The War of Night
Lepidstadt is home to the gypsy-like nation of the Varisians. A wild people, and unforgiving of slights, real or imagined, they clash time and again with the City State of Caliphas.
For many Varisians, this is home. They have had civilisations before, and while these have fallen, and the people roam, here, in dark Ustalav, they have a place to return when they have finished roaming. Or they would, if the dark grip of Ustalav would loosen and the night would relent.
Being trapped behind walls is a challenge for many peoples, but the eternally nomadic Varisians, it is hell. And to make matters worse, the Taldans of Caliphas take what should be rightfully Lepidstadts. Settlements are fought over, grudges are racked up by both cities, and yet, all this would be eased if the Varisian people had the ability to channel their natural roaming instincts back into travel. Instead, claustrophobia drives them to acts of war and vengeance against the easiest targets. Lepidstadt.
There are many sorcerers and mages among their numbers and they have become quite famous for their ability to make trinkets of all kinds. While they tend to be the most travelled of the human races, they too have lost the knowledge of how to create the protective runes, but they do hold the largest collection of protective circles in the land. More even than the fabled Couriers.
Lepidstadt is ruled by a Council of Elders, voted in via a democratic process. Elder is a title only as there are both men and women on the Council, barely into their twenties. The post is held either until death (normally meaning a vote is held to find the replacement), or the existing Elder steps aside (generally to make way for a hand picked replacement, sponsored by the outgoing Elder). The number of Elders can fluctuate depending on the needs of society. In this time, considered by many to be a time of war (both on the other City States and the undead), there are only three Elders. This helps to ensure that one Elder doesn’t go mad with power, but there are not so many Elders that a decision can not be reached with relative ease.
It’s hard to know how many people live in Lepidstadt due to the roaming nature of its inhabitants, but it is estimated that there may be about 50,000 overall.
Varisians (pronounced vah-RHIS-ee-ann) are a primarily nomadic human ethnic group known to favor the open road over permanent settlements. Sometimes called the people of the road, their traveling caravans can be encountered throughout Golarion, but Varisians also settle in permanent communities, most notably the country of Ustalav. Varisians are often thought of as scoundrels and rogues, an unfair reputation that is based on outsiders interacting with the criminal Sczarni gangs. Despite outward appearances of frivolity, the Varisian people are fiercely loyal to family and friends, and embrace a rich culture steeped in history and tradition.
The Varisian people typically possess deep, olive-colored skin, and long hair that comes in an incredibly large range of colors from platinum to the darkest black. In fact, no one hair color is considered unusual among them. They often have large, expressive eyes that come in a variety of unusual colors such as violet or gold. Varisians tend to have lithe bodies with long limbs, and men often have trouble growing beards.
They often garb themselves in brightly colored clothing; Varisians favor practical dress when completing daily tasks, but are more widely known for the elaborate, embroidered costumes they don during performances. Varisians prefer wealth in the form of gemstones and jewelry, rather than coins, and secure such valuables on their person whenever possible. Varisians are also fond of scarves of all types, and frequently use them to provide emphasis during performances. They also commonly use scarves in more specialized capacities; the bladed scarf serves as a favorite weapon when one must appear unarmed, and a Varisian’s kapenia is an intricate record of his or her family tree.
Varisian wizards often serve as keepers of their people’s history and lore. Such knowledge is typically gathered from numerous sources, compiled from stories and pieces of text gathered during a clan’s travels, as well as insights gleaned from occasional art and writings that remain intact within Varisia’s ruins.
Though now largely nomadic, the Varisian people believe that they originated in a land now devastated by some forgotten tragedy; some stories claim that the Varisian people were the rulers of this land, while others tell of an existence of servitude, but they all seem to agree that the event that brought this life to an end also heralded the beginning of their life as wanderers.
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