The Nation of Giai'Shar is a series of territories along the north-eastern cost of Nimby. Each territory is divided into a series of tribes, and is ruled by the Goddess Crysalla, and is guided her Chosen, Castle.
(Bronze Age Giai'Shar)
The Giai'Shar nations are divided into tribal territories. Each tribe is ruled by a single chief, and two council. The council is called the Little Sun and the Little Moon. The Little Sun speaks for the people, while the Little Moon speaks for the spirits. The chief listens to both sides before making a decision on matters of the tribe, attempting to keep harmony and to settle all disputes.
Each tribe sends one Shaman and Speaker to the Immortal City, a large city made of longhouses, moss huts and tents that looks more like an extended village. The Shaman and Speaker represent the tribe on matters which involve the nation as a whole. Here, they speak to the Council of two Suns and Council of two Moons, where matters of importance are resolved, such as trade between tribes, or interaction with other nations. The Immortal City is the home of the Chosen of the Sun, and also the home of the Ancestral Guardians.
The tribes are divided into a number of feline races, scattered through the territories. Among these tribes are the three races blessed by the Goddess of the Sun, the C'tha, the Kiyrie, and the Viscl.
Each tribe is a mixture of the three races created by the Goddess of the Sun, though which race is dominant changes as one goes north or south. The three breeds intermingle well, and work in harmony with one another, and there has begun interbreeding, slowly mingling the bloodlines.
The territories of the tribes are marked by stones called totems. These stones are tall and narrow, set into the ground to mark the borders of the territory. The stones are elaborately carved, depicting animals or inscribed with knotwork patterns and the symbol of tribal heroes. To expand a territory, the tribe challenges other tribes to the game of lacrosse. The winning tribe expands their territory depending on how much coup is counted against the losing team. These games can be long, taking days to complete, but are considered sacred, and thus no foul play is expected during the course of the games.
The border of the nation is marked by totems as well, though these totems are larger. Each year, the totems are moved outward, to determine if the nation has expanded or not. If it is not met with resistance then the borders are marked for the year. If it is met with resistance, the tribe who holds the border offers a challenge to the games. If this is not accepted, it becomes a matter for the Immortal City.
Each tribe must always give something to the tribe. Young or old, a method is always found for each person to bring something to the tribe, to ensure that all members are contributing to the whole. Even the sick and frail are given the means to rise from their bodies and speak with the spirits, their aches and pains left behind as they commune. The wants of the individual give way to the needs of the community, and through this harmony is kept within the tribes. As the generations continue, the thought of 'self' over 'tribe' is slowly being weeded out.
The tribes do not put much value into material goods. A possession which is carried belongs to the person who carries it, and is theirs, while a possession not carried belongs to the community and belongs to one only so long as they have need of it. Since ownership is a nebulous concept to the tribes, objects pass from hand to hand based on the need of the individual. If someone has need of an object, they ask the person who currently has it in their possession. If the person does not currently need it, it trades hands. Compensation or exchange is not necessary and is somewhat of a foreign concept.
Trade between tribes is often simple. Once each season, traders gather any excess of goods that the tribe has, and brings them to other tribes. They offer to each tribe what that tribe needs, and in exchange are given what their tribe needs in return. In this fashion, all the tribes are given what they need. Some traders also gather the excess of other tribes who can not travel, ensuring their goods are spread out, and as the traders return along their route, they bring back goods from the other tribes, thus helping to ensure all the tribes are comfortable. The most common phrases to begin trade are: Cad is gá duit? (What do you need?) or Cad é do gá? (What is your need?).
Trade with foreign nations is difficult, as the tribes have little to no interest in material goods, and are more interested in craft skills than material objects. To the tribes, material goods weigh the individual down, the spirits of the objects clouding the perception of the individual, putting an emotional attachment on something which is not needed, and does no good for the community. Personal objects must be able to be worn and serve a function and use, while community possessions must be easily transferable and also serve some practical use. Objects which are too large and cumbersome, or which serve no functional purpose, are considered a distraction at best or a liability at worst. The tribes do not use currency, as the value of metal is in the metal itself and what it can be used for, nothing more.
Because of the emphasis on practical objects, the tribes have a rich tradition of storytelling and song. Instruments are simple and portable, such as the flute or the drum. The tribes have mastered the concept of 'disposable art', such as sand painting or rock gardens. Art created by the tribe is temporary, but this makes such works of art highly appreciated while they last. In the winter, ice sculptures are crafted, and placed into large bowls which become a communal drinking pool as the ice begins to melt. In the summer, sand sculptures are crafted upon the beach. The transitory state of art helps the tribes to reflect that the physical world is always in a state of transition, and that to cling too much to physical things is a liability.
The tribes are insular, preferring to keep within their borders. If an individual wishes to go out and abroad, they may do so without interference by the tribes, but most return soon after, the world beyond the borders a bit too alien to their perceptions. Each year, the Immortal City chooses a Watcher, one who has become a Spirit Warden of some repute, to travel the lands and return with stories from abroad. In this way, the tribes can learn how the world is changing, both from the perspective of the individual, and from the perspective of the daemons that travel with the Watcher. In this way, the Immortal City keeps the traditions of the Chosen of the Sun. The tribes are aware of, and pay a modicum of respect to, the other gods of Nimby. These gods are not worshipped within the territories, but are acknowledged as 'the gods of the other people'. The tribes are reluctant to adopt the customs and traditions of other nations unless it is something which improves the community as a whole and does not contradict the tribes beliefs and values. The Giai'Shar are officially Neutral to all other pantheons and nations.
The tribes live in harmony with the spirits of the world. With the presence of the Spirit Wardens and the Petitioners, the lands of the Goddess of the Sun are alive. Nearly every lake has an awakened spirit, each forest, and every mountain. The people live in harmony with the spirits, who shelter them and listen to the stories and songs of the people. While these spirits are not worshipped, they are shown deep respect, and in return the spirits provide shelter and aid to the people, upholding the pacts held by the people over generations. These former daemons and fylgja remember the people that were their companions, and have developed ties to the Giai'Shar as a whole.
The tribes share everything they have with those who have need. The concept of gathering wealth or goods for yourself is wrong, and a concept that the tribes find very confusing. If you do not need it and you can not carry it, then give it to another. A small part of this mentality comes from living in the present, and not the future. The tribes focus on the present needs of the community, and while some preparation is made for the winter, it is not taken to an excess. This only partially extends to those outside the tribes - outsiders are allowed to trade, what they need for what the tribe needs. Giving of something freely to those not of the tribes is an individual matter, a personal belonging, carried by one, may be given, but something which belongs to the community is not. This is a survival mechanism to prevent the tribes from being taken advantage of.
One must live in harmony with the people. The needs of the people outweigh the desires of the individual. The people look after one another, from weakest to strongest. Placing your own desires before the needs of another is considered wrong. Desire can be fleeting, but need remains. The people of the tribes put the needs of the tribe before their own needs or wants. Again, this only partially extends to those not of the tribes. An individual may adopt someone and consider them 'of the tribe', but the needs of other lands do not outweigh the tribes themselves. This is another survival mechanism, and it is accepted that other nations have their own gods and goddesses to look after them. While a tribe may aid a neighbour across the border, they will not do so to the extent it harms the tribe itself..
The tribes value wisdom. They know the world is a strange plance, and constantly strive to understand how it, and the people within it, work. They live in harmony with the land, having learned how to interact with the world and the spirits within it, and they wish to understand why other lands exist in the manner in which they do. Deliberate ignorance is wrong. One does not ignore the world they live in, and one does not cling to ideas blindly. Wisdom is to be shared, so that any decision made is made with open eyes and open mind.
The tribes have a serious ban on killing. To take the life of another person is a grave crime. When such an event occurs, the tribes have two punishments. For accidental death, or death caused by negligence, banishment into the wilds is considered acceptable. The banished must remain apart from the community for up to one year, depending on how severe the crime was. A spirit is sent to watch over the banished, to ensure they do not return to the community in secret or find shelter among the tribes, but the banished is left to survive by their own devices. Some, upon being banished, take the Test to become Spirit Wardens, turning to the spirits for atonement and to gain wisdom. Others simply never return, dying in the wilderness. For deliberate murder, the person is run out of the tribe, and the spirits sent to punish and plague the individual. The land itself turns against the murderer - the trees grasp at them, the water tries to pull them in, and the very beasts attack them. At the worst, the ground itself shakes and rumbles, and if the murderer stands still long enough, it will open to swallow them whole.
The physical world and the spirit world are reflections of one another. When one changes, the other changes. The tribes study this phenomenon, and their interaction with the spirit world brings them a deeper understanding of the natural world itself. The tribes can count and have a system for basic arithmatic, but do not have the concept of '0' yet.
Common skills for a member of the tribes include: Animal Ken, Athletics, Awareness, Climb, Empathy, Endurance, Herbalist, Integrity, Lore (Spirits), Medicine, Meditation, Ride, Survival, Swim. Weapon Skills are unheard of, except for Pole (used for lacrosse, and for hunting).
The stars are the spirits that watch over the people. The two moons are the eyes of the Goddess of Night, as the two suns are the eyes of our Mother. What lays beyond is the Furthest Shores of the Spirit World. The World extends on forever, further than the eye can see. It continues and never ends. The Earth Below continues deeper and deeper, and opens into another world, that lies under strange skies.
The Tribes are a member of the Tao Pantheon, which currently exists of Diamiru, Selene, Crysalla, and Shale. Diamiru is accepted as the goddess of the land, Selene is the goddess of the moons, Crysalla is the goddess of the suns, and Shale is the god of the sea. The other gods of the pantheon are accepted as divinities, but the majority of reverence is paid to Crysalla.
THE GIAI'SHAR TRIBES
- Attribute: +1 Spiritual
- Resources: 4
- Sorcery: Path of Nature
The Kiyrie = Winged felines of the Giai'shar Mountains. The cold arctic conditions have created a hardy race that has, with the power of the goddess Kree Sah'la, changed into the people they are now. This tribe has become the guardians of the Giai'shar tribes, the only ones who willingly fight to protect their homeland and are the most reserved of the three tribes.
The Viscl = Two-tailed foxes of the plains created by Crysalla from the very rock of the mountain she calls home. These foxes are the watchers and recorders of the nation. Through them, the history of the tribes is kept as well as events that occur within other nations. With the aid of the viscl, Giai'shar can carry on diplomatic relations with their neighbors for a viable trade system.
The C'tha = Healers, inventors and wanderers make up this tribe of felines. They resemble their Lynx cousins in the wild and keep that playful mentality, but they take their craft very seriously. It is their curiosity that lets them explore beyond their homes and find new medicines and gadgets to help their families and tribes.
Giai'Shar (Stone Age)
Geography and Climate
Covering the northern peninsula and the entirety of eastern islands to the crystal bay, this region's climate is strongly influence by the Eastern Ocean, which produces cooler summers and warmer winters. Winter temperatures average -5ºC and summers average 14ºC, with coastal areas having slightly warmer winters and cooler summers than inland. The ocean also provides moisture to the region, producing mean precipitation of 900mm a year inland and over 1500mm a year on the coast; this high precipitation also means that the region has more storms than anywhere else in the country.
Geologically, this region is a mix of sedimentary and igneous bedrock. Inhospitable igneous highlands form much of the interior of the many peninsulas that form this ecozone. Acid soils found here support vast forests, but are poor for agriculture, and the cold wet climate prevents many people from living in this part of the region. The coastal lowlands, overlying sedimentary bedrock, are far more accessible, have better soils for agriculture, and a milder climate. Not surprisingly, the lowlands are where most of the population lives.
Flora and Fauna
There is plenty of old-growth forest in this region, due to the lack of farming and agriculture. It is densely forested and includes red spruce, black spruce, white spruce, balsam fir, red pine, jack pine, eastern white pine, tamarack, eastern white cedar, and eastern hemlock.
The deciduous trees include yellow birch, white birch, paper birch, sugar maple, red maple, striped maple, balsam poplar, pin cherry, speckled alder, beech, black ash, white ash, butternut, ironwood, basswood, white elm, and red oak.
Other plants include the steeplebrush, blueberry, sphagnum moss, kalmia heath, smooth juneberry, violets, wild lupins, starflower, trailing arbutus, lady slipper, pitcher plant, and ostrich fern (see below).
Also called Fiddlehead ferns this refers to the unfurled fronds of a young fern harvested for food consumption. The fiddlehead, or circinate vernation, unrolls as the fern emerges from the ground with new growth. As these ferns are harvested early in the season before the frond has opened and reached its full height, they are cut fairly close to the ground. The fern resembles the curled ornamentation (called a scroll) on the end of a stringed instrument, such as a fiddle. It is also called a crozier, after the shepherd's crook.
The only large carnivores found here are the black bear, lynx, and bobcat. The most common large herbivores are the whitetail deer and moose. Small carnivores in the area include red fox, muskrat, raccoon, striped skunk, marten, fisher, coyote, mink and river otter. Many small herbivores, including the eastern chipmunk, beaver, porcupine, snowshoe hare, northern flying squirrel, woodchuck, and southern bog lemming. The numerous species of aquatic mammals found in the waters off the coast are extremely popular among the natives, and include harbour seal, gray seal, hooded seal, harp seal, orca, northern bottlenosed whale, and blue whale.
Characteristic birds of prey include osprey, Cooper's hawk, broad-winged hawk, common nighthawk, northern goshawk, northern saw-whet owl, short-eared owl, and long-eared owl. A few of the many songbirds are the red-winged blackbird, ruby-throated hummingbird, cedar waxwing, whip-poor-will, purple finch, brown creeper, black-billed cuckoo, blue jay, eastern bluebird, rose-crested grosbeak, and cardinal. Other birds of the forest include the ruffed grouse, spruce grouse, northern flicker, downy woodpecker, and pileated woodpecker. Waterfowl include the great blue heron, Canada goose, American bittern, common snipe, ring-necked duck, wood duck, American black duck, northern pintail, and blue-winged teal. Seabirds and shorebirds of the region include the great cormorant, double-crested cormorant, Atlantic puffin, common murre, thick-billed murre, black guillemot, razorbill, herring gull, spotted sandpiper, common snipe, and killdeer.
Reptiles and Amphibians
Frogs and toads of the region are the American toad, northern leopard frog, mink frog, green frog, pickerel frog, wood frog, and the tiny but extremely vocal spring peeper. Five species of salamanders and newt are found here: yellow-spotted salamander, blue-spotted salamander, dusky salamander, eastern redback salamander, and eastern newt. There are more species of marine turtles (loggerhead turtle, leatherback turtle, and Atlantic ridley) than freshwater turtles (common snapping turtle and wood turtle) here. All four species of snakes are harmless to humans. They include the maritime garter snake, smooth green snake, redbelly snake, and ringneck snake.
Some of the predatory fish of the ecozone are brook trout and Atlantic tomcod. They prey upon the rainbow smelt, golden shiner, common shiner, creek chub, and mummichog, among others. A few of the marine species that return to freshwater to spawn include sea lamprey, Atlantic sturgeon, alewife, Atlantic salmon, and American eel.
The waters of the region are well known for their many lobster, crab and shrimp.
A few of the species found here are the brown mystery snail, valve snail, ordinary spire snail, eastern physa, and eastern elliptio. In addition, the waters off the coast are known for their clams and scallops.
Some of the insects in the region are the eastern metallic green wood borer, boreal spittlebug, spring azure, American copper, monarch butterfly, mourning cloak, eastern black swallowtail, and migratory grasshopper.
Giai'Shar Trade is a dialect of Trade spoken in the eastern territories of Nimby. Quirks include the removal of pre-consonantal /r/ sounds, and a faster speech tempo. An example of typical Giai'Shar Trade might be the pronunciation of the letter t. The flapping of intervocalic /t/ and /d/ to alveolar tap [ɾ] between vowels, as well as pronouncing it as a glottal stop [ʔ], is less common in the east. So "battery" is pronounced [ˈbætɹi] instead of with a glottal stop. Especially among the older generation, /w/ and /hw/ are not merged; that is, the beginning sound of why, white, and which is different from that of witch, with, wear.
Like most varieties of Eastern Trade, Giai'Shar Trade contains a feature known as Giai'Shar rise: Diphthongs are "raised" before voiceless consonants. For example, IPA /aɪ/ and /aʊ/ become [ʌɪ] and [ʌʊ], respectively, before [p], [t], [k], [s], [f]. Although dialects vary from region to region, especially based on the northern/southern divide, there are some other commonalities. For example, there is heavy rhoticism on vowels preceding /r/ sounds. Also, low front vowels seem to be lengthened and sometimes tensed, which in some regions can result in raising, and even a very slight rounding of the higher vowels and diphthongs.
The interrogative "Eh?" is used more often in Giai'Shar than in most dialects of Trade. Alternatively, one might hear the interrogative "Right?" (often pronounced "rate") which is in turn used as an adverb (e.g.: "It was right foggy today!") as well. This sense may be of a degree of influence of the Phae word "reit" [ˈrəɪt] literally meaning "very, rather, or considerably", also being ironic in that those with a Giai'Shar Raise would pronounce "right" in this way. "Some" is used as an adverb as well, by some people (e.g.: "This bread is some good!"). Such expressions tend to be widely used in the southern territories, but are less common in northern areas. The two expressions combined mean "extremely" and the proper order is always "right some", eg. "It's right some cold out." Words such as "fine", "right" and "fearful" are frequent intensifiers, as in, "That's a fine mess!", "Oh, it'll be a right mess by the time they gets done!" and "That girl is a fearful fool!" (implying that the girl is extremely foolish).
Terminal hard consonants are often dropped from pronunciation when found in sentences. "Ol'" rather than "old", "col'" rather than "cold", "tha'" rather than "that", "suppose'" rather than "supposed." (with the -s pronounced softly, rather than as a -z). When it is pronounced it is softly, almost imperceptibly. "Ain't" is also frequently heard in southern parts of Giai'Shar.