Valusian culture has been dominated by the Church of Solace since the end of the Scourge. Nearly every dimension of Valusian life is impacted by the Church in one way or another. From the food that people eat to the worship of heroes, the Church of Solace is a driving force behind the thoughts and lifestyles of the average Valusian.
Indoctrination into the Church begins at birth. If at all possible children are delivered within direct view of the sun. Those who are unfortunate enough to be born at night are “offered to the sun” the next day, usually at noon time. Those who cannot be offered to the sun within three days of being born are said to be “born under the shadow,” and are considered bad luck. It is for this reason that most people try to conceive in the late autumn or early winter months, so their children will be born in the summer and are less likely to be born under the shadow. Those who are born “in the eye of Solace” which is to say at high noon, are considered especially blessed, and many of these children are encouraged to become active in the Church, even to the point of becoming a Sun Priest or Red Knight.
Children are educated in the rudiments of Church Lore, etiquette, and history until they are 8 years old. Then they are initiated into the Grace of Solace. This is when children begin to be educated about the importance of love, and the expression of love through sex. Children are guided through a ritualized rite of passage which teaches the secrets of procreation symbolically and systematically. During these years the church redirects children’s hormonal changes towards socially acceptable and a-sexual displays of affection and camaraderie, as well as community building and social awareness.
Due to the history of warfare and the need to replenish the population, large families are encouraged and Valusia has a very liberal attitude towards sex. Though marriage is still a sacred vow it does not put overly restrictive sexual inhibitions on people, and is usually a mutually beneficial agreement to share a life and raise children together, rather than to be sexually monogamous.
After puberty children are confirmed as adults and enter their respective trades. Generally speaking it is considered honorable to follow one’s parents in one’s choice of a trade. But if an individual shows particular aptitude, especially for warfare or academics, he or she is encouraged to pursue such ends as are appropriate. Hero worship, being fostered and maintained by the Church often leads the more wild and rebellious young people out into the wider world where, more often than not, they meet their end. The Church views this (secretly) as an appropriate weeding out process. The rebels are allowed to go out and kill themselves off, or make themselves into heroic icons which will maintain the status quo nicely.
Kingsport being a major trade center for the trifecta of Kos, Valusia, and the Dragon Isles, it claims more than its share of commodities. The taxes leveed on those buying and selling in the city keep Valusia in general and Kingsport in particular, wealthy. Suns and Moons flow freely on the streets of Kingsport, and throughout Valusia. Though there are still the poor and destitute, most people make a decent living at their trade, have enough to eat and comfortable lodging.
Outsiders are viewed with suspicion in Valusia, even elves and dwarves are more tolerated than accepted, though this attitude is changing due to King Kaden’s handling of the last race war. Though not xenophobic, Valusians can be a bit reserved when it comes to those not of their land. Long centuries of warfare have engrained most people with a deep sense that either a person is an enemy or an ally, there is little room for those in-between.
As stated above, social mores are liberal in Valusia, but financial and material matters are something completely different. Stealing is a serious offense, as is selling shoddy goods. Merchants who leave a trail of unhappy customers in their wake often don’t live long enough to make the same mistake twice. Being rich is seen as a great accomplishment, and the rich are considered a step above the average person. Though they are often considered a step below the mighty heroes, it is often the rich who get heroes their start in the field, hiring them for various purposes. Being poor due to laziness is considered a life choice in Valusia, not a character flaw, though poor people tend to be mistrusted and mistreated from time to time.
Valusians have eight great festivals throughout the year, marking the seasons, equinoxes, and solstices. All revolve around the Myth of Solace, Tarrian, and the Spiders. Autumn Equinox (Ortus) marks the rise of the spiders from their subterrainian lairs. The end of fall (Ruo) marks the death of the last Great Sa-Karan. Winter Solstice (Plaga) marks the peak of the Scourge when the world was darkened by the blood thirsty monsters. The end of winter (Orsa) and the beginning of the New Year marks the birth of Tarrian. Spring Equinox (Venia) celebrates the gift of Light bestowed upon Tarrian by Solace. The end of spring (Iungo) marks the gathering of the Great Army. Summer Solstice (Laurus) marks the victory over the spiders. The end of summer (Otium) celebrates the peace of Solace descending upon his people. Each holiday is celebrated in an appropriate fashion, from bloody sacrifices to commemorate the Scourage, to ritual sex between the High Priestess and the Master Red Knight to celebrate Solace bestowing the Light upon Tarrian.
To sum up, the average Valusian is a decent, hero-worshiping, Solace-loving, hard-working man or woman. They are liberal without being hedonists, and frugal without being miserly. They may be a bit on the wary side, but they mean well.