Corresponding Pinterest Board: https://www.pinterest.com/baymaxiscute/~the-great-redo-scene-setting~/
Map of Vyrus: http://imgur.com/MUIyceY
Geography and Major Cities
Cendaea is a country situated in the center of the continent of Vyrus, and is mainly forest and urbanized areas. The eastern part of the country is filled with meadows and plains, and to the south lie the Borderland Mountains, which mark the Cendaea-Lierland border.
Water in Cendaea comes mainly from the Borderland Mountains and the rivers that cut through the country. However, river water is considered unclean, and the methods for purifying it are costly. To resolve this problem, a rich merchant named Damian Fallborn started selling water that he had purified with his own equipment. Now Southern Cendaea has a fairly large water trade, due to the abundance of naturally purifying aquifers, and sends out thousands of barrels of water a year to the middle and upper class. The lower class has to make do with boiled rainwater.
Farmland is best at the base of the Borderlands and near the Cendaea-Quira border to the west, where the soil is richest. Farmers make a pretty good living, and most are firmly situated in the lower middle class. They are considered uncouth but beneficial by the general population.
The forests of central Cendaea are the best for hunting game, with the largest population of bigger game like deer and wild boar. The northwestern corner of Cendaea has a large population of smaller animals like squirrels and songbirds, and it's rare to see a deer or even a rabbit there.
The capital of Cendaea, Whiterain, is in the northwest, and is situated a good two hundred miles or so away from Vaerys, the reservation of the fairies. The outskirts of the city are where the lowest of the low class live in shanties, and housing (and rank!) gets better the closer to the center you are.
Another major city is the trade town of Stonebasin, named for the natural aquifer in one of the caves in the city. Stonebasin is at the base of the third-highest mountain in the Borderland range: Cloud( )usher. The city leads the country in export and import of natural resources, and ships out roughly forty-five percent of Cendaea's water. Since Stonebasin does a lot of its buisness with Lierland, Lierish culture has begun to seep into the city's own Cendaean culture.
The riverside city of Bycreek ships forty percent of the remaining fifty-five. It’s known for its houses, which are magically-powered barges that look something like steamboats. Businesses like taverns and blacksmiths are situated in the barge-houses of the owners, and are usually family owned and run. Any unrelated employees will often board with the family to avoid the hassle of docking daily to go to work.
Sitting only four hundred miles south of Whiterain, Milltown is the largest provider of lumber in Cendaea. Milltown natives are said to always smell like the forest, and so far this fact hasn’t been proven wrong. Milltown is currently in a Might VS Magic spat, with native mages trying to use their skills with magic for faster production, and normal citizens sticking firmly to tradition. Women of Milltown are masters of knitting, and people come from other parts of Cendaea to buy their garments for winter as an alternative for costly furs.
The king of Cendaean cuisine is Cresthill, and it’s where the Order of the Elm has placed their main academy. (No surprise, seeing as their mages are legendary in the kitchen.) Bycreek sits to its northeast, and the Borderlands are to its south.
A lot of southwestern Cendaea was destroyed when Shemtiran forces gathered in Rubia, marched through Galland, and launched several attacks on the towns there. The only academy of the Order of the Rose was taken out, and the Rose mages are still trying to recover their life's work.
Most nobles are accomplished warriors, tethered mages, high priests, hold a seat on the Council, were born or married into wealth, or run a successful business. The Council is made up of six hundred or so people from different parts of Cendaea, and is split into the departments of Foreign Relations, Military, Agriculture, Business, the Fine Arts, Aquaculture, and General Trade. The Department of Aquaculture is responsible for making sure the water trade is running smoothly, and that people who can afford to get their share of water do. The Council only acts on the word of the King or Queen.
Cendaea doesn't have a preferred gender, and mothers and fathers rule the household together. The throne is passed to whichever child is the favorite, which makes for a lot of strife in the royal family. There's fierce competition among siblings, and some, when old enough, even hire assassins to kill whoever's favored. Favoritism is rampant in the country, with some children fighting for the biggest inheritance, others settling for second, and others giving up on ever being the favored child. A lot of couples choose to have only one child to prevent this. Couples take the surname of the man, since he is considered the provider and defender of the household.
Traditionally the mother is considered the nurturer, caretaker, and submissive one in the relationship, though she is still equal to the father. The father is the protector, provider, and dominant one, but he does not rule over the woman. Decisions are made as a team.
Entertainment in Cendaea comes mainly in the form of social dances. Music is a big part of Cendaean culture, and it employs heavy use of woodwinds and maraca-like instruments. Groups of bards travel between towns, setting up shop in special ballrooms and performing for days at a time.
Marriage, for most humans, is a bond sacred to the One. When a youth turns 16, they are allowed to begin searching for their ideal partner as long as they are cautious and don't rush into relationships. Girls often wait for boys to come to them, although particularily bold young ladies will be the first to confess their attraction. When a Cendaean begins courting, they begin what is referred to as the "Journey Towards Marriage." There is no casual courtship, and lovers of the sexual kind are scandalous. This doesn't stop some nobles from having affairs that, if uncovered, would severely damage their social position.
Courtship consists of testing the waters to see if the other person is a suitable mate and various romantic notions, most of them traditional. Some of them include catching a songbird to show determination and gentleness, hunting to show that they can provide, cooking meals to show that they know how to make good food, and various other feats of skill. Common gifts are flowers, jewelry made with locks of hair, handmade carvings, and functional tools like axes. Couples avoid romantic physical contact because they want to fall in love with personality, not infatuation inspired by lust. Hugs, hand holding, light snuggling, and hand and cheek kissing are the raunchiest it gets.
There are no proposals. Instead, the man will sit down with his significant other and they will discuss whether or not they feel ready for the "Eternal Commitment." If both feel ready, the couple will ask their parents if they seem ready. If they get the blessing of both pairs of parents, they will begin planning their wedding. Wedding cele( )ations last as many days as the number of years the couple took to get engaged. (Typically four, the Cendaean record is 12.) Traditionally, it was both an incentive for the couple to get engaged quickly and an encouragement to wait until they were ready so they could have a bigger party.
The first day of the wedding is an engagement ceremony, since engagements are usually not announced. At this ceremony, the fiances (helped by the local blacksmith) design two rings: a simple engagement band and an elaborate wedding band. They exchange the engagement rings and partake in a feast prepared by the ( )ide's family.
The second day is when the ( )ide and her attendants (her sister or best friend and various other special friends) get together and em( )oider her wedding gown and the groom's tunic with golden thread. The groom and his attendants hunt and prepare food for the presentation of the tunic at the feast that follows when the em( )oidering is done. The groom is not allowed to see the ( )ide's dress.
The third day is when the couple partakes in a kissing ceremony. A priest shakes the ( )anch of a rosebush over their heads, and then rubs a rose petal, a slice of apple, a gold coin, and an acorn on their lips. (Symbolizing infatuation, eternal love, prosperity, and fertility respectively.) The fiances are then allowed to kiss each other on the lips for the very first time. Only the families and attendants of the couple are allowed to watch this ceremony, which is considered extremely private.
If the couple has been together more than four years, the days leading up to the final cele( )ation are filled with dances and feasts.
On the night of the final day, the attendants of the ( )ide and groom wait outside their respective houses with beautiful lanterns in hand. The attendants wear crowns that have sparklers sticking out the sides, (the ( )ide and groom wear larger, more spectacular versions of these) and the ( )ide's attendants have long trains with enchanted glowing beads sewn to them. (Again, the ( )ide has a longer, glowier train.) Once the ( )ide and groom are ready, they are taken through the streets of the city, where even strangers will treat them like royalty.
They arrive at their venue, where their guests are waiting, and walk to meet each other in the center of the room, where a young oak sapling, adorned with rose garlands, sits. They greet each other with two kisses, one on the forehead and one on the lips. The priest officiating has them promise the One that they will remain steadfast to each other and care for one another as the Starkeepers tend to the night sky. Once they've made their promise, the priest has them switch from their engagement bands to their wedding bands. They are announced, share one last big kiss, and head off to the most magnificent feast of all.