The Free City of Riverhold
While some bloodlines have persevered through the ages, centuries of prosperity have brought a steady stream of immigrants to the city, and most families that have spent a few generations in Riverhold possess a mixed heritage. These people are commonly referred to simply as “Holdsfolk”, and they often take great pride in being natives of the city.
Holdsfolk can be tall or short, thin or broad, dark or fair. Some boast of their pure blood, but they generally do not have the same degree of distinctive features as other folk. Likewise, their names come from a variety of cultures, often mixing naming conventions over the generations.
The majority of recent Imperial immigrants to the city have been recently unemployed bureaucrats, and tradesmen. Their lofty airs do little to endear them to the other citizens, many of which have suffered under Imperial rule to some degree, but there is no questioning the city’s need for such educated people.
People of Imperial descent tend to be of fair to medium complexion, with brown or blond hair. Males, especially, are notable for their sharp, angular facial features, but their long standing custom of taking foreign brides during times of expansion makes for some degree of variation within the citizenry.
Brydians, although hailing from the other side of The Empire, occasionally come to the city as traders or immigrants. They are a simple folk, producing mostly farmers and herdsmen. As plague spreads throughout the west, more and more Brydians are coming to Riverhold, where they typically work as farmers.
Similar in appearance to Imperials, mostly due to generations of interbreeding, Brydians tend to be shorter and have more rounded facial features. They are renowned as leather workers, and wealthier Brydians will often possess finely crafted leather coats and boots.
Traditional Brydian first names contain a lot of vowel sounds, and their consonant sounds are usually softer and somewhat rolling. The “c” in the Brydian tongue is pronounced as a hard “c”. Popular names for males include Alwyrd, Caeden, Daevryd, Eldwyr, Gryclef, Lenmard, Nikweld, Oscred, and Wylfry. Female names follow much the same tradition, with Anwya, Cendys, Elanid, Irdyna, Larya, and Myrien being fairly typical examples. Surnames are usually not bothered with, but when need be the individual wil usually use the name of his father as a surname. Some families carry on a surname from one particular ancestor for the rest of their lineage, but this is not a very common practice.
Southerners currently make up the largest immigrant group in Riverhold. Whether it is poverty, plague, famine, injustice, or war, the people of The Southern Kingdoms prove to be increasingly in need of sanctuary. Due to the quarreling nature of their homelands, there is a gerat deal of division within this group.
The people of The Southern Kingdoms tend to be of medium to dark complexion, with brown or black hair. They are neither a particular short nor tall race, and previous Imperial occupation introduced foreign blood into many family lines. In matters of dress and lifestyle, Southerners tend to eschew finery and convenience in favor of simplicity and practicality.
Southerners take their first names from the long forgotten languages spoken by their ancestors. Typical male names include Agrew, Brydan, Devril, Edgerd, Hanrod, Jonwik, Keved, Nikwel, Tomis, and Walyar. Common names for women include Alisi, Breniet, Edania, Fenia, Isiabet, Leria, Susren, Tabina, and Vivial. Last names in The Southern Kingdoms are usually based on a mix of one’s occupation and place of birth or residence. For example, a farmer from the village of Bendwater might take the surname “Farben”, while a blacksmith whose workshop sits among pine trees might go by “Pinesmith”. The further back a family goes, the further away their surname is, linguistically, from its original root words. For example, a long line of merchants from Eldwood, who at one point marry into a family of goldsmiths, and then later move to Northcrest, might end up with “Meldgrest” as a surname.
A long history of warfare, raiding, and slavery has certainly not made the Korites popular with the people of either The Empire or The Southern Kingdoms, but many of their people have called Riverhold home for some time now. While Koras is a prosperous nation, the lower castes have few rights under the law, and there is also little to no opportunity for them to advance their place in society. Riverhold, with its many freedoms and prospects, is a natural place for many Korites to establish new roots. With the recent influx of Southerners to the city, many of who have experienced first hand the cruelty of Korite warriors, ethnic riots are becoming increasingly common.
Originally from the same racial stock as many Southerners, Korites tend to be dark haired and of medium to dark complexion. The taking of slaves during times of war is considered a feat of great skill and honor in their culture, so it not entirely uncommon to see Korites with fairer skin and lighter hair colors. Male Korites traditionally sport elaborately grown and ornately decorated mustaches, and the women tend to wear their long hair in decorative braids.
Korite names tend to be short, with hard consonants and abrupt vowel sounds. Typical names for men include Agus, Bezri, Darbir, Hadin, Iskar, Kedan, Mirak, Neres, Pilar, and Sarik. Female names are a bit softer, and include Abia, Bersi, Dafnala, Fasia, Idri, Mera, and Sefi. Traditionally, Korites of the labor and slave castes do not ordinarily have last names, while those of the tradesman and merchant castes carry surnames commonly derived from their profession or family reputation. These names are seldom, if ever, translated into other languages by immigrants. Typical surnames include Makus (“Builder”), Basan (“Iron Crafter”), and Puros (“Overseer”).
The most expeditious route between between Voldia and Riverhold crosses through the heart of The Empire, and very few Voldians have the means or desire to travel through the land of their long-standing enemies. The only other alternatives are a perilous trek through the northern wilderness or a grieviously long journey through the war torn regions of the south. As a result, the few Voldian immigrants present within the city are mostly mercenaries or the descendants of prisoners, once held by The Empire during times of war and later set free for one reason or another.