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The history of Gelt dwarves (not dwarfs, they will hasten to mention) in the regions of the Grand Duchy or any of the Inner Kingdoms is relatively recent; the first representative of the collective Gelt tribes - known simply as Bogdan the Gelt (Gelt dwarves only began appending surnames to their given name approximately five hundred years ago. 1) arrived in Bodea-Lotnikk less than two hundred years ago. Since then, much effort has been made to compare the Gelts to one better-known dwarf clan or another (never withing earshot of a Gelt, however), when the simpler (though apparently harder to grasp) fact is that the Gelts are more easily illustrated by their differences from their more familiar Dwarf kin.4

Despite (or perhaps because of) the grim and somewhat fatalistic outlook that comes from life in the Xtant Hills (foothills of the Xtant Mountains) the Gelt culture is rich and colorful. They favor rich cuisine and have a very interesting and unique sense of humor.5

Regardless of these cultural gifts, it is war (or rather, the state of battle and siege) for which the Gelt are best known (due mostly to their proximity to the Xtant Mountains and The Others?) -- it is no coincidence that a Gelt Pisanka is known best as a weapon and not as a gift, toy, or work of art.

1 - Approximately the same time that the Gelts encountered representatives of the Inner Kingdoms (in the persons of the crew of the Humorless) -- though it is unclear if the two events are connected. Till that time, an individual Gelt's last name was simply the name of the villages in which they were born or lived2. Once the practice of individual surnames became more common, individuals were given surnames based on one of their parent's names, usually (but not always) the father. For example, if father's name was Arkad, then the derived last name was Arkov (a form of Arkad which answers the question "whose you are?").

2 - There was (and is) a less-common habit of "career military" Gelts to give their last name as the hill-fortress to which they are assigned, lending an an almost adoptive air to soldier who transferred from one base to another. It is worth noting that, among soldiers, the practice of changing one's surname to that of one's assigned fortress continues to this day, despite the cultural change in other parts of Gelt society. Most notable of these in modern times would be Clan-General Vasya3 Eikinskaldi (stationed, of course, at Hill-fort Eikinskald).

3 - Common Gelt names include (for males) Anatol, Artem, Bivör, Bogdan, Oleskandr, Shurik, Vasya, Veig, Yuri; Alla, Galina, Nidi, Nali, Olesi, Regin, Vera, Vitra for females.

4 - Outside of stature, girth, and a propensity for drinking hard liquor (the Gelts prefer a clear, tuber-based alchohol that works reasonably well as fuel in some of their mechanical contraptions such as the infamous flame gun), there are few similarties.

5 - Gelt humor explores wit with the great flexibility and richness of their language, allowing for plays on words and unexpected associations which, sadly, do not translate well. Apart from jokes, Gelt humour is expressed in word play and short poems including nonsense and black humor - perhaps as a way of dealing with the most horrific of the things that come out of the Xtant Mountains. Often they have children as characters, and involve death or a painful experience either for the protagonists or other people. This type of joke-rhyme is especially popular with children.

    A little boy found a big flame gun —
    Now his village is as bright as the sun.

Or this cautionary tale:

    A girl played in the park with no one to mind her,
    As a death-quiet Lorcha snuck up behind her.
    She peeped not a peep, cried nary a cry —
    Now her skin is just dust, blowing into the sky. 

< Gelderhoff | Lexicon GHI | Gerald Ainslough >

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Page last modified on October 29, 2008, at 12:15 PM by DoyceTesterman

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