[Glace'omme Language and names based off of French and Italian]
The Glace’omme de Nord, or simply Glace'omme, are a more direct descendant of the Precursors, who lived in a large glacier-like landmass to the North
The Glace’omme are a varied race, just as any other. However, there are set constants that define them. First off, the Glace'omme stand at an average of six feet in height, with 5’8” and 6’6” being the social norms for shortest and tallest. Secondly, they are extremely pale in complexion, the source of the moniker that those in the South have given them. Their skin ranges from a porcelain, ghostly white to a powdery, snow-like white. Due to their native homeland, this could naturally have caused problems with visibility before they inhabited the glacier. Members of the Foot usually end up malnourished or adversely affected by the cold, thus looking inhuman. An oddity born of a mixture of the caste system and the frigid cold in which they used to live is the fact that only certain people actually grow hair, but more on that later. When the person does grow hair instead of shaving, it usually is in flowing locks of dark or black hair. Finally, the eyes of the Pale Ones are exclusively green or blue.
Age and Life Expectancy
Pale ones mature slower than humans, but faster than elves. This is due to a combination of eons living in ice, and the rigid cycle of upbringing within the Castes. 2 years for a pale one can be considered to be the same as one year for humans. Thus, the oldest a Pale One can get naturally is roughly 160 years of age.
The Pale Ones have descended from the same proto-human species as those of the Main Continent, but most traces of their shared ancestry have ceased to have any meaning. They evolved isolated on a massive ice formation on the northern hemisphere. As resources are scarce on their home continent, fighting amongst the different tribes was all too common. Rationing of supplies for the long winters was not out of the ordinary, and those found dead of either starvation or hypothermia were discarded with barely a prayer. On the Home Continent, prominent Void Masters who warped the confines of space and time too far up north would inevitably find themselves in the new land. To the Glace'omme, manipulating the energies from the Void was viewed as sacrilege, and none of these intrepid explorers ever returned. The one recorded instance of such a voyage involved Emperor Gaius, who traveled to and fro in secrecy from all but his closest confidants. Even the Glace'omme have no record of Gaius’ travels, save for the existence of a coveted relic, the sword Eckesachs; likely a gift from the late Emperor.
After generations of war and strife between various powerful city states, poisoning large swathes of the glacier with the destructive properties of transmutation, a man made a simple declaration: There will be Peace. Jean Baptiste was a brilliant transmuter from a small village in between two larger city states. Having been ravaged by the squabbles of the two city states, he had had enough. Pouring all of his knowledge into a singular plan, he chose to end the near barbaric ways that his people were treating themselves. Jean proposed that the city states form together for a singular government, where the only people who stood above you were the ones with the same starting point as you. A rigid caste system was given and the city states who decided to follow Jean quickly adapted to it. The city-states that opposed this change soon found hardships. Walls would disappear from around the cities in an instant and soldiers would meld out of the ground -hidden through clever uses of transmutation- to take the city. The prowess and tactical genius of Jean was enough to quickly tame and unite the Pale Ones under the caste system. Through this sudden and radical change in government -as well as the sudden lack of war- spurred the Pale Ones of the Body and Mind into moving towards more culturally significant creations. Beautiful paintings and powerful sculptures were made. The formula for making puppet-like people made out of essences and mana began to become commonplace, as each House of Note seemed to have the ‘correct’ recipe for making man. All in all, a Renaissance was blooming under the shade of Unification. For centuries, new art and art-styles were being made, leading to a renaissance like none other this world had ever seen.
Through this Renaissance, Houses of Note formed from sections of the Body that were having a hard time distinguishing themselves from one another and advances in the understanding of transmutation leaped forward. The military, though not nearly used as much as it formerly was, found ways to use these breakthroughs for the field of battle, creating a new wave of transmuters as well as battalions of toy soldiers. The Renaissance ended peacefully like an old man passing away in his sleep, giving rise to a stronger caste system full of contentment and healthy competition. Long gone were the days of the warring city states and the Pale Ones simply wished to continue their idyllic life in the glacier.
The peace and prosperity garnered, however, was fated to come to an end, it seems. After lifetimes of research passed down between the High Lord Shapers, the 153rd High Lord Shaper Eoulan Montsimmard believed he had finally found a way to transmute a passageway between the world that they inhabited to the mystical energy plane of existence that the Pale Ones believed that all life had originated from. Using the city of Basville’s more than eager population and weeks of preparation, Eoulan prepared to open this passageway. Fueling the massive ritual spell with energy being gathered by the city’s residents, Eoulan carefully began to meld the very fabric of their world over the course of a day. Something -no one knows for sure what exactly- went wrong with this ritual. Though he technically succeeded, it was not in the way that the High Lord Shaper intended. Instead of opening the passageway where he intended, the energies from this realm surged into his body, bolstering him to a level of power that those of the South would surely consider godhood. The incoming energy did not stop, even as the High Lord Shaper broke the murmured chanting with his screams. And just as suddenly as it started, it had stopped. The energy that filled the High Lord Shaper dispersed, doing the same to his body, effectively erasing him from existence. It would have been a godsend to the Pale Ones if the historical account ended there. Unfortunately, it did not. With an entire civilization knowing of a High Lord Shaper that no longer existed and believing that he did exist, Eoulan burst back into reality, much in the same fashion as what the South calls Abominations are formed. The depths of power and pain that the High Lord Shaper felt on top of the dreadful and empty feeling of not existing for a time was too much for the man’s mind to comprehend, driving the newly imagined man insane. With his resurgence back into the world, the spell went even further awry as the insane High Lord Shaper shrieked and thrashed about with power he could not comprehend. The spell backlashed onto the surrounding area before being carried further along by the resonance of the glacial home of the Pale Ones and Eoulan’s pain filled ravings. In under an hour, the entire continent sized glacier was feeling the first tremors of the crisis. With the tremors finally reaching the edges of the glacier, the ice shattered. Millions of fragments rained down to the same level as Basville. Many Pale Ones died, but those left were left without a home. It took the better part of a decade for the wreckage to be dug through and resources for survival to be found. The Pale Ones were now a people without a nation. It took time for the Oligarchy to formally assemble, but the first thing on the docket was to move Eoulan and his entire family and house from the Soul to the Foot and banishing the former High Lord Shaper from any current or future lands that the Pale Ones would own.
Post Crisis - The Rise of Cain Belmont
The castes soon devolved to bickering among each other. While they all agreed that they needed to move back to the South, none could agree with what to do at their destination. And so, one prominent member of the Belmont family, Cain Belmont, devised a cunning plan amidst the chaos: his most trusted transmuters from other allied families gathered, and replicated Eoulan’s ritual as best as they could. The resulting backlash of the spell brought about the destruction of the majority of the residing Oligarchy. All the while, Cain garnered support from other desperate families, all of which vied for power and influence. In less than one year, Cain Belmont, now appointed King of the Glace’omme, held unparalleled influence both within the ambitious Houses and the public at large. His vision and pursuit of a better home for his people spurred most of the Houses of Note into agreeing to the invasion. The unusual circumstances led to some Houses allying themselves with members of the Foot, and 8 years after the Crisis, the Pale Ones departed from their Glacier home, and back toward the main continent.
Culture and Politics
To understand the culture of the Pale Ones, one must first familiarize themselves with the culture that they had built up over the generations. With the revitalization brought along by the First High Lord Shaper, Jean Baptiste, the Pale Ones were ‘unified’ under a system of castes, with the castes made signature by famous and infamous Houses of Note. Through the caste system, everyone was given a place in society. The amount of beggars in city states plummeted to the point they disappeared, production and fame of each city state became renowned in the north, and, unfortunately, competition settled into the hearts and minds of every citizen to an extreme.
The caste system that the Pale Ones have established is represented by a humanoid body. There is the Soul, who are made of the priests and the scholars. There is the Heart, made of the fierce warriors and skilled transmuters of the proud race. Then, the Mind holds fast at the middle point of the system, filled with the teachers and the merchants who keep focused on allowing the civilization to flourish. Next, is the Body, the masses who work to feed and clothe their brethren and ensure the physical well being of one another. Finally, the Feet is the lowest rank among the caste system, filled with those who have given up their rights as Pale Ones or have never had them in the first place.
The Soul Caste’s primary goal is to advance their society and ensure the spiritual well being of the populace. While the priests are nearly always consumed by prayer, counselling, and the like, the scholars are diligently at work finding new and better ways to modify and improve the magic that the Pale Ones created themselves before they were even truly called Pale Ones.
The Heart Caste is one of the castes that outsiders have the most contact with. Those who politically govern the people, those who defend their borders from threats, and those who use Transmutation to build the homes and the defenses that others live in all fall into this caste. It is important to note that, though the political rulers inhabit this caste, the Heart is not the governing body of the Pale Ones. Also important, the craftsman in this caste are exclusively Transmuters, using the prowess they have to hold their rank as well as carry out their jobs.
The Mind Caste nurtures the mind of the people. Educated from an early age, teachers strive to help young ones learn the basics before sending them off to specialists to learn the skill of their caste. On the other hand, the merchants of the Mind work to keep the economy stable and affordable, while also working in conjunction with the Heart to trade with foreigners.
The Body Caste is the most diverse of all the castes. As the Caste system is to ensure that everyone has a purpose in life, the Body Caste specifically hosts those who did not find themselves placed in another. Bakers, fishermen, tailors, shoemakers, hunters, non-magical laborers, anyone without a higher purpose can be found here.
Finally, the Foot Caste is those who are unwanted. Criminals, taboo breakers, initiates into the way of Pale Ones living and/or culture can be found here. They are usually treated poorly, though, depending on what circumstance brought them to this level, their children or grandchildren could be formally inducted into a more… respectable class. However, there are some who, even in death, would never have their name or bloodline escape this ranking due to their deeds in the past.
With a brief explanation of how the Caste system works done, it would be fitting to mention the Houses of Note that exist in every Caste. A House of Note is a family or bonded group of families that share a common name and profession within the caste. Similar to brands, these names carry weight. If one would prefer -or can afford- the better services of the Caste, then they would go to whichever House has done well in recent quarters. A blot on the family name can easily last an entire generation, threatening the House to crumble or at least fall into disrepair. In the same vein, if for generations, a blot has not found it’s way onto your House’s name, then a bad quarter would be cushioned or even negated by your House’s prestige. Though this is can be a bit confusing to those not familiar, to put simply, a caste is who a person is within Pale One society, while Houses of Note are akin to corporations, and thus highly competitive.
The Pale Ones are operated internally by an Oligarchy. Though the Heart Caste is the political ruler of the Pale Ones this Oligarchy is the true decision maker. Each Caste has one leader and these leaders meet four times a year to discuss and decide on matters at hand. From the Soul Caste, either the Annointed Archbishop or the High Lord Shaper is decreed as the head of the Soul Caste. From the Heart Caste, it is slightly more clear. Though originally it was chosen from the King or the Grand Foreman, almost since the inception of the Caste system, the vote has unanimously gone to the King. From the Mind, the Dead and the Treasurer are the two options to sit for the Mind at the meetings. From the Body, the people are free to choose a representative from their own ranks to represent both themselves, as well as the Foot Caste. As a special inclusionary policy put into place, foreigners looking to be inducted into Pale Ones society may elect a representative for themselves as well. Once elected into this position, one may only be removed after 20 years, death, or a majority vote from within their own Caste.
Returning to something that was previously mentioned, the appearance of a Pale One varies depending on their caste and social status. Normally, members of the Body and Foot are have completely shaven heads, though depending on the origin of the person in the Foot -whether it be someone who has fall from a higher caste or simply an outsider- could potentially have a head of hair. Once one looks into the Mind, things begin to get divided. Teachers of the Mind are almost always bald, but the Merchants of the Mind do grow hair, depending on the status of the person or the reputation of the House of Note they represent. Carrying on to the Heart, soldiers traditionally volunteer to keep their head shaved until they are high ranking officers, as a show of solidarity with their comrades as well as a mark of experience. On the other hand, the non-combative transmuters that consists of the rest of the Heart prefer to stay with a full head of hair for efficiency while transmuting. Who wouldn’t want to pull out a single hair and create a dozen nails? Finally, among the Soul, cleanly shaven heads are a sign of an apprentice or apostle, one not full inducted or trained in the orders present within the Soul. Thus, most, if not all, of the Soul possesses hair once they begin their tasks alone.
An important thing to note has to do with the eye color of newborn Pale Ones. Though less common in other races, Pale Ones have a higher chance to be born with heterochromia. The chance overall is still low, but it is enough for a custom to be established. If a newborn is born with heterochromia, they are immediately placed on the track to become a member of the Soul regardless of their family’s caste. This is done on the basis of a simple belief. Said belief states that those with two different colored eyes have a chance of peering through the veil into the other plane of existence, a highly sought after goal of the people. This goal is placed so highly that simply the chance to do so once old enough to understand what you were seeing is enough to warrant this leap.
The Pale Ones believe that all beings came from a different plane of existence, one made of pure energy. The reason that transmutation is achievable is because the circles used in the casting tap into the latent and ancestral power that came from the realm of energy. The Pale Ones believe that, if it were ever possible, the realm of energy would engulf our own realm and return to the perfect balance it formerly had prior to some unknown schism.