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Domish Culture

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Domish Culture

Post by Madame » Mon Jul 28, 2008 4:39 pm

READ THIS FIRST: The following is an extensive article detailing the many different aspects of Domish culture. This article is NOT necessary information. Even if you are creating a Domish character, you do NOT need to read this article. This article is only for those of who are interested.

Religion

All the Problems Started When He Hit Puberty

Before Time began, there were two gods, Céleste, the Heavens, and Loup, the Lands. They were locked together in a permanent, tight embrace because of their incredible love, devotion, and loyalty toward one another. In each others arms, they had every type of pup imaginable that lived in the Darkness between them and the family was happy, until one day, the first and most favored pup rebelled.

Cyrille was a sly child who used his cunning and position to convince his siblings that the Light was better than the Darkness. Once he had the support of many of his siblings, Cyrille led a revolt against his parents whereby the children separated the inseparable, thus dividing the Heavens and Lands. Using the bow his father had fashioned for him, Cyrille shot his father four times, once in each paw, pinning him down. Then, he turned to his mother and with the magic cloak she had made him, covered her so she could not reach her love.

Anger at her son’s betrayal burned in Céleste and her eye bore through the cloak and set the sky aflame. But with time the goddess’ rage cooled and the sky faded to darkness with only her sad, pale eye shining through. Each new day that came, the son’s betrayal was remembered and Céleste burned brightly. But each night, the tumult in her heart would turn to ache as she wished vainly for her lover and willful pups to return to her.

In the Light, the siblings who had rebelled cast down those who refused to fight and they came to inhabit all the lands of Feila. The mountains were created by the bucking of Loup as he tried to break free of Cyrille’s arrows, while the rivers and lakes were formed by Céleste’s tears and the winds by her sighs as she mourned.

Those who fought were not to go unpunished, though. While Loup and Céleste loved their children too much to hurt them, they were firm parents. Though Loup was held away from Céleste and she from him by Cyrille’s might, the gods were not to be taken lightly by those they had birthed. Loup called upon the lands and transformed all those who had rebelled into plants and beast-animals. Céleste, in kind, used her might to turn those children not on Loup’s great body into the beast-birds.

Cyrille, the most powerful of the siblings, found himself alone. He begged his parents to return his siblings to their intelligent, true forms, but Céleste and Loup would not relent and for his great crimes, the young upstart’s great body was broken apart and became every type of insect alive, beautiful and repulsive, alike, for he was both.

And Then…

Cyrille and the wayward siblings dealt with, Céleste and Loup were still trapped by their eldest son’s magic, for his were the greatest powers among all the children. They looked to their non-rebellious pups for help and found they had already become mortals thanks to the collective might of the unruly siblings. Saddened that their children could no longer be with them and angry that Cyrille and the others should make it so, Céleste and Loup bestowed upon their good children the gifts of Mastery and Free Will, but tempered these with the curse of Ignorance.

Mastery

The good children were made masters over their willful siblings that had been transformed into beast-animals and to each group was given Complete Mastery, the ability to tame, over a certain species. The gods were inclined to be arbitrary, but asked if there was something any of their children wished to say first.

The one child that spoke up was the youngest daughter, Eulalie. She asked that her parents bestow upon her group Complete Mastery over not one, but two species. No one else objected and the god and goddess considered their daughter before asking why she wanted more than the others.

“A leader shall always want the most and best for those she leads,” was the simple, honest reply. For her boldness, Eulalie was granted her request and so her group was given Complete Mastery over both the canines and the birds of prey.

In time, the groups came to resemble those creatures they had gained mastery over and vice versa. So it was that Eulalie’s group grew to be canines who were fierce fighters who were both loyal to a pack and proud as solitary creatures. Eventually, the lands this group inhabited would come to be known as Domus.

Choice and Ignorance

Céleste and Loup were intelligent deities and realized after the rebellion of their oldest son that the failure to give their children a choice on what they did with their lives and whether they lived in the Light or the Darkness was one of the primary reasons for the revolt. So, with love and despair, they gave to their mortal children, the gift of Free Will, and the curse of Ignorance.

To be ignorant of their beginnings as the children of gods. This curse ensured that no child would remember and try to emulate Cyrille, but by virtue of the free will they possessed, each child could chose to become despicable and rotten like Cyrille. To help them choose the right path, Céleste and Loup left reminders of their presence throughout Feila and engraved in the heart of each of their children, a voice that called them to the gods.

In the End Does it Even Matter?

The Foi Ensemble (Together Fayth), generally referred to as ‘Foi’ by Domish and ‘Fayth’ by non-Domish, that believes in and seeks to reunite the pining Céleste and Loup, does not recognize any sort of Golden Land, Unplace, Infierno, Cielo, or the like. When the body dies, if the fur has genuinely been a decent creature, he will ascend to the Heavens to be with Céleste to await the day when they are reunited with Loup. The stars in the night sky are believed to be the tears made in Cyrille’s magic cloak as each new soul sails through and back to Céleste’s loving arms.

For those who do not lead decent lives, their souls are reincarnated so that they might start afresh and try to live good lives. A mark is left upon their soul, though and for each mark, the circumstances of their new lives become much harder. So, the poor and downtrodden, while pitied and helped are seen by many Fayth members as ‘deserving’ of their ‘punishment’ for misdeeds in their past lives.

A Few Tenants for the House

There are relatively few ‘rules’ for those of the Together Fayth. “Live a good life,” is a central tenant, but how one defines ‘good’ varies. For the most part, though, those who are clerics and monks for the Fayth preach that to be ‘good’, a fur must be kind, compassionate, gentle, patient, and recognize Céleste and Lupe as the true gods in a world filled with wayward choices.

Then There Was This Girl

Eulalie Beauclerc, named for the youngest daughter of Céleste and Loup, was perhaps the most famous figure in the Together Fayth outside the gods themselves. Eulalie was a young wolfhound who, with the help of her village, Lourdes, in the heart of the Cocotte Mountains, built the first great shrine for Céleste. She was high priestess for a long time, sending messengers and clerics to all of the great and small towns and villages of Domus with the stories of Céleste and Loup and the true words of how to live righteously.

In time, Lourdes became a village of some interest as furs began pouring in during the spring thaws to meet the bold wolfhound and seek her council on both grand and sundry affairs -- from how to be a good wife, to how to save the life of a loved one. Eulalie was wise beyond her years and as she aged, her council only grew more powerful. Finally, the king of Domus called on the wolfhound for advice, but due to her advanced years, she was unable to travel down from the mountains, so, in an unprecedented move, the king and his soldiers climbed the Cocottes as the first blizzards of winter were beginning.

Whether by miracle or luck, the king and every single one of his men survived the treacherous mountain passes and arrived in Lourdes bone weary and seeking advice. The king held council with Eulalie on her death bed and begged her to tell him how he could be a good king.

“By giving back to those who support you.” Eulalie Beauclerc’s last words were as simple and honest as those uttered by her namesake some thousands of years before. The king and his soldiers stayed the winter in Lourdes and when spring came, they returned to Parasélène in Chant du Cygne. Once home, the king went to work following Eulalie’s advice to the letter. Giving gifts of gold, cattle, and clothes to the villagers of Chant and farther. He erected a center for learning in Chant that was free for all the citizens. Outside, he commissioned a great white marble statue from one of the most well-known sculptors of Aquilon. It was in the form of the high priestess of Lourdes and at its base were inscribed the words:

Eulalie Beauclerc:

“Give back to those who support you.”


While it is not the most well-known center for learning in Domus, the Beauclerc Center is still a highly-respected institution.

The Watchers

The Watchers are a supposed cult that worships Cyrille and insects, and harms those who believe in and campaign for Céleste and Loup. While the existence of the Watchers has never been confirmed, there are reports from all about Domus that indicate the cult is alive and active. Lynchings of outspoken clerics for the Together Fayth are rare, but when they happen, many claim that the victims all share one thing in common: a brand on their chests in the shape of a beetle. This is the rumored symbol of the Watchers, a secret organization that is feared, hated, and admired by many.

Mythology/History

It is difficult to separate Domish history from mythology as so many of the stories passed down by word of mouth throughout the millennia have been warped from their original truth. Not only that, but the Domish are a proud race that, when challenged, tend to exaggerate their achievements and downplay their failures. In general, the following are more or less universally accepted as myths that follow history the closest.

The Ensanglanté River

How the Ensanglanté received its name is a matter of much debate among Domish scholars. There are two predominant theories that both have their bases in historical records.

The Red Death

Accounts from the Basset Period, which was roughly 300 years ago, of healers, shaman, clerics and local fisherfurs in Chant du Cygne tell of a decade during which the waters from the nameless river beside the city brought on a terrible illness to any fur who dared drink from it. The sickness was called the Red Death as it was virtually fatal in all cases and caused the sufferer to vomit blood in the later stages. During those ten long years, the area experienced a terrible famine because no fish were in the treacherous river and drought claimed the crops of the majority of the southern Domish countryside. Eventually, bodies were simply thrown into the river that killed them because the mass graves dug were being filled up too quickly. It is from this time that the nameless river became the Ensanglanté River, filled with the blood of those who had perished either due to starvation, dehydration or the Red Death.

Le Jour de Gloire

The other theory for the origin of the name Ensanglanté arises from the Dumont Period, which was roughly 160 years ago. According to army records, royal decrees and peasant journals, one of the bloodiest battles in Domish history occurred at the Gloire Bridge on the nameless river that led to Chant du Cygne when the second-eldest son of King Dumont sent his army from the countryside to ransack the capitol and murder his brother. The second-eldest, Armel Dumont, had an army of 3,000, an almost unheard of number in those days. The eldest, Cesaire Dumont, was stuck with what furs his city provided thanks to the suddenness of his little brother’s attack. In the end, it was little more than 800 willing hommes and femmes that faced the traitorous army. Though they held the Glorie Bridge for a fortnight, Armel’s forces were too great, and so, to prevent a full invasion, Cesaire had his army destroy the Gloire Bridge.

Frustrated that his easy passage into the city was gone, Armel called on his greatest mages to rain fire down on Chant. For five days, the citizenry of the capitol were burnt and assaulted as they attempted to put out fires with water from the banks of the river. After five days, the citizens of Chant turned on Cesaire, killed him and threw his body into the river for Armel to see. It is said that the river ran red that day all the way up to Chopine where local accounts hold that ‘the river was filled with blood from dawn to dusk’.

Thus did Armel conquer Chant and name the river Ensanglanté for his fallen brother’s lifeblood.

Knock on Wood -- Touchons du Bois

The Domish can sometimes be very superstitious furs and while many devote themselves to the Fayth, they still carry on with what would be considered ‘pagan’ rituals. One of the most common of these is knocking on or touching trees when in forests to assure good luck. It was once believed that the spirits of the trees in a forest could lead a traveler through them with fair or foul fortune. So, to assure the spirits of good intentions, rapping twice upon the largest tree’s bark that you came across now and again was common practice. Eventually, the superstition entered popular culture so that ‘knock on/touch wood’ was another way to say ‘let’s hope that this good fortune continues’.

Culture

Le Vin

As might be expected given the Caviste Festival held in Chopine each year, wine is a major part of Domish culture. A Domish saying goes: ‘All the gold in Feila without wine a beggar makes’. Though outwardly cold to most non-Domish, the regular citizenry are a wild bunch that enjoys flowing wine and raucous singing as much as the next fur. This is a side of the Domish that is rarely seen save at the Caviste Festival, another reason for the events popularity -- it is an excuse for even the most proper canine to wag his tail, yip and howl at the moon with strangers and friends alike.

Falconry

The sport of falconry is one that is popular among peasant and nobility alike in Domus. With what is believed to be the gift of Complete Mastery over birds of prey, many Domish do have an innate talent for it. Whether this is due to a gift from the gods or a mutually beneficial partnership that has grown throughout the centuries is unclear, but what matters is that the greatest falconers have positions of honor almost equivalent to royalty in Domish society. For many poor pups and kits, the dream of one day becoming a great falconer is one that sustains them through much of their difficult lives.

Presently, the top falconer in Domus is a corgi named Eveline Travert. She has yet to align herself with any specific noble, but many vie for her service as part of one’s esteem in the Domish court has to do with the skills of one’s master falconer.
"It's hard to argue against cynics - they always sound smarter than optimists because they have so much evidence on their side."
~Molly Ivins (R.I.P.)

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