Clothing of the Firstborn
Clothing of the Firstborn is an Official GemStone IV Document, and it is protected from editing.
Clothing of the Firstborn
- by Kynosa Loenthra, Sea Captain
Very few outside of the Dhe'nar have traveled to Sharath or Eh'lah, and even fewer have spent any length of time within them. During my ocean travels, my ship frequently stops at the settlement of Eh'Lah. The Dhe'nar are smart traders with keen bartering skills. We have never been allowed to wander the inner parts of the village, so my experiences have been with what we can see and hear from the docks as we restock our supplies and trade.
Over time I began to take notice of their clothing, or lack of. Because of the climate, they wear very little when in the south. They are proud of who they are and have no shame or embarrassment in regards to their bodies. It was a sharp contrast to our admiration of finery and fashion in the Nations.
Beauty in purpose is a phrase I have heard frequently used.
I have come to learn that items bear no adornments unless it serves a purpose. Beauty is in functional objects - weapons, armor, instruments - things that would require an artisan to make. Any jewelry I saw was most likely magical in nature or served to indicate rank.
In general, the populace wears loose fitting clothing of light materials. Pants, skirts, long and short tunics, belts, sandals, and shirts are all very common. The different castes may have their own traditional clothing, such as the priestesses wearing robes, usually of the finest silks and linens. The warriors I saw wore leather armor. I asked about the quality of their leather and was told they were crafted by the best of their dwarven artisans.
While loading supplies, a young man came walking down the docks. I noted that the workers paused to admire his headband. It was a simple length of woven black leather with what looked like several teeth attached.
When the man had gone, I asked one of the workers what they had been doing. He explained to me that the young man had just earned his headband. He had gone on his Great Hunt and had killed a black nhil'mon. He went on to explain that the man had chosen that creature because it was the most dangerous in the area. He hunted without weapons or armor, only relying on his natural skills, and had made a successful kill. The headband was made from the skin and teeth of the lizard and is a symbol of hunting prowess, bravery, but most importantly, a symbol of coming of age.
Later in the afternoon, a tall Dhe'nar man strode down to where I had laid out the wares I had for trade. He stood tall and looked me in the eyes with an air of authority. I noted a sash that hung diagonally across his chest. It was made from fine silk and shimmered in the sunlight. There was a series of runes embroidered down the center and around a circular symbol. The entire piece was adorned with obsidian beads that seemed to blend into the patterns.
He spoke with a strong commanding voice when asking about my goods. He was interested in some gold ingots as well as several cases of fine spirits. He spent quite a bit of time looking through my gem cases. As he began to open the trading, my eyes were drawn to the designs on his sash. Curiosity got the best of me, so I asked about the symbols. He paused for a moment before smiling. He told me that most traders do not ask questions, just complete their business and leave. He went on to explain what they meant. He traced the circular symbol and told me that it indicated he was a member of the Warlock caste and was a misri su'gnosa, a master of knowledge. The fine quality of his sash, and the jewelry he wore, was indication of his high rank. I bowed politely to acknowledge his rank, but I bartered just like I would with everyone else and soon came away with a bolt of silk that he called su'chao silk.
I like to consider myself a student of the world, and learning about the little known culture of the Dhe'nar fascinates me. I have made it a goal to come away with something new each time I visit.
On one of my trips, I had just bought a crate of khanshael-made blades from a young man. As he stood up, he began to adjust a length of cloth that was wrapped about his waist. Of course, I had to ask about it. He told me it was called a szi'euk. Opening up a bottle of whiskey, I nodded for the man to have a crate and talk a bit. He told me that it was a very common garment and perfect for the hot, moist jungle. He said it was usually made from linen or silk, but any breathable fabric would work. I mentioned I saw both men and women wearing them, and he agreed. He also offered that they could be of various lengths.
Producing a long piece of fabric, I asked the man to show me how to wear one. He helped me wrap it about my hips several times before tucking the end in my belt and letting the extra material drape over the front. Looking at his, I noted that it was secured with a silver pin and said so. He told me they could also be pinned or tucked into the layers of material as well. He showed me how to secure it in the back with the extra material hanging there.
On the same visit I learned about the szi'euk, I also had the pleasure of learning about another common garment. Several ladies had come to barter for some jewelry that caught their eyes. I admit, I must have been staring at them a bit longer than they liked, because they commented on my gaze. I am sure they could see me blush as I stuttered over my apologies. Trying to cover up my embarrassment, I asked about their bodices as I had noted they were wrapped about their bodies and looked similar to their szi'euk.
They told me it was called a szi'bai and was a very common form of top with the women. It consisted of a single piece of material that is draped around the neck, then crossed in the front before being pinned or tied off around the waist. These can be made from any available materials as well as be dyed and adorned as needed. The ladies noted that they could be worn everyday or for special occasions.
They told me the ones they were wearing were made from barkcloth. A special cloth crafted from the fibers of the inner bark of a tree. I noted that some had them pinned, while others had them tied or tucked to keep them secure, and they could be fastened in the front or the back.
Most commonly harvested from the lacebark tree, barkcloth can be crafted from many other species, although the quality of the material will vary. The bark is removed from the tree, and the soft, fibrous inner bark is carefully removed in long strips. These strips are soaked and then beaten into lengths of a soft, parchment-like material that can be wrapped for use as clothing.
Deep in the jungles, pockets of dragon fruit groves have been discovered and cultivated for raising su'chao'ani, special caterpillar larve. They thrive on the long, leathery leaves. These pale green caterpillars are coveted for the threads that can be harvested from their cocoons and spun into silk. The silk produced from these rainforest creatures have a natural shimmer to them, making garments seem as if they are changing color as the wearer moves.
The Dhe'nar have learned to break apart the cocoons and spin the fibers into silk thread. It can be soaked in dye to create beautifully patterned or colorful cloth without losing the natural shimmer. The silk fabric is usually worn by those of higher rank, but it is not uncommon for anyone in the populace to own at least one item made from the material to wear for special occasions.
The Dhe'nar are reluctant to use it for trade, but in rare cases have supplied small amounts to acquire something they desire.
Natural Plant Weaves
Many natural fabrics can be woven from plants in the jungle areas of Sharath and Eh'lah. Hemp and linen are frequently used cloths. It is common to see the pale blue flowers of flax plants in terraced garden beds.
Furs and skins
The local fauna provides a wide variety of furs and leathers.
The soft, short fur of the Kish is often worn by the elite. The creatures have a wide variety of coloring in their fur as well as different patterns of spots and florets depending on their location.
The skin of the Nhil'mon is coveted by many for its supple strength. Although it is superior to other leathers, only Dhe'nar who kill one on their Great Hunt are allowed the honor.
The higher the rank, the more adornment one will see in Dhe'nar garments. They are known to be beaded with gemstones and polished rocks found in the jungle. Metallic threading is used in embroidery. Stamping with natural plant dyes as well as embossing leather are common practices. Pins or brooches crafted from a wide variety of metals are used for securing garments.
While clothing can be adorned in many ways, it is not done for vanity; it is done to indicate something significant about the wearer. Prowess in battle and at the hunt as well as ranking in society are all common reasons for adornment.
Some information is taken from original documentation created by members of The Obsidian Tower.
- The skins and pelts from the creatures in the Creatures of Eh'lah and Sharath Document are not available for alterations unless supplied.