Someone recently asked me what kind of food Gotevians eat.
Gotêvi is one of the countries within Quarios–a continent but also a kingdom, of sorts. It is in the southern hemisphere of Aeniith, with its north near the equator and its south becoming more temperate and even quite cold at times. Much of the land of Quarios is either a. forest/jungle in the north, or b. steppe and grasslands, which are where most of the agriculture takes place. Traditional foods are based on crops grown, which include grains and legumes. Spices abound in the north, which are used all over the country.
So typically, you get stews with carbohydrates and proteins (e.g. grains, beans, peas) flavored with spices. Veggies might be separate but most would be included in the stew itself. Food is pretty flavorful and trade is very common within the country itself, so everyone pretty much can afford spices from the north.
See here a map of Quarios. The equator of Aeniith is to the north of Naeglitan, the port city that brings in a lot of trade from the rest of the world. Down in Teger, the land of the Teg people, it can get quite cold. Quarios is a large continent.
Gotevinurae mar e nielo thanne maiad. ‘We are Gotevian and our food is tasty’
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.
The western continent of Elta is a vast, largely tropical or forested region. It is known as Naga to outsiders, thought inhabitants don’t generally have a term for the continent as a whole. Some have adopted the term “Naga”, which is of Tosi origin, into their vocabularies. Contact with peoples of other continents, however, is mostly confined to restricted trade deals, mostly involved precious metals, timber (many common endemic trees of Naga have unique and highly sought after qualities), and fruits, although the latter are usually dried or otherwise preserved before their long journey across the sea.
Naga is known for its biodiversity. The dense jungles of its central regions rival those of northern Quarios. Culturally, Naga is not a monolith. It consists of myriad peoples, cultures, languages, and histories. There are few strict borders, and there cannot be said to be very many nation-states, but rather a variety of largely self-governing peoples that may, at any given time, interact, get along, fight, trade, or just ignore each other.
There are, however, a few notable exceptions. One is the known as the Lair of Kithaba, a religious group that has taken up resident in a long system of caves near the territory of the Alta people. They subsist largely from banditry and highway robbery, given their hidden location in the caves is suited to little else but hiding and practices their poorly understood religious practices. Despite the repeated efforts of their neighbors to eliminate their numbers, they remain a blight on the region and source of woe to many who are unfortunate enough to become their victims.
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…
The second of my regional maps of Aeniith (please click here for the full version!). The first was Izoi, which has actually been a BIT modified since then to make it more geologically plausible. We go for accuracy in worldbuilding when it comes to systems like geology, economics, etc. 😛 Anyway…
Quarios is a single state nowadays, run by a consitutional monarchy, which is currently headed by Queen Inacaporia. The continent was, until pretty recently, made up of two sovereign states: Lomilin and Gotêvi. Incaporia was the Queen of Gotêvi and married a Prince of Lomilin, and they merged their lands.
In the north of Quarios, the weather is warm and humid most of the time, with mild winters. This is because Quarios is in the southern hemisphere. The southern most islands are frigid and cold. They are home two some ethnically distinct peoples known as the Teg and Phuli. These peoples speak their own languages (Teg and Phul) in addition to Gotevian. People living on the Lomilin side of Quarios (the west side) speak Lomi.
The northern port city of Naeglitan is where Elucuna arrives when she first getsto Quarios from Orikrindia (island nation to the north). She then travels with Glohitan to Valley of Voagry just to the southeast of there.
I’ve been filling out cultural or customs “gaps” for Gotêvi, trying to balance it out and make it a little more “complete”. Here’s a blurb on traditional wedding customs:
Gotevian Marriage Customs
Marriage in Gotevi is a legal practice rather than a religious one, though religious marriage ceremonies can be held nonetheless. Weddings must be over seen by a magistrate (irftennir) in order to be considered legal. Usually they are held in a public building—some buildings exist constructed specifically for matrimonial purposes. Both parties usually invite their friends to the ceremony, sometimes even the entire neighborhood wherein they live will come, if only to eat and drink for free.
Traditionally, wedding clothing is bright yellow, for both bride and groom. Their clothes are similar in cut and style as well—usually shin-length tunics with long sleeves. The similarity of clothing symbolizes the binding and thus likeness of two people.
First, there is a party with food and drinks and often some type of music. Fervent dancing is traditional; this is perhaps the only case in which tradition suggests unruliness in Gotevian culture. It is considered appropriate that the woman and the man both socialize with their friends of the opposite gender to emphasize the trust of their partner. There are many traditional games played during wedding parties, including lots of gambling, though these are recent developments and are often scorned by the older generations.
After the festivities, the magistrate arrives and the people to be married sign a contract to each other. Everyone attending is technically a witness, but the magistrate’s presence is still required. After this, the couple is tied together facing each other with ribbons by their friends, and they must untangle themselves without any other help. This supposedly symbolizes the fact that now they must rely on each other to get out of trouble and have the ultimate trust in each other.
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”).
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.