Tuesday, July 29, 2014

At'mavi: Caste System & Marriage Explanation

At'mavi: Country shown in white.
    No, this is not a real estate pitch on the fabulous homes of At'mavi. Today, I'm explaining the structure of the At'mavan family and caste system. Understand that I do not condone caste systems or any system that restricts a person's lifestyle options, but if there were a scale to measure how unfair they are, this system would be towards the nicer end of the scale.

Castes and Families 

     Families and castes have gone hand in hand for over a thousand years in At'mavi. Each family (surname) has a designated amount of castes, or 'job types.' When a child reaches a certain age, they apprentice under artisans within their family, learning each trade that their family practices. When the child reaches the next age milestone, they must choose which of those jobs they want to master. They have a grace period of a few years to change their mind, but once the grace period has ended, they are held to their trade by law and must undergo a very complicated process to change professions. 

    There are several types of caste categories, which, for the sake of explanation, I'll give these names: Locked, Open, Prestigious, and Hidden.

    A locked caste is a caste that is granted to a family by law. A child from one family cannot join the caste of another family, as it is considered 'locked' and only the family that is granted the caste may train in it. This is the most common type of caste, encompassing most common production jobs (such as carpentry and farming) and artisan jobs (such as smithing and tailoring.) The government decides when a new caste is needed and assigns them accordingly.

    Open castes are job types that are family-neutral. Anyone can choose to participate in these job fields, regardless of heritage. Common job types include labor jobs (such as mining) and military fields. All fields of military work (whether cavalry, archery, etc.) are open to all citizens, although some families take pride in having a specialty, like the Lu'khavi family, who are known for their archers.

    Prestigious castes are inclusive and require invitation by the masters of those castes to gain entry. These are often awarded during a child or teenager's schooling years to those who show promise. Prestige fields cover scholarly jobs, clergy jobs, artists, shamans, and others. Note: introduction into a Shaman caste relies on the child receiving 'the Calling' first, which is a naturally occurring incident that awakens their connection with the spirit realm. These jobs are considered to carry more honor and presence than locked or open jobs (excluding the military, where rank bears honor) and are highly sought after. Perhaps the most honorable of these Prestigious castes is induction into the Uramjen.

    The Hidden  castes are a those that aren't known by the public. I have only developed one thus far, and it isn't even known by the government.  Magicians/Magi fall under a 'hidden' caste that is known only by those at Heskegi University and Uramjen Fortress. They are protected from public and government knowledge because many harsh stigmas exist about Magicians in the world of Drumlore and those affected with those uncanny abilities are hunted down to either be captured and used or be killed outright.

    Note: There can be more of one of the same caste type distributed between families. For example, the Lu'khavi family raises battle rams and their stock are known for being the best breed in the land. However, they are not the only family to raise battle rams. Other families also have that caste type in their selection. If a child is born a Lu'khavi and wants to pursue ranching, however, he or she must learn and work for their own  family, not another family's ranchers.


    Because of this system, bigger families equal a bigger workforce. In a way, your last name is not just your birthright, but your brand.  Making babies is, therefore, a pretty important part of life. 

    When it comes to marriage, a woman joins a man's last name, regardless of her family's prestige or what her caste is. There is a grade of sexism within At'mavi, unfortunately, which I do not condone either. Family-keeping is their priority caste once children are involved. Before children, and once the children grow into their mid to late teens, the mother works the caste she had chosen before marriage, but has the option of selecting one of her new family's castes instead.

That being said, a woman does not have to marry, and even if she does, she does not have to be subservient if her spouse does not enforce it. If a woman is not married, they are treated equally as far as caste selection goes, although it is not common that women enter the military.

    When a man marries a man or a woman marries a woman, they continue to work within their family's caste separately. Their marriage ceremony, while still being considered marriage, is executed a bit differently and neither surname is changed. They become members of their families that are dedicated to the betterment of their castes and trade. Some of these couples choose to take care of orphaned children. In this unique situation, the child apprentices under the castes of both families and chooses their trade from both sets. 

Questions? Comments? Feedback?

    That is all for now. Please, feedback makes my day! You may inspire my next post with your questions or comments, whether it is here or on facebook! Til next time, live well, and read more! o7

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Zodiacs to Archons: God System Expansion

Drawing of God Jhordone, courtesy
of Logan, my cousin. 
     In this entry, I'll be getting the interested public up to date with the global religious system and the characters called the 'Archons.' Originally, there were only a few Gods. They were considered the 'big bad guys' of my world for various reasons. I've always preferred that all of a story's perspectives have a good and a bad side, however, and my Gods were no different. So, after years and years of dwelling on it, the first working religious system is going live for Drumlore. Here is what has changed:

Old Lore
New Lore

  • There were six Gods: Geovhentae, 
  • Rhom'hiidra (worldshifted into cousin's world), Jhordon, Yvidnon, Yheciel, Arkvunda (who came to replace Yheciel)
  • The Gods had no minions or non-human servants except for Geovhentae, who commanded beasts known as the Hounds.
  • Each God had one avatar in humanoid form, save Geovhentae, who had a council.
  • The Gods knew the truth behind their creation and lied to control the people.
  • There was believed to be nothing greater than the Gods.
  • N/A
  • Demons had nothing to do with the God system and there were no evil anti-gods, save Shaegon, who was just a fallen god.

  • There are Eight Gods: Geovhentae, Kurdah, Jhordone, Yvidnon, Probihan, Balki (Gorojin), Sas-Akra, and Arkvunda
  • The Gods have many servants and minions, most of which are non-human 'old world machinery.' 
  • Each God has one avatar, including Geovhentae.
  • The Gods are oblivious to their own creation and believe they created the world and all of its people.
  • There are four entities greater than the Gods.
  • Added twelve Archons, each with two avatars, male and female.
  • There is a mirror pantheon of anti-Gods that sit poised to undo all of creation.

Zodiacs to Archons

     By now, those who know me have probably also noticed that I'm a pretty avid student of the ways of the zodiac. I don't take it all on faith--some of it I still feel may be a bit psuedoscientific, like daily horoscopes--but I see undeniable evidence all around me on how birth date correlates with a repeating pattern of traits. A fictional world is the perfect breeding ground for great new takes on overplayed themes, so I've established an 'archon' system. These lesser gods, in a manner of speaking, represent the zodiacs and their traits.

For Aries, there is Harskael
For Taurus, there is Urwal.
For Gemini, there is Bismodus.
For Cancer, there is Sharmiil.
For Leo, there is Adinathi.
For Virgo, there is Groth.
For Libra, there is Eril.
For Scorpio, there is Rubalkai.
For Sagittarius, there is Jarn.
For Capricorn, there is Cern.
For Aquarius, there is Parkaresh.
For Pisces, there is Eudis.

     What do they do? These beings watch over mortal kind as silent giants. Like the Gods, they never interfere,  doing their work in ways that mortals supposedly cannot understand, such as the manipulations of dreams, fate, and allotted fortunes. Like the Gods, the Archons preside over different things and have avatars to speak on their behalf within mortal kind. Unlike the Gods, these twelve beings have two avatars--one for man and woman. These avatars, like the ones for the Gods, take on certain attributes that reminisce of the Archon they represent. 

Pictured left is the artwork of Julie Dillon, one of my favorite artists. Her take on the zodiacs in mortal form heavily inspire my Divine Avatars. CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE!

     There is also quite a story that goes along with these archons, which takes us to the creation mythology.

Creation Mythology

     So originally, the Gods that be kind of made the world and that was that. I didn't have much more to say about it, but I've upped my game. Explaining this section may help to explain the other sections of lore, such as what the Gods do and mean. So, let me get started.

First, there was one thing in existence. This one thing is called Thrum. Thrum is everything in one substance. Thrum is perfection. Thrum is all three prime substances of existence as one undivided thing (energy, matter, and concept/invisible law). Don't strain too hard, it's more than likely impossible to fully visualize or comprehend this with the human brain. This is also the end goal of alchemists in my world: to discover the Deimor Grothis, or primal recipe that can turn matter into the essence of Thrum. See: Prima Materia

From Thrum came the first emanation. This first emanation, called the shattering of Thrum by some doctrines, gave birth to the first three separate entities in existence: Energy, Matter, and Concept/the Invisible Law. For help understanding what I mean by Concept/the Invisible Law, one should study or relate to the Tao in Taoism or the Demiurge of Plato's philosophy. 

When the emanation echoed back, Thrum poured forth the second emanation. This gave form to the first four Gods: Kurdah, Jhordone, Yvidnon, and Geoventae, each a representation of the foundation of existence that they brought forth with them. Jhordone exists as the great embodiment of the air, Kurdah of earth, Yvidnon of water, and Geoventae of fire, radiance, and heat energies*.
* Other divisions of energy are also attributed to the Gods. Kinetic energy, or motion, is credited to Jhordone.

When the elemental emanation echoed back, Thrum poured forth the third emanation. This gave birth to the second tier of Gods: Arkvunda, Probihan, Sas-Akra, and Balki, each representing one of the four building blocks of life. Arkvunda exists as the weaver of flesh and bodily matter. Probihan exists as the creator of the spectrum of emotions. Sas-Akra exists as the founder of the mind and all mental faculties. Balki exists as the spinner of the spirit and soul. Together, these Gods are responsible for all sentient life.

The Gods then created the land and the greatest of animal and plant beings: humans and trees.

Thrum, hearing the echo of its shattered perfection, gave its fourth emanation. This created the twelve Divine Archons. These beings, tasked by the greater Gods,  took the rough new world and refined it and each of the building blocks used to create it. They worked synonymously and, often, together to weave the tapestry that is the known world. Note that each Archon also added to mortal kind myriad traits depending on which zodiac they represent. These, for simplicity, will not be mentioned. Read up on Zodiacal trait lists to better understand how these impact the populace.

What each Archon created in the beginning is still under heavy development. What is known for sure is that the process more or less began with Jarn (Sagittarius) and ended with Cern (Capricorn), and they all work together in between. The Archons will be responsible for decorating the earth, sculpting its mountains, valleys, rivers, etc, and distributing resources across the map. The most important contributions developed result from the hands of Parkareth and Cern

Cern required more variance within life to forge a working system that would sustain the world. Parkareth took the blueprints of life given to the earth by the Gods and made the rest of the planet's plant and animal species as well as the different races and ethnicities of mortal kind. Because Parkareth is an Archon, an emanation further away from perfection than the Gods of life, these beings are not as perfect as Man or Tree, but they served Cern's purpose. 

     With Parkareth's touch of variance, Cern created all of the planet's systems. This includes the ecosystems, weather systems, the water currents within the oceans, the flow of magma within the earth, the movement of the moon and sun, the tide, and, most importantly, the cycle of life, death, and time itself. Most consider Cern to be the hand of the Invisible Law itself, and therefore, the most powerful of the Archons. When the creating and planning was done, Cern set laws in motion and, as time and history began, the Gods and Archons rested and watched creation unfold.

What the Gods and Archons do Post-Creation

     They rest on their laurels, of course. After creation went live without a hitch, according to stories, they watched from afar, waiting for mortal kind to grow comfortable with the world they were in. Once deemed ready, the Gods and Archons selected those who would become their Divine Avatars.

     These avatars took on an appearance that somehow represented their deity. Through the avatars, the Gods spoke to the people and imparted their wisdom, assisting them as they came to understand art, architecture, government, history, etc. Then, they communicated to the scribes of the different lands the story of their creation so that it forever be kept as a sacred memory and a testament to the bond between mortal kind and the celestial forces.

    There is a divine scripture that exists throughout all denominations of this near-global religion.  All sectors follow it to the letter as truth. However, each Godly avatar has expanded upon the text to create doctrines followed only within their own denomination. Much like the Talmud of Judaism. 

     The Gods and Archons now roam the planet, staying out of the affairs of mortals. The Archons, in particular, are difficult to find. The Avatars convene at the World Senate to handle affairs together annually or in times of crisis. The Godly Avatars hold more authority than those of the Archons, but all voices are heard. When not convened at the Senate, the avatars roam the map freely, observing the affairs of mortal kind and handling situations where they emerge. The Archonic avatars handle menial  issues that are too far below the Godly avatars to handle, such as checking in on temple clergies to monitor their handling.

     Occasionally, the Gods appear and come to the aid of their lands when suffering natural disasters. Jhordone and Yvidnon are most notable. The God of air poises himself between his cities and incoming tornadoes, either destroying them or redirecting them over or around the city. Yvidnon, governing typically hot and dry regions, delivers waters to drought stricken regions within his great vessels. Plagues and diseases are occasionally cured by the weaver of flesh, Arkvunda. While scarcely making an appearance in the material world, Balki protects the spirit from invisible harm, thwarting demons, possessions, and other ailments of a spiritual nature.

Reincarnation Ideology: Rubalkai's Affirmation

     Reincarnation is believed almost universally in various forms across the globe, whether it is religious or shamanic in nature. In religion, the concept was passed onto mortal kind by the avatar of Rubalkai (with the authority of the avatar of Balki) and is referred to by the name of Rubalkai's Affirmation. It goes roughly as follows:

  • All beings are to reincarnate into a new body post death.
  • There will be complete regeneration within new bodies; no memories will remain, only the soul.
  • The soul begins under the care of the first archon, Harskael, and follows a circuit, progressing through the spheres of the other archons' authority (aka, born under the next zodiac) until the process ends at the end of the last archon, Eudis.
  • The soul progresses through spheres by living: one must garner experience in life through facing the many challenges set by the archons presiding over them at the time. As they learn and adapt, from youth to death, they either further themselves toward freedom from the cycle or set themselves back.
  • If the soul reaches Eudis and is not judged refined enough to leave the cycle (also referred to as transcending the spire), the soul begins another cycle under the care of Harskael.
  • The soul must work through many cycles to become perfect in the eye of Eudis. This is the ultimate goal of all living souls.
     The journey through the cycles of rebirth is often pictured as a spiral minaret with many floors. At the bottom is the sun, at the top is the moon, at each side are the horns of Cern, and in the center is Rubalkai, depicted as a large solitary eye on a metal sun. Each cycle of Harskael to Eudis is pictured as a floor on the tower. At the top are stairs, a ladder, etc. that represents breaking free of the cycle, or transcending the spire.
     What happens after transcendence varies slightly per denomination, as do the rules governing cross-species reincarnation (troll to human, etc.) Which leads us to...

Racial Controversy

    Because the translations of the original doctrines vary due to language differences, disputes have arisen concerning certain elements. One of which is whether or not trolls, nokans, and humans are equal. Some translations specify that it was not man, but mortal kind that was made by the Gods of life, and that would encompass trolls, humans, and  the Nokanese people. Other translations hold trolls and nokans (as well as troll-human hybrids) to be of lesser divinity and sophistication than humans because they are a product of Parkareth adding variety to the world.

Ok guys I have put a loooot of stuff in this one blog post, so I'm going to give it a rest. Anything else will have to come in future installments.

Like, I know for sure that I'll be doing a post on the "anti-Gods" and "vortex of the dead" when I iron out the rest of the names and laws that go with them. That'll probably come up some time after this one.

I LOVE YOUR FEEDBACK. As a writer that's struggling to get going, it totally makes my day. Even if you only read the first sentence and then scrolled to the bottom! I'm okay with that!!!

In the works:
  • The anti-god system.
  • Divine literature and fables.
  • An article on Races.
  • Short Stories.
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