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2016-09-24

Macau Champurado and Artifexian

It's good to be back! I haven't posted since... February! I am going to try to post more often, but I can't promise that things like this will not happen again. I have my own conworld projects and have things to do offline (maybe even this strange thing called "getting a life").
Speaking of hiatuses, Dóci Papiaçám di Macau released a new video, 11 months after their previous one. If you forgot or don't know what Dóci Papiaçám di Macau is, I suggest reading this post first. The video is about a group of tourists who come to see Macau. The tour guides sing about the hip, international city of money and shiny things marketed to tourists. The tourists protest, so the guides show them the real Macau: the ruins of St. Paul, the old streets in which people live, places of worship, the food that locals have eaten for generations, etc. I wish more tourists thought like them, rather than the one Chinese tourist in the video who just complained all the time.
On the other hand, Artifexian, the conworlding channel of YouTube that inspired my second post, appears to be on an indefinite hiatus:
Links to things discussed in the video:
RIAM Official: https://goo.gl/eK2sh5
Artifexian Podcast: http://goo.gl/qh9YVt

2016-02-20

Species of Kårroť: Work In Progress

East and West Ocean refers to the cultural division between the people near the different oceans: for most of history, East and West have been isolated from each other by long stretches of dense jungle, mountains and desert. When land animals are referred as living in X Ocean, it means that they live on the land of the X side.

Animals:
Humans are a large, bipedal land species of intelligent beings. They are found in all climates except for the poles. Humans are the only sapient species of the East Ocean.
Octosquid are a large, tentacled species which can change colour and shape at will. They can breathe above water, but they are most suited to saline underwater habitats. They are sapient.
Tikres are a carnivorous species resembling a damselfly about 60 centimetres long.
Horses are a group of various large, cloven quadrupeds which are adapted to different habitats:
  • Eastern horses look very similar to the destrier of 15th century Europe in terms of size and shape. They feed mainly on various grasses and grains. They are common throughout the East Ocean and the adjacent parts of the West Ocean. They can breed with Forest horses to produce infertile offspring, and can breed with Woolly horses to produce fertile offspring. They cannot breed with Western horses at all.
  • Northern horses are not recognised as a category of horse by Caurrochan biologists. They live in the northwest side of the East Ocean.
    • Forest horses are small and furry, about 10-11 hands tall. They are much thinner than regular horses, as they are adapted to the dense growth of trees. They tend to be pale to light brown (not using equine terminology). They are only found in Ourinaso, where they are the main form of transportation. Their coat of hair is thick comparative to horses, being about 2.3 centimetres long. Despite being weaker over all than other horses, their legs are more resistant to damage and wear and tear than other species. They can breed with Woolly horses to produce infertile offspring which usually die shortly after birth.
    • Woolly horses are, at 19 to 24 hands, towering giants compared to other horses as well as humans. They live north of Ourinaso. These are the only horses which have not been domesticated.
  • Western horses are stockier and shorter than their Eastern counterpart, but they are still larger than the forest horses.

Plants:
Sweetgrass is a tall grass plant. It has large husks and seeds, which are small for an Earth cereal but large for a grass in general. The interior parts of the husk are very sweet. They are often hardened by drying and then ground up along with their seeds to make a coarse flour. It is considered the most important staple crop of the East Ocean.
The common dandelion is an orangish pseudanthium. It is the only domesticated dandelion that is in wide use. The flower head and leaves are rich in vitamins A, C and D, as well as calcium. The root is ground up and roasted to make dandelion matcha. In the Varikèvi Plain, dandelion flower heads are a common ingredient in both raw and cooked food. Extracts from the leaves are a basic ingredient in various medicines.
The killer bush is a bush found in the eastern side of the East Ocean, about 40 to 50 centimetres tall. The ideal conditions for growing it are in a somewhat warm, moist area - a humid subtropical climate (Köppen - Cfa) - but the plant can also grow in hotter and drier climates. The bush has creamy white flowers, about 2-5 centimetres in diameter, with 5 or 6 petals and 8 sepals. The flower is noted for its strong scent, which is primarily composed of methyl dihydrojasmonate, opiates, and vanillin, attracts various creatures. The petals, which are unusually fleshy, have particularly high concentrations of narcotics and sedative compounds. There are also trace amounts of prunasin, amygdalin and anatoxin-a, which are all types of neurotoxin. In addition, the plant secretes lead. This combination causes humans and animals of similar or smaller mass to die instantly after consuming the petals. The roots are capable of slow movement, which allows them to move to the surface and absorb nutrients from the rotting corpses of the animals. The rot also attracts insects, which pollinate the bush. The roots have miniature teeth-like structures that allow them to cut flesh and destroy the roots of young plants. Because of this, very few plants grow near the bush. Plants with very thin roots that do not extend deep into the ground are generally safe. The flowers and wood of the plant are rare luxury goods.

Mushrooms:
(All mushrooms contain low to medium amounts of psilocybin)
The capped seal is a saprotrophic mushroom. It is white with a flat light brown cap (sometimes with white spots), free gills, and a ring. The spore print is cream, and the stipe becomes bluish when bruised. Age causes the stipe to turn yellow and the cap to darken. It has a wide rhizome from which multiple hard roots stem. It is not psychoactive when cooked. Capped seal grows best in humid continental area, but is often grown in subtropical other temperate climates. This mushroom is the most common source of psilocybin-high mushroom extracts, which are used in dandelion matcha. The capped seal is also commonly baked or eaten raw. Many cultures prohibit eating the roots, probably due to its tendency to be high in metals. It is dangerous to feed it to small children when raw.

2016-01-17

Some of the Religions of Kårroť

Itsansohren is the traditional polytheistic religion of most of the Varikèvi plains. It has a long history that most people do not know about, but everyone knows that the modern organized religion was the creation of the caesaropapist Emperor Kaleþoklèn the III (also known by street people as Mad Kal), when he reorganized the various local variations of the Varikèvi religion and took almost all of the secular and spiritual authority of the priests away. When the Varikèvi empire slowly dissolved and balkanised into the modern governments known today, the priests regained some of their spiritual authority and started working with the post-Varikèvi governments to keep a standardised religion. There have been schisms within the religion, but due to persecution only two heterodox sects have survived up to the present day: Qrìshren and Fìšlanhren. The name of the religion comes from the name of its principal god: Itsanso.

Vedmanan is the dominant religion of Faqeg, Mesagono, Ourinaso, Sinakra, and Tinakra. It followers worship one god, Itþùlu, who separately revealed himself to the people of Ourinaso and the people of Tinakra. The people of this religion believe that the purpose of these revelations is to make men aware of their creator and to make fulfilling their purposes easier. The religion spread fast, and so did the kingdoms that followed them. Within two decades of the religion’s existence, all of Ourinaso obeyed the rule of the Fekani of the Eastern Mountains, and Raü’s alleged “Sixty-four fours of four” cities were split between two kingdoms, Sinakra and Tinakra. Very soon, the countries recognised the similar belief systems of each other, and the religions merged. With the Tinakran conquests and raids in Faqeg, the religion became so popular that the local forms of Itsansohren completely vanished. This religion was also brought to the Gedèŕz, and about 45% of its population practice the religion. Vedmanan is also the most popular religion in the New World, but not as politically and culturally dominant as the native religions. There are two sets of priests, the popular priests (meaning that they are elected to represent the views of the faithful of particular areas) and the consecrated priests who are trained by other consecrated priests, whose traditions were made by the prophets. The head of the popular priests are the Council of the Faith, which consist of the representatives of the religious in every country. They are in charge of church doctrine, which they vote on in meetings. The head of the consecrated priests is the Arbitrator of the Council of the Faith. His job is to make sure the faithful and their priests do not break from church doctrine, as well as vetoing any doctrine voted on by the Council of the Faith which Itþùlu does not agree with (it is said Itþùlu can contact the most important consecrated priests, but this event has never happened). The Council of the Faith also holds meetings on accepting new positions in the council (such as voting on whether the area of an independent country should elect its own representative or stay subordinate to another country). New doctrine proposed in the council cannot contradict strict literal interpretations of holy documents. There are three holy scriptures – the Book of Ourinaso, the Book of Raù, and the Book of Joining – each representing an equally important part of the religion. The Book of Ourinaso contains the religious writings of the followers of Ourinaso’s prophets, the Book of Raù, the prophets of Tinakra, and the Book of Joining is about the formation of the syncretic religion combining Raù and Ourinaso beliefs.

One of the most popular of the aforementioned traditional religions is Weŋraiž. Weŋraiž is the predominant religion of Èŋtras. It is the main religion of the southern part of the country, but has almost no believers in the northern area. It is a proselytising religion which believes in a universal spirit that is made up of all spirits in the world. This universal spirit is called Weŋraiž. A soul, according to them, has three aspects. There is the cognitive aspect, motive aspect, and the living aspect. Plants and mushrooms are considered to have only the last one. Animals have the motive aspect, but not the cognitive one. Only humans who accept the practices of Weŋraiž have the cognitive aspect. These humans are called the Weŋraiž community. Believers say that when they die they become beings of power within Weŋraiž. When those without the cognitive aspect die, they cannot give purpose or direction to the universal spirit. Some non-believers grow hateful and jealous of the ancestors of the Weŋraiž community and exit the universal spirit. They become powerful demons, who have the cognitive and motive aspects, but lack the living aspect. They often try to steal spirits from the Weŋraiž to regain the living aspect, but only the will of the all of the Weŋraiž can repair their souls. The dead of the Weŋraiž community work together to give direction to the universal spirit and use it to make the world a better place. Thus, by worshipping ancestors, the members of Weŋraiž are trying to get divine help from Weŋraiž by appealing to members with personal connections. Radical sects such as Jegdnaþžo say that the only way to prevent demons from arising is to to get rid of other beliefs by conversion and killing those who refuse conversion. Ironically, these sects are accused of demon worship for rejecting the works of Tsixe Hardlɨ Kunra ma-Tsiet. The Weŋraiž community has an interesting relation with Vedmanan, as each recognize a similar set of beliefs. However, the idea of ancestor worship is seen as “polytheistic” by the Vedmanan, and the contrasts between Weŋraiž and Vedmanan rites of conduct make Vedmanan a “pagan” belief in the eyes of the Weŋraiž community.

Tsixe Hardlɨ Kunra ma-Tsiet

This post is about my fictional world, Kårroť [ˈkaʊ̱̯ɹ.ɹɔt͡ʃ] (KOWR-rawch is the best English approximation). It deals with one of the least developed areas of my conworld (not that any place is particularly developed). In fact, the names Tsixe Hardlɨ Kunra ma-Tsiet, Litur, Weŋraiž, and Sextɨnra, as well as all of the clan names, were invented in the course of writing this post (however, at least half of the ideas were not new).

Translation from Funer̀ik Mùhùh Academy1 Biographical Dictionary of Anthropology, 924 DK:

Tsixe Hardlɨ Kunra ma-Tsiet2 [ˈtsi.xe ˈhaɾ.dɮɯ ˈkun.ɾa ma.ˈtsi.et] was an ethnically Litur monk, theologian, and religious anthropologist from pre-colonial Èŋtras. He is known for writing fairy tales several hundreds of years before people such as Kanoubien Metmèrei3 supposedly “invented” the genre. He wandered throughout Èŋtras, recording the stories of the various religions of its Northern regions as well as participating in the great theological debates of the time. His work is of much interest to students of Èŋtras’ cultural evolution. While Èŋtras has been associated with ethnic and religious violence for centuries, Hardlɨ never slandered the Northern Èŋtrasian peoples and always kept to the versions of tales which he heard on his travels. In fact, one well known scroll (Variations of the Revenge of Kgŋwuŋni) copied from his work (Culture of the Tdnwiž) records 24 variations of a single story, including every stuttered syllable and grammatical error marked with red ink. His resting place, a little north to Sextɨnra, is a major pilgrimage site in the Weŋraiž4 religion and also the location of the famous Temple of the Heroes. The heroes refers to the humble monks who helped revitalise faith in Southern Èŋtras, of whom Hardlɨ is the most famous of. Many Northern Èŋtrasians also pay respect to Hardlɨ, despite not being part of the Weŋraiž community. He is a popular folk figure throughout the country and in neighbouring regions. Stories often involve Hardlɨ performing miracles for impoverished people and battling ferocious demons. Most of the stories involve him entering a small village without giving his name, helping the locals, and giving his name before mysteriously disappearing. His works include the following:
  • Exorcism for winter rot
  • Prayer to the ancestors of the Tsixe for bountiful harvests
  • Prayer to the ancestors of the Ranu to end crop rot
  • Prayer to the ancestors of the Haþdɨ to end a flood
  • Prayer to the ancestors of the Tsixe for a safe birth of a son
  • Prayer to the ancestors of the Žaimen to heal a baby
  • Prayer to the ancestors of the Ranuɨ for bountiful harvests
  • Exorcism of demons plaguing the Oughin
  • Exorcism of demons plaguing the Ghisil
  • Exorcism of demons plaguing the Tdnwiž
  • Note on the beliefs of the Barbarians
  • Tales of Ghisil, Tdnwiž, and Adnel
  • Exorcism of ancestors of the Adnel for purposes of conversion
  • Renaming ceremony of the Adnel
  • The failure of the Adnel mission
  • Praises unto Henraeiž (Weŋraiž)
  • Merit of false exorcism
  • Spiritual role of the ancestors’ souls
  • Spiritual status of pagans
  • Culture of the Tdnwiž
  • Naming Henraeiž
  • Study of the language of the Tdnwiž for purposes of preaching
  • Study of ritual across nations
  • Ways of northern barbarians
  • Ways of western barbarians
  • Comparison of totem-worship and praise of ancestors
  • Prayer to the ancestors of the Tsixe for bountiful harvests
  • Prayer to the Tsixe of Sextɨnra, so that they may elect a new chief
  • Nature of spirit and substance
  • Against Ranuɨ Riþoɨn Sitetsi ma-Žion
  • Nature of spirit and substance in terms of laymen
  • Importance of unity in missions
  • Benefits of a solitary lifestyle
  • Exorcism of demons possessing the chief of Sextɨnra, the priest of the Ranuɨ of River Èŋtras, and the elders of the Ranu
  • Virtue
  • Rapprochement with and apology to Ranuɨ Riþoɨn Sitetsi ma-Žion
  • Funerary rites
  • Prayer to the ancestors of the Tsixe for guidance in marriage
  • Origin of the Southern Tribes
  • Tolerance
  • Against accusations of monolatrism