Raft dwellers

Life on the sea

 
I am taking the egg with me!
— Yusif
  In the middle of the Svajan sea, about midway between the Varil archipelagus and the coasts of Kithanda, there is a cluster of diminutive corals atols, formed around the remnants of an extinct and submerged volcano crater.   This is the home of one of the most reclusive of the makarids lineages. When the Makarids diaspora dispersed after the death of Makahar, Faiq and his two children set sail on their old fishing boat towards some draconic ruins in the middle of the sea, soon followed by Yusif and what would have hatched as the last of Makahar direct descendants.   They found what they expected to be a palace almost completely in ruins, but managed to find enough shelter and survive in hiding for several years and from this first nucleus and the addition of shipwrecks survivors and mutinee sailors, a substantial community was born and thrived despite the scarcity of natural resources.  

Life of restraint

 
Do you know how long a tree like this takes to grow? We only have 35 of them!
— an elder to a unruly child
  The land available in this archipelago is so little that early on the settlers decided to let most of it to fully grow instead of falling trees to make space for building on the land. They used instead what wood could be gathered from the little patches of forest and salvaged from the sea to build huts on rafts and platforms that extend outside of the mainland into the sea.   They also spend most of their lives on boat, roaming the sea to gather whatever resources can be found from wreckages and discarded items from passing ships.  

Life as a treasure

 
Lord of the sea, accept the git of this new life in your hoard
— a Sea Dragon priest
Because of their lifestyle, most of them are fervent worshippers of the The Sea Dragon cult, considering themselves both custodians and integral part of the Sea Dragon's treasure.   It is considered sinful, inside this community, to leave the sea for more than short periods of time, as they believe themselves to be owned by their god and leaving the Sea Dragon's realm would be like stealing from them.

The Sea Dragon sect

  Due to the scarcity of resources available, the Raft people don't have the availability of ever new and marvellous things to donate to their divinity.   For this reason they integrated body modifications and body art in their ritual and religious practices, making their own body artworks worthy of their god's treasure.   While a lot of Makarids clans use tattoos and body painting to enhance the aspect of their natural markings and thus show their pride in their ancestry, none perfected these practices as the Raft dwellers, whose works of body art is coveted by many and virtually unreachable for anyone who's not a member of the community.   Nudity is as well commonly practiced both because of the scarcity of textile materials and because of their will to show off their artwork.


Cover image: by Thom Milkovic

Comments

Author's Notes

This article is in response to TJ Trewin's prompt #103 from his 400 Worldbuilding Prompts


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10 Jul, 2022 23:52

Your quote game has levelled up very nicely

Grandmaster tlcassis
Tlcassis Polgara | Arrhynsia
6 Aug, 2022 13:19

I really like this article, and love the idea of a raft people, but have difficulty with the premise of scarcity of resources. The ocean is typically a bountiful source of natural resources - food is plentiful, and fish skin makes gorgeous leather. I do think there is great opportunity to talk about the difficulties that they would face - storms at sea for example - very tough to survive, and drinking water which is problematic would be the two that would I would address. Of course, those are relative to this world, so may not apply, but that was in my head as I read... In all successful - you got my attention enough that I was wondering about them and curious. Well done!

Humans! My shortlisted competition entry for "On the Shoulders of Giants"   My Short stories for Spooktober
7 Aug, 2022 13:09

Thanks for reading and commenting. I will need to reword the article to better explain that I was referring to scarcity of "variety" of resources, and in particular scarcity of land based resources like wood, ores and in particular terrains for crops. This is only part of a series of articles, so some of the details are in the other articles and I didn't repeat myself. I will make sure to add more informations when I edit it :)

Grandmaster tlcassis
Tlcassis Polgara | Arrhynsia
12 Aug, 2022 03:31

Totally get that! My fingers are itching to get to updates myself, and the lack of time during Summer Camp to tie things together properly is a challenge... I think next year I'm going to specialize and keep to a small number of articles that I do really well.

Humans! My shortlisted competition entry for "On the Shoulders of Giants"   My Short stories for Spooktober