Farou, also known as Faron, was a civilization in the Helsia, reaching its height of power shortly before the War of the Crimson Elephant, wherein much of the nation was pillaged and burned by the Satar. Its history is closely interwined with that of the Hu'ut Empire, due to the history of the Faroun as slaves, and a series of subsequent wars between the two powers.
It was finally broken up after the Satar invasion into a series of successor states under different dynasties: the Maeriouhau in the north, conquered by the Empire of Helsia, the Surubaida o Aramaia in the south, also fallen to Helsia, and Faerouhaiaou in the highlands in the center, the last independent Faronun state.
Farou was centered around the southern and central regions of the Helsian Peninsula, Its neighbours were the Trilui, to the North and East, and the Hu'ut to the South. Most of the population in the southern coastal plain are Faronun People, while the residents of the Helsian Uplands are Faerouhaiaouan People. The northern coastline of Helsia, along the Lovi Sea, is relatively unpopulated.
Much of the population of Farou was and still is located in the urban centers of the south, such as Farou (now destroyed), Aramaia and Subal. Sahalaheia is the largest city in the central uplands, and Dremai is the major population center and port on the Lovi Coast.
Recorded Faronun history begins with the establishment of the city and country of Farou by a group of escaped Hu'ut slaves. Due to the dissimilarities of Faroun and Hu'ut language and culture, it is generally believed that these slaves were members of a different ethnic group who were conquered early in the history of the First Hu'ut Empire.
Farou's early history was marked by expansion against several minor slaveholding states in Helsia, most notably that of Salei, and societal development. Descendants of the original escaped slaves coalesced into family groups known as Faeoria, and the worship of Haiao became commonplace. The Faroun chose one of their own to be a king, but frequently chose to overthrow their rulers, preventing a dominant line of succession from being established. In this period of Farou, several indecisive wars were fought with the Hu'ut, the only lasting results being a perpetuation of poor relations, and the absorption of the City-State of Subal into Farou.
The extraction and forging of Iron was first mastered during this period, leading to the rapid development of Farou from a backwater to a regional power. The government became organized into the form in which each Faeoria sent a senior representative to speak on its behalf at the Faeoria Council, whose will would then be enacted by the Monarch. Matters of military control were kept strictly out of the Monarch's hands- each Faeoria maintained its own small militia. The largest Faeoria, such as the Aramsayafa and Maeriouhau, maintained standing armies. This structure would remain in place until the War of the Crimson Elephant.
Ever-increasing wealth, and influxes of refugees from other nations, particularly Hamakua, led to a cultural flowering in Farou. Philosophy, Literature, Music and Theatre flourished, particularly in the city of Farou. However, all of this development began to split the population. The northerners, moving in a more spiritual direction, expanded upon their language and began to further develop the mythology of Haiao. Meanwhile, the far more numerous southerners moved in a more pragmatic direction, resulting in a simplification of their complex language and greater interaction with outside nations. Ultimately, this polarization between the 'pure' Faerouhaiaouan culture and the cosmopolitan Faronun culture would prove to be critically divisive.
Rise of the Maeriouhau Edit
Towards the end of the Golden Age, power began to coalesce in the Maeriouhau Faeoria, a powerful family from Dremai (Dema). Through a series of political and marital alliances, the Maeriouhau gained an ever-increasing influence over the Council, and by extension, the Monarchy. This power gain was only solidified by the invasion of Neruss by Emperor Gepo of the Hu'ut Empire.
The Faeoria Council, alarmed by Gepo's ambitions, instantly declared war on the Hu'ut, in defense of Neruss. Sayfo Maeriouhau, at the time a young Patriarch of the Maeriouhau, brokered an alliance between Krato, Neruss, the Union of Aya'se, and Farou. His brother, Faerafaen Maeriouhau, would go on to successfully command the armies of Farou throughout the war.
Dominance and Fall Edit
Following the conquest of the Hu'ut, the Faroun set out to establish a new order in their former enemy, outlawing slavery and establishing new community hierarchies, frequently with former slaves in charge. However, these attempts at social engineering were interrupted with the arrival of the Satar. Much of southern Farou and the Had River was damaged and pillaged by the Satar. While ultimately victorious, the Faroun were badly destabilized by the war. The Hu'ut regained their independence (it should be noted that Hu'ut independence was an intended goal, which was accelerated by the Satar invasion) by their own means, and the lands of the Faronun were depopulated. The Faerouhaiaouans, however, managed to escape almost entirely without losses, upsetting the power balance that had formed in Farou. When Matriarch Laeulayei Maeriouhau attempted to reconvene the Faeoria Council for the first time after the burning of the capital, the Faerouhaiaouans failed to attend, effectively signalling their independence from, and lack of desire to involve themselves in, Faronun politics.
Despite the collapse of Faron, the Helsian Peninsula remained predominately Faronun in culture. With the expansion and collapse of the first Empire of Helsia, it has been argued that the region actually became more Faronun, as the more popululous cultures of Faron integrated with the Triluin ruling class. The Helsian Empire lasted roughly a century before disintegrating in the mid 300s, at which point the Faronun population of the Empire asserted itself. Various Faeoria each established their own states, several of which would claim to be the legitimate Empire of Helsia. A period of internicine warfare and failed attempts to bring about a return to order in the Helsian Peninsula would reign for another century after the first empire's collapse, during which time missionaries of Iralliam and Aitahism drew a religious line through the country, dividing the north and south between their respective faiths. Ultimately, the Faeoria Aramsayafa was able to restore order in the Iralliam south, while the Aitahist north, minus Faerouhaiaou, which had regained independence almost immediately after the Empire's fall, was united by the heirs of the Maeriouhau around the city of Dremai.
Before the War of Three Gods, there were four nations with clear descent from ancient Farou. The Empire of Dremai, in northern Helsia, Faerouhaiaou in the interior Highlands, the reconstituted Empire of Helsia, based in the south, and distant Farea. At the present, only one of these, the Empire of Helsia, maintains a goal of restoring Helsia to political unity.
At the core of Faroun life is the idea of the extended family, the Faeoria. Many Faeoria live as communities, often literally as well as figuratively. Most Faeoria are large enough to avoid significant inbreeding, except in the smallest and most isolated communities. In many of the larger cities, however, many Faeoria live together, and intermarriage is common.
Inheritance in Faroun culture is divided by gender- daughters inherit from their mothers, and sons from their fathers. This is true in cases of family as well as physical inheritance. An interesting result of this is that the gender balances of many Faeoria, particularly the smaller ones, have become quite off-balance.
Organized religion did not have a strong tradition in Farou. Though some Faronun followed foreign religions, the vast majority worshiped Haiao, the Sun, following a complex mythology about the Theraia Earth Spirits, Coraia Water Spirits, and Haiao.
The turmoil that the War of the Crimson Elephant brought turned that on its head -- Faronun started to follow the increasingly evangelist religions of the neighboring lands -- particularly Aitahism and Iralliam.
Faronun theatre can be divided into three main branches. The oldest and simplest, dating back to the earliest days of Farou and still practiced in many of the traditional seasonal festivals, is the Hayaraia, typicall translated as 'Spirit Brotherhood'. Actors wearing highly stylized masks and distinctly coloured robes, each costume representing an entity from Faronun mythology, perform a series of ritualized dances and unadorned speeches, reenacting important historical or mythical events. These characters feature very prominently in many aspects of Faronun culture- it is almost impossible to find a Faronun who could not recognize Haiao's sun mask, the blocky face of a Thaeraia spirit or the thin, long-haired visage of the Coraia.
A radical departure from Hayaraia theatre is rooted in the theatrical tradition started by Salai of Therefau, the lyricist and playright who wrote the great work of classical literature 'Slave'. Known as Raethaea or 'The People's Stage', this style is noted for contrasting stark realism with poetry and fantasy. The settings are traditionally historical, where the supernatural takes a back seat to the human world. Themes range from the epic, to the dramatic, to the comedic- frequently containing elements of all three. Costumes in Raethaea theatre are elabourate, and could be described as exaggerated caricatures of realistic clothing. All speaking is done in elegant, poetic verse spoken in the artistic dialect of the Faronun language.
Some Hayaraia plays from the Faronun golden age could take a full day to perform, and over the years they became quite strongly codified. However, there have always been playwrights who rebel against the standards of the genre, bringing in heavy mythological elements, breaking out of verse to speak in free verse, and sometimes abandoning costume altogether.
The third main form of theatre is the Holaia Haiaoua, or 'Beautiful Turns'. Based more directly off of the Hayaraia school, this branch is deeply philosophical and highly abstracted. Developed in the Faerouhaiaouan highlands around Sahelahaia, this school often deconstructs the old myths of Hayaraia, or repurposes the traditional characters to represent concepts such as shapes, angles, nothingness and infinity.
The Faronun and Faerouhaiaouan languages are almost mutually intelligible. Both share the same syntax and writing system, which is believed to have developed independently from the other alphabets and systems of nearby civilizations, particularly Seshweay. Due to close proximity and close economic relations, Faronun and Triluin Language both share many loanwords. Some basic structural similarities between Faroun and Triluin languages suggest that the two may share common heritage, from a period before history was recorded in the region.