In Dire Straits

Roleplay => Nardir => The Library => Topic started by: Sekirei on July 31, 2016, 03:09:41 PM

Title: X Clan/Lindarian Culture
Post by: Sekirei on July 31, 2016, 03:09:41 PM
Salutations! Puffin asked me to consolidate the X Clan's belief system into a post so let's get this party started. There will be several posts following this so please do not post in this thread. I'm doing this in parts to prevent a wall of text for any one aspect. If anything needs to be clarified, just PM me and I can certainly try to explain what I have. I can and will add to this if I forgot something. This is pretty much eight years' worth of growth for the family I started with Kimster and extended it back to the off-forum, now defunct Lindras pack where my first gen characters (X, Starfire, and Byakko) hail from.

The following will be addressed:

The Afterlife
Importance to the X Clan
Lindras's History
To the Future
The Origin of the Black Wolf
Title: Overview
Post by: Sekirei on July 31, 2016, 03:23:03 PM
The overall belief system is rather simplistic to the point where calling it a religion is kind of overstating things a bit. It's heavily folklore-based but it's not aggressively adhered to and straying from the system doesn't really "damn" you after death. Whether you believe in the wind being the souls of departed wolves or not doesn't change the fact that the wind is where you return when you die. No matter what religion you claim in life, all wolves go to the same place afterwards. There's no rules or guidelines to adhere to so it's more or less a source of comfort and gives the living something to look forward to when Death comes a-knocking. Lessens the fear a bit, especially if you add in meditation.

Akutan would be considered a serious believer if he were in any of our organized religions both on-forum and in the real world but his is rooted in his overall love for his Lindarian heritage. Understandable since his generation was the first born after the pack splintered when his grandmother died, leading Starfire and Byakko to establish themselves in Nardir.

The belief system states the following. Note that some things here will be expanded on in the Folklore post.

1. Wolves were created from wind. This acknowledges a higher power which formed wolfkind from the wind. This higher power is known in myth as the Father of Wolves but He was also the creator of the world and everything in. However, He is rarely acknowledged outside the origin myth of the Black Wolf himself.

2. Your deeds in life influence how your judgement in the Deadlands go.

3. Your deeds in life determine how successful you are in the Hunt.

4. Once you pass through the Deadlands, you're free to travel between the living world and the afterworld as you will and your soul is felt by the living as the wind.

5. The wind's many levels of power and movement each has a meaning but are quite open to interpretation. For instance, gentle breezes indicate a deceased loved one is near while more violent winds indicate troubled times either in the living world or the afterworld.
Title: Folklore
Post by: Sekirei on July 31, 2016, 04:22:59 PM
Lindarian folklore isn't as heavy as real world ethnic folklore which tend to be figure-heavy. Aside from the nameless higher power who formed wolves from the wind, the Ancient Lindarians speak of a single figure.

The Deadlands are the territory of the Black Wolf, a giant wolf who acts as a judge for all the souls who pass through on their way to the afterworld. They are described as a barren land with dead, twisted trees and a dark haze hangs in the air. It's the boundary between the living world and the afterlife.

Every wolf faces the Black Wolf to have his sins and accomplishments spoken about and he either rewards or punishes you based on what you did. Same holds for your success rate in the Hunt, which departed wolves spend their eternity hunting spectral prey for sport. That in itself is an equal reward for all who die because in life, hunting was done only for sustenance and hunting for sport was against that. As souls don't die, it's not necessary for them to eat so hunting for sport gives them something to do. There's more to the afterlife than the Hunt but that's for another post.

If a wolf led a good, noble life, he would be rewarded in kind by the Black Wolf and allowed to pass through his territory unhindered and unharmed. His success rate in the Hunt would be respectable.

However, if a wolf led a life of wickedness, his sins would outweigh his good points and he would be punished in a manner fitting his life and he would have a greater chance at failure in the Hunt.

Sorry but you are not allowed to view spoiler contents.

A gender-neutral crime like murder would lead the Black Wolf to inflict the same method the murderer used on the victim on the murderer themselves, to force them to feel the pain and fear their victims felt as their lives were taken. Like if you kill a fellow wolf by leading him into a human trap, the Black Wolf will conjure that same trap and use it on you. If you kill a wolf via torture? You will be tortured in kind and so on. Since souls can't die, the deceased killers are left with the eternal pain and it hinders them in the Hunt.

There are ways to avoid punishment by the Black Wolf for any sins you have committed. No matter the crime, if you manage to reform while you still live, the Black Wolf will mark you with a sigil that tells other wolf souls that you are a Repentant, a soul who committed evil but reformed and spent the remainder of your life making up for those wrongs. Repentants' success rates in the Hunt are influenced by how well they stuck to their reformation. Relapses into bad behavior are expected and acknowledged by the Black Wolf but you must've shown guilt for those relapses in life in order to walk away from him unscathed.
Sorry but you are not allowed to view spoiler contents.

A lot of stories paint the Black Wolf as a protector spirit to females, a source of strength for males, and a guardian of pups.
Title: The Afterlife
Post by: Sekirei on July 31, 2016, 04:47:07 PM
The afterworld is a grassy plain dotted with forests, running streams, and crystal clear lakes. There also a small area of shadows where unrepentant souls reside when not engaged in the Hunt. While there are no boundaries between them and their "lawful" fellows, souls who did wrong in life and were punished for it by the Black Wolf tend to avoid the others out of shame and even hatred for what the Black Wolf did to them.

The Hunt is eternally on-going and while it's the main attraction, souls go about their eternities however they see fit. Those who did wrong in life spend most of their eternities just letting their hatred and un-repentance fester but they are unable to continue their wrongdoing in the afterlife because of the Black Wolf's brutality. While he, himself, rarely sets foot in the afterworld, Lindarian tradition speaks of how he's omnipresent in all three worlds, even the living because that's how he knows about every sin (including those done in secret). By the time a wrongdoer reaches the afterworld, he's thoroughly cleansed of his desire to victimize anyone. The most such a soul can do is just replay the Black Wolf's justice over and over in his mind.

The Hunt itself can be participated in by all who dwell in the afterworld and as stated before, success rates are determined by the life a wolf lived. Many of the dead criminals use it as a means to escape thinking about the justice visited it on them by the Black Wolf, even though they're doomed to fail in some capacity. Others hunt for the joy and thrill of it. There is never a shortage of prey to find and while sustenance is not necessary, many find the familiar activity keeps them busy.

Wolves who led good lives spend their eternities with the family members who went before and thus they run as a single, large pack whose numbers are added to with every wolf who dies. Even wolves who never met in life find kinship in each other.

Time doesn't pass in the afterworld but the realm itself will simulate day and night so that each wolf can continue on any traditions they had in life.

Souls residing in the afterworld are able to pass between it and the living world at their own discretion and their souls inhabit the wind whenever they visit the living, even if unable to interact directly. The Deadlands are bypassed completely, as it's only the halfway point between the two realms and it's not necessary to travel through them to get from one to the other. However, souls are free to enter the Deadlands if they so desire but such things are rare. Stories speak of how departed wolves will intercede on behalf of a newly deceased wolf about to face judgment and barter with the Black Wolf to let the newly deceased pass unharmed. They are often unheeded but sometimes, the Black Wolf will allow a soul worthy of punishment to pass him without such. It's just very, very hard to change his mind. About 98% of attempts end in failure. It's also not uncommon for wolf spirits to come to the Deadlands in order to greet a family member who is entering the afterlife. They just wait patiently with the Black Wolf and welcome their family after he is done with them.
Title: Importance to the X Clan
Post by: Sekirei on July 31, 2016, 05:08:10 PM
The X Clan holds their belief system in highest regard, even over Nardir's moon culture which they do not participate in. They find the moon a comforting light, to be sure, but also distant while the wind is a constant presence. Akutan, in particular, finds the wind more comforting than the moon ever will be so he's a staunch disbeliever in Mother Moon. Given the kind of life he's had so far, it's understandable. He doesn't outright dismiss the Nardiri religion, knowing it helps other wolves find peace, but he's disinclined to give it a chance because he believes it's futile following a celestial body when all wolves go to the same place (the afterworld) through the same boundary (the Deadlands) after dealing with the same entity (the Black Wolf).

When Byakko crossed the Dire Straits into the lands that held packs like Inaria and Alteron, he brought Lindarian tradition with him. He and his three off-forum brothers made a pact to keep those traditions alive. Because of his continued beliefs, he influenced his sister Starfire (who was raised by sabers when their parents went missing years before) into "re-adopting" them and in turn, they taught her son, Akutan, what it mean to be a son of Lindras. He helped Byakko teach his daughters and hopes to teach the next generation of Firewing and X's descendants the Lindarian traditions and folklore.

The X Clan, Byakko's branch of the Lindarian Royal Family, added meditation to their daily lives as they coped with everything that befell them between Lindras's fall and Nardir's various trying times. Meditation helps them focus on the wind and the promise it carries; that the family they lost is still with them in spirit. It has helped Byakko and Akutan the most because they went through the most compared to Sarajevo, her sisters, and her future litter. The former prince focuses on his time to come, dreaming of the day he's reunited with Silverstream and Raka, his two former mates. Akutan uses meditation to keep his head on straight and it allows him to "feel" his mother withing the wind.

The Lindarian traditions about the afterworld are held dearly by the X Clan because it's all that remains of their once noble house. Lindras itself is splintered between the three brothers who still reside beyond the Fringe and with the X Clan permanently cut off from them, it has now become the mission of the family to keep those traditions going and hand them down to each generation.
Title: Lindras's History
Post by: Sekirei on July 31, 2016, 05:08:33 PM
Might not be as relevant to the overall belief system but it should give you an idea of how the precursor pack to the X Clan functioned and how it endures within the X Clan itself. It'll also give you the pre-forum histories of the first gen characters I played.

Royal Family Tree

Firewing*, X

Byakko, Seiryu, Suzaku, Genbu, Starfire, deceased unnamed siblings

Silverwing, Jakan, Oberon, Akutan, Georgia, Vienna, Noelle, Sarajevo

Rapture, Beatrice, Aeneas, Roman, Silverwing 2.0**

*Denotes Firewing is a direct descendant of the First Alpha so the royal bloodline comes through her. Meaning the generations that came from her side are the direct descendants of the First Alpha. Colored names indicate on-forum characters.
**Silverwing 2.0 is the future daughter of Akutan and Kyra and is named in honor of Akutan's stillborn older sister*

Lindras's history is rich with stories and their traditions continue to exist beyond even the pack itself. The pack was founded long ago by Firewing's ancestors and she is the direct descendant of the First Alpha, whose name was lost to time. It is unknown when they established the various stories in their folklore but it was a part of their culture for so long, it's synonymous with Lindras itself to the point where even outsiders know about them and sometimes even adhere to their cultural belief in the Black Wolf and the afterworld. X hailed from a satellite pack who did just that. While Lindras was home to many types of wolves, it identified as a Fringe Dire pack because the Royal Family were all Fringes. As such, they tended to depict the Black Wolf as a massive Fringe Dire.

Following an age-old tradition, the oldest in the royal family's first litter is to succeed the previous alphas. This tradition has endured in the X Clan with a slight modification to the requisites. Now the family chooses their patriarch/matriarch from the firstborn overall, regardless of the standing leader's actual age in relation to siblings. For instance, Starfire is the younger sibling of Byakko but she had a litter before he did so her son, Akutan, is Byakko's successor as patriarch. Akutan's successor in turn will be Sarajevo's firstborn, a daughter named Rapture. Byakko was the last patriarch born under the original system because he and his brothers were the last litter born while Lindras still stood. The rite of succession applies only to blood relations so adopted members like Aylie and Ticon are not eligible for consideration. Ticon serves the clan as a squire of sorts while Aylie was adopted into the family by Starfire.

Firewing became Alpha when her parents stepped down. X had come from a satellite pack that was latter absorbed by its bigger and strong neighbors. He and the new Alphess eventually gained a strong friendship and later fell in love. X was elevated to Alpha alongside her.

When Firewing and X had their final litter, which Starfire was the only survivor, she and her mate were ambushed away from the den by humans. Firewing was killed and X was terrible wounded. He would later be found by different humans who nursed him back to health and he let them live. Upon returning to Lindras, he learned that the pack had foundered without him and Firewing to lead them. That, and their only daughter had gone missing, her trail leading directly into contact with sabers of the Darktooth Pride. X gave both Firewing and Starfire up for dead, not knowing Starfire was in the care of the saber huntress, Yatta. He would then spend the next five years wandering the Fringe, eventually hearing rumors of a patched she-wolf and his oldest son across the Dire Straits. X, now seven years old, would cross the Straits and find his two missing children in Nardir.

Byakko, the eldest, was still in training to lead when Lindras fell so he hadn't been officially recognized as alpha. The Lindarian wolves had allied themselves with Byakko's three brothers. The four princes held a meeting with the remainder of the pack where Byakko renounced his claim to the throne and asked for the pack members to follow his brothers to keep Lindarian traditions and stories alive. He would then wander the land around the Darktooth Saber pride and Old Lindras. He heard rumors of the Darktooth pride having a wolf living among them, known to them as Eagle Eye, but it wasn't until he turned five that he heard Eagle Eye had left the pride and was heading west. A flicker of hope that Eagle Eye was actually his presumed dead sister, Starfire, Byakko wasted no time in heading west himself, crossing the Straits and finally tracking her down in Nardir.

Starfire had been seven weeks old when things fell apart around her. The only survivor of Firewing and X's second litter, she had been loved by her parents and brothers dearly. When her parents never returned and when Byakko was away dealing with the fallout, Starfire wandered away from the den into the neutral grounds separating Lindras from Darktooth. There, she was found by a hunting party, led by a pale yellow huntress named Yatta. The saberess took pity on the foundling wolf pup and took her back, alive, to the pride. She asked permission from King Darktooth to raise the pup as her own, to atone for the death of her own cub, who had died from a snake bite Yatta had failed to notice until it was too late. She was allowed to and Starfire was raised in saber traditions, given the name Eagle Eye. She and a black saber cub named Coldsun were the best of friends but their interaction came to an end when she turned four and left. The reason she left was an incident two years prior Starfire was baited by pride bullies into encountering a bear who nearly killed her. Coldsun rescued her and she spent the next two years feeling more and more alienated because she was a wolf. Yatta pulled her aside and told her the truth of why she was in a pride of cats and that Yatta had known who she really was, the missing princess of the now-gone Lindras wolf pack. Starfire reclaimed her original name and eventually left the pride. She decided to head west to find a pack to belong to. She would find a new home in Nardir.
Title: To the Future
Post by: Sekirei on August 02, 2016, 03:11:24 PM
Lindras is gone and many traditions, except the most important ones, are now lost to time. The X Clan is permanently cut off from the families of Genbu, Seiryu, and Suzaku so what remains of Lindras can never been known.

After X was reunited with his two children in Nardir, he would die at the age of eight years old due to a culmination of many factors. He had a really bad run of luck in his life and when Nardir was forced out of their forest at the claws of the Asylum wolves, he lost all will to keep living. He held on long enough to see his granddaughters leave the den for the first time. Sarajevo was the first of them he saw and his heart broke when he saw her eyes, the same blue shade as Firewing's had been. He passed away in the night, leaving a devastated Akutan, Storm, Byakko, and Raka behind.

Starfire would live until the age of six when the fall of Nardir and subsequent problems became too much for her gentle soul to bear any longer. Having always been a gentle soul, Starfire had been the heart of the family and her role was succeeded by Sarajevo, her equally gentle niece. The final nail in Starfire's coffin was her adoptive daughter, Aylie, finally deciding that she didn't have to take orders and brought shame to the family for being unable to rein her in. She died before the move to the new territory, with her mate Storm following quickly after her. Her death hit their son, Akutan the hardest. He was never the same after both the loss of his home and his three family members.

To Be Continued.
Title: Origin Myth of the Black Wolf
Post by: Sekirei on June 22, 2017, 10:51:42 PM
The origin of the Black Wolf in Lindarian culture goes back to antiquity. Back in the Age of Ancients, giant spirits known as Hogo-sha were the gatekeepers to the afterlife. Every clan had such a spirit, even the newly arrived humans. Except for one clan: wolfkind. Wolves were kept to the fringes of forest society because of their lack of a soul and were doomed to fade into wind from whence they were created. After centuries of fear, wolfkind cried out to the Father of Wolves, the deity who created them from wind, and begged him to send a Hogo-sha to them. The Father took pity on them and issued a challenge to all wolfkind that if one of their number could take on three trials, that wolf would become the Hogo-sha of wolfdom. The tasks were simple in theory but difficult in execution.

Many tried, all failed. So wolves continued to fade into wind upon death, never to know the afterworld. That is, until one wolf finally stood up to take the trials. His name is long lost to the annuls of history, known to Lindras merely as the Black Wolf. He hailed from a pack of dire wolves and was among the largest of his breed. His fur was blacker than the darkest night and his eyes were dual colors of ruby and sapphire. He told the Father that he would take on the trials. The trials consisted of him being tested by three of the other clans' Hogo-sha. The snake Hogo-sha challenged him to a battle of morals, asking a series of questions and how the Black Wolf would go about judging the souls of his brethren for entrance into the afterworld. The Black Wolf simply answered that wolves would be judged on the kind of life they lived. They would either pass him unscathed or be made to proportionately pay for their sins. He even outlined his willingness to make examples of rapists who, in his eyes, were the worst sort of criminal. He strove to be a neutral force. The guardian spirit was impressed. She spoke of how other challengers sent to her by the Father would give grandiose speeches about how they would act as gatekeeper. Some leaned too far to the self-righteous side of the scale and others to the side of evil. Simplicity and neutrality was what she sought because it was the way of all Hogo-sha and the Black Wolf passed.

He was then sent to the saber Hogo-sha and challenged to a test of strength in battle. The sabers' guardian spirit told him that his path was a righteous one and thus he must have fighting skills to back up his claim that the souls of sinners should be punished in accordance to their crime. The Black Wolf faced the giant in single combat, using his speed and wits to render the spirit's massive size moot. When he triumphed, the saber Hogo-sha commended his skill in battle and knew that if he could take down a giant, he'd have no problems with the souls of those who would fight against righteous judgment. The Black Wolf passed the trial and was sent on his final trial.

He was granted an audience with the fox Hogo-sha. The Black Wolf knew foxkind to be tricksters so he wagered a guess that the Hogo-sha would challenge him to a battle of wits. He was correct and the foxes' guardian spirit did his best to trip the Black Wolf up by disguising his questions in the form of riddles, mainly to do with what little knowledge wolves had of the afterworld. The fox Hogo-sha then turned up the pressure by tempting the Black Wolf to condemn the Father creating his kind without souls, noting that tricksters like foxes and coyotes were granted such a boon. The Black Wolf didn't fall for the Hogo-sha's tricks, saying that all he needed to believe in was the fact the Father of Wolves would make good on his promises to grant his kind souls so they could have their own paradise. The Hogo-sha conceded the defeat.

The Black Wolf was summoned by the Father of Wolves who told him of all potential candidates, only he managed to complete all the trials. He was prepared to grant the Black Wolf the rank of Hogo-sha if he answered one last question. That question: was he prepared to leave the living world and take up his new post in the Deadlands right then? In exchange for his mortal life, the Black Wolf would become a giant and granted omnipotence in addition to the powers fitting of a Hogo-sha. The Black Wolf paused. He had a mate back home and she was carrying his pups. In order to become a Hogo-sha, the Father had told him he would have to leave it all behind. In the end, he chose to follow through. Because of his dedication, the Father told him his progeny would share in his great size, though they'd still be smaller than the giant he would become. The Black Wolf thanked him for everything and his mortality ended.

Today, the Black Wolf stands as gatekeeper to the wolves' afterworld. He was a powerful Hogo-sha who followed through on what he told the snake, saber, and fox. His mate never learned what happened to him but she suspected he succeeded when she gave birth to his children, three pups that were curiously large for dire pups. Each successive generation carried on the great size and soon established themselves as...Fringe Dires. However, one of the ancient Fringes went down such a dark path of anger-fueled murder. He was so hated by the Black Wolf that when his soul traveled the Deadlands to face judgment after death, the wolf Hogo-sha not only brutally attacked him but he cursed his bloodline with the berserker madness known as the Fury. So long as his bloodline remained pure Fringe, the Fury would always be lurking in their genes. As the age of myths came to an end, a pack of Fringes came together and, under the First Alpha, established Lindras.