Arokush | Lothrea


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A coming of Age ceremony

The Giantborn of Kathal'Dir trace their bloodline back to the Giants themselves and uphold many traditions in their honor. The most important one is the Arokush, a coming of age ceremony everybody has to go through, once they turn 20.  
Today is the day. Today, you are finally becoming a full member of our society. When you emerge from the ruins in three days, you will be a changed person. You'll have proven yourself, like everybody else before you. You will have grown further than you could ever imagine. This is equally a challenge, as it is a chance. May the gods guide your way, and may the Giants bring forth the best within you.
Maudath Lako
  On their 20th birthday, every individual has to enter the ruins of Kathal'Dir and spend three days and nights within them on their own. The deeper individuals venture into the ruins, the higher their status within the society afterwards. Many even try to bring back an item or knowledge from deep within the ruins to prove their courage and abilities.   Not everybody returns from this venture. Some fall victim to the ancient tunnels or creatures living within them. After one week, the village usually sends a group of experienced fighters to retrieve the individual or what remains of them. Those who have fallen gain the honor of a burial as a full tribe member. Those who abort the ritual are seen as lesser members of society and usually have to take on jobs nobody else wants. Should they be able to prove themselves over many years, they might be allowed to do the Arokush a second time.  


Fighting and physical strength are a big part of the culture of the Giantborn. Kathal'Dir is rather inhospitable and filled with countless dangerous animals, so it's essential for people to defend themselves. Every child learns the basics of fighting and has to at least learn enough to survive the Arokush.   The actual preparations for the ritual start half a year before their 20th birthday. Under the guidance of the village elders, they will learn everything they have to know about the ruins. Additionally, they will have to forge their own weapons and craft anything they might need in the ruins, as in the end, they are only allowed to take what they made themselves. A few days before their 20th birthday, they will even hunt and prepare their own rations.   They do not celebrate the day of their 20th birthday much. Usually it is just a small gathering with close family members, as the big celebration happens once they emerge from the ruins. They mostly use this day for last preparations. The parents give some last advice to their children, check their equipment and just spend time with them, as they know well enough that not everyone returns from this venture. Then, at dawn the next morning the Arokush begins, and the individual descends into the Ruins of Kathal'Dir.
Work in Progress

This article is still heavily WIP and can change at any moment

Primary Related Location
3 days
Kathal'dir is fascinating. The magic of the giants is different, and I don't quite understand how it works, but they created great things. Sadly, the people living on that island are not very fond of outsiders exploring the ruins. I would love to study the ruins at some point, and should you ever find something from down there, I'm more than happy to take it off your hands.

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Geographic Location | Feb 24, 2024

Kathal'Dir once was the ancient home of the Giants. Their empire is long gone, but the ruins of their cities still stand

A fateful day

"Fuck!". That was all Ekaos could think about right now. "Fuck". This had not gone to plan, not even close. "Don't let those lights touch you, Ekaos!", they said, "Just keep your distance and you'll be fine".   Yeah, no kidding! Those things were no joke. All he wanted was to get a quick peek at them. "Maybe mentioning that these stupid things are freaking fast would have helped!" he thought and looked down at his completely blackened hand that he could no longer feel.   Two days down here, and everything went perfectly fine. He stepped into the ruins like thousands before him. These ancient runes and strucutures were fascinating and the first day just flew by. Exhausted, but optimistic, he settled down for his first rest.   Then came the night and all that optimism was gone in an instant. He found the scariest thing in existence - a simple voice in absolute silence when you should be alone. This first night was no fun. These voices kept him awake, and he barely got a quick nap in. He moved from place to place, trying to find some rest, until he ultimately had to give up.   The second day was way better than the night, not a high bar to beat. He kept exploring the ruins - a lot more careful this time, as he didn't want to run into whatever was creating those voices. But nothing happened.... until he saw this little orb of pure light floating in the distance.   In hindsight, he had to admit it was a stupid idea to go after it. He should have known better, but who could have guessed that these lights were so hostile? And they were so beautiful and alien. He needed to take a closer look - everything went downhill from there.
The moment he stepped closer, that light stopped moving and dashed in his direction. Before he could react, this thing was hovering only inches in front of him.   In all honestly it looked really peaceful - maybe even divine. How could something this beautiful and pure be that dangerous? It can't be, right? Maybe they just want to scare us! That has to be it! It makes perfect sense! - at least for a couple of seconds.   So he reached out to this divine being of purity and light, and the moment he touched it, the worst pain he had ever experienced shot through his arm. It would be hard to describe something so painful, it replaces everything else in the mind. For a moment, the world stopped existing. The only thing left was the pain in his right arm. His whole existence turned into a single feeling - pain.   As soon as he could form a simple thought again, he just turned around and ran. He didn't care which direction he was going, as long as it was away from this thing! He ran and ran along countless corridors, until he collapsed against a wall.   And so now, here he was. Sitting somewhere in the depth of an ancient ruin, his foot most probably sprained and his arm black like coal, ripped of all life. It didn’t look good for him, as suddenly a deep voice echoed through the ruins.   >>Ekaos, my child. It's been too long. My name is Molgoth, but that doesn’t matter. What matters right now, is who you are. Are you are a coward - a weakling? Will you just give up and die down here? Or are you a warrior? Will you face the dangers, overcome them, and become stronger than everyone that came before you? If you are brave enough, it's not yet over. I have an offer for you...<<

Cover image: by Vertixico


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Dec 20, 2021 23:15 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

This is a really fascinating bit of prose! I really love the idea of mysterious ruins full of dangers and people being forced to venture there, and I really felt the danger as the story went on and couldn't stop reading :D I really need to know more about the ruins and that light! Made me think of an angler fish XD

To see what I am up to: World Ember 2023 list of articles.
Dec 21, 2021 17:45

Thank you! You are right, there is some resemblance to an angler fish, isn't there? I will definitively write more about the ruins and those lights and what's up with all that and you'll see where that resemblance is coming from.

Worldember is coming! Want to find more of my things: SatriumHub
Dec 22, 2021 12:33

Like Amélie said, a mysterious ancient ruins full of wonder and danger is always a good time :D   Some thoughts and feedback:   1. I would consider starting with the quote, so the top paragraph doesn't look kind of orphaned, and we start out with a nice narrative hook.   2. It could also be nice to have a blocklink or paragraph talking about who these giantborn are on the sidepanel, giving us some context into who the people are who are performing this rite.   3. Do they have names for the lower caste memebrs? Is it a permanent state of being? Can they go back into the ruins to redeem themselves?   4. Similarly, what's the 'higher status' like for those who do well? Is it a rigid structure with names and responsibilities for each 'caste', or is it more like street cred?   5. How do they prepare for the ritual, if at all? Do they train? Do the parents outfit them, or do some sort of ritual to see them off? Music, song, day-before-feasts, anything like that? :)   6. For me, having the story in two columns like that isn't ideal. When I've reached the end of one, I have to scroll back up to read the next. I'd consider putting it in a single column, and maybe moving it the full-width footer.   7. Do they always go alone? Or ingroups?   8. If they go alone, what do they do if they run into each other in the ruins? How do they stagger entry into the ruins for a 'class' of kids going in?   9. If they do run into each other, is cooperation allowed or forbidden?   10. Do people cheat? :D   11. Is there any sort of standard equipment, decoration, or anything like that?   12. How/what do they eat and drink? If they are there for 3 days/night; do they bring supplies? Are there things inside there to eat?   13. What abilities are being tested? That kinda connects to the above; is hunting, foraging, gathering part of the abilities tested, or just sneaking around and surviving? (And not poking strange lights)   14. What's stopping anyone from going the minimum distance, finding somewhere to hide, and hunkering down for 3 days?   15. What do they do with the items, if any, that they bring back? Is there any ritual or tradition attached to that?   16. Is there anything they *aren't* supposed to bring back? ANd what happens if they do so anyway? Or any sort of taint, corruption, or sickness that might get them in the ruins?   17. Maybe a blocklink or something in the side panel to talk about the ruins and/or island could be fun too!   18. And any times outsiders have run this gauntlet, or interferred, or something?   Good work :D Have a great WorldEmber!

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
Dec 23, 2021 16:37

Thank you so much for this incredibly in depth comment. Made me think a lot about this, and I updated the article with a bunch of those ideas. A lot more will find it's way into other articles about the Giantborn and the ruins when i get to them (hopefully very soon)!   Once again, thank you!

Worldember is coming! Want to find more of my things: SatriumHub
Dec 22, 2021 18:56

I want to have useful feedback but Qurilion already said everything.   It looks a little bit strange to have essentially most of the article be a story, the wiki-style explanatory part feels a bit orphaned as is. Maybe you intend to expand it later?   All in all, it's a cool story, but it actually feels mostly like a prose article.

Dec 23, 2021 16:39

Thank you for your comment! Glad you liked the story!   I did indeed expand on the wiki style entry a bit more, but yeah I guess you are right this is more of a prose article in the end.

Worldember is coming! Want to find more of my things: SatriumHub
Dec 23, 2021 01:21

I found your article really interesting and I couldn't stop reading the story! I definitely want to know more about these ruins and the Giantborns. I wanted to give some useful feedback, but Qurillion have said it all :D

Check out my On the Shoulders of Giants article: Satlonia
Dec 23, 2021 16:40

Glad you liked it!   I will definitively expand on the ruins and the Giantborn in further articles hopefully pretty soon. Thanks your comment!

Worldember is coming! Want to find more of my things: SatriumHub
Dec 29, 2021 20:38 by Diane Morrison

Aside from mostly grammar edits, which are window dressing, your prose is intense and visceral, and I think you should do more of it. You tell a good story ;)

Author of the Wyrd West Chronicles and the Toy Soldier Saga. Mother of Bunnies, Eater of Pickles, Friend of Nerds, First of her Name.
Jan 4, 2022 16:20

Thank you for your help to edit the story! As always, it's highly appreciated and incredibly useful. I might indeed start adding a bit of prose from time to time to my articles. It was actually quite fun

Worldember is coming! Want to find more of my things: SatriumHub
Jan 3, 2022 17:11

A lovely idea of a rite of passage for the group, although I do am curious how people are sure that one ventured deep enough into the ruins if they don't bring a trinket or knowledge from down there.   Beyond that, love the way the small story adds some mystery to the ruins and what sits down there!

Jan 4, 2022 16:23

Thank you! I'm not usually writing prose, so I'm really happy with how this piece turned out!   For the most part it's based on what they describe when coming back. As everybody had to go through this ritual, they have an idea of what's down there and can at least partially validate the stories based on that. But of course that's no guarantee, so yes, there are people cheating the system, and without bringing some actual proof from down in the ruins, you'll never gain a high rank in society because of that.

Worldember is coming! Want to find more of my things: SatriumHub
Jan 16, 2022 15:58 by E. Christopher Clark

"Not everybody returns from this venture."   I loved the whole story and conceit of this article, especially the subdued celebration of the birthday itself. You painted a great picture of what that last morning before Arokush is like for the parents and the newly adult giant born.

Check out my progress on the Cabinet of Curiosities
Jan 22, 2022 23:19

Thank you for your comment! That day is simultaneously a day of celebration and a day to say goodbye, hopefully just temporarily. So they are celebrating a bit, but mostly just enjoying the time together.

Worldember is coming! Want to find more of my things: SatriumHub
Jan 18, 2022 10:40

This is such a cool tradition! I normally think about maturing tradition as "outdoor adventures". So seeing the complete opposite in this article, paired with an exciting piece of prose, I had to put it in my reading challenge article :D

With the gears of the mind turning everlong, see what they produce in times old and new alike! Ignotas, Where Fog Turns Into Steam
Jan 22, 2022 23:26

Thank you for adding this to your reading challenge! Glad you enjoyed it :)

Worldember is coming! Want to find more of my things: SatriumHub
Jan 18, 2022 21:50 by Fall

A great way to toughen the younger members of this society and prepare them for the harsh enviroment that they live in. Teaching those coming of age various skills from craftsmanship to survival instincts. This article is well thought out and provides a lovely short story at the end.   I've included this article in my Reading Challenge summary:

WorldEmber '21 Reading Challenge
Generic article | Aug 4, 2023

My top-10 articles from the WorldEmber '22 challenge that have inspired me to create more and better content.

Jan 25, 2022 21:17

Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it! I'm really honoured to see my article on your reading challenge, among so many other amazing articles.

Worldember is coming! Want to find more of my things: SatriumHub