Aderyn's Cradle is the land where the story of Aderyn's Cradle unfolds. It the god Aderyn's domain.
Aderian Society before the Soulfire Crisis
Aderian society consisted of four domains, each managed by a different guild. These guilds acted as administrators and law enforcement over their juristicted domains. The four guilds had internal hierarchies, each with a different guildmaster at the top. Guildmasters were appointed by the Aderian people in each domain.
For each region, there existed 5 guilds total: One for each force. Each guild is defined by crafting and arts with that force as the/a primary source of either energy or materials. Life crafting encompasses all healing, agricultural practices and woodwork/leatherwork/other raw materials originating from living creatures. Fire crafting encompasses not only flame itself, but other (non-light based) heat sources such as lava. Fluid crafting has broad applications and is often hybridized; encompasses alchemy, plumbing/bathing, and hydraulic/wind energy. Light crafting encompasses not only contained light sources (like lanterns), but also in harnessing energy from the Sun, or manipulating other forms of bioluminesence/light sources that are special to Anora (not found in our world). Earth/Stone crafting mainly involves raw materials for construction, tools, or artifacts. There are also hybrid crafts; for example, blacksmithing involves both Earth/Stone crafting (raw materials), and Fire crafting (transformative energy source).
Each land sends 1 guildmaster (from any of the main five guilds: Fluid, Fire, Life, Light or Stone) to represent their people. Only a Guildmaster can represent the people. At the Alltide, the Guildmasters no longer represent their individual guilds (aka, their individual fields of crafting). They only come to represent the people of their region. To refresh, there are a total of four regions: Bayou, Quarry, Iceland, and Desert. Therefore, at each Alltide, there are four Guildmasters and one Oracle.
The Alltide was an annual meetup, the place in which major administrative decisions across all of the Aderian lands were made. Emergency Alltides were called in response to disasters too great for the impacted region(s) to handle on their own, or requiring allied assistance. This would include defensive warfare, and accommodating displaced people across borders. However, regions also acted independently with their own resources prior to this meeting. The panel voted on major decisions democratically, with the four guildmasters (representing their own domain's citizenry), and the oracle acting as the voice of Aderyn (representing objective wisdom).
The oracle was a human who acted as ambassador between humanity and the gods for the Aderian people. Oracles serve until their death, and as reward, directly prior to their death, Aderyn releases them from service and guides them in one final, superior craft, which immortalizes the oracles through their work. Each new oracle is a craftsman that embodies the traits of Aderyn most- free will, creativity, and craft. Upon the death of an oracle, Aderyn speaks to a new craftsman, and guides them (implicitly or explicitly) to creating a great creation within their chosen craft. This crafted item acts as proof of their worthiness.
The oracle wore a sacred textile, said to be spun by the hand of god itself (Aderyn). This textile is the holy cloth the player uses to upgrade. The cloth acts as a medium by which the energies of the trinity (god/man/nature) can be focused together in unison (kind of like a lens). During the Soulfire Crisis, the last Aderian oracle escaped Aderyn's cradle in hopes of keeping a link between Aderyn's cradle and the rest of Ostia’s lands.
Aderyn’s people value the ability to build. With building comes both control over oneself and ultimately, control over nature. In their accounts of natural history, Aderians believe that the ability to craft is what first led humans away from primitivity. By countering and wielding environmental forces with ingenuity, they say, humans were able to cheat death, live longer, and prosper.
Although there is no status change associated with building relationships, Aderians value them highly. There are many creative pieces (folklore, theater shows, and poetry) attempting to distill the essence of love and relationships, as emotions possess something of mysticism and magic to Aderians. Creating a beautiful relationship would earn you no status change, but it would earn you admiration from peers, like a personal masterpiece craft.
Aderyn is fed by the human drive to create new things. Thus, this drive is amplified among his followers.
Aderyn is said to prize individualism above all else. Elders of his faith teach that it is from one’s relationship with oneself that inspiration for new crafting springs. His cosmic role is inspiration. Aderyn is born of Light energy. Aderians, thus, conceive of their god using the imagery of light. Followers of Aderyn claim to sense his influence via inspirational flashes, which spur new innovations. He is also said to be present in the consistent, spiritual glow that fills one with the lifelong drive to craft and build. Like a light permeates the void of empty space, so do inspiration and drive overcome the cardinal sins of idleness and apathy.
In order to properly foster individualism, Aderians pride themselves on the value of free will, and the ability to follow whichever path one chooses through life. All in all, this keeps Aderians quite satisfied with their daily lives, able to go about them as they choose in peace. However, free will itself is a very chaotic force, because it naturally introduces a measure of disorder to the social environment. Acting in individual interests increases diversity and free variation to society, which is often a source of strife.
Furthermore, their free-will based society, in the times leading up to the Soulfire Crisis, began to value profiteering over both ecological and social balance. An example of this imbalance exists in the illegal, underground slave trade which emerges alongside increased industrialization in the Quarry. Here, individual Aderians are seen to prioritize craft and building above human rights and social justice, undermining Aderyn’s individualistic values in the name of increased production and individual profits.
Aderyn allowed his people to worship whichever of the Five they chose, or to create their own faiths. Aderians also enjoyed more freedom of movement than the people of other lands, there were no restrictions placed by Aderyn or the society as a whole on where they went. The only thing required of a person to truly be a part of Aderian was that they spend their life crafting and creating. The key parts of Aderyn’s teaching all revolve around acts of creation and ingenuity, and any lifestyle that fostered that was welcome. While complex rituals to worship Aderyn existed, they were not considered necessary.
All of this combined to make Aderians some of the most widely traveled people in the world and Aderyn’s Cradle the site of mass emigration. People from all across Anora made their way to live in the permissive and prosperous society that had emerged under Aderyn’s guidance. Many of them brought aspects of their cultures from their original homes with them, creating an ever widening array of styles and thoughts on many topics. Soulfires, the main sites of worshiping Aderyn, and his open hand sigil became common sites in lands belonging to other gods. On the eve of the Soulfire Crisis nowhere was as grand, diverse, or powerful than Aderyn’s Cradle.
Aderians were taught by their religious leaders to consider love a difficult to master artform. As a highly individualistic people, Aderians were slow to form relationships and were called cold and callous by some, although rumors about Aderian “love making” secrets were also quite common. Marriage was viewed as just one of many forms love could take and it was expected that a young Aderian person would spend much of their youth trying different romantic arrangements with different people, although usually only forming deep bonds with a few life-long friends. Long term and stable marriages were actually relatively rare in Aderyn’s Cradle, with most households consisting mainly of one parent and their children along with current friends and romantic partners. Those who managed to stay married for long periods of time were regarded with some degree of suspicion, envy, and a grudging respect.
Aderians rarely prioritize the land’s survival, being blinded by lust for its resources and resentment at the roadblocks to production it creates. As a whole, Aderyn’s people are not well connected with the patterns of the land on a spiritual level, and only decently well on an intellectual level. This makes them very prone to creating ecological imbalance on accident, or failing to sense the oncoming of natural disasters before it is too late. This is because most of the Aderian population is concentrated in cities or towns, which nurture crafting, production, and the exchange of ideas in their midst. Few people actually live on, or close to, the land; farmers are few, and much food is imported from abroad.
However, individual Aderians take joy in spending time in nature. They enjoy exploring and admiring the natural world in leisure time, because they frequently find inspiration from nature for their crafts and inventions, or personal revelations from the time spent outside of society. These two purposes fall perfectly in line with their two highest values: crafting and individualism. The land is also seen as an important asset; from land springs raw materials for craft, useful organisms, and inspiring beauty.
In response to environmental imbalances, Aderians turn time and again to their proficiency in craft for a solution. They put extraordinary engineering prowess and ingenuity on display to respond to these phenomena. Their responses yield adequate solutions for a generation or two. However, in the long run, they risk falling victim to pattern of treating the environment and its behaviors as symptomatic. Their solutions will then create undesired “side-effects”; greater imbalances in the ecosystem as a whole, the effects of which may be immediate, or delayed. Evidence of their existence is only revealed when twisted creatures, disease, or harsh land conditions begin to thrive in the affected areas. If great enough in scale, their effects spread abroad to other sectors of the environment.
Death & Mortality
Mortality, on an individual basis, is a highly uncomfortable subject for Aderians. While they acknowledge the inevitability of death, their values system, which exalts the act of craft and human control over the environment, is literally built upon staving it off as long as possible. A successful life is also a long one, or an exceptionally productive short one. In folklore, a recurring tragic archetype is that of a terminally ill child, or a craftsman slain before a masterpiece is seen through to completion.
As a result, funerals are a very grandiose affair. All of the individual’s personal accomplishments, great and small, are put on showcase. If the person was a failure of a craftsman, their relationships, wisdom, etc. instead will be commemorated. At no point in the mourning process are the individual’s failures acknowledged by either surviving relatives, or the community. To do so in any context is considered deeply rude (on the level of slander). The beauty of this approach to commemoration is that inadvertently, their portrayals of humanity become balanced. If they didn’t adopt this norm, death and loss would be very hard to overcome.
War cannot come without human casualties. The idea of war, therefore, is inherently sickening to Aderians. Any routine fighting is conducted in a way that puts human risks, whether to life or limb, at an absolute minimum. No other routes are socially acceptable. This quality is what’s kept them from attempting to take over more of the world’s resources, as to do so would require blood sacrifice from Aderian citizens.
When methods are designed to enable warfare with no Aderian casualty, views are easily reversed on the subject. The tragic nature of death doesn’t exist without the sense of something to lose; a masterpiece craft that never gets made, or a child never able to taste the joy of building. When the masses are taught to think of their enemies as “less productive”, or even “lazy”, it becomes easy indeed for Aderians to commit acts of violence and warfare against them. This becomes even more true when there are clear gains, like raw materials or increased production, at hand.
It is said by Aderian elders that children know not how to be idle. Every moment, every milestone of their growth and development is itself a form of building. Children’s development represents the most important building of all: the building of oneself. If proper freedom is not given to children at young ages, space in which to explore and better understand themselves, then they will suffer the curses of aimlessness and idleness in adulthood. Aderyn’s light shines brightest from within. Aderyn’s wisdom tells the masses that the most promising path is the one the individual chooses for him/herself.
Therefore, it is within ourselves that we must search to find the light that will guide us down our sacred, individual paths. Ever since Aderyn lit the soulfires, all babies are believed to be born with inner light, which must be discovered and expressed by the individual over the course of their life. Everything in adulthood should be actions to achieve the goals of adolescence. These goals, ideally, reflect the inspirations of childhood, refined over time with maturity and experience.
A sacred figure in society is that of the creative child. Children, particularly between the ages of three and six, are extremely imaginative to the point of being fantastical. This is a special developmental period to Aderians. Children are encouraged to pursue artistic apprentissage at very early ages if they display particular creative abilities. Parents who fail to allow their children such freedom of experience yield less individualistic, confident, and ambitious children.
“Individuals choose which forks in the road they come to, but they may need guidance on which path to choose.”
Mentors are, alongside parents, the most important adults in a child’s life. The more talent the child demonstrates, the more individualized their mentoring experience will be. The most promising adolescents are awarded individual mentors who are experts in the path they seek to follow. Less promising craftsmen share mentors with a group of trainees or apprentices. The best mentors in Aderyn’s society are those who have retired from their working positions to pursue personal craft and mentorship in their older age. Many positions have a mentorship training and mentorship field experience requirement in the last years before retirement age (50). There is not a mentor for every child, but they come very close to achieving this ideal as long as the population is in balance (people generally live long and prosper).
Mentors transcend the role of mere trainers or coaches. They are guides for decision-making, and shape the approach, mindset, and priorities in craft that their mentorees adopt and adapt towards their own goals. The mentor is generally expected to not provide too much direction to indecisive mentorees, instead teaching them spiritual practices, such as meditation, to help them become more attuned with their own desires and drives for craft. If a particular mentoree experiences difficulty with decisiveness, a Consultant may be used in collaboration with their Mentor to get them back on the right track.
It is in the child’s (or group of children’s) best interest to heed their mentor’s instruction well, as the mentor is not required to stick with the child(/group) if they cease to demonstrate talent. With every mentor a child cycles through (or group they are asked to leave), they are less likely to be picked up by another one. A Mentorship Guild exists to oversee mentor/mentoree pairings and groupings of mentorees. There are no “career mentors”, as there is no pay associated with mentoring; it is simply an accepted part of retirement in every crafting career. If an individual chooses to take up mentorship before they retire from their careers, the duty will not be imposed upon retirement. Not all adolescents have mentors; the most prestigious accomplishment for an adolescent is to transcend their childhood mentor and obtain a direct apprenticeship with a currently-serving Master in a guild. This is done to facilitate their induction into the guild directly after their training is complete, acting as a career fast-track for the highest achievers.
Mentors are encouraged to turn a cold shoulder toward students who are defiant and make themselves difficult to guide. However, all adolescent rebellion should be taken as a cue for the mentor to reconsider how they are performing their role, as adolescent rebellion is “the flame that catches from Aderyn’s inner light being oppressed”. This dynamic places strain on the mentoring relationship and inhibits the student’s progress as well as the mentor’s ability to guide. Under such circumstances, mentors may take a sabbatical from their mentoring post long enough to pour energy back into their own crafts and goals, and reflect upon the delicate balance of instilling discipline without quashing individuality.