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Appearance and Anatomy
All Obrenaj display deeply indigo blue eyes, full lips and a naturally athletic physique. Skin and hair color vary with geographic location.

Click for larger image The majority of the Obrenje population belongs to the grassland type ("Pelevni"), with a golden mediterranean tan, sometimes with subtle freckles along prominent areas of the body, and straight blonde hair. In the alpine province of Viskatro, lighter caucasian skin tones prevail, while black or a very dark brown are the most common hair colors. The hair can be slightly wavy. In the desert province of Casan, skin tones concentrate into a rich cocoa brown, mostly accompanied by lustrous copper-brown hair.

Goatees are fairly popular among men, but larger beards are hardly ever seen. Both sexes may wear their hair long or short, though long hair, usually braided or bound at the back of the head, is more popular among women. Clean-shaven scalps are commonly worn by many men outside of Viskatro, and even by a few Casanje women.

Being very social people by nature, the Obrenaj prefer to spend their free time together, such as on parties, in team sports, orchestras, choirs etc, or simply on a mind-freeing jogging trip.

Music is the most popular art form, especially when sung, and is practices in many different styles, ranging from venerable classical works such as Dostajar's monumental thunderous choir compositions or Azilani's romantic vocal duets to the rhythmic dance music of the grasslands or the improvised singing of a circle of friends under a hot summer night's sky.

The highlights of Obrenje cuisine include lotso, a sort of burrito with a multitude of possible fillings such as lemon-fried garlic shrimps and noodles, or spicy chicken and rice, or yoghurt and berries.

Obrenaja's favorite morning drink is drazno, an aromatic hot beverage brewed from the three-lobed drazno nut, tasting a bit like caramel and bitter almonds. It grows in the grassland regions and makes a good trading product.

Roseberries are about grape-sized and grow in the temperate and alpine regions. They are pleasant to eat make an excellent rosy wine. Iceberries are the ugly cousins of roseberries, growing in the hotter parts of Obrenaja. Their flesh is a milky translucent white and very sour, but popular as a cooking ingredient or in the form of lemonade.

The Obrenaj domesticate a number of animal species, the following ones being the most common:

The obrovon, or king antelope, is a cousin to the common shandix. Due to its horns, it can be a dangerous animal to ride, but once accustomed to a rider, it makes an excellent swift riding animal. It can develop remarkable affinities for its rider, allowing them to communicate on a low empathic level.

Windhounds, a local breed of dogs, can be trained to understand a wide range of commands, and are used for herding and guarding purposes.

The hovering manta is a rather stupid animal, with limited use as message couriers (like homing doves), but their main value is that they look cute and calming, with their slow idle aerial swimming movements (though they can dart away pretty quickly in a pinch). Children love them.

The Obrenaj have a quite liberal take on sexuality, which could be mistaken for promiscuity by more conservative cultures. Premarital sex is not considered immoral, but indeed advisable: To marry as virgins is considered rash and foolhardy, like buying an expensive stock of wine without having tasted it. Romantic Love is considered an art form. Suffice it to say that the Obrenje language distinguishes at least eight types of kissing....

A widely available contraceptive plant extract (the "Bitter Tea") helps them avoid unwanted pregnancies.

Obrenaj are careful about their lives, and are often accused by foreigners of being cowardly. This does not, however, mean that they are unskilled in the art of war. The traditional weapons of Obrenaja are the knife, the sabre, the staff, the naginata, the two-handed sword, the bow/crossbow, the weighted chain, the felles, the nitsha (a punch-dagger also used for parrying), and the sales.

The upper sword is an older design, as might be the traditional sword of a city guard or a clansman. The lower one is more modern. The handles on these two samples are only three hand-widths long, which is a bit short. Four hands would be the usual handle length for a traditional felles.

Felles are long-handled curved swords primarily optimized for slashing, though the tip is well aligned with the handle, so it should also be pretty useful for thrusting. The name means "woman's sword", since the design was allegedly first invented by the legendary Obrenje blacksmith Atreja Caron ur Galinja for his daughter Zeandri.

Click for larger image Zeandri practised the martial arts of her people with joy, but found that none of their traditional weapons fit her needs. The sabre was beautifully balanced and light to wield, but lacked the elegant power of the two-handed sword, which in turn was too top-heavy to be controlled as precisely as the naginata, which however was terribly large compared to the sabre. Thus, Atreja crafted for her the felles, uniting the power of the two-handed sword with the long-handled precision of the naginata under the compact balanced shape of an elongated sabre. Nowadays, it has become a traditional weapon of its own, and is wielded both by men and women of Obrenaja.

Religion, Science and Magic
Places of Interest

Compared to the other human races, the Obrenaj have metabolic or anatomic differences that enhance their ability to run fast and enduringly; not as fast as an antelope, of course, but distinctly faster than the average human.

In fact, they often prefer to jog rather than walk in everyday life. "High Gait" (on the balls of the feet) is the normal way of walking and standing, while Low Gait would be reserved for idle wandering or romantic promenades. "Solewalker" is a pejorative term for lazy people.

The Imperial tradition of public bathhouses has been well received in the Society. Many larger towns have one, though they chiefly act as social meeting places, not as commercial and political centers like the imperial bathhouses.

In Casan, where water is a precious commodity, bathhouses are a treasured luxury and often feel like temples, built in concentric zones around the pools to minimize the vaporisation loss to the outside.

The Obrenaj speak their own language, which doesn't appear to be closely related to the Imperial languages but has some similarities to the Vaartan language group. People who trade with or travel to other cultures will most certainly know some Low Imperial or Trade, though they'll be more than happy to hear some of their native tongue in foreign lands.

For detailed linguistic instructions on how to pronounce Obrenje words, please refer to the Obrenje phonemics site. The orthography is not trivial, but perfectly regular.

The following prompts are only approximations for linguistically challenged speakers of English. Capitalization indicates stress. Try to pronounce the R's as in Spanish.

Obrenaja: ob-ren-NAH-yuh
Obrenje: ob-REN-yeh
Obrenaj: ob-ren-NIGH

Viskatro: vis-KUT-ro
Viskateroje: vis-kut-teh-ROY-eh
Casan: hus-SUN
Casanje: hus-SUN-yeh
Sin ur Pelve: SHIN oor PEL-veh
Pelevni: peh-LEV-nee
Omwa Mire: OM-wuh MEER
Vetsabesh: vet-suh-BESH
Posade: po-SAHD
Nurnovitsa: noor-no-VIT-suh
Tagrozhna: tug-ROZH-nuh
Contra: HON-truh

Sinel Caron ur Makazhow: shee-NEL huh-RON oor muh-kuh-ZHOW
Dostajar: dos-tuh-YAR
Azilani: uh-zhee-LAH-nee

Orra: OR-ruh
Mali: MAH-lee
Obrovon: ob-ro-VON
Kwidi: QUEE-dee
Atreja Caron ur Galinja: ut-REY-uh har-ON oor guh-LIN-yuh
Felles: hel-LESS
Zeandri: zhey-UN-dree
Nitsha: NIT-shuh
Sales: (SUH-less)

The sales is a form of thrusting dagger that is often carried as a parrying weapon.

All pictures by Christian Thalmann