Through Ro'og they see the Universal Truth
secretive culture nested in the mountains of northern Garuda with the ability to read the future.
So It Was In the Beginning
Above the lush grasslands of the Ilun Valley
, lies a relatively remote mountain range known as the Adras Mountains
. It's within these mountains and its shadow that the secretive See'er make their home now. While they once had been as far south as the western forest of Garuda, a few years before the end of the Divine Age they silently migrated further north. The See'er are a bit unique to Garuda in that they were created by the divine entity, Ro'og the Immense, rather than Garuyda. According to See'er lore, Ro'og breathed life into the See'er people with the purpose of understanding the cosmos and its secrets. To these people who believe in the cosmos, it's not necessarily about where they were, so much as where they are going.
Ishvana, Ro'og, and a Tree
From their creation story and onwards, the See'er often disagree and contradict with what the Karu say about the origins of Tikor. The See'er believe that Ro'og has existed just as long as Ishvana has, a divine entity of equal strength. The patient and everlasting Ro'og had been activated from his slumber by the siren song of Etherforce flowing through the newborn Tikor. It's through the newly roused Ro'og that the key components of life were created. Upon arriving to Tikor the first thing the See'er god did was to plant a Tree of Life to seed the world with life. The tree that would grow would become known as the Great Somber Tree. From its fruit and seeds, all vegetation and life itself were spurned. The saplings from the great tree itself would become know as somb trees and are coveted to this day for its almost iron-like hardness.
"...and the great Ro'og was awoken from his torpor by the hollow cackle of raw life energy echoing through the void. To shape energy and plant life was the purpose of The Immense One. Unto the energies it latched, laying in the primordial soup an egg. Within that egg bore the seed of The Great Soma Tree, the catalyst for life..."
Truth in Threes
The See'er people as whole focus toward a single goal, the continual understanding of the past, present and future. The Rule of Three is a recurring sentiment in See'er culture, a basic principle that life is balanced in threes. This line of thought is clear in there other principles such as the Three Basic Elements, the Three Layers of Reality and the Three Steps of Magic. The See'er believe that numbers are a key component to life and understanding it. It's a belief that often lies at the heart of much of their cultural decisions and aesthetics. This way of thinking though has shown repeated success for them, leading to more than a few neighboring cultures to borrow from some See'er principles. While few cultures will outwardly agree, the See'er claim, and others support, that they are the true progenitors for the human use of magic.
Ether in Everything
The See'er believe that life and ether flow through all things, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. The material, the immaterial, alive or dead all have energy, and subsequently, stories to tell. While many cultures on Tikor have a bond with the earth, the See'er in particular, venerate the world as a whole and notable, trees. To cut any of the Sacred Trees
without prayer and permission tantamounts to sacrilege and against See'er law. The punishment for the desecration of sacred trees is often immediate exile. It's through this shared sense of nature that the See'er have come to work with the Karu over the centuries.
Mountain Castle by Joakim Olofsson
The See'er sit quietly in the North, knowing that they are the needed ones.
While Ro'og may be the ultimate creator of the See'er and possibly the world, the god is never directly worshipped. The Immense One is not a figure one simply prays to, for that purpose Ro'og has emissaries. These pseudo spirit waypoints are named the Pangool and it's to them that the See'er look to for answers and guidance. While these answers are often coming from Ro'og himself, it's through this process that the fortunetellers communicate with their divine. The Pangool themselves may range in shape, size, and appearance. Their appearance can be as varied as the humans that populate the world. The biggest difference between them is that there is essentially two types of Pangool, ancient ones created by Ro'og himself or the ascended souls of great See'er heroes. The bulk of Pangool make up the ascended souls, however the most powerful among them are the ancient and original ones.
While the Pangool have been revered since the beginning of known See'er culture, the cryptic deities did not always heed their calls. While the human-form Pangool, that were often deceased See'er heroes, would usually answer chants, the ancient Pangool were silent. This would change when the first Sigil Temple was uncovered in the thick brush of the Outer Steeps. The temple had been buried in thick vines and foliage and was but all but invisible to the outside. It, however, would take decades for the See'er to figure out a safe way into the sealed temple. Ultimately it would be spirit mediums that eventually figured out the decades-long mystery, making them synonymous with the Sigil Temples from then on. They would find several more in the Outer Steeps, each one the home of a different See'er god. Within these vast temples, they were able to clearly communicate and hear the whispers of the original, ancient and often serpent-like Pangool. The intense link to the divine would lead the temples to become schools of mystical knowledge.
While ancient Garuda was an upheaval of authority during the Divine Wars, the See'er are thought to have silently waited in the foothills of the Adras mountains. Where there is danger in the land, there is never the See'er. The silent group of people always managed to stay ahead of trouble and close to fortune. So when the Divinity came into the lands of the See'er on their quest to build an order, the children of fate were not surprised. They in fact already had the Chosen lined up by the gates before the deities had even announced their choices. While the Karu are often given credence for building and maintaining the Divine Order of the Phoenix, it's the See'er that often ensure success. Their participation in the Order is utterly instrumental and yet caked with mystery. The secretive people ask for very little, yet often give substantially. Their willingness to convert their spiritual temples into an organized institution shocked even the King.
Within the See'er lies a secret society of extremely powerful diviners know as The Saltiguine. A select group that keeps its numbers low on purpose, a diviner has to be invited to join The Saltiguine
. Its only within this small elite group of practitioners that the final secrets of the Great Cosmos are discussed. Its said that some of the knowledge is so harrowing that only the strongest with the See'er can stomach them. While all diviners have the ability to peak into the future with the help of magical tools, a Saltiguine
is capable of declaring future events with terrifying accuracy with no aids. This uncanny ability to read and articulate the future make them coveted, feared, respected and often hated. These vaulted members of See'er life are rarely seen in public outside of ceremonies.
I swear until the Cosmos that I will uphold its Secrets. That before the Ro'og the Immense, I shall bare my soul in the search for the Truth.
Unique See'er Roles
For the See'er being in touch with their ancestral spirits is only not only desired but tantamount to everyday life. The Lamain are expert spirit mediums that channel the words of old spirits and non-corporeal Pangool for humans to communicate with. Channeling the level of energy that some of the deities possess requires See'er mediums of iron will and infallible spirit. These specialized oracles act in a sense as the guardians of Pangool knowledge and were absolutely instrumental in finding and activating the sacred Sigil Temples.
The Griot acts as an oral historian for the See'er and sometimes translator for the Pangool and other spirits. A Griot is similar to other historians such as the Karu Jalen, albeit different in a few key areas. Chief among them is their magically enhanced ability to read, see and recite events has made them instrumental in politics, courts and settling everyday events. The other is that Griot are neutral in most affairs, their objective is the preservation of all See'er history. No matter how embarrassing or sensitive it may be. These mystic historians are often seen at major cermonies and funerals. Having a Griot play the sacred drums at ones funeral is concerned an honor worth having.
The warriors of Ro'og train within the walls of the unearthed Sigil Temples with a simple goal, be the Shield of the divine. There they train and study from a young age in the history of the See'er, Tikor and the cosmos as a whole. Through these studies, they form connections with ancient and ascended Pangool to learn the arts of defense. The pinnacle of their teachings and training comes in the use of a special shield that morphs into various shield types at will. Through the invocation of the various Pangool and the ancient Pangool, their temple is linked to, a Celestial Shield can also call upon the power of Ro'og itself. While originally these warriors were only See'er, after joining the Order the Pangool stated that the temples should open up. So now not only See'er but other ethnic groups are allowed to train at Sigil Temples. The curriculum has been widened to other deity groups such as the Divinity and the Loa.
Culture and cultural heritage
The See'er people are often a curious mix of whimsical and hard logical. While they often look to the stories of old to gauge the future, its in the small things that they find real peace. This feeling exists even in sectors of which the See'er understand little about. For instance, the origin of family totems is largely unknown even to this date. That's despite the fact that the magical manifestations have been since the beginning of See'er lore.
The bond with nature in all its forms extends into the very fabric of See'er families. Each See'er family has a totem that comes in the form of a plant, animal or some other living creature. These totems become sacred to that family and all within it are forbidden from committing any violence on their totems. The most infamous example of this comes from a story from the old and powerful Joof family. Famously the Joof family totem is a deer, their crests and territory were awash in symbols of deer. Given that the totem was a deer, this meant any violence against the animal was strictly forbidden. However, one of the men in the Joof family would disobey the edict and hunt a buck during hunting season. The next morning the young man was found dead, pierced with a spear in the same way as the deer.
While there are many possessions that one gain in life, there is a singular object that stands above the rest. The hour shaped drum called a Talking Drum, or tata as the See'er say, is a type of drum that is taught from childhood. The drum you receive as a child is the one you usually carry through life with. The markings or fading on the drum telling the story of its owner. The almost ceremonial drums are said to call the attention of Ro'og and the Pangool. A See'er carries their drum with them through life with care given to never lose it. Losing your tata is seen as extremely bad luck. See'er are often buried with their drums at death, often with Griots there to play a final song on the deceased drums.
Common Customs, traditions and rituals
The See'er enjoy a number of ceremonies on their calendar through the year. The nature of spirit invocation often requires a person or group of people to help buffer the negative effects. Or to simply be there to communicate with the spirit when the medium is unable to maintain consciousness. These ceremonies or festivals often involve the elite diviners, Saltiguine, making predictions as they channel the gods. Others sometimes involve more low-key events such as birthdays of important figures and the changes of season.
The Vo'sine Ceremony
A once a year ceremony in which all the members of the Saltiguine gather before the See'er and chant predictions for the following years to come. During the ceremony is one of the few times where the See'er allow all foreigners into their inner lands. Thousands of people every year make the trek to see the group of oracles. The predictions themselves range as each member of the secretive order gives a prediction in a different sector of life. From weather to a conflict to politics, the range of topics is always vast.
Descration of Trees
Trees are the most sacred of all things in nature. Given that the world itself started from a Tree, according to the See'er, to harm one is to harm the world itself. While sometimes the inevitable has to happen from time to time, when trees are cut much preparation and praying is done beforehand.
Violence against Totem
In the same way that trees are a symbol of nature and the world, totems play a similar role. Family totems serve as a bit of a bridge between humans and the spirit realm. To do harm to those symbols is to do harm to the spirit realm itself. Often to the assailant's own demise.
Worship of Ro'og
The See'er above all else do not worship the divine creator himself. It's through the Pangool that they communicate with the Immense One. The buffer of the deities is needed to deal with the sheer magnitude that is the voice of a divine entity. For the people of Ro'og even painting a picture of him is anathema. Drawing is a type of invocation in a sense, and Ro'og must never be invoked.
The leader is called Old Whisper