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Erithian Cultures

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The Six Dai of the Erithi - Family Traditions

All the Erithi on Elanthia can trace their ancestry back to one or more of six extended family groups who made up the original population in Atan Irith. Reverence for one's family history and ancestry is important to them - not in a religious sense of ancestor-worship, but as an assurance of keeping the history of the people and honoring the deeds and wisdom of those past. Those of the various bloodlines do not live in isolated groups - though some regions comprise a larger percentage of one bloodline than others, due to being settled by family groups in the past - and individuals of various bloodlines often intermarry, with the male taking on the family identity of the female in most cases. (Perhaps two-thirds of all marriages remain within the same family bloodline. This is not a matter of marrying close relatives - as many of the same 'tribe' are only related by blood through centuries-old ties - although marriages as closely related as cousins are not forbidden or unheard of, and even encouraged among the Eloth Dai.)

Members of the same Dai recognize their common kinship, and take part in family ceremonies of history and remembrance on certain days important to each clan. They also often go into business ventures or other cooperative undertakings with their kinsmen, and those in need of help tend to turn to others of their clan for aid. A small percentage of Erithians do not count themselves as a member of a Dai, usually because they have voluntarily disowned their family because of some dispute, very rarely in cases of a few who have repudiated all ties to others for some personal quest or other reason. These independent spirits are not outcast from society or hated for their status, but simply do not enjoy the benefits of kinship.

Erithi lore states that there were originally ten family bloodlines in their original homeland, but four of these were not represented in the population who arrived on Elanthia. These four families are referred to here only as the Agan Dai, or "old clans, and though individual members are mentioned in old historical writings, their family histories are not part of Erithi life on Elanthia except at certain ceremonies of remembrance.

The six Dai of the Erithians of Atan Irith are as follows:

The Eloth Dai:

Descended from a long line of adept magic users, the Eloth Dai are the most insular of the clans, tending to keep family business among themselves and, although they often live among others, rarely marrying outside the clan as many hold a firm belief that a talent for magic is passed along by blood. Males of other clans who wish to marry into the Eloth Dai cannot do so without the approval of the clan elders, a restriction not present in any other clan. The great savants and mages Tirathi and Eliko Atelecha were of the Eloth Dai. Children of this bloodline tend to have very light-colored skin, eyes, and hair, the latter often silver or white from birth. The name means "the sky clan" or "high clan, and their symbol is a grey owl.

The Surath Dai:

The family traditions of the Surath Dai revere the power of the physical world, the planet, and the forces of essence that emanate from and surround it. Like the Tichan, they reside throughout Atan Irith, and like the Eloth Dai, they comprise many adept users of magic, especially of elemental or spiritual nature, though they are more sociable and open to relations with other clans than the Eloth. Eonak is considered a patron by many Surath. The clan name means, "The stone clan" or "earth clan, and their symbol is a silver or white ram.

The Nathala Dai:

The Nathala are perhaps the most geographically defined of the clans. The majority of their members hail from the coastal regions of Atan Irith, which were settled over a thousand years ago by a large group of Nathala who left Eloth-Ra to expand the range of Erithi civilization and founded the town of Nathal-Ra and its surrounding settlements. Perhaps paradoxically, the Nathala tend, as a group, to be both the most peace-loving and the most skilled in weapons and combat of all the race; as due to their greater experiences with actual conflict through defending against pirates and other dangers of the sea, they have learned to hate violence and also to defend against it. Those of Nathala descent tend to be of slightly darker coloration than most Erithi, tending more toward pale olive or freckled skin, light brown or red hair, and brightly-hued eyes. The clan is named after its historical founder, thousands of years ago, and its symbol is a bronze or golden nautilus shell.

The Yachan Dai:

Although members of this clan are found in most Erithi lands, the majority have settled in the more temperate woodlands and valleys in the south of Atan Irith, where the greener lands are not overwhelmed by the harsh ice and mountain climes. Many artists, craftsmen, and bards, as well as magic users of a spiritual or mentalist bent, descend from this clan, which traditionally values the wonders of nature and meditations on its beauty and complexity. Yachan, too, was named after an ancient founder of the family, and its symbol is a butterfly, of any color or many colors.

The Tichan Dai:

The most populous of the clans, the Tichan Dai make up at least a third of the population in Eloth-Ra and most other central settlements. Tichan often find they are related to just about everyone else in their town through some intermarriage or another, and often hold the more public jobs in town life - shopkeepers, healers, merchants - though among adventurers, all professions are equally represented. The Tichan Dai is named after an ancient matriarch of the race, and its symbol is a fish, often a silver salmon.

The Valaka Dai:

Due to the fact that the Valaka Dai have never settled in large family units in any one place, and have often intermarried into other clans through their history, they are the fewest in number of all the clans, though they live in all regions and can be found anywhere in Atan Irith. Many explorers, traders and others who habitually travel are of Valaka blood, as they often have less clan ties and responsibilities to keep them close to home. Valaka is named after a historical ancestor, and its symbol is a grey or white falcon.

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