stojo

Undying Friendship

The Aquitani are an unfriendly people, and their highest honor is to consider an outsider as one of their own. Said outsider must be ready to adopt the Aquitani way of life fully, as there is nothing more abhorrent to an Aquitani than a friend who has fallen. There exists no such thing as a "former stojo." They do not live long.
- Mariner Federation summary of
Aquitani cultural practice

My childhood was spent on Aquitania, and in all that time, of the scant krøstojo I met, none were Imperian. I'm not sure if an Imperian is capable of attaining the rank of stojo... even if we wanted it.




The term stojo literally means "friend" in Cheulque, but is not a term Aquitani use to refer to other Aquitani. Extremely close-knit as clans, Aquitani refer to other Aquitani with relational terms, such as perd, "sister," peltixe, "cousin," or lierle, "grandmother." Non-relational terms are reserved for non-Aquitani and are generally unkind. However, the term stojo, "friend," may be conferred onto a non-Aquitani who has proven themselves to whatever Aquitani bestowed the term.


Requirements



There are no official requirements for the term stojo, but the Aquitani giving the title to a non-Aquitani understands that the term invites this outsider into the larger Aquitani family and bestows upon them certain rights and responsibilities. For this reason, a non-Aquitani earning the title stojo almost always is already nearly assimilated into Aquitani culture and has likely fought alongside Aquitani, either against Imperian forces, Imperian-aligned Mariner races, and/or krøtruo.   Often, if an Aquitani takes a non-Aquitani lover, the seriousness of the relationship can be tied to whether the Aquitani introduces this lover as pucteun stojo, "love friend" or simply ljopucteun, "lover." The former is an expression of true love and devotion, whereas the latter indicates a more casual relationship.


The Right of Stojo



A non-Aquitani who earns the title stojo is referred as this by all Aquitani unless they specifically request not to be, as a sign of ultimate respect. This non-Aquitani now possesses the right to own land on Aquitania, to sail under Aquitani flags, and to marry into an Aquitani family. They will receive an Aquitani name at the same time as they are given the title stojo, which they'll be expected to solely use going forward. They are also expected to join Aquitani campaigns against the Imperia or other enemies, and are given no leeway when it comes to cultural knowledge. In short, a non-Aquitani with the title stojo is treated like a true Aquitani, with all the rights and responsibilities involved.

To be a friend to the Aquitani is to become Aquitani yourself.
Belgican proverb


A Permanent Title

Any non-Aquitani who is offered the stojo title must be cautious about accepting it, because the Aquitani consider it a title that follows the bearer unto death. If a person given the stojo title does something severe enough to have the title withdrawn, that withdrawal is done via the execution of the former stojo. Said execution is often public, ceremonial, and incredibly violent.


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