Some of you may be wondering "Why aren't superstitions on specific race pages?" or "Why aren't the superstitions listed on the city or kingdom?" Both of these questions are completely valid, but we decided to give superstitions their own page because cultures tend to mix, much like the peoples that populate Tam'nýer—a', and the fact that we would like you to be able to pick and choose whichever ones tickle your fancy for your character design.
That being said there are a handful of superstitions that are popping up as the lore and cultures of Tam'nýer—a' develop, growing more rich, that are attributed to a particular race and/or place.
Püertagœ, Fawzia-Kedet, The Sky-Coral Sea & ZàÞça
No matter how cute, annoying or revered (depending upon where you are in Tam'nýer-a') Grásh are, they carry a dark message if one happens to enter your home. While they are Tam'nýer-a''s version of our seagulls, and look like miniature & lithe dragons, if a Grásh
manages to get in to your house through an open window or door that has been left open, it's best to check if everyone you love is okay as a Grásh in the home means that someone you love is either dead or dying. However, do keep in mind that when they enter the home, it usually only concerns the well-being of someone who lives there too.
Püertagœ & ZàÞça
Ap'lüqwi are cunning animals that roam the streets of Püertagœ & ZàÞça. In fact, their existence in the streets is encouraged distinctly for food/garbage disposal, ultimately aiding in in preventing disease or illness caused by rampant waste. Not to mention actually eating biological waste.
However, despite these beautiful animals being so helpful, depending on the season and how much rain has been pelting down on the cities already, the Ap'lüqwi have a small, yet useful superstition. When they go to clean their faces, if their paw goes behind their ear, and washed their face from that point on, it is believed that it will rain within the next 24 hours. Apparently they aren't just good for keeping the streets clean of rodents and disease, but also calling mother nature forth to wash everything clean with rain too. Who knew animals made good meteorologists?
The Docents of Dreaming; Oðjo
In a land above us all is a land hidden away in the clouds. Magic guards it, and we shall never be able to see it, but it is there, and it guides us without our knowledge, and we when are most vulnerable; in our dreams. Whenever we lay supine, eyes closed, getting what we need; rest, we are being 'dabbled' with. You see, in the land hidden away in the clouds, invisible to our eyes live beings, some we would find beautiful, others grotesque. Their sole entertainment and reason for living is toying with us, being our guardians in our sleep. They are the Docents of Dreaming, or Oðjo. When a dream suddenly changes, it could be because they have exchanged places, moved onto another dreamer, and gotten someone else to take over. Some like to take us to our wildest dreams, others would love for us to taste the fear and imminence of Death.
For those moments when we don't feel tired but sleep anyway, it is most likely because there is only one winding, dizzying road that creates the land above, and when one is busy guiding us through slumber, they cannot pass; they must wait for their fellow to be finished, and so, they themselves will sit or lay down on the road to better reach us, and choose who will be their toy.
Vç (vis) are the Tam'nýer—a''n version of dreamcatchers. It is a tradition, practice and superstition followed by many, but its roots are ignored as it seeped into regular belief when Fawzia-Kedet was still डकईभर (Ḍakaībhara), and relations with the Ṅkhya'jra were healthy.
Upon first look, one will quickly realize that Vç are not the dreamcatchers us on Earth have come to expect. Instead of woven leathers, sinew, beads & feathers are wonderful arrays of colours and whites provided by insects to drown out "the shadow's of one's mind". Or in layman's terms; nightmares. Some arrangements can feature black or dark shades, and this is to represent that the owner is trying to speak to the Oðjo and reveal to them that not all darkness is denied. That some shadows are acceptable. Think of those who have darker Vç to be extremely pragmatic, who belief whole heartedly that in order to have good one must have some bad, or they might be a touch on the cynical side.
Nonetheless, if the Oðjo (Docents of Dreaming) tend to make you their patsy, it might be time to get a Vç.
Now, while this superstition called Géede, (which in C'eröd literally means 'bed'), most certainly can tie into the Oðjo (Docents of Dreaming), it is usually regarded as a separate superstition because this one hinges on one very simple fact; whether you made your bed before sun down. Don't get me wrong though, it's not a superstition to teach you to make your bed every morning.
This superstitious belief is only applicable if you are moving into a new home, and you haven't made/setup your bed before nightfall. If you have, then you are in the clear, and may all the Gods bless you with the sweetest of dreams and protection from the Oðjo. If, however, you have failed to so, beware. Your nights in this new home will have a higher tendency to be restless or traumatic, as dreams of terrifying happenstance may plague you. You may gain insomnia, your bed, while perfectly fine before, may turn lumpy and uncomfortable. You may wake up with a stiff back, or legs, and aching joints. Worse yet, you may begin to wake up every morning as though you are drowning.
So, if you are moving, start early in the morning, and whatever you do, make your bed!
CONCERNING HEALTH & MEDICINE
Midwife and physician tools tend to have Uu'krieuvan or Ilăș carved into the tip of it to signify that the Gods guide them. Having tools inscribed with Uu'krieuvan or Ilăș literally is a way to bring divine healing with physical healing. It brings peace, calm and reassurance that usually eases both physician and patient when it comes to small procedures to full blown surgeries.
In addition to these carving in tools, midwifery primarily use tools made from ivory, imported from the Sky-Coral Sea (Uwhang). To midwives ivory is priceless as tools for birthing, or for checking the health of female genitalia. It might be porous, but it is the most sturdy, smooth and durable. Not only that, but it is easy to sterilize making it so that midwife tools can last longer than a mere lifetime and be passed down.
Seizures can naturally occur in childhood, or any time before the end of an individual's first year of life. Seizures are oddly viewed as gods trying to claim people, or trying to communicate by taking over a person's body. This in turn makes seizure sufferers taken in as Oracles or Prophets; they have a spiritual ability to pass messages from their afterlife. In fact, because of this assumption rather than try and cure seizures, because we actually know what they are, the people who suffer them actually try and induce them more often because of the elevated status it brings. Some even go so far as to take illegal substances to appear in rapture, and try to trigger an episode.
Even if the seizure sufferer were simply farmers or a brothel worker before they started experiencing these episodes, they would be regarded highly from that point on. So much so, that they would be regarded as Oracles or Prophets; people to follow advice from. Local people give them offerings of P'ee K'äh, food, drink and perhaps even offer services, such as making clothing. For the most part, if an individual develops seizures, accepting this elevated status of oracle/prophet is taken on as a profession, setting up 'shop', so to speak, in the same place every day to accept said aforementioned offerings and hear prayers.
Obviously, seizures are not a common happenstance, otherwise seizures would most likely be viewed entirely different. No sense in being considered a prophet if any joe blow next door could be one.
A little modern day knowledge about seizures:
Seizures presented in Hollywood can look pretty dramatic in comparison to real ones, and depending upon the type of seizure the affects can change. So for now what we'll give you, if you are interested in writing an Oracle character, is a generalization of what symptoms your character may experience:
Repetitive movements, e.g., hand rubbing
A change or loss of consciousness or awareness, e.g., staring off into nothingness, not responding to outside stimuli
Involuntary jerking of a body part or parts
In contrast to involuntary jerking body parts, muscles may tense, stiffening to the point of causing you to fall, or a complete loss of control where the muscles go loose and limp.
Spontaneous sensory symptoms, e.g., tingling, facial numbness, dizziness
Very rare happenstance, though worth noting nonetheless: incontinence.
Once the episode (seizure) is done, one may experience what is called in modern medicine as an postictal state. A postictal state is a continuation of an altered state of consciousness that begins only after a seizure, as the person returns to 'baseline' function, (normal). Most postictal states present themselves in emotional exaggerations such as fear, paranoia, anxiety or finding everything hilarious, and may seem as though a person is merely intoxicated, with the addition of a headache or migraine, nausea, drowsiness and definite confusion. The postictal state can last anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes after a seizure.
It should be noted that after a seizure, with a postictal state or not, one would feel immensely exhausted afterwards may sleep for 10+ earth hours.
With Tam'nýer—a' being a world wrought with dead Gods and superstitions, this superstition is one instilled so much so that it affects basic house decor.
Xérăs is the Many-Faced Devil that resides within all mirrors. It watches you while you are at your most vulnerable; asleep, or naked. Xérăs does this as it's only way of living beyond the mirror is to possess a person for a day. Because of this terrifying power, mirrors are never placed in a bedroom facing the bed, or in a bathroom where it can see, or 'watch' you whilst naked because Xérăs requires this vulnerability to sneak into your mind and take over.
The reason why it is referred to as a Many-Faced Devil is that if you sleep or take your morning bath in sight of a mirror, your subconscious is at the forefront or you are too busy 'philosophizing in the shower' which allows for your guards to drop. This gives the Xérăs its in, and you may wake or vacate your bath with your mood changed completely on its head and not know why. This can cause a sour person to be cheerful and overly philanthropic, or render a generally copacetic person to a sour brute.
The danger of this is simple; a reputation takes years to build and seconds to destroy. However, relinquishing the hold of a Xérăs is easy as it lies within a good night's rest without the presence of a mirror. For the most part, it is cured with one night's sleep, but at most should only retain a hold for 3 days.
Zäal are another superstition for parents to use in order to discipline their children. Zäal are desperate women of the water who live in the aqueducts throughout Püertagœ, and are used to keep children from playing in the Republic's water supply as the currents can be quite strong. It is said that the Zäal are always looking for children and will pull them down if given the chance. Zäal are tormented by their very existence as they are literally made of the water, which is of course, life-giving, and yet cannot have their own. Out of desperation to be mothers, they drag children under the water, drowning them and making them theirs.
Humans & Nkhya'jra primarily
Q'uerîl is an old wives' tale used mainly by parents to teach children to be honest. Q'uerîl was a young man, and with being young came the feeling of being invincible. Ambitious for better things, Q'uerîl decided that he could get anywhere by any means; what he could not achieve by himself honestly, he would be false and lie. Little by little, the more Q'uerîl lied, the more his heart turned to stone. Finally, as an older man, ruler of all he could want, richer beyond his dreams and without a need, Q'uerîl could not enjoy any of his achievements because he lost heart. Losing any form of enjoyment or compassion because he had been so dishonest his heart had become solely stone and nothing else.
Pertinent to multiple places but very prominently Püertagœ
Sweet, almost pixie-like. She sits and waits in the light of Nue for you to come, just on the brink of forest, brush, or jungle away from prying eyes. Sitting with her companion that we would know as an owl, she brandishes a large spoon. She will tell you to look into it, as if it were a mirror, and in one swipe, she will scoop you up, locking you inside of it. Men, women and children are all susceptible to her charm, the wonder she creates. Her skin looks soft as silk, he demeanor is playful, yet cunning. There’s a shine of intelligence in those eyes that gives you a feeling that she has witnessed countless millennia.
But what is her purpose? Sitting there waiting for people to come to her, weaving on song on the air in the night. Khvylisa is only active during the crisp Spring, Autumn and Winter seasons. She is the one responsible for when you lose a loved one to the snow with their bellies warm with drink. Khvylisa is a woman calling to those who are out later than they should be, doing something they perhaps should not be. She is the consequence when you may have already experienced Judgment in Püertagœ, and she is the shiv in mercenaries pockets in the dead of night.
Khvylisa is not a God, but a superstition to the denizens of Tam'nýer—a', who is thriving. People who mysteriously disappear never to be heard from again are usually attributed to succumbing to Khvylisa, but it also means that that individual may have been up to no good in a massive way. Perhaps your husband had been carrying on an affair for a month or more. Perhaps your child was growing up too fast, getting into things they shouldn’t have. Perhaps your wife is stealing your money, and poisoned your mother so that she could partake in your inheritance.
Whatever the case, Khvylisa knows, and she judges without hesitation.
While Khvylisa may caution people from doing things in the ‘cover of night’, dispelling the very idea that there is no true ‘cover’ in the light of the moon and shadows of night, Khvylisa poses more danger in the long run. This is because good people who get murdered on the way home from a pub can get smeared after death, especially if their body isn’t found. The military of Püertagœ particularly have a difficult time trying to reduce Khvylisa’s snare on the people, as it makes their investigations into disappearances all the more difficult as someone people are adamant on settling that they have come to blows with Khvylisa.
Khvylisa is sometimes also referred to as ‘The Man’s Whore’, furthering the shame and slander that comes with disappearing randomly, never to show up again. ‘Man’, of course, is used here to describe men, women and children, such as ‘mankind’. However, when in reference to a troublesome child disappearing she is regarded as ‘The Lullaby’. A very different feeling, as it is played off as though a temperamental child who would have surely grown up to be no good gave in and went quietly to sleep, as if saving one’s family from judgment.
In truth, Khvylisa bolsters Püertagœ’s graffiti of Judgment. If you’ve received it once, you are believed to be at risk of falling victim to her. She is the embodiment of consequence, fear and fate for ill-advised actions.
Pertinent to the Z'sa'Ză-'Bäa
The Zlephka is an infamously popular superstition among the people in the mountains of T-'a'Ţăs'múr. It is spoken of as a monster, one that lurks in the darkness of the forest covered grounds at the base of the mountains. The Z'sa'Ză-'Bäa speak of it truly as though it were as real as the suns themselves, their fear of the creature is widely known.
This creature is said to have the body of a Wôrdiţ, but the head of a tree stump. Some claim that its fur, though short is so matted is appears as though it is molding. Some go so far as to say that its body is actually inside out, its flesh is really its entrails. But all agree that the Zlephka has a large gaping mouth with sharp wooden teeth filling the entirety of it. Its eyes like black pits, but up close one would see that they too are filled with these sharpened wooden spines for teeth. The Z'sa'Ză-'Bäa's fear of this creature is to the extreme.
They fear touching the forest floors when the night falls come. If one or two Z'sa'Ză-'Bäa are alone in the forest during the darkened nights, it is believed that this creature will hunt them. It only hunts in the dark. It is said to eat whomever it is hunting, chomping away at the face of its victims first, and as you go to push it away, its eyes then begin to devour you as well. Parents warn their children to never travel to the forest floors in during the dark nights. Many Z'sa'Ză-'Bäa have claimed to have seen it in their life times, but none have managed to capture it, kill it, or find any real remains. However, their belief remains steadfast. For this reason, the Z'sa'Ză-'Bäa will do far less trading during the seasons in which they have night times.
The origin of this story comes from a deep reach in the Z'sa'Ză-'Bäa's histories, so far long ago that none remember the time that it had begun or how many years had gone by. It was a superstition taught from before the Gods themselves had abandoned them all. A child had wandered to the woods surrounding the base of the mountains during the eerie twilight months and managed to spy a Wôrdiţ with its head stuck inside a log. Needless to say the animal was panicked, thrashing, and certainly waling unheard of noises. The fear that had struck the child by the bizarre sight had confused them and sent them scurrying home to their parents to tell the tale. Over generations the story had spread like wildfire and became warped to what it has been known of now.
Kîn'Kaß are strange but beautiful to behold, that is, if you manage to see one. Much like many folklore surrounding forests and jungles that depict ‘tree spirits’, the Khah’ have the Kîn’Kaß. They are no taller than the length of your hand, while some may only be the length of your pinky finger. They are quick to scurry away, and do not like to be seen unless they believe you have a good heart and wish no harm to the world around you. For this reason, children are the main one’s claiming to see them, still unburdened by the stress and responsibility of adulthood to skew their vision.
Like the Khah’, the Kîn’Kaß live together as families so big they can safely qualify as a proper tribe. Each individual wears a different color, and usually has horns adorned with their own spirit animal. That’s right! Even the spirits have spirits! The Kîn’Kaß mainly live in the large trees throughout the Sky-Coral Sea, and survive off the fungus houses that the Khah’ reside in.
It is said that if a house should be begin to fall into disrepair, or the fungus gets sickly that offerings should be put out in the home in a designated spot as an offering to the Kîn’Kaß, as they are the Healers of the Jungle. As if mirroring how the Storytellers speak to the Khah’Xia, the Kîn’Kaß speak to Uu’krieuvan and when Death & Reincarnation walks about, they will speak on your behalf to Him in order for your home to get His blessing.
In thanks to this belief, (or superstition), most Khah’ homes not only leave little offerings to the Kîn’Kaß at all times, but they also supply little houses for them. More often than not, they are located on pedestals in a nook near an open window so that the Kîn’Kaß are free to come and go as they please. Some Khah’ villages however, will have a communal home for the Kîn’Kaß. If this is the case, the home is usually at the epicenter of the village, and responsibility for keeping it clean, free of debris and the Kîn’Kaß fed is a shared responsibility.
The most gracious of offerings to the Kîn’Kaß aside from food is a small candle (think tealight) to keep them warm at night.
सुसुकि · Susuki
It all begins with a rich merchant's daughter stealing into the night in an ornamented rickshaw. With her entourage of trusted servants aiding her, no more than 4, in the light of Nue, she embarked on a journey that surely the great god Hirself could understand as it was for her love and true companion, to her husband to-be and most importantly, of her own choosing.
She refused all the suitors that came and that her parents had arranged; heart & mind settled upon a lowly automata craftsman. His gentle way with her that echoed in his delicate touch and eye for detail in his work. Convinced that Nue would protect her, she fled with her servants and few chosen possessions, though she forgotten to say a prayer and give an offering before her perilous journey. Perhaps that is why her beloved servants were slaughtered when they were surprised on the road by a band of restless thugs; men who had too much to drink, scorned by their families for amounting to nothing.
Surely this beautiful rickshaw carried someone of worth, and wouldn't their families come crawling and begging to take part of their riches then? Once a ransom was paid, they would have to answer to no one but themselves. Though in their drunken haze, adrenaline and rapacity, they killed her servants, and tore the young woman from her mother's rickshaw only to quell their alcohol-induced lust prior to slitting her throat. The men were caught and hung, but the trail on which the hopeful woman traveled was said to be stained with her blood, and her cries of desperation took to being the only thing the breezes that crossed that place would sing. So, it became overgrown, avoided.
Now, as the tale comes back to popularity, as most love stories do (whether fulfilled or not), a shrine stands in that place. With funds from a small group of people who wanted to bring awareness to the story of the pretty young girl who dared to love the shrine was built. It is rumoured that when they were out to pick a place on the abandoned trail that they found an intricate automata in the tall black grass, worn by time and made priceless. No doubt, left at some point by her lover, the man she lost her life for.
The woman's tragic end is now marked by tradition. Some choose to celebrate it on the first night of Nue's week (Nue'qwi) and some choose to celebrate it every night of the week; dressing up in all their finery, or as ghouls to scare off the would-be murderers. They walk from the city and nearby communities to the shrine, leaving gifts and the leftovers of their shared feast that they hold there to nourish and ease her cries on the breeze, so that perhaps in spirit she can make the rest of her journey from so long ago. Because of the story of how the shrine came to be erected on its exact spot, some will even leave automata, and these become part of her shrine, simply known as सुसुकि·Susuki, which has become accepted as the young woman's name.
In beautiful irony, as the tradition is to dispel her wails of agony during her undoing, the walk itself is a thriving echo of Fawzia's history as a Nkhya'jran city: Ḍakaībhara.
Though semi-frequent on Tam'nýer—a', thanks in part to her two suns, it is treated with a sense of caution. When an eclipse is happening, beaches are devoid of people. While witnessing an eclipse is completely acceptable, there are rumours that the battles of Sẙg—stà', the war between the Sk'älik and Giyu, come to life to relive their final, painful moments on the sands, their cries echoed on the breeze when Nýer—a' is blocked.
It is suspect that this happens due to the ferocity of Q'Tam'šmă's sadness pulls the misery from the sands itself.
Now names have quite a few superstitious connotations to them so for this section, (because it is also a WIP) will be presented in point form;
Because a lot of name formats throughout Tam'nýer—a' can contain names of other people, whether they be a parent or a relative, and we're talking given names not surnames, it is thought that personality traits can be passed down through said names given. That being said, because what parent doesn't want the best for their child, the act of giving a child someone's name is an enormous honour, for instance if someone named their baby after you. It also means that they might be trying to harness a particular trait that you yourself may exhibit for their child with your name.
This in turn can also spell disaster for some or create doubt in someone because the person who's name they carry may have turned out to be a bad egg. A prime example of this is D'rÿden Kăval Sum’nër’, Head of the Sum’nër’ Family (one of 12 Greater Families). D'rÿden's middle name is Kăval, after his father. However, it wasn't until recently that it came to light that his father Kăval had in fact cheated on his mother, and got his mistress pregnant. Since then Kăval has been banned from the First Ring of Püertagœ and has lost all financial support. In effect, D'rÿden can't help but feel gross, or that him bearing his father's name stains him in some way and spells disaster, though he does not share this with anyone.
When it comes to fluttery heart feels, don't think names are exempt either. In fact, some people have been known to avoid saying a person's first given name in general. This is because it is believed by some that speaking a person's name leaves a 'ghost' of that person on your lips, making them more difficult to forget.
Since we never truly know other people, some consider it a risk to speak names so carelessly. Most especially since this superstition also has a romantic connotation. You see, with that lingering ghost of a name imprinted on your lips, that name may come to mind even when you are not expecting it, which translates to the fact that you may be either in fear or in denial of having genuine feelings for or towards said person.