The Triglavian Collective is a civilization based on trinities, incarnate most directly in the Troika, assemblies of three individuals as one - a quite direct draw from Earth’s Slavic deity Triglav, a three-as-one deity with three faces.
The three forms of life observed composing these trios are the Koschoi, the Narodnya, and the Navka; three different forms of life composing the Triglavian race. New Eden has gleaned more about the Narodnya - seemingly flesh-and-blood human beings - than either of the others. Navka seem to be sapient infomorph entities which are capable of interacting with Rodue Drones, and we know all but nothing about the Koschoi.
Despite knowing little about them in-character, the names used for these different forms reveal some clues as to the true nature. Combining knowledge of these words with esoteric past and current information on myriad components of EVE’s lengthy lore allows us to paint some hypothetical pictures of what some of the truths behind these beings may be.
One illuminating bit of real-life lore lies in the cosmology of Slavic Native Faith, in the concept of Prav-Yav-Nav. This trinity strikes a number of matches with other concepts whose names are already present within the lore of the Triglavian Collective.
Prav : “Law of Heaven”, Svarog, Heaven, Soul : Koschoi
Yav : “Actuality”, Perun, Earth/the Physical World, Flesh : Narodnya
Nav : “Probability”, Svetoid/Veles, Underworld, Spiritual Power : Navka
*This isn’t to say that any life form is specific to one Clade, however - all three forms are present in all three Clades, and Troika can only comprise one Narodnya, one Koschoi, and one Navka.
This post will serve to lay out what we know of each form, what can be gleaned from their Slavic lore counterparts, and what deductions & theories might be cobbled together in light of it all:
Yav, Earth, Flesh
What we know:
Narodnya are flesh-and-blood human beings, with the core of their being residing decisively inside of a body. Capsuleers have been dubbed Augmented Foreign Narodnya, and Nation’s Slaves Hivelinked Foreign Narodnya by the Triglavian Collective.
The bioadaptive suits worn by Triglavians and capsuleers alike are the garb of the very truly physical Narodnya. On one occasion, the Narodnya of a Troika was “corrupted” by Nation elements following the boarding of a Collective Damavik, leading the Navka and Koschoi of the Troika to agree to self-immolate in order to purge the corruption of the indeed physical Narodnya. The component of Zorya Triglav seen in their pronouncements, with a female-sounding voice, is their Narodnya.
The word Narodnya comes from “narodnaya”, which can be understood generally as “people, united by one idea”. The word “narod” translates to “people”, “nation”, and “folk”.
Though we know what shape the Triglav Narodnya take, and can assume some things, we have yet to see what is under their masks. There is a wealth of information that suggests the origins of the Triglav race to lay with the ever-splintered Jove, a number of which follow:
- Sleeper Encryption Methods was the original required skill for invention of t2 rad sinks
- Triglavian Datastreams often refer to detailed archives of the 1st and 2nd Jove Empires
- Trinary Data and related processing has been a Jove narrative hook since 2003
- The Triglavian Collective shares many core attributes with the Enheduanni
- This group lauded the Minmatar way of life for being closest to approaching their own:
- The Tribes: independent groups, willing to cooperate for their race’s greater good
- The Clades: independent groups, willing to cooperate for their race’s greater good
- Further connections explained under Koschoi
It’s my personal best guess that the Triglav descend from ethnic Jove - but with the bioadaptive factors present in their suits and lives, I might imagine the Narodnya to resemble EVE’s pre-incarna Jove more than the modern one:
Nav, Underworld, Spiritual Power
What we know:
Navka are a form of Triglavian life far-separated from flesh and blood humans. Through all information, it can be inferred that these Triglav are infomorph-form beings lacking human bodies, which are capable of cohabitating, inhabiting, or suborning Deviant Automata - or Rogue Drones.
“Detached” Navka mingled with Rogue Drones in the Abyss before returning to the Collective at some point in recent history, providing the information needed for the Clades to agree in their categorization of Deviant Automata as entities they could make use of and cooperate with. “Navka Overmind Swarm” aligned Rogue Drones encountered by Capsuleers in the Abyss, appear to be these detached Navka in control of or in cooperation with host Drone hulls.
The word Navka seems to draw from “nav”, a term for souls of the dead, and/or “mavka”, spirits of the prematurely deceased.
One fairly accepted consensus in the lore community is that Navka are likely a sort of loose infomorph - not a living human, but the information that would make up their consciousness and knowledge. The word coming from the “souls of the dead” feeds into this as well. Navka being able to contact Rogue Drones - perhaps taking control of them, or even bringing drones into willing cooperation with them - speaks to a mechanical and digital mode of life for these beings.
The closest tangible approximation to a soul in EVE would be the infomorph - the data sum of a mind, more colloquially comprehensible as that which is transferred to a new clone when a Capsuleer perishes in flight. Drawing from this, the same form residing in a machine or digital form, a record of someone once-living, is a likely candidate for the nature of the Navka.
One character in EVE’s story - from long before the Collective was introduced - matches extremely well with this concept of Navka:
This character is mentioned by name in two publications: Theodicy, and Templar One.
In Theodicy, Grious is a living Jove.
During the events of this short story, he makes efforts to thwart the ambitions of the Enheduanni, a Jove group bent on influencing New Eden’s society towards what they see as the ideal mode of civilization, and is vehemently opposed to their meddling with the young empires of New Eden - where they favored the Minmatar in particular.
In Templar One, Grious is dead.
Instead, he appears as a sapient, detached infomorph that boards another character’s ship in the form of a probe-like machine, and displays himself as a fuzzy hologram of Grious (which I personally like to compare to the Engineer holograms in Prometheus, above). He has seemingly switched his allegiance, now aiming to convince Marcus Jror of the mortal threat posed by the Other, who rebelled against the Enheduanni and has wreaked havoc within their world-design. We are not told how he became his current form - only that he took the wrong side, and it cost him his life, in his own words.
This recreation of Grious describes itself as a sort of echo of the once-living Jove; retroactively incorporating this older character into the Navka of today would (in my opinion) serve to cohere EVE’s story in a more effective manner, breathing renewed life into an older character and storyline.
One hypothetical definition of the Navka, given the above information, would be:
- A sapient infomorph record, preserved from its original, human instance.
- With the original person dead, this “ghost” would live in a digital-mechanical form.
- Navka may inhabit variable physical, mechanical forms, such as probes or drones.
- Navka inhabiting, suborning, or working with Rogue Drones aligns with this.
Prav, Heaven, Soul
Very little; Koschoi have been mentioned in datastreams in positions of decision-making and leadership, often putting forward an idea or concept.
The Koschoi of the Troika of Vodya Subclade of Veles Clade submitted that cooperating with Rogue Drones may be helpful. Separately, the Koschoi of a Tactical Troika advised self-destruction when the Narodnya of their Troika was “corrupted” by Sansha, and the Navka consented.
The word Koschoi comes from “Koschei the Deathless”, a slavic mythological figure whose body was immortal while his soul was hidden away in a distant place - a land called Buyan, which could hide itself beneath the sea. Zorya Triglav speaks of the Domain of Buyan in their pronouncements, saying that Narodnya who correctly align themselves in the Flow of Vyraj may be fit to enter this “domain”.
While we know very little of the actual form of Triglavian Koschoi, two other concepts from EVE’s lore seem to align very well with the lore of the Triglav and Enheduanni:
The Sefrim and the Tulraug.
In 16480 AD, angelic beings descended from the sky and approached the first Emperor of the Amarr Empire. These beings, called “Sefrim” - “tall and beautiful”, wearing masks of gold and silver and clad in white and amber robes - presented the Ametat and Avetat - a scepter and crown that granted the Emperor vigor & acumen and vastly prolonged his life - to Amash-Akura, and remained with the Amarr for over 100 years, during which they inhabited a sanctuary built for them and were visited by countless Amarr. The Sefrim left at the Emperor’s own incensed request, after they stated that they would not aid him against the threat of Molok the Deceiver; with the departure of the Sefrim, the Emperor aged drastically seemingly overnight, but bravely led his armies to victory over Molok, wielding his Scepter and Crown in battle. The Sefrim never returned.
In the earliest days of the Minmatar, an important “artifact”, originally discovered at the Crystal Steppe, was divided among the Minmatar people during a period of great strife as they set out across the lands in search of means of survival. These parts of the artifact eventually came to be held by the First Elders of the modern Tribes.
In the late 18000’s AD, each of the First Elders simultaneously received a calling from their fraction of the Artifact: visions of spirits, and of an island that was identified as Mahj, the largest island of Mioar. The Krusual Elder, traveling alone, shipwrecked and washed ashore - only to be found by the Vherokior Elder, guided by visions to find him. Once all of the Elders had gathered, they were approached by “powerful spirits”, offering wisdom - including a method of “walking as a spirit”. The Vherokior Elder was chosen to convene with the spirits concerning this gift, and left to be amongst them, while the other Elders remained on the island, continuing to speak with spirits themselves along with each other. During this time, the Elders came to the conclusion that the spirits and their offerings were a negative influence, and to leave as soon as the Vherokior Elder returned. When she did, Vheroka was weak, pale, and near-death, refusing to speak; the Brutor Elder confronted and refused the spirits, who grew angry, and the Elders left the island as it began to shake with volcanic activity - said to be the result of the spirits’ anger.
After they had left, the Artifacts continued to channel “communications” from the spirits. The Brutor Elder soon rounded up all of the pieces by force, and threw them into the ocean. The Elders fractured at this time, and the First Great Tribal War soon followed. A time after its conclusion, the Vherokior Elder - who had recuperated in the time since her close encounter with the spirits, but was elderly and nearing death - wished to be carried up a mountain, where she meditated for seven days. Returning, she called the other Elders to her, to teach them the secret knowledge the spirits had imparted to her at Mioar.
Vherokior chronicles report that, upon her death, Vheroka’s body was rent by light she emerged as a pure manifestation of spirit, known as the Tulraug form - though this is understood to be allegorical. What is clear is that after the day on which she is said to have died, Vheroka never again appeared in the form of an elderly woman - instead, she took the form of a glowing white, masked figure, which appeared to speak with each of the other Elders over the next seven days.
Similar stories accompany the passings of other Elders. Some accounts report Tulraug appearing to watch over the body of the departing Elder, who experiences physical death, and whose spirit form then walks the earth for however long it takes for before they assume human form once again - a time spanning anything from minutes to years.
While it is considered taboo to delve into the mechanics of their generation, the Tulraug are understood to be a sort of thought-form, and are a very real phenomenon. Keitan Yun, for instance, encountered the seven Elders in their Tulraug forms in the days preceding the Elder War of YC110.
There are accounts of Tulraug crossing vast distances in the blink of an eye - and to this date, a Tulraug has never been encountered in Anoikis.
Living Elders of the Minmatar Tribes are chosen upon the passing of the previous Elder. Upon their selection, the First Elders’ Tulraug appear to the candidate, giving them time to consider their offer. After accepting, the candidate becomes identified only by the name of the First Elder of their tribe, and gives up their previous life in the service of their Tribe as a whole; during this time, the new Elder “absorbs the collective knowledge of their tribe”, including the ability to generate the Tulraug form.
Living Elders have, in the past, been expected to wear traditional masks decorated with etchings and symbols specific to their Tribe.
Living Elders are capable of generating the Tulraug form, and it is nearly unheard of in the modern era for an Elder to appear in person. Instead, they appear as their Tulraug avatar while their physical body remains safely hidden.
In the short story “Theodicy”, the Enheduanni - an ancient-splinter Jove group who was once in command of the Sleeper VR - spoke of their admiration for the Minmatar people, of how they were the closest of all New Eden’s people to attaining what they themselves had achieved:
The need to be free of fear and uncertainty, child. The Minmatar Elders controlled their fear of the unknown by nurturing patience in their quest for understanding. That quest united an entire people! Their tribes were acting as one, even without the awareness of a single nation to define them. No other race was on a surer path towards achieving what we have than they.”
-The Enheduanni, speaking as “The Organization” in Theodicy (p.39-40)
This isn’t the post to lay all of the reasoning out, but I (yes, personally) have strong confidence that CCP re-rolled this long-unmentioned and apparently critically story-important faction into the Triglavian Collective. You can read some of the evidence behind this in this post, though I’d write some of it differently if I did it today.
My best guess concerning the true nature of the Koschoi involves this form of life as one blatantly different from the other two Triglav forms, but not one that would be completely unfamiliar to New Eden. The Sefrim and the Tulraug slide into place as two instances of what I’d wager the Koschoi would look like.
- The Sefrim: tall, radiant figures, wearing ornate masks and white-and-amber robes.
- The Tulraug: tall, glowing figures, wearing tribe-centric masks and white robes.
- The Tulraug is a thoughtform, generated by an Elder.
- Tulraug can instantaneously cross vast distances, but have never been seen in Anoikis.
- The Tulraug was taught to the Elders by “Spirits” who imparted the knowledge as a gift.
- The Enheduanni describe the Minmatar as closest to what they themselves achieved.
- The Minmatar Tribes are independent groups who often times conflict with each other.
- The Triglavian Clades are independent groups who often times conflict with each other.
- The Tulraug and Elders wear masks; every Triglav seen thus far wears one as well.
- Tribes and Clades both put aside their own disagreements for the good of their race.
- Koschoi take an apparent leadership role within the Clades and their Troikas.
- Koschoi comes from Koschei, who is immortal with his soul hidden in Buyan.
- Tulraug cannot be harmed, and can be an avatar of a living Elder hiding elsewhere.
- A Koschoi, in a Troika, was not vulnerable to Sansha as the Narodnya of the Troika was.
Drawing all of this into one, one might theorize Koschoi to be:
- A distantly-projected infomorph form, able to appear anywhere in a certain range.
- Appearing as tall, glowing, white-robed, Clade-identifiably masked entities.
- Conducting operations and taking part in Troikas as this infomorph projection.
- Have their vulnerable true body or source hidden away within the Domain of Buyan.
- Buyan being the core domain of the Triglavian civilization.
Again, the last section of each part is subjective theory-crafting; while I hope I’m leaning in the right direction in each of these, new evidence my prove or disprove any of them. I’m deeply interested in hearing and discussing what anyone else might think the truths of the Triglav to be, and I hope to see more and more of them as we approach Invasion Chapter 2 (and, perhaps, Chapter 3)