The Argenti are a unique type of people in that, under most circumstances, they do not have a home country anymore, and thus remain wanderers around the world. Only in recent years did some settle into a town within the Barony of Travance. Otherwise, their “cities”, as they say, are more accurately described as families or “Kumpania”. These major Kumpanias encompass all of the clans, sub-clans, and smaller families that make up all of the wandering Argenti people.
To say the people of the Kuyaris clan are always full of excitement and wonder is to say the sun shines bright. This major family have taken to a hedonistic life, spending more of their days finding or hosting parties and seeking out revelry where ever they can find it. It is not all without purpose, as the sub-clans of this family find it much easier to make money and live a fulfilling life by just seeking joy in everything they do. Though carefree as the people of this family may be, they have a keener eye than most in the ways of swindling unsuspecting travelers and revelers.
This major family is said to have once ruled over the dark lands of Alok Malagan, a now undead necropolis infested with vampires. Some have said the Barovi people are a humorless type, but more than any other family, they cling to their Argenti roots. They hold themselves as regal, because of their determination to maintain old traditions, as if they have true claim to the ancient homeland. They often care to stay more secretive about themselves than the other families, but are not as distrusting toward outsiders when dealing business or venturing out.
These are the wanderers who have turned away from the old ways and believe more in living for themselves than others, including the divine. While not selfish, they believe more in the survival of their own sub-clan or even further, own immediate family. They do not regard outside races or cultures with much respect, and will almost always strive to do what will best serve themselves, especially at the cost of an outsider. They, more than any other, believe the open road is far more favorable than to be rooted in any given location because it freedom, which they hold in higher esteem than any being great or small.
The Argenti people, having lost their ancient home of Argentia - the fabled city which bore the sisters Fiona and Miranda - have long since abandoned any traditional written history and now stick to oral storytelling to keep their history and culture alive. Many tell stories to younger generations so that it continues to pass down as the people spread across the world.
Not all sits well among the families, however. Each major family believes that the history of their people should be told a different way. While the Barovi hold the old ways of Argentia dear, the Taleshi believe the old ways are gone and that the families should ignore them, and the Kuyaris merely keep to the religious teachings, forgetting about the heritage that was taken away from them by calamity.
This strong disagreement over their past has often put members of the different families at odds, increasing the difficulty of maintaining a cohesive historical information or ever finding a mutual bond of unity. Thus, each family believes their way to be the right way, and it would be foolish to try and convince any of them otherwise.
The Argenti people do not celebrate any specific days of the year, but rather celebrate moments in the lives of their families.
Zi de Janti Noi - "Day of New Wheels"
The Argenti, while keeping no formal dates. celebrate the birth of a new member of the family as an event greater than the newborn themselves. It is an event celebrated that life continues for the family. As the people follow an oral tradition, it is important that they never cease to pass on their name to younger generations, and so with every birth, it is seen as fortune favoring the family.
Zi de Prima Pasi - "Night of First Steps"
In most cultures, the step into adulthood is an important one. To the Argenti, it is a sign that the family member is able to stand on their own, and possibly even start their own family. The encouragements for adding to the family, or carrying on the family name, or making alliances with another through marriage all begin this day, as it means they are ready to take their first steps into carrying on the legacies and traditions. Traditionally, the festivities occur at night because it is the final moments to celebrate the family member's final days as a child.
Zi Rotile Opresec - "Day the Wheels Stop"
Death is not mourned as it is in other cultures. Many families see death as the end of the journey; as a time to look and appreciate the life that the dead had lived. They celebrate this event as a family, because it means that the deceased is free of worldly worries. On this day, if the deceased had owned a caravan of their own, the caravan and all of their belongings are burned, with the hopes of building as large a fire as possible. It is often believed that the bigger the fire, the more pleasant an afterlife the deceased will have.
The Taleshi do not revere any deified figures because of their belief that they should only serve what benefits them most. As divine entities will not give without expectation of something in return, they tend to stray away from any form of notable worship.
The other families do worship, but not any traditional divine entities. They believe in beings they refer to simply as "Kolator" or patron, as they never hold any being of any caliber over their clan leaders. If ever, they would only see such powers as equal to their chieftain or “Voivode”, as a means of both respect to their clan leaders and to their gods. That is to say, revering their leaders as divine beings, and respecting their gods as honored leaders of their kumpania.
These figures are most often called out to over a freshly lit bonfire and in exchange for their service, the Argenti tell a story to invoke their power. These stories are often fantastic tales of great deeds and achievements carried out by the Kolator. Whether the stories are true or not matter little to the Argenti, as they believe such beings appreciate such praise whether or not it may be exaggerated.
Among the Kolator worshipped by the Argenti, there are some that are held in higher regard and are more widely known among the families:
Taylos - Kolator of Wanderers, Wealth, and Good Fortune. His name is invoked on long journeys and in hopes of freeing those who have been beset by poverty. He has been thought of as carefree and whimsical, but always protective of those on the open road.
Kyari - Kolator of Song, Revelry, and Hope. She is invoked at festive gatherings most often, but also in times when gloom has taken a grip of the soul. Many believe that she offers second chances to those who invoke her name in their darkest moments.
Solsim - Kolator of Retribution and Protection. He is known to be a vicious kolator who metes out “justice” against those who wrong the invoker. Those who do must take care when invoking him, as he has been said to exact his own vengeance against those who call to him with unjust purpose.
Amaris - Kolator of Sight and Destiny. She is given prayer to by fortune tellers more than any other among the families. It is believed that through her, all fortunes are divined and it is by her that all those who can read are given the sight to do so.
The Argenti people hold no allegiances to any kingdom, or any vows of fealty to any noble of any station in any land. They do not swear themselves a vow against any empire in the name of another and do not serve the lands of anyone. Because of their un-chained nature, they do not have any strong enemies with any specific kingdom or empire, but they also do not have strong allies with any of them either. Their refusal to swear to anyone has raised a great deal of suspicion, but never enough that warrants any specific actions. They come and go through kingdoms as they please, trading and dealing as they go. In some cases, nobles of varying governments have looked to the Argenti people for information about the world at large. As they are prone to knowing more of the going-ons outside castle walls, they are sought after as information brokers to less exploratory officials.
The Argenti King
There is one among all the families that every Argenti reveres as a King among the families. Every family, regardless of their opinion of the others treats him with respect they would not even give to their own Voivode. However, the Argenti King still has a great deal of mystery about him. While everyone in the families can claim they know of the king, very few have ever been able to truthfully claim they ever met him. He is as elusive as the Kolator they worship, but still seems to pass along the laws of the Argenti people through the families and clans.
The Argenti Queen
Wife of the King, she is as mysterious as he. Known to never take off her mask, as onlookers would be so taken aback by her beauty, she parades around, visiting caravans and partaking in their offerings. Some have said that she is secretly the Kolator Kyari, but no confirmation has ever been laid to that claim.
Whether revered or reviled for his later actions, this is a name known to almost every Argenti. When the Barovi had resettled into their new country of Borovia, Pesmerga, a powerful dragoon commander in the army of Francisco Alok, served to defend his peoples’ new home with fervor. Though he came from old Argenti royal blood, he hid under the name “Kainen” to keep his station and avoid unwanted attention. He was a devout and loyal person, doing everything for the family. It was not until later that when his daughter fell ill with a sickness that he doomed many into the curse of vampirism.
Before the land fell to its necrotic state under the name of Alok Malagan, it was a once flourishing country. After losing the homeland of Argentia, Francisco, previously royalty in the Argenti court, turned to build a new homeland, so that their ways would not be lost. He reigned as the leader of this new-found Borovia, but unfortunately, it would not last forever. His ambitions to rule a great country were not swayed, even after his affliction of vampirism, and the country had eventually become the undead necropolis of Alok Malagan known today. Despite the turn to undeath, he still held a special place for his people, and the Barovi were always given the freedom to come and go as they pleased.
The Evil Eye
A long, long time ago, when the world was still recovering from the destruction wrought by the Storm of the Gods, a male child was born with a peculiar feature. He was born with a single white eye - the gift of seers only ever before seen in females - and so many thought it to be a blessing, while others were worried it was an omen. Every seer who saw to him warned of great calamity to follow, and so as he grew up, more and more became wary of his presence, though nothing was done about it. It was warned that only the Barovi females, born with this gift of foresight, could use its power without turning to destructive evils. Still, he was left to live.
A time came when he finally reached adulthood that disaster began to fall. He had served as a seer for a nearby kingdom, but had been scorned by the ruler and cast away for a vision that did not show promise of the King’s future. Enraged by this act, the man used his powers to enact vengeance on the king, tearing a great chasm into the land, forming what we now know as the Great Rift. Eventually, for this act, the man was put to death. After that, almost every Argenti agreed that should a male child ever be born with a white eye again, they are to be put to death to avoid ever having a calamity like that happen again. Many took to carrying a charm fashioned into an eye, to ward away the “evil eye” that might be born into their families.
In the darkness exist shadowy creatures that hunt the unwary. They lie in wait, like hungry piranhas swimming through the night hunting and devouring anything they come across. The Umbre Viata are said to only fear two things; the light of dawn, and the tolling bells of the Undertaker’s Cart. The undertaker is death himself, and creatures that thrive on killing are far closer to his doorstep than any other. Because of this, clans have taken to adorning themselves with bells to mimic the call of the undertaker, warding off the Umbre Viata from killing them in the night.
The Argenti King
With such great mystery about him, many stories telling of his powers have spread across the Argenti people. It has been said that the Argenti King is immortal, having been the actual king from the days when Argentia stood proud. After its destruction, he took to wandering with his people, watching over them and hiding among them so that he may continue to ensure their safety. Others have said that he is simply a recorder, like that of the Chronicler, wandering through the world as kingdoms rise and fall, taking note of all that happens; though some have even claimed him to be the divine one himself. Yet even more claim he is not one person, but many people, secretly ruling as a great council among the Argenti families, and that is how he knows so much and spreads word so quickly.
Many Argenti believe that colors hold power or serve as omens. Whether this leads to them avoiding such colors or wearing them to ward away something differs between sub-clans, but almost everyone agrees on the meaning of the colors.
Red - A symbol of death. This represents having met with death, or having been near death.
White - An omen of doom. Often thought of as approaching death or great destruction.
Blue - A symbol of diplomacy. It is believed those in blue are more peaceful than others.
Green - Represents Healthfulness. The sick are often given green jewels and clothing to encourage quick recovery.
Purple - Royalty or Fortitude. Many wear purple, believing it to make them strong, as they believe their leaders to be the strongest of them all.
Black - An Omen of Emptiness. It represents nothingness, or lack of being. Some wear it believing it to help them avoid being seen by the Sight or the Divine.
Yellow - Enlightenment. To wear yellow often implies that one is gifted with prophecy, or greater knowledge.
Orange - A symbol of Wisdom and Luck. More often worn to denote status, it also encourages favor with decision making and good fortune.
Gold - A color of the Divine. It is believed that the color of gold brings one closer to the kolator, and the more gold one has or wears, the more in touch with the kolator they become.
Silver - Omen of Disaster. - Silver represents having survived or to ward away disaster from befalling oneself.
Culture and Life of the Argentians