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"Ripping Out" a Soul Chip

In the Raskvaerii Empire, one of the most offensive gestures any human or hominid can make is that of "ripping out" of a Soul Chip. This is a two-fingered gesture, utilising the middle and index fingers, raised and bent like two hooks. The individual making the gesture then sharply scratches at the skin behind their right ear, flicking their fingers outwards in an exagerated manner. Maintaining eyecontact with an individual while performing this gesture, or pointing at them after the gesture has been made, are the preferred methods of identifying the intended target of offense.  


  The skin behind the right ear is the traditional location for a Soul Chip to be inserted into the human body. This surgical procedure is vital for any believers in the Holy Chorus of Saints, who wish to welcome a Conscience into their Shadow.   The motion of "ripping out" is therefore an intention display aimed at members of the faithful, meaning that one of several things:
  • That the perpetrator wishes to "rip out" the faithful's Conscience;
  • That the perpetrator is promising to perform an act of such swift or sudden violence on the faithful, that their Conscience will not see it coming.


  Other variations include:
  • "Ripping out", followed by a flicking motion with thumb and forefinger: That the faithful's Conscience is worthless, and the perpetrator would discard it like rubbish.
  • "Ripping out", followed by a clenching fist: Once the Conscience is ripped out of the body, the perpetrator would destroy the Soul Chip, condemning the Soul to the torture of the Raven.
  • "Ripping out", followed by the two fingers moving to the perpetrator's lips, mimicking a forked tongue: This is then closely followed by a sudden breath from the perpetrator, all five fingers waggling in mimickery of a spreading flame. (Note: This gesture is unique to Kredashmi, and is largely used by those who subscribe to the traditional faith in Everyman.)
A diagram highlighting the customary place to embed a Conscience by Henry Gray (1872) editted by Caitlin Phillips

Coloquial Expressions

  Several expressions exist in Rasvkaerii to describe this gesture. The most popular are included in the following examples:
  • "He threatened to rip me out!"
  • "I'm afraid so, Madame. Your son clearly motioned ripping out his tutor's Conscience when he was asked repeatedly not to disturb the class."


  While this gesture is considered highly offensive, there is currently no Imperial law that punishes its use. The previous legal authority to try individuals for this offense was held by the Court of the Holy Chorus of Saints. This power was revoked by Cedomir Ilyuhkin, one of the four Saeric Throwbacks, as he objected to the punishment wrongdoers received: the breaking or removal of the offending fingers.

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Cover image: by Michael Schaffler


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23 Dec, 2020 22:43

Caught a quick typo there at the beginning, "utilising the the middle"! Otherwise, really nice article, I like how you developed this role of Conscience in your society. Nice work!

Author of Arda Almayed - check out my SummerCamp articles here!
Master Brinsmead
Caitlin Phillips
24 Dec, 2020 21:00

Thank you so much, my dyslexic brain wouldn't have spotted that at all! And thank you for your lovely comment. :)

Cait x
24 Dec, 2020 02:47

How did religious gesture turn into the equivalent of the middle finger xD Either way, I love it! What a cool way to take a piece of spiritualism and include social interactions as part of it.


"I am become destroyer creator of worlds!"
Master Brinsmead
Caitlin Phillips
24 Dec, 2020 21:01

Haha, thank you so much! I definitely need to find a way of working the gesture into my novel somehow.

Cait x
24 Dec, 2020 15:57

This is such a cool little piece of culture. I love the variations on it too, especially the Kredasene one. XD

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Master Brinsmead
Caitlin Phillips
24 Dec, 2020 21:03

Thank you so much, Emy. :)

Cait x
5 Jan, 2021 17:03

Well done! I was able to immediately "see" how these gestures would be performed and can see the meaning in the variations. Great work!

Kahuna the Elder aka Leo - Creator of Arnathia