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Migration

Ȟây’eṣtîkoyæ’!
— A traditional Migration greeting

History

Almost all animals on Mudewei migrate to and fro as the year progresses, but among them, Stenza are the most regular and historically have had the most set paths. In Stenza culture, migration is the domain of a Snow Pup of the same name, Migration, who is thought to guide Stenza southbound and who accepts special libations of Migration's Toast near the midpoint of the journey. Their true origins are unknown (but thought to be an aspect of an older being, Jeshra), but it appears that among their spectral peers, they have had the pup shape the longest, most likely as a reference to the adventurous nature of mortal pups.   During the Battle with the Stone Menace, many adults voluntarily suspended migratory rituals for the duration in order to combat the Stone Menace, although pups, children, and younger adolescents were sent with trusted guides to safety south of the Ice Flats and rarely allowed back into the settlements. The coldest days were mostly spent in tunnels and clan residentials, keeping careful watch on the creature. This continued until stasis was invented and the creature was defeated. Older traditions like those connected to migration and First Sunrise came back with a vengeance as a celebration of survival.   Space travel was not used as a commons means of leaving the Ice Flats annually until several centuries after its advent, during which time reliable space travel, complete with artificial gravity and climate control systems suitable to Stenza biology, was perfected. Large Clan Ships capable of transporting tens of thousands of people and many tons of appropriate stores have allowed the Stenza to simply pack up everyone and vacate the planet for the season. However, even in the present day, migrating over land is considered the superior experience, and lends considerable amounts of context to the traditional stories.

Execution

Preparations for migration are underway before hunting season, when data is gathered on precisely how much food would be required to adequately feed everyone and how it can all be effectively stored. Before effective food preservation was widely available, allowances were made during migration itself for hunting parties to take kills in order to keep everyone fed.   At the start of the migratory season, Stenza aggregate en masse in the Low Pass region as colder weather moved in from the north. The colder weather is thought (and colloquially discussed) to be brought by the Snow Warrior, and 'Elokh droga, long considered to be the gatekeepers of the Low Pass and as a result, the originators of the Stenza hospitality code, are considered to be favored by Migration in particular. ('Elokh religious experts were, when they were still around, considered the authority on matters of migration, and Migration, and often turned to when others got lost.) Since the Clan Killings it has become common to pay some sort of homage at the 'Elokh Settlement every year.   After libations are poured in the middle of the Pass, the Stenza walk from the Low Pass along a small series of traditional routes marked out by well-defined geographical features (in one noteworthy example, a glassy black rock formation jutting out of the ice and snow), and these are counted off and kept track of via a cycle of traditional stories and chants, which also serve as entertainment along the way. (The cycle is considered different from khe'drakha due in part to being treated like a series of much smaller and somewhat more informal works. Being essential for survival in the Frozen Wastes means that anyone can learn them and almost all are encouraged to do so.)   While camp was pitched every night--to rest, eat, and tell unrelated stories--fires could only be prepared near Midwinter, when the Stenza reached the southern point of their journey and met with Sandibari to trade 'alashaia fruits and any relevant news. The fires are ritually prepared with dead wood recovered from the forest (sometimes kept left over from last year and brought along the journey) and offerings are made to them (to Fire and Migration specifically out of all the Snow Pups) as thanks and for further protection. Midwinter comes with its own customs which must be adhered to, but around that there is considerable leeway, including enough room for specific khe'drakha.
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Comments

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13 Oct, 2020 13:41

I like how the migration has changed due to space travel, but some of them do it the old way still! :)

13 Oct, 2020 16:31

It's good for the soul :D