This month’s feature: Loranian holidays

Lorania celebrates a variety of secular and religious holidays. Most common people reckon the passage of time by measuring from one celebration to the next, rather than by the formalized calendar system.

Major holidays include:

—-    Winter Solstice (New Year’s Day): traditional day to propose marriage or other partnerships and to begin contracts and endeavors. Feasts, mummers and other entertainments.
1/20    Day of Compassion: visit the sick or infirm, make charitable donations, volunteer, make apologies, offer forgiveness
1/29    Geoffreid’s Day: religious study and meditation, evangelism, gift giving, traditional songs
1/39    Winterlight: lighting and display of candles or lamps, performances, bonfires, magical flares, feasts, carnival/masquerade
2/30    Avidor’s Day: religious study and meditation, morality plays
2/31    Dragon Day: parade, theatrical performances, tournaments or other competitions
3/01    Spring Equinox: bonfire, dancing, ribbons and other brightly colored decorations, day for privileged to serve or honor peasants, Peasant King and Queen named
3/31    Kingsday: feasts (outdoor picnics, weather permitting), relaxation, workers have the day off if possible
3/37    Day of Diligence: meditation on one’s duties, strive to work hard and to attend to tasks that may have been forgotten or neglected
4/23    Bromos’ Day: religious observances, feasts, most popular day to embark upon a pilgrimage
4/25    Loransfest: celebratory parades and performances, tournaments, feasts, workers have the day off if possible
5/01    Summer Solstice: procession of ships, healers of all kinds offer services for free, traditional day to gather herbs and other ingredients for healing or magic, bonfires for cooking
6/18    Gariel’s Day: religious observances, feasts, contemplation of the Manifold Path
7/01    Fall Equinox: may coincide with Harvest Festival–if not, celebrated primarily by making donations to the church, tournaments, considered an auspicious day for hunting
7/11    Day of Loyalty: day for servants to honor their masters, children to honor parents,
7/21    Harvest Festival (exact date varies): colorful decorations, bowls of fruit, music, games and competitions, traditional foods include cider and poundcake (“moon cake”)
8/13    Hamman’s Day: religious observances, thinking about the future, feasting (particularly with one’s enemies or rivals)
8/40    Festival of Souls: starts previous evening, belief that souls of deceased return to earth, offerings to dead, care of grave sites, white ghost costumes, ritual dances and pageants

(Note: the Loranian calendar contains eight months of 45 to 46 days each; New Year’s Day is not part of a month or week)

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This Month’s Feature: Xing Cuisine

The cuisine of the Xing people, an elven race from east-central Tornalia, is famously inaccessible to outsiders – an acquired taste that is extremely difficult to acquire, thanks to its unusual flavors, textures, and use of raw and fermented foods. The staples of the diet include root vegetables (turnips, radishes, beets, lotus roots, and others) and millet. Protein sources include freshwater fish, crayfish, and goose, as well as goose eggs. Fish oils and goosefat are the typical fats. Vegetables include root vegetables, greens (especially mustard greens), and cabbage. Seasonings include fermented fish, crayfish, or bean paste; garlic; scallions; vinegar; pepper; horseradish; mustard; and ginger. Techniques used include fermentation, steaming, and baking, and raw foods are common as well.

A typical feast might include a plate of raw fish seasoned with horseradish, vinegar, ginger, and perhaps a spicy sauce; steamed greens with fish oil; a dish of boiled and mashed root vegetables mixed together with crayfish paste, horseradish, and pepper; fermented fish and cabbage; a spicy goose soup; boiled goose eggs with embryo served with a spicy vinegar sauce; Torlakran wine; and a sweet, gingery millet porridge as dessert.

Delkar-te-leixin: a common dish, sometimes considered the national cuisine of Lan Xing. A mixture of stewed, steamed, or sauteed meat or seafood and vegetables served over millet. Typically served pungently seasoned and very spicy.

Welcome!

Welcome to the world of Tornalia, and to its official site, Tornalia.com. Tornalia is designed to be both traditional and unique as far as epic fantasy settings go. On the one hand, I wanted to utilize certain common fantasy elements such as magic, elves, dwarves, and goblins. I believe that these things are popular for a reason, and even though they are somewhat out of fashion in contemporary fantasy literature, I feel that people would enjoy reading about them as long as they are presented in a way that is unique, compelling, and believable, but also true in spirit to the traditional form.

On the other hand, I wanted to do away with some other fantasy tropes: a dark lord, routine divine intervention, miracles, prophecy, destiny, absolute good and evil–as far as these things are concerned, Tornalia is very much like our world, which is to say that either these things do not exist, or if they do exist, it is in a diminished way that leaves them more or less hidden from our ability to comprehend them. Instead, the focus is on individual actions as the primary forces that shape the fates of people and nations.

The magic system follows consistent rules that are inspired by the laws of science and nature. Magic is a natural phenomenon in Tornalia rather than a supernatural one. It is balanced in such a way that doesn’t allow magic to completely dominate society, but still leaves room for magic to have an enormous impact.

Like Tornalia has, this site will grow over time. I look forward to reading your comments, questions, and ideas.