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Alperkin

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Alperkin
Flag of The Alperkin
Flag
Coat of Arms of The Alperkin
Coat of Arms
Motto: "Jed Eä I Nanä" (The Far Are Near)
Anthem:
Location of The Alperkin
Map versions TBA
Capital TBA
Largest city Alpazkigz
Official language(s) Alpazkigz
Official religion(s) Alpazkigz Religion
Demonym Alpazkigz
 - Adjective Assorted
Government Tribal
 - Jed Janavasu-lile (The Heavenlet) TBA
 - The Ashk TBA
 - Legislature TBA
Establishment 37.62 PSSC (6/13/18)
Area ~ TBA sqkm
Population TBA (37.62 PSSC)
Currency Faznamä
Abbreviation ALP
Driving side
Time zone(s)
National website N/A
National forum N/A
National animal Chamois
National food Noctic Rabrev Leaf
National drink Noctic Rabrev Stem Milk
National tree Noctic-Rabrev

The Alperkin is a woodland region defined by a loose confederacy which exists between the nomadic bands of practitioners of the Alpazkigz Religion, which centers around the extensive consumption of the crop known as Noctic-Rabrev, and the worship of the vampiric alps who inhabit the wild shores of northwestern Lake Morovia.

Alperkin is one of a handful of nations which comprise the Bassarid Periphery.

Contents

History

Origin

The Alperkin are an population of indigenous Haifans and Kralians who have long inhabited the haunted shores of northwestern Lake Morovia. Despite their long history in the region, the Alperkin were not formally documented by any major foreign power until 1661 AN, when the government of Caputia delayed re-settlement operations in order to conduct an investigation into the lifestyles, traditions, and habits of the region's indigenous people.

Timeline

The existence of each individual Alpazkigz community or tribe centers around the worship of at least one adult alp, such as the High Alp which is pictured. Such alps, in turn, live on at least a part-time basis amongst their communities of worshippers.
Date Event Significance
TBA PSSC (04.VII.1661) Caputian travelers report tales of mimic vampires. Caputian travelers seeking to settle along the northern shores of Lake Morovia report the presence of elf-worshipping mimic vampires in the region. These reports prompt investigations by the Caputian military and New Zimian War League.
TBA PSSC (11.IX.1661 - 08.X.1662) Colonization of Southern Alperkin Despite its supportive overtures, the Alpazkigz quietly and covertly opposes the efforts of the Caputian Resettlement Administration, which oversees the settlement of citizens of the defunct states of Neo Patrovia and Monoviaville in the southernmost lands claimed by Alperkin.
38.12 PSSC () War and Defeat Alperkin military forces, known collectively as the Baratar, are overcome by the Anti-Noctic League, a paramilitary organization which represents the Greater Morovian Independence Initiative, resulting in the hostile occupation of most of the region known as Independent Alperkin
38.28 PSSC () Establishment of Alperkin Frontier Confronting an increase in Caputian settlement in its southern territories, and the hostile occupation of its borders by the Anti-Noctic League, the Alpazkigz authorizes settlement in the region known as the Alperkin frontier.
38.90 PSSC () Overthrow of Caputian Alperkin Foreign authorities operating in the region known as Caputian Alperkin are overthrown by Odiferae para-military forces supported by rogue elements within the Baratar.
38.94 PSSC () The Great Gorge Neo-Patrovans in Alperkin - fearing for their lives as they are increasingly targeted by radical practitioners of the Alperkin religion - emigrate from the region en masse.
38.94 PSSC () - TBD PSSC Operation Bloodlet The New Zimian War League launches, as part of its campaign against the Greater Morovian Independence Initiative in the aftermath of the Haifan Civil War, an operation aimed at reducing and ultimately eliminating the influence of the Anti-Noctic League. Alperkin traders seize upon the opportunity and organize in an effort to re-claim, and re-establish control of the Noctic-Rabrev trade. They are only partly successful in this effort. As the New Zimian War League shifts its focus from the Greater Morovian Independence Initiative towards Jezeri Separatists, the Baratar, working with the Noctic Fleet, launches a campaign aimed at re-establishing Alperkin control over a handful of "Blood Orchards" which have been captured through force by the Anti-Noctic League. As the conflict escalates, fighting begins to spill over into the territory of Vaeringheim, resulting in the deaths and kidnappings of Bassarid citizens. The conflict's spill-over into Vaeringheim prompts the New Zimian War League to weigh the possibility of direct intervention.While Alperkin traders re-gain some portion of market, the Anti-Noctic League nevertheless remains firmly in control.
40.54 PSSC () The Mandate of Tarnation After years of conflict and disagreement, the Alperkin and the Odiferae agree to peace under terms of an agreement known as the Mandate of Tarnation. According to these terms, the two tribes pledge to work towards the establishment of a formal political union.
40.77 PSSC () Re-Establishment of Control United in their ambitions and goals following the ratification of the Mandate of Tarnation, the major clans combine their efforts to finally overcome the Morovian Nationalist Anti-Noctic League in the struggle for control of the Noctic trade routes in the region surrounding Lake Morovia. The loss of these trade routes proves a devastating blow to the greater Morovian Independence Movement, which - still weakened by the prolonged effects of the Haifan Civil War - now begins to lose its remaining supporters by the handful. Many of those who now abandon Morovian Nationalism attempt with a moderate level of success to pursue amnesty with the Bassarid government in Abeis. Others, however, are quick to fall under the now expanding influence of the Alperkin.

Soon after the defeat of the Anti-Noctic League, local authorities discover in the Passasian city of Northman, not far from the ancient ruins of the capital of the original republic, an elaborate temple devoted to Tar. Although the Temple is destroyed by authorities, there is no formal investigation regarding its background, or its ties to a potential Noctic industry in Passas, even despite apparent pressure from the Empress herself.

Geography

A map which highlights the various distinct geographic regions of Alperkin.

Climate and Topography of Alperkin

Climate V Elevation >
Sea Level Coastal Plains High Plains Highlands Mountains
Dwa - X X
Dsd - X X

Coastal Woodlands

The Coastal Woodlands lie in Alperkin's southeastern region. These sparse oak woodlands, which mark the border between Alperkin and the Bassarid territory of Vaeringheim, are a major corridor for illegal blood-trafficking; it is through this region that unsanctioned blood traders most commonly deliver blood, or blood slaves, under the cover and protection of night. This fact is an ongoing source of contention between the Alpazkigz and the Haifo-Pallisican Imperial Trade Union, which has in the past weighed the possibility of deploying troops into and occupying the region so as to mitigate and ultimately eliminate illegal blood trafficking.

Southern Odiferae Wetlands

The Southern Odiferae Wetlands are littered with ancient ruins believed to have been constructed by the Alps themselves prior to the emergence of the races of man. Some of these ancient ruins are still inhabited by Dark Alps and their faithful followers.

The Southern Odiferae Wetlands extend across most of southern Alperkin. The dark, imposing swamps found in this region mark the border between Alperkin and the Bassarid territory of Lewisburg. The Southern Odiferae Wetlands are divided from most of the nation's territory by the River Noctis, Alperkin's largest navigable waterway. The Southern Odiferae wetlands are home to a community of Alperkin known as the Mesmeria, an off-shoot of the Odiferae driven from their land centuries ago, who build their settlements in the branches of the Blood-Bulb Willow, a gigantic, bio-luminescent tree which features leaves that at night can be seen flashing deep red in an apparent pattern which is known to leave observers mesmerized and helpless. The Mesmeria differ from most other Alperkin tribes insofar as they emphasize the worship of Saline as their premier deity, rather than the worship of Tar.

Gloom Forest of Perpetual Autumn

A group of Alperkin women camp in the Gloom Forest of Perpetual Autumn.

The Gloom Forest of Perpetual Autumn extends across most of the central region of southern Alperkin. In the heart of this sacred region one finds the Amanitian Lowlands - the abode of Tar - where the people of Alperkin bury their dead in the deep, ancient tar-pits which are found here. Noctic-Rabrev grows in extreme abundance in this region. Outsiders are strictly prohibited from entering the inner reaches of the Gloom Forest of Perpetual Autumn.

Northern and Western Highlands

The Alperkin people tend to avoid the highlands which mark the region's northern and western borders out of fear of ghosts, or wisps.

The Northern and Western highlands are hilly, semi-mountainous regions which mark the inland borders of the lands claimed by the Alperkin nation. This highland region divides Alperkin from the Green of central Keltia. Although the ghosts of the Strait of Haifa are present throughout Alperkin, they are particularly abundant in the nation's Highland regions. It is, to this end, not uncommon for blood-traders making the dangerous journey through these lands, to illegally hire the support and protection of the Couriers of the Lizard Queen.

Overview of Customs

Architecture

The Yurt

A figure stands in the doorway of an extravagant Alperkin yurt found for a time in the Amanitian Lowlands.

Well suited to the nomadic lifestyle of the region's people, yurts are central to Alperkin architecture.

The Yurt-Story

Using local hieroglyphics, individual Alperkin families are known to record their histories on the walls of their own yurts. The histories of communities may be recorded on yurts owned by local chieftains or shamans. In addition to such histories, the walls of yurts owned by local shamans are often inscribed with he names of significant patron alps. It is believed that alps may reside in any yurt inscribed with their name. The walls of the residence of the Heavenlet, in the Alpazkigz, tell the entire history of the Alperkin region and its people.

Alpazkigz

Described by outsiders as "a tent city within a tent," the Alpazkigz is a massive, completely enclosed city of palatial yurts which, as the home of the Heavenlet, serves as the capital of the region of Alperkin. Like all other Alperkin communities, the Alpazkigz is not a permanent settlement. Rather, the complex is constructed in the period surrounding the Cricket-Rise Festival, and is de-constructed following the Cricket-Fall Festival. In the weeks surrounding the Silence, the entire city is relocated to a different part of the Alperkin region.

The Canïfaha

The Canïfaha tend to be constructed on top of special platforms found in specific locations around the region A single Canïfaha may be shared by multiple Alperkin communities.

Alperkin temples are known as Canïfaha. These locations, which are present in virtually all communities in the region, serve as centers of Alperkin ritual worship, and are the home of chief priests and priestesses of the Alperkin religion. In some cases High Alps may also reside in Canïfaha, along with their attendant Dark Alps and companion Savage Alps. Tar, the King of the High Alps, is said to reside during the season of Fall-to-Winter at the Graji Canïfaha, in the tent city of Alpazkigz. The timing of Tar's departure from the Graji Canïfaha corresponds to the beginning of the Cricket Rise Festival.

Non-practitioners of the Alperkin religion are strictly forbidden from entering the Canïfaha. In some cases, attempts to enter these Alperkin temples may result in death.

Calendar

The Liturgical Calendar.

The Alperkin Calendar is divided into four distinct seasons. The first of these is the season of Winter-to-Spring. The second is Spring-to-Summer. The fourth is Summer-to-Fall. The fourth is Fall-to-Winter. Each of these seasons is defined by its own respective holiday. The changing of the seasons is marked by the varying sounds of insects, and by the changing color of the Noctic-Rabrev. During Winter-to-Spring, the Noctic-Rabrev is completely green. During Spring-to-Summer, the Noctic-Rabrev features a green to bluish-green stem with purple flowers. In Summer-to-Fall, the Noctic takes on a completely bluish-green appearance. In Fall-to-Winter the Noctic-Rabrev becomes completely grey or grey-brown.

Winter-to-Spring: Cricket Rise Festival

The holiday which defines the Winter-to-Spring season is the Cricket-Rise Festival, which commemorates the re-emergence of the crickets from their winter-time dormancy. This holiday is celebrated during the first full moon following the year's first notes of the nocturnal cricket song.

Spring-to-Summer: The Cicada Song Festival

The Cicada Song Festival coincides with the first new moon following the first occurrence of the cicada song, which takes place near the Summer solstice. This is the most important of the Alperkin festivals, insofar as it marks the beginning of the year's annual migration for most of the region's tribes.

Summer-to-Fall: The Cricket Fall Festival

The Cricket Fall Festival takes place during the first full moon following the final occurrence of the cricket song. A dark celebration which commemorates the dead, it is reported that certain Cricket Fall rituals include necromancy and cannibalism.

Fall-to-Winter: The Silence

The Silence is a festival which coincides with the winter solstice. A somber festival, which stands in stark contrast to the boisterous and highly sexualized Cicada Song Festival, rituals and ceremonies associated with the Silence are intended to promote introspective meditation.

Fashion

Pseudo Tarnkappe

The Pseudo Tarnkappe is a common type of every-day hat commonly worn by male and female practitioners of the Alperkin religion, which is designed to resemble the Tarnkappe worn by Alps and by their worshipers during rituals and festivals. In contrast to the Tarnkappe, which is imbued with magical properties by the sacred silk which is produced by the social spiders of Lake Morovia, the non-magical Pseudo Tarnkappe is generally made from cotton, hemp, or other types of common plant fiber or animal skin.

Woolen Robes

The people of Alperkin are known to wear darkly colored, highly ornamental woolen robes, made from the coats of a specific type of domesticated chamois that is native to the highlands which lie to the north of the Alperkin region.

Wading Boots

In terms of footwear, the Alperkin people are known to wear a type of footwear which is designed to keep feet and legs dry in swampy and rainy environments. These boots are often made from the hide of swamp shark.

Diet

Noctic-Rabrev Leaves

Most practitioners of the Alperkin religion are known to consume Noctic-Rabrev leaves such that they are able to maintain the euphoric bloodlust which is associated with Noctic Vampirism, without developing any symptoms of the disease which may eventually lead to death. Some radical practitioners of the religion, however, continue to consume the leaves even after developing lesions and necrosis, often consuming extremely large quantities up until the moment of death. Such people are said to be "Chasing the Emptiness."

Jasmine Rice

Owing to how well it grows in the swamplands of Lake Morovia, brown rice is the most prominent staple of the Alperkin diet. Among the most popular meals which are eaten by the Alperkin people is a combination of rice and shrimp, seasoned to a greater or lesser extent with Noctic-Rabrev.

Atteran Purple Algae

The purple algae which covers large portions of the Lake Morovian wetlands during the Summer can be eaten raw, or dehydrated. The nutritional benefits of this algae, especially when eaten fresh, help to counteract many of the negative symptoms associated with Noctic Vampirism.

Shrimp

Abundant in the shallow, briny waters of Lake Morovia, shrimp provides the main source of protein for the inhabitants of the Alperkin region. Among the most popular dishes in Alperkin society is shrimp gumbo. This dish is nost commonly prepared at the height of the Cricket Fall Festival.

Swamp Shark Soup

Although they are widely revered by the practitioners of the Alperkin religion, the Atteran river shark is often hunted for its meat, which is incorporated into a popular local dish known as Swamp Shark Soup. Regarded as being extremely nutritious, this dish involves boiling shark flesh, along with rice, and occasionally shrimp, in water rich in purple algae. Swamp Shark Soup is a common ritual meal, and is frequently consumed during major religious festivals.

Human Blood

Despite that it possesses no nutritional benefit when consumed, the people of the Alperkin region are known for their insatiable urge to consume fresh human blood. This irrational urge is a result of the extensive consumption of the leaves of Noctic-Rabrev, which is consumed in Alperkin as part of the region's indigenous religion. Although the consumption of raw blood is common, cannibalism - as in the consumption of human flesh - is almost entirely unheard of save for specific ritual events, such as those which surround the Cricket-Fall Festival.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Roasted pumpkin seeds are an every day snack for the people of the Alperkin region. Consumption of pumpkin seeds is closely related to the worship of the demonic entity known as the He Eater of Pumpkin Seeds.

Water Buffalo

The most commonly raised type of livestock in the region surrounding Lake Morovia is the Morovian water buffalo. Such water buffalo are generally raised for their meat which is consumed in place of regular beef, for their milk which is ideal for the production of cheese, and for their blood which may under certain special circumstances, be consumed in place of human blood. Cheese made from water buffalo milk may sometimes be flavored and colored with human blood. This cheese is known locally as Osencakëse, a term which is translated as "essence cheese," or "cheese of essence." It is also the case that the fur covered skin of the water buffalo is eaten in a variety of traditional Alperkin recipes, most of which are regarded by outsiders as being utterly repulsive.

Pickled Chamois Feet Stew

A dish which is prepared over the course of several weeks, and which can be made to last for years at a time, Pickled Chamois Feet Stew is a favorite meal of Alperkin children, who often do not have a taste for dishes such as Swamp Shark Soup.


Religious Beliefs

Theology

Alp-Worship

The Alperkin Religion centers around the worship of the vampiric elves known as alps, who have inhabited the shores of Lake Morovia since before the beginnings of human settlement in the region. Believed to be close relatives of the Vae for which the city of Vaeringheim is named, there are - according to the Alperkin Religion - two types of alps which may be worshiped: High Alps, and Dark Alps.

High Alps

When summoned through ritual conjuration, Tar appears as a masked, bearded satyr, dressed in robes adorned with bones. Tied to hist waist with a rope is a bottle of wine. Perched on his right arm is his constant companion, the owl. In his left hand he wields an ancient variant of the tar worm spear. In this form, Tar is known to wear on his back the shell of a Morovian Swamp Tortoise.

High Alps are those alps who are worshiped by the tribes of the Alperkin region. Such alps are often public figures, who interact on a regular basis in human society. The most important of these is an ancient, horned High Alp named Tar. It is widely believed within Alperkin society that Tar is the god which provided humanity with the illicit, dark power of Mask Changing.

Similar to High Alps are Emperalps, a class of Alps who are believed to be born from the shedding hair and skin of the Host Spirit. The nature of Emperalps is not well understood, and their existence is not fully accepted by all practitioners of the Alperkin religion.

Dark Alps

Like Tar, Saline can be conjured through a certain set of precisely executed rituals. When summoned, Saline appears as a fearsome, bearded Sea-Satyr with a pair of great bull-horns, wearing a crown, and robes adorned with the bones of Swamp Sharks. In his right hand, Saline holds a wooden bowl filled with his own blood, which he offers to followers in exchange for their souls. In his left hand he wields an ancient variant of the tar worm spear, a symbol which is common to all of the widely revered High and Dark Alps. Rats are known to gather in places where Saline is ritually conjured. They have, to this end, become a symbol of Saline's influence in the world.

Dark Alps are those alps which are not widely worshiped by any major Alperkin tribes. Such alps do not tend to interact with humans, save for whatever few rural worshipers they might enjoy, preferring instead to remain as much as possible in the shadows of nature. Certain lesser Dark Alps may be classified as Duende or more commonly, Kobold. These Alps are known to reside, with permission or not, within the dark recesses of family or individual homes or communities.

The most prominent of the Dark Alps is Saline, the King of the Sea-Satyrs. According to Alperkin tradition, Saline - whose own abode us in the depths of Lake Morovia and in the swamps of the southern reaches of the Alperkin region - is a close friend and rival of Tar. The two divine Alps maintain a level of friendly competition, as both vie for control of the hearts and minds of the region's people.

Savage Alps

As the souls of the insane travel along the Path Which Leads to the Emptiness, they are required to read from the book which Defiance keeps strapped to his back - the Book of Longing, which is said to contain the complete knowledge of the universe and its secrets. Only those who are able to read the Book of Longing in its entirety are permitted to enter into the Emptiness. All others fall prey to the Savage Alp called Perish, who haunts the Path Which Leads to the Emptiness. Defiance is known to collect and carry the bones of such unfortunate souls using his tail, perhaps as a warning to those seeking to reach the Emptiness.

Savage Alps are those which exist entirely in nature, engaging in virtually no interactions with humans save for those they might kill and eat. Most notable among the races of the Savage Alps are the kings of the vampiric Sasquatch tribes who inhabit the northern reaches of the Strait of Haifa. It is believed that in very rare cases, exposure to the blood or saliva of the Savage Alps of the Gloom Forest of Perpetual Autumn can cause the development of lycanthropy in certain predisposed practitioners of the Alperkin religion. Although they are not generally widely worshiped by the Alperkin people, certain Savage Alps are known to engage in the ritual worship of High and Dark Alps, such as Saline and Tar. The High Alp most widely worshiped of all Savage Alp gods is Defiance, the Mule of Tar, an elephant headed centaur who carries upon its back the insane who have reached the Path Which Leads to the Emptiness.

Half-Alps

The term Half-Alp is used to refer to any individual who is conceived as a result of a sexual relationship between an alp father and a human mother, or who is conceived under highly particular circumstances by two human parents who are severely infected with Noctic-Vampirism. Half-Alps are revered in Alperkin society, and often serve as political and social leaders within tribal communities. The most revered and honored are the hermaphroditic half-alps, who represent around 15% of the total half-alp population.

Alperkin ("Mimics")

Colloquially referred to as Mimics, the Alperkin are a regional, religious community of humans and hominids who in order to emulate their alp-gods, engage in the extensive ritual consumption of the leaves of the Noctic-Rabrev. Alperkin can be divided into at least two distinct cultural groups: Alpazkigz and Odiferae. These two groups can be divided into several less distinct sub-groups. Among the more notable sub-groups of the Odiferae is the Mesmeria, a community of tree-dwelling Alperkin who reside permanently in the Southern Odiferae Wetlands.

Nonkin

The term "Nonkin" is used to describe residents of the Alperkin region, who do not participate in the ritual practices of their Alperkin neighbors, and who generally do not engage in the consumption of the leaves of Noctic-Rabrev, though they may consume the plant in other forms. Life in Alperkin is difficult for people classified as Nonkin, insofar as they are generally excluded from every day social life, and are often preyed upon for their blood. The number of Nonkin in the Alperkin region has fluctuated in modern times, owing to factors such as immigration from Neo Patrova, the Haifan Civil War, and the subsequent annexation of Haifa by the Bassarids. As cities such as Vaeringheim and Lewisburg have grown since the end of civil war in the region, the number of Nonkin has increased considerably. The Bassarids for their part have adopted informal measures aimed at protecting Nonkin from practitioners of the Alperkin religion who may seek to harvest their blood.

Scripture

The Hymns of the Tarcreep

The Hymns of the Tarcreep contain the ritual knowledge which sits at the heart of every-day and ceremonial Alperkin religious life.

The Alpernomicon

The Alpernomicon is a collection of written rituals and incantations which can be used by practitioners of the Alperkin religion to conjure spirits, including notable high Alps.

The Songs of the Gorging One

The Songs of the Gorging One is a collection of the 321 myths and fables which constitute the body of Alperkin mythology. These stories, which represent the final appeals of a poet eaten by Tar himself during the Every-So-Often, are read aloud in their entirety, in public spaces during the height of the Cricket Fall Festival. To be selected to read the Songs of the Gorging One during this Cricket Fall Festival is considered a great honor.

Eschatology

The Tar-Creep

"The Tar-Creep" refers to the idea that in the end of days, all of Lake Morovia, and perhaps the entire Valley of Haifa, will be flooded by an uninhabitable sea of tar. As evidence of this belief, which is similar to the Bassarid belief in the "Mother of the World Fungus," practitioners point to the average annual increase in the size of the tar-pits for which the northwestern shores of Lake Morovia are widely known.

Tar Funerals

On the basis of their belief in the concept of Tar-Creep, practitioners of the Alperkin religion are regarded for their unique funeral customs, which involve submerging the mummified corpses of the dead in sacred tar-pits. Certain individual tar-pits in the Alperkin region, for this reason, are believed to be filled with hundreds to thousands of human corpses. Among the most significant of such tar-pits are those found in the perpetual shadow of the immense fungal carcasses which define the landscape of the Amanitian Lowlands, a network of valleys which extend through the heart of the Gloom Forest of Perpetual Autumn.

Noctic Smoke Mummies

Prior to undergoing tar-burial, most individual corpses are mummified through a process which involves prolonged significant exposure to the smoke of large quantities of burning Noctic-Rabrev. This process of mummification serves a twofold purpose. On one hand, it serves to help ensure the physical and spiritual preservation of the individual corpse. On the other, it helps to protect corpses from the appetite of the region's vicious tar-worms.

The Emptiness

Similar in principle to the concept of the Inner World in the Pallisican Religion, and the State of Madness as described by the Stripping Path, The Emptiness is a type of enlightenment which is believed to arise as a result of the consumption of extremely high levels of Noctic-Rabrev.

Religious Practices

Sacraments

The Blood-Share

The main event of the annual Cricket-Fall Festival, the Blood-Share is a term used to describe a series of bizarre and gruesome rituals in which the vampiric practitioners of the Alperkin religion share blood, saliva, and other bodily fluids with one another, in an effort to induce intense dreams and nighttime visions. This ritual is intended to promote contact with the dead and the gods of the dead. The herb mugwort is also consumed in large quantities during this festival - a practice which reflects the syncretic influence of the Bassarid religion which places an emphasis on the worship of a lesser goddess known as Mistress Mugwort. Certain sects of the Alperkin engage during the Blood-Share in rituals involving face-changing, or maskmaking. This practice is based on the deeply held belief that it was Tar, who after taking pity upon a love-stricken fugitive, provided mankind with the knowledge of the dark magic known as identity alteration. Practices involving face-changing reached an all-time high in Alperkin following the ascension of Díapaza Bréidle - a High Priestess of Blore Heath's Cult of Maskmakers - to the position of Crown of Passio-Corum.

The Gorge and The Hunt

The Gorge refers to the three-week period prior to the beginning of the annual Cicada-Song Festival, in which practitioners of the Alperkin Religion increase their consumption of Noctic-Rabrev leaves by as much as three times. This dietary ritual is a precursor to the Hunt, in which practitioners of the religion hunt, and drink the blood, of non-practitioners. Both the Gorge and the Hunt serve to commemorate the Vengeance of Tar, which was first outlined in reports by the Caputian Reconnaissance Mission of 1661-1662 AN.

The Gorge and the Hunt are sometimes followed by the Every-So-Often, a holiday that is not celebrated by Alperkin, but by Alps themselves. During this celebration, High and Dark Alps join together in an extravagant feast of living human flesh, and bathe in the blood of willing sacrifices. On very rare occasions, certain notable humans are invited to participate in the Every-So-Often as the personal guests of Tar. The last human to enjoy this honor was Heavenlet Sulféu I. Following his attendance at the festival, Sulféu I was torn to shreds and eaten by his three eldest daughters, driven to madness by the Dark Alp Saline.

The Blood-Let

The Blood-Let is a ritual which marks the beginning of the Cricket-Rise Festival, which is defined by practices involving extreme self-mutilation, and blood-letting. Such rituals are regarded as purifying and redeeming, and are intended to prepare practitioners of the religion for the coming year. It is during the Blood-Let that young children receive their Nazht Masks, the sacred masks made from the wood of nightmare pines, which they are expected to wear in public at all times until their coming of age celebrations which occur ten years later.

Symbols

The Chamois

The Chamois is regarded within the Alperkin Religion, due to its apparent high tolerance for the extremely potent psycho-active properties of the leaves of the Noctic-Rabrev. The chamois is symbolic of universal duality. On one hand immunities and tolrances possessed by the chamois lend the species a sense of order and sobriety, it is also the case that every so often, chamois who consume Noctic while pregnant may give birth to mutant offspring, which prefer the taste of blood and flesh to that of grass and tree bark. Such vicious offspring are known to frequently eat their mothers and siblings alive soon after birth. In the case of chamois born in captivity, the birth of such a mutant can bear a crippling impact upon a ranch or herd.

The Harpy

Owing to the influence of the Bassarid Religions of Lake Morovia, the Harpy is revered within the Alperkin religion, on the basis of a myth which holds that the first vampire was born when a harpy mated with a chamois. The Harpy, in the Alperkin religion, is represented in every-day nature by the glowing sphinx moth which is common across Lake Morovia. Harpies are spiritually closely connected to owls, which are regarded as the companions of Tar, as well as to the whip-poor-will, which is said to carry the souls of the recently deceased to the entrance of the underworld. Harpies are worshiped by the members of a unique, particularly violent Alperkin cult known as The Tabanus.

Closely related to the harpy is the lesser known Mer-Harpy, which is known to reside in the juniper wetlands of the southern Alperkin frontier.

The Goat-Headed Harpy

The Goat-Headed Harpy is the symbol of the first vampire to inhabit the shores of Lake Morovia, who was born to a harpy mother who mated with a god in the form of a chamois.

The Dread Rein

Featuring prominently on the crest of the Alperkin nation, the Dread Rein is the steel chain, lubricated with mugwort oil, which connects humans to the Night Mare, the fearsome beast which drags them on a nightly basis through the realms of sleep and dreams.

The Lotos Faces

The Lotos Faces are a species of predatory, sentient lily-pads which are native to Lake Morovia, which feature a pattern which bears a striking resemblance to a shrieking human face. These peculiar plants are regarded as agents of the Dark Alp, Saline.

The Juniper Tree

The juniper tree, which is common in the eastern reaches of the Alperkin region, is regarded as a result of its fast growth as a symbol of chaos and disorder.

Religious Paraphernalia

Tarnkappe

Made from silk produced by the Tarn-Legs, an unusual type of spider which is native to central Keltia, the Tarnkappe is a hat which is believed to imbue its wearer with the power of invisibility. The Tarnkappe, with this in mind, is often worn by practitioners during certain religious festivals such as the Gorge and the Hunt.

Thyrsus

The thyrsus in the Alperkin religion is a symbol of devotion to Tar, the most revered of the High Alps. The Alperkin religion mandates that any thyrsus which is used in ritual practice should be made from the wood of the region's nightmare pines.

Tar-Worm Spear

The Tar-Worm Spear is a device which is used to subdue the giant predatory worms which inhabit the tar-pits of the Alperkin region, and which are known to feed upon the corpses of humans who have undergone tar funerals.

Tar-Worm Flesh Charms

Practitioners and non-practitioners of the Alperkin religion are known to carry magical charms made from the flesh of Tar-Worms, which serve as wards against the attention of undesirable dark and savage alps.

Government

Political Organization

The Saint Mothers

The Saint Mothers are a convent of Half-Alp high sorceresses who are recognized as the twelve daughters of Tar. The Saint Mothers preside over all meetings between leaders of the Clan Chieftans, and preside over conflicts and disputes between Alperkin clans and tribes. The most powerful of the Saint Mothers is known as Saint Mother Death.

The Clan Chieftans

A portrait of Heavenlet Sulféu III, who governed the Alpazkigz throughout the late 30s and early 40s PSSC. Regarded as one of the great Heavenlets for his role in finally dismantling the Anti-Noctic League in the lands controlled by Alperkin, Sulféu was famous for his facial tattoos, which he received while leading Odiferae forces againt Morovian nationalists during the Haifan Civil War. .

The Clan Chieftans are powerful tribal leaders who are elected within their communities to represent separate, related Alperkin tribes. Their primary role is to serve as intermediary between clans and the Saint Mothers, to petition the Saint Mothers, and to resolve disputes between tribes. Only the Heavenlet, the Chieftan Father, may be allowed to engage in diplomatic discussions with foreign nations on behalf of the Saint Mothers. Each clan is governed by a single Clan Chieftan.

The Tribal Leaders

Tribal Leaders govern individual clans within clans. Tribal leaders are expected to serve as intermediaries between tribes and clan leaders, to petition clan leaders and other tribal leaders, and to resolve conflicts and disputes within individual tribes. Each tribe may feature several Tribal Leaders, and the number may vary depending on circumstances or problems confronting the tribe.

The Family Councils

Family Councils govern individual groups of families within tribes. Such councils, which can be constituted by a range of roles depending on the context and circumstances, serve to resolve disputes within and between families, and to petition tribal leaders on behalf of family members. Within each tribe there may be dozens or hundreds of family councils, and the number may fluctuate according to the needs of groups of families.

Political Divisions

Given the nomadic nature of Alperkin society, political divisions are fairly loose and somewhat arbitrary. With that said, there are two distinct political groups which inhabit the region collectively known as ALperkin: the Alpazkigz, or Alperkin Proper, and the Odiferae. The former of these regions, which spans the coastal woodlands, most of the Gloom Forest of Perpetual Autumn, and the Northern Highlands is regarded as the true homeland of the Alperkin people. The people here worship Tar - whom they regard as the king of the High Alps - and swear loyalty to the Heavenlet, Tar's chosen representative among men. The latter region, which spans the Southern Odiferae Wetlands, most of the Alperkin Frontier, and parts of the Gloom Forest, is home to a loose confederation of Alperkin tribes who reject Alpazkigz rule, and who are regarded across Lake Morovia for the particular savagery of their religious rites and rituals. The tribe and clan leaders of the Alpazkigz and the Odiferae maintain unfriendly relations with one another, though their mutual animosity has not historically prevented them from uniting to oppose foreign forces, such as those representing the colonial governments of Caputia, the Morovian nationalist Anti-Noctic League, or the ever-persistent Bassarids traders and mercenaries who constantly seek to expand their foothold in Alperkin lands.

Foreign Affairs

Relations with the Bassarids

Relations between the Alpazkigz and the Bassarids are defined by divisions regarding the use of Noctic-Rabrev. While it is the case that the flowers of the Noctic plant are used extensively within the Bassarids in the production of certain types of alcohol, the consumption of the plant's leaves is strictly prohibited within the Haifo-Pallisican Imperial Trade Union. This prohibition has contributed to a level of informal tension between the Bassarids and the Alpazkigz.

Due to its support for the Noctic-Rabrev trade in central Keltia, the Alperkin nation is regarded by the Bassarids as being a criminal enterprise.

Relations with Caputia

Relations between the Alpazkigz and Caputia were defined by conflicting territorial claims along the northwestern shore of the Lake Morovia Basin. They were furthermore complicated by what the Alpazkigz perceived as an unwillingness by the government of Caputia to ratify a formal agreement which would help to settle territorial disputes. Despite these disagreements, the two nations nevertheless maintained a generally neutral relationship, until 38.90 when the Caputian regional authority was deposed by the Odiferae and its allies in the Baratar.

Relations with the Greater Morovian Independence Initiative

The Alpazkigz is highly opposed to the Greater Morovian Independence Initiative, regarding it as an aggressive destabilizing force which seeks to dominate the native peoples of Lake Morovia. The two nations maintain a state of active hostility, in which the Independence Initiative has - in an effort to co-opt and capitalize upon the regional Noctic trade - invaded and conquered a significant portion of Alperkin territory.

Law and Order

Law Enforcement

Although there is a central code of laws which broadly governs the Alperkin nation, which is dictated by the Saint Mothers, laws in Alperkin generally vary from tribe to tribe. Laws are furthermore enforced within individual tribes, by individuals and groups of individuals appointed by Tribal Leaders. Clan Chiefs may provide some legal and logistical support with respect to individual tribal law, in light of extraordinary circumstances.

Military

The Baratar

The Baratar is a military force which defends the Alperkin region under the command of leaders - typically notable and experienced war-chiefs - who are appointed by the Council of Saint Mothers.

The Noctic Fleet

The Noctic Fleet is a community of Alperkin pirates who operate in the waters and dense swamps of Lake Morovia. The pirates of the Noctic Fleet are known for their worship of the Dark Alp Goddess Palina Palina, who gave birth to Tar, the King of the High Alps.