|Average Lifespan: 85 years
Age of Adulthood: 18
Family and Marriage
Family is the single most important thing in the life of any typical esrile. The goal of every young esrile is to get married and create a standard family. Two children per family is considered ideal, but three is not uncommon. Four or more is considered embarassingly excessive. Romantic love is not a concept understood by most esrile. Marriages are arranged in all cases, and parents always strive to match their children with those from families of equal or better reputation than their own. In more prestigious families, children are often paired at birth, but in lower class families a child might not be matched until fifteen or even later. When the male in the pairing reaches the age of adulthood, eighteen, they are married by his father in a large celebration during which the new wife is welcomed into the husband’s family. In smaller villages or with very prestigious families, the entire village attends. Pairings are usually made between children within three years apart, but there are exceptions.
Skin that is not on the forearms/hands or face is considered indecent to show in public (and often in private), including that of the neck. Men and boys are always expected to wear knee-length breeches and stockings over the lower legs, light, white shirts with elbow-length sleeves under a buttoned waistcoat, and a cravat covering the neck and tucked into the vest. Even in warmer weather, a long, coat matching the pants with large cuffs folded back over the sleeves is worn in public. A round pin is worn in the center of the cravat to indicate marriage. Women always wear floor-length dresses of varying styles with a great deal of material bunched at the back and tight sleeves to the elbows or wrists. A neck-covering layer and stockings are always worn underneath the dress, and ruffles or lace are common. Young girls may wear dresses which are shorter and show the stockings. Shoes for both genders are embroidered flats matching the rest of the outfit. Esrile enjoy color, and always make sure their color scheme matches well. Hair for all is worn long—never cut above the shoulders—and it is very common for women to wear various wraps, ribbons, and headbands. For young boys, any style will do as long as it is well-groomed. However, once a boy reaches the age of fifteen he is expected to tie his hair back in a dignified tail at all times.
Because of the strict rules of appearance and manner in esrile society, esrile can often be rather judgmental of those from other cultures. However, they are absolutely never rude or inhospitable to their guests. Family reputation is considered extremely important within society. Every member of a family is careful not to do anything unacceptable lest it reflect badly on his or her parents and family as a whole within the community. Any family member who does something shameful is severely punished, though this is always done in private. It is extremely rare, but if an esrile does something that would irreparably damage the family’s image, he or she can be cast out of the family by it’s head. An outcast is no longer allowed to use the family’s name to identify him or herself, and is no longer acknowledged by any member of the family. If the offense is shameful enough, the outcast may be banished from society completely. Such an offense, for example, might be abandoning an arranged marriage or an inappropriate pairing with a non-esrile. Taking an interest in any activity which isn’t practical and beneficial to the community, or which isn’t common among esrile is also frowned upon.
Men are the providers for their families in esrile culture, and handle all positions of authority. All of the more physical trades are done by men. The oldest son in any family is taught, without exception, by his father in his father’s profession as soon as he is old enough to be capable. A father may either choose to teach a younger son along with the older one, or to allow him to learn his future father-in-law’s work instead. Boys of fifteen are apprenticed to whichever adult must teach them. Women are generally occupied with homemaking and caring for the children, and they teach their daughters how to do the same. It is very common for the women of a community to be very close and to gather together during the day while the men are working. Together they discuss homemaking techniques or apply themselves at gentler trades such as tailoring or small-scale arts.
Esrile villages throughout the Esrodrin Forest are often small and spread out, so each village is generally self-sufficient. All community matters are decided by a council of men from the village, and ultimately by a head councilman elected from among them. The head councilmen of adjacent villages may choose to share in tasks or resources to benefit both settlements, so he is often either traveling or hosting important guests in his home. The large city of High Morwin is home to the head of the esrile aristocracy with the high council. Though individual villages are self-ruled, they all defer to the high council if called upon. The head of the high council is addressed as High Lord of the Esrile, and his wife the High Lady. The high lord is elected to head of the high council in theory, but the position has been filled by the oldest son of each generation in the Odenavni family for centuries. In larger cities like High Morwin, there may be secondary councils in addition to the main governing council which oversee specific areas of society like trade and distribution.