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 Post subject: Naugil Culture
PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 8:46 pm 
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South-west of the kingdom of Khartur, there lie the plains of the nether giants, which are called the Naugilad.

The Naugilad encircle half of the great Varkaldi, the twin-peaked mountain that marks the beginning of the Esperi realm, and extend far to the east, beyond the Arom river.

The Naugilad are populated by (obviously) the Naugil, a race of giants with a very unique culture.

The whole structure of their culture is based off of their belief that living 'the right life' is the only way that one's soul will be fit to pass on into the bodies of one's descendants.

The right life is defined as a life lived without improper focus made in any direction. Or rather, proper focused maintained simultaneously in all directions. The individual Naugil is a solitary center, from which he keeps careful watch in all directions. This is true all throughout his life, but especially in adulthood.
An adult male (unmarried) Naugil has no friends, hunts and lives alone, and only comes together with other Naugil to interact with family, for war, or for the quarterly gathering of Naugil that takes place in the middle of their realm.
They have no cities, and homes are very rudimentary and solitary. This is because giving in to comforts is a cessation of proper focus; also, towns and cities are an inward focus upon themselves, and are therefore not conducive to living the right life.
Friends, as well, are a misdirection of focus because they are a center that is inwardly focused. Not completely, but enough that it is not the right life.
Names, though given, are a misdirection of focus from what a person has done or is doing, rather than on who they are, and therefore names are very special and kept secret.
The only right centers where any inward focus is proper is the family unit. Great care is taken that all the members of the family know one another to a very great degree, so that they are 'as one' and can therefore collectively focus outwardly. Mutual knowledge requires inward focus, but this knowledge is cultivated for the sole purpose of proper outward focus in all directions.
Unmarried female Naugil remain in their parents houses until married. Unmarried male Naugil move out on their own, establishing a place to live and a territory which he views as his own. Once firmly established, they go to the courting meetings, which take place at the quarterly gathering of Naugil, where those who desire a wife can woo and wed one. Because mutual knowledge and harmony is required to live the right life as a family, the Naugil are monogamists.

There are other areas of the culture to which this philosophy of proper outward focus will manifest itself, but I have not developed those as of yet. If you have questions about a certain part of this culture, or suggestions as to how this particular philosophy could be developed further...please speak your mind. ;)

The right life is lived for the ultimate goal of eternal life, which the Naugil define as living on in their descendants' bodies. They believe that they one's spirit is passed down into descendants is by ingestion. That is, when a father Naugil dies, his family eats his body so that his spirit will be taken into their bodies. Not to eat one's progenitor upon their natural death would be to offer them the greatest dishonor possible. It would be to say that they had not lived the right life and were unworthy of becoming immortal (through means of their descendants).
This respectful cannibalism is not accompanied by murder at any time. One's ancestors are eaten upon their natural death. If he/she dies in war, then their remains are partaken of. If their body is completely destroyed and lost, it is the greatest tragedy that could happen, for their soul, devoid of a body to carry it, would pass into the Void.
Also, the spirits of their ancestors lend them strength, wisdom, and lead them on the paths of their people; they believe that they are giants because of this practice of taking their father's spirits into them.
This belief means that the incentive towards living the right life is extremely high. Generations have gone by, so ancestors from many many generations are (hypothetically) carried within your parents. To carry them worthily throughout your life and pass these spirits on to your own children (along with your own spirit) is the fulfillment of the good life, and ensures your own immortality. If you live a bad life, however, and your spirit is not taken into your children, both your spirit and the spirits in you would pass into the Void.

Because of this, the ceremony of eating one's parents is extremely important. It is the crowning achievement of their life. Their confirmation of having lived a good life and the beginning of their journey of life within the bodies of their descendants.

Not all Naugil faithfully live the good life. However, this ceremony is so important to their culture that it is always retained, even though some live in villages, have broad circles of friends, and etc.... They are looked down upon as untrue Naugil. The strict Naugil shun them and refrain from intermarriage with them.
Because of their view of multigenerational life-spans (essentially), careful ancestral records are kept (somewhere), and this detemines a large part of the marriage suitability and status of a Naugil.
There are, of course, great families and lesser families. More purely Naugil families and less purely Naugil families.
For this reason, there is some 'tribal' tension. Tribal is not the right word, exactly, however, because a tribe would be a wrong center of focus, so they do not really exist in Naugil culture, except in the most informal sense because relations are kept track of down to a tee.

So. That's Naugil culture.

Hope you like it. ;)

Any further ideas, questions....etc....please say them!

Areth,

Karthmin

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 Post subject: Re: Naugil Culture
PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 12:27 pm 
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How do other people view the Naugil? And how big are they?

They sound very strange... It is hard to imagine what it would be like to be a Naugil--and to imagine the way that they believe it is proper to think. I mean, I'd think it would be impossible to be perfect according to their beliefs. How can you always focus outwardly? Especially if you are often alone (as the males are)? Everything you do would have to be focused on your own survival, or else you would die. Usually people who are solitary must work very hard to survive. Is that the wrong focus? Or is that the right focus? What counts as 'outward'?


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 Post subject: Re: Naugil Culture
PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 6:15 pm 
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Other cultures view the Naugil as savage, perhaps even not-quite-sentient humans, because they do not often speak with other people, even of their own race, unless speech is necessary. Their thoughts run deep and they do not express themselves very much (unless it is in war, in which case they get very...hmm...shall we say 'excited'?).
Upon further examination, other cultures still believe the Naugil to be very strange, but not as half-human as first impressions would lead them to believe.

They are in the general range of seven to nine feet tall, with the men usually being larger than the women as a general rule. They are not just abnormally tall, either, but are proportionally broad and all-around massive men. Like if you took a well-proportioned guy and blew him up so he was eight feet tall. So yeah, not just tall, but broad as well.

Yes, they are very, very strange. Perhaps it tells you something about the mind of their maker? :twisted: :dieshappy:
Okay, the outward focus thing has a twist that is a little hard to follow. See, there are some proper centers on which you can focus. Self, family, and certain limited times on a woman if you're a male Naugil wishing to get married (you must know her extremely well, so well that you essentially become one and can function in total harmony).
But the only reason that these points of focus are allowed or right is because they in turn are centers from which you focus outwardly. Survival is an outward focus because you focus on turning your surroundings towards your own ends: the sustaining of life. It is somewhat a focus upon self, but to the Naugil mind and tradition, it is more of an outward focus of bending your environment to you, and thus making yourself a center from which you look outward.
So basically, centers are okay only because and if they are a focal point from which you look outward. The family is an acceptable center because there is a tie of blood which makes them one, in a pretty real sense.
So although you could attain a center similar to family with a group of friends, there is no tie of blood there, so that's why they don't create friendships. Also because there is usually a tendency to focus inwardly in friendship - more than would be deemed appropriate for a pure Naugil.

Actually, there are some strains of Naugil thinkers/philosophers who believe that friend-centers and small village-centers are okay, as long as a close-knit atmosphere is maintained that is based upon mutual knowledge and imitates the close family atmosphere from which you can collectively focus outward upon the environment around you to bend it to your collective needs in order to survive. Of course, the pure Naugil would look down on these 'twists' of their philosophy of life as impure. But there are changes taking place and this culture is by no means static. Change is a constant part of any culture; new philosophers arise and create new interpretations of old Naugil traditions and doctrines, and there are old Naugil, new Naugil, and everything in-between....many different degrees of this philosophy exist throughout the culture. (On a side note, I think the idea of cultures that exist as they have for a long time without changing, and then the 'time of change' comes along [which is, of course, what 'the book' is always about] is a bit simplistic because times are always changing in every culture. Even like in semi-static Japan, though to us it seems like there would have been very little change, I'm sure to them they always felt like there was change happening. Just a theory though...... ;))

So in sum, inward focus on certain centers is not wrong, as long as the focus is to allow oneself greater intensity of outward focus. The idea is that you must completely know and understand the center from which you are focusing before you can focus un-distractedly out from that center. So times of personal self-examination are very important, as well as family times of mutual examination.

The whole philosophy is based off of the thoughts of a group of philosophers who were their fathers and the whole life-style and all that came about over a couple generations....there are probably like two or three main 'fathers' of the Naugil, and different traditions of Naugil lifestyle are based off of which father the Naugil believe to have captures the truth best...pretty much the usual backstory for denominations within religion or culture.

Thanks for the questions! The Naugil are indeed a very strange culture, and while some parts of their culture appeal to me and make some sort of sense (almost), I would definitely not want to be a Naugil. D: They're fun to write, though. I've only done a little bit, but I think I'll post it on here to give a bit more of a concrete example of what I'm thinking.

Areth,

Ka

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 Post subject: Re: Naugil Culture
PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 6:38 pm 
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Okay, so here's the only thing I've written about the Naugil. This may or may not end up in whatever I write about them. I wrote it basically as a way to get into the minds of this people and develop them more. Before I wrote this, much of their culture was vague ideas (the most central feature I had developed was the respectful cannibalism). But after I wrote this, I had a ton more material to work with and the result is what you see in the first post. Anyway, it's kinda violent, so just thought I'd warn you all.

The hilltop rises under my feet as I run to stand on the summit. I lift my nose to catch the whiff of scent again. It is there still, but stronger this time. Almost involuntarily, I narrow my eyes and snarl deep in my throat.

The infidels. To burn my father’s body…

I loosen the thong that holds my mace and pull it out, resting the haft on my right forearm and holding the handle with my left. I am left-handed, a rarity among the Naugil. But I am big, bigger than most. Fifteen skulls tall, and not yet married.

And right now, I am bitterly angry. My anger almost drowns my sorrow over my father’s death. He died honorably, in battle, but the black-hearted Grethg stole his body away, the greatest insult they could give to me – and to the ancient ones in my father. And now this smell – burning flesh. To not only steal him away and cut me off from my ancestors, but also to burn his body – the desecrators must die!

If I go on in life without this vengeance, I will be utterly alone, for he holds the life of all my ancestors, and if I cannot honor him, they will pass away into the void, instead of into me.

A shudder runs through me and I begin my hunt again, following the charred scent through the gloom of the great trees. I am not used to the forest, but I am still quiet. Hunting on the open plains has given me skills that make walking in the forest seem like child’s-play. I can run almost as fast as an antelope in these woods, and more silently.

And I am far more deadly. I glance down at my mace, cradled in my arms like the child of war that it is. A grim smile cracks my lips.

If I cannot honor my father and the ancients within him, if I cannot take them into my own being – it will not matter if I live or die. I will be alone without them, an orphan among my people, without a heritage. No Nauga would marry a man who does not carry his inheritance within him. I would be as good as dead.

The only path of honor left to me is to die killing those infidels, those murderers. And the more I take with me into the void, the happier I will be.

I will avenge their desecration, O ancients. I will avenge you, O my father.

A tear rolls down my cheek as I think that I cannot pray to them to lend me strength for the coming battle. They are not within me. They cannot help me.

I am alone. I will die alone.

But I will die fighting.


I stand motionless behind a father of the forest, its trunk gray like the dust-covered skin of my face. All around me, the smoke of my father’s burning swirls in little tendrils of smoke. I can almost see the writhing of the ancients as they slowly fade into the void. I am not there to hold them in my body, to preserve their wisdom and immortality. Tears run down my cheeks, and fire rises within me.

I grip the carved horn of my mace’s handle tighter and step from behind the huge tree. The accursed Grethg will learn to fear me before the day is done.
Slowly at first, and then gathering myself into a full run, I clear the distance between me and their dirty camp. Skin tents surround the middle of the camp, where their communal fire is. Where burns my father.

They are stupid to put their tents on the outside and the fire in the middle. It creates a center, a focal point for the mind that distracts from looking for enemies in every direction. But their stupidity is my friend, and I smile.
Their dogs sense me first and come rushing out, but I care not for them. The horn armor on my legs will keep me from their teeth, and I could strangle them all with my bare hands.

I run faster, among their pointed tents. A woman with a child in her arms steps around a tent to see what the dogs fear. I swing my mace and clear her out of my way. That is what you have taken from me, infidels.

I hear her scream, and though I have passed her already, in my mind I can see her still tumbling through the air, her child crushed into her bosom, the smooth curve of her neck bending as she lands, then cracking softly – no longer a curve but an angle. Her scream stops short.

A wordless roar bursts out of me.

You killed my father. Now I will kill you all.

A shrill trumpet-call answers the woman’s scream. Let them cry that there is danger. Let them call their warriors to the center, so that I can kill them before I die.

I bound into the wide clearing in the middle of the Grethg camp. In a moment, I see it all.

Not just my father’s body, but the bodies of many Naugil smoke atop the fire, which smolders, but does not flame. Their skin is blackened and shriveled, and though they are naked, they look clothed in wrinkled black leather.

They are slowly destroying the vessels of the ancient ones of our people, making the spirits seep one by one into the void. Desecrators!
Another howl bursts out of me. All around, Grethg stare wordlessly. Even the dogs have fallen silent. The fire hisses.

I raise my mace above my head and roar, giving way to the misery and horror that is in me. I fall to my knees, letting my mace dig into the dark earth. Tears stream down my cheeks.

What has come upon my people? We are lost without our fathers, without the ancient ones to guide our steps.

When my first grief is spent, I raise my head. The Grethg have seized their weapons, some of them women. I am a lion in the sheepfold, and they will all fight to protect their lambs. But my lambs they have destroyed, because I cannot have them now. Many lambs of my people they have left without an inheritance.

“Curse you, hwintlegas,” I whisper, hoarse. I stand and walk towards the fire. They do not move, except to keep me hedged within their gathering ranks. I feel them close behind me, but they do not run in to strike my back.

“Erägu curse you all!” I shriek, the constriction in my throat tearing at my words. I cannot take my eyes off the smoldering bodies. I stand at the fire’s edge, staring.

Finally one of the Grethg with a spear steps forward, on my left. I turn quickly to face him, putting my back to the heat of the fire.

“What do you want, Naugil?” he asks. “Have we not defeated you in battle? Have your people not signed in blood the treaty we pressed upon them? This forest is ours. Any Naugil walking in them has forfeited his life.”

I grunt and then spit at his feet.

“You did not defeat the Naugil, Grethga. You defeated those who live in a small part of our land, just as if I destroyed one small family of a large tribe. We do not live as you do, in towns and villages. But that is not why I have come.”

The look at me closely, almost marveling at my tears, I think.

“You have torn the wisdom of my people from us by stealing these bodies, hwintlegu!” I repeat the insult, not to stir him to anger, but because there is no other word fit for him.

In them were the spirits of our people since the darkness lifted, their wisdom and their strength. Why do you think we are the mightiest of all peoples? Because we carry our ancient ones within us. When our old ones die, we do not let them pass into the void by laying them in earth or burning them to ashes.

“We take them into our being, and we become greater every generation.

“This you have stolen from us, Grethga, and for that I will kill you all.”

A shriek pierces the air when I fall silent. A woman, wailing and pulling at her hair, runs from the tents and stops behind the men who surround me.
“Dead! She is dead! And Deylino…”

“Who is dead?” the spokesman for the Grethg asks, panic tingeing his words.

“Alinde!”

A cry bursts from him. “And Deylino?” he whispers, his face suddenly white.

The woman falls to her knees, unable to answer because of her grief.
Without a word, the man leaps at me, his spear level with my throat.

I twist and fall away from him, swinging my mace upwards to smash him back into the fire while he is still airborne. He lands in the thick coals, screaming.

I keep swinging along the same arc, pulling my mace towards me from the elbow to increase the speed of my spin and pull me back upright. A spearhead shatters behind me as I whirl.

Then I am facing them again, my back to the fire once more, the wounded Grethg’s screams rising behind me.

I roar, lashing out left and right. A neck snaps, the head upon it no more than a mass of splintered bone and torn flesh. A knee cracks, the leg bending at right angles as the man falls upon it.

There are many of them, with many weapons, but my long arm and mace are almost as long as their longest weapons – spears. It is only arrows that I fear now.

I dash forward, drowning myself in their midst to forestall any archers.
My bellow is almost constant now, welling up from centuries of Naugil warfare. Perhaps the nearness of the ancients of my people gives me the power to fight as they would have fought, to roar as they would have roared. Perhaps even now I can open myself to them and take them into my being through the smoke that rises from the fire.

But then a bolt of pain sears my right thigh. The Grethg swordsmen are not children. I need a shield.

The fire is to my right, and the branches on its outskirts have not caught fully, perhaps….

A thick log with a branch twisted off midway catches my eye amid the flash of swords and the flush of warring bodies all around me. I turn suddenly and clear a way to the fire, catching the Grethg by surprise. I stoop at the fire’s edge to seize the half-flaming brand.

I hold it outstretched above my head, renewing my roar. They fall back and wait for me to continue the desperate battle.

A log falls behind me. I spin without thinking and my new shield smashes the dagger-wielding arm of the burning wretch I threw into the fire. He tumbles into my legs a second before I drive my mace through his skull.

Stooping, I grab his body and hurl him towards the Grethg warriors. They stumble back upon themselves, the ghastly corpse more unnerving than my whirring mace.

I charge after the body, catching them while still unsettled and disorganized. One, two, and then three men fall. Then a fourth catches the full weight of my blow on his sword. He loses grip, but two men on my left close in before I can destroy him.

I smash into the sword-less man with my shield as I turn to face the new threats, swinging my mace wide to keep them at bay. I catch the right man’s axe on my shield – it sticks there – and at the same time snag the left man’s sword in the prongs of my mace, twisting to jerk it out of his grasp. Two quick blows suffice to smash their skulls, but even then I know that I took too long without dealing with those behind me.

So I throw myself to the ground and roll onto my back, knowing that it could very well be a fatal move and yet my only chance to prolong life.
I look up to see a spear sail through the space I just occupied and plunge into a Grethg throat. Then two men with swords stumble almost onto me, swinging their swords down by reflex at my torso.

My shield, weighed unnaturally because of the axe stuck in it, still catches one sword squarely. The other glances off the shaft of the axe and shatters one panel of my horn body-armor. Instead of swinging up at them with my mace, a useless move, I grab one man’s wrist and pull myself up, pulling at an angle that puts him between me and the other man. I must get up.
He jerks away, which gives me greater impetus. My right foot finds purchase in the packed ground and I shove myself upward, pushing him away and into the other man. They fall, tangled in a heap.

Crouching to snatch up my mace, I jerk the axe out of my shield and twirl it into the crowd behind me, forestalling their quick advance for a second.
Then I grab my mace and spin in a complete circle, the prongs hissing with speed.

The Grethg draw back for a second and I roar once more.

Then another roar answers me, from outside the Grethg camp. Another throat takes up the wordless challenge.

Then another.

My battle by the fire stops momentarily. Almost ironically, I hear the quiet hiss of the fire again. Then a dog shrieks in pain and a chorus of barking renews among the tents.

Three other Naugil burst through the tents, one knocking the tents over with his mace, clearing a broad swath into the middle of the camp. Muffled forms and screams struggle underneath the broad swaths of cloth.

In the half-second of hesitation that seizes the Grethg as they determine almost by instinct who should go where to forestall the new attacks, I leap forward with my mace raised high, roaring.


I grasp a long pole laid out next to the fire and slide it under a charred body, shuddering inwardly at the thought that the pole was used to roll and turn the bodies of our fathers like so many roasting deer.

The Naugil beside me does the same with a second pole, and together we lift gently. The man is stiff in death, and we draw him out quickly, though with great care.

Two other Naugil do the same on the other side of the fire. Two more of my kinsmen stand guard outside the camp, to watch for the Grethg when they return. They fled, but not forever. Their grief will soon turn to anger.

We must be gone with our precious burdens before they return. Otherwise our efforts will have been in vain.

Beyond the initial word of greeting that marks us as true Naugil, which we exchanged after the Grethg fled, we have not spoken to one another. It is not our way.

Speaking without need creates ties, horizontal lines of focus that distract from a full view in every direction. The only foci we allow are self and family. And even when children are grown, they go to create their own centers.

I live alone, a solitary center from which I must look in all directions. That is the only point of focus in my life, because that is all I need to survive. A circle of friends is fraught with misdirection of focus. So too a tribe, a village, or a camp. That is why I was not at the battle when these fathers of my people died. Because I do not live with my father, or any other of my people.

But I heard the confusion from far away on the plains, and I was not the only Naugil to do so. These others now with me heard too and answered the sound of battle. We found the field of blood, the proclamation of the treaty staked in the field and signed with the blood of the grieving wives of our fathers, and we went to the houses of our fathers. Only to find them empty of their heads, shorn of the presence of the ancients. And so we set out to take back their bodies, so that we may honor them and the ancient ones within them, as is our way, as is right and good.

So we do not even need to speak. We know and work together, for we are Naugil, and the lines of our thoughts run parallel, trained in the smooth ruts that the ancient ones of our people made for us to run in.

Before long all the bodies lie smoking on the dark earth, and we gather to look at their faces, examine their wounds, and the little markings that may identify them. They still smoke gently – every second ancient ones still leaving the bodies that cannot house them anymore – and the stench burns in my nostrils and brings tears to my eyes.

At last I find my father – what is left of him. A shriveled corpse, draped in thick black leather like the skin of an old boar… but his bald, tattooed head is still discernible from the other hairless forms. I kneel beside him and press my lips against his forehead, almost welcoming the bitter heat that strikes my face and burns into my lips.

Where are you, O my father? Have you passed into the void already? Am I too late?

I rise and catch the eyes of the other Naugil, who have also found their fathers and greeted them. I nod to the poles and then the bodies. There are four poles, each long enough to bear all the bodies laid out side by side. Working together in silence, except for the hissing of the fire, we arrange the corpses as necessary, and then lift them in unison, each of us grasping the ends of two poles.

We leave the camp through the gap in the tents where they were knocked down. As we pass one of the fallen skins, a faint squall greets us, and the leather twitches. A baby left behind, whose mother is now frantic to return…
The Naugil behind me lifts his foot and crushes the place where I saw movement. I look away. They must learn never again to steal our dead. This day must never be forgotten.

Outside the camp, I whistle softly to alert the Naugil still guarding the camp. The low note is round and flat, as if it fills all the space around me rather than piercing through it. It is like my people, having no certain point of focus, but looking everywhere at once.

At the edge of the forest, we stop and lay down our burden. There is pain in the eyes of my companions, and I know there are tears in mine.

We cannot take all the bodies any further, so we must honor our dead now, though it is dangerous so close to the Grethg. If evening falls and we are not gone from the forest, they will surround us and kill us softly with their feathered barbs. They are wise in the forest, much wiser than we of the plains.

But we cannot take all the bodies. We who are here will honor our fathers, and the rest we will carry in our arms to bring back to their sons, so they that may be honored as well.

I look back at the accursed camp. The two guarding Naugil are dragging tents towards the fire. A smile crosses my face, and I run to join them. Let us give them nothing to return to but a pile of ashes, as they would have done for our fathers.

I grasp a tent in one hand, dragging it behind me. The first tents thrown on the fire have not caught, but they are smoldering and will soon flame. I hurl mine onto the growing pile. We will have light to feast by.

The Grethg weave rugs for the floors of their tents, so I drag two to the fire, with all their possessions still on them. One of my fellow Naugil grabs the other side and we hurl them one after the other onto the fire.

It is almost dark when the camp is all thrown onto the fire. That leaves little time to honor the dead and escape… but we are not dead yet, and the Grethg will never forget this day – never will they steal the bodies of our dead again.

The sheet of flames is loud and fierce. I can no longer hear the smoldering hiss.

Slowly, I return to the body of my father. It lies alone. One of my brethren has laid the six fathers each apart from the others – so that we will not be disturbed as we honor the dead, and so that we maintain proper focus in every direction.

I stand looking down at the shriveled body of my father. Tears again run down my cheeks. He was so strong. How could you have died? Would that I had been there to fight alongside you.

I kneel and trace his many wounds with my forefinger. His body is still warm, but no longer hot. I rest my forehead on his bosom and repeat a prayer that the ancients will find me worthy to carry their spirits, even that they might bequeath their strength and wisdom to me in time of need.

Then I loosen my hunting knife from its sheath and draw it out slowly.

In order to truly honor your fathers, you must take them into your own being and so let them live on…

I cut into my father’s thigh, where the meat is thickest and least burnt.

We do not let them pass into the void by laying them in earth or burning them to ashes…

I tear out a piece of the charred flesh.

We take them into our being, and we become greater every generation…

I put the morsel to my lips, smelling the meanwhile the desecration that the Grethg wielded upon the vessel of his spirit.

O my father, find me worthy to hold your spirit.

O ancient ones, find me worthy to hold your spirits.

May you live on in me and in my children forever, till the void swallows all in utter darkness.



So.....that's a bit of a Naugil's perspective. Not a pretty picture. I wouldn't want to meet, let alone be, one of these guys. But there's so much potential for redemption here, so that's why I like this culture. At least one of the Naugil will have a redemption story-arc in one of the final Tales of Khartur books, if I ever write them.... :book:

Areth,

Ka

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 Post subject: Re: Naugil Culture
PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2014 3:58 am 
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Fascinating. Wonderful work! I would love to read a book that focused on a culture like this that is so alien to my own. (And having it be a redemption story just makes it all the more awesome! :))

Karthmin wrote:
Change is a constant part of any culture; new philosophers arise and create new interpretations of old Naugil traditions and doctrines, and there are old Naugil, new Naugil, and everything in-between....many different degrees of this philosophy exist throughout the culture. (On a side note, I think the idea of cultures that exist as they have for a long time without changing, and then the 'time of change' comes along [which is, of course, what 'the book' is always about] is a bit simplistic because times are always changing in every culture. Even like in semi-static Japan, though to us it seems like there would have been very little change, I'm sure to them they always felt like there was change happening. Just a theory though...... )

Yes! Thank you for thinking about this!! Cultures change and have a great deal of variety in the first place, but it's easy for worldbuilders and writers to neglect those facts in their work simply because they're so difficult to emulate. I like to think that culture is mushy - it can be squished around into different shapes, depending on the person and the influences on them, but the basic substance is the same. So as a worldbuilder you need to come up with the basic substance of the culture, then imagine the influences and personalities that will mush it into different shapes, not to mention the ways that the basic substance itself will morph over time.

It's also nice to see that you wrote a short story to help you develop their culture; that's exactly how I go more in-depth with my worlds, too (except that I usually don't write the stories down - I just tell them in my head until they've served their purpose). But how did you get your original ideas for Naugil culture?

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 Post subject: Re: Naugil Culture
PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2014 3:58 pm 
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OK. I think I understand what you are saying better now.

It's almost as if their 'all-directional outward focus' is the opposite of what we usually consider to be 'selfless'. We try to focus on helping people. We try to find some philanthropic passion. They try to avoid people because they don't want to focus on them. That sort of thing.

Karthmin wrote:
The Naugil are indeed a very strange culture, and while some parts of their culture appeal to me and make some sort of sense (almost), I would definitely not want to be a Naugil.
Yeah..

Karthmin wrote:
(On a side note, I think the idea of cultures that exist as they have for a long time without changing, and then the 'time of change' comes along [which is, of course, what 'the book' is always about] is a bit simplistic because times are always changing in every culture. Even like in semi-static Japan, though to us it seems like there would have been very little change, I'm sure to them they always felt like there was change happening. Just a theory though...... )
Good thought. I have often noticed that no matter what time period a book is from, the people in it generally are complaining about how 'things aren't the way they used to be', and 'the younger generation is rotten', and things.

Karthmin wrote:
So.....that's a bit of a Naugil's perspective. Not a pretty picture. I wouldn't want to meet, let alone be, one of these guys. But there's so much potential for redemption here, so that's why I like this culture. At least one of the Naugil will have a redemption story-arc in one of the final Tales of Khartur books, if I ever write them....
I agree. A redemption story about Naugil would be interesting. They are so strange, it would be interesting if only because of the psychology.


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 Post subject: Re: Naugil Culture
PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2014 2:31 pm 
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Thank you, sheesania! :D

Thinking about cultures as a mushy sponge that holda its basic shape and flavor and yet can be affected by personality, circumstance, time, new ideas and the rest - that's a really good way to think about it. I've not quite thought of it that way before. But it's really very true.
It makes our job as subcreators that much harder, though, because we have to make it as realistic as possible... :? But when has writing anything realistically been easy?

Cool! This is actually the only culture/character I've done this too. I found it very helpful, so I think I'll do it more. When I get in my writing mood - things start to happen. :D

Hmm...well the first seed of the culture was planted when I had a thought as to why we view cannibalism as wrong even if murder is not involved. I still haven't decided the question completely. But anyway from that new look at cannibalism I had the idea of..."What if cannibalism was a way to honor your parents? What if, rather than a bad thing, it was a good thing and if you didn't do it, that was disrespectful?" I had already created the Naugil as a part of my world (which I really need to formally introduce here...) and decided for some reason that they would be the respectful cannibals. That was all of the culture I created for them until I just decided to dive into their culture and write that piece above earlier this year. As I wrote, because I liked the solitary giant 'feel', I decided to turn that into something that was philosophically a huge part of their culture. So I sowed the seeds of something interesting in that exploratory piece...and afterwards I meshed it into a philosophy and culture. It's still not super-developed, but the basic essence is now there.
So I actually started from the aberrant view on cannibalism first and then fit it into the larger philosophical background of the culture - which I developed as I wrote that exploratory piece. It's really interesting to me how such an important part of the culture that makes it much more...round, I guess...was developed totally spur of the moment. It's so cool how that can work. And it really seems to fit the feel I wanted for these guys, and ties it all together with its own distinctive cultural flavor.

Mistress Kidh: Quite correct. Outward focus has nothing to do with being unselfish or kind. It just means that on a philosophical level, self is a center from which you view the world, and you don't focus unduly on any one thing or area or direction or anything, really. A bad focus they term as a 'horizontal line of focus' on a certain thing, person, idea, etc.
Good focus is more like a field emanating from self, or family.
When the Naugil are in love, they are allowed a rather horizontal line of focus because they will together form a family, in which they will together create a field of all-directional focus.

So philanthropy, helping others, etc., is not directly opposed to Naugil philosophy; there are great healers among them, great teachers - all of whom help and associate with many people. I guess it's a frame of mind, a way of thinking.
So they don't avoid people per se, they just don't allow undue horizontal lines of focus to develop within their own consciousness.

Yes, the psychology of a Naugil being redeemed will/would be very, very interesting.

To finish off with, I have another touch to add to their culture: religion.

I've been thinking for a while about this general idea, and for now I'm pinning it to Naugil culture. It might not stick here. Maybe it'll drift to another culture.
But for now, it's here.
So this is how it works. The earth is composed of two gigantic beings whose bodies are composed mainly of rock. Before other life was, they danced together in the cosmos, whirling around each other, inexorably attracted.
They were filled with great love for one another, and together made an embrace of love. They fit together so well that their bodies formed a globe.
In that embrace they have fallen asleep, and because of their continual embrace of procreation, life arises to all things through them.
Deep in the heart of what we call earth is where they come together, where all life finds its source and power. Just like new life springs up when the lesser creatures come together, so all life has sprung up from the coming together of the two beings whose very bodies compose the substance of earth.
When they came together, trees and grass and all growing things began to grow. Birds and all flying creatures appeared, flying out of holes in the ground. Animals of the land unearthed themselves, being filled with the spreading influence of new life which the earth-beings made.
Last was man, the ruler of this new life, to whom no other animal could compare in beauty, strength of mind, and fullness of life. Man received a fuller portion of life from the earth-being parents, for they wished there to be a chief to their creation and a head to their new-created life.

[At times, when the earth-beings shift in their love-sleep, the very earth beneath us quakes and trembles, so huge and majestic are they.]

There is a time coming when they shall awake and cease their embrace of love, and at that time all life shall wither into nothing from which it came, and they shall begin again their dance, but it shall be their final dance.

And then comes the Void to swallow all in utter darkness.

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 Post subject: Re: Naugil Culture
PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2014 3:55 am 
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Karthmin wrote:
Hmm...well the first seed of the culture was planted when I had a thought as to why we view cannibalism as wrong even if murder is not involved. I still haven't decided the question completely. But anyway from that new look at cannibalism I had the idea of..."What if cannibalism was a way to honor your parents? What if, rather than a bad thing, it was a good thing and if you didn't do it, that was disrespectful?"

Yes! This is how I develop a lot of things in my world, too. I come up with a "What if...?" and then try to figure out how something would develop that way and what its consequences would be. Anyways, thanks for sharing! Very interesting.

As for Naugil religion: Given that mythological background, do people have any rituals or practices or other special things they do as part of this religion? Are they afraid of earthquakes? E.g. what are the practical consequences of their beliefs?

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 Post subject: Re: Naugil Culture
PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2014 5:55 pm 
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You can get some verrrrry interesting cultures if you just ask a couple "What if?"s, can't you?! :D
That's cool that you do worldbuilding similarly.

Naugil religion: I literally just worked this out so I don't have any other parts of their religion through. Because of their life-philosophy, which functions almost like a religious way of life, I'm thinking that the function of their religion wouldn't go much beyond a few holy days where they celebrate their life and maybe make some sort of sacrifice of blood (life) in return to the earth. Nobody would die, but they might cut themselves and let it fall into the earth as a sign of their dependence on the earth-beings for their life.
I don't think they have priests, because that's a hierarchical system that has a pyramidic focal system contrary to their lifestyle.

Earthquakes would be feared because they could portend the ending of the world. Though they might look forward to that, just to mix things up a bit. Dunno yet.
Volcanoes are seen as sources of life (volcanic ash and dirt are really fertile, right???) and while not worshiped, they are definitely revered as a point from which life flows from the earth-beings into the outside world. A life-line, as it were.

Hey, just thinking of this as I go along. This is fun!

Thanks, sheesania! :cool:

Areth,

Ka

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 Post subject: Re: Naugil Culture
PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2015 3:34 am 
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I know, I love it when somebody asks me a question about my world or one of my languages and I answer very thoroughly and seriously - but I'm making it all up on the spot. The power of a worldbuilder! :)

Anyways, thanks for answering! Interesting to think about how a religion would work in a culture with such a philosophy...

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 Post subject: Re: Naugil Culture
PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2015 7:30 pm 
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Haha! Exactly. :rofl:

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