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Glifai - Culture
Written By: Deirdre / Wyld_Dandelyon (Writer)
A race of largely androgynous people known for their high-quality alcoholic beverages and over-the-top theater outfits.

Name: Glifai

Location: The relatively small sundered area known as the Glifai Valleys

General climate and resources during the sundered times: Temperate climate, a connected series of valleys in the foothills of a mountain.

Population and technology during the sundered times: Small rural settlements with relatively simple technology.

Genetic Features: The most unusual feature of the Glifai is that by the time of their time border opened, they were all born intersex, though a casual observer would identify them as girls. At puberty, most of them develop into males or females; a tiny percentage develop a mixture of characteristics. They tend to look androgynous even after puberty, with sparse facial and body hair in the men and small breasts on the women. The gene for starting life “no gender” is recessive, however the sperm and eggs with the gene are more hardy than those without, so children are more likely to inherit the gene than mere chance.

Upon assimilating the Glifai, the Empire added the classification of “no gender” as an accepted option on identity licenses, as well as accepting that a person’s gender on said license may need to be changed. The procedure for doing so in Affabreidalam and near the Glifai Valleys is routine; in other parts of the Empire, it can take a while for the licensing bureau to check out the rules and regulations and approve a change. To this day, in Affabreidalam and the Glifai Valleys, 10-20% of children are “no gender”. Most of them do not look like the original Glifai, however,

Additionally, the Glifai were obviously very inbred; barring illness or injury, they all were between 5’7” and 5’11” tall, with long straight blond or light brown hair and brown eyes, and very similar (if attractive) facial features.

They were quite sensitive to skin infections, and consequently always wore protective clothing and gloves when working with animals. They did not keep pets, just food animals and working animals. This also meant the practice of tattoos was abandoned. Anyone known to have Glifai ancestry is given an antibiotic ointment or cream and instructions to keep the area well protected when they get their licensing tattoo. The cream is the untinted base the Glifai used for most of their cosmetics and body paints, when that is available, since it is one of the safest and gentlest antibiotic creams available in the Empire. The other traditional skin paints/cosmetics and the hair dyes also had antibiotic or anti-fungal properties, and all of them served as moisturizers as well.

Cultural features: The Glifai spent a great deal of time making unique clothes. It was very common for them to dye their hair, color their finger- and toenails, and paint their bodies. Each person went out of their way to create and maintain a unique wardrobe and look; when someone went through some life-changing event, they changed their look. Empire theaters immediately borrowed heavily from Glifai fashion to create unusual, eye-catching wardrobes.

There are several museums in Affabreidalam devoted to Glifai costume. The University Museum is the best at differentiating between the traditional ethnic Glifai clothing and the theatrical Glifai costumes that were inspired by them. All of the museums include some reproductions, and the Glifai Cultural Museum has racks of costumes and a cadre of artists, so tourists can dress up as Glifai and get a souvenir picture (ranging from a quick sketch to a formal oil portrait) to take home. The costumes are rented by the hour, and the artists’ fees vary according to their skill and the complexity of the portrait desired.

The Glifai were also skilled wine makers and distillers of alcoholic spirits of many varieties, from the tasteless high-proof “Kindling” which was used to sterilize cuts and scrapes to flavored liqueurs. To this day, many high-priced liqueurs and wines bear the Glifai name.

In the present day, most people associate the word Glifai with high-quality alcoholic beverages and over-the-top theater outfits, not gender ambiguity. Medical professionals and tattoo artists taught about their genetic susceptibility to infection, and their role in contributing gentle and effective antibiotic ointments and creams to the Empire’s knowledge base.

It is ironic that so few people know that the Glifai were a primary source of no gender children, because the androgynous nature of the Glifai, even as adults, led them to develop a culture without any significant gender-differentiated roles. That aspect of their culture strongly influenced the culture of Affabreidalam and the surrounding area, and as a result, Affabreidalam and some of its notable citizens were strong advocates for the gender reforms.

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