Member No.: 1
Joined: 4-December 10
Admin Note: This information was written by Diogenessbeast, if you have any questions that are not answered by this please direct them to her. Thank you ness for adding to the rich history of Sapphos Weyr.
To be playable:
Because of the way the Family views outsiders, they are not playable unless they're exiles. They tend to keep to themselves, to their own territory or encampments, and will NOT interact with outsiders except to trade. Any who do are exiled, so the only way to play a Family member is to play an exile.
Each member of the family is given a name and a title. The name is something that is vowel-heavy, more often then not, but has no other guidelines. The title is given to you on your fifth birthday, and it's based either on your job or something you've done or something you like, etc. You do not choose it, your elders choose it for you, based on their observations. As a result, and because you're so young, the names are frequently dinky and silly-sounding to non-family members.
Being an Exile
Being an exile is a degrading thing, and people take to it differently depending on how it happens. It's usually because you were interacting with outsiders or showing "more then a healthy interest" in the outsiders, thus risking the family's purity. You may also have been exiled for an actual crime, such as theft, murder, or rape. They'll call it all a crime, mind you.
The exile may be slow, where you're clearly someone who never fit in, but they take time to exile you. They may give you "warnings", like exchanging your title with a slur title (bone Gnawer), or otherwise express their disapproval. Here, they are giving you a chance to change. If you fail to change in a turn, they kick you out. Other times, they simply kick you out quickly, without warning.
The process is the same. You are called before the elders and informed that you are no longer fit to be a member of the family. You are worse then dead to them- you have risked tainting them and ruining their purity. You are no longer worthy of the name they gave you, so they officially take that. they sometimes take title, but more often then not they don't. You can keep that, if you really want.
Basically, you aren't worth the identity you had, and now you have to leave. They let you keep whatever belonged to you, and you have to pack it and leave, at which point they chase you away from the encampment or territory. If you return, they will kill you. They may attack you outside of their lands if they can get away with it.
Exiles are somewhat common. It's become an unconscious method of population control, though that is not it's intention. Many babies born don't survive, and a percentage is inevitably exiled (to emphasize that it is always a possibility, and because curiosity about the outside world is near impossible to quash completely.), so their population stays about even. Most are exiled in relative youth- teen years- because that's when the curiosity is most likely, but it's not unheard of for people of rank or for adults to be exiled as well.
Lands and Territories
The Family is mostly nomadic. They do have a small permanent village that they spend some months of the year at. The location is secret, outsiders do not know where it is. The elders stay there year round, if they are not well enough to travel anymore.
The central leaders are a group of elders, all of whom have lived to a venerable age. Some live in the village, but for the most part, they travel as they have always traveled if they can get away with it. They are the official leaders, though more often then not, there's a younger person- sex or gender does not matter- who is in charge of the group that he leads. His or her word goes, and the elders do not usually get involved with daily affairs- though if they do, their word trumps the younger leader's. There's a lot of equality and individualistic rights amongst The Family, provided you hold to their tenants of exclusion. After all, survival is dependent on another.
They do not send their children to crafthalls, and they barely teach their children to read. Long ago, before they practiced exclusion, they did send their children to crafthalls, and those practices that were learned back then are what is passed to children with the aptitude now. Occasionally they will also barter for books on trades, but not often.
The family's view of outsiders
It's unclear WHY they practice exclusion, but they do. There is something about outsiders which is tainted, and they believe that any interaction with outsiders could bring the taint to them. They are a pure people, who live nomadically and make their own things and do not distract themselves with the trivialities that hold-and-weyr dwellers do. It's to the point that, in order to engage the outsiders in the only thing that IS allowed (Trade), they have to anoint themselves with fragrant oils and beast's blood to scare off the impurities. At that point, they may engage outsiders for trade- but no more then a minimum bartering. No polite conversation, and they ignore polite conversation given to them. They sometimes will hawk their goods, but rarely: the people that will buy from them know who they are and what they sell, and the quality of their products speaks for itself.
They are also a very proud people, proud of the fact that they don't need to live as others do to succeed.
There is no middle ground with them: you are one of them, or you're an outsider, and if you are an outsider, they will have no contact with you. Even a mother who seeks out a healer from teh healercraft to save her dying would be exiled. Gently exiled, mind, because they would understand-- but both she and her son would be tainted, and not welcome back.
Though the language they speak is technically pernese, it's a form of the language so bastardized by time and exclusion that it's hard for outsiders to understand, which they are perfectly happy with. They are also usually taught a dialect that the ordinary pernese DO understand, so as to trade, but they still have heavy accents.
The name The Family is what outsiders call them, not themselves. They have a word for themselves that they do not share, and it translates roughly to The Family, which is why they're referred to that way. The family would've preferred outsiders to not even know that much, but exiles have mouths too.
The goods made by the Family are very high quality, and relatively rare (because of how little the Family trades). They come in distinctive color patterns, made with special dyes. They're day to day goods: pottery, rugs, cloth, clothing, etc. They're the exact same things The Family uses in their daily lives (though of the lowest quality produced that The Family is willing to sell, bearing in mind their reputation-- they aren't going to sell an apprentice's cast-offs, it's all their masters' works, because they WANT the reputation for selling fine goods.). They make some extra for the express purpose of selling, and they do not waste their time taking orders or making anything else that they don't actively made.
They also do not trade for marks. They have no use for marks. What they trade for are things that they need that they cannot make or breed or grow for themselves. Being primarily nomadic, they do not do agriculture so much-- there are some fields at the village, but enough only to sustain those that must stay there and provide for emergency food supplies if they're absolutely needed. That which is not foraged is traded for. Meat animals are frequently traded for-- the family breeds some themselves, but very very few. If they ate off their own meat supplies, they would eat fresh meat once a month, and live off jerky for some of the restof the month, and be vegetarian for the remaining time. (this is excluding the meat for which they hunt, which they do also.) They'll also trade for useful goods that they cannot make themselves, or that are inconvenient to make for themselves-- metal, for instance. They can, and do, forge, but setting up a forge takes more time and effort then they're usually willign to put up with in a small camp. REcently they have traded for flamethrowers, to combat thread burrows they come across in their wanderings.
They trade beasts only in time of desperation, or for VERY desired goods. Beasts are the Family's pride and lifeblood. The Family breeds fine shaltiri riding wherries, canines, felines, large felines, and runners. Their primary mount animal are the Shaltiris. They do not maintain large herds of herd animals, because they are slow and require space-- they will not have sheep, though they may have a few goats and herdbeasts. A member of the Family is proud of their creatures, and asking to trade for one is a high insult. If they are for trade, the ywill be offered, with their price as written. Amost every family member is trained how to tend beasts, though some do it as their jobs because they're good at it, and all are trained the basics of beast breeding. Most members of the family own a Shaltiri of their own, and frequently they own other creatures as well.
Exiles are allowed to keep their beasts, so that is frequently how Family-bred beasts come into the public hands. That said, the family would consider those animals impure-- not because of the contact with outsiders, because that issue is reserved only for creatures of sentient mind, but because in order to breed effectively, the exile would probably have to have introduced non-family stock, which is less fine.
Occasionally, to avoid issues caused by exessive inbreeding, the Family will bring new stock into it's breeding blood- but all potentials are very, very carefully inspected, and only those who meet high requirements are bought. In 100 inspected creatures, one MAY make the cut.
Generally, the Family is suspicious of dragonskin, because dragonkin are the mark of outsiders. The Family has no dragonriders, and any member o the Family who has impressed is an exile. Were any to Impress from proximity to a hatching (the dragonet would've had to seek them out from the sands, because they would not go watch a hatching of their own violition, though they may trade in the market that day, hoping to catch crowds on their way out of the hatching or into it), they would be immediately exiled. Dragons live in weyrs, and have no place in the family.
There are a few whers in the Family, but those whers are bred by whers already in the family. If a female wher runs and is caught by a non-family wher, her eggs will either be sold or smashed, depending on how great an insult the catcher was. Occasionally, runs will be arranged with non-family whers, as above with the beasts, but the male must past rigorous inspection. This is to keep blood pure. Wild wher's eggs are occasionally stolen to add to stock as well- they are not checked over as thoroughy, because wild things are untainted and strong, for having survived in the wild. Anyone who impresses a non-family wher will have it inspected, and if it does not meet the family's standards, they will be exiled. if ti does, they are welcome to stay.
Whers in the family are given extensive training and socialization. They are trained as guards, but they are also trained not to hurt a member of the family. If any does, they are culled immediately, and their handler may or may not be exiled depending on the circumstances. This is because the family does depend on what whers it has, and it can't risk polluting the stock. If a breeding wher kills someone without provocation, then she is killed, as are all her offspring.
They initially tried to restrict firelizards, but it was next to impossible- as is controlling their breeding. Thus, firelizards are pretty much fair-game, no matter where they came from. They do make an attempt to influence the breeding of their own firelizards, to some very limited extent, so you can usually count on firelizards bought from these traders to be of fairly good stock. Firelizard eggs are also one of the few beast-creatures that they will sell on a regular basis to non-family members, mostly because they have so many.
the family has very, very few wyverns. Mostly, these wyverns' eggs are gotten in the wild. Rarely, they may breed amongst themselves, but there usually aren't enough of them to contribute that much stock to the family themselves. This is also somewhat intentional: the family almost reveres wyverns, and believes that-- aside from the select few who bond them-- they are to be in the wild, free. Frequently, they will let eggs hatch and go wild, or leave them in teh wild in conditions that they will hatch. They also will not, under any circumstances, allow stock that is not wild-born or family-born to enter their rosters. Any wyverns whose are impressed from outsider eggs are exiled, with their riders.
Hear Alls is seen as as being touched by the outsiders. The most likely hear all to be noticed is a HAD, because dragons speak in english and a child who develops HAD tendencies is likely to comment on them. Most HAx's who develop later have the good sense not to mention it to the family, if they want to stay. Thus, many HAx's who get ostracized are ostracized in their youth, and this is one of the only times where the Famiyl takes great pity on them- it's not their fault they were touched by the outsiders' impurity. If the HAx is young and seen as a promising member of the community, then they will be helped to pack and escorted out of the territory by an honor guard, occasionally as far as a hold itself. They will also be given provisions, which most will not be given. HAx's who show other signs of the taint (interest in outsiders) are not given this.
Many HAx's live out their lives without realizing that they're HAx's, because the Family only speaks of the tendency in hushed whispers. This is especially true of whers, since the Family tends only to communicate with their whers in a few learned words-- they do not teach their whers to speak more then they absolutely need to, and communicate with the whers instead via noises and emotion. Thus, HAw's are exposed primarily to the emotion stream, and may never realize that they're experiencing something that most humans don't. Similar with HAf's. HAwy's are a little more difficult, since many wyverns do speak. HAd's may remain if they're never exposed to dragons and thus never realize their ability.
The basic rule of thumb is that, if a HAx is an HAx and makes that known, they will be exiled. However, if they keep it secret or do not know about it themselves, it will never be an issue.
The mentally ill and The Family
The mentally ill are not ostracized from the family, because a family protects it's own. The family knows some about mental disease, from it's healers, and it tries to protect and nuture those who are not well, regardless if the illness is mental or otherwise. Depending on the nature of the illness, they would simply try to keep the ill person away from the outsiders. If they showed the ability to discern why they must not talk with outsiders and how to act when trading, they would be allowed around outsiders.
Should a mistake be made and someone interact with an outsider, they are also one of the only ones to be forgiven. The thought is that one can only be mentally touched by one thing at a time, and thus if they are touched by mental illness, they can't be touched impurity. If they started spouting rhetoric about how everyone should join the outsiders, it would be reacted to depending on how their illness manifested. Someone who showed the ability to itneract with outsiders in trade situations might be exiled, but for the most part, the words would be taken as the ravings of a madman and thusly ignored.
HAx's are occasionally taken to be mentally ill, rather then HAx's. This is particularly the case if they are liked, and/or if they themselves do not make the connection that they are hearing dragonskin. If they have, up to the point where they have been hearing, act like a proper member of the family and show no signs of taint, it's taken as a mental illness, unless it's realized that the voices belong to dragonkin. If they were acting tainted before, they have no mercies extended to them, and are exiled.
Those who want to leave
Wanting to leave is the only crime that's really punishable by death in this society. This is because of a conflicting set of ideals. On one hand, by anyone who ever held true belief in the ways of the Family, exile is a punishment worse then death. On the other hand, exiles are seen as sick. They are not ostracized by choice, they are spurned because they caught the impurity and now risk the whole family. So, at once, they are given a punishment worse then death and a mercy.
The family member who WANTS to leave, however, has committed a high crime. He has given into the impurity, and he has done so in a way that nobody noticed. He has to be killed so that this especially virulent impurity does not spread, and to punish him for this ultimate betrayel. The exiles are sick, they cannot help it, but clearly he has made a decision to accept the impurity (how else would it be so strong as to make someone want to leave?).
The punishment is either carried out immediately, or- if a figure was particularly sympathetic in the community, or young-- the punishment is carried out in the form of a hunt. The reasoning behind this is the hunt gives the family member a chance to escape, and is thus more merciful- if they do escape, they were strong despite their impurity, and may live as an exile. If they were killed in the hunt, they just weren't strong enough.
If anyone does successfully leaves by choice, what they usually do is make their preparations subtly, pack in the dead of night, and leave before they're noticed. It's best to do this in encampments, rather then in the village, because it's easier to ride out of territory in an encampment: the family will not want to loose time chasing you when they're in a nomadic section of their cycle. Another wya of going about it is to be obvious in interest of outsiders, but not mention that you want to leave: that will get you exiled, normally.
It's kind of important to note that most don't WANT to leave. Family members have been raised to believe that they are a special people since birth. These ways of life hold so strongly because they're the tradition of generation-- generations of kids have been brainwashed to be brought up this way. Even many exiles don't want to leave. Additionally, many who want to leave are probably experiencing the sort of trouble that would lead the family to label it exile. Many probably would develop the want to leave in their own right, but are exiled before they are given a chance to act on it.