WIP: Crypt of the Mind

This is a short story about a Tosi guy named Kel whose older sister Koma decides to leave and join the war with the Ríli. Because Tosi society is a matriarchy, it’s not common for young men to be living on their own (especially in middle class homes like this one), and he feels abandoned by his sister and worried for her safety. Soon, he finds that the strain of being left alone is aggravating some mental problems he’d had in the past. Problems increase for Kel when he starts to discover some unsettling facts about his family’s past, and discovers that his ancestral home may be haunted by secrets unknown, both figuratively, and maybe literally.

Genre will be fantasy/scifi/paranormal with tinges of romance and adventure. Rating is at M for now just to be safe. Nothing to warrant the rating so far though. CWs for mental illness, mild violence, mentions of death, mild sexual themes, and paranormal scariness.

Feedback is welcome if you feel like reading!

~~~~~~~~~~

Continue reading “WIP: Crypt of the Mind”

Places of Aeniith: Binafér (Bitterwood)

Binafér is a large forest several hundreds miles across. It is located in east-central Ei in Keta. It’s indicated in red on the map below.

aeniithmap

What distinguishes it from the forest and areas around it is its inhabitants–it is a dwelling place of Bayën people (called Emir in their own language). It exists outside any official country borders, but is claimed by the Bayë as flairetan, meaning it is land that belongs to them, but does not consist of any specific city-state. The inhabitants of Binafér live in several spread out settlements built into the forest itself. The total population is around 8,000.

binafer2

The name Binafér (IPA: /’binafer/, or something like “beena-fair”) is Gotevian and means “bitter-wood”. Thus the translation I have occasionally used, Bitterwood. It was called this because, when Quariosians came across it, it was filed with a poisonous gas that was emitted by a certain species of flowering carnivorous plants, which was harmless to the local Bayën population, but caused the Gotevians to have a bitter taste in their mouths after breathing the air. In Bayën (or Lavile), it is called Virinossefrele (IPA: /virinos:e’frele/, “veeree-noh-seh-frell-ay”), “the barren wood”, which is a rather misleading name. It is not barren itself at all, but borders an area of land called Sefreletan, which proved very poor for the crops the Bayë tend to grow. Thus it was called “the forest of Sefrelletan”, eventually leading to the name Virinossefrele. Another name in Gotevian is Nyorinai, which comes from the words for “golden lady”. This is for some of the trees that bear golden leaves in the autumn.

binafér

The forest is the subject of much superstition amongst the amelae nations that surround it. Quariosians as well are hesitant to enter it. It has several products in export, however, including textiles, wood, copper, and various precious stones. These are mined in mines on the north border of the forest, where there are natural cave systems that delve deep in to the earth.

binafer5

The subraces of Bayë that inhabit Binafér are primarily Mei, Megana and a few Nonil. They typically avoid leaving the forest except to trade, although they have no official quarrel with any nearby nation or any in Keta (at the moment).

binafer4

~

Mintaka

Elucuna in Quarios (pt 2)

More of the story of Elucuna, a runaway Orikrindian woman who goes into hiding in Quarios to start a new life.

 

It was from there that I made my way to what I had long planned would be my destination. First, I navigated the cramped streets and alleys of Naeglitan to a man who was an acquaintance of my brother’s. His name was Glohitan and he was in the business of ground transport—whether of cargo or person, he did not care. Moreover, he was in the business of discreet transport, which was of utmost concern to me, as I did not wish for my family (other than, of course, Poltyar my brother) to get wind of my location in Quarios, or even that I had in fact fled there. For all they knew, I had perished in some dark wood of Orikrindia or fallen in the hands of highwaymen.

Continue reading “Elucuna in Quarios (pt 2)”

Conlang: Ori, continued

Image here is the kind of flower I always envisaged as the national symbol of Orikrindia.

Last time I showed you some Ori verbs and how they are conjugated. I mentioned that there are essentially three ways to conjugate verbs (1st, 2nd, 3rd conjugations), and showed you some verbs from the 1st class of those verbs. I kind of lied, as it is not quite as simple as that sounds. Despite all verbs ending in -i and in all alveolars being grouped as one class, there is a little variation inside the conjugation, depending what the individual sound in the verb stem ends in. I go into a little more detail for the 1st conjugation below. Note some of the differences marked in bold where there are some variations in the stems and endings.

Verbs in –i

meri-m ‘I dance’

meri-t ‘you dance’

meri-r ‘he/she/it dances’ (animate, inanimate)

meri-l ‘he/she/it dances’ (celestial, abstract)

 

meri-bra ‘we dance’

meri-dra ‘you all dance’

meri-nda ‘they (an, inan) dance’

meri-lta ‘they (cel, abs) dance’

Verbs in -n

Note difference in some endings/stems.

boltin-im ‘I keep’

boltin-it ‘you keep’

boltin-ir ‘he/she/it keeps’ (an, inan)

boltinil ‘he/she/it keeps’ (celestial, abstract)

 

boltim-bra ‘we keep’

boltin-dra ‘you all keep’

boltin-da ‘they keep’  (an, inan)

bolti-lta ‘they keep’ (cel, abs)

 

Verbs in -l

Note changed suffix:

potil-im ‘I think’

potil-it ‘you think’

potil-ir ‘he/she/it thinks’ (an, inan)

potil-il ‘he/she/it thinks’ (cel, abs)

 

potil-bra ‘we think’

potil-dra ‘you all think’

potil-nda ‘they think’ (an, inan)

potil-ta ‘they think’ (cel, abs)

 

Verbs in -s

Note devoicing on plural endings with verbs ending with unvoiced consonants

cetis-im ‘I cut’

cetis-it ‘you cut’

cetis-ir ‘he/she/it cuts’ (an, inan)

cetis-il ‘he/she/it cuts’ (cel, abs)

 

cetis-pra ‘we cut’

cetis-tra ‘you all cut’

cetis-ta ‘they cut’ (an, inan)

cetis-ta ‘they cut’ (cel, abs)

 

Verbs in -d

Note some stem changes.

trellid-im ‘I walk’

trellid-it ‘you walk’

trellid-ir ‘he/she/it walks’ (an, inan)

trellid-il ‘he/she/it walks’ (cel, abs)

 

trellim-bra ‘we walk’

trellid-ra ‘you all walk’

trelli-nda ‘they walk’ (an, inan)

trelli-lta ‘they walk’ (cel, abs)

 

Verbs in -t

Note differences in stems and endings.

grasit-im ‘I scrape’

grasit-it ‘you scrape’

grasit-ir ‘he/she/it scrapes’ (an, inan)

grasit-il ‘he/she/it scrapes’ (cel, abs)

 

grasi-pra ‘we scrape’

grasi-tra ‘you all scrape’

grasi-nda ‘they scrape’ (an, inan)

grasi-lta ‘they scrape’ (cel, abs)

 

Verbs in -r

Note difference in some stem forms.

lar-im ‘I laugh’

lar-it ‘you laugh’

lar-ir ‘he/she/it laughs’ (an, inan)

lar-il ‘he/she/it laughs’ (cel, abs)

 

lar-bra ‘we laugh’

lar-dra ‘you all laugh’

lar-nda ‘they laugh’ (an, inan)

la-lta ‘they laugh’ (cel, abs)

~

Alright, that’s it for the regular 1st conjugation verbs. Many of the variations in these verbs are mirrored elsewhere and are probably results of semi-regular morphophonotactic rules…but I’ll need to figure out exactly what those appear to be later on.

Another Ori topic I wanted to talk about are definite articles. Ori has them. It doesn’t have any other articles (like indefinite artcles, e.g. English ‘a/an’, French ‘un(e), des’). These definite articles are roughly equivalent to English ‘the’, but the usage varies in Ori and may not always align with English usage (i.e. you might see an Ori article where you wouldn’t in English (or whatever other language), and vice versa). In Ori, the definite articles are proclitics. They are written with a hypen before the noun, and like other things in Ori, they have to agree with the noun class of the noun. See some examples below.

 

tu-syalanyas ‘the queen’ (animate, singular)

tun-hilunyan ‘the merchats’ (animate, plural)

ti-yutar ‘the cloud’ (celestial, singular)

tin-celunyas ‘the priests’ (celestial, plural)

lye-buni ‘[of] the house’ (inanimate, singular)

lyen-kapyan ‘the desks’ (inanimate, plural)

co-sestas ‘the life’ (abstract, singular)

con-gerumin ‘the deaths’ (abstract, plural)

As you can see, the plural forms of these articles are made by adding -n to the end. You can get a little preview of some of the case system for nouns too in the above examples….soon we’ll see the rest!

 

Mintaka

Peoples of Aeniith: The Orikrindians

The Orikrindians are one group I haven’t fleshed out very much. I know where they live, their basic system of government, and a few of their words. I am hoping to be able to expand on them more.

Orkrindia itself is an island off the east coast of Ei. See the map below. The island is temperate in climate and Orkrindia has a strong trade system with the rest of Keta and also with the Tosi empire in Elta. Another strong ally with Orkrindia is the small nation of Behr Gehen (also located on Ei).

The country is divided into six provinces and in total has a population of about 6,500,000. Major cities are Desya, Bomu, Jitasa, and Nimhal. Major bodies of water include the Cahusya River, Komu Lake, and the Jetecya River.

The Orikrindian government is a constitutional monarchy, led by a succession of kings. Unlike the Gotevian, Lomi, and then Quariosian monarchies, the succession favors male heirs over females.

The main language of Orikrindia is Ori, spoken by about 89% of the population. Other languages spoken in the country are Lomi, Gotevinur, and Behri (language of Behr Gehen). The basic phonemes of Ori are below (orthography and IPA):

Consonants (20):

<p> /p/ <c> /k/  <t> /t/

<b> /b/  <g> /g/  <d> /d/

<j> /dʒ/ <I> /l/ <r> /r/

<s> /s/  <h> /h/

<m> /m/ <n> /n/

<y> /j/ <ry> /rʲ/ <ly> /lʲ/ <sy> /sʲ/ <cy> /kʲ/ <py> /pʲ/ <ty> /tj>

Vowels (5):

<a> /a/  <e> /e/  <o> /o/ <u> /u/ <i> /i/

The name Orikrindia is actually an exonym from the Behri language. It was derived ultimately from Orikrindian words though: ori ‘man’ + krinja ‘helper’, since the Orikrindians came to the aid of the Behr Geheni people during the War of Burning, in which Behr Gehen was nearly wiped out by a stronger neighbor in Ei. The name stuck and was used by all non-Ori speaking peoples in Ei. The Ori have been largely accepting of the exonym, though they call themselves just ‘Ori’ (with their language being a shortening of Lalya Ori ‘tongue of the Ori), their word for ‘man’ or ‘person’.

Peoples of Aeniith: Gotêvi and the Gotevians

Gotêvi is the home of the Gotevians (called Gotevinurae in their own tongue). 

It is traditionally made up of the eastern half of the Quarios continent in Keta, the other half consisting of the country of Lomilin. Gotevians are Amel people (like the Lomi and most inhabitants of Keta). Below is a reference map to show where Quarios is. The “right” half from this perspective is the historical land of the Gotevians.

Screen Shot 2018-05-26 at 4.14.08 AM

Queen Inacaporia was the Gotevian monarch who merged Gotêvi with its neighbor, Lomilin, into the new nation known as Quarios (same name as the continent). The creation of the state of the Quarios also meant that the various lands in Ei under the control of both Gotêvi and Lomilin then came under one rule–and in this way, Quarios had control over most of the land in Keta.

Political History

Gotevian government has been a constitutional monarchy for over 1300 years as of 600 E.K. (eimoina koa reckoning of Gotêvi). Prior to this, there had been an absolute monarchy until the satmyna revolt, in which the populace demanded that a constitution be instated to guide the laws of the royalty. After this, the hierarchy that existed beneath the sovereign was drastically altered. Whereas before there had been several governors overseeing massive areas of land, after the revolt many smaller individual territorial supervisors were instated in order to give more specific attention to each region. This allows specialized rule for areas that have different needs; the region of tjenan, for example, has had a long history of droughts—since this is an agricultural province, the overseers of tjenan can specialize in drought relief.

In recent centuries, Gotevians have typically harbored a deep-rooted affection and loyalty for their current ruler. That is, unless he or she makes empty promises. Then, as history has shown, they are not known to be willing to forgive or forget such trespasses. King Deleng defied the constitution in the year 422 E.K. by showing favoritism toward one of his councilors in allowing him to give unwarranted power to certain governors, who in turn abused their privileges and ruled tyrannically over their local people. Four years later, Deleng was ousted by the rest of his royal council, and his younger brother took up the throne.

Until recently, females took priority even before first-born males. This law was changed in 456 E.K. to allow the eldest child rights to the throne regardless of gender.

The government is very supportive of its populace, providing aid for them in crises such as natural disasters like droughts, famines, and floods. It also pays for 15% of the education for any child until the age of fifteen. Taxes, however, tend to be rather high, and Gotevians are known for their vehement dislike for them, though they reserve a special loathing for local and property taxes.

Religion

Gotêvi in recent centuries has not been predominantly religious, but the old faiths still exist and are in no danger of dying out. Some of the major living religions include:

Delostism (delostinadh) (/dɛlostinað/): Delostism is based around the worship of a single goddess, Delost, who represents serenity and peace. Prayers are offered through meditation, traditionally lasting thirty minutes a day. The spiritual goal of Delostism might be said to be total clarity and peace of mind. The religion is strictly anti-violence. Delost is sometimes referred to as Milnjameli ‘the sister-mother-daughter’ (il- from iljuma ‘daughter’, -njam- from njama ‘mother’, and -eli- from eliar ‘sister’).

Zirkism (zirkonadh) (/zirkonað/): Zirkism is perhaps the oldest organized religion commonly practiced by the Gotevians, originating thousands of years ago with the Ankesimtoh people, the ancestors of both the Gotevians and the Lomi. Zirko represents the largest of the two moons of Aeniith. Zirko has a humanoid figure that represents everything that encompasses the female. Aliotir is the mate of Zirko, representing the sun. Their children are the stars and comets, known as the kwidae.

Animism (zenitadh) (/zɛnitað/): Probably the oldest set of spiritual beliefs, dating back also to the Ankesimtoh people. It is not so much a religion, as it has no dogma and no doctrine. It is comprised of the belief that everything in existence has some latent sort of sentience—in effect, everything possesses zenit, or spiritual awareness. Gotevian animism also places a great gravity on the meanings of dream experiences. It is believed that one lives two lives: one in the waking world and one in the dream world. These two selves are a part of each other but one must work in order to gain a purposed connection and establish communication between the two selves, as it is thought that each self is different in that is can perceive and understand different things in reality, which the other cannot be aware of. Thus it is considered that a form of wisdom emerges from drawing on both the skills of the dream self and the waking self.

Culture, Art, and Society

There are several ethical and aesthetic values that influence a lot of Gotevian culture and art. A few of these are the following:

Truth: There is a fundamental Gotevian belief that truth is something that must be found whenever possible. Lying and covering up the nature of reality is considered disingenuous at best and malignant at worst. Search for the truth is also the motive for the Gotevian practice of introspection: to know oneself is considered the beginning of knowing the world. As such, lying (especially in relation to oneself), is considered horna, or an ethical crime.

Symmetry: Symmetry is related to order in Gotevian thought, which is in turn related to harmony (see below). Much of traditional Gotevian art sought out the symmetry in nature and reproduced that balance. Balance is considered the beginning of stability, which is considered necessary for health and peace of mind. Symmetry is also related to equality—equality is believed to foster harmony.

Harmony: It is very important that the world work smoothly to the Gotevians. Harmony is thought to be necessary to true happiness and peace. But in practice, Gotevians are not willing to sacrifice truth for the sake of harmony. Thus, a harmony that wears the mask of serenity instead of being true serenity is no harmony at all, but rather it is a lie, and thus must be changed.

Serenity: Serenity is highly valued, both physically and abstractly. Mental serenity is believed to give longevity. Physical serenity in the world at large is believed to foster introspection and reflection, thus leading the way to truth. The strong belief in serenity may have influenced some of the military decisions made in the history of Gotêvi and its people.

Prosperity: Prosperity is considered the result of harmony combined with irrkima ‘the vital fire’, what might be described as chaos, ambition, desire, or change. Things like these are considered a necessary additive for anything to “happen” in life, or for any positive change to come about. It is considered necessary for material and spiritual prosperity, which is described by the Gotevians as a kind of chaotic power that has finally fallen into a working pattern.

Art Forms

Gotevian culture has many forms of art. The arts are arranged in a hierarchy in the Gotevian cultural consciousness, some being considered more “advanced” or developed than others.

Theatre

Theatre in Gotevian culture has always had symbolic meaning; often plays make allusions to mythology, ethics, religion, society, or psychology. It is different from other arts in that there is very little realism involved. Actors wear long colored robes symbolizing their roles and intentions. The language is also very metaphoric, subtle, and complex. Sometimes plays can last for up to five hours.

Visual Arts

In visual arts, sculpture is considered the most advanced form, because it is closest to the reality of what the artist is trying to represent. A lot of value is placed on realism in Gotevian visual art, so the closest representation of reality is often considered the highest level of skill.

Language Arts

Language arts are considered probably the highest of all. They are definitely thought of as the most cerebrally demanding form of art. Poetry, wordplay, literature, and riddles are all grouped together because they are strictly conceptual arts, having no physical form. Thus they are thought of as slightly mysterious and very powerful.

Music

Traditional Gotevian music is based around a 19-tone system. Scales are comprised of 5–8 of these tones and are woven into melodic lines that are largely pentatonic in nature. Harmonies are valued very highly, and complex chords are quite common. Instruments tend to be either woodwind or string. Rhythmic complexity is usually downplayed, and there is little use of percussion. On the islands south of Gotevi, the Teg people have a different scale that is diatonic. In Teg music, there is much more heavy percussion.

Architecture

Gotevian house designs depend on whether they are located in an urban or rural area. Urban houses tend to be very vertical, because of space issues. Wood and brick are the most common materials to use. One high quality wood that is very desirable is plurra, which is similar to an oak tree. Gotevians also began importing plirrass wood (called plirrad in Gotevian) from the Quiluma Bae around 450 E.K. The wood is famous for its pale luminescent glow when seen in the light. It also light but very strong, so it is an ideal building material.

In the countryside, houses are more round, compact, and the walls are thicker. Many people living alone or with one other person live in a rectangular house with one room called a meknin. mekninae usually have one door at each short end of the rectangle, a hearth, a mat-covered sleeping area (on the floor), a small table for eating, and various shelves and cupboards. These houses are usually just outside city limits, but not quite in the heart of the rural areas. The main problem with these houses is their relative low security—they often have weak locks because of the thin walls of the meknin, so it is easier for potential thieves to break in.

In architecture, symmetry is, as in other forms of art, highly valued. This can be seen in the facades of higher class homes, and the minor decorations of simpler houses. Decorative designs are often organic, rather than geometrical. Subtlety is valued over flashiness, as it is considered a sign of a sophisticated mind to appreciate subtlety of form. For houses that are painted, common colors are earth tones such as brown, tan, green, deep orange, and beige. In the cities, jewel tones are popular, as well as plain white, for it considered a sign of cleanliness and fineness to be able to keep a clear white surface free of dust and dirt in the relatively arid climates of most Gotevian territories.

Peoples of Aeniith pt II

I introduced some of the species of people in Aeniith. Today I’ll start talking about some of the cultures and nations of those peoples. I’ll keep the map up for reference. For a more detailed/interactive map of Aeniith, see this part of my site: http://aeniith.com/maps.html.

Nations of Keta

The history of the nations in Keta is a complex story. In the past, the southern continent of Quarios was divided into several discrete countries, the largest of which were Gotêvi (whence the language Gotêvi/Gotevian) and Lomilin (whence the sister language of Gotêvi, Lomi). Eventually many of the other smaller countries were subsumed by either Gotêvi or Lomilin, although there were some notable exceptions in the south of the continent such as the Teg and the Phul people, who still maintain sovereign nations to this day.

At a certain point, the two countries of Gotêvi and Lomilin merged into one country, called just Quarios (after the continent). All the territories that both Gotêvi and Lomilin had in Ei now became the combined territories of Quarios (the country). However, throughout Ei, there were and continued to be many small nations that were independent countries as well. They historically had rather testy relations with each other over time, and this tendency continued into the time in which Quarios existed as a single state. Many of the Bae people lived throughout Ei, in some of the more isolated places where Amelae peoples did not frequent. Some Bae of Ei are nomadic and some have permanent settlements and cities.

Nations of Elta

The nations of Elta consist of many countries of Amelae and Zuna, as well as the one Rílin nation. The Ríli live in northern Izoi surrounded by dense forests that include many poisonous flora and fauna that are endemic to their territories. The Tosi empire spreads out to the south from there. The heart of the Tosi homeland lies to the south of the central mountain cluster of Izoi, in the more arid regions and grasslands. As the Tosi empire expanded, it needed more and more resources to support its growing size, leading the Tosi to expand even more—often in the form of warfare and taking the natural resources of other peoples in lands outside their territory. This was the case with the Ríli, and was the impetus to the decades-long war between the Ríli and the Tosi.

The Selupa (whose language is called Seloi) are some of the most technologically advanced peoples of Aeniith, although they fiercely guard their secrets with a shadowy and mysterious centralized government. Most of Aeniith has not crossed the boundaries of industrialization in any sort of way, but the Selupa have invented the steam engine, though they guard it so well that their neighbors (namely the Tosi and Karkin) cannot grasp what exactly they have created. In the various warfare activities that the Selupa have engaged in (which are few and far between), leftover broken parts of Selupa tech have been scavenged by their enemies (as well as by others), but no one has managed to understand or backward-engineer any of their machines. Rumors have spread of strange underwater vessels, explosives, biological weapons, steam-powered machines, and mechanical weapons that confuse and frighten any who would threaten the Selupa. For these reasons, as well as due to their highly secretive ways, the Selupa have managed to avoid open conflict while residing in one of the most infamously war-torn parts of Aeniith.

Another notable group of Elta is the Karkin people. They are also a group of Zuna species people, living near the Selupa on the eastern island off the coast of Izoi. They have a very divided society, having a few cities with centralized governments consisting of a number of ruling clans. The different clans have greater or lesser presence in each city, and their influence determines the way each city is ruled. Outside of the cities, however, the people tend to be nomadic and live in a state of lawlessness to different degrees. They are marginalized to the extreme and tend to live very hard and short lives. Crime is high and social woes are many. These people living outside of cities are called the Kaitoxkita, and they have given the Karkin people a reputation for being crazed, uncivilized, violent, unpredictable, and chaotic. They tend to have more or less neutral to positive relations with the Selupa, and their proximity to them has ended up keeping them from being caught in many conflicts with the rather dangerous Tosi.

The Peoples of Aeniith: The Ríli

The concept of the Ríli people I came up with about 14 years ago (almost half my life agoo–it feels a lot more recent than that, but that’s how time works, it seems) while on an extended camping trip with my family in the temperate rainforests of southeastern Alaska. I was in the forest living out of a wall tent with a small woodstove, sleeping on army cots, an hour-long boat ride from the nearest (small) town. Besides working (chopping wood, building structures, or cooking), my options for passtimes were practicing archery and writing and reading. So I spent a lot of time in Aeniith, thinking about what might exist beyond Keta–beyond the Gotevians, Lomi, and the Ei Lands. I wanted to expand and explore Aeniith.  I started thinking past what my childhood and immediate adolescence had produced. I was also learning more and more about linguistics and language typology, and the Rílin language was in part a result of this. I hope you enjoy a small introduction to–and some meandering thoughts about–the Ríli.

~

The Ríli are a humanoid species of Aeniith. They are endemic to the continent of Izoi in Elta (the “eastern” hemisphere of Aeniith), mostly inhabited the central-northern parts of the continent. They are small compared to other humanoids, standing around 4’9″-5’5″ (144.5-165cm) on average, with males being a bit taller than females. Their skin is dark to light grey, ranging in tone from bluish to reddish. Females tend to have darker skin than males, and younger Ríli have darker skin than older. For this reason, darker grey skin is considered a sign of youth and therefore of beauty (in most subcultures). Skin color of most Ríli range from ashy white to dark grey, almost black. Ríli evolved in dark forests, and it is for this reason that their children (and younger members) are darker than the older. All Ríli have a stripe of paler skin down their spine and the sides of their neck, known as the pfókala (literally, ‘white stripe’). The pfókala on the sides of the neck marks a very physically sensitive part of the body, both with regard to pain and pleasure.

Silin

Rílin scout, called Silin. Art by Tara Williams (http://unit-3992.tumblr.com/).

Hair color can be yellowish gold, light orange, brown, pale grey, or black. What we would consider “blond” hair (strictly speaking) is rather rare, as is dark red hair. Dark red hair, however, is considered beautiful, though only about .05% of the population shows this color naturally.  Hair consistency is usually thick but individual hairs tend to be fine, though they grow in massive amounts. Many Ríli must cut their hair frequently, as it grows fast. Facial and body hair is sparse in both sexes, however, though females have more pubic hair than males. Males have very little chance of obtaining any facial hair until after the age of about 35. Hair and nails grow very fast compared to other species. This results in hairstyles being quite long. But toenails and fingernails have to be cut frequently so that the Ríla is not harmed by their own toes and fingers. Nails of the fingers and toes have a dark tint to them. Dying the nails orange or red is popular for cosmetics reasons.

The eyes are larger and farther apart than a human’s. Eyebrows often extend over into the hair, being of a soft and full type of hair. Eye color can be blue, violet, grey, black, or brown. Golden-yellow and green eyes are also possible, but only about 1 in 300,000 Rili have this. Eyesight is very keen. The rods of the Rílin eye are very sensitive, giving them excellent vision in darker conditions. Ríli can consciously control the dilation of their eyes.

Ríli have a physical “sixth sense” which allows them to sense the neuroelectrical pulses of a living brain. They can sense the presence and relative distance of any type of organism with a central nervous system, and can also distinguish between higher life forms (such as another Ríla or other hominid) and lower life forms (a squirrel or deer). There have been extremely rare cases of Ríli having “telepathic” abilities, or the ability to sense the thoughts of another hominid. These individuals are very few and far between.

The onset of puberty usually begins around 18 years of age for females and 21 years for males. Gestation lasts for ten months. The hormonal (menstrual) cycles of the Rilin female last typically 15 days. The menstrual period itself thus lasts on average around 3 days.

 

Costu

Silin, Rílin scout. Art by Tara Williams (http://unit-3992.tumblr.com/).

  • Rili are very physically flexible and agile, due to high levels of collagen in their bodies. About 65% of all Ríli have a slight split in the tip of the tongue.
  • The sides of the Rílin neck (called the meslí) along a portion of the pfókala are very sensitive
  • Fingers and toes are often long and tapered with square tips and small nail bases
  • The stomach has three parts, in order to better digest cellulose in plants
  • Wiggling and moving the ears is easy
  • Ríli typically need 9 hours of sleep each night
  • Rílin metabolism is on average higher than that of humans. For this reason, obesity is relatively rare. Emaciation and unhealthier levels of thinness are more common
  • Facial features tend to be very fine and sometimes sharp
  • The pads of the feet (and to a lesser extent the hands) are covered in a thicker gripping skin called samanken. These developed because of the Rili evolution in forested areas; they were originally a tree-dwelling species
  • The ears taper backwards slightly in a mild point, and often have tufts of hair on the upper ridge

Traditional Rilin culture is based around the principles of harmony, equality, and pacifism. Violence is a very taboo subject, as is conflict, to a lesser extent. The value of equality has led the Rili to have a very egalitarian society and a democratic government. The populace (of the Sunuli) is governed by an elected council of sixty officials that are replaced every five years.

The Flight

The most significant event in recent Rílin history is the military invasion by the Tosi, a warlike people of the Zuna species to the south. The invasion completely reshaped Rílin society, culture and philosophy. Prior to the invasion, the Ríli had no military and their religion and cultural values did not permit them to engage in defensive combat. Some decided to flee northward and hide in the deep, impenetrable forests there. Many of this group also took refuge in underground caverns beneath a mountain nearby; soon constructing subterranean settlements and eventually cities there.

This period of escape is known as The Flight. The Ríli that took refuge came to be known as the Lunauli, or “people of the darkness”. Their religion remained largely intact, but their societal values changed: strict hierarchies began to replace the original egalitarian system. However, many of the Ríli refused to abandon their homeland. They stayed, developed an army and determined to fight the Tosi. The Tosi had a definite military advantage in this situation being brilliant strategists, having massive armies of formidable and highly-trained warriors, and having made many conquests throughout their history of neighboring peoples across Elta. The Ríli, however, had a few natural advantages of their own; their neurology gave them a “sixth sense,” the ability to detect the neuro-electrical pulses of living brains at a distance of up to a kilometer. They also had extensive knowledge of their own territory, which consists largely of deep forests that the Tosi, being largely desert-dwelling people, found difficult to deal with, militarily.

Domestic Lives and Common Personal Values of the Ríli

Work ethic is held in high regard, however, it is generally believed that personal happiness is paramount. The arts and sciences are greatly valued and often taken up as pursuits by amateurs in early and later adulthood. This may be related to the Rílin idea that one’s mind is kept healthiest when it is positively occupied.

The Rílin family unit typically consists of two parents and one or two children. Often the parents have extensive hobbies or personal activities that they pursue apart from their daily occupation, and thus many do not have children immediately upon marriage. Ríli are matrilocal, which means that the male goes to live in the household of the female for some time before the couple have their own household. The family name of a child is usually that of the male, however, this is not always the case. Babies are breastfed until around age four.

Ríli eat four meals per day. The first meal is taken in the morning and often consists of a sauce made from red berries with shredded nuts and seeds, called perut. The second meal is taken around noon. The third meal is taken around 4pm. And the fourth meal is around 9pm. Seaside-dwelling Ríli love to eat steamed sea cucumber with pickled vegetables in a dish they call íshne.

The structure and size of houses depends on whether the family is seaside- or forest-dwelling. Space is more plentiful in the big forests and seaside locations with immediate ocean access are limited, so houses tend to be smaller and more compact, also because it is colder near the northern sea.

Pets are not particularly common, but sometimes small mammals might be kept; typically mice, chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits. Trained birds, such as kestrels and falcons, are also used for hunting.

Perfume is worn by many individuals of varying demographics, but is most commonly worn by women in their mid- to late adulthood.

Cosmetics, however, are generally only worn by young men seeking to attract a mate. Most other people would only wear cosmetics during festivals or parties. Jewelry is common, and worn by everyone. Earrings are the most popular type of jewelry. Often individuals who wear no other jewelry will at the very least wear one earring. Piercing are also not uncommon, especially brow piercing (women sometimes wear a series of small piercings in a line above the eyebrow). Gemstones are mined for use in jewelry as well as currency. Any gemstone or piece of precious metal can be used as currency; these particular pieces are called íka. Garnets, sapphires, turquoise, diamonds, agate, and two Aeniith-specific stones called turí (a translucent brownish-red and very hard gem) and nashím (a soft blue gem) are also popular.

Women sometimes tattoo their feet with curvilinear designs or organic symbols relating to their identity, family, profession, or hobby.

 

Modern Rili are a fairly rational and not overly superstitious people, but that hasn’t completely erased some old superstitions and false assumptions that have existed among the masses throughout their history. Here a few of them:

  • It was a common superstition that drinking the amniotic fluids of a woman who has recently given birth will increase longevity and health.
  • It was believed that having two butterflies of the same species land on you was good luck.
  • It was a superstition that disobeying one’s grandmother’s financial advice would bring back luck.
  • Rotten onions were thought to invite bad luck.
  • It was thought that to get the blood of someone else on one’s skin linked one to this person in some way.
  • It was believed that letting one’s baby cry for too long could cause it health problems later in life.
  • Coffee was believed to cause insanity.
  • Seeing a turtle was thought to be good luck.
  • Having a bird land on one’s shoulder could either signify god or bad luck: good luck if facing forward, bad luck if it was facing backward.

 

Peoples of Aeniith pt I

aeniith

Aeniith itself is a planet—a cohesive world in a fictional universe. The basic layout of Aeniith includes two lateral hemispheres. Just as the concepts of “eastern” and “western” hemispheres of the Earth are based on an arbitrarily drawn line, so are the two hemispheres of Aeniith. The “western” hemisphere is known as Keta. This includes two major continents, Quarios in the south, and Ei in the north. The name Keta means “cradle” in Gotêvi (also known as Gotevian or Gotêvinur), one of the languages spoken in Quarios and Ei.

The “eastern” hemisphere is known as Elta. Elta includes the continents Izoi, Naga, Arcuna, and Hizai.Screen Shot 2018-05-26 at 4.14.08 AM.png

Throughout Aeniith, there are various nations, countries, and cultural groups of different species of humanoids. The main species are as follows:

  • Amelae (singular Amel): these are the most physiologically “human-like” of the intelligent humanoids species of Aeniith. They live in Keta and Elta. They are also the most internally diverse species with regard to physical differences. Well known nations of Amelae are Quarios and Ei (made up of the Gotêvi and Lomi cultures), Orikrindia (the island east of Ei), the Arshi of Arcuna, and the Teg of southern Quarios.
  • Zuna: the Zuna live primarily in Elta, and are notable for being larger than most other species. They have higher sexual dimorphism, with the females typically being larger than the males. Well known nations of Zuna are the Tosi, Selupa, and Karkin.
  • Ríli (singular Ríla): these are some of the smallest of the peoples of Aeniith. They have greyish skin and typically stand 145-160cm tall. They are native to Izoi in Elta
  • Bae (singular Baa): the Bae are the most unique from the other species of Aeniith. They have physiological systems that none of the other peoples share, such as a separate circulatory system, low level telepathic abilities, the ability to absorb electricity from the nervous systems of others species into their own, very long life spans (800-3000 years, depending on the subspecies) and six fingers on each hand. They are unable to successfully breed with any other groups beyond their own. Because of their marked physiology, there are many theories across Aeniith as to their origins, although none has been proven. They are divided into several subspecies: Mei, Nonil, Megana, Quiluma, and Nirfai, which tend to have self-contained cultural groups. They live primarily in Keta, but some groups have traveled to Elta, most notably the Clussimeth (sometimes called “vampires” of the Bae), an offshoot of Nirfai, which live on Izoi. The term Bae is actually an exonym (name given to a group by another outside group) that is a Gotevian word, the plural of the word baa, meaning vaguely ‘spirit’. The Baen word for themselves is Iemir or ‘the people’. The singular form of this word is Iem or Em.

Amongst the peoples of Aeniith, interbreeding is possible for some. The most common by far is that between Amelae and Zuna. They are probably the most physiologically similar of any two groups. Many people of mixed Amel and Zuna heritage live in Elta especially (due to this being the side of the planet where almost all Zuna live), and some cultural groups exist that are totally integrated and consist of Zuna, Amelae, and many degrees of mixed-heritage people. One such nation is that of the Keresn.

Other species may occasionally produce children together, but it is far less common than the Amel/Zuna. A few Ríla/Zuna pairings have produced children, but they are not common and not well known. The Bae, as mentioned above, cannot reproduce with any other species of Aeniith, though are able to do so within their own subgroups (Mei, Megana, etc.).

Aeniith: a constructed world

This space is an expression of an ongoing, years-long project called Aeniith. Aeniith is a constructed world setting in which I base many stories, languages, cultures, histories, and more. It began around 1998 and is still going strong in 2018. I have much of the information documented at aeniith.com, but this platform will hopefully allow me to post more digestible bits of material and give a soft-intro to Aeniith. I also plan to use this blog as an experimental space to help Aeniith grow and expand.

Central to the creation of Aeniith are its languages. I am a linguist by profession and have been inventing languages from a very young age. My languages actually came into being before the overall context of Aeniith, which acted as a cradle to hold the linguistic wealth that was in my head and needed a palette to be drawn onto. The constructed languages (conlangs) are still very much a focal point for Aeniith, but as language cannot (for me) exist in a vacuum, the cultures evolve in tandem with their respective languages. They are inextricable from one another.

All sorts of things are likely to grow organically from and in this blog, so I cannot say too much more about my predictions for it. Like my work, it will probably contain just what appears in my head and in the internal world that I view as Aeniith.

I’m always open to hear from others, so don’t be shy to leave commentary or feedback of any type.

Mintaka