Sunday 26 April 2015

Atlantean Bodies

Knight of Wands
It can only make sense that the Atlanteans, rich, widespread and populous, display more variation in their appearance than any of the other cultures of the Twin Continents.

Most stand between three and four cubits in height, with the occasional giant throwback or half-Rmoahal maybe a full head higher than that. The Atlantean frame is naturally slender, and overweight Atlanteans are rare. Poor Atlanteans work too hard to run to fat, and anyway, they live on beans, fruit and leaves. And while other cultures might consider the High Atlanteans' diet of blood pudding, offal and ripened fish utterly revolting, it makes for an intimidatingly slim, erect and clear-skinned noble caste.

Still, these dietary choices gave us the insulting Tlavatli proverb about how how you can smell an Atlantean before you see them. It really isn't far from the literal truth: notwithstanding their even white teeth and ample use of scents, rich Atlanteans usually have absolutely terrible breath. They don't notice this among themselves, but Muvian and Tlavatli ambassadors tend to find their stays in Atlantean palaces distasteful experiences, even before the politics.

Atlantean colouration extends far beyond the variety of what will constitute post-Catastrophe humanity. While dark hair, golden brown skin and black or dark brown eyes are by far the most common variation, you can meet blonde, blue-eyed Atlanteans with pale, pinkish skin, red-haired Atlanteans and Atlanteans with blue, lilac-coloured or iridescent, marble white skin. Particularly notable are the people of Menocea, whose skin is a kind of reflective grey that, when anointed with a cosmetic oil peculiar to the northern regions, shines like metal. The Blue Women, too, thanks to their practice of conceiving their solely female citizens in the Birthing Cups, often have patches of greenish scales and rudimentary gills.

Atlantean men and women, even the very poorest, take great care of their appearance. Both Atlantean men and women shave, style or colour their hair and eyebrows, and it is not uncommon for all the men and women of some areas, Kudra for instance, to be by tradition and choice entirely bald. Indeed, Atlantean priests and priestesses only tolerate their eyelashes to remain, and their daily depilatory routine is, in most of the monasteries and colleges, an important ritual of purification and empowerment.

Both the men and women of Atlantis wear makeup on eyes and lips in every possible colour, and many richer Atlanteans sport extravagant piercings, or have metal plates or gems fastened onto the surface of their skin.

Although they're easily the most prudish of the peoples in other ways, Atlanteans have no especial taboo against nudity, and common Atlanteans go about their business wearing only a kilt and sandal. Women sometimes wrap bands of fabric around their breasts, but this is for comfort and convenience rather than modesty. Loose tunics and short cloaks made of beastskin can be seen in colder weather.

Priests wear the long, full robes of their order; most orders wear green, blue, turquoise or white, while the nuns and monks of the Ak√Ęshic Colleges wear black.

Rich Atlanteans wear clothes in the most outlandish variety, in every colour and style. Dresses and togas, shirts and cloaks, scarves and stoles; huge metal collars, crowns and masks; huge earrings and fancy noserings; the Atlantean nobility dress like it's a competition, alway, and the same extends in some way to all the Atlanteans,  no matter what their social standing. They look and dress like they run the world. Which, in a sense, they do.