned. They are a warrior race where emotions can run high, especially anger, which has translated into the modern Cymry appearing very controlled. Although they are not so controlled that they are not able to laugh, smile, exhibit some anger, affection, etc.

The Cymry’s avoidance of extreme emotions also relates to their arcane heritage as emotion plays a tremendous part in the control of their powers. This is even more notable in Cymry that lack arcane training.

Keywords: Stoic, strong-willed, formal, reserved, constrained.

Expertise & Prowess

The Cymry possess or can learn a wide variety of skills and crafts. They are natural artisans, particularly when performing work related to the natural world. Like with most races, there are those that excel at physical work, arts and crafts, and those whose affinity lies with scholarly pursuits.

Cultural Information

Overview

The Cymry are an ancient race of sorcerers. Their bearing is reflective of that to some extent. After the Interregnum, many of their ways, teachings and customs fell out of favor with their own kind as well as the Celts, the Menfolk race that inhabits Cymeria alongside the Cymry.

Social Structure

Cymry live in complex clans which are referred to as Houses (example: House Stormdanovich). The Houses are then arranged in a hierarchy based on the age of the bloodline, the power of the bloodline and social status. A Cymry’s House of Birth, the age of the bloodline, and current House has more to do with determining their social status than wealth.

There are a few titles in use amongst the Cymry to designate status, but as the Heniaith language is complex having different words that can mean the same thing with the only difference being context, they have adapted the Celtic versions. There are no dukes, earls or counts amongst the Cymry, but most carry the honorific title of Lord of Whatever their House is.

Language

Like all Cymerians, the Cymry tend to be well educated and, at least, trilingual, speaking Heniaith (Old Tongue), Saesneg (the common trade tongue, i.e., English) and Gaelic (the Celt’s tongue which has its roots in Heniaith). Most speech patterns reflect the dialects and accents of the region where they reside or were born although some of the high born Cymry have a more distinctive accent that, though no one in the modern age knows this, dates back to Atlantis.

Heniaith (Old Tongue): The original alphabet of the Cymry was a form of symbols, lines, and wedge-shaped marks, very similar to ancient cuneiform. Later, it became a system of runes (primarily Gaelic). Over time it evolved into a simple alphabet. There are still texts (scrolls, stone and clay tablets, and some books) written in the original cuneiform. However, only the highest education still teaches the archaic form of the Old Tongue.

The original Cymry Old Tongue is called Heniaith (p. hen-yith), and its real-world basis is primarily Welsh with some modifications to make writing and reading easier. There are also bits of Scottish and Irish Gaelic sneaking in here and there as well.

In the Old Tongue of the Cymry, articles such as a, the, of, etc., are rarely capitalized even if they appear at the beginning of a sentence. They can also be combined as a form of contraction such as y which, in the Old Tongue, is of the.

Naming Conventions

If there was ever a standard naming convention amongst the Cymry, it has been lost to the mists of time. Most of the names of mountains, rivers, lakes, plains and other land features follow the Old Tongue (primarily Welsh) with some variations here and there. Family and actual place names vary widely. Most families have their own naming traditions rather than following a specific cultural naming convention. Therefore, you will see House ap Nuallyn and House Azarov, both are ancient and powerful bloodlines, but House ap Nuallyn is more reminiscent of modern naming conventions while House Azarov (now Stormdanovich) harkens back to Atlantis.

Social Hierarchy

Amongst the Cymry, lines of descent and inheritance are determined by the arcane. The Reolwr (p. reo-lure), or Ruler of the House, is traditionally the most powerful adept born to each generation. The lines of power within each House tend to flow along patriarchal or matriarchal lines thereby dictating that House’s traditions regarding lines of descent and inheritance. The House itself might be as poor as the proverbial church mouse regarding material wealth, but an ancient and powerful bloodline can still have them higher up the social registry than a young very wealthy House.

Morality

The Cymry are not prudes regarding sexual morality, but they are discreet and cautious. Any onus on sexual activity outside the marriage bed is only due to dynastic considerations, i.e., not muddying the line of descent for the House. There are very powerful and easy to get herbs and extracts whose main use is for birth control. Most women are conversant with these things or know how to get them.

A woman is expected to only lie with her betrothed and should be very discreet until handfasted. A man and woman do not share a domicile of any kind until they are officially wed. There is not a huge social stigma attached to a woman that is not a virgin when she goes to her marriage bed as long as her sexual partner was also her betrothed. A man may, of course, reject his wife if he discovers she has been unfaithful to their betrothal. A woman can also reject her betrothed for being unfaithful.

Prostitution does not really exist amongst the Cymry. Males and females would consider it an insult to be paid for sex, and most men find it unnecessary. Rape, although not unheard of, is very rare amongst the Cymry. The majority of men seek power and control in the use of the arcane rather than taking it by forcing themselves on a woman (or man).

NOTE
There is a murky line regarding the definition of rape amongst the Cymry. There are arcane rituals coupled with certain drugs, such as merasha, that can render a person compliant and open to suggestion. Unscrupulous men and women can use this to take sexual advantage of another. Charges of this sort are very difficult to prove.

Marriage

Arranged marriages and marriage for romantic reasons are equally common. The tradition of arranged marriage based on bloodline or social status tends to be practiced in some Houses and not others. It is quite uncommon for the Lord and/or Lady of a House to forbid a betrothal or marriage. The Houses with the oldest and purest Cymry bloodlines will sometimes discourage an unfavorable match.

Since there is a psychic bond formed between two Cymry upon their betrothal and subsequently strengthened upon the consummation of their marriage, annulment and divorce are rare. A couple that finds that they are completely incompatible may decide to live in separate residences or to simply dwell in separate quarters within their home. If a marriage has deteriorated to the point that the couple literally wants nothing to do with one another, one or both may take consorts. While rare, they may also seek a dissolution of the marriage bond.

In cases of spousal cruelty (mental or physical abuse), there is no onus on the man or woman returning to their House of Birth. In extreme situations, the man or woman may apply to the High Court for an actual dissolution of the marriage although any dowry is likely forfeited. To actually legally divorce, spouses must also find a Cymry archadept (Derwydd) capable of severing their marital bond if neither of them has the training or strong enough abilities to do so.

Consorts

Adultery is not illegal, and there is not a religious onus on it. However, it is deemed dishonorable to be unfaithful to the marriage bed. While activities of this kind may result in malicious gossip, the final opinion is that what happens between married couples is solely their business. There is a difference between an adulterous liaison and one established with a consort.

The Cymry and, in fact, Cymerians in general, frown on the practice of seeking a divorce due to infertility. Therefore, the practice of taking a consort has become one solution if a man proves infertile or a woman is barren.

A contractual arrangement may be entered into with a man or a woman for the sole purpose of providing offspring. In the majority of cases, the children of these arrangements are raised by the married couple as their own. The contract normally includes a living stipend for the surrogate parent (consort).

Legal System

The Cymry obey Cymeria’s laws and legal system. As this is detailed in the Cymeria documents, it will not be repeated here. There are other laws written specifically for the Cymry that are included in the sections on the Arcane below.

The Right to Rule

Unless challenged, ruling Cymeria (also called The Land) is the right of the next in line of the ruling House. Challenge can be issued before, during and after the Ddyrchafael (coronation or confirmation), but it is harder after Ddyrchafael rather than before it as the Challenger may have to face the new ruler and his Guardian (Ryndar). The current ruling House is House Stormdanovich. Should the current High Lord be challenged and lose the challenge, the victor’s House becomes the ruling House and remains so until and unless that bloodline expires or there is another victorious challenger.

Caveat: The Land (aka the Great Talisman) may actually reject the Challenger and not allow the completion of his or her Ddyrchafael. That would leave the Rule of the Land in chaos until a new House could be sorted.

Ddyrchafael

Ddyrchafael (p. thri-ca-fa-el; noun: ascension): In Heniaith, the word has come to be synonymous with being coronated or ascending to rule. It is the name of the ancient ritual used to choose the Cymry High Elders of the past and the High Lords of more recent times. Since the time of Mathias Azarov, it has been used in conjunction with the Quickening of the High Lady and the Ryndar.

The ritual of Ddyrchafael embodies the spirit of the Cymry belief of The Land is the King, and the King is the Land. This Right to Rule can only be broken through an arcane challenge or the death of the ruling bloodline.

Death Rituals

The Cymry do not die in the traditional sense of the word. At the end of their lives, whether sudden or anticipated, they Cross to the White Road. Some refer to it as Parting the Veil. Nothing of their body remains, even the garments they were wearing at the time of Crossing cease to exist. If given time to plan for a Crossing, witnesses will see the shimmering of a translucent veil-like curtain and a shining White Road beyond it. They can also see the hale and hearty form of the one making the Crossing once it is on the other side.

The Cymry consider the physical death of the body to be an end to all things. It is the end of all that a Cymry ever was, their accumulated knowledge and experience. It is to be sent into oblivion, to remain for all eternity in a state of limbo. The soul or spirit, the M’anam, is trapped and lost. For them, this is worse than a form of purgatory.

Biases

Cymry

Most actual racial biases come from within the Cymry for other Cymry based on bloodline and arcane prejudices. There are those that despise those of their race that have compromised being Cymry in favor of not using their powers. The opposite of that is also true and encompasses the majority of Cymry who view the use of their arcane abilities as being archaic.

Vanir

Viewed as somewhat less advanced than other races, but a staunch ally nonetheless.

Aquitaine

There is something of a hypocritical view of Aquitaine. The overwhelming majority of Cymry view their own powers as suspicious and perhaps even Shadow-Touched yet they feel that Aquitaine’s beliefs regarding magic and magic users to be equally loathsome. To kill or torment a person simply because they are arcane is vile.

Aquilonia

This is more a personal bias than a racial one. The majority of Cymry despise Darian I. Not only did he have the temerity to invade The Land, but he was also responsible for the deaths and possible loss of Chalon for untold numbers of Cymry.

Sidhe

Grandiose tree-huggers.

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