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Geansai

Several young people in Geansai, from left to right: Galway, Sligo, Laois and Louth, Galway again, Tipperary, Waterford and Fingal.

The Geansai (originally the top of the male of it, now the complete ensemble) is the traditional garnment of the Selkie. Much like many other Traditional Garnments, these reflect the allegiance of the wearer to a certain Tribe, Clan and sometimes even family, although they usually say nothing about their social standing.

It is an important, nearly sacred part of Selkie-Culture, displaying, what differs and what unites them, reflecting the Selkie much like their cuisine.

Not hindering the swift and agile abilities of movement, which is an inherited feature of any Selkie, while also emphazising the wild side in any Selkie, these clothes reflect the Selkie perfectly. Most of the clothes' and their lining is real fur, although the usage of cheaper artificial fur isn't prohibited by cultural standarts or even frowned upon and the newest iteration look just like the real deal. Some people still prefer real fur from animals like foxes, rabbits, hares, deers and wolfs.

Many people only wear these clothes during festivities, but many traditionalists tend to wear them during everyday life, as do some occupations require the worker to wear the Geansai all day, waiters and waitresses in some traditional restaurants, for example, who have a special variation.

History

Originally, the Geansai was worn by men as light fur armour on the battlefield, when they were used as shocktroops. They added the pieces of armour to protect their backs and to have easier grips on their weapons and so on. This is how the reinforced backpiece, gloves, pauldrons and a few other pieces came into being. As horse-mounted fighters and as foot soldiers, in both roles the Geansai prooved to be an excellent armour for light troops.


Women, having to fight for their place on the battlefield - female soldiers of the time were either used in support roles (like tending to the wounded, despite rather well-known examples for fighting women in mythology, stories and songs) - soon began to wear a variation of it during combat-training with the Orders, especially with the Swordmaidens of Carman Fea, and impressed High King Áed the Hunter with it and their art.

With time, and the widespread use of iron armour, later steel armour, the originally lightly armoured Geansai became more and more outdated, sometimes plainly an armour for the poor, while

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Description

Faye Crionna of the Tribe of Galway

Faye Crionna of the Tribe of Galway in her Tribe's Geansai.

General

Some Selkie wear greaves around their ankles, most of them furry. All of them have gauntlets in one form or the other, generally with fur around wrist, male Selkie usually add fingerless gloves.

Male

The Male Geansai begins with the original Geansai, the top. Originally, it was a fur coat with reinforced leather, which lost the leather. Remaining was the coloured fur coat, held up by the equally furry shoulder pauldrons and a strap around the chest. Some people prefer to wear a leather corset with an especially strong back, while others have it as some sort of midriff-belt. Below the top, a vest is usually worn, sometimes a padded version (read: lightly armoured) version, if the wearer is a sportsman or a bouncer or a guard of a similar fashion. Most Selkie-men have at least two vests, one armoured and one unarmoured. Some Tribes wear long pants, some knee-length, some prefer giving leg, but all of them are made of leather.

Female

The female Geansai is much more emphasizing on the woman's figure. Often showing much skin, the Geansai is cut much sharper then the male equivalent and lighter. The sleeves (if worn, some Geansai don't have them) usually cover the upper arms and are connected by a short, cloak-like fur-piece covering the shoulderblades, while the collar is usually fur-lined. Some people also call it a cape. The so called Holder holds the... 'argumentation amplifiers'. Contrary to foreigner belief, the things held are in most cases neither stuffed, nor is the Holder connected to any other part of the Geansai. It is usually closed by a series of straps on the back. The skirt is knee-length cut on the right side, while the left side is cut up to the hips and belt holding it up. Some Selkie-women prefer to wear stockings or spandex shorts, there is nothing speaking against either.

Children

Boys usually wear a downsized version of the man's Geansai, usually with an unarmoured vest. Girls wear the Beag Culaith, the small dress. It is basically a boy's vest and a scaled down skirt with a longer left side. The phrase "getting shorter" usually refers to becoming an adult and getting the proper short cut up to the hips, usually used by adolescents. Due to a child usually getting larger, it is made of a less expensive material then the adult Geansai, easier to replace, although it isn't uncommon to have it handed down among siblings and cousins.

Headdress

Normally no headdress is worn, but if fashion choices demand a headdress, then a type of beret or a bandana is costumary.

The beret is made of fur to be fitting tightly around the head, usually lined with silk or satin and with no drawstring, while the beret's exact location indicating the 'availability' of the wearer: Worn squarely atop the head means "not interested", tilted to the wearer's left means "out for a flirt" and tilted to the wearer's right means "already taken". To contest the right-tilt is up to the contester and his/her alcohol level, but we can assure, that it will end in tears for one person or the other (most likely the foreigner). However, the beret is mostly out of fashion by now, people nowadays either wear a bandada as headdress or nothing.

Bandanas are worn mostly by

On rainy occassions, a hood can be worn, but more details about that below.

Footwear

Males and females wear the same footwear, called Bróg. They are made of a sole of hard leather, bound to the foot by three strings, one spanning over the instep, one around the heel and one spanning from the inner side of the large toe and its neighbour ro the one spanning over the instep. Females prefer a band around the ankle, making the upper like at a shoe, together with another cloth fitted under the straps and bound up a little bit above the ankle, design being up to the wearer. Males wear a band of leather worked like a shoe's upper fitted under the straps and upwards. Most are in one colour, but the design is up to the wearer. Socks are usually not worn with the Geansai, but it isn't a cultural no-go to do so (especially on colder days).

Belt

Men and women usually either wear a utility belt with several pockets to keep the things needed, like money or maybe a small tool, pencils and paper and so on. Men usually wear a reinfocer of stiff leather around their back midriff, being held together by a few straps over the stomach. If a woman doesn't wear an utility belt, she wears a smaller belt around her hips with a few pockets as well, filled, too, with the things needed. It has also become fashionable amongst women to wear a band around the hips, usually in a dark colour and of silk (as seen in the pictures below). Daggers are usually worn elsewhere.

When it rains...

When it rains, a Selkie usually throws an oilskin coat with hood over himself as opposed to carrying an umbrella, while many people tend to confront the weather head on. Other kinds of coats, woolen for example, are permitted, too, but jackets aren't. These coats can be held together by a brooch, as long as it isn't too flashy. Wearing a coaat without weather reasoning is, for a Selkie, seen as a sign of hiding the own colours, which isn't frowned upon, but makes questions asked.

Geansais and Religions

While their is no real obligation to wear and show it, many of the Cults also have their own Geansais, only to be worn by their priests and servants, if they don't choose to wear their cloak. Their priests and servants aren't obliged to wear these dresses at every occassion, they are free to wear their own tribe's Geansai or other clothing as well (for example a nun's habit). Other Religions in the Free Lands usually don't have an own Geansai or in very rare cases forbid wearing them.

Regional differences

Selkie are proud of their tribes, as well as the individual families they hail from - and each family has their own very little variations in their respective tribe's Geansai. Not even Selkie can differ between these different colourings and therefore families, who wears the skirt straight or in pleats usually doesn't matter to them, being part of the same tribe and, by extension, people is important. The other reason for these small differences can be simple fashion choice - one more reason, why Selkie usually don't differ. Also a way of telling where someone is from are (theoretically) the patterns worn at the hem of skirt and sleeves (female) or on the folds: They are supposed to be written in Old Selkie runes, telling someone knowledgeable about the surroundings one was raised in - today, it is mostly either gibberish (runes selected because they look cool) or some sort of personal motto, although it is still rare to see someone boasting with the own deeds on the Geansai.

Weapons

If weapons are worn with the Geansai, then these weapons have to be worn concealed. It isn't rude to have them, even when visiting friends, but it is seen as a sign of trust, respect and friendship to appear without (including an announcement of this without being asked to - "By the way, I have nothing on me." is a common sentence over the exchange of kisses with the Lady of the House these days).

It is a very gross breach of manners to have lied with this announcement. Mostly carried are daggers, throwing knives, darts and even the occassional small axe. You will very rarely see (or rather not see) a Selkie hiding a firearm and if you see someone in Geansai openly showing a weapon, he most likely isn't a Selkie.

Colours

Tribes

Tribe Male Female
In general

Red, fingerless gloves, white/beige fur arm warmers, white/beige fur shoulder pauldrons

White/beige fur arm warmers, white fur lining of the shoulder covers

Galway

Blue top, yellow folds (burgundy lining), no polo neck

Blue holder (white fur lining), yellow sleeves and skirt (burgundy lining), bare midriff

Sligo

Dark blue polo neck, turquoise top, yellow folds (red lining), usually leather spandex

Turquoise holder (red lining), bare midriff, yellow skirt (burgundy lining), yellow sleeves

Laois

No polo neck, light yellow/beige top, dark orange folds, long-tight leather pants

Light yellow/beige holder (no lining), dark orange skirt, dark orange sleeves

Louth

Beige pauldrons, white arm warmers, no polo neck, light green top, blue folds (white lining)

Light green holder (white lining), blue skirt, blue sleeves

Cork

Orange top, white polo neck, dark blue folds.

Orange holder, orange sleeves, dark blue skirt.

Tipperary

White top, light blue folds, white polo neck

White holder (yellow lining) with extensions to the skirt's hemline and the wearer's shoulder like a polo neck, light blue skirt, light blue sleeves

Waterford

Near-black top (dark-blueish), light green folds, no polo neck

Near-black holder (dark-blueish) with polo neck-like upper section, but bare midriff, light green skirt, light green sleeves, stockings

Fingal

Near-black top (dark-reddish), light red to pink folds, polo neck

Near-black (dark-reddish) holder, light red to pink skirt and sleeves, stockings.

Antrim

Red top, dark-blue folds, short pants

Red holder, dark blue skirt, dark blue sleeves, stockings

Cavan

Dark Green top, red-orange folds, long pants.

Dark green holder, red-orange skirt, stockings, red-orange sleeves.

Fermanagh

Red top, golden-yellow folds, bandana.

red holder, golden yellow skirt and sleeves, hairband.

Kildare

Green top, orange folds (red lining)

Green holder, orange sleeves and skirt

Wicklow

Near-black top, green folds (white lining)

Near-black holder with polo neck-like upper section, but bare midriff, green skirt (dark blue band as lining) and sleeves, stockings

Monaghan

Red top, white folds, black polo neck

Red holder, white skirt and sleeves, bandana.

Westmeath

Dark blue top, white folds, polo neck-like upper section.

Dark blue holder, white stockings and sleeves, stockings.

Cults

Cult Male Female
Cult of Rhiannon All White. All White.
Cult of Carman Fea

Burgundy top, white folds (burgundy lining), usually a white bandana.

Burgundy holder, white sleeves and skirt, usually a white bandana, stockings.

Cult of Abhcan

Green top, white folds (green lining), long pants

Green holder, white sleeves and skirt, stockings

Cult of Gavida

Natural colours of the fur

Natural colours of the fur, white stockings.

Cult of Lodan Lir

Light blue top, deep blue folds (white lining), white belt (with usual pouches)

Light blue holder, deep blue sleeves and skirt, white stockings

Cult of Ladra

Deep blue top, brown folds (exact colouring depending on wearer's choice, usually in the tone of the most common wood in the area of origin), white belt (with pouches)

Deep blue holder, brown sleeves and skirt (exact colouring depending on wearer's choice, usually in the tone of the most common wood in the area of origin), white stockings

Cailb All black. All black.

Lost Tribes

Tribe Male Female
Conn Fish leather, bare chested, skirt of fish leather, vambrace on the left or right (depending on martial status) Fish leather, holder bikini-esque (different variations), bare midriff, skirt of fish leather, vambrace on the left or right (depending on martial status)
Wexford Fish leather, natural colours Fish leather, natural colours
Tralee See article See Article
Clonmel Next cell Next cell
Dundalk Next cell Next cell
Navan Fish leather, dark green top, orange cape over the right shoulder Fish leather, dark green holder, orange skirt and sleeves, fishnet stockings

Don'ts

It is possible for a foreigner to both purchase and wear the Geansai, but that garnment will immediately be recognized by a Selkie to be worn by a non-Selkie. Most are quite okay with it. However, there are some things, which a foreigner shouldn't do while wearing a Geansai, under no circumstances:

  • No parfume.
  • Don't wear any tribe's colours, it will not only seen as poor choice, but can also lead to be thrown out (worst case), unless you have someone with you, who can vouch for you being allowed to wear the tribe's colours.
  • Weapons of any kind worn with the Geansai have to be concealed. Usually worn with the Geansai are daggers and similar short stabbing weapons, usually very sharp. Including by children.
  • Any kind of decoration, be it a military decoration or a civilian decoration, a clock or something of that kind is not allowed to be worn with the Geansai. Only earrings, hairbands, rings, necklaces, brooches (for coats), bracelets and bandanas are permitted, as long as they aren't too flashy.
  • Elder people are permitted to have canes with them. Some, however, prefer to lean on a spear or staff instead of that.
  • Try not to stare, especially not while talking with female wearers.

OOC-Trivia

  • Much like the Selkie themselves, the Geansai was originally inspired by the game Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles, and the dress of the Selkie within.
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