Tagata

Tagata Laᴓ or Tagata The people of Tagata Laᴓ inhabit many of the islands in this region. While the full name of these people is not always the same after unification people began calling themselves Tagata. Tagata Laᴓ refers specifically to the peoples of Zamiatin the main island of the region. The other large island in this part of the archipelago is Massina. Massina is home to the second largest cultural group in the area. Tagata MatuꚎ is a breakaway of the Tagata Laᴓ culture. The people of this section of the islands all spread out from Zamitatin in antiquity, filling the islands and creating different subcultures. During the conflicts of the past before unification any major conflict never completely removed a cultural group as it was far to easy for peoples to travel between the islands and escape complete annihilation.

The Islands have shaped these people and in the early days of the land, this leads to the isolation of each island. As time went on Zamiatin was unified and prosperity reigned. Now Zamiatin stands as the main power in the region the Tagata Laᴓ first conquered Massina mainly in a bloodless coup d’etat which installed a friendly ruler who gave more and more trade concessions to Zamiatin. Eventually, it became clear that there were few cultural differences and the dialects spoke were easily overcome due to the abundance of people who spoke both.

Unification happened just over a century ago, mainly through trade contracts and clientage contracts between noble houses and lesser families on the smaller islands.

Culture: Justice, Service, and Propriety. These three pillars serve as the core of Tagatan cultural belief. Any action is proper if it is just. Service is proper if it is just. No action can be unjust if it is of service and proper. These principles guide persona, professional, political, and religious life of the Tagatan people. Artisanry and craftsmanship are highly prized amongst the Tagatan people. Handcrafted items are always more highly valued than mass produced items. Tea is a part of daily life in the islands, it is seen as a necessity and even the poorest of Tagatans drink tea daily.

Arts and Crafts: Stone Carving is common among the architecture of the culture. The islands in the area provide enormous amounts of basalt, sandstone, and limestone for construction and carving. As part of the architecture of the Tagata people, stone buildings have intricate base reliefs carved around the outside of their ground floor foundations. Traditional Tagatan art is comprised of complex geometric patterns heavily emphasizing tessellations, stars, octagons, and concentric circles. Folk art and them specific incorporates these themes in borders which blend into the subject matter they tend to focus more on subjects such as the night sky, women, the sea, the sun and moon, and the mountains. Pottery is common, the coastlines of the islands have a rich bed of thick red clay. The clay is often colored with volcanic ash which can be found in abundance. Traditional artisans and craftspeople weave watertight baskets from marsh reeds with intricate geometric patterns of different colors. The islands are home to many types of beautiful hardwood which are fashioned into prized furniture. A combination of clever craftsmanship, which uses complex all wood joints to build the furniture, and the luster of these hardwoods makes them incredibly valuable. With the increased prosperity which spread across the islands after unification whaling became both possible and profitable. This has given rise to the creation of elaborate scrimshaw carvings which are highly prized among the islands. Additionally, as the oil became more available a demand for elaborate metal lamps and lanterns increased. Though both these forms of art and craftsmanship are relatively new in comparison to more traditional crafts they are highly skilled and elaborate crafts.

Clothing: Most of the cloth produced on the islands is made from crushed bamboo fibers soaked to soften them. These fibers are spun into a fin thread and carefully woven. Improvements in looms and the whole process over the last few hundred years has improved the weave. This cloth is known as Sami cloth. Leather/skins are harvested from sea lions which live along the shores of the smaller islands. Traditional clothing is comprised of a set of short loose fitting pants which are tied off at the knees. And a sleeveless collard tunic. This can be worn by any age or gender of the population. More contemporary outfits tend to be comprised of a similar style pant worn with a sash knotted on the left hip, the color varies but they tend towards oranges, reds, and yellows. Worn with knee-high boots fastened from knee to ankle with buttons or catches. A tunic buttoned up the left side is worn with this, normally the top half of the tunic is left unbuttoned and each side is folded out to form a sort of lapel. Fancier clothing may include metal plates on shoulders intricately formed cut-outs of plants, waves, or geometric patterns. Hats are commonly worn, with brims in front and back, and a shallow brim on either side to shade both face and neck from the sun. More formal wear ranges from layers of sheer fabric layered to create a semi-transparent cloth dress which is light and airy. Often worn with a shawl and high fathered collars, for women. Men wear a similar set of boots and trousers with a thin tunic and a half poncho draped over the left shoulder and pinned up on the right.

Food: The Islands range from the lush tropical jungle in the northernmost parts of the island chain to more Mediterranean in climate. This and the fact that much of the Zamiatin’s eastern coast is protected marshlands leads to an interesting blend of flavors.

Spices: Common spices include; Pepper, Salt, Cumin, Coriander, Garlic and Saffron.

Plants/Grains: Rice, Squash, Corn, Amaranth, Hot peppers, and Kelp/Seaweed. Fruit; Oranges, Melons, Mangos, and Lychee fruit.

Protein: Fish, Chicken, Clams, Seal and other harder to harvest seafood.

Family Roles: Lineages are tracked through the female side of the family, this allows for the most accurate genealogies. Because of this families can better track inheritances and family ties. Because of this Tagatan families tend to be close-knit and live together. Common family units are comprised of three generations. This is the grandparents, the current generation and their children. When a Tagatan gets married they must choose which family they wish to join, in some cases, specifically the nobility people may always marry out of a family but it’s much harder to marry into a family. If you choose to marry out of your birth family you lose access to that families ancestral spirits but gain those of the new family. If a family is comprised of multiple married couples and siblings in the current generation of a family, decisions are made by choosing a patriarch or matriarch from the current generation. Family decisions are made by the new patriarch/matriarch.

Marriage: Traditional marriage proposals are done with an elaborately decorated knife. The knife might be a dagger or small knife meant only for the ceremony, it need not be practical or functional though many are. This practice continues to this day, this has caused a growing demand for beautiful knives and daggers. Ancient daggers might bring more prestige to a marriage than a newer one might. However, the recipient is always the final judge in what is acceptable. Men and women are both allowed to propose marriage, however, royalty and nobility have different rules. In the case of both noble houses and the royal house, marriage proposals must be proper. Individuals of equal standing may propose freely. Men who wish to propose to anyone of equal or lower standing may do so freely, and anyone may propose to a man of equal or higher standing. Women, however, can not be proposed to by those below her standing regardless of gender. A royal or noblewoman wishing to marry below her station must make the proposal.

Gender Roles: Women run trade and banking. Men are scholars and legal officers. Both men and women serve in government. Merchant houses are often run by powerful and influential women. Men are caregivers as much as women. Men and women are equal in most things; however, women lead the prayers to ancestors as they are the source of a genealogy.

Rape: Rape is not a cultural taboo or frowned upon, instead rape is unconscionable for a Tagatan. Rape is the most abhorrent action possible, not only because it is disgusting and inflicts trauma but because it is a crime against the ancestors. Rape is seen as an attack on their ancestors, therefore rapists are cut off from their ancestors and forced to live without family or ancestral spirits. Rapists are branded across the forehead with a complex geometric pattern immediately recognizable by anyone familiar with the culture.

War: Tagatan women are not permitted to serve in combat, for any reason. This is not because they are seen as weaker or fragile but because they are the path through which genealogy is traced. If a Tagatan woman were killed in a war her family would lose access to all of her ancestors as well as losing her. A single death could ruin the prestige of a noble house or deprive a family of a handful of ancestors or hundreds. This is seen as a terrible and intolerable loss. Declarations of war are made as they were in ancient times. The ruler cuts their otherwise unshorn hair. The hair is then brushed, oiled and sent with emissaries to the enemy.

Murder: Murder is uncommon and severely punished. Tagatan women are almost never murdered and if they are it is devastating for the same reasons as if they were killed in a war. Murder of men and women is abhorrent however more so in the case of women. The murder of women will always end in the most severe punishment possible while the same may not be true for the murder of a man. However there is an exception to this, anyone is free to kill a rapist without any consequence. The person must be convicted of the murder, but once this is done they are no longer afforded any protections under the laws of Kalawa or Tagatan culture.

Children: Children are expected to help with the family, chores at home, the family business if it is practical and taking care of grandparents. Children’s education is comprised of three parts, first children are taught a trade this might be a craft or an art form or military training or entry into a religious academy. Second, all children are taught history, when a child becomes an adult is expected they understand the history of their people. Third children are taught basic navigation and seafaring skills, as it is expected that in times of war any citizen should be able to serve.

Language: Tagatan is a language which places heavy emphasis on vowel length. The same word is used for both mother and child with long vowels for mother and short ones for the word child. For example, the word mother, Sāmā has long vowels while Sama means child and has short vowels. Tagatan is a non-gendered language and when spoken also involves hand gestures for punctuation and tone. The written form of the language has punctuation but denotes the tone of each sentence by placing the tone in which it is meant to be read at the front of a sentence.

Religion: A mix of monotheism and ancestor worship. Incense, and small shrines. One god which is a sort of patron and local god. There is no expectation that others worship their god as all the unified island peoples once worshiped a single similar god. The main difference throughout the islands is the way in which ancestor worship takes place.

The God: The Tagata worship La Wahëah Afi commonly shortened to La Wahafi or simply La. La, is the name used for the personification of the goddess. Wahafi is the supreme creator and is personified as a woman. She is the creator of the islands and all the things which grow and live upon them. Wahafi is not credited with domain outside the islands and while she has great powers within the island chain, her power extends no further. She is said to dwell in the heart of the volcanoes in Zamiatin. She is particularly associated with change, the change of season, the ocean, crop cycles, trade and the change of fortunes. She is also the mother of fire and gives warmth to the islands and calls the rain to keep the people prosperous. She is invoked before important governmental proceedings and at coronations. Families keep a shrine to her in their homes the Tagata cremate their dead so that La Wahafi can return the spirits of the dead to look over their living relatives.

Ancestor Worship: The belief that a dead ancestor lives on as a spirit which watches and guards the living family is a key part of religious belief in the islands. The practice is built upon the twin pillars of familial respect and the belief that the worship sustains the spirits of ancestors. Ancestral spirits have powers to bring luck and prosperity to a family. It is believed that the stronger the bond is between the living and their ancestors the more benefits are granted. However it is important to note that this doesn’t take the form of asking for a gift or a specific outcome, you might pray for wisdom, courage, luck, or protection for your living family but you would never pray for protection a specific situation or the wisdom to make the right choice in an investment. Families which are older have more ancestors and are seen to benefit more from a long line of ancestral spirits. Newer families tend to have a smaller group of ancestors to call upon. This leads to the belief that even ancient noble houses without much wealth or power are still worthy of respect and prominence This belief helps maintain the nobility and their traditions. Tagatan royalty is also worshiped by all Tagatans, the most recent ruler is added to each families ancestral spirits; in this way, after several generations, even a poor family will have several rulers as part of the ancestral spirits who watch over them.

Rule and Government: The Tagata have a cultural inclination towards an ordered stratified culture of the rule. Nobility is seen as a status to be achieved through family growth. Nobility can be achieved through patronage; a noble family can sponsor a family with sufficient lineage and wealth to become a member of the nobility. The royal family is slightly different. The ruling families of Zamiatin and Massina joined together to create the current ruling royal family. This is a bloodline some 300-year-old with more than 40 living members. It is possible to marry into the royal family, however, women who marry out of the royal family are no longer a part of the royal lineage and therefore are no longer eligible to become rulers.

The Monarch. A strange mix of elective, constitutional monarchy, and republic. The monarch reigns for life, or until a vote of no confidence is passed by the Senate. The royal family members are the only ones who are eligible for the throne and the heir must be elected by the people from the royal family. Duties. The monarch is responsible for declaring war, overseeing the economy, and approval of laws and judicial appointees.

The Senate. The Senate is made up in three parts, the first third is drawn from the nobility, all the noble houses put forward their candidates and each member of the noble houses then votes, candidates are not permitted to vote. The second third is drawn from the merchant guilds. Each guild receives representation based on its wealth and influence. A merchant guild with more wealth and contracts receives more representation. The last third is drawn from the people themselves, all the laborers, soldiers, dock workers, sailors, and others not represented by the other two groups. The representatives are voted upon by district in a direct democracy style of voting. All citizens age 16 and older may vote.

Duties. The Senate is responsible for the passing of bills and new laws, as well as approving of any proposed by the monarchy. A 3/5ths majority is needed to enact new laws and taxes. While the Monarch has the ability to declare a formal war the Senate can overrule this decision with a 3/5ths majority.

Judiciary. Judges are drawn from the most respected and experienced law scholars of the kingdom. A list of judges is drawn up for all the available appointments by the Senate. The list is given to the monarch to approve. The list may be approved in full or part, but the Senate may force the full list through with a unanimous vote. Once appointed judges serve for 10 years. The courts are independent of both the monarch and the Senate once appointed and are only beholden to law.

The Peoples Conclave: Each day the Tagatans meet in their communities during the morning before the SeiLa (False Sun). During this time the nobles meet in their halls and gather to discuss their goals and political agenda. Merchants gather in guild halls and discuss trade policy and new contracts, how to balance the profits of the year’s trade money and press further legal issues. The people gather in small districts in open gardens around great clocks and ancient sundials in gardens and open squares. This is the base of the Tagatan political machine. Every day the people gather to make their voices heard. The meeting is run by the Taga Lëo (peoples voice) an elected position without pay. Taga Lëo acts as moderators and dictates the flow and topics which come up. In this way each day the people get to influence and interact with their senators. Those Tagatan’s who can not attend in the morning may have the same opportunity in the afternoon.

Architecture: The architecture of the Tagata people build mainly out of stone, wood, metal, and glass. Though the addition of both large-scale glass use and metals is a relatively new addition in the last two centuries. Architecture is reminiscent of renaissance Italian architecture with two major changes. First, the Tagata culture places a high premium on open space, both in urban design and their environment. Cities tend to favor vertical growth and building as opposed to urban sprawl. Geometric building shapes are favored, hexagons, triangles rectangles, and trapezoids all built around central quart yards, gardens, and pools. Buildings built with four to ten floors are most common. Taller buildings are often symbols of wealth and prestige. Buildings with less than 4 floors are almost never found in cities. Open air markets are common, organized in two concentric rings, or blocks with permanent stalls which act as shops. Public squares are common and popular. Coastal cities; Coastal Cities are built in a two-tiered system. The immediate coastline of the beach is left as beach and where the sand turns to grasses and shrubland or rock long squat broad stone walls are built. On top of these, stone walls forming alcoves are built. Each alcove houses a vertical windmill. On the back sides of these structures are mills and industrial sites for production. Inland Cities: The inland cities are less common, though shortly after unification occurred in the region the capitol was rebuilt inland. The main differences here is that most of the industry, trade, and production occurs on the coast except for one key industry, airships. The Inland cities are the only place where the cultural bias towards open spaces and untouched natural landscapes allows enough space for airship hangers and construction yards. The Inland cities are all built on rock outcroppings with little vegetation, leaving room for the construction yards and the larger administrative buildings.

Callender.

Due to the location of the Kingdom of Kalawa and the importance of fishing, trade, and tides to the Tagatan people the calendar is a lunar one each month represents the start of a new tidal and lunar cycle. Year: 270 days Months: 8 months with 32 days each with 1 free floating day between each month. The free day between each month belongs to La Wahëah Afi. it is a day of worship, mornings are spent in prayer in the afternoon inventors and scholars share new discoveries, technology, theories and ideas with other citizens, or progress made on such. Each month begins with a full moon.

Nets: 32 days. Calm seas and plentiful fish.

Rain: 32 days. Coastal winds bring moderate rain for the majority of the month.

Wind: 32 days. High winds make traveling west faster and more desirable.

Hearths: 32 days. Low winds and moderate seas make for ideal travel.

Songs: 32 days. Winds and seas continue cultural exchange and inter-island festivals.

Fish: 32 days. Spawning and new currents bring new and exotic fish into the waters.

Clans: 32 days. New elections are held, the ancestors are honored and remembered.

Harvests: 32 days. Due to lunar alignment tides are at their lowest on the islands.

Days: 36 hours. 16 hrs of night, 9 hrs of day, 2 hrs of false dusk, and 9 hrs of the day. 6 days a year there is a perfect lunar eclipse where the suns, the world, and the moons all align with the moons in the world’s shadow.