"Yanik, this is your father's leykos, life quilt. The first panel here depicts his birth during the harsh winter of that year. This one his falconry skill. That one the celebration of our union. This panel is the introduction of you into his life. Your quilt may be empty now but as you grow it will get fuller. And, if you're anything like me, we will have to make it bigger."
The memoiric quilts depict the life of the owner. Birth, skills, loves, losses, and, inevitably, death. The quilts serve a purpose greater than warmth in the winter, they teach history, familial and otherwise. These blankets are not burned with the bodies of their owners but kept and hung by their families to remember them. Children can learn of their grandparents' grandparents by observing their life quilts.
"It is said that the first leykos was created by a woman mourning the loss of her son. She worked for ten cycles without sleep until it was finished, her way to remember him."
— Rantwarin, On the People of the Orth
The origin of the leykos is unknown and no two clans will give you the exact same answer. Though most will say that someone created it to remember a lost loved one. The creation of these quilts is common throughout the Orthlands
but is isolated to that area.
Over time and by region the style of the embroidery varies. The use of smooth lines has given way to a style prefering straight edges and the use of text is becoming more common in the regions closer to Grara
where literacy rates are on the rise.
A woolen blanket is the base of the life quilt and is easier to acquire than the other necessary tools, needle and thread. Needles are common made of animal bone or antler. Only the thread of memories - a special thread made from the wool of a sheep blessed by a spiritual leader - can be used. This is not a hard rule but if regular thread is used a spiritual leader must then bless the entire quilt.
Traditionally, the quilts are embroidered by the women after completing other duties that need doing. Each panel of the leykos is embroidered with art depicting a specific event in the life of the wearer and can take hours or cycles to craft depending on the complexity. Every element of the panel is planned out, often in consultation of others.
Reading a Leykos
The panel in the bottom left is the beginning of the life story, the birth of the owner. The panels are viewed from left to right on the bottom row, right to left on the second, left to right on the third, and so on creating an unbroken tale of stories and events.
There is more to understanding such a quilt than looking at it, the small details give away a lot. The presence of clouds in a frame indicates a renewal or new element while the presence of a wind adds resilience or power to the meaning.