Also called "The State of Glorious Art", Skianz is an underground, totally dark, region situated in the western part of Arandi.
Home of the Prevaz, Skianz, or High Art in the native's tongue, is a strange, hostile region. The whole region is covered in pitch-black darkness and everything that lives down here is adapted to this harsh environment perfectly. However, for one with sufficient light and/or other means of observing their surroundings, Skianz is a strange place indeed. The temperature in Skianz is around 22 C, owing the heat to the large number of hot water springs in the region. The area itself is rocky, the rocks often clad with bleak mosses and fungi of many kinds living of the nutrients brought up by these vents. Due to the darkness, there isn't much other plant-life. Animals, most of which eyeless and relying on other means of getting around, are a somewhat common occurrence, although not as prominent as on the surface. The many lakes and pools, formed by run-water from the vents, are full of bleaks eels and other forms of life.
In the middle of the pitch dark cavernous region on the outskirts of Skianz’s capital, stands the Clehti, or the Clock-tower in the common tongue. The Clehti is massive tower like structure, curving and twisting in ways that almost seem to break the rules of reality. Locals revere this place for its haunting appearance, for it is the place where young Prevaz make their first step into adulthood. When a Prevaz reaches adulthood, the young one is taken to one of the many unfinished extremities of the tower, the ends of which are sunken deep into the surrounding rock. There, in the unfinished parts of the Clehti, the young Prevaz makes his or her home for approximately 35 hours, or as the elder say: “The time the heart of the earth needs to rise up, create the basis of art, and cool down for those willing to perfect it”. After that time, the Prevaz will have made his or her mark upon the Clehti for all eternity and is considered an adult. Thousands of Prevaz have done this, making the Clehti a haunting, yet beautiful place for those with the ability to see it, with without light is almost impossible.
Skianz is a strange and dark place, but within its darkness, great treasures shine. The Prevaz want to share the Prevaz Art they are so obsessed with, as everyone sees something else in the often mindboggling pieces of art the Prevaz artists create. Some of the statues and paintings they create reflect reality, some in amazing detail, although the colors of the paintings oftentimes make no sense. Their song, often in their native language, are often hard to sing, but carry fine melodies and rhythms. Some art is surreal, with everybody that lays eyes or ears on it feeling differently. Some confused, some strangely enlightened. It’s this individuality that the Prevaz like and are keen to share and get to know. Most of exported Art are statues and paintings.
Due to a shortage of metals, metal statues and other art made of metal is very rare. As such, the Prevaz want to import more Metals to quench this need.
The Prevaz are led by two leaders, a married couple, who together are called the Lymners of Skianz. They are chosen when the one of the last couple stands down from power, after which her partner does so as well and retires.
After that, a contest is held between the top artists of the society, those between 20-50 years old and are single. At the end of the contest, the male and female winners are chosen using a jury made up of the finest and oldest craftmen and women of Skianz. The winners then marry and they assume power. As Prevaz so beautiful and skilled, surely they also have the means and prowess to lead the Prevaz in their searches and endeavors, until the circle is repeated again.
The rest of the Prevaz are organized into families, with the youngest adults (30 years-40 years) lead the family. There are a multitude of families, each specialized in their own art. Each Strem is considered equal, because each art form has it's own value and cannot be quantified. An exception to this are those old veteran artists of extremely high skill that make up the socalled Konsel. The Konsel is tasked with choosing the next ruling couple and will provide advice after the choosing has been done. Another exception are apprentices (Yonker for Male apprentices, Yowynk for Female apprentices), who are often tasked to do activities that higher skilled Prevaz wouldn't like to do. However, they are not considered slaves by any sense of the word and are still treated with a good measure of respect. Apprentices are mostly made up of Prevaz that are born in a certain Strem but are found to have their biggest potential in another Strem. These young Prevaz will seek out a master at the age of 15-20 and will be under his supervision for around 10 years, after which they are elevated from apprentice to regular artist status. Around 1 every 5 Prevaz end up being apprentices.
The family of the drawers and painters
This family is responsible for all great paintings made in Skianz. The individuals in this family are heavily trained in distinguishing different textures in great detail. Although they still cannot distinguish colours, to see graphite or ink on parchment, enabling them to read letters written by other races. Out of all the other Strems, the Lymnanstrem have the most detailed vision. In addition, they are skilled chemists, relying on a combination of released heat, smell and consistency of the liquid to mix pigments and brew other items. Also, some of them act as investigators or trackers.
Artform: Painters, Drawers.
Additional Professions: Alchemists, Investigators, Tracker.
The family of the sculptors
The architects and builders of Prevaz society, the Delowstrem are responsible for nearly all buildings in Skianz. They are trained in enlarging the range of their “echo-vision” as much as possible, enabling them to see the bigger picture. Due to their efforts, they made Gwithva into one whole. Due to the range of their vision, in times of need, they are used as scouts. They have a very wide field of view and can cover a vast range of view. Even if they are not as minutely precise as those of the Lymnanstrem, close to nothing can escape their "sight".
Additional Professions: Architects, Builders, Scouts.
The family of the singers
Even though it is dark in the vast caverns of Skianz, more often than not songs can be heard echoing through the blackness. Haunting and beautiful, visitors often think the caverns haunted because of this. However, once they reach the source of the sounds, they will find the Prevaz as the source. An entire clan is dedicated to perfecting the art of song. The Kanstrem make sure it is never totally silent in the capital and villages of Skianz. In their songs, strong emotions can be heard, flowing with the notes of the songs themselves. The Prevaz of the Kanstrem are often send as diplomats, for they are able to notice lies and shifts in emotion quite easily compared to other Prevaz. Also, these Prevaz act as interrogators when things get really ugly.
Additional Professions: Diplomats, Interrogators, Lie Detectors.
The family of the storytellers
Stories, history, myths and folklore. These are but a small subset of things that the Drollastrem seeks to record for future generations. Having trained their memory for their entire life, they write up and research every bit of information they can get their hands on. Also, they are quite fond of telling stories to visitors, telling them in haunting detail and intonation. Their vocal and echo abilities are a mix of those of the Lymnanstrem and the Kanstrem. They need to be able to distinguish ink and other methods of encryption and they need to be able to tell a compelling and convincing story aswell. What sets them apart from other Strems is their trained memory.
Additional Professions: Scholars, Information collecting and indexing.
The family of bodily beauty and dancing
Seductive, beautiful and artistic, the Korfstrem use their own body as their canvas. Striving for perfect beauty, they make sure they are in perfect health, which requires some knowledge of Prevaz autonomy and diet. They are vivid dancers, the best of them able to entrance people with fluid movements and choreography. The Korfstrem are the ones best suited for social problem solving, through diplomatic or more bodily means. Also, due to their knowledge of medicine and health, they are the healers and doctors of Prevaz society.
Artform: Dancing, Looking Pretty.
Additional Professions: Social Problem solvers, doctors/healers.
As a last thing of note, it might appear that farmers are absent from this list. As everybody obviously requires food, the task of hunting and gathering food items is split evenly among all Strems and individuals.
Also, every Prevaz belongs to a Strem, chosen to the art where the individual is most proficient in. Bad artists are not shunned, as that would be very impolite. Art that is made with effort and the heart of the artist in it always deserves some measure of praise, even if the quality is lacking.
List of current and past leaders:
Kara (Lymnanstrem) and Jentyl (Lymnanstrem)
Gwithva (Population: 400.000): The capital of the Prevaz, Gwithva is a shining example of Prevaz artisanship. The buildings in Gwitva seamlessly flow into one another, giving the impression that the city is built from one greater whole. On the outskirts of Gwitva stands the Clehti, the building rising high above the city. Large therms can be found all across the city, allowing the Prevaz to maintain their body temperature. Not that anyone would see it though, as the whole city is pitch and pitch black. The Prevaz can see the city well enough with their echolocation, but an outsider would have a hard time getting around. Fortunately, the Prevaz do allow torches and other sources of light to be used by outsiders, but not in places that would pose a fire hazard.