[Written] Valkin'Vi' Hierarchy

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[Written] Valkin'Vi' Hierarchy

Post  Troy N on Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:06 pm

Valkin'Vi' Hierarchy
(Some of this can be found on the Final Haven website in the Lore Archive)

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.

Oracles
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.

Prophet
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.

Visionary
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.

Seer
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

Battle
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.

Love
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.

Acquisitions/Scrying
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.

Weather
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.

FATE
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.


Taken from "A Biography of Silverthorne" by Sathin Maevers published by House Toevass in 1000 P.E.W.


Last edited by Troy N on Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:28 pm; edited 1 time in total

Troy N

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Re: [Written] Valkin'Vi' Hierarchy

Post  Troy N on Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:25 pm

[This part is a mix of written, verbal, and suggested lore as Christen and I have both talked at length about this.]

For those Valkin'Vi' that are not chosen at birth to become an Oracle, they will fall under one of the Nine Orders. While this is usually foreseen during the birth prophecy, there are instances where a child has not had the opportunity to be named. In these rare cases where prophecy has not foretold the child's place in society, they are forced to wander until it is made clear to them.

Some, but not all Valkin'Vi will paint an aspect of which Order they serve on their mask, face or body, so that others may know. In addition, a partial symbol would signify the beginning of the Journey, while a full symbol would signify a Master of that Order. It is a sign of respect between Valkin'Vi to greet one another by the paint on the others' face, but without assigning rank i.e. "May your blade always be sharp, Lightning Rider" "May your hammer strike true, Star Gazer".

Most Valkin'Vi settlements consist of members from most, if not all, of the Orders. In this sense, members of every Order are treated equally, and no one Order is higher than the other, as their most important goal is to work together to reunify and ultimately find and open the Door to Mistrallia.

The Orders

(In no particular order)
1. Oracles - this Order is explained in-depth above. Unlike the following Orders, Oracles are unique in that they have a more rigid structure between apprentice, teacher and master.

2. Lighting Riders - this Order is raised with the sole purpose and duty of protecting high ranking Oracles (usually Grand Oracles and Prophets). Extremely adept in martial combat, Lightning Riders will sometimes learn the secrets of reading the future so that they may be better prepared to defend any attack. If a Lightning Rider ever fails in protecting an Oracle, they most often fall into a "Vengeance Frenzy" and will only stop until whomever or whatever killed their Oracle is dead, or they themselves die. A Lightning Rider is usually paired to an Oracle during the Birth-Prophecy Ritual, and will train and grow together so that they may be better in tune with each other when they mature.

3. Mystics (Wizards) - Most often trained in weather manipulation, Mystics are more open to the magical energies of Phanterra. Most often, Mystics are trained to use their magical abilities in combat whether it be offensive, defensive or augmentive. Much like members of the other Nine Orders, only a handful that walk the path of the Mystic have fully attained the title of Master.

4. Shadow Reavers (Rogues) - Much like the name implies, Shadow Reavers are adepts at moving through and manipulating shadows. Not only that, they are trained at incapacitating an enemy without them even knowing it, from finding the weakest point in a suit of armor, to rendering a target unconscious with a simple handshake.

5. Balance Walker (Healers) - This Order has always trained the very best healers, performing feats that are just short of miracles. Trained to heal a multitude of ailments and injuries, there are rumors that Master Balance Walkers are even capable of reaching past Death’s Door to revive someone that has been dead for hours.

6. Storm Wielder (Warriors) - Storm Wielder's are raised in the arts of combat and spend their entire lifetime trying to master their chosen weapon proficiency, from the basic long sword, to the bow and arrow, and even the polearm. This Order is arguably the largest of the Nine, with most Storm Wielders travelling Phanterra in search of the Door to Mistrallia. Those that choose to remain in one location often become bodyguards or town guards, as they are held in high esteem for their combat prowess.

7. Song Warden (Ephemereal Crafter/Empaths) – Song Wardens are raised and trained in the arts of ethereal crafting. Song Warden’s are chosen for their innate ability to communicate, and even shape the ethereal to their will. Most often they aid Balance Walker’s in healing, and if an essence is unable to return to a vessel, they are crucial in assisting the transition to the afterlife.

8. Star Gazer (Metal Craftsman) – The most skilled of The Kin with a forge and hammer, there are rumors that Master Star Gazer’s, at one time, could shape metals with a spoken word. Not limited to merely crafting arms and armor, Star Gazer’s can forge anything from the mundane (farming implements, locks, horseshoes, etc) to the extraordinary.

9. Wind Weaver (Animate Crafter) – Trained and raised in the ways of animal lore, Wind Weaver’s seem to be naturally attuned to most living creatures. Not only are they the best of the An’Irri at farming, because of their seemingly innate ability to communicate with most living things, Wind Weaver’s also make excellent diplomats, bureaucrats, and captains.

As mentioned above, no single Order has more authority than the others. For the most part, members of the Nine coexist peacefully and are quick to help any of the Painted Folk. If a problem between the Orders ever does surface, it is dealt with quickly, and harshly most often by the closest, highest ranking Oracle. These problems are few and far between, as most of the Kin are raised from birth with a natural affinity for other members of their race.

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Re: [Written] Valkin'Vi' Hierarchy

Post  TCOLE on Tue Mar 01, 2011 9:58 am

The order of Wizards is broken down into three types.
Weather-Witches: The most powerful of the sorcerers. They can summon gale force winds, lightning and the forces of nature. They are afforded the highest status of the An’irri magi.
Fate-Twisters: The wizards of the house of fate are tied closely to the Oracles. The Fate-Twisters can create powerful curses and affect outcomes by manipulating raw chance.
Shadow Binders: The Shadow Binders are nomads who travel up and down the world seeking out the enemies of An’irri and removing them. In particular they find holes in the world where alien creatures of the outer dark wait between walls and bind them.

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