The estates of Galthamar: Dueren

This estate description is part of a short series of posts on the people and society of my homebrew setting, Galthamar.

Ideals, self-portrait

A Duer is professional and practical, strong and sturdy, trustworthy and true. Dueren cultivate skill and expertise in whatever they do, be it craft, business or other occupation. Whether rich or poor, a Duer will not waste their days or do a job badly. Duer style is practical and traditional. Dueren may accept the competent and strong into their estate, but not the idle or soft.

Stereotypes, criticisms

Dueren are dull, humourless and materialistic, too convinced that their manual and business skills make them better than everyone else. They are prejudiced against (and may even drive out of the Duer estate) people who differ from the average, especially by being tall, slender or having ‘unusual’ features. They also take against those who wish to take things easy or have a bit of fun, they under-value intellectual and personal skills, and they unfairly condemn those who never have the opportunity to enter a respectable trade. They have no style.

Description

In practice, Dueren vary in physical type, with a tendency towards middle height and sturdy build.

It is Dueren custom to wear hair and beards long or full, and often braided, tied or otherwise restrained. Those who do not naturally grow beards may wear false ones, particularly on formal occasions. Duer adornment tends to be unfussy in design (but may be costly in materials and workmanship). Work wear tends to be sturdy in fabric and dull in colour; fine clothes, of rich colour (especially red and brown) and heavy cloth. Duer buildings tend to be low, square and solid.

Dueren speak the language of their country, but may sprinkle it with words from other lands and sayings that are typically Dueren, which circulate through their trading networks. Many Dueren are literate, and often use a version of the alphabet consisting of angular letters suitable for stone-carving or engraving.

Dueren often have longer-than-average life cycles. This is perhaps because of the value placed on skill and competence – Duer custom is for an apprenticeship (or other social adolescence) of around fifteen years before gaining independence as an adult (entry into privileges such as entrepreneurship, management, property ownership or marriage can take even longer), so those who are full-grown and wish to enter the adult world in their teens or twenties may change estate to do so.

Social position

Dueren are prominent in business, from small artisans and skilled workers to wealthy merchants. They are often town dwellers, but may be found where there is opportunity, whether as a wayside innkeeper or toiling in a remote mine. Dueren do labour in less skilled jobs, and some fall into poverty or even out of work, but maintaining Duer identity and customs can be a statement of intent to perform well and reach a more respectable status. On the other hand, not a few Dueren become rich, but their culture discourages idleness or self-indulgence, instead favouring active management of investments, and the patronage and distribution of quality crafts, over personal luxury consumption. Dueren are not averse to magic, especially in practical application and blended with craft or trade.

Relations with other estates

Dueren often have amicable relations with Highmen and Holbits, particularly at a practical or business level. However, Dueren culture tends to resent arrogance, self-indulgence and freeloading (which behaviours they may see in Highmen and privately deplore), and may blame poverty or under-achievement in any estate on idleness or incompetence. Dueren may share the common prejudice against Gobelins, but often get over this with colleagues and business contacts, especially those who are hard-working and competent. Duer culture tends not to value the same types of accomplishments and behaviours as Elther culture, and so Dueren tend to see Eltheren as excessively pleased with themselves and failing to recognise Duer virtues (a view which tends to be reciprocated).

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