Every culture has the idea of a chosen few. The method and frequencies of the choosing vary.
The Maikiri spend half their lives in a vast underground jungle, the Karstic Verdancy (once self sufficient due to unknown magics and now maintained by Sunlight Miners). Navigating in the Verdancy is difficult. If you get lost or turned around you have no way of orienting yourself especially since glimpses of light are more likely to be from an escaped ray of mined sunlight than from the surface. This is why the Starchildren are so revered. All Maikiri children, when possible, are born near the star pools (water black as night that reflect perfectly the night sky above). If there are complications during a birth and the child has not yet passed, they are submerged into the pool. This can save the childs life, though the risk of permanent disability is still high. One thing is guaranteed, if the child survives being submerged, their dark skin will be emblazoned with a thousand points of bright white light. A map of the night sky. And as they move, so too does the map appear to shift. In fact, the map always displays the stars as they would be seen from where the starchild is standing if it were night. This means that while underground the starchildren can be used to help navigate, just as a sailor would at sea.
The Blood Queen of Hate
Hate, the city that looks like it was ripped from hell. The metal they make is unparelled, the amount they make unfathomable, the way they treat the "workers" that make it unspeakable. And they say they forge flesh as well as metal there. Their Queen is immortal. After a fashion. It might be more accurate to say her blood is immortal, but then there are many that think that she is her blood and the many faces she takes on are just vessels that the blood lives in. When a vessel dies, her blood bursts out of it explosively. It is searing hot and there is so much of it. Her oldest servants often bear the burns of at least one death. The blood then surges out into the city towards the most recent newborn female (or so it is thought, no one knows exactly how the blood makes its choice). The blood fills the newborns heart and she grows rapidly to the age of a young child who then assumes her rightful throne. The parents are honoured with an invitation to sit at the Royal Table for the reincarnation feast (there is no need for an inauguration as the Blood Queen is still the same Blood Queen). Depending on how loyal the parents are to the monarchy this will probably not compensate for the loss of a child. Though, to anyone who asks, it is a great honour of course.
The Eternal Dance
The Allentine dance with the world! They are a nomadic people who seek to learn the dance of all things. They have asked forests to grow, thunderstorms to break, and seas to part with their dances. Their greatest challenge, is the dance of the rock. They are by nature an energetic and free-spirited people. Patient less so. The dance of the rock is slow. When the Allentine meet each year for the annual dance of the rock contest it looks like they are all meditating. If you come back days later you might see that their feet have moved ever so slightly. Whoever completes the largest portion of the dance of the rock is chosen as the Allentine people's leader, responsible for deciding which dance each Allentine delegation is tasked with learning in the coming year. Most competitions last only a couple of days. The longest went for a week and a half thanks to well timed rain that kept the participants hydrated. It is said that the dance takes a full year to complete, and that once complete a whole city will spring forth from the rock they dance upon and the Allentine people will be nomads no more.
The Deggard plains are home to practical people. They hunt gazelle, avoid dragons, and regularly send a diplomatic party to the lion-people that rule the plains. The lion-people will not deal with just anyone. They have a great many customs and intricate rules of ettiquette they expect to be observed, lest you lose an arm. The chosen few are marked at birth. Birthmarks are said to be healed over wounds from past lives of dealing with the Lion-people. Anyone with a visible birthmark is chosen as a Diplomat, trained in the proper ettiquette (or at least what parts of it the Deggard people have puzzled out over time) and, when they are ready, sent to negotiate with the lion-people at their home in Split-the-sky Rock. Some Diplomats are better than others, able to negotiate access to more watering holes and hunting grounds. Others might commit a minor faux-pas like crossing their left leg over their right rather than the other way around, or speaking in rhyming couplets past midday when tradition dictates you swap to triplets, and end up leaving the Deggard people with less than what they started. But despite this risk they must never miss a meeting. No. The Lion-people value punctuality above all else.
To every Tu'en generation is born a tidecaller. They are known as the heaviest baby born after the death of the previous Tidecaller on the day of a King Tide. The river Tu is an essential source of life for the Tu'en, their community revolves around it. So they must treat the one chosen by the tide with great respect. The more well fed the Tidecaller is, the bigger the bounty next year. The heavier the Tidecaller is, the bigger the tides. A nice fat Tidecaller will ensure that all the farms on the banks of the river Tu are nourished. If the yearly floods do not have their usual strength, then the people must go without to ensure the Tidecaller has even more food for the next year. Combined with the lower yield that a smaller flood represents, such years can be incredibly tough for the common Tu'en folk. The Tu'en have many feasts throughout the year, but to them a feast is for feeding the Tidecaller not for feeding yourself.
Yes you! Or you! Or even you! Any of you and all of you, come on down to Orlisson where we have the prophecy for you. Her? No, no, she's not the true chosen one like you are. Yes I know that there are just as many people crowding around her but hers is a half-rate prophecy. Yours is the best of the best and all of Orlisson will recognise it. Now there's just the matter of holding the council so you can fulfil the prophecy. It's quite urgent of course. Though making sure all the delegates arrive might take a bit of persuasion. No matter, we in Orlisson know exactly who to ask and what to buy them it's only a matter of funds. Won't you contribute? Remember, the fate of the world rests in your hands, but so do its treasures and delights if you succeed. If? Did I say if? Silly me, when you succeed. You are the chosen one, after all.
An Orlisson Chosen One scam is just as well known as the Nigerian Prince scam and used idiomatically in the same way. The difference is that in addition to random letters handed to you in the street miles from the place, the city of Orlisson is almost entirely founded upon perpetuating and closing the deal on the scam. It's like a mad prophetic tourist trap. Tourists will go to Orlisson not just for its hallucinogenic teas, but also to have the genuine Orlisson Chosen One experience with full knowledge that its a scam. There are equal numbers clueless victims and excited tourists going along with the scams in Orlisson proper. If you've got the money, Orlisson will weave a story with you, chosen one, at the centre.
Posted on March 22nd, 2018 by Rhys McMillanComments (0)