I figured it was about time I explained these. I would have put them on my Understanding Cultures story, but these are just so complicated I'm just giving them there own.
In a nut shell, The Elemental clans, or as they are sometimes refered to in the various stories "Elemental Cults", are where my characters Sybilla, Celestina, Caelestis, and Ilmatar hail from. The Forgotten plains are home to Rea, Dáire, Artemisia, and Drazen (that awkward moment when you can't find the proper symbol to spell your own character's name....).
Ah, if only it really were that simple.
Clan of the Air
Clan of the Earth
Clan of Fire
Clan of the Water
Elemental Clans (Short hand: "EC")-
As a group...
The ECs are ruled by priests and priestesses, most of whom are allowed to marry (it depends on the clan). Citizens come at least once a month to their temples to pray. Most temples also offer resting places, schools, and healing centers.
In regards to religion, Clansmen believe in a one great being who destroyed the Earth and then revived it. It is against the law in some clans to practice other religions.
The Clan of the Air
Air Clansmen are known for their warrior ways. They are a rebelious lot that doesn't like being told what to do. They are also the Clan closest to the Forgotten Plains.
Their society is centered around the Warriors, which are the highest rank. Warriors are picked at age ten, after finishing a rigorous test ment to push them to their physical and mental limits. It begins with hand-to-hand combat, followed by an obstical course, a battle with a wild or specialy trained animal, and a labyrinth. Of the ones who don't die, quit, or otherwise fail, the best are shuffled off to be trained in isolation with one master Warrior for the next three years. After that, they return with their masters to join one of the many small subgroups.
Next are the religious officials, who are selected for beauty, grace, and healing ability. Air priests/priestesses are renowned for their medical knowlage, and are the best in the land. They are not allowed to marry.
Third come the entertainers. Dancing, singing, and acrobatics are highly valued skills to Air Clansmen. Many who don't qualify to be warriors end up in this class.
Finaly there are the farmers and merchents. While they are at the bottom of the social hierarchy, they are still very important. Farmers especialy are of value, as it is hard to grow crops on most of the Clan's land. What can be grown are potatos, radishes, some leaf vegtables, herbs, sugar cane, a few types of citrus fruits, and some varieties of edible flowers. Merchents can be found in the cities as well as traveling around in caravans.
Physicaly, Air Clansmen have darker skin than other ECs, varying from medium tan to very dark tan. Their eyes tend to be b.rown, blue, or (if they are from a region close to the Forgotten Plains) hazel colored and are large almond shapped most of the time. Hair colors tend to be b.rown (especially medium b.rown) but can also be auburn or black. Texture wise, their hair is coarse and generaly either wavy or curled. The most frequently occuring face shapes are round and heart.
Their clothes tend to be more flowing and are decorated with lace, metal, gems, or faux flowers. Colors are mainly pastel, and are centered around blue, lavender, white, and pinks. Women tend to dress in seperates, and skirts are acceptable for both genders.
The Clan of the Earth
Earth Clansmen live in a riged society ruled by the iron fist of the religious officials. They tend to keep to themselves because of all their internal conflicts. Other religions are outlawed.
Their main ruler is the High Hina, the head priestess. Those who gain this position are hand selected and personaly trained from a very early age by their predecessors to ensure traditional values are passed down. All these women know is what they are told, so the same dictator-ish ways are handed down from Hina to Hina.
As for normal members of the religious life, they are allowed to marry but they might see very little of their families depending on their rank. Higher level members aid in rituals and festivals, where as lower levels care for the temple's grounds, any animals, deal with the general public, and run errands. There is also a specialized group with in the religious life that serves as the clan's military.
Other clansmen are ranked according to their wealth, not occupations. However, most of the middle class is made up of farmers or ranchers. Both the lower and higher classes are found in the cities.
Their physical appearence is similar to Air clansmen because they share a boarder. Earth Clansmen have light to medium tan skin, and generaly also have b.rown hair. However, their hair texture is finer and is usualy straight but can be wavy or slightly curled. Their eyes are generaly more round in shape, and most of the time are green, b.rown, blue, or (rarely) hazel. Their face shape tends to be oval or heart.
Clothes are generaly form fitting and might show some skin. Pants are popular with both genders, though women tend to wear half-skirts or wraps over them. Clothes are generaly patternless but might be decorated with metals (namely copper and silver), wood, or leather. Lace or sheer materials are also frequently used. Their color scheme tends to use greens, greys, b.rowns, teals, and black.
Clan of Fire
Fire Clansmen are probably the most layed back, though they are almost always on the defensive. Religious officals are more like figure heads, as this EC is mostly ruled by a parliament. Other religions are widely practiced.
The most important members of their society are the politicians, especialy those currently in parliament. They live a life of luxury-- unlike most Fire clansmen-- but have to be carefull, because their power can be stripped at any time if the ordinary clansmen are unhappy. Anyone can become a politician, but it may take years or even generations to end up in parliament. Once in, their positions are handed down through their family untill they are overthrown or someone declines. At that time, a new politician will be selected to take their place.
Like Earth clansmen, most other classes depend on wealth, not occupation. Most of the higher class, however, is made up of merchants because this EC is the only one to have a coastal boundery. Merchants can sell goods to far away lands because of this.
However, the undoubtedly lowest class is the Clan of Fire's millitary. While very important during war time (which is frequent), in order to pay them taxes are raised. To ordinary citizens, this is an outrage. Outside of war time, most members of the millitary can't get jobs because of the people's hatered of them.
Most Fire clansmen tend to be pale to lightly tan, sometimes with freckles. Eye colors are mostly blues and greys, sometimes green-- usualy round shaped. Their hair tends to be anywhere from dark blonde to auburn or red, and is generaly straight or wavy. Most faces are oval or square, but a good portion of Fire clansmen also have heart shaped.
Their clothes tend to be some-what form fitting, being looser than Earth clansmen but tighter than Air clansmen. Women tend to wear more dresses than seperates, and skirt length for them can be between floor length and a bit below mid-thigh. Men can also wear skirts, but this is generaly seen as old fashioned or formal. Also, they tend to wear them much shorter and with pants underneath. Slits and multiple layers are popular for both genders. Clothing is decorated with wood, dyed on decorations or patterns, pearls, beads, and sashes of thinner materials. The most popular colors tend to be reds, coral or other pinks, oranges, yellows, greys, and occasionaly white, black, and b.rown.
The Clan of the Water