Thursday, July 3, 2014

Blazing Spear: Rulaani Clayborn Interview

Wrote this up to illustrate one of the major cultural perspectives in Blazing Spear- that of the Rulaani Empire, which has rapidly expanded in the last century.

I have encountered Peltan upon the road to Strongbranch. She is employed as a traveling sorceror's guard, and was ordered to answer my questions in exchange for information on current political events to the south.

Peltan is a tall clayborn warrior-witch, with brown skin and black hair that is shaven along both sides. She seems well accustomed to the weight of her armor. Her left arm and spear bear marks of power, a strange kind of Rulaani rasayana which I am ill-equipped to study. We converse in fluent crow tongue.

"Who are you?"
My name is Peltan il-Orphan Daughter, ar-Butcher's Ward, ar-Infantry Sergeant, Sellspear. I am called Peltan the Cold-Eyed.

"You have many titles."
Peltan Sellspear is my name, not a title. A Rulaani is defined by her labors. If was to I trade my spear for a plow and join a harvest guild, then my name would become Peltan Farmer.

"Where are you from and what is that place like?"
I was raised in the dawnside markets of the great city of Rulaan. It stands amid seas of grain, in the Heartland where the Titans once ruled over our predecessors. It is a place of great bounty, which all Rulaani will lay down their lives to protect.

"In my travels, I've heard many say that your empire has armies of witches. Is this true?"
I'd never heard that word, before I left my homeland. A witch seems to be any woman who wields strange and dangerous magic, who can do terrible harm in unexpected ways. So I will say it is half true. All our soldiers have the warlocks' marks and know how to use them; but only half are women.

"So your armies are comprised of both sexes."
Yes, and also those like the Alseid, who grow from their Heratrees and bear no children. All provinces of our empire must contribute to our armies, and those born in conquered territories can join our ranks to earn full citizenship. All who dedicate their lives to Rulaan may earn the right to be Rulaani.

"What does it mean to be a woman in Rulaan?"
It is a difficult thing for a foreigner to understand. In Rulaan there is no longer a woman's place and a man's place, woman's work and men's work. There is a woman's strengths and a man's strengths, but we teach them to each other. Our men are tempered- they learn discipline and foresight. In battle they fight in formation and hold ranks as well as any woman. And in turn, we learn from their fire- it is the men who show us how to inspire the masses, to sing with passion, to love our children. We make each other strong.

"To whom do you pray?"
No one. I am a sworn to the flame, like all true Rulaani. It is our most powerful oath and cannot be undone.

"Tell me about this oath."
It is sworn in the light of a true flame, the fires in which the first Rulaani burned the gods who created them. It means I have forsaken providence; the gods will not answer my pleas, and my fate has been unwritten. If I had some grand destiny, the world has now forgotten it; perhaps I will die tomorrow. But today I am alive.

"Why would you swear such a thing?"
To be Rulaani. To be a part of something more. Words can only say so much. Whatever my life, I know that no master has chosen it for me.

"What will become of your soul after death?"
Our lives are as fuel for the flame; my existence will end with my death. All that remains is the mark I have left on the world. As for my soul, who can say? I am clayborn, the favored titanspawn, sculpted in my long-dead creator's image. Perhaps I never had such a thing to begin with.

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