The Adelian continent is the center of the world often discussed herein, but there are other places and cultures to explore as well. The Western Sea is home to many lands and people. Like the Adelian continent, most share a somewhat similar cultural milieu. The Vikerur are a seafaring culture that spread throughout the Western sea, and are sometimes known as the “Vikerur Diaspora” by continental peoples. They are the indigenous inhabitants of the Western sea, and though they mirror the Adelian milieu in many ways, they are also different in others. In this article we’ll look at culture of the Vikerur diaspora throughout the major territories of the Western Sea and compare them to the continental diaspora of Adel.
Like the Adelians, the Vikerur have a rather violent history. As the Aptoa culture on Adel began to conquer the entire continent, a mostly unknown cultural group from the northlands spread throughout the Western Sea. They had lived much of their lives in brutal winters, and on mountainous terrain with poor agriculture. To survive, their culture expanded through the sea, the Embracing Waters that would take them to the promised lands. These ancient people came to blows with other ancient cultures all throughout the Western Sea, numerous Tribes establishing themselves throughout the lands soon to be called Oerst, Ghedania and Cressia. Eventually the warfare petered out and these groups assimilated or cooperated with each other. The resulting cultural group would come to be known as the Vikerur, the broad mix of peoples from all over the Western Sea who both violently and peacefully exchanged culture and came to settle the lands of the Western Sea. Vikerur is a duality – it comes from their own word for “travel” and it comes from an Adelian word for “West” (as in Western Sea). To the Adelians, they are the travelers from the Western Sea. To their own people, they are the most ancient of travelers.
The Vikerur are a curious culture by necessity, exploring and spreading faster through the Western sea than the Adelians through the continent. The oldest Vikerur nation is Oerst, in the Northwestern portion of Adel. Cressia and Ghedania host these people as well. The ancient Vikerur existed far and wide in the western sea, and though they have established many tribes, nations and cultures, they all stem from that familiar root. As such they are known as the Vikerur diaspora, much like the continental people who spread throughout the supercontinent of Adel are a diasporic group.
Vikerur, like Adelians, live in farming villages. While most Adelian villagers live in tents raised within the wilderness (though this varies between cultures), the Vikerur peoples preferred to live out in the open, and did so in huts, made of stone or logs or clay with thatched roofs. Vikerur villages have tighter bonds than Adelian villages do. While Adelian villages may send messages to one another, trade with each other, or ask each other for aid, Vikerur villages have ancient, and recognized pseudo-familial compacts. They are organized into groups of villages that help one another, rather than being single villages that may sometimes cooperate. Vikerur had democracy before Andaliel ever rose – each person in their tribes has a unique voice to lend to anything from criminal trials to war councils. Oerst is the only truly successful overarching Vikerur kingdom – in Ghedania and Cressia, the people don’t swear their fealty easily to any regional power. This is unlike the Adelians whose villages, while each an independent microcosm of local power, respect their allegiance to one of the Five Nations.
Culturally the Vikerur are similar to the Adelians. Vikerur are polytheistic, but they revere natural powers primarily – while the Adelians might often pray to concepts, such as community, or love, the Vikerur almost always revere creatures and folkloric or ancestral heroes and characters instead. The pray to the same Greater Spirits as the Adelians do, but know them by different names. While Adelians might pray that Koyki, greater spirit of warfare and slaughter, keep its eyes away from their village, the Vikerur pray for the cunning to avoid the Bloody Shark, a deity that in essence is Koyki. The greater spirit of cooperation and love, Arclinne, is known to the Vikerur as the Embracing Waters, which connect all Vikerur by giving them routes through river and sea by which they can sail to meet their many sibling cultures. Vikerur believe in actions and deeds above all, and are more likely to wish for the power to do something, than for it to be done for them.
Silent prayers are unimportant to Vikerur religion. Adelians believe they worship the spirits through rituals embedded in their daily living, consistent prayers and contemplation in addition to festivals, shrines and overt reverences. The Vikerur instead emphasize elaborate rituals and festivals, often punctuated with the sacrifice of goods to a massive bonfire. They build few shrines, and they rarely pray. To them, it takes a bonfire, a song and a sacrifice to revere the Spirits. The Vikerur grew in harsh lands where they were beset by natural powers, and to them, the flames are deliverance given to them by the Spirits themselves. Anything cast to flame will find its way to the Spirits that protect the Vikerur. Vikerur craft ritual items and amulets that are burnt to send messages to the Spirits. Any ritual item must be marked with its maker’s blood as a sacrifice to be legitimate – so Vikerur often have scars from where blood was drawn to consecrate a sacrificial artifact.
The Vikerur don’t divide labors or restrict freedoms or sexuality. Like the Adelians, they don’t conceive of dividing people by things set at birth. They who place more emphasis on deeds and words. When each Vikerur comes of age, they can choose a sort of religious path, based on a known figure of folklore, drawn from the legends of their villages. This chosen path is what gives them direction and responsibility as adults and sets a “role.” Man or woman is irrelevant as long as you uphold the deeds you have promised to – a woman could choose to follow in the footsteps of certain great warriors, or cunning trackers, or watchful mothers known and revered in their culture, and a man could choose the same, bowing to care for children, or to care for the ill, or become a great merchant, and following in the example of a fitting folkloric figure.
Vikerur wear more animal fur and leather clothing than Adelians, who prefer bark, cotton and silk robes. They also eat more meat and fish than most Adelians do, though agriculture is equally important to them. As they moved from harsher climates, the Vikerur discovered lands where vegetation flourished, and learned of its secrets. But Vikerur villages still maintain a diet heavier on animal proteins than the diet typical to continental Adelians.
The Vikerur are primarily a group of Iomadi and Damakran. Cuporo are very rare among the Vikerur, and only found after immigration from continental Cuporo to the Western seas. Similarly, Dromedae are not indigenous people to the Western Sea, existing primarily in the super-continent. Like any Iomadi and Damakran the Vikerur have a wide variety of skin colors, hair types and body types, but they tend to be bigger than their continental cousins, enough that a difference is seen, and they tend to grow more body and facial hair than continental Adelians, who tend to have very smooth faces and bodies. Whether this is a result of diet or climate is unknown. Among the Vikerur, shark and whale Damakran are more common, and mammal-eared and tailed Iomadi, especially those of predatory creatures, are also more common.
Oerst: The Dragon Kingdom of Oerst is the largest and most organized Vikerur land in the Western Sea. Oerst is unique in that the Vikerur upon it coexist peacefully with Dragons, which exist in much greater number on Oerst than they do in Adel. Oerst as a whole is controlled by a monarchy ruled by a marriage pair of the Dragon’s political leader and the Vikerur’s leader of the moment. This monarchical lineage gives Oerst quite a bit of power and advantage – few nations can boast of summoning an army of dragons. However, even the large population of Dragons in Oerst is few compared to the numbers of people, and the Vikerur on Oerst would find it demeaning for their partners to be referred to as mere tools. Theirs is a holy bond, and a source of great pride. Both Dragon and Vikerur alike uphold sacred traditions together.
Cressia: Cressia is a fragmented territory ruled by three different regional powers. In the mountains there is a monarchy, and the villages there pledge allegiance to a chieftain who has shown power and courage to them; near the sea, a great Seer who peers into the waters to see the future rules by divine mandate and is a symbol of their wisdom and knowledge; in the plains, a Council composed of popular leaders rules over the culture of elk riders and cattle drivers in the wide, open grasslands. These three factions have been in conflict quite recently, with a Cressian Civil War erupting between them for control of a terrible artifact, the use of which divided the peoples. With the help of the Vedarians, the artifact was destroyed in a manner predicted by the Seer of the Sea. Years since, tensions are still high between the three factions.
Ghedania: Ghedania is a network of Vikerur regions upon an island on the far edge of the Western Sea. While one can say that Adel on the whole is not incredibly technologically developed, as there are few cities and towns, and cars and tanks and airships concentrate from them and don’t have much effect on the majority of the population of each nation, Ghedania is even less developed than this, as it has no cities whatsoever and no real modern tech. It is entirely a land, and the only one of its kind, where only indigenous villages exist. The people there lead simple and perhaps secluded existences, but travelers (and grudgingly, their technology) are welcome so long as they respect the people there.
Various smaller, seemingly uninhabited islands in the Western Sea may currently play host to Vikerur cultures, or might have played host to them in the past. They may have since moved inland.
The Western Sea and Adel
The World of Adel focuses primarily on, well, the World of Adel, of the Adelians. The central continent is often the focus of these writings. However one can see a world similar to Adel with the Vikerur’s Western Sea. They are somewhat less developed than the Adelians, and have been less disturbed by the ancient things – ruins of the Lost World are rarer in the Western Sea than in the continent. The Adelians trade with the Vikerur, and some technological exchange has occurred, but even moreso than the Adelians, the Vikerur are traditional. While Adel is a duality of indigenous villages and somewhat modernistic cities, with a schizophrenic base of technology that varies wildly in its reach and impact on the culture, the Vikerur are even more wildly superstitious about technological things, and try their best not to need them. One could write a World of the Vikerur, if one had the time and inclination for it, but we must make do with summation.
Why would Vikerur be in the continent? For many Vikerur, there was no choice. Vikerur often exile or ostracize repeat criminals rather than feed and clothe them in a prison, and they save death only for the most abominable crimes. Exile involves being cast into sea, tied to a boat with limited provisions to meet their fate in whatever land they find – the Embracing Waters will judge him or her. Often these exiles hit the continent, and with a chain around their leg tied to a splinter of broken boat, they head out to complete their Ordeal. An exiled Vikerur has a chance to return to his or her people by completing an Ordeal, a great heroic deed performed in the outside world. Many Vikerur, who have deep familial bonds and great pride in their ancestral land, will attempt to seek this redress. Adelians’ stereotype of violent or thuggish Vikerur comes from the fact that contact is often with exiled men and women trying to return home, rather than earnest travelers.
The Western Sea and Adel have trade relations, so soldiers, traders and travelers will find their way to the continent. These people may seek new relationships between their homes and the villages and cities further inland, as Vikerur contact is often relegated by necessity to the coastal Adelian cities. All kinds of fascinating items may await them further inland, and if they can secure passages and find ways to return to their lands with the exotic goods, they may find themselves full of coin and glory. In addition, the Vikerur have many legends of mythological creatures and great heroes from the Adelian continent, and they may travel there to find and battle such creatures and return with sacrificial items drawn from them, or to pay homage at the graves of great historical figures. There are many reasons why the two cultures may meet.
On a political scale, the governments of Adel have good relations with those of the Western Sea. The major political units of the Vikerur are aware of their Adelian counterparts and perform trade and join each other’s battles where wanted. Vedaria participated in the Cressian Civil War on a small scale, establishing a refugee area and disabling a Lost World ruin about to be employed by a mad Vikerur chieftain. They have also helped quell piracy between the continent and western waters. Sargasso is a land now well-traveled by the Vikerur, and was once erroneously believed to be a mythical paradise where gods resided. Even Vikerur known Noshiki to be a wasteland of death and destruction, and they know of the Intolerable War that once shook the continent (a few Vikerur did some fighting against the Aptoan Empire, as well). Andaliel is disadvantaged in the Western Sea by its position in the Northeast of the Continent, but even they have relations with the Vikerur, particularly those of the northern clime, and Vikerur on Ordeal have wandered to Andaliel in the past.
Adelians and Vikerur consider each other distant cousins in a sense, and there hasn’t been conflict between them past the Aptoan Imperial Age. While their cultures may differ in places, they understand one another quite well for the most part. Their languages are similar (though a word or two might skip by each other’s heads) and though the Vikerur seem rougher and harsher to the Adelians, they can bond over the same topics of interest in many cases. They have the same ideas about people’s places in the world, and both value freedom, though perhaps in different ways. The Vikerur are dubious of some of the technology that can be seen in the continent, such as autowagons that hasten travel, or “flaming staves” (firearms) that can fell great foes, but they know the heart of every Adelian is similar to their own – if a bit softer. Adelians have suffered a terrible war against imperial aggression, and as such they have no conqueror’s eye of their own to the West.