Monday, August 20, 2007

Ethnic groups

There are four distinct ethnic groups living in Takshendal. The 'City born', the 'Country folk', the 'Southerners' and the 'Marshlanders'.

The 'City born' are a small insular group who make up the majority of the city's elite. They tend to be tall, muscular and long lived. They generally have grey or green eyes, pale sandy skin and dark hair. Some few have fair hair and a tendency towards freckles. They tend to identify with each other more than most other ethnic groups and regard the city as their own. It is widely understood that these were the first people to settle at Takshendal, though the name of the city does not have any bearing to City Born names. Takshendal means 'Tak's house by the bridge' and Tak is not a common name in the city at all.

The 'Country folk' is a term used in Takshendal to describe all the people who live to the north of the mountains and in the general area around the city. As such it is a very general description since these people have very little common culture and are not disimilar in appearance from the people to the south of the mountains. They are generally short and dark though there are naturally many variations between families. Many citizens of Takshendal also belong to this nebulous group though it is doubtful whether they recognize themselves as anything but citizens of Takshendal.

To be a citizen of the city is a jealously cherished identity and usually supercedes any internal or ethnic divisions when confronted with non citizens. The exception to this rule lies with the nobles who are insular in the extreme and do not consider themselves subject to any loyalties beyond the Grand Duke. All the nobility belong to the City born even those who do not live in Takshendal but in various satelite estates.

Physically, the Southerners resemble the Country folk and at first glance it is impossible to tell them apart. Only in dress and mannerisms do the differences become aparent. Southerners tend to be more tempestuous, passionate and flamboyant in their dress sense but only those who are newly arrived in the city and have yet to adopt local ways.

The Marshlanders are the only group in the city who really stand out. They have pale skin, blonde or bronze hair and many freckles. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes but have a tendency to be stocky in build, especially in their later years. They generally have broad faces and blue, green or grey eyes. Marshlanders originate from the swamp lands to the north of the city, but most of those living in Takshendal have done so for generations.

Naturally, the various groups have interbred over the years and the result is a city with no clear ethnic majority and very little inter ethnic conflicts. There are some youth gangs formed on ethnic identity who roam some of the more run down parts of the city but these are easily out numbered by the gangs formed along street boundries. The common citizenry of Takshendal is far more concerned with the divisions between poverty and wealth than with ethnic identity.

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