Kulheim Journals

Journal Entry 1
YC 05/9/124

I don’t really know who I’m writing this for. I think maybe just to remember. So much history. So much of the essence of our people has been lost. I think I just need it written down so I won’t ever lose it again.
On with business. This journal will serve as a recollection of my journeys through Kulheim this upcoming week. Just under five months past, I donated a considerable sum to the Ihumanoana circle to assist them with their work unearthing our tribe’s past. Just last week, I was honored with an invitation to a private tour to see some of their works. I was of course pleased with such an offer, as reconnecting with my people has been difficult. It’s my hope that this tour will aid that some. Perhaps, if these logs prove to be of value, it can help other Brutor too.

Our journey today was restricted to the RSS station orbiting Kulheim; shuttle clearances preventing me from reaching the surface for another day yet. Of course, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t interesting. Suduwat Malkor of the archeology team greeted me at the docks and was able to secure my passage into the belly of the station. Of what he told me, Suduwat serves as public outreach role for the circle; seeking to bring their learnings to the broader Matari population. To that end, he operates a museum (E. translation unclear. Root indicates a house to connect with the ancestors. Alt. Shrine, reliquary, sacred house) aboard the Kulheim station that speaks for the Kul-Brutor who colonized the planet below. He was kind enough to give me a tour through its artifacts, providing his own insights into each and the ancestors to whom they belonged.

The museum and its collection total an impressive tribute to our ancestors and the world they left to us. Though their collection was diverse and expansive; this journal will focus only on one item; the Brutor family pendants. Though I know it varies wildly between clans, and many don’t practice it at all, they remained the most important connection for me as one hangs around my neck even as I write this. One that I know precious little about.

Each pendant is a hand-carved shard of blood red cinnabar, polished to a dull lustre and threaded with a leather string with metal clasps at each end. Some, using techniques that are limited in their practice right now, use crystallized cinnabar instead to achieve a translucent pendant that shines in the light. Most of the pendants in the collection were crafted using the later technique, with Suduwat sharing that the techniques for carving the crystal form were once widespread, but have only barely begun to re-emerge in modern times. He further shared that a more advanced process once existed that has yet to be duplicated, with relics now all that remained of that lost art.

He moved to show me a separate display further into the museum, restricted by custom only to members of the Brutor. Within were a collection of far finer pendants. These, he explained, were pinnacles of the specimens they had thus far unearthed. Their distinguishing feature evident in that they glowed with an inner fire that seemed to dance and flicker like candle flame. Although each bore their light, it was clear some had held up to time better than others. Many were faded, barely a dim echo of what they surely once were. Others pulsed and flickered like candles on the verge of being blown out. Only two still held a strong glow, each clearly exquisite examples of their craft even amongst their peers around them. Of what he shared, they were likely the domain of chiefs, passed from father to son and mother to daughter through the generations. They only found them because their bearers had the sense to bury them in a sealed container before the Kulheim colonies were completely depopulated.

Their material aside, each pendant is carved in a pattern of symbolic importance to the clan. The most common amongst those collected on Kulheim is a leafed tree branching towards the sky. Its meaning, as Suduwat explained, is not known. The leading beliefs are that it represents the tree of life, from which all energy flows. A theory largely supported by the agrarian nature of many of the settlements where the pendants were collected and the loose mythological connections of the world tree. Others argue that it represents the tree of the Underworld; beautiful beyond imagining, that welcomes all worthy Brutor to a land of plenty beyond death. Such symbols, they argue, are common amongst many Brutor clans, and are likely reflected here. For his part, Suduwat would not share his views on the matter, nor will I share mine now.

Apart from the trees, other symbols on display included sea creatures, weapons, stars, island outlines, and fishhooks. Each reminiscent of the island heritage of home and, as Suduwat explained it, likely heirlooms passed down from the first travelers to Kulheim.

Which brings me to my final point of discussion before I retire for the evening. Suduwat was able to answer a question that has shed a lot of clarity on my own situation. That of inheritance. As he put it, many of the clans that practice the craft of these pendants place a significant value on passing them down through the generations. In most cases, a mother will pass theirs to their eldest daughter, and a father to their eldest son; with new pendants being crafted for successive children. Such traditions vary of course, even within a clan, with many families developing their own traditions or creating exceptions in uncommon circumstances. Regardless, what is common between them all is that the pendants are seldom passed on before the child receives their voluval, with the passing of the pendant serving as a mark of having been raised into adulthood.

My father’s clan does not practice the tradition of pendants, with our hodgepodge nature naturally including some exceptions to that rule. One such exception was my mother, though I didn’t know it until my father revealed her gift for me after my voluval. She had passed before I ever got to know her, but left this pendant for him to gift to me. A gift I barely understood the significance of at the time. Looking at it now, this pendant; for her to have had it. It must have survived generations of Amarr occupation. I don’t know if it was buried and recovered; or my ancestors were fortunate enough to work in some position of privilege, that they were afforded personal tokens. Regardless, this pendant I now bear. It holds uncounted ancestors in its aura. I carry them with me. A burden I did not appreciate, but one I now find reassurance in. To know I’m never alone so long as they are with me.

Of course, learning of its origin is only the start of understanding this pendant I bear. Its symbolism. Its history. Those who’ve come before. Those will be challenges to unearth in the future. Still, seeing the pendants in the museum was an unexpected surprise this early in the journey. Hopefully, if time permits, I will share some notes on the more distinct items in the museums collection. For now though, this is all I have time to spare for you.

Cheers!

~K. Andile


I’ve elected today to share my personal journals of my time spent with the Ihumanoana circle on Kulheim. I will be posting successive journals here over the coming days, as well as updating this first post to collate them all. Their subject pertains to the Brutor tribe; with particular emphasis on my own clan and those of the Kul-Brutor who once settled Kulheim, and the traditions we keep. It is my hope that they may serve to help other wayward Brutor find their way to their roots and their tribe in time.

I am open to questions, but am no means an expert on this subject, as I myself am only at the start of my own road to rediscovering my peoples culture. Discussion is of course, welcome. Though this is a place of understanding. Unwelcome hostilities have no place here.

8 Likes

Journal Entry 2

YC 05/10/124

Greetings again. After today’s ventures I’ve decided to publish these journals to help others like me who may be distant to their heritage connect with what parts of it they can. To that end, I will focus on a few choice topics that I feel are culturally significant and will try to avoid getting lost in the minutia. As I write this, I will publish yesterdays, and carry on daily as best I can. On to the journal!

Today we took a shuttle down to the surface; to an unearthed farming community that is believed to have been buried by a major mudslide only a few years before the Day or Darkness. What remains, Suduwat tells me, is an incredibly well-preserved look into pre-contact Minmatar life. Of course, seven centuries of wear has worn down much of the site, not to mention the landslide itself. And from what’s been seen, the slide seemed to be well anticipated as almost all items and possessions seem to have been evacuated. Still, many of the buildings remain, and the site has provided a valued look into architecture, furniture design, and city layout that is well represented and remembered by most modern settlements. Suduwat tells me that they often use the site to show visitors their dig techniques, as well as a proof to remind visitors of the many ways we’ve already connected to our past.

The most distinguished feature of the site; and one the Ihumanoana circle has made great effort to restore and maintain, is the clan grounds of the settlement, known as a Marae in the old tongue. For those unfamiliar, it is common for many Brutor settlements to maintain a Marae as a common space for all Clan members. This space serves as a communal center and often acts as a gathering space for funerals, celebrations, public hearings, military farewells, and all manner of daily activity such as dances, singing, and communal work. The land of the Marae is owned by the Clan and is available to use by any of its members. Still, it remains sacred ground to the tribe, as it remains the ownership of not only the present clan, but all the clan’s ancestors, and is rightly treated as such. Any acts of disrespect can be met with harsh retribution should the clan feel it is warranted.

Where they are found, a Marae often speaks of a clans values and traditions. The buildings they choose to include, the plants grown or cultivated, the activities performed; each can define a clan and what they hold as common values. Such can be seen even at the highest levels of Tribal government, even if not in name, with the Grand Caravanserai acting as a communal ground for all Matari; and its functions serving to show the commitments to unity, strong leadership, and preservation of our people that the tribes share.

In the case of the inhabitants of this settlement, their Marae consisted of a large moss-covered square with the preserved trunks of two trees standing towards either end of the rectangular area. The area is no larger than a small park and appears to have been built around this pair of trees. Though they’ve tried, Suduwat tells me there wasn’t enough left of the one tree to identify its type. The other was an Ash tree, though the symbolism behind the choice is not known.

At each corner of the rectangular field once stood a wooden pillar, though only two remain today. Of those lost, one is believed to have been destroyed with the landslide and no remains have yet been found. The other still stands, but a failure in the preservative coating allowed rot and insect predation to hollow and destroy much of the inner woodwork. The remaining two reveal a high level of craftsmanship. Hand carved and carefully burned patterns spiral the length of the pillars, sharing a pictographic story down their length. It should be noted that other buildings and artifacts found on the site show signs of more precise laser carved stone and woodwork, yet these pillars seem to have been intentionally chosen to be hand-carved; likely as a matter of tradition.

The spiraled story on the two that remain clearly speaks of the clans journey and ancestry. Early images show their life on Matar; depictions of early voyages across the seas and settling on an island. A subsequent move to another island is later depicted, apparently driven out by conflict and war. Later images show the unification of the seven tribes, advances in technology, and their shift towards farming. The first pillar’s story ends with their departure from Mother Matar towards the heavens.

Unfortunately, it appears their story carries on the rotted pillar, and only faint clues as to their time on Kulheim can be seen. The other surviving pillar seems to serve a different role entirely; being covered in the recognizable patterns of tattoos found on Matari across the cluster. They seem to serve much the same purpose here as they do as tattoos; acting as a declaration of who the clan is, where they’ve been, and their relative prestige.

In the case of this farming clan, Suduwat expressed that some of the meanings are unknown, but as far as they can tell they were a minor cadet branch of a larger clan, set out to found their own clan after the journey to Kulheim. They seem to serve as a subsidiary to their parent clan, with distinctly low relative influence or power. It’s believed to be likely that this is the reason the town was never unearthed after the landslide, with the popular theory being that they rejoined with their parent clan after their life apart became unsustainable.

And perhaps we are all the better for that. This particular site remains remarkable for its traditionalism and small scale. Most Marae, both modern and old, have had to adapt to the needs of governing an increasingly large body of people. It is common to find a ring of administrative buildings surrounding the Marae, serving the essential functions a growing population needs. Of course, some of those buildings may be included within the Marae itself; a practice that varies between tribes. But by and large there is a preference to stick to the traditional within its boundaries, preventing many modern institutions. The one exception which is consistently present is the clan house; and item I will discuss in greater detail in tomorrow’s journal.

For many, a Marae serves as the focal point for a clan’s customs and traditions. It is a place to celebrate and a place to mourn. It is all of the Clan’s history brought together to be respected and preserved. Even as I write this, new generations of young Matari learn ancestral dances on the mosses below; a continuation and rekindling of what we once were and a testament to our ancestors and all we owe them.

3 Likes