The Picts are the people of Power. The Solar Plexus Chakra – centered in the abdomen and represented by the color yellow – is the energy source related to personal power, fear, expansiveness, and growth. Strength and accomplishment are the attributes associated with solar plexus energy.
Physically, the thick and sturdy Picts are as a group the biggest people on Erde, averaging about twelve or thirteen hands tall; although mainland Bayakans are often taller, it is rare to find a short Pict, and Picts generally run heavy. Their coloring tends toward either pale or ruddy, and hair color varies from blond to black, with bright red not uncommon. Beards of all length and shapes can be found among the men, although a clean-shaven man is not unusual. Picts generally wear tunics or a blouse and kilt with socks and sandals – in any case, thick wool is the textile of choice. Pictish fashion favors all colors, although most Picts wear a specific color or pattern representing their clan affiliation, and all Picts wear something bright yellow most of the time.
The Pictish Lands are almost totally contained within the harsh mountainous region of mountward central Erde, although the climate is slightly more moderate in the Lake Belenus river valley. The rugged terrain of the Pictish country is suited for mining, growing winter crops and root vegetables, and raising hardy goats, sheep and cattle; the timbered areas are full of game and the rivers rich with fish.
The Picts are the only tribal people of central Erde to maintain a homeland in the face of the historical waves of Atalantan, Haan, Attikan, and Rasnan expansionism; while some politicians may mutter that this is only because the Picts have held onto land that no one else wants anyway, field commanders know that every stride of land ever taken from the Picts was hard-won.
The Picts have only recently established their Union of Clans, uniting all the groups under one ruling council for foreign policy (some say the idea was taken from The Hirokoa). Internally, the Picts still maintain absolute autonomy, and alliances, trade agreements, feuds, and friendships among and between the clans will ebb and flow with the tide of circumstance. Most Picts live in an octothorp, a small village commons surrounded by individually worked agricultural plots, and even the largest Pictish trading community doesn’t rise to the level of city. While the Picts have access to and take advantage of all the technological innovations available in central Erde, the average lifestyle is simple and uncomplicated. Besides the clan chief and his advisors, the social structure is fairly flat, although bondsmen and bondswomen – young people who are pledged to work for another for a certain amount of time, usually in return for some reward – are not uncommon. Women only infrequently engage in combat or hunting, but are active in all other civic affairs – government, trade, and so on – and are not infrequently chiefs of clans.
The solar plexus energy that fires Pictish culture expresses itself in personal relationships and politics, as well as in battle and in the hunt. Picts respect doing above talking: “deeds, not words” is an ancient Pictish aphorism. This vigor can be beneficial and vital – and is credited for the continuing independence of the Pictish people and their relatively high standard of living in a harsh environment – but it can also be seen to be the cause of the internal squabbles among the clans. Perhaps as a result, many Picts express their power by leaving the confines of Pictish Country and wandering Erde, as mercenaries or soldiers in foreign armies, or as construction workers in the great cities.
The Pictish religion is simple and spare: most Picts accept the existence of Providence, the divine will that powers the universe, and envision it in an abstract and unpersonalized state. Providence manifests in each individual as wyrd, the seven energies corresponding to what would be called chakra sites in other cultures. Whatever channel wyrd flows through affects the attributes and power of that individual. The closest the Picts come to having a mythological figure is their reverence for the Elk, which they see as the embodiment of solar plexus energy and often refer to as “god” even as they hunt it.