llamaenterhear
Username: Password:

Author Topic: The Eye Upon Our Children  (Read 4482 times)

0 Members and 1 Lonely Barbarian are spying on this topic.

Offline CaptainPenguin

  • Bastardo!
  • Squirrel Strolenati
  • Emperor
  • *
  • Posts: 5869
  • Awards Questor Hall of Heroes 10
    • Awards
The Eye Upon Our Children
« on: September 09, 2004, 08:28:34 PM »
The Eye Upon Our Children gazes always upon the Empire, that mortal conglomeration, child of our exiled brother, Dreaming Dark. The Imperials, as the most powerful and keen-witted among all Men, are deserving of a close examination, and so shall we give it them, to increase the Praxis' mention of our greatest threat.
See, learn and know.
Currently Reading: "Kafka On The Shore" by Haruki Murakami

Currently Listening To: "Piece Of Time" by Atheist

Offline CaptainPenguin

  • Bastardo!
  • Squirrel Strolenati
  • Emperor
  • *
  • Posts: 5869
  • Awards Questor Hall of Heroes 10
    • Awards
The Eye Upon Our Children
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2004, 08:31:08 PM »
The Imperial Genotype

Imperials are shorter than many other Forms of Men, with males standing 5'3"-5'7" (160-170 cm) and females 4'10"-5'4" (147-163 cm), with forms inclined to slenderness.

They have smooth, golden-toned skin, giving them a Mediterranean look. Imperials have broad, brachycephalic heads with rather high foreheads and widely spaced, large eyes. Their noses are small, narrow, and pert (perhaps retrousse), with small nostrils. Their faces have a definite narrowing toward the chin and most do not have high cheekbones.

Imperials have dark brown or auburn hair that grows straight and somewhat stiffly; men trim their hair short so that it ends at the nape of the neck, and brush it forward, while women grow theirs long and wear it parted to either side of the face and flowing down the back.
Currently Reading: "Kafka On The Shore" by Haruki Murakami

Currently Listening To: "Piece Of Time" by Atheist

Offline CaptainPenguin

  • Bastardo!
  • Squirrel Strolenati
  • Emperor
  • *
  • Posts: 5869
  • Awards Questor Hall of Heroes 10
    • Awards
The Eye Upon Our Children
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2004, 05:16:46 PM »
Imperial Dress

Imperial dress for men consists of a mantle-like garment (si'to) that drapes over the shoulders, back, and upper chest about to the top of the solarplexus, as well as "sleeves" that are slipped onto the arms and end at the wrist and above the elbow (these are called e'ga'te), and knee-length loose trousers (neo'to) that are tightened to close at the knee. Also included  is a belt (neo'to'pa) that must be drawn into a knot, and the hanging leftover cloth thrust again through the belt in a loop. Those in the Imperial service wear hip-capes attached to their belts. Footwear is sandals of cord and leather.
During very formal occasions, Imperial men may don a loose-sleeved, knee-length surcoat (si'sessa), under which is worn the usual si'to and e'ga'te. Formal trousers (neo'asse) are ankle-length and very baggy, similar to traditional Chinese pantaloons. Formal footwear is silken slippers.

Imperial dress for woman consist of a calf-length, sleevless (lete'to) dress with straps that cross over the upper arm (as opposed to the shoulder), leaving the shoulders and throat area bare. This is accompanied by a belt (lete'to'pa) of similar fashion to that of a man's. Footwear is the same as men.
Formal dress for women is generally the same, however, an ankle-length over-robe (lete'sessa) is belted over it. It is currently the style for women to go barefoot in formal situations.

Imperial weather clothing usually consists of a heavy, long coat that is knee-length (na'bo) and a wide-brimmed, shallowly-conical hat, not unlike a Chinese coolie hat, with a chin-strap and a pad at his chin. Imperials wear long cloaks (gla'possu) with hoods; these hoods are sewn into wide-brimmed hats. They do not wear boots, but in cold situations they wear socks, a garment that they learned of from the Qi.

Imperials love jewelry, especially when it is made from gold, jade, and silk. Chokers and bracelets are the most common, though some women wear elaborate ear-rings, and anklets are a sign that a young person is looking for a lover. Beautiful masks are also seen in small number, and circlets and simple coronets. Imperials do not wear rings. The taboo against iconic art does not extend to jewelry, and motifs of stars are common.

Imperial clothing is usually decorated in brightly-colored, aniconic patterns, usually a solid-color background with a irregular pattern, such as a snaky stripe or a series of different-sized squares.
Currently Reading: "Kafka On The Shore" by Haruki Murakami

Currently Listening To: "Piece Of Time" by Atheist

Offline CaptainPenguin

  • Bastardo!
  • Squirrel Strolenati
  • Emperor
  • *
  • Posts: 5869
  • Awards Questor Hall of Heroes 10
    • Awards
The Eye Upon Our Children
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2004, 08:25:45 PM »
Imperial Dress,Continued: Arms and Armor

There are two main types of war-dress for Imperials- Clan armor, a powerful, expensive style popularized by nobles, and va'se'hwessu, a lighter, more common style of armor. Regardless of type, Imperial armor suits generally follow the same pattern- breastplate, pauldrons, gauntlets or bracers, and greaves, similar to the Roman style of armor, allowing a good blend of protection and mobility.

Clan Armor
Clan armor gets its name from the Great Clans, whose nobles very often employ this armor. It is protects the vital regions well, while remaining more mobile than the sheathing plate-suits of the Dlanni. Clan armor is expensive to make, and most common Legion footsoldiers will wear the va'se'hwessu style instead.
Clan armor typically follows a lamellar armor pattern; that is, it consists of a breastplate of interlocking horizontal bands of metal, and a kilt of leather, studded with square metal scales. Pauldrons are generally a series of overlapping metal plates, or in some cases, scales, on a sleeve of leather that fits across the upper sides of the pectorals and shoulder-blades and is bolted onto the lamellar breastplate. Also worn are knee-to-ankle greaves and an insert of metal that is slipped into the sandal to protect the foot; the lower arms are protected by elbow-to-wrist bracers, or gauntlets. In this design, small portions of the upper arms and upper legs are left unprotected. Due to this, warriors often dress in a jacket of leather underneath their armor, or invest in a coat-of-mail.
Clan helmets are simple things, much like the helmet of a Greek hoplite. However, there is a face-mask of metal or wood that can be bolted onto the front of the helmet.

Va'se'hwessu
Roughly translating as "Guarded above and beneath", va'se'hwessu armor is a lighter, less expensive form of armoring for the Imperial warrior. Where the Clan armor is made from strips and scales of metal, va'se'hwessu is composed mostly of scale-mail, leather, and silk.
Va'se'hwessu starts with a torso-wrap in a thick cloth of silk. Afterward, a knee-length leather buff-jacket, overlapping the chest completely and fastening at the shoulder, is worn. A mantle of scale-mail, of thin square scales, is worn over the shoulders and spills down the chest. In some variations, a circle or plate of armor is worn over the chest. There are generally no pauldrons, however, the sleeves of the jacket are tucked into bracers, and greaves are worn on the lower leg.
Va'se'hwessu helmets are similar to Clan armor helmets, but lack the facemask while gaining a long nose-guard.

Shields
Imperials use small, round disc of hardwood with a cover of hide, or for richer folk, a layer of metal, bolted onto it. They are generally one to two feet (30-61 centimeters) across, with a pair of leather handles. For most warriors, the shield is belted at the warrior's side until one is relatively close to the fight, when it is unstrung and slipped onto the arm.

Armaments

The Rang- the rang (Imperial for "blade") is the typical Imperial sword. It is about three feet (91 centimeters) long, with a wide, flat blade that widens towards the tip. The blade is slightly curved, but it is a concave curve, that is, it is swung with what Real Earth viewers might term the "back" of the blade; the tip is straight, with no point. The rang has little or no hilt, and a long handle with a heavy pommel, usually making up about a third of the rang's length. The rang is heavy and sturdy, wielded in wide, slow sweeps and quick changes of direction.
The go-rang, or "great blade", is a variation of the rang, the Imperial version of a great-sword. It is roughly the same design as the rang, however, has a tendency to be narrower in width, and, obviously, is longer, having about four feet (122 cm) in length. The go-rang is not much used, for its massive (especially for an Imperial) size makes it very, very difficult to wield.

Pu'muk-rang- The pu'muk-rang, the "heavy-headed blade", is the Imperial axe. It generally has a haft of about 3 feet (91 cm); the thick, weighty blade has one bladed head and one blunt head, giving it an appearance not unlike a mushroom turned on its side. Pu'muk-rang are unpopular weapons, heavy, slow, and brutal, and quite unsuited to most Imperial warriors. The pu'muk-rang also sometimes comes in a six-foot length, and this pole-axe is used with more frequency as a sort of surrogate spear.

Si'ita- The Imperial spear. The si'ita has a wide, flat, leaf-shaped blade which is bladed as well as pointed, usually mounted on a staff of eight or nine feet (244-274 cm); the opposite end of the si'ita is heeled in edged metal, so that it can be used as a sort of bludgeoning mace in desperate situations. The si'ita is used as the primary weapon by the footsoldiers of the Legions, who march in phalanx with spears at the ready over a shield wall.

Tru'mo- The tru'mo is the Imperial mace, a 3-foot (91 cm) haft topped in a foot-long barrel of metal, usually with studs or spikes. The tru'mo is much more like the Japanese tetsubo than the European mace, but is used in the same manner as both- in swift, crushing swings in a short range around the user.

Bows- Imperial bows range from small, 3-foot (91 cm) self bows, used by quick-moving ranger units and short-range shooters, to the 6-foot (183 cm) greatbow, used almost uniquely in siege situations, where squadrons of greatbow archers line up in massive formations and unleash the feared Rain of Feathered Death, an Imperial tactic that usually makes towers and roofs look like porcupines' backs. Imperial bows are usually recurved and made from horn or layered wood. It is rare to see metal banding on Imperial bows.
In most cases, Imperial archers use the tried-and-true broadhead arrow, with a leaf- or triangle-shaped head. However, on the close-combat field, arrows are generally frog-crotched arrows, that is, they have Y-shaped heads. These arrows impale less-readily in men and objects, and do not do well against armor, but the wounds they cause against flesh are very often lethal.
Currently Reading: "Kafka On The Shore" by Haruki Murakami

Currently Listening To: "Piece Of Time" by Atheist

Offline CaptainPenguin

  • Bastardo!
  • Squirrel Strolenati
  • Emperor
  • *
  • Posts: 5869
  • Awards Questor Hall of Heroes 10
    • Awards
The Eye Upon Our Children
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2004, 01:01:41 PM »
Imperial Culture,Art

Art
Imperial art is considered some of the finest in the world. The kings of Harrappa Cincor in the far south decorate their walls with Imperial wall-scrolls, Dlanni merchants store their gold in inlayed Imperial chests, and Western Islander chieftans wear chains of jade beads, carved by Imperials.
Imperials most value two forms of art- calligraphy and silk-painting. Imperial art is generally aniconic, that is, actual objects are not represented. It is not rare to see iconic art, but it is not as common as patterns or bold colors. It is especially rare to see living beings depicted, except in sculpture.

Calligraphy
The flowing glyphs of the Imperial written language lend themselves well to calligraphy. Each glyph generally has three ways to be written, and calligraphers must be able to paint all three perfectly. Other forms of a symbol are rarely used and rarely seen; each glyph may have up to seven additional forms, as well as regional glyphs seen only in certain areas, and the various specialized glyphs of various calligraphic styles.
Imperial calligraphers require four tools- ink, melted wax, a brush, and a scroll. A calligrapher will paint the glyph, and then overlay it with wax. Different glyphs require different inks, waxes, brushes, and sizes of scrolls. For instance, the glyph rang, sword, when written in it's third form, must be painted with a wide, stiff-bristled brush, in dark-red ink, on a scroll of blue-tinged paper of so-and-so dimensions, and the ink must be overlayed with a thin coat of red wax. In that character's fifth form in the Eastern Blaze style of calligraphy, the scroll must be twice as large, and brush must be dusted with crushed red pigment.
There are about six accepted major styles of calligraphy- Eastern Blaze, Western Straight Line, Wave, Red Dawn, Smiling Star's, and Grass Line. The most popular style, and the most expensive, is Eastern Blaze Calligraphy, known for its bold, thick, long strokes and characteristic spots of dripped wax; the least popular is Smiling Star's Calligraphy, in which many characters have up to nineteen different interpretations, known for its circular orientation.

Silk-Painting
Silk-painting is one of the only forms of iconic art in Imperial culture. It is generally the landscapes of the Empire, painted in inspiring ways, while living beings are painted as tiny shillouettes against the sun or the distance.
Silk-painting is performed on a large, raw-silk scroll. The painter first uses ash to line out a basic central object of the painting- in our example, let us say that it is a standing rock on a sea-cliff. Once the rock is lined out, the painter fills in its details- he may paint on the gray, the white stains of bird excrement, the red cracks and green moss. From there, the painter adds in the less-detailed surroundings- in our case, a sea cliff, where a child stands with a kite in hand. Silk-paintings usually do not have defined borders- the artist of our sea-cliff has chosen to end the scene several inches from the margin of the scroll on the left side, while on the right, he has painted all the way to the edge.
Silk-paintings are ubiquitous in the Empire. Even the poorest farmer has a silk-painting done by or for a distant ancestor, and even Barbarians appreciate the strange calming affect of these nature scenes.
There are three major styles of silk-painting- Emperor's, Golden Moon, and Seven Fingers. Emperor's Style is the basic style, and the most popular style. It is simple, undetailed, and removes focus from living beings, and gives a suggestion of stillness and stasis. The least known is Seven Fingers Style, in which the painter uses not only a brush and quill, but also two fingers of his opposite hand to spread the ink and paint- this style is known for its blurred appearance and suggestion of movement and life.

Calligraphic Painting
Calligraphic painting is the relatively rare art, that of mixed poetry, calligraphy, and painting. The artist first writes a poem. Then, the characters of this poem are painted on a scroll in such a way that forms an image.
The community of calligraphic painters is relatively small, and there is only one style. The acknowledged master of calligraphic painting was also its inventor, the poet and artist, Kite Flute.

Poetry
Imperial poetry is rhymeless, very brief, thought-provoking, and sounds wise, very similar to Japanese haiku or tonka, though the proportions of syllables are not controlled. Imperial poets often live among nature, and often alone, and most poets are also accomplished artists.
There are four styles of poetry- Kite Flute's, Turtle's, Southern, and Imperial Prefecture. Kite Flute's Style is the most popular and well-known; it focuses on personal glimpses of nature, and most Kite Flute poets have a tendency to seclude themselves in nature. The least popular is Imperial Prefecture Style, unique to the Imperial Prefecture, which is often greater in length and tends to be about living people- the poet, the poet's family, people they have seen, et cetera.

"There goes the silver fish
Dancing down the stream
With my fishing-hook."
   -Kite Flute's Style poem

"She has no address
Everyday I see her
Holding her hand for jades
And recieving none.
Perhaps I shall give her one."
    -Imperial Prefecture Style poem

Sculpture
Imperial sculpture is not a widespread art. It is generally commissioned by the Imperial authority, and thus has a tendency to be noninnovative, stylistic, and, in some cases, propagandizing. Imperial sculptures are usually of people. They are made to exacting proportions, and are stylistic in nature- most sculptures hold a similar pose and expression. They are not incredibly realistic, though sculptures are often clothed in real clothing and hold real weapons.

Clothing Decoration, Textiles, and Patterns
Clothing, textiles, and pottery are often painted with the familiar aniconic Imperial patterns- bold solid background color, with patterns of a contrasting color on the surface, for instance, a red background with bold, snaky green lines.
Currently Reading: "Kafka On The Shore" by Haruki Murakami

Currently Listening To: "Piece Of Time" by Atheist

Offline CaptainPenguin

  • Bastardo!
  • Squirrel Strolenati
  • Emperor
  • *
  • Posts: 5869
  • Awards Questor Hall of Heroes 10
    • Awards
The Eye Upon Our Children
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2004, 05:32:16 PM »
Imperial Culture,Music

Instruments

The Si'baiyo- The lute. Not much to say here.

The U'ane-we- A small guitar. It's sound is somewhere between a guitar's and a ukelele's. U'ane-we are sometimes played with fingers, but are more often played with a small slat of wood.

The Ne'mado- This is a straight flute-like instrument. It is usually about as long as a man's forearm.

The Bash'e- Small drums made from wooden and leather.
There is also the bo'bash'e (small-drum), which is essentially a tambourine, though with sand inside the body of the instrument as well as rings to jingle together.

The Method
There are two styles of music in the Empire- the classical Proper Music, and the informal Lesser Music.
Proper Music is slow and soft, with non-symmetrical, non-repeating melodies. It is played almost exclusively on the si'baiyo and u'ane-we, though there is occasionally a wavering tone on the ne'mado. Proper Music has a sound very much like traditional Chinese or Japanese music.
Proper Music is sometimes accompanied by a single person giving spoken or sung poems, but no real singing.
Lesser Music is the popular, informal music of the common populace. It is fast and rythmic. It uses almost all of the instruments, as well as the ko'u'ane-we, a fiddle. It is fast and highly rythmic, with a quick pattering drumline and rapid flute tunes. It is usually accompanied by quick, humorous songs, that are shared among the players.
Currently Reading: "Kafka On The Shore" by Haruki Murakami

Currently Listening To: "Piece Of Time" by Atheist

Offline CaptainPenguin

  • Bastardo!
  • Squirrel Strolenati
  • Emperor
  • *
  • Posts: 5869
  • Awards Questor Hall of Heroes 10
    • Awards
The Eye Upon Our Children
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2004, 11:57:40 PM »
Imperial Culture,Food

What is Eaten
In much of the Empire, the vast amounts of viable cropland make vegetables the major source of sustenance. The Heartlands, most of the North, and some of the South depend on the bounty of Ricegrower's Prefecture and P'angu Prefecture for their daily meals. The staple crop of the Empire is rice; the second most popular is maize, followed by yams. Imperials are not familiar with tomatoes and do not use potatoes, though tomatoes are ubiquitous in Dlann, and potatoes are known to the Ffolkki and the Corusta.
The Imperial industry for meat is relatively small- most of the land in regions of food production is taken up by cropland, and so grazing areas are few. Most of the meat that Imperials consume comes from the ubiquitous food animal, the Bo'te, which resembles a guinea pig about the size of a small hog. These animals are small, rich in meat, and easy to graze (their complicated stomachs can digest nearly anything) and control. In the coastal regions, fish often supplants meat, while in the Mountain regions and the Northeast, the meat comes more often from elk, cattle, or mammoths. They have not domesticated chickens, though sometimes turkey or duck is eaten in the North. However, most Imperials consider the eating of birds to be distasteful.

How it is Eaten

The Table
The average Imperial table is usually about a foot of the ground, and is a diamond shape. The optimal number of eaters at this small-style table is four, because each eater can sit at a point or corner of the table, each of which represents one of the Elemental Poles (North- air, East- water, West- wood, South- fire. The central element is earth, but nobody sits in the middle :) ). The food is set in the center of the table where everyone can reach it. Eaters sit or kneel on pads or cushions.

The Preparation
An Imperial meal starts with the raw foods. These are lightly cooked (except for beef, which is preferred charred) and then sliced, the thinner the better, into sections and arranged in pleasing ways on their respective bowls or dishes. Foods which cannot be sliced, such as beans or yams, are usually mashed. Each bowl or dish has a separate food in it. One may have squash, another beans, another rice.
Such base foods may be accompanied by bowls of sweet or savory broths, which are usually made from the stock of any meats, with additions of soy or pepper sauce.  

The Meal
The food is brought out, each in its individual bowl or dish. These are set in the middle of the table. Eaters sometimes have a small dish of their own to set food on, but most of the time one's hand is used. The eaters reach out and take a section, handful, or dish-full of whatever they want to eat. It is bad manners to eat all of the food in one dish.
Drink is taken from shallow bowls. Imperials usually drink tea or wine. In the South and Coastal regions, a lot of fruit juice is also drunk. In the Northeast, barbarian ales and brews are becoming popular among the common populace. Imperial wine is very sweet and very heady; it is usually made from grapes that are harvested just before the traditional first day of autumn, and the wine is often sweetened with honey or fruit syrup. Imperials like their wine heady, thick, and sweet, sometimes cloyingly so- they would definitely not enjoy Real Earth wines and champagnes, which would be dry as a bone and bitter to their taste.
Currently Reading: "Kafka On The Shore" by Haruki Murakami

Currently Listening To: "Piece Of Time" by Atheist

Offline CaptainPenguin

  • Bastardo!
  • Squirrel Strolenati
  • Emperor
  • *
  • Posts: 5869
  • Awards Questor Hall of Heroes 10
    • Awards
The Eye Upon Our Children
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2004, 07:19:38 PM »
Imperial Culture,The Home

The House
Imperials live in many different kinds of houses, of all different shapes, sizes, and materials, as befits the Empire's great size. Some are traditional Imperial designs; others are borrowed or modified Barbarian designs.
The basic house plan, considered to be the most Imperial, is the (aptly-named) Imperial Squarehouse, a descendant of the ancient squarehouses of the Assor Sea herdspeople, pre-Empire. The Imperial Squarehouse is square or rectangular, and squat, generally not having upper stories. The house is framed in square wooden beams, with walls being constructed of plaster (in most places), cord mats (in very poor places), stones embedded in plaster (for richer places), rice paper (in hot places), wood, or stone (both in the North). Roofs are generally not steeply peaked, save in the north, where they fend off snow; they are usually made from tile, wooden shingles, or plastered sticks. Windows are tall, narrow, and rectangular.
In the south, there is the Beehive House, a style picked up from Southern Barbarians, originating in the houses of the Raseri of Ascending Dust Province. The Beehive House is usually paired with other Beehive Houses in a great apartment complex or set of buildings. They consist of a square or circular structure of thick stucco applied over a frame of wood and dried cord. There is a danger in this- if water seeps into the cracks in the stucco, as is common in the Southwest, wood frames or cord mats that have been improperly dried may become soggy and sag or even rot. Roofs are often frameworks of wicker or cord, or a tarp of leather over a frame of wood. Windows are usually hemispherical with a small ledge.
In trade cities all over the Empire (a famous example is Trade City Natte in Esse Prefecture), one can see the Trade City House. Trade City Houses are made of brick, layered with plaster. They are generally tall and square, and most are combined together so that Trade Cities (which are generally small) become a square, walled compounds containing many rectangular structures, and with arch-shaped bridges running from roof to roof (for roofs are just as often living spaces and travel areas as streets) over the streets. Most Trade City architecture is square.

The Interior
For the rich, the interiors of houses generally consist of rooms for all members of the family (including a room for family slaves), and a central kitchen with a hearth. In urban homes, bathrooms lie along the street-facing wall of the home, and sewage drops into the sewer channels below, while in more rural homes, the home has a large chamber pot in the back garden (the waste is sometimes used for fertilizer). Richer homes contain inner gardens and family shrines to a family's patron god, while poorer homes contain a small shrine in the kitchen/central chamber. Rich homes have seperate central chamber, were food is eaten and family activities are conducted.

Rich Home House Plan
-Bedrooms for all family members, as well as a chamber for family slaves
-Atrium chamber, were sandals are set aside
-Central kitchen, with hearth
-Central family chamber, a formal room for family meals and other business
-In urban homes, a bathroom with connections to sewer channels; if in rural homes, a chamber pot in the back garden.
-A back garden, enclosed in the house wall if in the city.
-Family shrine

Poor Home House Plan
Same as the Rich Home, however, lacking an atrium, a family shrine, and in urban places, it lacks a back garden.
Currently Reading: "Kafka On The Shore" by Haruki Murakami

Currently Listening To: "Piece Of Time" by Atheist

Offline CaptainPenguin

  • Bastardo!
  • Squirrel Strolenati
  • Emperor
  • *
  • Posts: 5869
  • Awards Questor Hall of Heroes 10
    • Awards
The Eye Upon Our Children
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2004, 11:25:46 PM »
Imperial Culture:Literature

The literature of the Imperials is vast and varied, and quite apparent, as opposed to most Barbarian kingdoms, where the majority of the populace is illiterate, and the literary life is neglected. Imperial writings come in all shapes and sizes, from pseudohistorical sagas such as the Stories of Crane ("Crane and Her Sword", "Crane and the Deity of the Red Mountain", and "Crane Upon Sun Rising Plains") to poem anthologies ("Kite Flute's Nine Wishes", "I Defeat the Dragons") to satirical art albums ("Visage of the Demon", "Recollections of the Nine Deliberators"). The literacy rate in the Empire is a sturdy 47%, and most of those who cannot be considered truly "literate" could probably piece together a vague meaning of what they are reading, or at least know enough to read waymarkers and letters of travel.

The Book
Generally, Imperial books are written on scrolls of paper or of the papery skin of the scroll-tree, which comes off the trunk in conveniently scroll-like sheets. These sheafs of paper are wrapped around and threaded onto wooden rods. Most reading material in the Empire comes in scroll form- public notices and official Imperial Authority documents, Imperial decrees and pamphlets, and all other manner of writings.
However, when scrolls become too large or cumbersome, information is put down in the form of discbooks. Disc-shaped pieces of wood are threaded together in a Jacob's-ladder-like arrangement, so that when the pages are folded together, they form a thin stack of wooden discs. The outer side of the disc is lacquered and decorated; on the inside, pages are attached, two to a disc.

The Genre

Fiction- Fiction tales in the Empire are usually couched in pseudohistorical or semireligious terms. Many Priesthood-published texts of myth cycles are beloved works which every family possesses; many tales of questionable historical accuracy are the same. Notable fiction writers (all of whom are now deceased) include Bullfrog's Shout (author of humorous tales, children's stories, folktales of Gods in rural areas around the Empire; author of the beloved Book of Happy Hours), Gazes At The Moon (reteller of numerous folktales, including the ancient Journey of Red Salmon), and Bringing Bright Gifts (author of the Story of Many Sunrises Walk Quickly, an almost-totally historical tale of the famous warrior Many Sunrises Walk Quickly).

Manuals- Manuals, are, by basic definition, books that describe the way to do something. To Imperials however, a manual can be much more. Imperial manuals include not only works on wrestling, rang-fighting, and raising ku'we, but there are also "manuals" on how to live a virtuous life, on how to ascertain the difference between gratitude and resentment, and other such esoteric learnings. Most authors of manuals are anonymous, though the legendary Recrimination and Apology is known to have written several hundred different manuals on rang-fighting, fighting in general, martial arts (especially Mirror Style and Sand Dragon Style), and his famous Art of War (OOC: Basically like Sun Tzu's Art of War).

Historical/Biographical- Truly historical and biographical books are few and far between, and are mostly propaganda modules sponsored by the Imperial Authority. And in any case, but for students in Imperial Academies, the Empire's true history is really immaterial, despite having just as many divine interventions and dramatic battles as the mostly-fictional histories of other writers. A notable exception to the propagandistic writers of these texts was the learned Seven Cranes, a Great Eagle Clan diplomat who was famous for his unbiased accounts of various Imperial institutions and events, including a meeting with the Emperor himself.
Currently Reading: "Kafka On The Shore" by Haruki Murakami

Currently Listening To: "Piece Of Time" by Atheist

Offline CaptainPenguin

  • Bastardo!
  • Squirrel Strolenati
  • Emperor
  • *
  • Posts: 5869
  • Awards Questor Hall of Heroes 10
    • Awards
The Eye Upon Our Children
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2004, 09:48:11 PM »
Imperial Culture:The Martial Arts

The Martial Arts have long been a large part of Imperial life, from the time that warrior-kings of the South began to develop fighting styles based on those of the Dlann. The martial arts traditions of the Empire are based on those primitive half-wrestling, half-sparring styles of the Southern monarchs, but they have recieved a large part of their current grace, style, and mysticism from the teachings of Master Gen, an enigmatic I'eshu monk who first appeared in the Empire shortly before the Unbroken Wheat Rebellion (a peasant rebellion in the early history). Gen took the Southern styles and mixed them with the mysticism of his I'eshu religion and his own philosophy, forming what he called bata'danang, or "Heaven-Combat". Heaven-Combat is no longer a practiced style of martial arts, but it is acknowledged by all training styles as the grand ancestor of their various forms, except for the Dlanni styles and the Tsengdo style, which has it's origins among the Qi.

The Six Spirit Styles[/u]
The Six Spirit Styles were the styles created by Old Master Gen's six greatest pupils. They were made to natural fighting styles, a characteristic they share with Gen's Heaven-Combat. The Six Spirit Styles are considered the basis for all martial arts training, and are very popular today; the children of Crimson Tiger Clansmen undergo mandatory training in Silent Leaping Tiger Style, and most police forces in cities of the Empire are trained in Bejewelled Mantis Style so that it's joint-locks, throws, and defensive moves can be used against criminals and rioters.
The Six Spirit Styles are organized into seven levels of Sutras. Each Sutra is a set of major techniques, combined with accompanying wisdom and learning, and additional lesser techniques that are used in all manner of situations

Illustrious Golden Serpent Style
1st Sutra: Serpent Style
2nd Sutra: Searching Snake Defence, Striking Cobra Technique
3rd Sutra: Sky-Slithering Prana, Uncoiling Serpent Prana, Snake Strikes the Heel
4th Sutra: Brilliant-Shining-Scales Kata, Coiling Tight Reversal
5th Sutra: Constrictor Serpent Grappling, Water Serpent Strike, Tree Snake Falling Attitude
6th Sutra: Emperor of Serpents Mastery, Shedding the Skin Method
Heaven Sutra: Shape of the Snake

Sunrise Heron Style
1st Sutra: Heron Style
2nd Sutra: Perfect Moment Technique, Iron Feather Fan Defence
3rd Sutra: Moment Passing Method, Skewer The Fish Prana, Devil Heron Dance Kata
4th Sutra: Heron's Flight Leaping, Make No Superfluous Movement Kata
5th Sutra: Swamp-Standing Attitude, Forever Balance Style
6th Sutra: Wise Grandfather Heron Mastery, Moving Once Only Technique
Heaven Sutra: Shape of the Heron

Bejewelled Mantis Style
1st Sutra: Mantis Style
2nd Sutra: Leaping Mantis Technique, Iron-Arm Block
3rd Sutra: Grasping Pincer Method, Grasping Mantis Defence, Joint-Locking Technique
4th Sutra: Joint-Breaking Attack, Flying Mantis Kick, Crushing Pincer Technique
5th Sutra: Cascade of Arms Defence, Reverse Pincer Movement
6th Sutra: Master Mantis Mastery, Unfolding Retribution Stance
Heaven Sutra: Shape of the Mantis

Brilliance of Many Colors Style
1st Sutra: Colors Style
2nd Sutra: Flashing Flame Reversal, Rainbow Pennant Dance
3rd Sutra: Sparkling Waters Somersault, Blue Palm Technique, Crimson Breath Cascade, Viridian Sash Prana
4th Sutra: Amber Brilliance Kata, Seven Whirling Scarves
5th Sutra: One-Thousand Colors Sage Mastery, Innumerable Prismatic Rays Prana
Heaven Sutra: Prismatic Shape

Great Impenetrable Mountain Style
1st Sutra: Mountain Style
2nd Sutra: Mighty Boulder Stance, Mountains Do Not Move Kata, Iron Earth Fist
3rd Sutra: Great Crushing Mudflow Kata, Obsidian Palm Technique, Defense of Six Stones, Wet Clay Attitude
4th Sutra: Undefeatable Hammer Technique, Stopping All Force Prana
5th Sutra: Root of the Mountain Kata, Stone's Time Prana
6th Sutra: Prince Upon the Mountain Mastery, Diamond Body
Heaven Sutra: Shape of the Mountain

Silent Leaping Tiger Style
1st Sutra: Tiger Style
2nd Sutra: Bamboo Thicket Defense, There and Here Prana, Tiger Falling Attitude, Tiger Hunting Attitude
3rd Sutra: Claw-and-Palm Technique, Invincible Shout, Strength-Breathing Kata, Great Tiger Kick
4th Sutra: Shadow Mandala Prana, Light Spiral Prana, Cornered Tiger Attitude, Fatal Leaping Strike
5th Sutra: Undefeatable Shadow-Dagger Technique, One and Only Stance, Fearful Battle Mask Prana
6th Sutra: Tiger God Mastery, King of Tigers Stance
Heaven Sutra: Shape of the Tiger

The Glorious Dragon Styles
The Glorious Dragon Styles are styles of martial arts based on the Spirit styles and on the deeper works of Gen, as well as influence from various outside sources. The Glorious Dragon Styles are more esoteric, more difficult, and more mysterious than the Spirit styles, and in many cases, they allow the user to draw upon the Earth's magic much as an I'eshu monk would. In fact, many Glorious Dragon practitioners are I'eshu monks or Bashutengshusso, and many I'eshu brotherhoods teach a Glorious Dragon Style, or a similar martial arts form.
Glorious Dragon martial arts are organized into two Sutras, a Student's and an Elder, which are broken up into Roots. Riddles, verses, and mysticism are a very large part of Glorious Dragon styles, as well as stylized forms and philosophies.

The Charcoal March of Spiders Style (Consumption)
The Student's Sutra of Consumption-
First Root- Unnatural Many-Step Stride, Maw of Dripping Venom, Rain of Unseen Threads
Second Root- Dance of the Hungry Spider, Nest of Living Strands
Third Root- Charcoal March of Spiders Form
The Elder Sutra of Consumption-
Fourth Root- Cannibalistic Heritage Method
Fifth Root: Thumbnail Spider March, Jumping Spider Strike, Water Spider Bite
Sixth Root: Pattern Spider Touch
Heaven Root: Grandmother Spider Mastery

The Citrine Poxes of Contagion Style (Decay)
The Student's Sutra of Decay-
First Root: Feverish Ki Discharge Atemi, Disjointed Ki Infectious Atemi, Convulsive Displacement Infectious Atemi
Second Root: Perfect Reconstruction Method, Spirit and Body Purification Touch
Third Root: Ki-Disrupting Infectious Atemi, Flare of Invulnerability Method, Inner Dragon Unbinding
Fourth Root: Citrine Poxes of Contagion Form
The Elder Sutra of Decay-
Fifth Root: Spiritual Perfection
Sixth Root: Gentle Touch of the Wicked Hand, Glorious Stars Protection
Heaven Root: Ki-Shattering Typhoon

Purple Master Robe Style (Protection)
The Student's Sutra of Protection-
First Root: Sweeping Disregard for Nature Attitude, Continuing March of Construction Attitude, Shield-Shell Tortoise Defense, Body-Spirit Mist Defense
Second Root: Rising Wall of Ki Movement, Onward-Rolling Ki Road Movement, Teaching All the Students Trick
Third Root: Tower In the Sunrise Stance, Chamber of Fear Defense
Fourth Root: Purple Master Robe Form
The Elder Sutra of Protection-
Fifth Root: Incalculable Power Fortress Method, Ki-Jade Gate Defense
Sixth Root: Key to All Locks
Heaven Root: Mighty Guardian God Armor

Mirror Style (Reflection)
The Student's Sutra of Reflection-
First Root: Reflection of the Soot-Stained Hearth, Reflection of the Crystalline Mountain
Second Root: (Form) Man Ways, (School) Warrior Ways
Third Root: (Name) God Ways
Fourth Root: Image of the Earth, Broken Mirror Power
The Elder Sutra of Reflection-
Fifth Root: Image of the Underworld
Sixth Root: Image of Heaven
Heaven Root: Perfect Reflection

(Perhaps there will be more...)
Currently Reading: "Kafka On The Shore" by Haruki Murakami

Currently Listening To: "Piece Of Time" by Atheist

Offline CaptainPenguin

  • Bastardo!
  • Squirrel Strolenati
  • Emperor
  • *
  • Posts: 5869
  • Awards Questor Hall of Heroes 10
    • Awards
The Eye Upon Our Children
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2004, 11:07:34 PM »
Imperial Religion

The Imperial religion is an old one, predating the founding of the Clans. It is an evolved form of the religion practiced by the ancient ancestors of the Imperials, an animistic spirituality that venerated the Earth's natural spirits. With the coming of the Emperor, the ancient proto-Imperials were introduced to the Gods of Heaven, demonstrably the most powerful spirits yet known, if they are not true gods.
The Imperial religion is nearly as influential as the Authority itself. The priestly organizations of each god are all technically part of a semi-governmental organization called the Illustrious Heavenly Federation of the Priesthood, though it is generally simply called the Priesthood. The Priesthood meets every year to discuss matters of the faith in Assor-Hu at the Sublime Temple, the chief temple of the entire Empire. In theory, the Priesthood speaks for all of the Empire's priests. However, in practice, very few actual priests contribute to the Heavenly Meeting, as the concordance is called, and its edicts are enforced slowly, over the following months after the Meeting.
Each god's Priesthood is autonomous, though all the gods are part of one pantheon/spiritual heirarchy/et cetera. Early in the Empire's history, the whole pantheon was worshipped as one, their reverence overseen by shaman-priests, but as the progress of society would have it, the temple societies split variously. The temples often vie for worshippers, but in the end, it is the worshipper who chooses their patron god. Generally, the common folk will offer prayers to gods and spirits that they know, and apply certain prayers for certain situations. A thief who wishes not to be seen might offer a verse to Invisible, the Fox Spirit, while a sailor may offer a prayer warding the anger of Ancient Deep. A merchant who needs speed calls to Forever Path, the God of the Road, and the soldier to the Arrows of Fire, the spirits of soldiery. Each God and Spirit has different aspects. Some of a God's aspects may also be considered Spirits on their own, while the less important ones are simply facets of a deity's personality. There is no set number of the amount of aspects that a deity may have; First Trickster, the ever-changing, has numberless aspects, and Green-Eyed Concubine, Goddess of Barbarian Women, has 107, while Ibis, the Measuring-Spirit, has but 2.

The Gods of Heaven
The Gods of Heaven are the Stars that shine in the sky, their auras blazing in the night-time roof of the Earth. Every star is a God, and every constellation, every comet and shooting star. The temples of Heaven's Gods double as observatories, with great sight-line pillars and relatively advanced telescopes; their priests are astronomers and mathmeticians, meticulously charting the wheeling of the holy Stars, constantly checking and rechecking the Star-charts for accuracy, noting each nova, naming each comet, predicting and planning for eclipses (which are days of ill luck and great religious fervor), and watching the phases of the Moon.

Shining White
The Unchallenged and Highest, The North Star
Shining White is the sagely grandfather of all the Cosmos, who watches the grinding of the Wheel of Time with sad acceptance. He awoke the other Gods during the Time of Blinding Radiance. Shining White is sentimental and noble, and accepts Fate. He is a tall old man, and has long white hair. He wears a white robe and a jade necklace, and he carries a scepter. He often asks unanswerable questions and speaks wise aphorisms. His power is that of Time, History, Knowledge, and Stability. Shining White has 62 aspects.
Shining White's priests wear ankle-length, pleated robes of white, with knee-length, silver surcoat, both unbelted. They wear necklaces of jade beads. They grow their hair long and tie it in a ponytail. They carry the Hwe'ja, the double-joined circle ('infinity' symbol) that is the emblem of Shining White. At holy rituals and celebrations, they wear gray skullcaps with a small jade finial on the top.

The Glorious
The Empress of Heaven, The Azure Star
and HerTen-Million Daughters
The Glorious is the most beautiful of all stars, the leader of a great river of milky stars, which are her Ten-Million Daughters. She is the wife of Sword Eagle. The Glorious is beautiful and voluptuous, quick and bold, but also vain and proud. She frequently gazes into her mirror, the Sea. She wears silk robes and is unshod, and adorns herself with jewels. She lines her eyes with kohl, and carries a fan. She loves herself and has a jealous heart. Her power is that of Selfish Love, Love of the Self, Beauty, Art, Female Power, and Female Sexuality. The Glorious has 84 aspects.
Her Ten-Million Daughters are the countless stars that march behind the Glorious, and they are the only stars that the priests cannot count. They are slender and youthful. They seek to please others and each other. They have long dark hair and wear thin cotton robes and slippers. They each have missives from their lovers. The power of the Ten-Million Daughters is Selfless Love, Love of Another, Sisterhood, and Companionship.
The Glorious and Her Ten-Million Daughters are worshipped together. All of their priesthood is female, and those specifically of The Glorious are also high-priced courtesans. Priestesses of The Glorious wear silk robes of red and violet that accentuate their curves and breasts. They decorate their eyes with kohl. They are always barefoot. In important rituals and festivals, they adorn their hair with lotus blossoms and jewels and wear circlets of silver. Priestesses of The Ten-Million Daughters retire at the age of 27. They wear only thin cotton robes and they wear slippers that muffle their footsteps. They wear bracelets of coral and anklets of jade beads. At rituals and festivals, they wear chokers of coral.

(more to come...)
Currently Reading: "Kafka On The Shore" by Haruki Murakami

Currently Listening To: "Piece Of Time" by Atheist