Journal Entry 1
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.
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.