Translation of a Tosi religious proverb, from the texts of Lamat.
Sa tapi gō fū sanā jela ji chi lōlchu i neg imp be content without kneel.before 2sg.m gen goddess obj
“Content thee with naught without first kneeling before thy goddess”
I am working on writing the tenets of Tosi belief systems, which primarily focuses on one deity, Lamat, war goddess, but also on Kalu, god of silence and peace. The current matriarchal expansionist empire of the Tosi obviously draws most political attention to the cult of Lamat, but the priesthood of Kalu endures and cannot be denied its importance to the history of the Tosi people.
The highly stratified culture of the Tosi traditionally feeds/gears different sections of the texts toward either men or women, to further enforce gender roles. The modern translation (into Tosi from Old Tosi) shows this with the use of the masculine 2nd p sg pronoun: ji, rather than da (feminine).
In creating these deities, I originally wanted Lamat to be the only main goddess, to show the Tosi reverence for power and might through warfare, but I then decided that they should have more nuance in their spiritual and religious beliefs. Before Tos was an Empire, it was simply a small nation, with no massive army and military force to show the world. People would have worshiped a multitude of gods and demi-gods, as well as other divine spirits. I think, as Tosi culture changed over time with the changing political structure and the ever-expanding Empire, the religious institutions would have changed too, to emphasize those things that were politically beneficial for the expansion of the state and the Empire. The primary means of this expansion was via the military, so Lamat, as the goddess of war, would have expanded as well, from a goddess to whom soldiers would offer supplications for protection before going into battle, to a central deity whose texts would come to have a greater influence over many areas of life.
The masculine deity Kalu, who represents many of the opposing forces of Lamat (silence, peace, introspection, asceticism, purity, etc) is fundamentally seen as an extension of what the Tosi view as the perfect man: one is is serene and peaceful, not governed by passion. Women are seen as intrinsically superior in this matriarchal society, but they are also seen as imperfect in that they supposedly naturally of a stormier and more tempestuous nature. Men are supposedly a tempering force of quiet, darkness, passivity, rationality, as well as “softer” emotions, such as compassion and mercy. I don’t want to remove this opposing force in Tosi society, because I think without it, the religion becomes more one-dimensional.
Previously, I had only addressed the adherents of Kalu in terms of the priesthood–men who would cloister themselves from the rest of the world (including the world of war, which is seen as primarily the purview of women) and devote their energy to preserving some special force of calm in a culture that is known for its systematic violence and occasional chaos. I want to build up this side of the religion more, and include it in more fiction that I write for the Tosi.
I’ve been doing more practice translation for Rílin, to fill out any needed grammatical or lexical gaps. Here is a recent one, taken from here.
English: “That is the city of the Goyanim. They are a strange people. They light their cities at night, as if the stars weren’t sufficient for their needs. They fight and kill each other, not realising the greater danger beyond their small world. And they do not hunt each other with bows and arrows. No, they have strange devices that kill from far away without arrows. And take care near their strange iron horses they use to travel. They travel faster than any natural beast ought to, and ignore the strength of the bow and arrow. Best if you avoid their cities, my son.”
Rílin: “Tañ yẃäp Góyanimenmu. Be’a li apen. Xavéjalapen tañ yẃäpet bänkasla, do be hyzû bín kuan. Ŝílapen apenset a zansalapen. Be mílulapen bí gaŝ krur̂ûet dexe ẃy kalumla apenmu. Be siŝulapen apenset kótûñla a ítäla. La, lykylapen be’a mönet baes zansalapen róŝó ŝa ítänla. A toroky né lí mu be’a ǵasíaínla zar̂mí baet lykylapen níñgíle. Zaílapen psötar̂ó dexe gölhañ ŝutréla, dexe lhyntíla kótûñmí a ítämí. Ptatí histä tañ yẃäpenet, mävû.”
I imagine a Rílin father telling his son about a culture with more advanced technology (possibly Tosi?). I may do an interlinear gloss but for now, it stands as-is. More to come.
This is Arcuna, a small very southern continent in Elta (lateral hemisphere of Aeniith). In the first version, you can see political boundaries. The Tosi Empire controls the north, while the south is divided between the Arshi, Kalyu, and Keresn, which are zuna countries except for Keresn, which mostly consists of mixed zuna/amelae people. Keresn was conquered by Arshi, though they were formerly allies of Kalyu. Now Keresn and Arshi are at war with Kalyu. The Tosi Empire has halted its attempt at further expansion for th emoment, since much beyond what they already control is deemed too harsh and frigid to be worth it. They’re focused on the north of Izoi and fighting the Ríli at the moment…
I added rivers, a few lakes, and more features. The fortress of Ad Simel Tī is where Dark Designs takes place. Zūr Chi Lār Na means Tower of Death in Tosi and basically is the watch tower for the western seas, in case any force tried to invade from Keta (which no wants to, but the Tosi are nothing if not paranoid). You can see the eastern island that is shared by the Selupa and the Karkin. The Karkin just get the shit end of the island that are plagued by sandstorms and have fewer resources. 😛
Then, in the Rílin forest, you can see the respective regions where the Ríli went after the Flight (post Tosi invasion), with some fleeing north and building underground cities (the Lunauli) and living in the cold mountainous area, and some (the Sunuli) choosing to stay south and fight the Tosi. There is a steppe between the forest and the desert that is a kind of no man’s land but of course the Tosi claim it.
That chasm south of the mountains is filled with a poisonous gas and the Tosi send their really hated enemies there. It also might be kind of sort of haunted.
Unfinished full map
Still needs fresh water bodies, more placenames, etc. And there’s too much ocean at the bottom of the map, hehe. But, it’s a start. Full view here.
This is a short melody composed by my husband Eric (who is a professional musician and composer) based on some ideas I had for Gotevian music involving pipes. It’s still in a baby stage and he said he wants to expand on it, but here it is for now! Also see the musical notational system he came up with for Gotevian music.
Commissioned art of a Rílin woman named Silin. (Please click the image to see the full size version! It looks squished when I insert it here.)
Silin is a scount with the Sunulí guerilla militia. She spies on the Tosi encampments and is an expert tracker of the woods. Her home settlement was destroyed in the initial Tosi attack on Rílin border towns, and Silin’s husband and young son were murdered. She wandered for a few years and fled to the northern coast of Elinís̆. It was here she met Tsilu, another Rílin woman who had fled the invasion, and they became friends, and eventually lovers.
I want to write stories about Silin, but I have three WIPs going right now that need to be dealt with first!
In Tosi legend, narēdi (singular narēd /’nare:d/) are fire spirits that seduce zuna (the species that Tosi are) into throwing themselves into lava flows and burning. This is a poem about a narēd. Her name is Sapof (which comes from the Tosi words for “never extinguished”).
“Before me stood a woman in a flowing green gown, with pearls draped at her breast like dew on a flower. Her eye seemed to glow in the low lamplight and the flicker of the fire cast orange shadows over her skin. She was pale, much paler than most people in norther Quarios, and I wondered where she’d been born. She could have looked Orikrindian if not for her great height. She was one of the tallest women I had ever seen. Her gold hair ran in a river down shoulders that were broad and stately. In her face was an incomprehensible peace, of such a nature that I was sure I had never felt so serene once in my short lie. At that moment, I felt a piercing pain in my heart, both sweet and agonizing, and it occured to me that this woman seemed, to my naïve heart, like a god.”
– Elucuna in Quarios
I am still working on Elucuna’s story, but I wanted to take this excerpt from the upcoming section to use for Voagry’s moodboard, because Voagry is one of my oldest OCs and one of my personal favorites. ❤
Also I promise to post more real content again soon. Grad school is starting up for me again and I have more work! I am going to keep worldbuilding, conlanging, and writing over the semester (as I always have) because it a great stress-reliever for me. And god knows I could use that.
More moodboards for places in Aeniith. The Tosi Empire (mostly warm and arid, large, lots of military forts and castles and such, female-ruled society, imperialistic, etc), and the Rílin forests of northern Izoi (same continent mostly): cool, green, good for hiding, and actually toxic to most non-Ríli. The Tosi invaded them anyway for resources but the Ríli will eventually win this long war for their homeland, though not without great cost.