Introduction to SoP: The Book of Habits and Beasts

This article is contains some out-of-universe sections and comments. Tooltips and green containers are put in place to explain some concepts in a simpler way.
 
It is my duty and passion to register the natural and cultural wealth of the archipelago for future generations and for all who are missing on this delightful knowledge.
— Veld the Imaginative, preface of their manuscript for the book
 

Introduction by Veld

Veld by TJ
Thank you for reading my introductory pamphlet to the Book of the Habits and Beasts.
This encyclopaedia is my effort to condense our people's knowledge about everything that happens in our lands, the Haan Archipelago, in all areas of study from nature to politics and history.   In this summary I will try to explain the main topics developed in the book, in an effort to maybe interest the reader in learning more.   Less than a decade after my original release of The Book of the Habits and Beasts, our lives were shaken by the tragedy of the The High Rust.
I tasked myself with recording the events of it to the best of my abilities, and to polish and expand what was already there.   Please use this pamphlet as a way to learn the basic concepts that will be talked about through the pages, and as a starting point to navigate further into it.   Feel free to let me know your opinion and thoughts about my work and how to improve it.

Author's introduction

The Author by Naelin & TJ
Thank you for reading Symbols of Power. This world is a conjugation of concepts (some decades old) that I condensed through time into a single setting, giving them a frame in which to be developed.   SoP is a fantasy, non-magic setting, with its main topics being diplomacy and the rebuilding of society. It contains no humans and no Earth's animals, with Societarians in the place of the former, and a variety of creatures for the latter.   Societarians and some creatures are able to interact with a rudimentary, non-verbal common language, making them able to form agreements and furthering the importance of diplomacy for everyone.   8 years in the past, a cataclysm that mostly affected the higher classes left most nations with shaken or broken political systems. They now need to rebuild their states while demonstrating to others that they have the means to defend themselves.
 

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Table of Contents

Type
Record, Historical
Medium
Paper
Authoring Date
1st edition coined in 31/03/3005 E.Alz
Ratification Date
2nd ed. 03/03/03 E.Ru
3rd ed. 09/10/08 E.Ru
Location

Old and Rusty

This encyclopedia started in Spanish, and I switched to English later on.   While most of the articles are in English, some of the old content is still in Spanish.
These articles are usually outdated and bad quality as well, so if you want to read one of these, leave a comment or contact me and I will put it at the top of my translation list!

The Haan Archipelago

The Haan Archipelago
 

How to use maps

Above is the map of the Haan Archipelago.
You can zoom in or out by using the buttons on the top left or with your mouse's wheel.
The button on the top right allows you to toggle through the layers and turn on or off different kind of markers.
Hover over any marker to see what's in there. By clicking on them you will see the contents that the marker links to, such as articles related to the location.
You can open the map full screen using the button on the bottom right (outside the map box). On full screen, clicking on a marker will reveal a sidebar with additional information such as pictures and text.
  Societarians live on the Haan Archipelago, a group of islands occupying a roughly squared area around 900km across. The main islands in it are:  
Thaur
Located in the northwest, this island is populated mostly by furry societarians.
The Kingdom of Merthiorn occupied it before the High Rust, but it has since fallen and been replaced by the Kingdom of Thaur.
Dhalmain
An island on the west, populated by featheries and waterland silkies and divided between a homonym parlamentary republic and a large tetsu-dominated territory.
Much of the archipelago's language, customs and domestic creatures are of Dhalmanite origin.
Karte
The biggest island in the archipelago, located on the east side. It is ruled by the Kingdom of Karte, though they are facing now a civil war after decades of opression of their scaly population by the leading furry aristocracy.

Ruh
Located in the middle of the archipelago, Ruh is an island populated mostly by scalies living in descentralized villages, the biggest one being Cyan Stone City. Despite this way of living they are quite technologically advanced, and are known for their discoveries in the field of astronomy.
Stunveldt
This island is populated by a mix of waterland silkies, scalies and segmenteds, whom have been holding their culture isolated from the rest for millennia. After they opened their borders, they caused a cultural revolution by intoducing cocoa and coffee made with teobrew to the achipelago.
Red Crest
A principality and former puppet state, north of Thaur and populated mostly by furries. It was ran by Merthiorn before the the High Rust. Revolts are taking place in what seems to be the brewing of a civil war against their prince.

Larea
A set of two islands west of Thaur. They are populated by the rare segmented and are well known for the production of purple jelly made with the mark of the teen plant.
Daltael
An island south of Ruh populated by extremely agressive societarians, mostly waterland silkies and segmented. None of the civilizations north of it were able to interact with them without being violently driven back.
Whatever lies south
People do not risk their lives to investigate the landmasses south of Daltael. Those that do don't come back.
The lands there are said to be populated by a species other than societarians, but not much more is known about it.
 

The Calendar

 
The archipelago has adopted the use of the Dhalmanite calendar, consisting of 12 months divided in 5 day long weeks, with a total of 366 days per year. The year spans four seasons, each lasting 3 months.   The months are named with activities usually associated with the month or season, while the week days are named after gods of the Dhalmanite religion, the Autonomism.   Sowing, Harvesting and Birthing are the months of spring.
Burning, Swimming and Resting comprise the summer.
Planting, Reaping and Sheltering are the span of the autumn.
Singing, Preparing and Celebrating end the year being the months of winter.
Week day Dhalmanite god
Alocix Alocardenas, the Curiosity
Rheshix Rheshnaghty, the Intention
Primarix Primarite, the Space
Gleamix Gleamauros, the Time
Vhasix Vhas, the World
 
The current date in Symbols of Power is not set! The days are passing on this universe as they do on earth.
The ages of the characters will update as their birthdays come and go, and current events will progress.

Current Date

Month of Singing, Year 8, Era of Rust
 

The People

Nancy
As the name implies, societarians are the only species in the archipelago that has created extensive societies, with nations, law and culture interconnected in every island.   They are all bipedal and share a similar size and behaviour, though each individual can look starkingly different from others. They are divided into six categories: Featheries, furries, scalies, segmented, waterland silkies and silkies.   Among each kind, individuals look different from others within the features of their race, but these physical aspects, known as their phenotype, usually repeat themselves giving birth to thousands of names for each of the many shapes they can get.  

"Races"?

The scientific community is divided on whether these categories are races, subspecies, or entirely different species united by convergent evolution. Most lean towards the last option, though "races" still being used by some people, alongside "kinds".
 

The High Rust

Corrosion by Naelín
The High Rust was a 9 month long cataclysm that affected the archipelago in the year 3014 E.Alz, ending that era and starting the Era of Rust.   It manifested as an orange colouration in the air several meters above the ground, lighter in the seas, and stronger on higher altitudes.
Anything exposed to this orange air could be affected by a condition known as "Rust" or "Corrosion": Orange patches that would dry and peel off appeared on skin or materials and expanded inwards generating structural damages, taking vital organs, or crumbling entire limbs, causing the death of thousands.   Living "above" others, such as in towers or cliffs, was a strong symbol of status in the archipelago up to this moment, making the Rust have a huge impact for societarians: The most affected demography were rich societarians, such as governors, military captains or big merchants.
 

Symbols of Power

Flag of Dhalmain by Naelin
After the High Rust faded away, the nations of the archipelago were left shaken, and sometimes very vulnerable. Rapidly, most started chasing new identities that associated them with symbolic depictions of their strength and power.   Some nations reworked themselves entirely, such as with the birth of Thaur around the taming of a tetsu, and others changing symbols, such as Dhalmain, changing their flag from depicting their cultural heritage to depicting their military prowess.
 

Fauna

The Pacts

Banner Pacts
Pacts Banner by Naelín
 
All the living creatures of the Haan Archipelago can be divided in one of two groups: Those that are pactual, and those that are simple.   Pactual creatures all share a common language of gestures, sounds and positions. They use this to form agreements known as "pacts", which are artificial symbiotic relationships between different species, or sometimes different groups of the same species.   Creatures that are "simple" are unable to communicate to form pacts, so they cannot be interacted with in complex ways.
Bestiary
A graphic depiction of the creatures on the archipelago, and their average sizes relative to each other. Each square on the picture represents 50cm²
 

The Tetsus

Banner Four Peaks War
A tetsu attacks a Dhalmanite by Naelin
Societarians are not the only creature that dominates the archipelago, though they do not naturally share territory with their nemesis.
The numerous mountains in each island are home to the tetsus, taller than a societarian when adults, even on their four legs.   They are fearless, solitary creatures, but they share with societarians a tight podium for the archipelago's dominant creature due to a series of features that make them a truly fearsome foe.

A Call for Aid

If a tetsu is in danger or in need of assistance, they emit a special call.
Any tetsus that hear it will feel compelled to assist the one in need, usually by helping kill an adversary, and the call may be echoed by others in grave cases.  

A Penchant for Pacts

Tetsus are intelligent and skilled in diplomacy, keeping intricate webs of pacts with many other species in their area. They usually limit them to mutual assistance, an extension of their calls for aid.  

A Murderous Pride

Along with their instinctive drive to assist each other, they seem to share a sort of hive mind in regards to their "status" as a dominant species, which they maintain by force, and will retaliate violently if they perceive other species to be competing with them.

The Alzufhar

Alzufhar by Naelin
Few historical records are known from a time before societarians started working alongside alzufhars with elaborate pacts and using them as mounts and beasts of burden, whilist caring for them and protecting them from predators.   The Dhalmanite people, in particular, made a tight, extense pact with these creatures over three thousand years ago, which became the start date of the Era of Alzufhar.   Some people use bicarnivalers as an alternative to alzufhar, particularly for military purposes, though these are not nearly as docile, and the arrangement is relatively new.

Domestic Species

Banner Liraik.jpg
Lyraik Banner by Naelin
Idradelta by Naelin
Many simple species have been domesticated by the societarians, taming and modifying their characteristics for the benefit of their owners.
Trelis, licerns and idradeltas are a few of the creatures kept by societarians as sources of meat, milk and wool.  
Lyraks by Naelin
The oldest of domestic creatures is probably the lyraik, a creature kept as a pet in the homes around the entire archipelago, and used as hunter aids, assistants for impaired people, herders, guards and, of course, companions.
 

Flora

Plants and their uses

Vines by Naelin
Most of the archipelago has a warm, subtropical climate, ideal for the proliferation of plants and fungi. Places such as the island of Stunveldt and the Delta of Many Birds are especially diverse and densely populated areas.   Societarians have domesticated many species for their use as food, recreational psychoactives and textiles.  
Flag of Stunveldt
The God's Beverage plant appears prominently on the Stunveldti culture, where they use its seed known as teobrew as both raw material and currency, being it their main export as well. The plant is featured on the country's flag.   Other culturally important plants include the thorn child, the mark of the teen, the towering watcher and the seeker of pride.

White Forests

White Forests by Naelin
20210310 - Towering Watcher.png
Towering Watcher by Naelin
Scattered across the Archipelago, some patches of land are unable to sustain the life of normal, green and brown plants, giving place to an landscape made entirely of species that adapted and became white.   The reason behind this phenomenon is debated, but it is certainly related to an inability for coloured plants to grow in the soil of the area. While flowers and fruits still can have vibrant colours, all of the plant species that grow there have bight white trunks, stems and leaves.   Among the white forests, the Chalk Expanse in the north half of the island of Karte is the biggest, most impressive and most famous.
It spans around 32000 square kilometres of massive white trees, fog and waterfalls in a humid, dense terrain.
 


Cover image: The Book of Habits and Beasts by TJ & Naelin
This article has no secrets.

Comments

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10 Jun, 2022 03:50

I love the design of this. Not only well organized but pretty, balanced and informative. Well done!

20 Jun, 2022 15:51

Thank you very much!

10 Jun, 2022 05:45

*gasp* Petre! I knew it! It's all sooo cool and neat! And the calendar with the important days! The Servant birthday *o* <3 *more incoherent sleepy fanboying*

20 Jun, 2022 15:56

I hope the delivery of Petre's letter was worth all of the teasing :p

10 Jun, 2022 08:49

Oh my gosh the comment section is so cool!! Also This is such a neat introduction article, I really like how informative and clear it is. Awesome job!!

Author of Arda Almayed, resident myth nerd!
20 Jun, 2022 15:58

I cannot explain the amount of sweat and tears that were spent on this comment section, it was a bit of a CSS nightmare but I am so damn proud of it :D   Thank you TC!