Letters and Bones

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Built into the cliffs overlooking the Suvan Sea, Riverfall resides on the edge of grasslands of Cyphrus where the Bluevein River plunges off the plain and cascades down to the inland sea below. Home of the Akalak, Riverfall is a self-supporting city populated by devoted warriors. [Riverfall Codex]

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Letters and Bones

Postby Ayatah on August 14th, 2015, 10:36 pm

15 Summer


She had spent her childhood secretly reading whatever books she could find in the jungle. She had longed for a teacher, someone to answer all of her unanswered questions. Now, Ayatah of the Scattered Bones found her role reversed. It was she who answered the questions now, and she couldn't quite believe it.

Of course, most of the questions she was asked were about her Myrian brethren. Which, in her regard, required no specialist knowledge as a woman who had grown up in Taloba. She tried to be enthusiastic about this, eager to spread knowledge, understanding and even appreciation of her maternal people, but Aya felt a litttle... cheated. Had she not attended Zeltiva University and attained a degree in Anthropolgoy, specializing in the Eypharian culture? And yet the most common question she received was so... are you people really cannibals?

And she always replied with a sigh and haughty "yes. Sometimes. "

Today would be no different, with Ayatah meeting with her one and only student at the School of Life and Earth. But, thankfully, she and her student had already discussed the mundane and typically salacious questions about the Myrians. Today, they would be discussing Myrian traditions, particularly cultural holidays and clan rituals. It was one of the less violent sides of Myrian culture, and for that Aya was thankful. There was only so much she could bare when it came to her admitting her peoples' savage and apparently barbaric ways.

Someone knocked at the door, and when Aya glanced up, she saw the face of her student, Annabelle Duvaris, peering beyond it. "Come in, Anna." She said with a smile, gesturing the woman into her office, "Come in and take a seat."

The woman did, moving in slow and exhausted gestures that were accompanied by a metallic clinking from her wrist. The gold bracelet that hung on her wrist declared her status as a Nakivak, a woman the Akalak had hired to sire them a son. She was approximately halfway through her pregnancy, and had started as a student at the school to keep her mind sharp throughout the remainder of her term. It was no coincidence that the culture she had decided to learn about was one where women were placed higher in society than men.

After Anna had finally sat down with a grunt and satisfied sigh, her teacher began their lesson "So, the last time we met, I remember we were discussing possible reading material for you," Ayatah said slowly, searching through her papers before finally finding the one she sought, "and although there are not a vast amount of books about my people, there are some that I found in the library." She slid the sheet parchment over to Annabelle, allowing the woman to take in the titles and authors, and then explained: "none of these are written solely about the Myrians. Instead, most are about uncommon traditions or practices, but all of these books feature at least one chapter about my people. I've made a note of the relevant pages, but I still encourage you to explore on your own, of course."

Annabelle dipped her head in quiet appreciation of Ayatah's organization and gesture. "Of course, of course." she said quietly, sneaking the page into her bag.

Last edited by Ayatah on September 2nd, 2015, 6:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Ayatah
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Letters and Bones

Postby Ayatah on September 2nd, 2015, 3:22 pm


Once her student had readied herself for their lesson, Ayatah leant back in her chair, considering how best to proceed. As a student herself, she had enjoyed quizzing her teachers with questions, and had learnt best that way. Others, she knew, preferred being talked at. However as a teacher, she was still coming round to developing her own individual style and delivery. "I think the best place to start would be my own clan traditions, and go from there." She said cautiously. It was her usual tactic: describe Myria culture from her perspective and hope that the student would provide enough questions and material to develop the lesson further.

I should probably develop a structured less on plan next time, though. She thought wearily.

Anna stared up at her with wide eyes, quill at the ready and the beginning of an eager smile on her thin lips. This was all new and exciting enough for her, so the human female did not pick up on Ayatah's sense of awkwardness or the Myrian's nerves. Even if the delivery of the lesson would not go as well as planned, as long as she picked up on one or two pieces of information, Anna would be happy.

"My people are very traditional, and this statement suits all individuals, clans, and the like. We appreciate our racial history as much as the Akalak, if not more. Though for quite different reasons--"

Different indeed. The Akalak seemed obsessed with their history and traditions because of their shrinking numbers. The Myrian people, by comparison, did so in celebration of their growth and recent success. The moment Myri had slain Ruros was the moment her people gained the power and domain they held now. "--and because of that, there are many traditions shared across the clans. But there others individual to each clan as well."

Suddenly, Ayatah stood on her feet. She snaked her way to the opposite side of her office and unlatched a large wooden box. After retracting whatever it was she kept in there, the Myrian returned to her seat opposite Anna. "This dagger is one such example. It is mine, hence the A engraved into the central hilt." With that brief description, she placed the dagger on her desk. The hilt was made of bone, and attached to either end of this were two wickedly sharp blades, curving in opposite directions to each other.

Anna stared at the item, her hand instinctively placed on her swollen belly. After anxiously glancing up to her teacher, the human female picked up the blade. "This is... yours?" She asked, utterly aghast. It was as if she could not imagine Ayatah - the pleasant educator sitting before her now - could ever wield such a deadly weapon.

The Myrian, however, was bemused. She was familiar with such reactions, and it always entertained her. "Yes. That bone is from my great-great aunt, Kwenwa. She died before I was born, which is when I was gifted this weapon. You see, my clan - the Scattered Bones - give a birth weapon, like this one, to every baby girl born into the clan. It is always made from the bone of some ancestor, and is somehow thought to represent the child in question.

You see, even something such as this dagger here is steeped in history. By giving me this, my mother was placing me alongside all the other women in my family. It's a status symbol, I suppose. Or at least it was for me, being a half-blood. It said: I may not be a pure breed, but in my ancestor's eyes, I am Myrian."


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Ayatah
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Letters and Bones

Postby Ayatah on September 2nd, 2015, 7:05 pm


Anna feverishly wrote down notes as Ayatah spoke, causing the Myrian to slow down and pause. Would it be truly beneficial for Anna to learn of traditions so specific to a single clan? Possibly not: though, Ayatah had no real idea what Anna planned on doing with this knowledge. She had made Anna promise that she would not take it upon herself to then go to Falyndar in hopes of learning about the Myrian people first-hand.

My people do not appreciate visiting outsiders, particularly ones who think they know about our culture. She had said gently, hoping the serious tone of her voice would hand on to the human female's attention. Ayatah would not be able to live with herself if she learned that one of her students had died because she had not given them the necessary warnings.

Thankfully, Anna had assured her that she had no plans to visit Taloba, and it was only because she had met a Myrian on her travels that she was interested in their culture.

"Ayatah? Are you... Are you okay?"

Ayatah snapped her eyes open. "Yes!" She said, suddenly sweeping her hands across the top of her desk, once again seeking out a select few pages from the collection of notes that scattered the desktop. "Sorry, I was... thinking."

She was too distracted. She had not yet properly planned today's meeting with Anna, and so the Myrian's mind was all over the place. Partly it lingered with Kuame, where she hoped he was having a better day at school than she was at work. "Anyway, what I was thinking about was that we should probably focus on some more cultural-wide traditions. It might be easier to learn and remember individual clan customs, there's little point learning about only one or two clans..." Aya paused briefly to ensure that Anna agreed with this new plan. Once the human female nodded, she continued. "By far, one of the greatest traditions of my people, and the one children daydream about, is the blooding ceremony.

This occurs after a young Myrian has completed his or her coming of age trial, which itself is decided by the Myrian's clan. In the case of my clan, a young Myrian is expected to go into the jungle accompanied by just two family members, who cannot speak or help the young Myrian in their task. They must then hunt and successfully kill an animal. The larger, or more, the better."


The shadows of a memory flickered through Aya's mind. She smiled. Her own coming of age trial seemed like a lifetime ago now. Her cousins Bennik and Laquit had accompanied the half-breed, stalking after her like her own personal guardian spirits. Both were parents now, raising their children to one day face the same trial.

She cleared her throat. "Anyway. After that, the young Myrian is invited by our Goddess-Queen to the Temple -- where our most important religious ceremonies are held. Their clanmates join them, and Myri makes a short statement to congratulate the young warrior for completing their trial.

After that, she invites to drink from the Blooding Basin. A large chalice, about this big--"
she gestured the approximate dimensions of the Basin with her hands, though how close memory and reality were, Aya would not like to say. "The Myrian drinks the blood of those before her, and then adds a few drops of her own blood to the chalice."

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Ayatah
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Letters and Bones

Postby Ayatah on September 3rd, 2015, 1:46 pm


With that, Ayatah stopped speaking. She watched Anna scribble away, the woman's brow creased minutely as she regurgitated the information her teacher had just shared. The Myrian leaned back in her seat, her head resting backwards and her eyes focused on the ceiling of her office. The vision of Myri bearing down on her, smiling and gesturing to the silver chalice was engraved into Ayatah's mind. She could recall how her heart had been in her throat, how her stomach had knotted up in a mixture of excitement and nervousness.

But most of all, Ayatah had felt acceptance.

She touched the back of her neck, where her gnosis mark pulsated quietly with the rhythm of her heart. It was just one of many gifts that Ayatah had received that day.

"And then?"

Aatah opened her eyes, sitting back up straight in her chair and giving her student a weary smile. "And then Myri bestows upon the young Myrian her gnosis mark. It is just another sign that we, as a people, are united together under her rule."

Silence blanketed the room for a short time, punctuated by Anna's scratchy writing. Eventually, she glanced up to Aya and asked: "What happens if someone who shouldn't drink the --" she grimaced minutely, "--blood does?"

"If a Myrian who had not yet completed their coming of age trial drank out of the basin, they would be severely looked down upon. They not only be going against Myri's rule, but they would also be depreciating the coming of trials. Both are grave insults." For the next part of her statement, Ayatah paused. Her lips pouted slightly in thought before she continued, "as for a non-Myrian, I don't know. I wouldn't like to say, but I imagine they would end up dead. Either through the effects of the blood, or the punishment they would receive from the rest of my people."

She was aware of how brutish her people seemed to non-Myrians. But all cultures had their sacred rules and traditions. As long as Ayatah ensured that she described the punishment and consequences in relation to these traditions, she hoped that she could somehow be able to defend her Myrian culture and people. Though she wanted to enforce the intimidating and dangerous nature of the jungle and the people within it, Ayatah had learned just how unforgiving many peoples' opinions of the Myrian culture were.

We are dangerous, but not mindless.

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Ayatah
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Letters and Bones

Postby Ayatah on September 3rd, 2015, 3:19 pm


A sigh escaped her lips. After rubbing her face tiredly, Ayatah turned to Anna yet again. "The key thing I want you to take away from our meeting today is the importance of Myrian traditions. They are a celebration of our Goddess-Queen, our history and our strength as a people. It is why Myri requires a young Myrian to have completed their coming of age trials in order to drink from the blooding basin. We do not accept weakness."

Anna seemed to consider this for a moment, but eventually she gave a stern nod. With a hand on her pregnancy, the female mused, "and I presume children are bought up knowing his?"

"Oh, of course." The Myrian smiled curtly. She was aware that Anna was an expectant mother; she would no doubt not appreciate knowing that the Myrian people started to train their children in weaponry as soon as toddlers could walk. As such, she wanted to keep the metaphorical cards close to her chest, only charing tidbits of information with Anna so as not to put her off the subject completely

But she handled the lesson on the blooding ceremony well enough, a more moral and tolerant part of Aya's mind told her sternly. It was true: she had expected the meek-looking blonde woman to pale and gag at the mere thought of drinking blood, but she had been too studious, too dedicated to her learning, to react.

"But that is for another day." She eventually declared, placing her hands on the top of her desk and watching Anna evenly, "for our next meeting, I want you to look at those chapters I mentioned earlier. The list I gave you is a good place to start."

Anna nodded and began to collect her things before heaving her swollen self to her feet. "Thank you, as ever, Aya. I will see you in a few days."

After the woman had left, Ayatah groaned. She was still finding her place in Riverfall, and part of that was certainly familiarising herself with a teaching technique that suited her and her student. As a Myrian, she felt a huge of pressure to prove herself as intelligent, worthy. She was no longer just a savage.

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Ayatah
The Scholarly Savage
 
Posts: 737
Words: 667148
Joined roleplay: December 27th, 2012, 11:30 am
Location: Riverfall
Race: Mixed blood
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