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

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