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According to Jerahl, the D'ni spirit of inquiry was first awoken by the extreme powers of the rocks. Learning to control those powers was their beginning as a species.

The D'ni society was centered around a Guild system, which existed since Garternay. Each of these organizations had specific tasks and roles. The Guilds were also the basis of the D'ni education. D'ni was a class society, and Guild membership, especially in its highest ranks, was considered prestigious.[1] The D'ni people didn't have servants or a word for servant.[2] The role of women in D'ni society is somewhat unclear; it does not seem that they join Guilds. They seem to occupy more of a familial supportive role. Women were eligible only for Minor Guilds education, only since 3500.[3]

The D'ni lived in the bleak cavern, however their culture depended on the technology of writing and visiting other Ages, the infinite universes of the Great Tree of Possibilities; the same technology that brought them to the Cavern in the first place. The Ages they wrote gave them access to lush and fertile worlds, which they exploited for food as well as materials. It's no wonder that among the Guilds, the Guild of Writers was the most important and prestigious.[4] Their contact, relationship and dependence on the native peoples of the Ages (called "Outsiders") was a controversial chapter in their history.

Religion

D'ni religion was centered around the worship of a Maker or Yahvo, who created not only the universe, but each and every of the infinite Ages in the Great Tree of Possibilities. Significant events and social trends in D'ni history often had to do with the interpretation of the will of the Maker by prophets; there were also periods of religious confusion. Ri'neref, the founder of the D'ni civilization, dedicated their existence inside the bleak Cavern, and the founding of their Guilds, to the better understanding of the Maker's will.[5][6]

The D'ni people believed that marriage was an important and considered a lifetime commitment. It was also an important part of a relationship with Yahvo as it taught and revealed the necessary requirements for taygahn. As such, all citizens were expected to marry. [7]

Social Hierarchy

At first, there was little in the way of a class society, such a high ideal faded quickly. The D'ni people were again unified, but started to separate again during the time of King Ji.[8] By the time of the Fall of D'ni, there were seven distinct classes, as identified by Tricia Lawson.

There were several obvious attempts to reach out and unify the classes, such as Common Libraries, Major Guild scholarships, renovation of poorer districts, but they didn't do much.

High Class

Elite
The Great Lords and the Grand Masters of the Major Guilds. Private citizens were accepted with abundant resources were needed. The elite owned private libraries of Linking Books. They resided on the private Islands of the cavern, such as Ae'gura or elite districts like Kaleh District.
Guild Members
The graduates of the schools, once possible for the lower classes to attend but later they became so expensive and prestigious that their graduates became a very high class among themselves.
Upper Class
Citizens who had succeeded in private enterprise and had enough money to buy their way into the upper classes. Some had Major Guild education. They most likely provided the elite with their banks, pubs, etc.

Lower Class

Middle Class
Mostly private citizens and professionals like shop-owners. They could afford some luxuries and (more rarely) even own linking books as well as Private Ages. Seemed to make up most of the minor guilds enrollment. Those D'ni resided in districts such as Vamen.
High Poor
Mostly of industrial workers, many of whom spent their time on ages (before it was outlawed). It seems that they did not own Books.
Low Poor
These low poor were relegated to their own poor districts, rarely interacted with the middle class and never with the upper classes. Possibly used as servants although that was generally looked down upon. Belari District was one of the poorest districts.
The Least
An obscure reference, possibly to a sub-class. Lawson could not elucidate on this reference.[9]

Education

At first, the young D'ni people studied in the Common Schools for 6 years (age 10 to 16) and then entered society.

In 1124 Guild Master Ti'lanar of the Legislators submitted his paper "Minor Guilds" where he criticized the contemporary system that a small elite of the guilds held the knowledge, and proposed the creation of minor guilds to expand the knowledge.

King Mararon was upset that so many of his own people were falling by the wayside. He agreed with the paper and following its suggestions:

  • He placed the common schools under the Guild of Legislators
  • Set higher standards for instructors and longer workdays.
  • Raised the studying years to 15 years (age 5 to 20).
  • From there, students could enter one of the new minor Guilds, including Architecture (a branch of the Guild of Stone Masons), Miners, and Educators, and Bankers among others.[10]

Only men were eligible for Minor Guild education, but in 3500 women became as well.[11]

Education and the Guilds had always been thought of as inseparable. However in 4500, Guild Master Kinef of the Guild of Legislators brought forth a proposal that would allow the use of private education separate from the Guilds. The proposal eventually passed by a slim margin but private education never really received near the admiration and respect from the public and thus never truly succeeded.[12]

Οnce it was possible for the lower D'ni classes to attend the schools but later they became so expensive and prestigious that their graduates became a very high class among themselves.[13]

References

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