Llaudaun Tradition / Ritual in Age of Defiance | World Anvil
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Llaudaun (YOW-dawn)

Cloth-dance...   The premier form of entertainment amongst the Thangien people, actors clad in voluminous cloth outfits and wooden masks dazzle the citizens of Bainshaebo with exaggerated retellings of their most storied heroes, ancient myths, and pivotal historical moments. Since the earliest days of the aboriginal Freelanders, Thangiens have used performing art and dance to keep their memories fresh and their history alive. From cured animal hides to polished wood, cloth, and advanced puppetry, performers-or llaudaind- enjoy the support of institutions like Raaezen and Peirolyth and the patronage of the Watch-Rider in their creative endeavors.


Interpretive dance has existed since the dawn of men on Thanged, with the earliest known forms preceding the founding of Bainshaebo. Aboriginal humans would recreate popular tales such as The Cresta and the Imp around the campfire wearing costumes of bone, hide, wood, and grass. As the people grew in sophistication, and as Bainshaebo began to take shape on Kundain, this art grew more complex and widespread with the introduction of complex woven cloths, intricate masks carved from precious rare hardwood, and pulleys and harnesses to add dramatic effect to scenes involving gods, creatures, or demons.   Since cloth forms the crux of their performance, llaudaind tend to lead innovations in textiles. The relatively recent arrival of Aleksander Vanstandtvoort saw the introduction of zippers into Thangien fashion.  

Spoiler Warning: Unpublished Content!

  The Far Star Traveller
Aleksander turned around and reached for where he'd left his flight jacket only to find it missing. He hung his shoulders in exasperation but raised an eyebrow upon hearing a curious sound. "Fascinating...simply fascinating...." Aleksander looked to the side and saw a young man who appeared to be in his mid-to-late twenties holding his jacket, seemingly infatuated with the mere act of pulling the zipper open and shut. "Tiny metal teeth that seal and part with but a flick of the wrist! Oldworlder! I must have this! The Lady of Flames would be delighted with such a gift! How much would you like in payment? I will pay a fortune if I must!" the young man demanded giddily, his eyes bright with glee. Aleksander regarded him with an uneasy grimace.   "By all means, keep it. Consider it a gift," Aleksander replied and nodded warily, holding his palm forward in assurance.   "Thank you! Thank you! I will return this debt tenfold, I assure you!!" the eccentric young man fled into the marketplace, clutching Alexsander's jacket in both hands like a precious treasure.
  With the introduction and arrival of the legendary Morind de Witheren, visitors from Earth have witnessed performances depicting Ander's death at the hands of Mal Daggur, their own mystical history, colorful banner processions, and an exaggerated portrayal of the White Dragon fighting the Demon King Ouagli.   The recent outbreak of the Weeping Death saw the loss of over ten percent of the city's llaudaind.  
“It is good to see old Khanphe in good spirits. His troupe got decimated during the plague,” Naz remarked as costumed performers assembled near the road. Workers erected complex rigging that straddled the main thoroughfare and children gathered around to watch. Kaosu didn’t know what to think when he saw an actor dressed as Talpa-or Ouagli, as he was known- stride out onto the road. Other actors dressed as Nether Soldiers grabbed children and assembled them into a cluster in the center of the stage and actors dressed as Nether Spirits hung from rope harnesses attached to the rigging. The llaudaind circled the children, pointing “spears” or casting “spells” at them, and the children huddled back to back and stared in awe. Normally Kaosu would strongly object to the Dynasty being portrayed as dancing cheerfully, but apparently Thangiens’ believed mocking their opponents negated fear. “Talpa” and his “minions” suddenly turned and raised their hands in mock fright.   Jaws dropped upon seeing the life-size animatronic float portraying Raurgoth as it moved through the main gate. The legs rested on platforms that rocked back and forth, giving the colossal puppet the appearance of walking. The neck arched and the jaws hinged wide, belching fire from tubes inside. The wings rose and folded jerkily. If the Inferno Dragon had deigned to accompany the visitors from Earth, he might’ve taken umbrage to his wooden doppelganger. The costumed llaudaind continued dancing with “Talpa” striding out to face the “dragon”. The jaws yawned wide and bundles of red, orange, and yellow ribbons spilled out, and the “Dynasty” fell to the ground, writhing in mock agony. Crowds cheered and clapped at the sight. Kaosu made an awkward grimace. He had to applaud the Thangiens’ creativity.
— Cataclysm War Ch. 15


Llaudaind will often precede their performances by thumping the butts of their staves against the ground, mimicking the stomping of hooves by Grand Crestas. Their style is viewed as a mix of Japanese kabuki theatre, North American Hopi kachina dancing, and ballet. Llaudaind practice a stiff walk in which they keep their legs straight to give their gait an ethereal appearance without wrinkling or tangling the cloth strips of their costumes.  

Spoiler Warning: Unpublished Content!

  The Far Star Traveller
"Khanphe came by to deliver something for you. He said you would like it," Yainae stated as Aleksander-or Ander as she now called him- paused in slipping on his old worn undershirt. Yainae presented him with a paper-wrapped bundle that seemed bulky. He noticed the patch from his old jacket secured to the top of the package with a pin. The edges looked frayed, as if someone had peeled it off of his jacket. Ander raised an eyebrow, curious, and undid the twine securing the package.   Several minutes later, he emerged from the House of St'lur clad in the new garb Khanphe had designed specially for him. With its variety of blues, gold, silver, and gemstone accents, it combined both elements of Thangien fashion and hints of his old bomber jacket in the collar and shoulders. Now, with his newly-dyed blue hair and outfit courtesy of Orn Orn Grast, Khanphe, perhaps he could finally pass for normal amongst the populace. He glanced down at the old patch depicting St. Michael and carefully slipped it inside a pouch at his belt.

Components and tools

Traditional Llaudaun Performer by Mardrena
Rough pencil sketch
Llaudaind-literally "Cloth Knights"-wear outfits of woven cloth sourced from Kundain and the Southern Salt with masks, staves, and other implements crafted from either dererium or stormwood harvested from the fringes of the Eastern Jungle. In more recent years llaudaind have added complex hydraulic rigs, colossal floats and puppets, and pyrotechnics and other effects to their toolbox.   The average llaudaind will carry a staff, spear, or banner fixed to a pole. They can change the colors of their banners using a set of hidden buttons on the shaft of their staves. During a performance, a separate set of llaudaind will attend to the special effects portion of llaudaun either by manning puppets and rigs to unfurling walls of cloth and tossing ribbons to enhance the atmosphere of a llaudaun.


Llaudaind operate as a offshoot of the Archives of Raaezen, currently led by the eccentric Orn Orn Grast, Khanphe, a close friend of King Torke and former friend of Chi Chi Lina, Ander. Khanphe is known for his flamboyant personality and can turn the simplest of deeds into a sprawling epic.  
“SageTakin! I am glad I was able to discern you in this crowd!” an out-of-breath Khanphe came to a skidding stop and keeled over, panting heavily before gathering himself. “I wanted to submit these designs to a Morindae for approval on their accuracy…” Khanphe pulled several objects from the folds of his voluminous robes and held them out for Sage to see: half a dozen masks carved in the likenesses of various Ronin. A particularly round one caught Sage’s eye.   “Yup…definitely nailed Kento there…um…listen, Khanphe, I appreciate what you’re trying to do with telling our story to the people and all, but I don’t think it’s necessarily a good idea. No offense or anything, it’s just...well…the last time someone tried to bring our story to the stage, it ended with a lot of people getting killed…horribly,” Sage explained as politely as possible. Khanphe frowned and averted his gaze, looking more reflective than disappointed.   “Ahh…ignorance has ever been the black foe of the performing arts!” he hissed and swept one hand up and to the side, almost knocking Sage against the forehead. “In a sense, we are as much warriors as you. In my youth, I was blessed to have known Vai Stel Vethu, and after his passing, I dedicated my life to immortalizing him for the next thousand generations!” Khanphe again made a sweeping motion with his arm, and Sage decided it best to lean away some.   “It is true that war can be cruel and ugly, but is it not even more so cruel and ugly to disregard those who bleed for the sake of the future? For them to be abhorred and forgotten, instead of revered and remembered? It is far too easy for those who do not themselves shed blood to decry the efforts made to secure the lives they so freely enjoy. That is why I, Orn Orn Grast, Khanphe, lead the llaudaind so that we may celebrate the fallen, with song and dance! And joyful reveling!” Sage once more had to duck to avoid getting clocked in the head. “So that those who gave of themselves-like Ander did, like you do now-are never discarded.   “To allow ignorance and disdain silence the arts is far worse than any suffering incurred because of it, so I say to you: What better audience for your tale than we of Thanged, who celebrate battle! What better stage than Bainshaebo? And what better time than now?” Sage frowned thoughtfully, reflecting on the statements. Khanphe slapped him in the shoulder and jabbed finger at him. “We are to perform at the ceremony. You will not be disappointed! You will not be disappointed!” the man said gleefully before running off through the crowd. Sage raised an eyebrow and the corners of his lips turned up in an amused smile.
— Foes From Another World Ch. 20


Any time is a time for llaudaun, according to Khanphe. Performances occur frequently throughout the day in the Pavilion or as part of special occasions such as pairings or the more recent Blood Dawn. The Riders Citadel has an inner theatre specially devoted to performances at the behest of the Watch-Rider.
Back out on the brick, the robed man seemed to be winding down his speech. Rowen frowned and shifted his position on the bench. "I think Danae forgot to give us translators. I can't understand what he's saying."   "It is about to begin," Azuro said. "The Llaudaun. It means cloth-dance. Torke's friend, Khanphe, wrote it in your honor."   "'Cloth dance?'" Cye raised an eyebrow.   "Some form of performing art, I suppose," Mia said. The man named Khanphe spoke a few more sentences, even gesturing to the seated Ronin, calling them "Morindae". Some of the guys smiled and returned the attention by raising their glasses or waving. Khanphe turned around and spoke in the direction of children seated at another bench. His tone lowered, and the word that he spoke dripped with such dread and foreboding that some of the children gasped, a few even burying their faces: "Ouagli".
— Aftermath Ch. 11
Much the same as the cloth dance the other Ronin had witnessed, actors set up a billowing wall of cloth, this time of green and blue. The music felt benign and soothing, and warriors sparred and maidens reveled in the paradise.   The cloth wall changed to orange and yellow, and smaller strips of cloth fluttered upwards, giving the appearance of fire. Drums beat ominously as a shadow approached from behind the wall. The fiery wall parted and the newcomer stepped forth.   The actor had to have been very tall to wear the costume in the first place, and the design of the costume gave the illusion of him being much taller. Thick wooden boots painted orange with three thick talons covered each foot, and a cruel six-inch long white claw tipped each of the four fingers on each hand. Curved white horns curled out from the back of the rectangular head, and two rows of crocodilian teeth leered at the other actors. A heavy shell bristling with thick white spikes hung on the actor's back. A long stuffed cloth tail swung behind him, a huge round spiked club on the very tip.
— Aftermath Ch. 11
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Shannon had to crouch up in her seat to get a good angle with her camera as the performers launched into a complex routine of sweeping their banners up and around, every so often thumping the ground in a steady rhythm. The network of projection screens managed to capture the display for those unable to see firsthand. Just when the visitors didn’t think it possible to be wowed any further, by some hidden art, the banners began changing colors as the routine reached a climax. The performers concluded by smiting the pavement with the tips of their banners, and before the visitors could applaud, the banners furled up and parted to either side.
— Foes From Another World Ch. 20
"Interesting...it...it's almost like a blend of kabuki, ballet, and kachina...um...Azuro, what exactly is this about?" he whispered and nodded in the direction of the cloth dance, squinting slightly. Azuro glanced at him.   "It is the Pridae: the First Confrontation between Tyatatiainte, the Great Wise One, and the Demon King, Ouagli," he explained. Rowen raised an eyebrow and sat back.   "Huh….funny…the demon guy...almost looks like Talpa," he muttered.   Azuro shrugged dismissively. "The Silver Haired Maiden did not disclose many details as far as names went, so Khanphe had to improvise."
— Aftermath Ch. 11

Cover image: Age Of Defiance Header by Mardrena


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Jan 21, 2023 21:42 by LexiCon (WordiGirl)

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