- 1 Ietsai Quoted
- 2 The Elements
- 3 Totems
- 4 Holy Places
- 5 The Mystics
- 6 Artifacts
The Assi legends and rituals are oral, therefore making it difficult to find intact written versions regarding the history of their religion and any legends or myths. The bulk of the following information has been gathered from interviews conducted with several Ietsai, or Assi mystics.
"We are a people who rely on nature. Guidance and protection spring from nature. Which in turn spring from the river. The river is sacred to us as a source of life. Life is sacred, and so is death. The universe was created in an act of death, that brought forth life. Birth speaks to death, and death to birth." Life and Death are often refereed to as male and female. Generally the Assi language is thought to be limited in this area.
"Nature comes in four parts. Each equally important and each balanced by one another. Air, Water, Fire and Earth hold the universe together and make it be. We (the Ietsai) strive to keep the four elements balanced and insure prosperity. By reading the signs and omens we can tell when it is out of balance and when to perform what ceremonies to correct it."
The theme of elemental balance repeats itself in Assi culture. Each season is assigned a corresponding element which is strongest at that time and weakest just before it. During that time rituals are performed to keep that element in balance with the others. Air is assigned to winter, water to spring, fire to summer, and earth to fall.
The Ietsai are divided into four specific orders, each devoted to a different element and each with certain responsibilities. Ietsai devoted to water concern themselves with agriculture. They know the rituals to bring the spring rains and keep their land fertile. They also concern themselves with the marriage rituals though any order can perform them. Ietsai devoted to air watch the skies; they concern themselves with weather and with reading the stars. They are the ones who know how to read the many signs and omens of the land, and are well known for their wisdom. Ietsai devoted to earth are skilled in healing. They know and respect the flora, and know which herbs to use to heal a variety of injuries. Ietsai devoted to fire tend to the concerns of men, they know all the battle rituals well and also serve as sacrifices (sacrifice only used in time of need such as during drought or famine). Ietsai of fire are trained to deal with death as well, and are schooled in all the death rituals.
The Assi do not worship "gods" or "deities" in any traditional sense but rather worship aspects or totems of creation. The male aspect of creation (fire, air, change, and death are examples of this) is commonly represented by certain animals or animal spirits while the female aspect (water, earth, creation and life for example) is commonly represented by various trees (oaks chief among them, as the river valley is dotted with them). Some common animals or spirits are: The Bear(strength), Fox(cleverness), Hare(fertility), Stag(freedom), Bull(war), Horse(endurance), Newt(change), Snake(trickery and cleverness), Beaver(creation, prosperity), and Hawk(war).
The Assi holy places are sacred amongst the tribesmen, such that they will not allow outsiders near them. They are found in two forms.
The first is a standard shrine or "Temai (TEH-my)" which consists of a several oaks growing in a small grove. These groves are and have been tended carefully for centuries and can be found near any tribe's settlement. Some scholars of the arcane believe that some sort of ley lines run through these groves. Weather the groves were placed there because of that, the ley lines were some how created, or if they ever existed at all is a hotly debated point.
The second type of holy place is something more akin to a temple. There are four of them in existence: one at the source of the Nie, one at the furthest end of the Assi lands, and on the river. They appear to be small natural bowls, with stone pillars placed around them and numerous carvings inside them. Supposedly the Ietsai use this as a sort of calendar, telling by the shadows the pillars cast what stars are in what position that night. These "calendars" are critical for the Ietsai to know when to perform specific rituals. There are also chambers located directly below these "calendars", carved out of the earth, or in caves and sheltered spots eroded by the river. Nobody has been able to get close enough to tell for sure.
All this only adds to the mystique of the Ietsai, which are pivotal figures in Assi society. Few posses the intelligence to pursue this path, and even fewer are born into it. The share the same social standing and powers as the chieftains among the tribes, and could become chiefs if they so desired. Rather than assume that role, however, they are content to advise. They share their wisdom with other tribesman, settling disputes, offering advice, and acting as advisors to chieftains. Without the Ietsai, Assi culture would almost surely perish.
The legendary Artifacts of the Gods. The Assi believe that these objects were created by the gods and imbued with some of their power. They are held sacred by the Assi people. The whereabouts of these objects is not known to outsiders.
The Heart of the Mother
The Heart of the Mother, referring to the "Mother of Creation" or the "Mother of the Universe" or just simply the Universe, is a large smooth crystal sphere (almost certainly a diamond of immeasurable worth). It is large enough to fit in the palm of a person's hand, according to legend. It is reputed to be constantly cold, even when brought into contact with a great heat or when held for a long time. It represents the female side of creation as the "Mother of Creation" did in the early legends. It's power is always strongest when brought close to the Heart of the Father. It is almost exclusively used by women in legend.
The Heart of the Father
The Heart of the Father, referring to the "Father of Creation" or the "Father of Light" or just simply the Universe, is a large smooth golden gem (possibly some sort of sun stone or yellow diamond). According to legend it is about the size of a man's heart, making it larger than the Heart of the Mother, and constantly glows with a pale inner light. It is reputed to be constantly warm, even when brought into great cold. It represents the male side of creation as the "Father of Creation" did in the early legends. It's power always increases when it is brought near it's female counterpart, which causes it's reputed glow to intensify. It is used exclusively in legend by men, most notable of instances when the legendary hero Yalathulzi contested with the clever God At for the secret of fire.
The Heart of the Oak
The Heart of the Oak, also known as Ath's Gem, the Truth Gem, the Stone of Knowledge. Ath's stone of power is a flawless emerald approximately the size of a man's head and crystal clear. It is said that whoever stares into it's depths will know the truth of a situation, and sometimes even view the future. This gem is reportedly held at Ietsai Temple at the mid point on the Nie River. I was not able to venture close enough to their temple to see if the rumors are true or not.
The Wolf's Eye
The Wolf's Eye, also known as At's Gem, the Flaming Fist. At's stone of power is smaller than his female counterpart's gem. It is a ruby about the size of a large pebble. It is a regular oval in shape and totally flawless save a orange stripe down the middle, giving it the appearance of an eye. It is rumored that the holder of this stone gains uncanny good luck. Some legends also tell of the ability to see through the most clever of riddles and ruses as well as the power to control and command fire. It is unknown where this gem lies but it is believed to lie in a Rondisian King's tomb, and was taken during the first major war with Arangoth and Rondis.
The Wand of Eth
The Wand of Eth, also known as Eth's Tooth, the Miracle Stone. Eth's stone of power is a long thin piece of pale pink coral that has been polished into a rounded shape. It is reported to be able to heal any wounds or illnesses in the body or mind of the person it touches. It is reported to have sunk to the ocean floor in antiquity, before the Rondis wars.
The Falcon's Egg
The Falcon's Egg, also known as Et's Star, the Gem of the Heavens. Et's stone of power is star sapphire about the size and shape of a chicken's egg. It is crystal clear and like Ath's Gem, people who look deep into it's depths are rewarded with visions of the future and solutions to problems. It is also rumored to be able to control the weather as well. It is supposedly guarded by the Falcon Spirit, Et, atop a gigantic nameless peak somewhere. Et only allows the purest of spirit with the gravest of needs to look upon the gem.
The Dream Stone
The Dream Stone, also known as Ith's Puzzle, the Rainbow Stone, the Dreamer's Stone. Ith's stone is one of the two most ordinary stones of power. It is a crimson and azure banded agate that from the outside appears as an ordinary rock. Those who know the truth about the stone, though, see it as a large polished agate with vivid bands of crimson, azure pale blue, and pale green in it. Those who sleep within a close proximity to the stone have the power to control their dreams and the dreams of others. The location of this stone is unknown, and according to legend could be right under someone's nose. It was hidden by Ith during a legendary contest and never found.
It's Talisman, also known as the Messenger's Stone, the Heart of the Stallion. It's stone of power is a palm-sized smoothly polished Turquoise. It is flat and rounded and has carved into it three waved lines, symbolizing the mane of a horse. It is said that whoever posses this stone will have inexhaustible endurance and speed. It's location is unknown but is believed to be in the possession of the "Horse People" somewhere in the north.
Oth's Altar, also known as 'the Standing Stone, the Immovable Stone. Oth's stone is a pillar of smoothly polished granite approximately five feet tall and eight feet long. It bears no carvings and cannot be moved from where it sits, on a legendary fog-shrouded island somewhere in the south surrounded by a stand of ancient redwoods. Legend has it that one kneeling before the stone or touching it will be granted the strength to correct injustices and the wisdom to solve the most complex of riddles and problems.
Ot's Medallion, also known as the Black Stone of Ot, the Dead Stone. Ot's stone is a polished Jet, which a deep and perfect black. It is about the size and shape of a gold coin and is surrounded with a wrought iron newt. Legend has it that one can use this stone to communicate with the spirits and souls of the dead, and possibly command the dead to come to the world of the living (usually with an ironic twist). Outside of Assi culture it is viewed as an object of extreme evil, which it is, supposedly, not. It was reportedly taken by the Arangothian forces during the first war with Arangoth and Rondis.
Uth's Star, also known as the Radiant Sun, the Golden Star. Uth's stone of power is a polished, and flawless amber the size of a fist. It supposedly gives off a constant and pleasant warmth and light. Legend has it that when it is used in conjunction with Ot's Medallion it can return the dead to life. It is said to have been buried with Uranadathai in a stand of oaks deep in the Elgar Forest. According to legend it brought Uranadathai back as a stag who roams woods around the world to this day.
Ut's Stone, also known as the Song Stone. Ut's stone of power is a triangular piece of jade with the picture of a song bird carved on it. According to legend whoever holds it gains the ability to beautifully sing one's foes to sleep. This stone is supposedly in the possession of "the people from across the sea."