Jaguar Tribe (Cieldales)

From RPC Library
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Exclamation mark.pngThis article or section contains speculation, opinions, or observations that may or may not be supported by official Square-Enix lore. It does not represent official lore or any sort of community consensus.

Overview:

Located on a moderately-sized island west of Thanalan and south of Vylbrand, part of the Cieldales collection of isles. The island is covered in rainforest with one large volcano to the west and three main rivers. Reefs and dangerous cliffs have formed a ship graveyard around most parts of the island, however there is a natural bay on the southwestern shore that has acted as an emergency port infrequently over the last couple of Eras. Currently, the Admiralty of Limsa Lominsa has begun tentative trade relations with the island’s inhabitants and formed a small tradepost on the beach there.

The island is home to four tribes of miqo’te: Jaguar, Puk, Raptor, and Viper. Sahagin are a frequent menace, attempting to make inroads via underwater caverns in order to establish a spawning ground. The rainforest is home to a vast number of deadly beasts and the regions around the volcano are prone to spontaneous voidsent incursions.


Appearance:

Commonly dark-skinned and light-eyed, the Jaguar favor brightly colored hair in both natural and unnatural hues. Long hair is common for adult males and females, with elaborate braids, twists, and shaved designs on display. Children’s hair is kept short and unadorned. This tribe demonstrates longer-than-average tails due to generations of hunting in the treetops, trends towards long, heavily muscled legs and shorter torsos, and displays particularly long upper canines. Ears are typically rounded, versus pointed, and ears, tails, and hair often demonstrate faint patterns of spots and/or stripes.


Physical/Magical Aptitude:

Magical aptitude is extremely common amongst the tribe, with all aspects of life utilizing it in small ways. Physical strength and skills are considered more important than extensive magical training, due to basic magical manipulation skills being taken for granted. Due to the island being rich in naturally occurring gems and a large natural ley-line running through the island, the tribe possesses an uncommonly high number of soulstones, which has seen their incorporation into daily life.

A hunting-based society, most of the Jaguar tribe’s hunting activity takes place amongst the trees, with hunting parties running or hiding in the canopy to track or ambush prey. Due to this, most tribe members have very good movement-based vision but tend towards far-sightedness, and an excellent sense of balance and kinesthesia are universal.

The tribe utilizes oral traditions and have no written language and are almost entirely illiterate. The rare interactions with the outer world have left the Jaguar capable of speaking the Eorzean language and able to recognize writing as “writing” but literacy is not practiced.


Fashion:

With the island rich in gems and gold, both have become utilized in elaborate jewelry and adornments for both sexes- the more delicate and filigreed the designs, the more highly valued they are.. At home, both sexes tend to be topless due to the oppressive heat and humidity, though body paint and makeup are ubiquitous. Particularly skilled individuals enhance said paints with aetherial glamours. Feathers and trophies from hunts are common elements of both sexes fashion, though feathers in particular are seen more amongst the women of the tribe. Whilst out hunting, in war parties, or otherwise working, leather is utilized for armor, with basic undergarments of cloth woven from plant-fibers. Said cloth, incidentally, is obtained via trade, as the Jaguar are not known as skilled weavers.


Tattoos:

Hunters/Huntresses that have succeeded in hunting/fighting particular types of beasts gain tattoos corresponding to the strength/deadliness and type of the creature. Designs are abstract and free-hand, though trend towards certain motifs depending on the inker.

Colors are rigidly defined: Beastkin are red, Seedkin are green, Vilekin are yellow, Wavekin are blue, Cloudkin are white, Scalekin are brown, Elementals are purple, Voidsent and Spoken are both black.

Tia’s and Nuhn’s tattoos follow the same patterns as the women, however Tias attempting to become Nuhn have black bands tattooed around their wrists for each attempt, and more than three black bands means the male is seen as a focus of tribal contempt or pity.


Weapons/Armor:

Due to a lack of natural metals on the island (other than gold), metallic weapons or armor are all-but unseen. Those who do have such treasures have obtained them either from washed-up debris from the many sunken ships around the island, or via defeating invading forces. Knives, spear- and arrowheads, and other tools are formed from obsidian, wood, or bone. Weaponry utilized in hunting or combat is almost exclusively soulstone-based, with simple frames utilized to shape the aetherial arms. Basic combat magic and healing are also prevalent.


Soul-stones:

Due to the combination of abundant gemstones and aether, the tribe has a larger than average number of soulstones that have been created and handed down generation-to-generation. As with other soulstones, when the wielder passes, their aether fuels the stone and influences the kind of magic that can be drawn from it. These stones are bestowed upon members of the tribe when they have earned their first tattoos and been thus-recognized as adults, with an elaborate ceremony involving remembrances of those whom previously held the stone. These stories, songs, and dances help inform what weapons the stone is able to summon. Knives, spears, and bows are the most common.

Those with low personal stores of aether or any kind of aether allergy/sickness are completely unable to call upon the magic of the soulstone and are considered by the tribe to be only half-living or soulless. They do not tend to stay with the tribe for long.

(OOC Note: These weapons function through a blend of summoning (as with carbuncle) and a similar method as that seen in anima weapons. They are not sentient, though they do hold many generations-worth of aether from many different people, and thus on rare occasion can provide cryptic, dream-like messages or visions in wielders whom are naturally more aetherially-sensitive.)


Society:

As with most tribal Seekers of the Sun, the Jaguar tribe is patriarchal, with a single Nuhn fathering cubs. The tribe is loosely ruled by the most senior huntress past child-bearing age (commonly given the title Grandmother) and the most senior Tia (commonly a former Nuhn, given the title Grandfather), though in reality the majority of day-to-day decisions are made via communal majority, with experience in whatever subject is being debated (war, conflict mediation, supplies, threats to the tribe, etc) being given significant respect. Interactions with outsiders and particularly large decisions that will affect the whole tribe in permanent ways are governed by Grandmother and Grandfather.

Prior to Dalamud’s Fall, the tribe stood at roughly 100-150 members. Recent events have had a major impact on the populatiom and will be detailed further below.


Family:

Huntresses typically come of age around 11-12 summers old and begin being courted by the Nuhn at 17-18. Twins are very common, though larger multiple births are rare. The tribe raises the children communally, with huntresses, Tias, and the Nuhn all being active in teaching and caring, though most basic discipline is handled by the mother.

Teaching/training in magic, self-care, and combat are typically handled through mimicry and play, with children often forming close-knit groups along age lines and competing amongst those closest in age. Older children are involved in caring for their younger siblings and cousins at an early age, though actual responsibility for care does not typically begin until the late teens.

Elderly members of the community are cared for communally as well. Respect for experience is more important than respect for strictly age, though in the Jaguar tribe the two almost always go hand-in-hand.


Nuhn:

When a Tia decides to challenge the standing Nuhn (or if the standing Nuhn dies/becomes incapable of leading/abdicates and several Tias attempt to take the position), an elaborate and strict ceremony begins. Barring cases wherein a Nuhn dies unexpectedly, challengers are able to challenge for the position once a year during monsoon season. Challenges levied outside of this time are extremely frowned upon, with the Tia in question commonly receiving contempt if not outright hostility from the rest of the tribe for his presumption and rashness.

At the beginning of the month in the appointed season, the challenging Tia(s) must have the support of a hunting party of 3 huntresses, with the standing Nuhn having the same should he be defending his role. All parties engage in a ritual of cleansing and spiritual preparation that lasts from dusk until dawn, with the Tias receiving the tattooed bands around their wrists at sunset and both sexes removing all clothing, tools, weapons, adornment, and soulstones prior to setting out into the jungle at first light.

Over the course of the month, the males are expected to utilize their environment, their wits, and their companions to survive and successfully hunt down one creature representing each of the six natural elements. Trophies must be taken from the kill for it to be ‘counted’ and stronger enemies overcome will give the Nuhn or Tia considerably more respect.

On the last day of the month, if more than one male is still alive and neither has conceded, the hunting parties convene in a location specifically utilized for such contests. Here, the Nuhn and/or Tia(s) face-off against a void-kin summoned through combined effort of the tribes strongest female mages. In the rare case that more than one male is still combative after this final encounter, the trophies and testimony of the huntresses from the hunting parties are presented to the huntresses that are of-age, with their decision being conveyed to Grandmother and Grandfather.

Nuhns are expected to be able to work well with the huntresses, and demonstrate strength, courage, wisdom, and knowledge of the environment and beasts. It is not uncommon to have a Nuhn serve in the position until their mid- to late-fifties and Nuhns who are unable to confidently perform their role in the tribe are able to abdicate the position. The Tias who were formerly Nuhns are well-respected in the tribe.


Religion:

The Jaguar tribe are extremely superstitious, a result of living in a place where the unknown is a constant threat. The Eorzean gods are not worshipped in the same way they are on the mainland- though many of the same archetypes are represented amongst the Jaguar and a great deal of emphasis is put upon the elemental aspects of each diety. Each god is associated with a constellation, though again these constellations are different than those on the mainland, being dictated by figures from the Jaguar’s myths, history, and environment.

The Sun Goddess is especially cherished, an avatar of strength, combat, and beauty represented as a pure-gold miqo’te woman with a spear. She is associated with the element of fire and would be closest to an amalgamation of Azeyma and Halone. The Moon Goddess is the representation of magic, nature, and the unknown, represented as a dark-skinned miqo’te woman in a mask with a staff. Associated with the element of ice, she is closest to an amalgamation of Menphina and Nophica. Sun and Moon are considered two sides of the same coin- twin sisters and a balancing duality.

The other gods and goddesses have analogs with more or less the same divine portfolios as Eorzean gods, with 3 notable exceptions: -Nald’thal’s analog is a single deity, encompassing only the Thal aspect of death and the afterlife. -Byregot’s analog’s main focus is gemcutting and jewelry crafting. -Rhalgr’s analog, though lightning-aspected, is associated with the island’s volcano as a symbol of destruction

Aside from the gods and goddesses, the Jaguar pay homage to a number of lesser spirits- particularly the spirits of their ancestors (as embodied in the soulstones) and the spirits of legendary animals. As part of their belief system, a variety of rituals and rites are observed through the year. Aside from the ritual to decide new Nuhns and rites for coming-of-age and death, the tribe celebrates holidays at the lunar new year, in the spring, high summer, and in the fall.


Coming-of-Age:

Once a young member of the Jaguar tribe feels that he or she is prepared to undertake their trials, they must petition Grandmother and Grandfather for the chance to prove themselves. Trials take place once a year, on the summer solstice. All children whom have petitioned in the course of that year gather and undertake three major trials: magic, combat, and survival.

The magical trial is a free-for-all of magical combat, wherein the cubs are encouraged to craft alliances and groups with stronger mages or healers and fight one another. The adult mages of the village oversee this trial, which takes place in a magical arena in the jungle. This trial is undertaken at dawn and continues until just before noon or until all of the cubs have fallen into unconsciousness. Cubs are seen to by the healers of the tribe- they are absolutely not allowed to die, though near-death or over-exertion of aether do occasionally occur. Those cubs are carried from the field and not allowed to progress through the trials until the next year.

After a period of rest, recovery, and a meal during which the cubs are told stories of the tribe’s history, the refreshed children are able to choose one of three weapons- knives, bow, or spear- and are pitted against the previous year’s successful cubs in one-on-one combat. They are judged not only for their strength and skill, but also for their inventiveness, pacing, and situational awareness. The combat continues until one of the combatants is KO’d or concedes, or until dusk, whichever is sooner. Cubs that are too injured or exhausted to continue are treated and taken from the competition, having to wait until next year to try again.

Another period of rest and an evening meal (complete with tales, dances, and songs) occur before the final portion of the ritual. At this time, the sun has fully set and the cubs are able to take one water flask and one knife into the jungle. There, they must survive overnight and make their way first to the sea then to the flanks of the volcano, where they must have assembled prior to dawn. Those who get lost or seriously injured during this period are not retrieved having failed the most important part of their trial- though it is not unheard of for them to be found by other tribes and adopted.

The cubs who stand on the appointed spot of the volcano are welcomed as adults into the tribe. There, they must recount their night, their kills, and all they have learned throughout the trials, utilizing song and dance to do so. At the end of their recollection, they are presented one by one with a soulstone and taken to one of the tribes’ inkers. Given their first tattoos based upon the animals/creatures they killed in the trial, they are then feasted and celebrated, often given strong hallucinogens or alcohol, and pulled into songs and dances to thank the gods and ancestor spirits for their protection and guidance.

The entire tribe often takes the next couple of days to recover, with the newly-fledged adult Jaguar given whatever food or treatments they need after the privations of the previous days.


Death:

Death is common amongst the Jaguar- their environment is extremely dangerous and their enemies outnumber them. That said, when a Jaguar dies there is a public and private ritual. The body of the deceased is either burned or buried, whatever is easier based upon where they died.

After the death, in public, the fallen’s closest blood relatives (sisters, brothers, children) host a mid-day feast in the village. The family sets an extra place for the deceased with their soulstone. The feast is encouraged to be exceptionally loud, vibrant, and joyous- dancing and singing is nearly mandatory, fights occasionally break out, and it’s not unknown for the Nuhn to pull one or more of his mates into the shadows.

The feast continues until everyone passes out save for one pre-designated member of the deceased’s family. They are forbidden from undertaking in any of the wilder celebrations (particularly fighting, loving, or partaking in alcohol or drugs). After the adults involved with the party have passed out or otherwise dispersed, the sober Jaguar takes the soulstone into the deceased’s home and sings/dances a lament and a prayer to the gods to guide the fallen through the afterlife and back to the tribe to be reborn. This quiet rite continues until dawn of the next day, whereupon the soulstone is given to Grandmother and Grandfather, with the spirit of the dead being considered to have been guided through the dangers of the underworld.


Food/Drink:

A variety of different alcoholic beverages are common, typically made from fermented fruits found in the jungle. Grilled meat and vegetables are the most frequently eaten items, with vegetables being gathered in the course of hunting rather than grown. Fruit and honey are treats, as well as a sweet sap found in local trees. There are many hallucinogens utilized in rites and holidays, often created via alchemical processes. Jaguar are known to enjoy fish, utilizing spear-fishing techniques in both fresh and saltwater.


Crafts:

Considering the Jaguar tribe lives in a paradise of plants and beasts, alchemy is a well-regarded skill that is completely invaluable. Potion crafting is used both in the healing/recovery arts as well as poisons deadly and non-lethal. Gemcutting and jewelry crafting are considered near-sacred arts, with leather-working and weapon-crafting nearly as respected. Obsidian knives and spearheads are exceptionally difficult to work with and they are often given as gifts upon the birth of cubs or when a cub has successfully completed his or her coming-of-age.


Music/Dance/Entertainment:

Music and dance are important parts of Jaguar society. History of the tribe is entirely oral and thus storytelling in song and dance is an invaluable skill to maintain a sense of identity for tribe members. Drums and flutes (typically bone) are used, along with small clappers and natural-made shakers or bell-like jewelry created from the native plant life.

Though they are a hunting society, Jaguar only typically spend about half of the week actively hunting or gathering food. The rest of the time is spent in socializing, resting, crafting, playing games of tactics or chance, or teaching the young. Swimming and soaking in hot-springs are common, especially amongst women who share a hunting group or close familial ties. Socializing is often undertaken during cooking or grooming activities, with mutual hairstyling and painting used for bonding.


Interactions with non-Jaguar:

Other miqo’te tribes:

The Jaguar tribe shares the island with the Puk, Raptor, and Viper miqo’te tribes in an uneasy peace. Though they do engage in trade with the relatively peaceful Puk tribe members on the island, their interactions with the more aggressive Raptor and Viper tribes are usually more combative. Outright war hasn’t been seen in generations, but it’s not unheard of for skirmishes to occur over the best hunting areas or freshwater sources, and these occasionally do result in death.

That said, there is an unspoken, undefined agreement that orphaned or severely injured members of any tribe are adopted or cared for by any other tribe, and all of the miqo’te tribes will join together to combat shared enemies such as Sahagin or particularly deadly voidsent.


Sahagin:

The Sahagin are major threats to the Jaguar tribe. They frequently attack tribe members to kidnap and Drown and send in war parties through underwater cave systems to try and establish a spawning ground. Stealing soulstones is another Sahagin goal, one that is especially infuriating to Jaguars. On the rare occasion Leviathan has been summoned in the past, the Jaguar have joined with the other miqo’te tribes to set out into the ocean and attempt to drive away the primal.

Wearing/using items scavenged from Sahagin is considered disgusting and verging on blasphemy, though it’s not unknown for trophies of coral to be carved and displayed prominently in a Jaguar member’s home.


Voidsent:

Voidsent incursions on the island have become more and more frequent in the wake of the Calamity, though they were frequent and especially hated enemies for generations prior to Dalamud’s fall. It would be extremely uncommon for a Jaguar tribe member to not have encountered strong voidsent, including succubi and mindflayers. Recent events have changed the Jaguar’s responses to voidsent and will be elaborated on below.


Garleans:

During the massive expansionist surge of the Garlean Empire, wherein Doma and Ala Mhigo fell, the small island became hotly contested territory due to its proximity to Thanalan, Vylbrand, and (by sea) the Near East and distant shores. Garlean incursions into the island were viciously rebuffed, with massive death tolls as the miqo’te inhabitants were wholly unprepared to combat the more advanced technology of the Empire. A guerilla war began, with miqo’te learning quickly how to disable magitek walkers and airships, and use of natural poisons and magic driving the Empire back often enough that the island was determined to be too much work for too little reward and the Empire (mostly) withdrew. Imperial ships still occasionally attempt to utilize the bay to shelter from storms, though it’s rare they escape un-scathed.


Sailors/Traders:

With the island being surrounded by rocks and shoals that frequently claim ships that sail too close, it’s not common for sailors to ever actually step foot on the island. Those that have are welcomed, though briefly, once they are determined to not be a threat. Shown food, water, and the shelter of the bay, the Jaguar tribe typically did not engage in actual interactions with foreigners on a long-term basis until very, very recently. Those rare men and women whom have spent time amongst the tribe consider them feral but friendly, fiercely protective of their home, and fearless.


Limsa Lominsa:

In recent days, the Admiralty has sent official trade-ships to the smaller islands of the Cieldales- including the island the Jaguar call home. Though initially met with suspicion and violence, particularly in the wake of the Garlean’s failed invasion, recently Limsa Lominsa’s ships have been very tentatively welcomed and the Jaguar tribe has made the first steps towards connecting with the greater world. Considering their recent history, the tribe’s interaction with the oceanic city-state may become ever more important.


Current Events:

When the world began to experience unbalance after the Battle of Silvertear Skies and prior to Dalamud’s fall, the island was beset by trouble. Massive earthquakes and tidal waves battered the island, and the beasts and beastmen alike grew more vicious and brutal in combat. The tribe was managing to keep their head above water even with these challenges until the the red moon began to fall and the naturally-occurring rifts into the Void yawned wide. The Jaguar found themselves battling an Atomos and the small army of lesser voidsent that it summoned. The tribe’s population was roughly halved in the fighting, though they were victorious in the end.

And then the moon fell and Bahamut was released.

In the wake of the elder primal vanishing, the Jaguar found themselves prey to an unexpected enemy- void corruption. There were not enough hunters to cull the voidsent and the Jaguar’s sources of clean water and healthy prey were corrupted, resulting in decreased birthrates, increased incidents of possession and madness, and unnatural fatal illness sweeping through the villages. The tribe fell to less than a quarter of its previous population and the painful decision has been made that, for it’s own survival, the tribe must leave the island and find a new home. In service of this goal, Limsa has been allowed to create it’s make-shift trading post, and the young Tias and huntresses have been encouraged to leave the island. They have been given two main goals: find a new suitable home for the tribe and earn enough gil or power to buy the tribe’s passage to their new territory.

Currently, the adult children of the current Nuhn have dispersed into the world, with the rest of the tribe doing it’s best to remain vital as they wait for news.