To all intents and purposes, the Ramen are the Land's version of native Americans. As a race, they all have deeply tanned skin and their hair, which is always worn long, ranges from mid-brown to the darkest black. They also tend to have quite aquiline profiles, with sharp, well-defined noses and high cheekbones. Owing to this combination of features, all of them would make great extras in any cowboy movie - were it not for the fact that none of them have ever used a bow and arrow and equally, none of them would ever contemplate riding a horse. Apart from that, they're dead ringers for the Sioux.
The Ramen clothe themselves in (surprise, surprise) the Land's fashion favourite, namely mid-length tunics. These are always dyed in natural colours, ranging from earth-brown to grass-green. More senior members will wear a necklace of dried yellow amanibhavam flowers, more on which later.
Society and Natural HabitatEdit
The Ramen are very much in tune with their environment and cause as little disturbance to this as possible. Their very strong preference is to live on rolling prairies under the open sky and actively dislike enclosed spoaces such as buildings or caverns - so much so that some have opined that all Ramen must suffer from a touch of racial claustrophobia.
The Ramen's chief settlement, which is located upon the lush, verdant and above all expansive Plains of Ra where the Ranyhyn live, is known as Manhome. One presumes that "Man" here is used in an entirely non-gender specific way, since the Ramen are not known for being in the least sexist. (And more likely the author wanted to boast with his 1337 knowledge of Norse mythology and hide another Easter egg within the narrative for educated readers to find. Manheimr, "manhome", is a synonym for Miðgarðr in that grimdark northern folklore.). Indeed, Raman society offers equal opportunity to both sexes, in that its most respected status, that of Manethrall, is entirely open to both men and women, At this point, it should be noted that the singular of the word "Ramen" is "Raman" and that nobody has ever been referred to as a "Rawoman".
Raman society is a loose fusion of the tribal and the democratic. Important decisions are made during a gathering together of the Manethralls. Their native language is unusual, in that it consists of a series of horse-like nickers, whinnies, snorts and whistles - thus many allege that they're taking their adulation of the Ranyhyn just too damn far.
Ramen have an inbred natural aptitude at a number of things, no doubt engendered by their living in such close harmony with their environment. They are expert scouts, capable of completely living off the land and can find both food and water in the most barren and desolate of landscapes. They are also unparalleled trackers, of whom it is said that a Raman could tail a fart in a thunderstorm. Finally, they are also equally adept in the art of camouflage - if a Raman doesn't want you to see him, then you won't - unless you happen to trip over him.
Showing one's prowess in these separate skills forms an important rite of passage in Ramen society. By the age of ten, all Ramen children have started their apprenticeship in all things horsy, becoming what is called a Winhome. Only after they have demonstrated adequate skill in the arts of grooming, hoof-picking and shoveling manure - a process that typically takes between eight and ten years, are they directly seconded to a senior Raman, or Manethrall. At this point, the budding pony club wannabes are known as Cords and every Manethrall will typically keep his very strict eye upon three or four of these at any one time. It is only after a further decade or more of honing their horsecraft and scouting skills that the Cords may be considered for the highest Raman accolade of being appointed Manethralls themselves.
Ramen eschew almost all types of weapon except in the case of direst need, relying solely upon their much-loved garotte, which when not in use doubles as a hair-band for their long sleek locks. This rejection of any ranged weapons may at first glance seem foolhardy, but remember that Ramen are such masters of concealment that they can take nigh on any foe by complete surprise, leaping out to loop their garotte around the neck of an enemy and then quickly throttle or break the neck of said adversary. This element of surprise is fused with the Ramen's natural agility, thus allowing them to take down opponents much heftier than they are.
In general, Ramen are very hardy bunch, also possessing deep reserves of stamina, arising from their habit of spending many of their days running alongside their much-beloved Ranyhyn.
Ramen like nothing better of an evening than to sit around their camp fire and tell stories involving horses, or discuss subjects equine, or chew over matters of stablecraft. In fact, such are their one-track minds that they do little else - they're way WAY more obsessed with horsies than the most fanatical teenage girl pony club member or the average brony.
Some elder Ramen will occasionally fill a pipe with dried amanibhavam flowers and smoke it. Although having an effect far weaker than a freshly picked variety of the herb, this still has the effect of putting the smoker into an altered dream state, where he or she will sit staring blankly into the middle distance, be entirely unresponsive to questions and occasionally giggle quietly.
In ancient times, it was while within such a druggy trance that the most celebrated of Ramen were capable of the mysterious craft of anundivian yajña, the ancient Raman talent of bone sculpture. It is ill-understood how they accomplished this without little tubes of glue and small modelling knives, but a Raman of long ago adept at marrowmeld - as it's also very appropriately called - could mysteriously fuse dry bones together to create the most wondrously evocative of sculptures, each work possessing an almost unearthly fluidity of movement once completed. It is not clear how this art was lost, but quite possibly because, once he'd come down from his happy cloud, the Raman involved didn't have the slightest clue how he'd done it either - because he was so off his damn face while sculpting.
As an aside, it is equally uncertain whether Jeremiah's construction formed out of Quellvisk bones was also a form of marrowmelding. Some scholars have asserted that it probably was, given that Jeremiah may also have been off his face at the time (albeit on shrooms, rather than amanibhavam, but hey, one stoner's pretty much like any other, right?)