The Xentorn system is ruled by a body known simply as The Seven Crowns.
This group is comprised of three members of the military, three from the priesthood, and one who is from neither. They are elected for life and selected from among the Naéla Båvassí (Miraculous Children, or Spirit Children); these individuals comprise a sacred segment of Xentoran society as they are children of impossible birth, most of them from pregnancies resultant from ryeal (a sacred orgy held in Xentoran temples every third klaeretha — a division of the Xentorn calendar), but can be anyone whose birth is deemed a miracle by a temple priest due to the exceptional unlikelihood of it.
These individuals are charged with maintaining the safety and security of Xentor and her people. They are responsible, too, for the preservation of Xentoran culture, language, and tradition. Their principle duties are the maintenance and ultimate command of the temples spread throughout the Xentoran system as well as the tri-galaxies. They are also the law makers, judges, and chief enforcers of the Jaýnæ (Holy Law). They maintain the Xentoran military, a defensive force that patrols the space inside and around the Xentorn star system.
Each Crown is granted residence in one of the Grand Palaces (Ilnyara Vaersa), one of which is located on each of Xentor’s largest continents, and they rule from the Spirit Palace or Great Temple (Kaelsha Ilnyara) located over what ancient Xentoran tradition holds is the heart of Xentor Herself, located in a valley between Xentor’s two greatest mountains and home of some of the world’s most spectacular geysers, hot-springs, and other geothermic phenomena.
Once selected as a Crown, the individual is blessed as a home for a portion of the spirit of Xentor by the other six Crowns. The Crowns do, in fact, wear crowns — though technically they are tiaras — each is an elabourate filigree of irydra with polished olphaeria the size of hummingbird eggs. Once the coronation is complete the Crown may never leave Xentor unless she is of the military Crowns, then she may leave the planet (so long as she remains within the system) to lead military actions in very specific and dire situations.
They do act as head of state and are responsible for greeting and hosting all visiting dignitaries, as well as selecting diplomats to represent the crowns when there is need for their presence in an off-world setting. These diplomatic representatives are also selected from among the Naéla Båvassí and are granted Xentor Båvassí (Xentor’s Blessing) — a temporary, and small portion of the spirit of Xentor, when selected for such an honour. For most details of etiquette these diplomats are to considered heirs apparent of a royal household.
While biologically and historically omnivorous, Xentorns are a philosophically vegetarian race, as such they have no surviving recipes for any sort of flesh.
The Xentorn race, spread through Galfarra, and even somewhat into the Milky Way and Vorton galaxies rely on a wide array or foods as do many such races, but there is a common theme among their foods.
Traditionally this race grazes throughout the day on various foods in light meals and snacks. In this respect various pies, especially custard, fruit, or egg are quite popular; as are fruits and berries in raw or simple cooked form (e.g. boiled and spiced).
The single, traditional, Xentoran daily meal is a time for family and friends to gather and have a mini celebration and as such mimics, in small scale, the feasts of a temple gathering.
The family and guests gather in the household common room on cushions with low tables set close to hand. Or, for those associating heavily with other races often, they may gather in more local means such as in a dining room around a table. Regardless of setting, the meal is served in specific courses.
First comes a small, warm tayæ, a dish in small hand bowls eaten with a spoon and consisting of one or more stewed berries mixed with a sauce made of mild spices (typically described by Terrans as reminiscent of mulling spices) in a mix of a rich cream and/or butter (traditionally made from a plokëo, one of many Xentoran fruits similar to the coconut of Earth but just as often from an animal milk), and a syrup made from nectar or honey. This is served with a very small glass of a simple, weak wine or with water with a bit of fruit juice squeezed into it.
Next will come the raìsu, a cold soup made from pureed melons and nuts, and often features olkaeri, a fruit many have said is what one would get if a fig and date were crossed. This is eaten scooped by a soft pita or naan like bread. No drink is typically served with this course.
Next is the main dish, or yaero. Xentoran cuisine flourishes on the experimental and adopts new preparation methods and ingredients readily. The most consistent thing about a yaero is that it will be an experience, whether for good or ill.
Favourite themes in the dishes, though, do crop up out of long racial habit. On Xentor, and as a result, often elsewhere, the main course will rely heavily on foods similar to the dozens of species of tyheari, a family of fruits very similar, and potentially related to the plantain or banana of Earth and known to be related to the Ilzwik hathbok fruits. Other popular foods are various sweet tubers, and various things best described, in English, as figs, dates, and coconuts. These along with nuts, legumes, various rhubarb like plants, and vegetables will be cooked together. There are various family recipes, successful yaeroa of the past that were recorded for making again, but no really widespread recipes.
Xentoran cookbooks do contain a number of tayæ, raìsu and faeriea recipes, but for yaero it will merely give suggestions and advice such as one in a currently popular book Xentoriae Laeysô Junillash Qaelù [A Xentoran Take/View of/at Junillian Foods/Cooking], “a reasthê’s flavour and aroma is brought out and enhanced if you sauté it cut into small cubes then marinate it overnight with a mix of equal parts threasedi oil and a hearty Plotreadi beer”.
Many different kinds of drink might be served with a yaero, but most often it will be a refreshing, cool, mellow flavoured ale, any complimentary variety of wine, or coffee.
Finally is dessert, or faeriea. Xentorns do not, traditionally, eat sweet faerieaï. They prefer a final course that is spiced. Rarely to the degree of a strong pepper, though it is not unheard of; instead it will be more along the lines of nutmeg, cinnamon, mace, grishokna and the like. Popular faerieaï include seasoned custards, squash or tuber pies (Xentorns who’ve visited Earth often feel quite at home with a slice of pumpkin or sweet potato pie, for example), and similar preparations. This course is most often enjoyed with some kind of tea or naewi, a drink made of unsweetened cocoa mixed with milk from certain fruit nuts and juices from chilies.
A drink rarely found off of Xentor, but highly prized when it can be gotten is daesriu, a popular drink to enjoy with faeriea that consists of fermented milk (plant or animal is equally likely) sweetened with honey and flavoured with various herbs from mint and ginger families then served ice cold. It is, deservedly, noted for its ability to aid in digestion or to soothe digestive issues.
A Xentorn living alone, who cannot enjoy a meal with any friends or family will, normally, not have one – instead lightly snacking for all her food in a day. Some will prepare a lone five courses and enjoy them in private celebration of the day, usually as a self congratulation for a personal achievement, but many Xentorns find any solitary meal, regardless of reason, depressing so will find other means of self-congratulation.
Be forewarned: invitation to a Xentoran meal can be a truly fantastic experience, it being equally likely to be utterly horrible as profoundly enjoyable. As with all people, there’re varying degrees of competency, skill, talent, and instinct for cooking among Xentorns. And as in most beings, there is a varying degree of awareness of this. Unlucky individuals have reported waking years later to nightmare remembrances of a disastrous yaero. Others have likened various yaeroa to sexual and/or spiritual bliss. As with any race of humans, the average Xentorn knows her limits and will stick to what she is good at, and saves extremes of experimentation for herself or for certain of the less pleasant Xentoran celebrations.
Please note, too, that no part of a Xentoran meal will, normally, include any drink stronger than 10%ABV, as anything stronger is usually deemed to overpower the flavours of the food or to numb the palate. Exceptions exist in the form of adopted customs on various worlds, and individual tastes.
Some final notes regarding traditional diets of the Xentorn people: a common item for midday snacks is a readseuo, a deepfried starchy vegetable on a stick eaten with various condiments.
Also no commentary on Xentoran food is complete without mention of the widespread stereotype that Xentorns neither enjoy nor are competent in creating distilled beverages. Which, after extensive study is partially deserved.
Xentorns do not seem to have any racial aversion to distilled drinks, though they are slightly more wont to avoid high proof liquors, being 15% more likely to find drinks over 25% ABV to be unpleasant, or to enjoy them only sparingly. Not a significant margin, really, and this stereotype is more deserved by the Glokirthe people who seem to be quite loathe to drink anything much over 5% ABV — despite this they are popularly depicted as boozers and drunks, proving many things about popular perceptions and entertainment, one is sure, but will leave to the xenopsychologists and sociologists to work out.
The stereotype of being poor distillers is rather accurate, however. While it would be ridiculous to say that they never developed the technology of distillation, they never seem to have applied it to beverage making – only to purification methods and medicine production. The only distilled beverage made on Xentor that might pre-date their exposure to other races (though evidence for this is thin at best) is kearuiea. This liquor is generally 20-35% ABV and is made from the kaerophi nut, a plant so similar to the Earth hazelnut that xenobotonists have spent centuries trying to determine if the two plants in fact, share a common ancestry. It is also the only distilled beverage from Xentor that is often considered to be any good, all others being deemed rotgut or little better. Some Galfarran bartenders have been known to give a different, more expensive drink, on the house, to someone so down on their luck as to order a Xentoran liquor that isn’t kearuiea. The drinking of these distillations is also a popular dare at many parties among Junillian youths.