Eirengard was a hard land, scrub and plains bordering on the Eshkanti deserts to the east. The land gave forth food enough for the Eirengarders, but their Eshkanti neighbors were never slow to raid them for it. The people become inured to warfare and border fighting, and lacking anything more valuable to trade, soon became the mercenaries of choice among their neighboring nations. Their troop-ships sailed widely to bring Eirengarder steel wherever there was gold to be had. Those same troop-ships were their salvation when the Red Tide came, with flotillas setting forth to save what men and women they could from the encroaching mists. One such band joined up with the Imperial fleet that made landfall in the Sunset Isles, and their stock has since intermingled with the locals of Xian.

Eirengarders are known for their somewhat complex marriage laws. Due to the large number of widows their customary trade produced, a tradition of levirate marriage was developed. By custom, a man is required to accept his brother's wife upon the sibling's death if the wife so wishes. If his wives' sisters have no brothers-in-law when they become widowed, he is also obligated to take them on in turn should they also desire it. This tends to produce a distinctly cautious attitude towards marriage in the menfolk, as it's entirely possible for a luckless mercenary soldier to end up with a half-dozen wives after a particularly bad battle if he's married into a large family- all of whom expect equal treatment and equal shares of his wealth. Even assuming he's later divorced by some after they find men of their own, the interim can make for a very unpleasant household. There is no tradition of dowry or bride-price among them, as women rarely choose husbands that weren't already financially solvent.

In the Isles, these complex marriage customs are becoming less commonly observed. Only the more traditionalist families still accept the duties of levirate marriage, and there is occasional distinct unpleasantness when an Eirengarder widow finds that her husband's brother is uninterested in feeding her and her children. This weakening of the social bonds is provoking many young women to seek independent careers- most often in trade and business. By custom, the womenfolk generally ran the financial and trade affairs of the family while the menfolk were off fighting, and these modern heirs follow in those traditions. More than a few, however, are taking up still more martial pursuits. Eirengarder warrior-women are no longer unknown.

Eirengarders are pale and lean by nature, with flaxen hair and eyes that tend to blue. Few remain with unmixed lineages in the Isles, and those that do are often from isolated villages that have had little to do with Xian and other great cities. Some maintain the old traditions of mercenary work, and the few remaining Eirengarder mercenary troops are proverbial for their ruthlessly loyal service to their paymasters- provided that the pay and the terms are as they were promised.

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