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Physical Description
The Denra-Lyr are average humans with a tendency towards a tall, slender build. Their skin is predominantly dusky, the colour of coffee, but rare individuals are born with skin as pale as snow or as dark as ebony. Such individuals are believed to have been blessed by the spirit-folk and to have the potential for great magical prowess.

The features considered to be the ideal of beauty are the same for both sexes: almond shaped eyes, long lashes, delicate features in an oval face and full lips are considered attractive in both men and women, leading to an androgynous look. Make-up is not used. Their hair tends to be straight and black, and is worn long in both sexes. Women wear their hair loose except when working, where it is tied up in a scarf. Men tie their hair up into a bun. Young men who have come of age, but not yet married, shave the sides of their heads. Cutting one's hair short is a sign of mourning. Warriors shave their heads completely to symbolise their close ties with death. Paradoxically, baldness is considered a sign of good fortune.

Because of the cool and rainy nature of their lands, the Denra-Lyr wear heavy, many-layered clothing of linen, wool and furs. Wide-brimmed hats made of stiffened leather are common for keeping the rain off. Jewellery and other adornments are commonly made of polished bone, precious stones or amber traded from the Salsham'ai. Gold may only worn by tribal kings and their families.

Kinship in Denralian society is traced via for the father for male offspring, and the mother for female offspring. A person may not marry someone considered their kin. For example, a woman could not marry an uncle if he was her mother's brother, but could if he was her father's brother. Similarly, a male cousin would not be eligible if he was descended from the maternal uncle, but would be if descended from the paternal uncle.

Dualism features heavily in Denralian culture. Men and women are considered two halves of one whole. Marriage is celebrated as a re-joining of sundered halves. Both sexes are considered equal but different. They are both considered capable of performing the same tasks, but in different ways. It is thought that women are more cerebral - both logical and intuitive, and will solve problems through brain power. Men, on the other hand, are more straight-forward and physical. They solve problems through action and muscle. Passion and emotion are acceptable in both sexes - it is not considered shameful for a man to cry or for a woman to show anger.

The Denra-Lyr are a settled, agricultural society on the whole. In the more traditionalist tribes, the tendency is towards small-scale, self-sufficient and generalist farming. It is only in the city-dwelling tribes that one finds farmers specialising in only one or two types of produce. Denralia is quite rich in minerals, and the Denra-Lyr mine copper, tin, gold and iron. Copper and tin are combined to form bronze, considered by the Denra-Lyr to be the "metal of life". A symbolic whole formed from the mixture of two separate metals, it is used to make most every-day utensils. Where coinage is used, copper coins are made. Iron, on the other hand, is the "metal of death". Only weapons and armour are made from iron (steel creation is in its infancy) and it is believed ill-luck to forge, for example, a cooking pot from iron. Gold is the "sacred metal", thought to be the scales of the dragon Lyr. Only the king and his family may wear gold, and the Denra-Lyr would be scandalised by a foreigner bedecked in gold jewellery. Gold is also sacrificed in great quantities, thrown into swamps, the sea, volcanic openings or great chasms to honour the gods. These offerings are always extremely well crafted statues, figurines or other such representations. The profession of gold-smith, who make such offerings, is a well-respected and semi-religious position.

Denra-Lyr Index
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