A’Rhul: The Tangler, The Great Beast God. The Mother of M’Gedorok. In the Before-Memory, She saw the hubris and destruction of humanity (a time known as The Tuar). She looked upon the horrible things humanity made, things that poisoned the earth, rent it asunder, and re-knit the world-dream. So A’Rhul dreamed a dream of her own, one that mangled and knotted the fabric of the world, and the Maladaan came forth, very nearly destroying humanity. But humanity was ultimately spared – no one knows why. It is said She still lives, but deep underground, or far away in the wilderness, sleeping, still dreaming (some say it’s her dreams that caused, and maintain, Laevn)… Some fear She will awaken again someday, and finish what she started
A’Boraan: A mutated corrupted human - essentially a human Maladaan. They don’t typically have the ghastly and deadly power of the Maladaan (but still much stronger than a norma human), but they retain vestiges of their human intelligence, so in many ways they are more dangerous! Many theories on how they came to be; some say they are humans who purposefully had their soul-strands rewoven by submitting to A’Rhul’s dream. They seem to have lost all sense of time, to intuitively live in an eternal Now, thus experiencing no longing, no heartache, like a beast. Some suggest that could be tempting state to be in…
Daam: a female with a mate-bond to a male. The intention to bear children must be there, otherwise they are simply companions, which is not looked up favorably. To love and befriend each other certainly makes the arrangement better, but is not required (nor is forming a Kai-Troth).
El’Aeon: The Weaver of the Strands, the Fabricator of Dreams and Pattern-Maker of all that is Manifest. Invisible, largely unknowable, the closest thing to a One-God in The Now. The Weaver does not answer prayers directly. She gives one will, and the ability to dream – that is enough. But she does care for the world. Some say it is She who caused A’Rhul the Tangler to fall into a deep sleep, to give her a false dream, believing that she had destroyed humanity and made the world to her liking.
Holtree: Very large trees, with wide spacious branches, often serving as homes for humans in the Now.
Jubeast: : A large creature, near bison-size, with mainly goat-like features, but also some canine attributes. Ubiquitous companions to humanity once the latter took to the mountains and high places (many generations after M’Gedorok, when the world turned against and nearly ended humanity). The two species live in reciprocal harmony and unison now, with pairs (human/jubeast) often forming Kai-yoke bonds, sensing each other’s feelings, allowing subconscious communication.
Kai: someone’s essence, chi, soul, spirit, their living dream, their pattern of strands, their ‘strings’, etc…, often used in lieu of those terms. Those who can read a Kai have powerful leverage
Kai-Arbiter: Those gifted with the ability to read Kai-Troths and Kai-Pacts. They can quickly determine the truth about any agreements made, how the individuals interpreted them (not all see agreements the same way). Their ability is the bedrock of praestarii, the collective system of kai-pacts and agreements that create ‘paperless’ contracts and ‘cashless’ economy (trading goods for kai-pacts, insuring repayment in some form, at some future point).
Kai-Pact: a minor bond between two or more individuals, signifying when they come to an agreement. Accomplished with an exchange of bodily fluids (often spittle, sometimes blood, for more solemn pacts) and a willful assent by all parties. This then creates a small bond/tie between soul strands/patterns. It is used to establish contracts, make fair trades, swear minor oaths… It creates a geas, making it very hard to not do what was agreed upon, although strong willed individuals can do so. But no one can remove the soul knot indicating the agreement occurred to begin with, and a Kai-Arbiter can read a Kai-pact between parties and usually quickly settle disagreements.
Kai-Slave: Someone who's been subjected to an extremely strong and one-sided Kai-Bond with another (the Dom). The slave feels compelled to do whatever the Dom wants, sometimes intuitively knowing without the Dom even stating it. Often used as a severe form of legal punishment (in lieu of death), but of course it has its unscrupulous practitioners. Some say there are forms of Kai-slavery in which the Dom can actually see and hear through the slave, and that the Suzerain has kai-slave spies all over the realm… Most dismiss this, however.
Kai-Troth: A very strong bond between individuals. where their soul-strands are connected, entangled together. They feel each other’s emotions, and generally know where the other is. They find it extremely difficult to lie to each other, or to break promises made to each other. Sometimes created when males and females have joined as mates, and remained so for a good period of time, but sometimes between others who feel the desire for an ultimate bond (supremely close friends, battle-companions, etc… ). In any circumstance, because of its power, it is not entered lightly, and is certainly not a requirement for mate-bonding (although the lesser Kai-pact usually is…)
Kai-Weaver: Someone gifted with the ability to create a Kai-Troth and Kai-Yoke, a dream-bond, between two or more individuals (or a beast), and the Kai-Teth, the bond with a Sembul. They are very protective of their power, and often form guilds, censoring any who make the Kai-Troth outside their supervision. Often separated into two strata: those who create the Kai-Troth between humans, and those who do so between a human and a beast (the former tend to look down on the latter somewhat…)
Kai-Yoke: A bond between a human and a beast, similar to a Kai-Troth and a Kai-pact, but not quite either. A sort of contractual intuitive understanding, with the beast offering its abilities (usually as beast of burden and/or protector) to the human in exchange for shelter and food. Nevertheless, it shares many of the same aspects of a Kai-Troth, as the beast often knows what the human wants intuitively; likewise the human knows the needs of the beasts. (Kai-teth: a similar bond with one’s Sembul)
L’Parcalii: a festive activity, somewhat ritualized, but with immense freedom for fun and revelry. Young males and females gather at night, the females scatter, run and hide, and the males hunt them, all playfully done. Should a male ‘catch’ a female (really won’t happen unless the female desires it) they’ll often pair off, perhaps get intimate (but it’s considered bad form to fully mate). With its sensual nature, it’s a favorite custom for the young, and an important one, as it can bypass normal play-courting and provide a way for the sexes to feel each other out, gain awareness of who would make good mates, etc…
Laevn: Nature at its maximum bounty. Trees several hundred feet tall, Animals big, strong, full shiny fur, perfect specimens. Glorious and majestic, but also seen by some as too good, a sense that, if left alone, not bolstered by some force, it’d be less… glorious!
Laevnii: An animal at the maximum of perfection in almost every way. For some, these are the preferred beast to form a kai-yoke with. But even more fear them, thinking them not fully natural, perhaps just a step below the Maladaan.
Laevn-blot: particular places where laevn (nature: bigger, fiercer, more…) is at its apex. Most often occurring where old human cities used to be. It’s as if nature sought to erase the things humans made, to cover them up completely. Laevn-blots have a corrupted feel about them, as the beasts (and even some of the flora) grow larger and meaner, seeming to have a purposeful enmity with any humans who venture there. If any Maladaan still exists, they’d likely be found in places like these!
Maatrii/Paatrii: The alpha of a clan, somewhere between a chief and a mayor. Ostensibly a merit-based position, earned, and chosen by the people at large, it often becomes entrenched within a single family, with many generation holding the title, thus it has taken on noble connotations as well…
Maladaan: A Death Walker, or Beast Walker. A monstrous ghastly creature, often formerly a predator (wolf, panther, bear…) shaped and warped by A’Rhul (or maybe even El’Aeon, as some believe). Much, much bigger, stronger, resilient, and terrifying than a normal beast. Often with ‘extra’ attributes: more teeth, extra eyes, longer claws, other spikes and appendages… Even worse, they are carriers and emitters of the invisible Malignaan, that feast on health, flesh and created things… And always they have an abhorrence of humanity and humanity’s creations, seeking to destroy them. They aren’t seen as much in The Now, and many even consider them mythic, gone from the world…
Malignaan: Tiny things invisible to the naked eye. They cause sickness in humans, even death. Sometimes they devour flesh outright. They also seek to destroy and consume creations of humanity, especially the ancient artifacts humanity is said to have created during the Time-Before-Memory.
Praestarii: the emergent legal and economic system arising from the ability of individuals to create kai-pacts. When one can create a minor soul-bond (kai-pact) with another, promising future service or trade in exchange for a current service or trade, and that pact can be examined, arbitrated and enforced, the whole concept can essentially replace money, credit, debt, and written contracts. It can even take on a collective nature, as others can have a subtle awareness of kai-pacts between individuals, and in some circumstances, kai-pacts can be traded (as in, you can trade your promise of service to an individual to someone else, and then that person becomes obligated to fulfil your kai-pact). It can become very tangled, and Kai-Arbiters are often needed to sort it out, but in most ways if functions extremely well as a social glue, keeping everything civil.
Saar: a male with a mate-bond to a female. The intention to sire children must be there, otherwise they are simply companions, which is not looked up favorably. Not unusual for a Saar to have more than one Daam. It is biology. A Saar can be the seeder to many Daam, while a Daam can bear but one child at a time. For a Saar and Daam to love each other certainly makes the arrangement better, but is not required (nor is forming a Kai-Troth).
Sembul: a symbiotic lifeform humans have bonded with. It covers the skin, often forming ornate patterns reflecting the human’s personality and mood. Often has minor extras such as claws (‘Thornails’) or flower-like buddings in the hair or elsewhere, to enhance beauty. Tends to grow thicker during the colder seasons, providing some warmth and protection.
Sembuliim: someone who can form the initial bond of a human and a Sembul, often performed a few weeks after birth, and is considered a right of passage.
S'Sorrii: living organic items, often taking the form of sections of fabric, or pieces of armor. These can form temporary bonds with one’s Sembul, allowing for extra covering, protection, and a bit of fashion.
S'Sorriim: Shapers of S'Sorrii. People gifted with the ability to make organics grow to desired shapes, creating tools, weapons, and clothing (Guilds often specialize in one category). The S'Sorriim of clothing, for example, create apparel from living filaments that, when worn, grow and weave to fit the wearer, attaching to their Sembul, providing protection and warmth and, perhaps most importantly, a sense of fashion and individuality, while symbiotically living off the host’s energy. Other Guilds include: Armor and weapons, tools and transport equipment (wagons, sleds). The latter two tend to work with Incredibly hard woods
Strands/Strings: (okay not an exotic word, but still used in a different context in this world) Invisible strings tie everything, all of reality, together. Fates and destinies inextricably linked to strands. Everything has a particular string, weave, and pattern,(a person's strands are often call kai-strands) and everything is hooked to everything else, though the strands may stretch great distances, with uncountable twist and turns. Powerful are those who can see the Strands, more powerful those can interpret them, and very powerful indeed those who can reweave them!
The Now: Not the past, not the future, but only the immediate. Remembering the past too much (fondly or otherwise), and keeping track of it (your age, your ancestral lineage) is frowned upon. Likewise, hoping/dreading the future. Neither helps The Now. It is not how nature works, and indeed, thinking beyond The Now was likely a big contributor to the human mindset that led to M’Gedorok, when Time Ended!
Tuar: usually called ‘The Tuar’. The mythic Long-Since. The Before-Memory, when time ended, when humans yoked the world, harnessed its power, draining it without thought of tomorrow. Nature was less then, smaller, weaker, and even then humans used and abused it, pushed it to the brink. That is, until M’Gedorok, when humans were cast down for their hubris! And time ended…
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