Culture; fading sparks.

Vendes, Deoch 15, Winter.



Throughout history, there is a single repeated pattern, which every civilization eventually follows. This pattern is that of the rise and peak, plateau, and eventual decline of the established cultures.
Perhaps the most poignant example of this pattern is that of Hy-brasyl. A civilization unrivaled and unequaled, that rose to the pinnacle of success, before slowly destroying itself. And still, we reach to it as an example of what we wish to obtain. Perhaps the phrase "Those who do not learn from the past will be doomed to repeat it." would be appropriate here...

Following, is a look at the current state of the various cultures contained in Temuair.




I. The Grimlok


The Grimlok culture is an unusual one, especially from a sociological standpoint. If we attempted to label them with one of the above terms, it would be logical to choose the plateau stage. Their numbers have not increased enough to be noticeable, they've never been seen in any territory other than the caves - which leads to the assumption that the society is not growing at a rate high enough for them to search out new territories. A society in its rise or peak would be expected to grow, and a society in decline would be likely to shrink.
As of my last journey into Pravat, however, the Grimlok alone held Pravat. This leads to a few interesting posibilities - one being that the Goblins retreated, for reasons unknown - the other, however, is much more captivating. Is it possible for a society in its decline, given the right (forced) conditions, to revert to the stage of rising civilization? It would stand to reason, if this is even a plausible posibility, to assume that it would be a fragile state - not being part of the natural order of things. However, the possibility alone raises interesting questions on the stabilization and growth of declining societies...




II. The Goblins


The Goblins have formed three basically distinct and seperate tribes as of this date. There are the Goblins of Pravat, the Wood Goblins, and the Undine Goblins.
We'll look at the Goblins of Pravat, first. As of this date, only Bahadir and his assistant remain - and they do not enter the caves proper.
It is no secret that Loures had a pact with the goblins during the Entreaty of the Calling Stone, and from this comes my belief that the Goblin tribes have gone into hiding - because of knowledge - knowledge given to them by Loures, of the events that will come to pass in Deoch 16, the year of Sgrios. Before this disappearance, however, the Goblin society was stable, though neither growing nor faltering. It appeared to have plateaued, just as the Grimlok they share the caves with have. Whether they've disappeared for good, or will return, only time can tell. At this point in time, the Goblins of Pravat are being looked upon as nothing more than disappearing under suspicious circumstances.
The Wood Goblins, meanwhile, have a society that for some reason prospers, despite constant battles with aislings. Perhaps they evolved to reproduce at a rate that would ensure survival through the harshest conditions - which would suggest a rising stage. Brightblade suggested a tribal society, but looked at it as being extremely patriarchal. Which would make little sense, given the role females must play to ensure a culture this embattled thrives. I think Acinorev was closer to the truth when looking at the females gaining power along with their mates - one thing not looked at is how power might be gained by the number of sucessful births. It would perhaps, bear looking into, if one wishes to conclude that their society is still growing.
This leaves the Goblins of Undine... This doesn't seem right, as though it cannot be a proper society at all. No Goblins have ever learned the skills to build ships - nor would they sail upon them naturally - which means they must be working for a Mundane or Aisling. Nor does it make any sense for Goblins to attempt to take a town. They've nothing to gain in doing so... At least, nothing to gain naturally. Who can say what they might gain if they are indeed working for some darker more sinister being? At this time, they seem content to camp out in Astrid and the Fields of Undine, snatching children when given the chance. Their presence so close to Undine is unsettling, and I fear it doesn't bode well for the inhabitants of that little town. The "society" of these goblins is one of creatures waiting for a battle. There is little evidence of any kind of culture, being only warriors and providers are there. The absence of any young is perhaps the most suspicious thing about their presence. As this is apparently not a true culture, it has no stage to sit in.




III. The Orcs


The Orcs are also split into two seperate cultures apparently - those of the Kasmanium mines, and those of the Undine Fields.
The Orcs of the Kasmanium mines live relatively quiet lives, as most aislings don't venture into the depths of their home - out of fear, perhaps. Their society is obviously in a plateau stage, as it hasn't changed in the least bit over the deochs. They will defend their territory mercilessly against intruders, yet seem content to share that same territory with the Draco's. Perhaps they have some kind of agreement with each other that aislings know nothing of - which suggest some intelligence on their part. For the most part, theirs is a balanced culture, with both the males and females contributing towards their lives, and the continuation of the species.
The Orcs in the Fields of Undine, however, appear to be much like the Goblins of the same place. Not a true culture - only warriors bent on the fulfillment of their assigned task - whatever that may be. One could theorize about it for some time, and never know whether you're right or wrong. At this time, they wait. It stands to reason that we will eventually find out what their purpose is, and perhaps even who they are working for. Rumours say Loures, whom is well known to have somewhat shady dealing with many of the cultures of Temuair.




IV. The Dwarves


The Dwarven culture is nothing but the last fading echoes of a society that was once great. To be sure, this is a culture that has fallen. Perhaps beyond even the hope of redemption or new beginnings. Those dwarves that remain haunt the Crypts of Abel, guarding whatever is hidden their fiercely. I'd suggest you leave those dark and twisted creatures be, they're nothing of what dwarves once were.




V. The Mukul


The Mukul society is complex, and much like the Aisling society, in its own way. The normal members of society are the Latika, all of whom have certain titles and established roles - with the ability to gain others. Outcasts are called Chandi, and are dangerous to all who come across them. The Latika Mukul society is one in its rise, with astonishing cultural flourishes - this is the only non-aisling society that has anything resembling priests, bards and artisans, and historians. (Jivanta, Kerani, and Vibha, respectively.) I'd label this culture as one either rising or plateauing. If you're ever in the swamps, I suggest you collect some of the things the Latika are interested in and learn a bit about their culture. If you see a Chandi, however, run the other way - it's most likely looking to have your head as a trophy.




VI. The Dubhmaid


There are some who would argue whether the Dubhmaid are a society at all, as all they seem to be interested in is killing and death - but then, there are tales of the rare dubhmaid who have left that path to seek other things such as love...
The Dubmaid society is an odd one - they were created, intended, and indeed, enjoy - killing things. They've killed mundanes, they've killed aislings, they've razed every culture they've ever come across, all for the glory of their lord Chadul. In Deoch 8, the year of Sgrios, the Dubhmaid entered the towns and cities of Temuair, battling any who dared to set foot where they were. Even the bright lights of Rucesion were no safeguard against them. With Deoch 16, the year of Sgrios, approaching quickly, we are all preparing for a scene like the one in Deoch 8... Death, destruction, pain, everywhere one looks.. Armies of the dark and twisted Dubhmaid laughing cruelly as they kill off whoever and whatever they come across. One would be hard pressed to say what stage this culture is in. They hide from the light, deep within the Crypt of Mileth, and the Castle of Dubhmaid, except for those rare occasions they manage to escape whatever binds them there. If pressed, I'd say theirs is a culture that has seen its peak - the Shadow Wars... Which would leave them in the plateau stage.




VII. Aislings


The Aisling culture.. One could argue any point in this - there are seperate examples of every stage enclosed theirein. One one hand, we have the rising culture - the bards, lorekeepers, philosophers et al. Next, is the plateau culture - the average aisling. And finally - the declining - the heretics and "powerhunters" (a term, while not quite correct, used as the established norm to denote an aisling that cares for nothing but being the most physically powerful.)
The general state of the aisling culture could be referenced by a single ideal - the importance of number one, or the self. Generally speaking, a great deal of aislings are self-centered and self-interested to the point that no one else means anything to them, other than in passing. There are of course, exceptions to this - but the brightest flames, sorrowfully, seem to burn out the fastest.

The greatest problem facing aislings on a whole is the breakdown of communication.

At the top, a plan may be shaped to provide the greatest good for the greatest number. But no plan conceived at one end of the spectrum can take into account all of the individuals at the other end. It is simply not possible - there is too much breakdown in communication along the way. Conversely, any system which is modular enough to deal intimately with those at the bottom is too unwieldy to be governed from the top.

Fortunately for those who govern - and unfortunately for those who don't - the appearance of fair play is more easily obtained than the reality.

On a whole, the Aisling culture is one of constant flux - an example of chaos in societal structures, one might say. Not being tribal, matriarchal, patriarchal, or ruled by any other force, we focus on individuality, which breaks down the idea of a state under the governable labels - those being rise, plateau, and fall. From that, it might be said the Aisling society is so vastly different from anything else that we may outlive all else. On the other hand - the breakdown of communication may eventually destroy us.

Another condition that should be introduced - as I myself am an aisling, can I judge our society and culture at all? I leave you your own interpretation on that.




Further Reading:

Grimlok - Sophocles, "Goblin and Grimlok Evolution: Historical Speculations"
Goblins - Brightblade, "Wood Goblin Social Structure"
Sophocles, "Goblin and Grimlok Evolution: Historical Speculations
Acinorev, "Goblin Culture: An Inside View"
Orcs -  
Dwarves - Angelique, "Araidhe (Dwarves)"
Seara, "The Betrayal"
Mukul - Dartanian, "Conjectures on the Mukul Culture and Society"
Dubhmaid - Katrionah, "Darkness and the Dubhamimid"
Katrionah, "Decent into Darkness: The Eigth Aeon of Temuair"
Aislings - Rasputen, "Depths of Society"
LatentAura, "Psychology of the Classes"
Deksar, "Beatha mithear, cia feud sibh dean?" (because in all humor there is some truth)