Estimated total population: Aquari: 340,659, Esteri: 296,703
Estimated military size (absolute maximum strength): Aquari: 62,000, Esteri: 54,000
Typical appearance and social/cultural traits:
The Shora have dark, red coloured hair, and bright cyan eyes. They are super-human in strength, speed, and intellect. They also, by appearance at least, possess less emotion. This is not necessarily true, mostly a perception of cultural norms such as a lack of mourning for their dead, or an absence of remorse for ending a life. They are a race of passions, and those passions over the past one and a half thousand years have been directed toward endless in-fighting.
As was mentioned in a post a while back, these are a very interesting people. From one angle, they are angelically elegant, with attractive appearances, a figurative and fair-sounding poetic language, and all that they create, artistically, as a society is nothing short of incredible. Yet deep within they are like children with relatively simple views of the world around them. Split down the middle into two opposing rival factions, the Shora have been at each other’s throats for so long that they no longer know why, or if there could be another way to live. To the Shora, peace is not peace, and war is not war. Peace is something old and dead and war is simply…life, and life is challenging, beautiful, and glorious. The most unfortunate thing about them is their choice to direct all of their passions to killing each other, as opposed to doing more constructive things. Well, they once did just that, long ago. Ironically, their nature which drives their society on its brutal path is the same thing forcing them to be oblivious to that truth.
The Shora of course do not follow The Leader‘s religion like the natives of Pentia. They don’t know or care what that is. The Shora worship themselves. Their “Gods” and focus of a limited attention to religion is directed to great warrior figures in their pasts. As further evidence of their slight childishness, each of the two sides only worships people from their own. There are a few which are recognized by both, the most recent being the two kings who killed one another at the same time in a draw; an event which is referred to as “Sacred Duel”. That event was a catalyst for why the Shora find themselves in Pentia in the first place. There will be more on that subject in the A-Z post series (letter N).
Aquari names typically end in -us (Cirrus, Arturus, Tarrus, etc.), and Esteri names typically end -s and are shorter (Kits, Mars, Rodes, etc.). There are people within both factions whose names end is -os; this is in a style of much older names. There are a few other variations.
The Shora fight against one another in mass melees governed by a strict set of honoured codes. Once ranks break and the chaos begins, soldiers fight strictly one-on-one. Battles end immediately when a well known soldier of high rank, or a king is defeated. When one side pushes the other enough to cause a route, the defeated retreat, and the day is done. There is no chase. There are no sieges or assassinations. It does not even matter who wins, in terms of the battle as a whole. Such is the nature of the Shora’s sophisticated military culture, where a battle is like a game day in a sporting league: just another game in the season, so to speak. It is simply what they do, and for them, what life is, the days of battle treated with anticipation and celebration. Each soldier fights with their own style and choice of weaponry, which can vary significantly. To put perspective on how talented the Shora are when it comes to fighting abilities, their lowest skilled soldiers are a fair match for many of Pentia’s finest (1 vs 1).
The Shora come from a much smaller land far to the south across an ocean. The climate there was hot year round and similar to an equatorial region on Earth. This is why the Shora experience some difficulty in dealing with the winter months in Pentia. They also, like the Pentians, long believed their home to be the only landmass in the world, the absolute seclusion the main cause for the obvious societal differences. The two worlds in comparison are different in every way, and their interaction is a crucial background force in this series.
The High-King is known to have ultimate rule, however the people tend to govern themselves. The established ways of life naturally hold the heavily traditional society in place. The current king chooses any man he deems worthy to be his heir, and if he dies without a choice, it is given to a high ranking officer or whomever the majority chooses, informally. There is never a dispute over the choice, because rulers are expected to lead by example as well as to follow the old ways. The High-King position is probably existent due to tradition and continuance more than anything, and the need for someone to provide decisions and consistent orders. Simply put, if they are deemed incompetent they will not be taken seriously.
There is little crime and disagreement, and no kin-slaying within the two factions (think Tolkien‘s elves in this cultural sense). Government itself has low-importance because of constant war, just as every societal function outside of military is deemed secondary.
Place of interest:
Islos was built in a combined effort between the two factions. When they first landed on the small island from their far away southern homeland, they were allied for a short stint. The small city’s beauty is unlike any other place in Pentia, and its like has not been seen since before the Shora began their feud, oh so long ago.
Aquari: Turquoise, Esteri: Red
So ends the National Cultures posts. It was a ton of fun summarizing my different nations in this way. This is also where I tell you that the ‘S’ in FOTS stands for Shora. These people are the driving force behind the central plot line (there are three major plot lines), with the focus on characters. The POV characters with the largest share of chapters are Shora. Therefore, the use of Shora in the series name is either singular, plural, or ambiguous. The word Shora can refer to either or all. That is the beauty of it. You decide.
© 2013 FOTS Fantasy