Nyjichun Culture Notes

A bunch of random things I wrote about the Nyjichun. Completely unedited, so rather rambling and full of notes to myself (in square brackets). To remind you all, the Nyjichun are the ‘race’ Wilykit and Wilykat and my oc, Felino, belong to. There are two major divisions of Nyjichun – the Taijin who are more of warriors and Wanrin who aren’t. Felino is Taijin. Wilykit and Wilykat are Wanrin. The Nyjichun grow slower than other Thunderians and are always shorter.

This is also in the Nyjichun tiddlywiki.

CN: funeral practices, extreme body modifications, racism of fantasy culture, specifically, mention of child theft,

Theft

The Nyji are stereotyped as thieves. This is because they have looser senses of property than non-Nyji. Across all Nyji clans is the belief that if you can hold on to it, it’s yours, and if you can’t, you didn’t deserve it or you deserved to have it taken away. If something is lost, it’s said to be taken by spirits or the trees or the river.

Both rych (hunter/warrior) and mychsy (farmer/homekeeper) Taijin will gain honor by stealing something from the enemy or from a higher ranking Taijin.

In Wanrin clans, if you can take something and hold it for three days and night, it’s yours. In that time it may be stolen back and long, generally good-spirited, cycles of thefts are common. In that three-day time, the object is known as (hxka-zp) [I don’t know if that’s the right way to derive that – no one’s thing] (commonly translated as none’s-belonging) because it belongs to no one.

Common Nyji idioms related to this:

* In my hand, mine or I hold it, mine

* Parents admonish their children when they lose things thusly: ‘You should have watched it’ and ‘why did you set it down where the spirits could get it?’ and ‘it’s belongs to the river now, no use crying over it’

 

Other Stereotypes

It is also said that only the Nyji can travel their forests. This is possibly true – only the Nyji know the signs for their paths and those signs vary from clan to clan. Nyji also guard their towns carefully, because they fear non-Nyji stealing their children away. This is an old practice that has been banned for almost a century, but was based on the characterization of Nyji as child-like, thus irresponsible. It has, unfortunately, not been completely eradicated, but most Nyji children are returned when their kidnapping is discovered.

The stereotype as childish is a misinterpretation. All Nyji, they enjoy games, good food, etc as a celebration of being alive – the Wanrin are more enthusiastic in their games and pranks than the Taijin. The stereotype ignores their many practices of remembering the dead and acknowledging the inevitability of death.

 

Funeral Practices

Wealth is given away, feasts are held, the body is dried / smoked and interred in the Dead Tree – a tree hidden from outsiders either the middle of the town if the town is large enough or on a difficult to access path.  Specific practices and celebrations vary.

The largest clan of the Wanrin hold a festival where the bodies are arrayed with mock wealth – the bodies are painted and clothes and decorations are made of flowers, leaves, sugar, or anything else that will wear away.

 

Geography

The Taijin are called the Night People because they live in the West where the forests are heavier. There are a few large clans. The Wanrin are called the Morning People because they live in the East where the forests are patchier and interspersed with large meadows and rocky hills that the Wanrin mine.

 

Taijin

The Taijin say “The mychsy show their bravery on their face*, the warriors on their arms**, but endurance*** is shown on the back.”

* also translated as head – it consists of the front of the head, including the face, jaw, neck, and ears.

** arms and hands

*** also translated as hard work.

This is because mychsy are known for piercing, scarification (rare), and ear notching and cropping, with those closer to the Wanrin being prone to more extreme modification. All these are to show their bravery. Rych are most likely to be injured in their hands are arms as that is the least armored. And, of course, hard work over years causes stooping, back injury, etc, that affects ones posture.

At any time one may change from a warrior to a non-warrior, although it’s rare (less than 10% change over their lives.) This is accomplished by going to the respective temple-lodge and following the initiation rituals. The rych lodge is West or North depending on the clan, the mychsy one East or South. For mychsy to rych, this is known as taking up the braids. For rych to mychsy, letting down the hair [which is too perfectly symmetrical – um… taking up the pot? Filling the pot? Building the fire?]

Mychsy live longer.

Rych wear their hair braided and short and don’t pierce their skin. Mychsy wear their hair loose or in long braids.

 

Wanrin

Wanrin are stereotyped as loving bright colors and shiny objects. Which isn’t entirely untrue. The forest they live in is very fertile and life is fairly easy. Metals are easy to find and they are known as fine workers in gold, silver, tin, copper, bronze, bone, and horn. They have good dyes that are colorfast. However, they are prone to floods, forest fires, and mudslides. All these lead to them wearing their wealth so that they can’t lose it.

Some of the sects, especially those nearest the Tajin, are known for wearing lots of piercings and engaging in body modification, such as ear notching or cropping, ear stretching, removing of the last digit of the pinky, scarification, and tongue splitting to show off their bravery. Compare this to the practices of the mychsy Taijin.

 

Other

Like all Thunderians, the more North you go, the smoother the hair.

 

 

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