[Written] Valkin'Vi

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[Written] Valkin'Vi

Post  Jared T on Fri Jul 22, 2011 10:38 am

Found in the Lore section of the Final Haven website.
Some of this information is contained in other posts so it was gathered here in its full capacity.

Valkin’vi... By: Garet Maevers
Taken from "A Biography of Silverthorne" by Sathin Maevers published by House Toevass in 1000 P.E.W.


The Valkin’vi are a strange race to most people, very close to each other but closed to all outsiders. In this they closely resemble dwarves, but there any link to that ground burrowing race quickly dies. They are a people of the open air with an appreciation for art, literature, and poetry.

Within each, it seems to me, also lies a dormant seed of violence from their long and tortured history. They are a fair people for the most part though, and treated amiably with me when they learned that I was seeking to record a history of their people.

The Valkin’vi culture is based on destiny and the reading of the future. The most revered people in the society are Oracles. An Oracle is a Valkin’vi that has the ability to read one or more aspects of the future. Oracles are chosen by previous Oracles. When a Valkin’vi baby is born, the parents take it to a clan Oracle. The Oracle then divines the child’s destiny. If his destiny is to be an oracle, the child is taken from the parents and begins its training as an Oracle. This is also the time when a Valkin’vi is named. The name often reflects the destiny of the child.

Oracles follow one of five "Traditions". Traditions are like schools of soothsaying thought. Each tradition has a set of teachings that it follows. These teachings include the means by which the Oracle divines destiny. Each tradition’s teachings also define its major area of emphasis. This is called the tradition’s "Path". Each tradition has the ability to divine general events of the future with some accuracy however, information divined about a subject that is in the tradition’s path is considerably more detailed, complex, and accurate.

Oracles, no matter what tradition they follow, are grouped into ranks. Each rank has a title that is universal throughout all the traditions. The four ranks are; Grand Oracle, prophet, visionary, and seer. Advancement in rank is done through a system of rites and rituals that are different for each tradition. Generally, an Oracle can only advance in the event that an Oracle of higher rank dies or leaves the tradition.

Grand Oracle
Grand Oracles are Oracles with immense ability in the area of foresight. Some say that Grand Oracles can see as far into the future as thousands of years. The prophecies told by Grand Oracles are considered factual and are never questioned by followers of the tradition. Often times, commoners are not even allowed to hear the Grand Oracle tell these prophecies. Grand Oracles generally live in seclusion. They feel that excessive contact with others will taint their ability to see into the future. Also, Grand Oracles are often feared by the common population of non-Valkin’vi and Valkin’vi alike. There is only one Grand Oracle for a tradition at any given time.

Prophets are Oracles that are almost as skilled as a Grand Oracle. The main job of a prophet is to learn the prophecies foretold by Grand Oracles throughout the ages. The prophets also make predictions of their own and can do so with amazing accuracy. Another job of the prophet is to tend to the Grand Oracle and aid him during complex rituals. Prophets also train visionaries to foretell the future and teach them the ancient prophecies. Most prophets live with or near the Grand Oracle and rarely leave. There are five prophets within each tradition.

Visionaries are oracles who are skilled at their path. They handle the majority of all the requests of the peasants. They do the bulk of the soothsaying work. Also, they report to the prophets and tell them what is happening amongst the people. If a visionary has a problem or concern with a particular vision, they will consult a prophet and together, they will analyze the information presented. There are twenty five visionaries in each tradition. These visionaries are highly respected by both the common folk and the other oracles for the sheer amount of work they do. Often times, a tradition will send a visionary to travel the lands of Phanterra to seek visions amongst people of other races. These traveling visionaries report every year to the prophets. This serves as a way for the oracles of the tradition to keep updated on current events.

Seers are the most abundant of all the oracles. Any Valkin’vi who has talent in soothsaying and follows a tradition is called a seer. Seers help the visionaries deal with their work load and help them gather information. It is common for a seer to travel Phanterra for a few years and then come back and present the visionaries with their findings and visions. Some oracles remain as seers for their entire lives.

The Traditions

Oracles who follow this tradition excel at strategy and predicting army movements. They are often employed by nobles to help direct their armies. Often times Oracles who follow this tradition are also skilled at mundane strategy and battle tactics and have been known to lead armies of their own. More times than not, they are also quite skilled with a weapon.

Battle Oracles use a method of divining known as "Pain Visions". Pain visions are images that come to the mind of the Oracle when experiencing pain. These visions are brought on by self inflicting wounds. A common method of inflicting these wounds is by handling hot coals and steel. Another common method of divining major events and events in the far future is through a ritual of self deprivation known as Ti’Mak. The ritual of pain is very intense and will last for days. It is not uncommon for the oracle to actually die during or shortly after the ritual. Undertaking the ritual of Ti’Mak is not done lightly. Persuading an Oracle to do the ritual can often be very costly.

Another ritual of the Battle tradition is known as the Pa’ma. The Pa’ma is a final ritual of ultimate pain and finally death. In this ritual, the oracle administers a mortal wound to himself and spews out prophecy as he slowly dies. The ritual is carefully studied by the oracle for years in order to administer a wound that will be painful enough to bring on great visions but will bring about a slow enough death so that the oracle can divine enough of the future. The visions gained during the Pa’ma are considered sacred and regarded as highly precise.

Oracles in this tradition excel at foretelling and advising on matters of the heart. They also are the ones who preside over Valkin’vi weddings known as "Destiny Binding". On a child’s first birthday, he or she is taken to a Love oracle to undergo a ritual called the Pa’raan. The Pa’raan is a means of foretelling at what age the child should return to the love oracle in order to find a mate. At that time, usually between the sixteenth year and the twenty-first, the young Valkin’vi goes through a process of matchmaking in which the oracle finds the perfect mate for the person. Then, under the watchful eye of the oracle, courting begins. The process of courting is called Pa’antar and usually lasts about one year. The Pa’antar can only be ended by the oracle. When the Pa’antar is over, the ritual of Destiny binding is undergone. After a pair of Valkin’vi are coupled, the Love Oracle serves as an advisor. They go to the oracle to settle disputes and to determine the proper time to begin having children.

Oracles of Love use art as a means of bringing on their visions. The oracle’s skill as an artist usually increases as their skill as a seer increases. Oracles of love generally pick one form of art to focus on. The forms of art range from painting to poetry. If the form of art is physical, such as painting, the finished project is usually destroyed to add to the power of the vision. This ritual of destruction is called the Pan’ma’rak. It is said amongst the Valkin’vi that the true art of a Love Oracle is destroying artwork. Some love oracles chose a form of art, such as poetry or music that does not produce a physical product. In order to bring on more powerful visions, an oracle of this type will recite or play their piece over and over again until a potent vision comes. Then, the oracle will never again recite or play that particular piece. This ritual of repetition and silence is called Pe’ma’rak. The one piece of art that any love oracle works on continuously is called their Gana’rak or masterpiece. When a love oracle feels their Gana’rak is finished, they give it or recite it to their protégé. When the protégé is ready to become a full oracle, they destroy it in their first Pan’ma’rak or recite it over and over in their first Pe’ma’rak.. Thus, the last becomes the first.

Practitioners of this tradition are excellent at locating items and people. Acquisition oracles are commonly known as Finders. Finders often find themselves employed by treasure hunters and bounty hunters. They are used to locate treasure or bounties or at least provide a starting point to find them. Finders are often the wealthiest of the oracles. Some of the more business minded charge a percentage of what their clients find where as the more adventurous go out on their own to reap the rewards that their visions provide. Finders are the bane of thieves. They can be employed by a victim to recover their stolen goods. This has lead to a lot of tension between followers of the acquisition path and the members of the Valkin’vi underworld.

Acquisition Oracles use a means of scrying known as Pan’sar’raq or "The Speaking Object". The Pan’sar’raq ritual involves the finder holding an item that is associated with the person or item that the finder wishes to locate. The finder concentrates on the object until the object "Tells" the oracle where the person or other object is. This ritual involves intense uninterrupted concentration for sometimes as long as two hours. Another ritual used by finders is known as the Pa’Les’Ja or "The Pointing Finger". The Pa’Les’Ja struck me as a game played by children at parties. The Finder pins a map onto the wall, closes their eyes, spins around, and then points to a location on the map. The oracle feels that destiny guides their finger to the place where they need to look. The final ritual that finders practice for all their career is known as the Pa’due’gana’ver’sa or "The great Journey of Destiny". In the Pa’Due’Gana’Ver’Sa the oracle sells or gives away all of their worldly possessions and just wonders, letting destiny guide them. What awaits them at the end of their journey will be their destiny for the rest of their lives.

The weather seer is a strange being, often aloof even for a Valkin’vi. His world exists within the upper airs where he sails with his mind. It is also rumored among the Valkin’vi that the most skilled storm-seers can still control the weather like their ancestors did before them.

Weather Oracles employ a method of divining called Pa’yal’tak, or "Cloud Dancing". The Valkin’vi believes that the clouds are sentient beings who communicate through dance. By gazing at them and interpreting their dance, the oracles believe they can communicate with them. The Pa’yal’tak ritual involves the Oracle "Dancing" out the question to be divined and then laying on their back gazing at the clouds waiting for a response. Another ritual that Storm-seers use is called Pa’za’nak. In the Pa’za’nak, the oracle sits amongst the trees and listens to the wind blowing through them. They feel that the wind blows through the trees as a means of communicating with oracles and telling them the secrets of the skies. The final ritual that a Storm-seer prepares for their entire career is called Pa’Gana’yal’tak or "The big cloud Dance". The Pa’Gana’Yal’Tak is performed under stormy skies. The oracle asks the clouds to strike him with lightning. When struck by this lightning, the oracle shouts out prophecy as he dances for the clouds until he drops dead with exhaustion. The oracle’s protégé commits these prophecies to memory and then spreads them amongst the people. Visions gained during the Pa’Gana’Yal’Tak are not only considered precise, they are also considered to be for the public. The oracle is just interpreting what the clouds want the people to know.

It is the oracles of fate who are perhaps the most well-known of all the traditions. These are the diviners which humans tell stories about around the fireside, the men and women who are able to predict the future and read the past in everyday things.
While less accurate than battle, love, or possession oracles in specific prophecy, they are able to gain information in a wide variety of information on topics from the extraordinary to the mundane.

The Clans

The one thing in Valkin’vi society that is as important as destiny is family. Valkin’vi usually live close to all of their family. Sometimes, entire colonies are comprised of just one family. These large extended families are called clans. The clans are matrilineal. According to the Grand Oracles I interviewed, this focus on the importance of the woman in family history has its roots in the days when the Valkin’vi were used as slaves by the Valkin. The men were out working from as young as five years old. This left the woman at home to tend the children and try to make life as bearable as possible. Also, in the days when the Valkin killed random Valkin’vi, often men were killed before they could see their children born. The woman, on the other hand, was always present at the birth.

The Valkin’vi clans are too numerous to name here. Each clan has their own way of doing things but a few things are fairly common amongst them all. The clan usually has a core moral code or ideal for living. Some value stealth, others skill in battle, some value skills as lovers, etc. The leader of the clan is usually the eldest member regardless of their sex or the member that best personifies the clan ideals. Some clans are led by a council made up of the Eldest, the second eldest, the youngest adult, the member of the clan that best personifies the clan’s ideal or morals, and a random member of the populace determined by fate. Oracles are often consulted when making decisions of any magnitude.

The clans very rarely fight amongst themselves. This also seems to have its roots in the times of slavery they have had to endure. They see each other as "fellow sufferers" and are quick to point towards outsiders as the source of their troubles. If there is a dispute amongst clans, an agreed upon third party clan leader is asked to make a decision. If one can not be agreed on, the dispute is taken to a visionary of the Fate Tradition to decide.

The Creation of the Valkin’vi

According to Pa’To’lak grand oracle of Fate:

The firelight played about the Grand Oracle’s face. The wrinkles that covered his once perfect visage now were home for dark shadows which added to the mystery in the old man’s eyes. The room grew still as he rose to his feet and began to speak in a low harmonious voice.

"The creation of the Valkin’vi is rooted in the ancient society of the An’dar. The An’dar were a people who relied heavily on magics. One day, the High wizard, ruler of all the An’dar, was strolling along a path through a lush forest with his true love. The winds suddenly picked up and a storm cloud blew over head. A torrential down pour commenced. The wizard and his companion were drench. The wizard’s true love grew angry with him and said ‘You are a great wizard yet you can not keep the rain from ruining my dress.’. She ran off deep into the forest."

"The wizard decided then that the only way to win back his true love was to show her that he could master the skies and the weather. He spent long nights trying to devise a ritual that would allow him to control the weather. One night, while researching the ritual, a chilling wind blew through the library. All the lights in the room blew out. Even the magical ones ceased to throw forth light. In the darkness a small globe of brilliant blue light appeared and began to grow larger and larger until it formed the shape of a young man."

"The young glowing man introduced himself as Mistriale, a messenger from a people known as the Valkin. He told the wizard that he had heard of his plight and was willing to offer him a deal. The Valkin possessed the ability to control the weather and to interact with both the physical plane, the plane of the An’dar, and the empyrean plane, the plane of the Valkin. The problem was that the Valkin lost the ability to reproduce and their numbers were dwindling. The Valkin agreed to control the weather if the wizard would create more Valkin. The wizard agreed and was given a scroll with the ritual upon it."

"The next morning, the High wizard gathered together ten of his top advisors and cast the ritual upon them. The advisors were wrought with anguish and pain as their physical bodies were stripped away and they became glowing figures which soon disappeared. Mistriale materialized before the wizard and told him that the ritual was a partial success. The beings which were created were not Valkin like they expected. The newly created creatures were not as powerful as the Valkin and they could not appear on the physical plane. The new creatures were given the name An’Valkin’vi, the low Valkin."

"After the first partial success with the ritual, the Valkin still agreed to control the weather if they were supplied with more of these new creatures. The Valkin used the An’Valkin’Vi as slaves. They forced them to control the weather and to build a grand city from which the Valkin controlled the An’Valkin’Vi. After a few years, the amount of volunteers to undergo the ritual dwindled to nothing. The An’dar were forced to use their convicted criminals for the ritual. During these years, another interesting discovery was made, the An’Valkin’Vi could reproduce. The An’dar, upon discovering this, stopped creating more An’Valkin’Vi and began trading other items with the Valkin."

"The years that followed were years of slavery and oppression for the An’Valkin’Vi. They were forced to work day and night to either control the weather of a plane they could never even visit or building palaces that they were not allowed to enter. They were forced to live in cast off homes and find their own food. During this time, the An’Valkin’Vi also began to multiply. Soon their numbers dwarfed those of the Valkin. This realization that they out numbered the Valkin spawned the first An’Valkin’Vi rebellion which came to be known as ‘The Slaughter of Sirocco Tower ."

"The Slaughter of Sirocco Tower was the darkest hour of An’Valkin’Vi history. Over five thousand An’Valkin’vi rebels were destroyed in less than a few minutes. It was then that the An’Valkin’Vi realized that the Valkin could only be killed by special means. A means that the An’Valkin’Vi did not know. All seemed lost. The An’Valkin’Vi felt helpless like a gnat in a hurricane. They dredged through generations of slavery, oppression, and squashed rebellions. To curb further rebellions, the Valkin would systematically destroy An’Valkin’Vi in order to keep their numbers down and more manageable. Mothers would wake up to find their children slaughtered in the night. Wives would wake up while their husbands body lay undiscovered in a gutter. Thousands died like cattle at the hands of the Valkin."

"The Valkin were a long lived race. They were also endowed with great powers, including eidetic memories. One Valkin in particular did not like the acts of horror and destruction that haunted his memory. He was the one who first approached the High wizard. He became known as Mistriale, Father of the An’Valkin’Vi. He saw the An’Valkin’Vi as his children and his responsibility. He did not like the way they were treated by the Valkin but he could do nothing about it. He was of very low standing in the kingdom and held no sway with the council or the king. The others did not see the An’Valkin’vi as equals. They viewed them as beasts to be bought, sold, and tended. On several occasions Mistriale pleaded with the council to let the An’Valkin’Vi have their freedom but it was to no avail. It was on one particular day of pleading that Mistriale was laughed out of the council chambers. A moment that was burned in his mind. A moment that would shape history forever."

"Mistriale, after being laughed out of the council chambers again, grew angry. He went home and called an An’Valkin’Vi woman to his library. He asked the woman to take a message to the rebellion leader of the time. In the message, Mistriale, gave the secret to killing the Valkin and a key to the grand palace gates. The An’Valkin’Vi immediately gathered a mismatched army together and formulated a plan of attack. A plan to shrug off the chains of slavery once and for all, and kill ALL the Valkin. A message was sent to Mistriale to thank him for the secret and to assure him that he and his family would be spared if they hid in his library during the attack."

"The message was intercepted by a Valkin council advisor. It was too late for the Valkin to save themselves or prevent the attack. In a fit of rage, the King and his council waited for Mistriale and his family in the library. When they arrived, The council set upon him and bound him and his family. They then forced Mistriale to watch as they tortured his family to death. Then, they began to torture Mistriale. Just as the council was about to kill him, the An’Valkin’Vi burst into the library and killed all of the council members. Mistriale was spared, the last of his race to be allowed to live."

"The rebel leader was put into power as king and used the grand Valkin palace as his own. He was a goodly king and well liked by his subjects. His first order of royal business was to abolish the name An’Valkin’Vi for it meant the low Valkin in the tongue of a people they never saw. Instead, it was declared that they shall be called Valkin’vi, the little storm. He also declared that the kingdom shall be called Mistriallia, after the one who lead the people out of slavery. Mistriallia prospered in the years that followed. Generations went by and soon the Valkin’vi were populating most of the empyrean plane."

"Life was peaceful and good in Mistriallia until one day, when the people who once created the Valkin’vi, began to play with magics far beyond their abilities. A ritual meant to open a gateway to other realms so that the overcrowded from the physical plane could find more land to colonize turned to disaster. The ritual was interrupted by a group of squabbling little beings. The immense magic was released unchecked onto the face of the physical plane and some seeped through the partially open gateway and onto the empyrean plane. Thousands of Valkin’vi were changed into fleshy forms and ripped from the empyrean plane and thrown into a strange place. A place the people called Phantera."

"We Valkin’vi live here still today. Holding on to our traditions and waiting for the time of ‘The Returning’. The time when all clans and traditions will unite to open the gateway to our ancestors. The time is near. Hold onto your traditions, remember the prophecies, and may your destiny guide you home to Mistriallia."

Notes on Valkin’vi language

The language of the Valkin’vi is rarely spoken in front of outsiders. I was amongst the Valkin’vi for five years and only heard the language fully spoken once. The trained ear can still hear roots of the an’dar language within the language of the Valkin’vi. The noun signifiers are Pa’ for animate, Pan’ for inanimate, and Pe’ for things that are considered without form. This has the same sound as the an’dar languages An’ Ana’ and A’. The language also clues the educated researcher into the things that the Valkin’vi feel are simalar. For example, The words for cloud, wind, and Art are Tak, Nak, and Rak respectively. I have listed some Valkin’vi words below:

Pan (Inanimate)
Pa (Animate)
Tak (Animate): Cloud. Note that the word is animate showing the Valkin’vi belief that the clouds are alive
Nak (Animate): Wind. Also note that this is animate, once again, showing the Valkin’vi belief that the wind is alive.
Pan’Rak (Inanimate): A work of physical art such as a painting, a drawing, or sculpture.
Pe’Rak (Formless): A work of art that is not physical such as a poem, a story, or a song.

Jared T

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