- Those who are apprenticed properly are given Prenticenames, the name of their master as a possessive before their own. “Jhory’s Immis” for Immis, apprenticed to Jhory. These names are best-regarded in their culture, being kept even after the end of their apprenticeship to show where they come from to others.
- Everyone else simply use single names, with a last name that describes their current or last non-wright vocation, with an implied “the” between these names: Nykk Trapper, for a hunter, for instance.
- Wrightfolk are native to the lands of Ilbarych, and clearly related to the Wealdfolk.
- They are averse to the forests of the land, and regard them as useful resources and nothing more. They have a degree of superstitious dread to them.
- Long ago, they came to dwell in the hilly lands in the northeast of the Isle, eventually discovering the iron ore in those places.
- The Ilbarych Crowns generally considered the wrightfolk (and wealdfolk) to be nuisances that stood in the way of progress. Wrightfolk were basically indentured (the concept of land-bounded originated with how they were treated during the Ilbarych Crowndoms).
- In contrast, the Ceolfreys figured out that wrightfolk treated as full citizens and allied with would strengthen the Crowndom. It was a Ceolfrey Crown who originated the Guilds (which were originally for the wrightfolk, as a way of giving them financial and political power without actually folding them into the nobility).
- Thickly built, but rarely above six feet in height
- Hair is a range of blonde to brown to black, most often worn short
- Eyes range from green to brown in color
- Skin is the same range of browns as wealdfolk, from a light tan hue to deep black, with most falling into a warm brown-gold complexion
- Garments are sturdily made, meant to protect the wearer from extensive hands-on work and manual labor; masters of their crafts are entitled to the wearing of a distinctive style of great coat, and ‘prentices wear a culturally distinctive apron as a mark of their status
- The wrightfolk consider those arts by which one creates something by hand to be the worthiest of human undertaking, so much so that their whole culture is led by craftsmen.
- The master-apprentice relationship is seen as the perfection of the parent-child relationship, save where the latter is about the growth of the body, the former is about the growth of the mind and spirit. The master-apprentice relationship is given greater importance among wrightfolk.
- Wrightfolk are the finest workers of iron and steel, and by extension of other metals as well.
- They are also adept workers in wood, considering it a useful resource but refusing to invest it with honor or virtue as a refutation of all things wealdfolkish. They consider stone to be best used in building and filling barrows.
- The plow is considered one of the great innovations of the wrightfolk, along with the taming of horses, symbolized by the rings through noses to control them.
- For this reason, many wrightfolk practice piercing of the body, particularly the ears and septum, in order to wear the signs of civilization in their bodies.
- “The hammer and the ring” are the symbols of civilization among the wealdfolk, and why their forgehold gates are overarched by a hammer-and-ring (usually a smithing hammer with a horn-ring driven through its haft).
- Forgeholts: The communities of the wrightfolk – from before the days of the Crowndom – were circular, with buildings built of stone and wood.
- In the center stood a smelter and at least one forge, where the community smiths worked.
- The "garden" around this was planted with spiraling rows of hloef, a native plant.
- Beyond the garden stood the various houses of the holt. The basic structure was a one- or two-room building, sufficient for a couple or small family, and it was common to join together such structures by small "hallways" of wood with stone cobbles to form structures for larger families.
- At the edges of the holt stood barrow-hills, the hills that contained generations of the wrightfolk dead. Wrightfolk barrows are wide circular constructions, with remains interred next to one another until all the space in a barrow-boundary is filled, and then stone and earth are added on top of them to form a new layer upon which the dead might be placed. This piled up these hills over generations. By tradition, forgeholts could not grow larger than the boundaries of the barrow-hills around it.
- Forgeholts were readily defended, and provided the only real resistance to the settling of the Imperial diaspora before the formation of the Crowndom.
- Today, the only forgeholts permitted to be constructed are mining camps used for extracting iron ore from the hills, and even these are required to be under the oversight of a noble House.
- Forgeholds: Within larger Crowndom cities and towns, wrightfolk often form forgeholds, small cultural enclaves for themselves. Slightly less than half of all living wrightfolk live in a forgehold.
- A forgehold is at least three buildings, all clustered around a shared courtyard.
- A forge is always built in this courtyard, a shared crafting and social space for the wrightfolk who live in the hold, as well as others they may invite.
- Each forgehold has an acknowledged elder, always a master smith, who acts as community organizer and representative to local authorities.
- These are more than simply homes – they act as schools, community centers, religious gathering spots, and a place where wrightfolk can be protected.
- Forgehold can grow to encompass entire city blocks, with all of the buildings in the possession of wrightfolk, and a shared central courtyard in their midst.
- Large cities such as Crownhold may even have multiple forgeholds, each with their own elders.
- Independent Living: Slightly more than half of all wrightfolk live independently of holds, usually because there are no forgeholds near them, or because there is no room in the forgeholds that exist.
- A plant native to the lands of Ilbarych, and a primary food source for wrightfolk communities, alongside goat meat and milk.
- Hloef grows quickly and well in these lands, requiring almost no care once planted. This makes them perfect to work with wrightfolk culture, which has little time for agriculture.
- The plant is also capable of growing near the smoke and heat of forges, and can even be watered with the astringent waters of forge quench-barrels, conditions that kill or taint other food plants.
- The bitter but nourishing greens grew up to five feet in height, with multiple harvests during a growing season. The greens were often cut and added to stews, but the starchy root was the main source of nourishment.
- About the size of a loaf of bread, hloef roots are inedible right from the ground, though wrightfolk will coat them in a layer of clay and set them into the cooling coals of a forge at day's end.
- By the next morning, the starchy root had been broken down by the heat of the embers. After the dried clay layer was cracked apart, the root could then be cut up and cooked in stews, baked in ovens, or even dried and turned into a flour used to make breads.
- Imperial tongues have always found hloef to be nigh-inpalatable, and as they brought other food plants with them, even wrightfolk adopted them over hloef. Today, it is considered the ultimate in poverty foods.
- The wrightfolk do not revere any gods or non-human entities.
- Instead, their ancient traditions of master-and-apprentice, considered the holiest of human relationships, extends even into their worship, with reverence toward ancestral figures called only “the Old Masters.”
- The wrightfolk inter their dead in barrows, digging deep pits and laying down layer after layer of the dead, filling them over with intervening layers of rock and soil.
- These barrows have wooden-spined leather domes over them while they are still being filled, but the entire domed structure is eventually filled in with remains, dirt, and rock, until they form barrow-hills in great circles around settlements (which are, by tradition, not permitted to grow beyond the barrows).
The Forgewise Arts
The magical discipline of the wrightfolk is known to exist, although they do not share its secrets with anyone outside of their forgeholds – not even their kin who settle outside of forgehold life. The masters of these arts do make their services available to outsiders, however, often at a precious price.
- Stielwiteg: The best-known of the forge-wise are the steel-wise smiths who alone bear the secrets of making the steel that built the Empire of old, and which still is the underpinning in the Crowndom. Though they are capable of crafting all manner of cunning works from steel, the most treasured by the Crown and its nobility are the arms and armors they create.
- Isénwiteg: The iron-wise are thought to be most ancient of the forge-wise, their arts whispered to them by the Old Masters. Though the barrow-iron of today is most often wrought into steel, it was the ancient iron armaments of old that protected the wrightfolk from the bloodthirsty weald-spirits, and iron weapons created by the iron-wise are said to protect against wicked spirits and uncanny entities.
- Gyoldwiteg: The gold-wise adepts of the wrightfolk know the secrets of working gold, weaving enchantments of leadership and bravery, sunlight and fire into them. Though they do not make either weapons or armor, they do inlay such crafted works with magical patterns, and the jewelry and regalia that they craft from gold are all numinous with magic.
- Seolwiteg: The silver-wise are workers in silver, their enchantments based around illusion and madness, moonlight and wintery cold. Like the gyoldwiteg, they do make inlays into armors and weapons, but they also occasionally craft weapons of silver which are said to do grievous wounds to those who use magic. The jewelry and regalia of the silver-wise are said to weave glamours and enchantments on wearers and those they encounter.
- Cyprenwiteg: The copper-wise practice strange crafts, magics that affect the blood of folk. The ancient forge-wise saw that bolts of lightning in the sky looked like branching veins in the sky, and discovered that copper drew the touch of lightning. Likewise, they found that pain was like lightning in the body, and learned to inflict or diminish it with their copper implements. Though their blades are not so keen as those of the steel-wise, they do cause a pain like fire in the blood of those they injure. Surgeon's tools crafted by the copper-wise also heal quickly and quell the pain of injuries, the purity of the metal helping to soothe agonies and prevent infections.
Other Wrightfolk Wisdoms
- Hlæwiteg: The barrows-wise are speakers with the Old Masters, carrying secrets and messages from the barrows to the living. Their arts are the arts of mediumship, of being possessed by the Old Masters, and of calling upon the barrow-shades who protect the barrows from despoiling. They are also the iron-dowsers, who know how to identify barrows rich in barrows-iron and lead teams who dig it up without risking the curses of the Old Masters.
- Eohwiteg: Those who know the spirits of horses, and by whose arts the wild herds of the land were tamed. They are said to speak a language that all horses innately comprehend, and to be able to calm or spook them by will alone. They are incredible fighters from horseback, and their magical arts can heal terrible equine wounds.
- Mónwiteg: The justly-feared moon-wise witches commune with animal spirits beneath the deeps of the moon. Each phase of the moon has an entire cohort of beasts who owe fealty to that phase, and they call upon those spirits and bind them into physical bodies, fixed with ointments and blade-wrought signs to turn those bodies into spirit-traps. In this way, they give spirits bodies (by putting them into proper animal bodies) to create their familiars, and they turn men into were-beasts by trapping animal spirits within them, using the human soul as a kennel from which the spirit escapes during the proper phase of its moon by asserting itself into that person’s flesh. The moon-wise also frequently know many of the secrets herb-wise secrets of the wealdfolk.