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The Red Orchid

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The Red Orchid

The Red Orchid Tattoo

The Red Orchid Clan boasts some of Taloba's most devout priests and priestesses, and most talented herbalists and healers. They pride themselves on their faith and curative skill. That is not to say that they are pacifistic nor are their ranks devoid of warriors. Each clan member is expected to train extensively in the use of daggers, and it is encouraged that they choose a secondary weapon as well. In truth there are just as many talented warriors with in the clan as there are herbalists and rituatlists. But then, there are warriors in every clan.



Historically The Red Orchid has always been a small clan. Oral accounts say that the original, founding family, whose true name has been lost or forgotten, was one of the first groups to join the Goddess - Queen during her conquest for the simple fact that they hadn't the strength of numbers to combat her. The elders of the First Family recognized Myri's strength and resolute willpower. It did not take persuasion or coerscion to convince the clan to join the new Queen. Rather than sabotage their precarious existence, the clan entered peacefully, even readily, into Myri's quickly expanding empire. Since first pledging allegiance to the Goddess - Queen the Clan has gone through many changes and expansions of their own, and have prospered under Myri's rule, becoming dedicated and diligent devotees.


There is a flower that grows in Taloba. To outsiders such a flower seems unremarkable. Indeed, it is quite unassuming in comparison to the myriad other vividly dazzling flowers that flourish in the near unseen reaches of Falyndar's dense jungles. But at night, the walls of Taloba gleam in an enchanting spectacle of light to rival the stars themselves. And to the keen observer, the garish foliage of Falyndar's more gaudy frondescence pales in comparison to the radiant beauty of the Taloban Orchid.

Legend says that long ago the Orchids were given to the Goddess - Queen Myri as a precious gift from the Goddess Caiyha. Rather than keep such a gift to herself, the Goddess - Queen enlisted her people's herbalists to cultivate it so that it might be spread throughout the city for all to see. That in this way even when the city lay in darkness, even if the world were to once again crumble and her very memory lay in legend and ruin, all might know the glory of the Goddess - Queen and the generosity of Nature. To most, this is where the legend ends. But to the Red Orchid Clan it is only the beginning.

Oral accounts tell that there was a certain herbalist, a young Myrian woman, whose original clan name is now long lost to the ages. Some say she was a healer, others a budding priestess, still others that both are true, but all agree that she was one of those appointed to tend the first orchids. Her family was honored by this, and she took great pride in tending the Taloba's cherished treasure. She lovingly nurtured the plants under her watch with the greatest of care, even going so far as to sleep beside them each night. One such night the girl was violently ambushed. Whatever wicked soul lay in wait that night tried to take the orchids from the Goddess - Queen, or at least from the girl - who defended them with her very life. Whispered rumors said that it was a fellow Myrain desirous of her station; some that it was a jealous God, covetous of Caiyha's attentions. Truth be told, the identity of her butcher was never known. But as the girl's body lay at the feet of her beloved plants - a single blossom clutched in her cold fingers - her lifeblood flowed from a wicked gash over her heart, bathing the delicate leaves, drenching the ground, soaking the soil and saturating the roots until the very petals reflected the crimson of her sacrifice.

In honor of her memory and recognition of her devotion, Myri bequeathed these blood - red orchids to the girl's friends and family, who would continue to cultivate the priceless plants. Over the years each orchid dyed by the girl's blood retained it's crimson hue. And each seed that grew from these sanguine stems blossomed with the same claret color. Until eventually the whole of the Family's houses were covered in creeping vines of red orchids. So began the Red Orchid Clan.


Passing the Daggers There are three original families that formed the Red Orchid. Each family in the clan possesses a single set of tamo daggers carved from the bones of a certain ancient ancestor. The daggers are passed from eldest mother to eldest female descendant of her line in succession. So that at any given point in time the Clan is governed internally by a tribunal of three matriarchs, known as the Troika, who will collectively train three apprentices. The Troika makes all important decisions concerning the clan, deferring - of course - to the Goddess Queen's command and the greater needs of Taloba. Apprentices are initiated upon completion of their Blooding. A matriarch will nominate her chosen apprentice at the celebration which traditionally follows a successful Blooding. At which time the remaining members of the Troika will accept and confirm the nomination, assuming that the woman in question meets their stringent standards. During the apprenticeship the sponsoring Matriarch will keep one of the daggers, and pass the other to her chosen disciple as a sign of her new station. Upon the death of a Matriarch the second dagger is then passed to her apprentice, marking her as the new matriarch for her family line. Most usually the daggers pass from mother to daughter. However, it is not unheard of for a childless elder to pass them to a niece, or even a sister if no other heir exists.

Birth Upon the successful birth of a child, the mother is expected to personally present the infant to the Troika for inspection. If the child is judged healthy and of acceptable strength and vitality, then the child will publicly accepted by it's family's Matriarch and ritually affirmed by the Troika as a whole. During the ceremony, the mother and Matriarch stand before the entire clan with the child, who is then proclaimed an official member. The Matriarch will then mark the child, using her Tamo Dagger, with a small, shallow laceration over the heart. Blood from the wound is then collected on the petals of an orchid which will redden and blossom crimson for the duration of the child's life. These symbols mark the child, forever, as a member of the clan. The orchid becomes a members most valuable possession, and is viewed as not only a symbol of the family, but as an individual and precsious gift from the Goddess - Queen herself. While the child is young, the mother tends each of her children's plants as carefully as she does the child itself. And if the child dies, so does the orchid.

First Moon When a girl of the Red Orchids experiences her Menarche, it is viewed as a time of celebration for the whole clan. Regardless of season or bounty a feast is thrown whereupon the woman-to-be is made Matriarch of the entire clan for a single day. During this time the girl is given reign of the clan, to make rules, decrees, and declarations as she sees fit which will persist through the week long festivities. Mock battles are held, whereby males of the clan playfully compete for the right to dine with or serve the young woman for an evening, etc. Each night holds festivities. gifts and tributes are lavished upon the newly made woman, and all out revelry is had. During the day, however, the young woman is sequestered with in her hut with the Troika, clan elders, and other of-age females of her family. During this time the girl is expected to learn all manner of things necessary to a Red Orchid female. Clan history, lore ad legends are shared, along with stories, advice, and details about the mystery of womanhood. This allows the girl to bond with her clanmates, but also gives her sacred and private space in which she may enquire, and thus learn about, those things which may otherwise go unmentioned in day to day society. At the end of the week a final feast is held, during which the now-woman is presented to the clan and possession (and care) of her orchid is then passed to her. A kind of symbolic statement that her flower, her femininity, and her body are now hers and hers alone to rule. Typically similar celebrations are held on a much smaller scale for males after their first successful solo hunt.

Blooding Like all Myrians, the Red Orchids mark a child's true coming of age upon their blooding. Trials vary by child and are unique to each person's chosen life-path. Challenges are handed down from the Troika, and upon successful completion the individual is then presented to the Goddess - Queen to be acknowledged. Once the child has completed all trials and partaken from the Blooding Basin, the now-adult returns to the clan grounds. Here the Troika carefully harvest three blossoms from the individuals orchid plant, and using ink carefully extracted from the crimson petals mark the individual with a distinct, red orchid tattoo. The tattoo is inked into the palm of the left hand, and will remain forever as a testament to their heritage and devotion. Consequently, clan members often greet each other by raising the left hand to display this tattoo. If (and it is rare with in Taloba) the chest is not bare, this greeting is usually followed by a display of the scar above the persons heart, which is thought to demonstrate trust and vulnerability amongst family.

Death When a member of the clan dies, so too does the orchid with which they were tied. The Red Orchids follow typical Myrian funerary traditions. However, there is a certain ritual that goes into the preparation of a body. When the plant dies, all of it's blossoms are harvested immediately. These are carefully pressed for dies and oils which are used in these preparations. The body is prepared with oils and perfumes from the plant and then wrapped in linens which have been dyed red by similar means. These are secured in place using the vines of the plants, and any blossoms not used in preparation are then utilized to decorate the pyre and scent the flames. When a Red Orchid passes into Dira's embrace, the whole of the city knows it by the sweet, mournful smell of the funeral pyre. Once the pyre expires, the ashes of the deceased are gathered, and added to the soil of a single, massive orchid plant, known as the Ancestral Bloom, which grows at the center of Red Orchid territory from the ashes of every clan member for centuries back


As is expected, the Red Orchid Clan honors Myri as their supreme deity above all others. She is their mother, their queen, and their goddess. Kihala and Dira are also honored for their roles as life and death - both of which are essential and sacred to all existence. And their interplay is pivotal and fundamental to many of the Red Orchid's central traditions. Additionally Caiyha is revered for her role as Nature, and for the gift which she gave their queen and thus their family. Myri is their mother, Caiyha is their world, and Kihala and Dira are their balance. Though it is not unheard of for a member to have a personal relationship with a deity outside of this pantheon, most of the priests, healers, and warriors that hail from the Red Orchid serve one of these deities, either exclusively or in tandem.

Clan Standing

The Red Orchid has a very ordered view of where one stands in the clan. The Goddess Queen is, of course, held above all else and standing descends in order from there to look something like this:

  • The Troika
  • Other Clan elders - usually females past child bearing years. Though often including a smattering of highly experienced
  • Orchid Tender(s) - Usually one or two highly skilled gardeners and herbalists that are given the immensely important task of caring for the Orchids of those who are serving time in the military or are away from the clan for various reasons
  • Warriors who, for whatever reason, are no longer battle - fit.
  • Women who have successfully borne the clan a daughter
  • Women with no daughters
  • Women with no children
  • Men with children
  • Men with no children
  • Adults with no children AND no battle experience
  • Children


The Red Orchid has no territory to speak of. All of their lands were offered freely as a tribute to the Goddess - Queen when the First Family pledged their allegiance. All of the 60-something clan members reside entirely with in Taloba's walls, where their section of housing is easily recognizable by the tangled mess of red orchids which cling to nearly every home.

Player Characters
heightZemeiaFrom Taloba, Falyndar.
Non-Player Characters
BinaHead Priestess