Triumvian architecture is characterised by masonry and iron, geometric designs and rugged pragmatism. Stone is skillfully cut into perfect building material, or underground homes and businesses are excavated and built by the Delvers’ Guild, who count plenty of expert masons among their number. These buildings are adorned in a multitude of ways. This includes angular, often painted carvings in the stone itself as well as decorations fashioned by the Steelmiths from wrought iron, including things like shop signs and window boxes for flowers.
The buildings themselves are often two stories tall, with a fireplace located at the centre of the first floor. The chimneys are often very overbuilt, the additional mass allowing the stone to better retain heat and warm the home. After all, even with the geothermal heating, the Rings can often experience bitterly cold winters, and that’s true for many places in the world that Triumvians call home.
The roofs of their structures are often tiled and, depending on what the building’s purpose is, it may be painted in accordance with a colour code, making its use easily distinguishable even at a distance where one might not be able to read a sign. Black tiles denote a government building of some kind, such as a local guild hall, red roofs belong to blacksmiths, dark green indicates a place of healing, blue is for general goods, domestic or imported, while amber and brown mark bakers and butchers respectively.
Triumvian settlements are typically built using a grid system. This system is planned out in detail ahead of time to make it easier to navigate and to reduce the danger posed by fires, while the stone and tile construction also reduces those risks. Even the Rings follow a grid system despite the circular layout of the city, each individual ring planned with careful attention.
Triumvian culture enjoys flowers and colours, and as such it’s not at all uncommon for houses and businesses to grow flowers in window boxes. The wealthier the business, organisation or family, the more exotic the flowers.
The Triumvirate don’t have many days of celebration, but one of their grandest is the annual Guildpact Days festival. Starting during the summer solstice and continuing for a week, the Guildpact Days are when the bond between the guilds is celebrated and renewed with a celebration of colour, music, food and craftsmanship displays.
It begins with a parade that moves through the entire city, every street, whether rich or poor. Once it reaches its destination, the open plaza at the centre of the city, that’s when the feasting begins. Here, artisans from each guild present works that pay tribute to the other guilds or to their unity as a whole.
The bonded companions of the guild members are guests of honour at the festival. Much of the engineering designed by the Triumvians is only possible thanks to the unique abilities of these guild members, so the Triumvians recognise this importance by spoiling them with excellent food. The intensity of the festival attracts travellers from other nations, primarily merchants and scholars keen to witness the event as it is a rare chance to witness the Triumvians easing up on their inhibitions and finally partying.
Kaia’s Embrace is held on the winter solstice, the darkest day of the year, and is a ceremonial performance to pay respects to Mout Kaia, The Lonely Queen of the North Sky. Pyres are prepared in village squares, with the largest in the Rings of Cinder. These bonfires can only begin with a flame born from the mountain’s lava.
A few days before the festival, several spires are lit from the lavastreams outside of the Rings of Cinder. The smouldering embers are collected into cans by entrusted runners from the other Triumvian cities. They race back home to deliver the embers to the awaiting pyres and crowd. It is considered bad luck if the ember goes out or the runner fails to arrive before sunset.
The event starts at dusk, and each ceremony step holds symbolic importance. Six men, usually two from each guild, will play on giant drums while the torchbearer lights the bonfire. This represents the people’s hearts, enduring as the flame of creation shapes them.
A woman will slowly walk around the bonfire playing the violaharp and singing a traditional song as the drums continue to support her in the background. The singer symbolises Kaia gifting creativity and opportunity to those who embrace her warmth. While she sings, food is distributed to the crowd in lidded plates that are not to be opened until the song is complete.
As she sings her final verse, the six men build up the intensity of their drum playing, beating in unison until a sudden stop. The silence of the crowd and the roaring flames is a reminder of the importance of one’s life and the significance of leaving a proud legacy. The crowd cheers and everyone begins eating, drinking, and celebrating until sunrise.
Triumvian marriage follows two steps: engagement and confirmation. The one who initiates the proposal offers a handmade wedding band to their prospective partner. If accepted, the other partner begins work on a wedding band in return. Once both rings are completed, a simple marriage ceremony is held with friends and family. Guild leaders are also invited. Their role is to accept the relevant legal documents, but if the leaders are unavailable, then the couple will take the forms to the guilds at the earliest opportunity.
Childbirth is celebrated with the mother's health in mind. She becomes the guest of honour in the household for an entire month. Her duty is to rest and recover. Everything else is taken care of for her, such as having the first choice for every meal. Children celebrate their mother’s birthday by preparing her favourite dish to honour the hardship she endured to bring them into this world.
The Triumvians prepare for funerals with a quiet focus. A unique urn is crafted, with the deceased's name and legacy engraved upon it. Friends and family will gather for the cremation, then a person of significance will carry the urn, now filled with ash, to place it in the guild's mausoleum.
The rows of urns stretch deep into the mountain. Each row begins with a bust of the guild leader from that time. The bust sits on a glass box containing that leader's ashes. Symbolically, it represents that, even in death, the leaders continue their duty to those who passed on during their watch. Only the best Delvers work in such a sacred place whenever the mausoleums need expansion.
When it comes to gift giving, it is essential that the gift requires vast effort or significant risk to create or find. It then takes on a more spiritual value in that it is a token of the giver's dedication and the hardships they are willing to endure for the recipient. Simply put, Triumvians value effort. A gift without commitment behind it isn't worth giving or receiving, but gifts with such intent certainly are.
Almost all Triumvians carry memory beads. Each bead signifies the memory of a particular event, person, or anything important to its bearer. For instance, forming one's first bond with a wild beast would be an event worthy of such a bead. Anyone who understands this fact can use this to initiate a conversation with a Triumvian. However, it is best to ask politely, as any bead could be a triumph or a tragedy.
Triumvian clothing is as tough as the Triumvians themselves. The durable, dense and heavy weaves they make are often able to make it through years of use without repair. Paired with extensive use of heavily reinforced leather, often stitched several times at every seam, their garb’s incredible longevity does however come at a cost. — the time and effort required to make it drives the price up much higher than one might expect compared to the clothing prices of the other tribes.
Despite their overarching ideology of function over form, they appreciate craft as an art and, by extension, the art that craft can fashion. When it comes to colour, they often use reds, deep oranges and dark yellows along with charcoal grey and black, though those living in the Rings of Cinder will often incorporate some white in homage to the glaciers surrounding their home that grant them the water they need to survive. When decorating their garb they’ll often use metal wire and leaf, and embossed leather made into the angular, geometric patterns that are the Triumvirate’s hallmark.
As for their armour, the artisans of the Steelsmiths’ Guild create the most intricate, well-engineered full-plate suits out of all the tribes. The quality of their metalwork allows them to forge larger single pieces, their skill being such that they can vary the thickness of that single piece across the forging. This means that they can cover every limb and even most of a person’s joints with steel plate, supplemented by heavy leather, chain mail and weave, without impeding their range of motion too much.
Such a suit is heavy to the point of requiring the wearer to condition themselves to avoid exhaustion, but once they have, they can remain surprisingly mobile given the sheer amount of metal they wear. These suits are typically lavished with detail and artistic touches, including geometric patterns and engravings, often dyed and blackened to suit the artisan’s or the customer’s tastes.
The Triumvirate are hardy stoic people, and their music reflects their culture of taking action to provide value. Powerful and intense performances convey the effort they put into their determined lifestyle.
Triumvians rarely play alone. Guild members often will form musical groups, combining varied instruments to create music that would be impossible for an individual to produce on their own. Triumvian orchestra groups can comprise members from many or all of the guilds.
Triumvians can build, store, and maintain complex instruments, allowing these orchestras to form. Brass instruments are a favourite as many Triumvians from the Steelsmiths’ Guild have learnt how to shape one. There is even an organ in the Rings of Cinder designed by the famous Marcus Law, though only a few possess the knowledge to play it.
The key harp is their most culturally significant instrument and is played during special occasions such as weddings, funerals, and festivals. It is a stringed instrument controlled with a bow in one hand and mechanical finger presses that bend the strings at certain positions. An artist spends their entire life learning to master this complex instrument.
A recommended way to watch a key harp performance is to join the Triumvian Festival of Warmth. This annual event combines one metre-volcano drums, played with a rod in each hand alongside with the key harp to begin the new solstice with good fortune. The intensity of the drums offers the ideal complement to the delicate key harp and its graceful melody.
Other popular instruments among the Triumvirans are horns, trumpets, violins, cellos, double basses, drums, and cymbals.
Mount Kaia’s ancient volcanic activities enriched the soil of the surrounding lands, making them ideal for agriculture. Unfortunately, this does not hold true for topsoil closer to the volcano itself.
The Triumvirate has divided its agriculture into two sectors. The remote grasslands raise livestock, while the plant-based foods are grown close to the Rings of Cinder. These farms are supported through a complex system of underground irrigation, channels of lava and meltwater to heat and water their crops.
Mimic Delights are a famous sweet from the Triumvirate and are particularly loved by children. The name is derived from the fact that visually they are identical and the contents are unknowable until you try one. A Mimic Delight is a very small doughnut ball filled with a variety of jams or flavoured creams. An average adult person can hold three or four delights in the palm of one hand. Some bakeries have adopted a children’s game where, optionally, one delight in the packet contains a chilli mix.
At the foot of Mount Kaia lie the Rings of Cinder, the capital of the Triumvirate. Their ancestral home and seat of government, it is here that the Triumvirate was first formed many generations ago.
The city itself is the zenith of Triumvian engineering, fed with water and warmth by channels cut into the stony ground. Funelling lava to the nearby glaciers that surround the mountain and the city, the heat melts the ice, and the runoff is collected and led into the city via this canal network. The masonry isn’t limited to the canals, but the buildings too are constructed from stone, skillfully cut and shaped into perfect building material.
Divided into the rings that give it its name, the Ring of Guilds located at the edge of the city is where the city’s industry, as well as the Hall of the Guildpact, is located. This protects the inner rings, such as the Ring of Residence, where the citizens live, from the cold, glacial winds. Beyond the Ring of Residence lies the Ring of Easement, where doctors and healers work.
At the very heart lies the Circle of Unity. An open plaza where people can meet, host markets, festivals, and simply bond with one another. While the three guilds are still distinct, The Rings of Cinder and the Circle of Unity are both symbols of their dedication to the pact.
Dross Sculvark is the leading expert on the runic script. Despite turning down multiple offers to take up the leadership role in the Carver guild, most Triumvirates accredit the successful growth of the faction on Sculvark’s influence. Dross is officially retired but is known to tutor individuals who display a particular aptitude for the craft. The students of Sculvark often become noteworthy teachers themselves. Krolla Vu is one such pupil.
Marcus Law was a famous instrument maker from the Steelsmith guild. His works are prized by collectors around the world for their intricate detailing and quality of sound. He dedicated the latter half of his life to his final creation, a massive organ with over ten thousand pipes. It is considered the most difficult instrument in the world and attracts many aspiring Wingfolk to test themselves against it.