May our hunger show our devotion, oh Ytzkla, for we cannot begin to understand that unending desire which burns within your belly.The Ytzklaponeu are a pious people who live in a great city built upon the great lizard Ytzkla? who is the center of their devout worship. They seek to aid the great lizard's quest to regain their supposed former glory, by fighting to prevent their victims from escaping the great beast's waiting maw.
As their bodies are mostly covered, and their tall Cluetolxli mask their height— most do not know what the Ytzklaponeu actually look like. However, beneath the religious wear, lies something remarkably similar to the peoples found in the Cipou Canyon.
Covered From Head to Toe
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Ytzkla awoke, and rose from the ground. They offered salvation to the man who would become the first Ytzklatich?— a monarch granted great power— as a reward for awakening the beast. All he had to do was swear loyalty to the pale lizard, and, as a show of his loyalty— sacrifice his family to Ytzkla. Those who remained were shortly thereafter unified under the new banner of Ytzklapon,? or sacrificed to the pale lizard's maw.
A Pale Myth
NamingYtzklaponeu names are more often than not unisex. As they speak a dialect of Qetlec, their naming conventions differ. Instead, the Ytzklaponeu carry down family names— which consist of "Ytz" followed by one extra character. Ex. Ytzkon, Ytztol, Ytzxi, Ytzko First names unique to the Ytzklaponeu include: Xoco, Nual, Ponli, Tcho, Nchol, Reul, Ytolkla, Queple, Liok, Rotch
Faith is of the utmost importance for the Ytzklaponeu, if one wavers, they will quickly draw the ire of their peers. Suffering is an expected facet of life, after all, their god suffers a greater pain than they ever can— the least they can do is show their gratitude by bearing some modicum of their trials.
Traditions & Values
Greetings & FarewellsWhen greeting a stranger, a Ytzklaponeu will lightly move their closed fist up to a few inches away from the stranger's heart. Doing so acknowledges their worth as a human being, and this greeting is very rarely given to slaves or enemies. Slaves may find themselves acknowledged should they show interest in and convert to the Ytzklapon faith, and while unlikely to free them of their bondage, it will earn them better treatment.
TaboosWorship of false gods, cannibalism, and murder of fellow Ytzklaponeu are punishable by death. Breaking the first tenet of their faith— "never shall the sun fall upon the scripture"— is, too, punishable by death, as is apostasy, and heresy. Should one complain of hunger, they are force-fed a bowl of stones. Obesity, too, is seen as insult to the starving Ytzkla.
BirthBirth is almost tragic, as the Ytzklaponeu see it as splitting Ytzkla's original body further, leaving more for the pale lizard to consume. The parents of the child will fast for up to three days after the birth, taking penance for their actions— even if they are necessary for Ytzkla's army to grow.
Coming of ageYtzklaponeu undergo the Klapnot at milestones throughout their life, a ritual where they embed pieces of Ytzkla's spines under their skin to spell out scripture on the surface. The face is the first to be marked, and the youth will don their Cluetolxli?— a garment that covers the entire head and face. The embedded scripture must never be touched by sunlight, and breaking this law is punishable by death.
DeathWhen a Ytzklaponeu dies, their body is carried by their family to a special room in the nearest tolix that houses bodies from the surrounding area. When enough of the dead are collected, they are taken to the great Ytzklatolix, prayed to, adorned with incense, and finally returned to whence they came— by being fed to Ytzkla.
EatingThe Ytzklaponeu eat as little as possible to retain their strength; eating less while travelling between settlements, and more when preparing to attack. As Ytzkla starves, they too shall starve.
Unknown OriginsWhere the Ytzklaponeu originally came from is unknown. Some speculate that they had come from a desert, at least, perhaps even in Rqet— given the similarities in appearance to the peoples found in the western desert there. Stranger still is their language— being a dialect of Qetlec, a language which should not have existed when they left the continent. That is, of course, if they are from Rqet to begin with.
Did they learn from slaves, or had the pale lizard itself taught them our language?
WarBefore battle, incense made of ground spines from Ytzkla's back fill the air of each home. Red strips of cloth are woven, braided, or otherwise embellished by the loved ones of soldiers and given to them. These are tied around the soldier's neck and often have a small stone or weight at the bottom so that it hangs over their heart. The cloth represents blood coming from the heart, which connects the soldier to those close to them.
Ideals, Love & Gender
Following this, if they still challenge their marriage, they must swallow a small rounded bead made of Ytzkla's spines and head to the nearest tolix. Here, a yiltz presiding over matters of love will meditate while surrounded by thick colored clouds of dyed incense. This is burned from a holder placed atop their Cluetolxli. After around an hour or so of deep meditation, the yiltz will awaken, and decide whether or not the marriage will continue.
BeautyWith their heads and faces covered, the Ytzklaponeu focus more on body shape than faces or hair for beauty. Those fit and able-bodied, are desired above all. Hands, too, are sought after; the rougher and beaten the hand, the better.
GenderAs they are oft covered, the Ytzklaponeu cannot always easily distinguish the sex of another— and as such, both men and women enjoy the same roles and status in their lives. Both can become yiltz, own property, and have equal say in marriage.
Art, Architecture, and Dress
ArtOften, strips of cloth are cut or shaped to resemble Ytzkla's tongue, or in the profile of their body. Embossing and embroidery along with rarer, finer, textiles are reserved for tolix and higher ranking officials and military awards.
The TihuetilAbout ten years ago, a small group of Ytzklponeu escaped the city— jumping from the pale lizard's back in the night, freeing slaves with them. This group is known as the Tihuetil?— or "thread-cut."
They wish to stop the pale lizard's quest to consume all of humanity— though their number is small. For now, they hide and plot.
ArchitectureThe architecture of the Ytzklaponeu is centered around the structure of their old city, repaired over the years with a mix of materials from their conquests. Around the old structures, and replacing those that could not be replaced, is a unique jumble of materials and buildings looted throughout their conquests.
Ytzkla possess a thick hide, and has allowed the Ytzklaponeu to fasten their structures deep into it— some greater structures even excavated an area of skin in which to lay their foundations.
The old structures of the city seem to originally have been made of pale-orange adobe brick with similarly colored plaster. Many of these have lost their plaster or replaced it with some new mixture. Several structures are covered with many patterned cloths and braids, giving the city a colorful, varied look. Painting structures is very uncommon within the city, as cloth is greatly preferred and valued. There is a deeper pride and skill for the Ytzklaponeu in weaving, dyeing, and braiding.
Newer structures change the farther from the city center one travels, reflecting the conquests and pillages of the nomadic people. Closest to them are orange adobe structures, then simple grey-stone brick, wood, pelt tents, and a finally a mixture of wood and stone. Lighter materials tend to make up the structures that sit higher up the great lizard's spines, things such as pelts, cloth, wood, palm fronds, and other odd materials.
DressIt is assumed that the Ytzklaponeu originated from a warm climate, as they typically wear simple beige robes tied at the waist by a copper belt. This is accompanied by a colorful shawl in cold weather. Of course, for adults, the Cluetolxli is worn as well. Often, dyed and braided cloth strips will be hung from the Cluetolxli or sewn into their robes, adding color and flair while showing their skill and worth to others.
The faith of Ytzklapon is predominant in Ytzklaponeu culture— especially given the fact that apostates and the faithless are either killed or enslaved. The faith and the culture are nigh impossible to disconnect, being almost one and the same.
Religion & Myth
Yiltz run the nation, under the watch of the Ytzklatich— the leader of their nation and head of their faith, supposedly appointed by Ytzkla themselves. As such, their religious laws are the same laws as those of the nation. There have been, in the past, those who have left the faith— going so far as to leap from the great lizard's back into the unknown.