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Between the Gennaian Isles’ natural beauty, inspiring seas, and the warm demeanor of its people, there is little wonder as to how the collective of island kingdoms has attracted visitors to its shores. The many kingdoms' influences and histories ensured that outsiders could always find something to enjoy within their people’s lifestyle. Flourishing trade, in conjunction with adaptations of foreign customs, have sustained the nation’s own cultural exchanges for the past three centuries, allowing Gennaian culture to develop in tandem with that of the rest of the world.
Like many things in the Isles, architecture, buildings, and their purposes tend to follow a common regional philosophy. The palaces are ornate and lavish, proudly displaying their hedonistic qualities. Homes and shops are usually simple, made of stone and plaster, yet even the simplest buildings tend to have some ornamentation to display the owner’s personal tastes. The pre-Sjilean kingdoms were often homogeneous in their styles, either dedicating themselves to preeminently defensive design or exclusively aesthetic design. Over the years, cultural exchange and Sjilea’s influence caused a blending of styles, evident in the stark contrast between the grand pillars and basilicas of the Temple of Sjilea in Falkynthos against the carved caves and minimalist walls of the city below. Even the wonders of Telaepoli’s rugged engineering follow ever-changing design principles. Fascination with experimentation fuels the kingdoms’ constant evolution and has only grown with each unearthed wonder from their fallen southern neighbors.
Following traditions laid out within of Sjilea’s teachings, the Gennaian people honor not only those who have succeeded in heroic efforts, but also those who tried despite great risk and did not succeed. A statue or monument dedicated to local heroes can be found at the center of each Gennaian town. Some towns have even gone so far as to declare that no building can be taller than a hero’s monument, prioritizing this ideal of audacity. Occasionally, architects compete to create these monuments, going to great lengths to impress onlookers as they sculpt their masterpieces before captivated bystanders. At the end, when a winner is chosen, the other competitor’s statue is torn down on the spot. Regardless of success, both artists are considered victorious; the moments of their endeavor endure through history, rather than the results of the contest.
Dancing is a widespread and respected form of entertainment. Fueled by passion for Sjilea's teachings, dancers know how to love, hate, and feel life down to their very core. They are hot-headed, charming, and fiercely devoted, even more so than the average Gennaian. Ask any of them about their craft, and they will tell you that it comes from the most sacred part of their soul. Regardless of the style, there is always a deep immersion of the individual within the moment, as if the dancer loses themselves in their own imagination. For this reason, among many others, skilled Gennaian dancers are highly sought after in all of A’therys. Patrons, theatre-owners, and playwrights seek out potential talent amongst the commoners with unparalleled enthusiasm, hoping to discover the next great performer. In recent decades, silk dance has been elevated above the rest as choreographers and performers explore the new medium. Utilizing a long, scented silken cloth attached from height, performers can explore space in three-dimensions. With their feats of creativity and core physical strength, aerialists use the weightlessness to explore movement previously unattainable on the ground through manipulation of their centres of gravity. The ability to incorporate vertical and horizontal movement paths has allowed for innovations in choreography that promise to captivate audiences for centuries to come.
While dancing plays a significant role in Gennaian entertainment, the islanders are no slouch at sporting events. Gennaian athletes go to great lengths to achieve acclaim and personal thrill, from hunting great beasts to latching their small ships to the backs of giant turtles to ride out a storm. Rare is the outsider who associates the islanders with tamer sports. From this athletic spirit has arisen the pankration, a vicious mixed martial art combining elements of boxing and wrestling. With only biting and gouging disallowed, the unwrapped bare fists of opponents square off until only one is left standing. Boasting leagues around the nation’s isles, this sport and its celebrities spark the islands’ interest wherever they travel. Outside the stadiums, private duels are far less common than they are in some other nations. Challenges centered around the pankration typically occur in public, where combatants are able to showcase their bravery, loyalty, and a willingness to die rather than be branded a coward. That noted, unlike foreign duels, which often arrange a time and location or require weapon choices and Seconds, Gennaian duels are settled the moment a challenge is issued. Additionally, unlike duels in other nations, such occurrences are primarily used as a contest of sportsmanship and skill, rather than a means to exact justice.
Home life of the average Gennaian greatly benefited from the fall of Eztalpaltl. Excursions to the south have led to a boom in agricultural production. Improved methods of crop rotation, improved irrigation, and fertilization increased the fertility of the limited land available to the islanders. Grains, rice, peppers, olives, beets, citrus, and a wide variety of vegetables can be found in various parts of the nation. While local availability of most ingredients varies, bread can be found in every region, baked into round loaves and served with a cold soup of strained tomatoes. Naturally, a love of seafood permeates Gennaian cuisine. Garnished with a generous amounts of spices, fish, squid, crab, and eel are common coastal fare. Meats such as chicken, goat, lamb, and pork are present, though generally less common as one traverses from west to east along the isles.
Despite their rich culture, the Isles themselves have been politically unified for only a relatively short time, making it a very young nation. While many foreigners see eight kingdoms, the islanders understand that their intersecting bloodlines and bonds of brotherhood contain an extraordinary and complex lineage. Gennaians stand behind their achievements, and are instilled with a national pride that permeates all social statuses. Even “peasants” (as they are called in other nations) are allowed rights and judgements here. The Gennaian way, incorporating and adapting with other cultures while keeping a certain level of equality, most conflicts with Kilden ideologies. While the Kild seek to solve problems by gaining a tactical edge, the islanders approach issues by boldly rushing into action. Their early interactions, prompted by Ascurilles’ daring thefts, have evolved into a rivalry that threatens mutual destruction in the modern age. As the dust settles over Eztalpaltl and each nation begins their encroachment within the Shattered Lands, who truly knows how these two nations will collide should they begin to share a border.