05 · The inhabitants’ ways of life
Within the lands of the Mûmakan region are many racial and cultural groups, which vary greatly in appearance, customs and attitudes. In addition to a scattering of Silvan and Sindarin Elves, and the Numenorean colonists, there are the Haradrim of Mûmakan, the Kirani (an offshoot of the Haradwaith), the stocky dale men of the northern hills, and the Hathorian people.
The Elven population in the Mûmakan is almost entirely Silvan in descent (the most “rustic” of the immortals) except in Taaliraan and, to a lesser extent, Koronande. The Noldor are extremely rare except in Korlan and the Taaliraan capitol of Tilvirin. Anywhere else their appearance is met with stares of awe (in Koronande), loathing (in Tantûrak), and distaste (in Mûmakan). Most races find the Noldor rather stuffy and condescending.
The Sindar are more prevalent, being common in Taaliraan, and composing at least twenty-five percent of the Elven Koronande population — although there has been some interbreeding, and the Silvan/Sindarin line has blurred.
Elves of the Mûmakan wear less clothing than their more northerly counterparts, preferring simple belted tunics in white, grey, green or brown. Jewelry is usually minimal, but invariably high-quality and delicate. The Noldor wear more in the way of jewelry, and prefer white garments with metallic silver or gold trim. As with the other races of the Mûmakan (with the exception of an occasional well-shielded Noldorin Taaliraan aristocrat) the Elves of the area wear year-round tans, yet only these immortals maintain wrinkle-free skin with the passage of the years, due to the regenerative nature of their bodies. Even the Hathorians, despite their balms, begin to show signs of aging around the age of 110.
It is believed that the Kirani are related to the Haradrim, although beyond the common very dark skin color and black, wiry hair, the similarity ends. Where the Haradrim are stocky and muscular, the Kirani are tall, slender and graceful of movement. Where the people of Harad are barbaric, the Kirani are culturally sophisticated, and relatively advanced socially. Koronande, one of the very few republics in all of Middle-earth, is run almost solely by Kirani. Indeed, with regard to body build, strength and dexterity, the Kirani are more comparable to the Elven races, with whom they share a mutual respect and admiration. Indeed, there have been marriages between the two races, although those are very rare, as are all unions between the Elves and mortal men.
There is an apparently significant range of sociological development among the Kirani, even within this limited area: from the almost tribal arrangement of the reed hut-dwelling people of Tuktan to the complex government of Koronande, where the inhabitants embrace imported foods and intricate social subtleties and live in multi-story stone houses in cities with sewage systems. The fact is, however, that beneath these social levels most Kirani share the same basic religious and cultural beliefs. Although there are many cult branches the Kirani worship Eru, “The One” as their god. They have complex rites of marriage after a young man and woman have chosen each other; and the ceremonies of passage through, as the Kirani perceive them, the four stages of life: birth; man/womanhood (at around 15); citizenhood (taking social responsibility, around 30); and death (chosen by the Kirani, as with the noble Numenoreans of Old). Death was not to be a long, withering process, rather, when someone realized that his or her mind or body was beginning to fail, around age 150 – 200 for Kirani, he or she would call for the ceremony of death and at the conclusion of the solemn hours-long ritual, the person would have willed himself to death.
The Kirani are basically vegetarians, cultivating the many varieties of fruit bearing vines and trees which flourish in the area. They do occasionally dine on fowl: the larger avian inhabitants of the jungle are broiled and considered a delicacy.
In the way of clothing, the Kirani prefer flowing, diaphanous garments, dyed in a variety of pastel colors and draped loosely about the body. These they wear when they can get away with it, but of course such are not suitable for everyday work, for which they don short kilts in the case of the men, and the women tend to wear a short, belted dress. Both sexes wear jewelry, although they prefer items of leather worn about the head and wrists, with bright bird feathers dangling, rather than the gold and gem-beset decoration that most other races prefer.
Height: 6’ — 7’2” ‣ Weight: 150 – 220 lbs.
Height: 5’4” — 6’4” ‣ Weight: 110 – 140 lbs.
The Kirani are without exception very slender of build, although they do maintain their bodies in peak physical condition through rigorous exercise, and therefore usually have a well-developed musculature; and their strength is not to be underestimated. Their hair is invariably black, and ranges from very curly to kinky and wiry in texture. Eye color is usually brown, but there are occasional exceptions of every type. In tone the Kirani skin ranges from medium brown to nearly black. Kirani males tend to be clean shaven, indeed many, like the Elves, are naturally beardless. All tend to wear their hair relatively short.
If any group of men in the Mûmakan area looks more out of place than the Numenoreans, it is surely the people of Hathor. Blond and blue eyed, their appearance harkens back to the cooler climes of Rohan or perhaps the Kykurian Kyn far to the North. Knowledge of the place of origin of the Hathorians is lost, however, even they do not remember. It is known that Hathorians migrated here before even the beginnings of Koronande, while Tuktan was a collection of barbaric tribes.
Despite the fact that they are not indigenous, they love their land, especially the southern and coastal areas. Hathorians are easy-going of temperament, but often wild and adventurous, as is typical of short-lived mortals. Indeed their society more than any other in the area is built around recreation, including attendance at and participation in athletic games of all kinds, singly or in teams, in land or in the water, by men or women (but mostly men). Although these sports are always played without intention of injury, the very nature of most of them make it almost inevitable that someone will get hurt every time. Fortunately, however, Hathorians have an aptitude for the healing arts, and there are usually several Healers of respectable level at any given event, so even a severely injured player is soon back in the game.
The games, although just one facet of Hathorian society, are an excellent example of their rather hedonistic attitude toward life: above any other reason, doing things because they might be ‘fun’. Of course, the Hathorian view of ‘fun’ seems to have little similarity to that of most other cultures. As a note, Hathor accounts for the largest percentage of Taaliraan wine and spirit exports, and Taaliraan beverages are reputedly the best in all of the lands south of Gondor and East of Numenor. The Hathorians also use a large percentage of their grain imports for the making of beer; and Gort is used freely, although the government frowns on it.
Hathorians are among the most vain of peoples, working ever hard at making the most of their appearance, which now nearly rivals that of the Elven-kind, although perhaps in a more ‘rough’ way. No other culture has so many oils and balms to make their skin look ‘natural’. Of course, it must be acknowledged that because of their naturally fair skin, the Hathorians require some defense against the intense sun of the tropics until they develop a protective tan; and even then, their skin would dry and wrinkle without treatment. However, they also spend an inordinate amount of time washing their hair, and cutting it in precise, layered lengths so that it falls evenly in sculpted perfection. Men usually wear their hair partway over their ears, and to the nape of the neck in back. Women allow theirs to grow longer, sweeping back from the face to fall about their shoulders.
The Hathorians also delight in simple jewelry, usually gold, in the form of necklaces and wrist and ankle chains, and earrings (for both sexes, although men tend to wear but one earring, bracelet and ankle chain, while women prefer multiples). Both sexes have an aversion to finger rings, maintaining that they interfere with various activities. The men clothe themselves in loose pants or shorts of cotton, or silk for more formal occasions, dyed bright colors; and occasionally wear a vest or loose shirt of simple design, this is usually more elaborately dyed, in several colors or in a print. The women wear either shorts and a laced top, or for less rigorous activities, short draped toga-like garments of finely woven diaphanous cloth, all sensuous in design.
In contrast, the Hathorians are at times deeply religious: witness the power of their healers. One can only assume the deity(ies) whom they worship is/are either very unrestrictive or very, very forgiving.
Height: 5’8” — 6’6” ‣ Weight: 150 – 220 lbs.
Height: 5’2” — 5’10” ‣ Weight: 110 – 140 lbs.
The men are well muscled, and heavier of build than the Kirani, yet still slender compared to the hill-men of Dûshera. The women, predictably, are more voluptuous than those of the more slender races, but an overweight Hathorian is virtually unheard of.
Their hair is various shades of blond, their eyes are blue or grey, with a rare occurrence of green or hazel. The skin they are born with is naturally fair, but universally tanned to various shades of brown, though it never approaches the naturally dark tones of the Kirani and Haradrim. Hathorian males are clean-shaven without exception, having developed a creme which completely removes the beard for several days (the creme brings a high price in other countries, but its export is limited). Like the Elves and Kirani, the Hathorians have little body hair. The average lifespan of a Hathorian (barring accidents, which are common) is 150 years.
Contrary to popular belief, the Hathorians do engage in manual labor, and in fact farm their storm-swept land (seasonal hurricanes on the southern coast are quite common) with a sort of gleeful masochism, delighting in the ‘challenge’. They grow cotton, and many are sheep and goat herders. The fine wool and cotton cloths woven and dyed by the Hathorians are fine and highly prized throughout the Mûmakan area, as are the tender oysters cultivated and harvested year-round by this hardy race.
Hill-Men of Dûshera
Short and stocky, the hill-men of the Dûshera-Geshaan area resemble more the Dwarves than any mannish race nearby. Once a tall and proud people in their youth, they earned the ire of the Court of Ardor, and so the brunt of the power of the Ardan Council fell upon them. The devastation wrought upon Geshaan was even greater than the Court could summon alone, though the final catastrophe could not have come at a more convenient time (except of course for the fact that the Court as well suffered a severe setback with the downfall of their master, Morgoth himself). Indeed, near the end of the First Age, when most mortal men were disorganized, those of Geshaan, under the tutelage of the Three of Ty-Ar-Rana, were arising into a culture of power and sophistication. This potential threat to their dominance the Court could not permit, and so they bent all of their powers (especially formidable while they still could tap the resources of the Black Enemy) upon the men of Dûshera and Geshaan. Even before the cataclysm which turned Geshaan into an uninhabitable mire, and altered the ecology of Dûshera, the effects of the Ardan manipulations could be seen despite the best efforts of the Three to combat them. The government became increasingly corrupt, their worship of Eru became tainted with fear of punishment for any transgression; interaction with other races became strained, especially the immortal Elves — who they learned to envy. By the end the people even feared the Three as they had never before, and were suspicious of their motives. Then came the changing of Middle-earth with the fall of Beleriand and Thangorodrim: the “punishment” they had all feared. The temples of Tyar were closed, and the people were without organized leadership. Since then it has been a sad tale of steady decline for this race, even genetically suffering as their nutrition and breeding habits changed, a limited diet and severe inbreeding due to lack of travel and trade. Only recently have they come to trust the Elves at all, with the passage of so many years. The Kirani too they will interact with, though warily, for they fear (with good reason) the warlike Mûmakani, and have trouble differentiating between the races. The hill-men are still very superstitious, having altered (in their minds) the personalities of many of the Valar into vengeful, ritual-demanding minor gods, who must constantly be appeased.
In the way of clothing the hill-men wear (relatively) poorly made items of wool, with some hide overgarments. They are swarthy of complexion, the men frequently wearing beards, and their hair is usually dark brown, their eyes brown or grey.
Height: 4’8” — 5’6” ‣ Weight: 100 – 180 lbs.
Height: 4’4” — 5’0” ‣ Weight: 80 – 120 lbs.
Although relatively rare in the Mûmakan, Dwarves are not unheard-of and there are a few settlements in the hills west of Geshaan. Some also live in the cities of Korlan and Tanith, mostly working as smiths.
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