The Aünupa were the dominant people of The Reek during the Fourth Age of Eden. Characterized by their devotion to youth and beauty, and by their loose interpretation of ancient Bekiskapan values, they were seen by those outside their culture as narcissitic, hedonistic, and shallow.
Their lavish parties, their promiscuous sex lives, and their hatred of moderation made them many “friends.” And yet, for most non-Aünupa, the energy of these folks was too much to take—except in very small doses.
Aünupa culture developed early in the Fourth Age, as elves, dwarves, and humans from more technologically advanced planets than Earth were stranded in the sprawling concrete jungle of The Reek by The Calamity which brought their iteration of reality to an end.
With little to do until the universe rebooted itself, many of them made a pilgrimage to the ancient city of the Bekiskapan in the foothills of the Melancholy Mountains and there many of the more pampered and oversexualized among them discovered a culture they could adopt as their own. The whole war and conquering thing felt tired to them, but they liked the wearing as little clothing as possible and the fact that women were in charge and all that.
As in the Age went on and on—it was the longest in Edenian history, lasting over a thousand years—Aünupan culture transformed very little. Even with all the turmoil that age brought, the Aünupa just partied on.
Culture and cultural heritage
As with the Bekiskapan culture that they modeled their society around, the Aünupa were matrilineal and matrifocal. The Aünupa believed wholeheartedly in the first pillar of Bekiskapan culture—“all men are of women born”—and built their lives upon that foundation.
Where the Aünupa differed from the Bekiskapan was in their preference for nonviolence—their desire to make love and not war. In that way, they borrowed more from the culture of the Quadlings, whose Quadling Cathouses were opened in greater number than ever throughout the Aünupan-run Reek.
Shared customary codes and values
Aünupan society was held up by a bastardized version of the Bekiskapan’s Three Truths:
- All men are of women born;
- The righteous bear their own burdens; and,
- Only those whose selves are certain should be looked to as leaders.
All Men Are of Women Born
Kinship in Aünupan society, as with kinship in Bekiskapan society, was traced through the mother’s line. Additionally, as it was with the Bekiskapan, female authority was respected above all else. Unlike with the Bekiskapan however, the Aünupa did not segregate themselves along gender lines.
They didn’t have barracks for the men and quaint cottages for the women. The Aünupa didn’t live in large groups at all. Aside from childhood, when the underaged lived with a guardian (typically, though not always, the person who gave birth to them), Aünupa lived alone. Building after building of one-bedroom apartments dominated their cities.
The Righteous Bear Their Own Burdens
The Aünupa reintepreted the Bekiskapan edict of “the shield and the spear must be borne by all” for what they saw as a far more modern and enlightened age. The Aünupa saw this truth as a call for personal responsibility. As a fiercely individualist society, the Aünupa expected every person to fend for themselves once they came of age. To ask for help with fulfilling basic needs was seen as the ultimate taboo.
Lead Only if Your Self is Certain
The Aünupa believed strongly in the value of knowing one’s self before attempting to know anyone else, and certainly before attempting to offer any guidance. This was reflected in every aspect of their lives, from their hesitance to have children until they’d taken years—and sometimes decades—to find themselves, to the fact that Aünupan leaders were usually very, very old.
On the inside, that is. A true Aünupa never allowed themselves to look old on the outside.
Common Dress code
The Aünupan style, though it did evolve in some ways over the course of their time in Eden, was an evolution of the Bekiskapan. The Aünupa had a taste for fine cloths and loved anything that felt good against the skin, but they—like the culture they modeled themselves after—preferred to wear as little clothing as possible. Their couture tended toward the preposterous and the over-sexualized. And this was especially true in their dealings with outsiders.
Aünupa, like the Bekiskapan they worshipped, enjoyed distracting opponents with titillation in order to see what said antagonists were made of—and of how big a challenge the Aünupa were dealing with in whatever negotiation was about to take place.
Coming of Age Rites
The Aünupa appropriated the The First Touch ceremony from The Faith of the First Mother as their traditional coming of age ritual. That said, like the Icewalker version of the ceremony, Aünupa did not limit The First Touch to only female individuals. Every Aünupa, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, was invited to cast aside their virginity as part of the ceremony.
The Aünupa were heavily influenced by late-twentieth and early-twenty-first century Earthling beauty standards. Physical fitness was desirable above all else, with Aünupa resorting not only to exercise but to magic and technology to maintain their “good looks.” Well-defined muscles were appreciated in individuals across the gender spectrum, but particularly prized in men. The most conventionally attractive women were slender, though “appropriately” curved at the hips and chest. Tight, round buttocks were appreciated by all.
Wrinkles and sagging skin of any kind were virtually unheard of, with extreme measures taken to eliminate any visible signs of aging.
Though Aünupa believed that gender was a spectrum and not a binary, they lacked an appreciation for fluidity. The ideal in Aünupan society regarding personal identity was clarity—at least in public. Individuals were free to experiment with new gender expressions privately, there was an expectation that an Aünupa only step out into public when absolutely certain of who they were.
Aünupa prized directness, respect, and consent in equal measure. They understood that a hedonistic life could only really be fun if all three of those qualities were present. According to the Aünupan Right to Party: a person should always be direct about what they want, should respect the wishes of other people at all times, and should secure enthusiastic consent before moving forward with any act of intimacy.
But other than that: you do you, man. And have yourself a grand old time!
The Aünupa believed in only temporary commitments. Folks were free to stick together if they wanted to, but they were encouraged to stretch their wings as soon as they were comfortable.