27 h, 378 d
Xcheamo is a small planet on the opposite edge of the Milky Way galaxy whose people call themselves Lupa, and is the second of four planets in its' system. There are some stars which are close enough to be seen during the day when it is not particularly sunny. As one would expect, the stars and constellations visible from xcheamo are very different from those seen on Earth. It has one moon.
It is by nature a harsher planet than Earth, which the Lupa call Terra, consisting of extreme winters and summers, a slightly thicker atmosphere, and several large predator species capable of ripping a Human apart in seconds. Although Terrans could live on the planet provided they are very careful about going outside and scrupulous about poisons (about 25% of the plants and creatures on the Lupa homeworld are poisonous to Humans), what few Terrans who end up on xcheamo become Lupa.
Compared to most planets, their population is quite small, and therefore sustainable. Because they are referred to by species rather than location, they are called Lupa rather than Xcheamoan or Lupan. One might, however, say they are a Terran Lupa, or a German Lupa.
According to the Civilization Comparisons page, xcheamo is a Type 0 planet with a technological level of TL4.
- 1 GEOGRAPHY
- 2 CREATURES
- 3 RULING BODIES
- 4 COMMUNITIES
- 5 THE LAW
- 6 ECONOMY
- 7 FOOD AND EATING
- 8 TIME AND SEASONS
- 9 CONSTELLATIONS
- 10 FIRST CONTACT
- 11 LIVING SPACES
- 12 TRAVEL
- 13 TECHNOLOGY
- 14 CLOTHING
- 15 THE PLACE OF THE TOUCHED
- 16 TIGERTOWN
- 17 HOLIDAYS AND EVENTS
- 18 NOTEABLE PLANTS
xcheamo consists mostly of ocean. The land is one large continent connected to both polar ice caps, along with many islands up and down the coastlines. The region between each ice cap and the continent are mountains, and there is small mountain range somewhat inland from the western coast which is riddled with underground caves and tunnels. There is a desert in the southeast bordering both mountain ranges. Most of the continent is either forest, pains, or jungle. From space, one would see almost entirely blue and green.
The middle of livable land is the central point for Gathering, which all Lupa on xcheamo attend. This happens every four years. The Place of the Touched is also located in this area. You can read more about both Gathering and The Place of the Touched in the Holidays and Events section below.
A central place of learning and crafts. The largest community on Xcheamo. See The Place of the Touched for more details.
In the late 2180s, some of the Mongoosetigers go to Xcheamo and create a "Tigertown" there.
xcheamo is filled with many fierce creatures, regardless of their size. Most of the animals found on xcheamo fit into the categories of large predators, rodents, birds, insects, and sea life. Due to their environment, almost all creatures appear to be quite feral, or even demonic, compared to animals on planets like Earth. About one quarter of them are poisonous, either by the use of venom or by eating them.
Land animals have both thick hides and fur, and are in general very tough. Although there are few herbivores, these are also quite tough, and can put up a good fight. The Lupa do not keep livestock, but rather hunt whatever animals live or are in their territories.
There are many types of insects, none of which could be called 'cute,' although some are strangely beautiful, and many are poisonous. There are beetles, pollinators, creepy-crawlies, caterpillars, moths, butterflies, and various flies, among other types.
Life on xcheamo is generally unfettered, without a concept of government. However, the highest group to which one can turn to is the Immortals. There are also the Leader's Council, made up of Leaders elected by other Leader's in each of the for quarters, and the Speaker's Council, made up of various Speakers seen to have the abilities and skills needed for it.
People involved in a particular craft or trade may follow the direction of the elder masters of the craft, but these organizations are mostly designed for the distribution of products throughout the continent and would not pass judgment of any sort, even over disputes between their own trade.
Each pack (the actual Lupa term for this would be literally translated as lifegroup, but pack is much shorter and easier to say) consists of approximately 30—50 members of all ages and most of them are originally from different parts of the continent. Children live with their parents until they are 12 or 13, at which point an experienced Speaker will place them in another community where they'll spend their adolescence finding and learning a vocation (moving if necessary) and how to be a functioning member of the community, both in their pack and at large. In most cases, they live with agemates (anyone +/-5 years of your age) in a dorm-like setting.
The rest of the community will be made up of adults. Once mated, an adult will usually spend the rest of their life in the same community. However, it is not unusual for the average Lupa to travel at some point during their lifetime.
Almost all children, are placed in a new pack at the age of 11-13. They leave their parents and join others between 12-20ish in a dorm setting at their new pack. The reason this is done is to create ties between all the different communities. Once the young person has become an adult, a good percentage of them will then move to another pack (usually when they take a mate). A person will then be personally connected to at least two communities other than the one they live in.
Placement is usually done by an experienced Speaker (before the Restoration), or at the Place of the Touched by Moon and/or Zaira (after Restoration). The person's character, personality, and interests are taken into account, and they are placed where there is space in an appropriate community. There will be someone in that pack who will be able to mentor the teenager in their field of expertise. After the Restoration, a person with extensive gifts in leadership or a high level astral might be placed at the Place of the Touched for mentoring and instruction in those areas.
The boundaries of each pack territory are clearly marked and known to every member of a pack. Most members of each pack live near the middle of the territory, although one's nearest neighbors would be at least 10-15 minutes away in any given direction. Although traveling through or in another territory, or visiting, is fine, one would never regularly hunt or live in another pack's territory without either joining or affiliating themselves with that pack.
Each pack always has a Leader and Speaker. Both Leaders and Speakers have their own orders in Lupa society, which hold meetings and are organized into groups by area. There are no certifications or membership requirements for either of these positions: either you are or you aren't.
Leaders and Speakers do not get involved in personal conflicts unless invited or asked to do so, or they feel it is necessary for the well being of the pack. It is their job to keep a pack stable and prevent major conflict.
Leaders: The Leader is responsible for resolving disputes, seeing that the Law is obeyed, and leading any activity involving the entire pack (except parties). Leaders are chosen by a combination of astral selection by the Speaker, community consent, and competition of first blood, in that order. A Leader's ultimate decision is final and obeyed. If a Leader is bad or corrupt, the community can remove him and choose a new Leader.
There are other people within the Leader structure who act as liaisons between Leaders, running messages or documents and mediating between Leaders settling disputes. They are the communication lines Leaders use to run their own organization. While liaisons may be male or female, pack Leaders are male, as they are nearly always physically stronger and more aggressive in their dominance. This is the only position on xcheamo where one will find such a gender discrepancy.
Speakers: Speakers are astral people who become counselors. Almost all normal Touched become Speakers. One would see a Speaker for counseling, advice on life decisions, and anything requiring astral ability. However, like any good counselor, a Speaker will never make a decision for someone. A Speaker's duties also include handling personal disputes as necessary, assisting the Leader and healers in their role, and keeping the peace. Speakers often wear a light blue or silvery wrap or robe during functions like Gatherings to identify themselves in the crowds.
Most Lupa families consist of 3, or at most 4, members at one time. The course of a family usually starts with a couple becoming mates by bonding. There is no marriage ceremony, although there are often celebrations of said bond by friends and family. The couple will begin their life together at this point, much like a marriage.
Since most Lupa have children quite far apart, there is usually only one child in the home at a time. The attention and time required to keep a child alive and safe are great, and even then not all children survive to adulthood. Children generally leave the family home between 11–13, when they are placed into a pack where they will pursue a trade or type of work that suits them. A couple may or may not choose to have another child at this time; there is no most common thing done at this point.
As Lupa women can have children for about 85 years, it's common to have siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins whose ages vary greatly. One can be significantly older than an aunt or uncle. For instance, Eiry's mentor and close friend Nanette is the same age has her aunt, Lauren, and as they were both born in the same pack, the two would have played together as children and known each other their whole lives.
The current Law was officially set during the most influential time in Lupa history, and they are grilled into a person from the time they're a young child.
Killing any sentient (talking or telepathic) being, including killing someone in a fit of anger, is punishable by death except for (a) life and death situations, (b) Hunters, (c) an otherwise wholly evil being, and (d) true accidents.
The practice of magic or any other unnatural practice is strictly forbidden, especially necromancy. (If you can't do it with astral [i.e, any innate ability], it's not natural.)
Do not lie, cheat, or steal.
Public issues may only be settled by the involved Leaders and/or Speakers, and all other parties must defer to those decisions.
Rules of Combat: For Major Personal Offenses
1. The offended party or a close relation/agemate must register a formal complaint to their Leader within 3 days.
2. The Leader will decide whether the grievance should be settled by (a) compensatory strokes or (b) first blood. He will consult with other Leaders or parties as necessary.
(a) The offended party will get so many strokes in a previously chosen method, and the offender must stand to it.
[It should also be noted that this method of compensatory justice is also used in personal matters without the involvement of authority figures. This usually occurs around tragic life events in which one person feels guilty or at fault for their role in what happened, while another needs a physical vent for anger.]
(b) The offended and offender will face off in hand to hand combat for first blood or the ultimate winner, which will settle the matter and it will not be brought up again.
Conditions: At no point may any party make a facial or genital strike on the other. This will result in immediate elimination and the other party will automatically win. The Leader has the right to publicly shame any person making such a strike while participating in an act governed by the Rules of Combat.
When an issue has been taken to a Leader, other parties cannot interfere without an order from the Leader.
Once a dispute has been settled under the Rules of Combat, the dominance in the matter is set and it cannot be brought up again unless another offense has been made.
The first method (a) of compensatory strokes is the more widely used, as anything which can be settled by a personal fight is usually taken care of at the time, rather than taken to a Leader.
All common, minor personal disputes are taken care of at the time between the involved parties, and are usually ended in a quick fight. The winner(s) has dominance and the looser(s) will give way to them. Most such disputes are not usually matters of right and wrong, but more the result of differing opinions, insults, petty squabbling, and things of that nature.
xcheamo economy can be considered communistic paired with bartering. Each area or pack has particular products it exports, and others that it imports. This is, in almost all cases, separate from the production of food. For example, a pack in a region producing a lot of herbal, plant, and wood products will then import things like fabric, slate rock, glass, and metal. For every 2—4 packs, there will be at least one tanner and one potter. The usual system for this type of trade is to send out your products when they are available or in season, and your community will be sent others' products when they are likewise available.
The continent is broken into 4 regions by the diagonal compass points, and there are 4 regions within each of those. The members of each trade within those regions coordinate the delivery of their products, and to other regions as necessary, sometimes in conjunction with the Leader's order. Trades include: carpentry; builders; textiles (weavers, dyers, tailors); tanners; potters; stonemasons; candle makers; glass blowers; metal makers.
People trading products personally will barter. For example, Zaira (an artist) made a potter friend a family portrait in return for a set of small dishes before Miara was born.
There are also some organized communities for people whose main occupations don't involve producing physical items, the chief of these being Speakers, runners, musicians, and storytellers. There are also some connections between artists and the elite level fighters and body masters. A person practicing one of these arts will often do so in addition to an occupation which produces a physical product.
Most runners choose their occupation while a young teen, and will often be strategically placed to a pack whose running track is suitable for them. They are the best long distance runners, and will carry either messages and documents (light runners) or transport goods (heavy runners). Depending on the size of what they're carrying, they may strap on a bag or pull a travois, such as the type used by Native American tribes.
As with many people without high forms of technology, the Lupa pass most things on in an oral tradition. Therefore, every community has at last one person with some training in storytelling, and these people keep lore, legends, and other stories. They are highly in demand for both teaching and entertainment during winter, when everyone is forced to stay indoors.
Many Lupa attempt to learn storytelling on at least a basic level, although the majority of them will not have great talent for it. It is a dynamic art with several different types of people achieving great success at it, from the bold and charismatic to the quiet and absorbing. Each practitioner will develop a personal language and action style, from the grand to the ordinary. There are, however, some pieces which have a scripted text, and any Lupa can recite them on cue, such as the First Teaching Lesson.
During Gathering, the storytellers put on a large production with narrators, actors, and manual props, such as shaken cloth for water. A group of storytellers will meet at each Gathering to determine the stories for the next one, and coordinate the production of any materials needed and rehearsals for the participants.
Artists aren't unusual among Lupa, although body arts are more popular than what a Terran would consider traditional art. Most of the high level artists are gifted for their art form or Touched, but there is very little in the way of organizations through which these artists connect. Most of them develop their own art form, and will try to be placed with a mentor at placement. While the elite level of body artists have connections through the Master's Seminar, most other types of artists do not have this resource most of the time. Zaira occasionally runs an art school or workshop at the Place of the Touched, but the main focus of the program is to pair mentors with students while providing some guidance in finding one's own art.
A major part of the Lupa economy is recycling: everything and anything that can be reused is. Lupa detest unnecessary waste, and everything they use is made of natural things--they have no man made materials. If a person no longer wants or can no longer use something, they will give it away. Items are composted when they are so badly off as to be unusable, such as clothing or wood. As can be seen in Lupa homes, all waste is piped to a compost and later used as fertilizer for gardens.
When a person dies, loved ones are responsible for placing their possessions with others who can use them. Similarly, new uses are found for old cloth. A ripped door hanging may become a window dressing or pillow, old clothes may become wash rags. A broken furniture leg might be further broken down and become spoons. In this way, they use something as much as they can before it must be gotten rid of, and so many things they use are old and passed down through a family or between friends.
FOOD AND EATING
Lupa hunt, gather, and grow their own food. Most homes have a garden, usually in proportion for its size, or those living in a place without a garden of their own will help care for one of the larger gardens in their pack. They prefer natural foods, and dry a good part of their harvests for later consumption. Most winter food consists of dried meats and vegetables made into stews, and dried fruits. Dried foods commonly serve as snacks year round.
Other common Lupa foods include pressed cakes made of nuts, seeds, and dried fruits, marinated or seared meat, mixed greens, and fruit and honey. The most common drinks are water and juice. Dairy and grains are not part of their diet usual diet, as they don't keep livestock or harvest grains.
While most people can throw a bunch of raw ingredients together to make something, there are those people who make it their business to specialize in food. They are simply called "food experts," often translated as "cooks," and are the ones who know the more complicated food preparations and the secrets of rare plants or getting your winter stews to turn out perfectly. They are experts in combining flavors and using natural processes to get what you want out of a food item–-without cooking it, if possible.
The most common "processed" foods one would eat are nut and seed cakes and stews. Dressings are often made from fruits (especially citrus), lichen, and the blood of certain animals.
Lupa have a very different eating style than Humans usually do, and do not have dining tables or chairs. Most do not eat set or large meals, preferring to snack throughout the day to accommodate the high number of calories required by Lupa. If not eating while moving around or at a desk or work table, will generally sit in a couch or chair in the public room to eat. Groups of people eating will gather in this area, passing around large bowls of meat which each person will eat out of with their hands. Salads or anything liquid will be served in individual bowls. Sometimes the host will make up separate plates if they prefer, but family-style service is the norm.
In most cases, only people living at the Place of the Touched may have set meal times and eat larger meals. The immortals and steward are prime examples of this, as they are usually so busy that others bring them meals at more or less set times.
TIME AND SEASONS
There are 18 moons in a year, 21 days each. Time is recorded by moon and day (1 moon, 1 day), and season if further detail is preferred. Days are not divided into hours, and start when the sun rises. The first spring moon is the first moon of the year, the full moon is the first day of a moon. Their day is about 27 hours.
Most Lupa can tell about what time it is regardless of the weather, and there are usually no specific times given for anything. Their life style is relaxed enough for this, and things get started when they get started. If more precision is needed, the will often go by degrees as to how high or low the sun or moon should be.
Day is considered public time, during which one would carry out work, receive visitors, etc. Night is private time, and if one spends time in the company of others it is their set of close friends.
Seasons are very important, as nature is a central idea in Lupa culture and daily life. Good weather is a reason in itself, and they can find beauty in even the worst weather.
Spring and fall are long and temperate, while summer and winter are short and extreme. Early spring brings soft rain while late fall brings fantastic thunder storms. Summer is stiflingly hot and people stay inside resting during the day, and carry out their work at night, in effect reversing their schedules. Winter is freezing cold, and packs living in the northern and southern mountains move inland. For packs situated in places where temperatures to do not change much throughout the year, little change is necessary as in most other places for the seasons.
Winter may be only a few weeks long compared to a Terran winter, but it is extreme. The temperatures drop well below zero, even near the equator. Although the coldest time is very calm, it is preceded by furious blizzards, so that everything is covered, freezes solid, and then there is sleet for several days. It is like living in the Arctic, so cold that people wear many layers of the warmest clothing when in skin. Anything fragile is stored away, as sealed up as possible from the cold, so that they don't freeze or become brittle and break or crack away when they are touched, as with paper that is left out.
Members of a pack will split up between the two or three largest homes and stay there for the entire season. Most of their time is spent in fur, piled in heaps under large quilts and blankets, listening to the storytellers. There is always a fire going, and the members of the group take turns watching it and tending what food there is. There is no hunting during this time, and they subsist on thick, hearty stews and soups, stewed fruits, and dried snacks.
Summer is as short and extreme as winter, with temperatures well over 100 degrees even in the far northern and southern reaches of the continent. The heat is usually too much even for them, and they spend most of the sunlight hours indoors, moving as little as possible.
Going out during the day is not advised, as staying out for more than a few minutes can result in sunburns and being set upon by insects that live only in the short few weeks of summer. Candles and anything else highly meltable or flammable are kept in ground boxes to keep them from going soft or igniting, and once evening comes activity abounds.
An entire pack's schedule is usually reversed during the summer, resting during the day and working feverishly at night in the few hours of coolness and activity. They use single candles and mirrors for light and don't engage in any food preparation that involves heat.
Notable constellations include the Basin, the Hunter (Ansa), the Tree (Trint), the Mates (Natari), the Wind Girl (Valeria), and the Ring. There are a lot of comets and meteors in the first few moons of the year, and their arm of the galaxy can be seen in late fall/early winter right after the fall storms. This is called the Great River.
While none of the stars and constellations visible from xcheamo are the same as Earth's, there are a few stars close enough to be seen during the day, and of course they appear larger than normal stars.
While the Lupa have had fairly consistent and full yet secret contact with Earth, they have not yet made contact with a space faring species besides the Ultramen through Taki Kensei. Their first encounter with an explorative ship from a nearby system will be in the late 22nd century, and Miara will be their first ambassador.
Types of homes are usually denoted by the area in which they are located. Forested areas are likely to build wood houses or cabins, hilly areas may use hobbit-hole type homes, and modified caves or mud houses are also used in other areas. A few rare houses are built to resemble Terran style homes, such as the place Zaira first lived when she went Home. If so, they may employ solar panels to power a few select devices, such as an entertainment system or computer.
In any kind of home, there will be two definitive areas: public and private. In most cases this is done with two stories or levels of housing, although ranch style homes are not entirely uncommon. Any storied residence will have a half-way roof between the two stories. This way the inhabitants and close agemates can get in and out easily without going downstairs. There will often be a table or bench situated underneath the half-way roof in conjunction with this.
Doors are closed with fabric hangings in nice weather or wood inserts in bad. Windows are holes with shutters—no glass. There is no electricity, so windows are large and candles and mirrors or other shiny metal surfaces are used at night if more than night vision is needed.
Each residence will have a water barrel on the roof if possible, and wood piping through the structure for a shower and sinks. There is also piping for disposal, which is always composted and used in next year's garden. Bathrooms are fully tiled, and showers curtained well back from the water area rather than having walls. The majority of homes have just a shower, although some do have tubs. The majority of Lupa bathrooms have big, large windows all down one wall, letting in plenty of light, and are decorated in shades of white and yellow, echoing sunlight. There will also be a storage/kitchen area on the ground floor with a fire place and cooking slab, plenty of storage space, and a ground box for cold storage.
Furniture is usually wood or wicker, with or without upholstery. Beds are usually a stuffed mattress on the floor, though an older person might have a bed frame for height.
All traveling is done on foot, and it's not unusual to travel at least 20–30 miles a day between friends, errands, hunting, or just running. Most packs are at least a day's travel from their nearest neighbors, if not one or two, and traveling a few days or more to visit someone is also hardly unusual.
Most messages not sent via Speakers are sent by runners, who can travel 50–70 miles per day depending on various factors. There is also travel in the transportation of goods, which mainly use the gates and take a longer time to get around without being damaged.
The Lupa use astral gates for long distance traveling, and for going back and forth to Terra. Lupa know the closest gate to their community, but they are seldom used by Terran Lupa. Any gate can connect to any other gate, and so long as a person knows where they want to go, they will come out at the nearest gate to that place.
The Lupa involvement in SubSen began when the immortals acquired a time key and fused it with a gate, allowing whoever has it to travel in time and space--provide one knows the time, location and possibly star chart of where they're going. One must be able to fix these things in their mind for the key to work properly. It is how Zaira (Rachel) first arrived, and how Miara traveled for quite some time at the beginning of her time now. While the immortals (most notably Zaira) and some others have used the key to visit from the future, in local time the key was given to TheHunterKiller, for use in carrying out her duties.
- The Place of the Touched
- Jax' Pack
The Lupa can build, problem solve, and do all the things you'd expect from a sentient species. However, they are not interested in building machines. They don't really have a use for them, and they've seen what it did to Earth. They do not do anything that requires electricity.
The areas just above and below the equator are the prime areas for growing the plant most fabric is made of, and many of the neighboring communities, and many from even further away, help with the harvest each year. A variety of fabric types can be made from it, from sturdy to fine. The most common types are linens-weight (hangings, sheets, towels), clothes-weight, and a type of fabric that is stretchy. Other unique fabrics are made secondary, and at the weaver's interest. It is also not unusual to see clothing or blankets made of hide and/or fur. Most types of clothing are wrapped and tied or pinned, or drawstring. Daily wear is made in a couple patterns and standard sizes, allowing for easy sharing or passing along of pieces. Anything special would be custom made by the nearest tailor, and even that might be something a Terran might consider standard as far as design, such as this very common formal dress.
The basic dress for Lupa is a sort of shift designed for unrestricted movement and use in both skin and fur, sometimes with a slit in the back for the tail. It is generally worn by all children, and in situations where one would change form several times in a short period. One might also wear it around the house. By the teens, this item is generally discarded as far as full time wear, as one has developed the quick-change technique most Lupa use by that time.
Footwear and jackets or coats are usually leather and only worn in winter and are fur lined. Lighter jackets or cloaks are used in rainy weather.
Underwear usually consist of something like boxers or boy-short underwear, worn by both men and women. Women, if they choose, will wrap their chests with stretchy fabric, especially when in skin in winter, due to the cold. The majority of women prefer to go natural, and those who constantly wear chest wraps are usually those that do a lot of physical training of some sort.
Besides weaving, a few people specialize in knit and/or crotchet fabric, although few Lupa have the patience to sit still long enough to become experts in these arts. The most common knit items are gloves, sweaters, wrappings, and afghans. There are very few pattern books, most such things being passed orally and through teaching, and books are kept by the eldest masters.
THE PLACE OF THE TOUCHED
The Place of the Touched is located in the middle of livable land, close to the Gathering Field. It was first built as a place for the Touched to go to learn their astral abilities with other Touched, and later became a place where anyone could go to learn, although it keeps it original name. It is a sprawling complex of halls, rooms, apartments, and other needed facilities for the support of hundreds of people situated over a pack size area of land. There are more people at the Place of the Touched than in any other community at any given time and it is the home of the immortals. More information is available here.
In 2187, Miara's reconnection with The Hotel, Aescapulus, and Raihosha's Family, will prompt some of the Mongoosetigers to take the opportunity to go to xcheamo and within a year or two establish a Tigertown on the planet. While they may not live exactly as the Lupa do, they will likely eventually integrate many of their practices into the Tigertown. Lupa/Mongoosetiger couples may eventually arise, but there will be no interbreeding between the two species. The Tigertown will likely become a permanent part of the community for a long time into the future.
The few Mongoosetigers who originally go to xcheamo are mostly descendants of Arjuna, and likely have lighter coloring and a tendency to have blue eyes. They elect an elder as their Leader, and this person also represents them on the Leaders' Council. In time, some of them may place their children out into packs as the Lupa generally do, but their generational group structure is quite different than the one the Lupa have.
HOLIDAYS AND EVENTS
- Every four years, everyone living on xcheamo comes together at the Gathering Field for an entire moon of visiting, competitions and games, meetings, and recitations of lore, history, and Law. Huge performances are put on by the storytellers, sometimes in conjunction with the Speaker's order, and a lot planning and production to into it involving a lot of other people, as well. Gathering takes place during the 6th moon of the year, well into spring, but before the summer heat. Both the days for Remembrance and Restoration are celebrated together during a Gathering year.
- The Gathering competitions include fighting, wrestling, dance, and races. They are used to generate rankings, and the fighting competition always has the most competitors. Tables are set up on the first day of Gathering, and people sign up to participate. The organizers then run the competitions over the days of the gathering so the different disciplines don't overlap.
- Winners of the Gathering competitions receive a belt knife inscribed with their ID and category. Although belt knives are usually practical every day tools, these are more decorative in nature and the winners keep them for ceremonial purposes. Gathering knives have moons on each side of the grip (the number varying by win, place, or show), and the year displayed on each side of a short hilt. The blades are inscripted personally. They have leather sheaths worked in beautiful patterns corresponding to the discipline and can usually be found displayed in the winners’ homes.
- The top three competitor in each field will receive a knife. In the fighting competitions, which are split by age group, then have an overall championship, and the winner between those champions receives an additional knife. The inscription reads, for example, “Given to Zaira, Daughter of Alana and Dahan, of Jaxmin’s Pack, for the long distance race.” Zaira has 3 knives from 3 Gatherings for the two day distance race. Miara has 2 knives for 1 Gathering for the fighting competition, in which she won both her age group and placed third over all. She also entered some of the races, and usually comes in somewhere in the top third.
This day is for the remembrance of great historical happenings, namely the crisis point that made them send packs to Terra and allowed Urvenis to attack the Place of the Touched and kidnap Moon. The point is to remember so that such things don't happen again, and as a warning against evil and the worse characteristics of Lupa nature.
- This is an annual day of celebration for the return immortals after 5,000 years of absence due to Urvenis' treachery. It was directly joined with the return of all Terran packs, those who formerly served under Urvenis to their rightful families and packs, the return of Urvenis' lands to those who formerly lived there, and the return to the Place of the Touched and the important structural system it provides. It is the beginning of peace time.
- This has not yet happened in the current timeline, so neither Eiry nor TheHunterKiller know much about it other than it happens. However, Zaira and Jaxmin are from the future and lived through this event, and Miara is a member of the first full generation that never knew Hunters, the direct effects of Urvenis, or a split people. Lupa like Edar, Kai, and Vilya know nothing about it.
New Year is the first spring moon, and is celebrated on the first day of the year with a look toward new beginnings and the future. It's often marked with parties and races after being cooped up all winter.
- This special event occurs every 20 years. During both teaching sessions of the year (spring and autumn), attendees will participate in a seminar for master fighters and body experts--the best of the best. One must qualify to attend (in order to help prevent serious injuries), and Altairtax and Zaira usually decide who gets invited. Those qualifying to participate are invited by written letter, personally delivered by one of the two, the fall before the seminar year.
- Usually, around 60 people are qualified as seminar members at any given time. It is rare for persons under 40, to be invited to these seminars, as these people are not yet in their prime. Once invited, a person is considered part of the seminar group, and will usually attend anything the group does. During a seminar year, none of the usual astral or fighting classes are taught, and those who would normally attend in that year do so the year before or after.
- Each person attending the seminar will be asked to present and teach in their fields of speciality, either solo or in groups. The participants will have full opportunity to spar and full on fight with everyone else attending, and enjoy a true test of their skill with others of their level. It is a great opportunity to learn and expand one's skill set. While crashing the seminar is not tolerated, staff and visitors to the Place of the Touched do often like to watch the proceedings.
- Those who have gained the honor of participating in seminar are disqualified from competing in the fighting competitions at Gathering, but do get together during that time, as well.
- Similar to the knives received by the competition winners at Gatherings, those in the Masters' Seminar receive an inscribed knife, although this one is more elaborate. It is a more elegant, somewhat curved blade with a proper hilt and will have a few jewels and/or precious metals on it. These knives are more individualized, as they are made per person at request of the immortals. The inscription reads, for example, “Given to Miara, Daughter of Zaira and Jaxmin, Immortals, Who has Joined the Masters’ Seminar. [date and year].”
There is a separate page for kolle.
Ogstind is a poisonous plant that grows in narrow bands of land both below and above the equator. It is a deep colored, spiny vine with wildly beautiful, two tone scarlet and purple flowers. The poison is not carried in the spines (they are in constant lines quartering the stem of the vine), but in the pollen, which makes it quite an easy killer, as a single close sniff will bring the pollen into one's body. The insects which pollinate most flowers are of course immune to this poison, as well as most Lupa, but it will kill a Terran in minutes. It takes about half an hour for this poison to kill an adult Lupa.
āankai, literally translated moonflower, is a flowering plant that grows both wild and cultivated. It is easy to use in herbal products, but has a scent that does not mix well with most others. The plant is a light blue-green with long leaves that close over the flower entirely when closed. The flowers are usually silvery white, but also can be found in light hues of other colors, and consist of 3-6 long petals. However, the most common variety is the silvery white color with four petals.
Eiry has a small pot of these flowers in her apartment that Zaira gave her. She has in turn given some to Raihosha's son Carlos.
Zaira uses this as her personal scent.