Actions

Wicks and Witches

From ThornsWiki

Wicks, or witches, are half-breed galdori. The term "witch" applies only to women, but both genders may be called "wick." What follows here is a discussion of wicks in general. The wicks of Anhau are discussed elsewhere, as are the wicks of Mugroba. Wicks can manipulate the mona and use magic, but it unique to themselves and weaker in general than galdori magic. You can read more about Wick Magic on its page.

Wicks are usually the product of a relationship between two wicks. Occasionally, a wick is the product of a union between a galdor and a human; such a relationship is outlawed in most kingdoms, so half-breed wicks almost always grow up with their human parent. In some cases where a female galdor has a wick child, she will abandon it among unrelated humans or wicks.

Physical Appearance

Like the Galdori, the Wicks have been shaped by their environments quite a bit. Often thin in stature, they are graceful and lithe. Their skin tones vary, though they are often darker than the Galdori and humans they live around. As with the other races, too, they are defined by their environments.

  • Anaxas - Anaxi wicks look like a mixture of humans and galdori. Due to the high variability of their heritage, their height is varied too; it is rare, however, for a wick to be taller than the average human. Their skin is usually olive-toned and freckled; wick-born wicks tend to have darker skin. Wicks tend to be strong, tanned and lean, but small and lithe like their magical brethren. They can have yellow eyes, though it is unusual, and usually weeded out after a few generations. Brown or hazel eyes are the most common. Red or black hair is normal for a wick, though they often dye their hair with chemicals, producing strange shades of blue, green or purple. Sometimes wicks dye their hair several colors at once. Wicks often have elaborate tattoos - even the children have them. Earrings and jewelry are common for both men and women. Witches (female wicks) tend to put their hair in long, intricate braids or other elaborate designs. They often keep their hair long and wild, for effect. Male wicks like to keep themselves clean-shaven and youthful, though some grow massive sideburns, often trying to outdo one another. Small pointed beards are not entirely uncommon.
  • Mugroba - Mugrobi wicks tend to look like humans, though they can have yellow eyes.
  • Hox - There are very few wicks in Hox, and no established tribes. On the rare occasion that there are, Hoxian wicks look like a combination of their parents.
  • Hesse - Hessean wicks look like a mixture between humans and galdori. They tend to imitate the style of Anaxi wicks, dyeing their wooly hair different colors and wearing lots of jewelry.
  • Bastia - Because Bastian people are so closely related to the Anaxi people, they share similar physical traits.
  • Gior - Wicks are a rare occurrence in Gior, as the galdori and humans live rather isolated from each other. When this does happen, however, Gioran wicks don't often inherit the albinism gene, and they tend to resemble humans more than galdori. They can have yellow eyes.

Language

Wicks speak both Estuan and a dialect called Tek, which can be learned about here in the Tek Lexicon. Since most galdori do not understand Tek, it serves as a convenient language to use when one wishes to speak privately, without being overheard by sorcerers. There is a deep version of Tek, where words are obscured by accent, and a more understandable version that is spoken by wicks as slang.

Galdori Treatment of Wicks

Wicks are considered the middle rung of Anaxi society, ever so slightly above passive galdori and humans; they are not allowed to study at the University, but are allowed to make their living abroad or among humans, usually as peddlers of "low magic." Wick society is sovereign to the Anaxi government and is generally only held to the law when inside major cities or farming provinces. Galdori tend to leave wicks alone in some situations where they might bully or oppress a human. However, many galdori have a special disdain for "half-breed" humans, and mistrust and hate wicks above all else.

Culture

Wick culture is eclectic. Their separation from both galdori and human society has resulted in a hodgepodge culture culled from the combined influence of Mugrobi desert nomads and remaining human tribes in Anaxas.

Dancing, storytelling, singing and other artistic pursuits are held in high regard; so too are artisan crafts, such as pottery, weaving and jewelcraft. Meals are family affairs, and often include the younger generation entertaining the elders with song, acting, or dancing. Wicks make most of their own clothing and enjoy decorating their bodies with patterned cloth or leather bands, tattoos, jewelry, makeup and paint; they often dye strips of their hair with unnatural colors such as blue, green or red in addition to their elaborate braids.

Most wicks live together in nomadic societies, travelling around Anaxas on caravans. (Wicks living together on a caravan sometimes refer to each other as "spokes".) The "tribes," as they are called, are distinct, but usually peaceful with one another; when two wick tribes fight, it is often disastrous. The tribes are strong and close-knit, and do not usually ally with outside forces such as the human freedom fighters; however, a single wick may help the resistance without the permission of his tribal leader (Durg) and still remain within the tribe.

When a wick leaves a tribe, they leave their family and all possessions behind; this painful process is called drifting. It is unusual, but sometimes necessary if a wick finds himself at odds with the practices or beliefs of his tribe, or in a disagreement with the Durg.

Wicks pride themselves on traits such as cleverness, resourcefulness, the ability to tell a story, persuasiveness, creativity, and faithfulness to the family. Filial piety is paramount; children often take care of their parents from a very young age, and learn to work for their living as soon as they can walk. Children are not told to always tell the truth, but instead to lie well, and never, of course, to a friendly wick or a family member. Contrary to popular misconception, the acquisition of wealth is not seen as an end unto itself in wick culture - rather, money is seen as a tool to provide stability for the tribal unit.

Humans are usually glad to see wicks; they do not consider them as dangerous as the galdori, and indeed, enjoy many of the services wicks provide, such as healing. Many wicks trick humans into paying for services that are blatantly false, including fortune-telling and good-luck charms, preying on the humans' superstition and ignorance of sorcery. The humans are glad to be tricked (and often know that they are paying for nothing) because most wicks are raised to be entertainers, and give a good show.

Tyats, or "Pups"

It began as an insult, an old Tek word for "young dog". Tyat, the word now used to describe an entire minor population of the wicks, and one that is worn as a badge of pride to those among its peoples. Tyats are the current generation of wicks, most frequently noted in Central and Eastern Anaxas, and some parts of Mugroba. They differ from their parents in their lackadaisical approach to life, coasting through and trying to do little work but maximize their fun. They are irreverent to social tradition, and would rather create a heterogeneous mixture into their population of partiers than try to make an "honest" living.

Considered far less conservative than older wicks, which is saying something, the tyats are often looked down upon by older wicks, and are often considered to be "what's wrong with our society".

What does it mean to be a Tyat?

Whereas many wicks make their livings peddling "low magic" or through some sort of art or swindling, tyats try to live their lives to the fullest. They focus on a hedonistic lifestyle, and tend to gather together in inter-tribal groups called Kuatanos. These kuatanos are often nomadic, moving from place to place to experience the world together.

An interesting thing to note about the Tyat is that, no matter the clan they came from, they often refer to their familial clan by a name decided for their kuatano. For example, a kuatano comprised of wicks from the Yellow Eye, Deep Water and Falling Stone clans may adopt a new name, often in a simplified slang form of Tek playing off certain words or phrases. One example of this would be the Lao kuatano, a group of hodgepodge tyats who identify as a "dirty" sort of kuatano.

This intentional choosing of cultural identity is a large part in what makes being a tyat so exciting. Though the tyats are often young wicks, with the majority being no older than their late twenties, it has been heard of for some older wicks to break ties with their lifestyle and join a kuatano that particularly interests them. Older members of kuatanos are not revered for their wisdom or looked down upon for their age, simply becoming a part of the sociological movement of the kuatano and its constituent tyats.

Goals of the Tyat

To a tyat, freedom is tantamount. Freedom from social and political restriction, to be whom and with whom they'd like to be, that is the unifying factor for all tyats. Though they may not all share the same views on the other races, or cities, or professions, the tyats are brought together by the desire to be free from biases and prejudices. They wish for each member of their kuatanos to be judged by their own merit, and not those placed upon them by their ancestors or the society they live in.

Often, it's not that a tyat is lazy, it's that they see no value in the work they are asked to do. Progressing ideals they don't believe in is nearly a crime among the tyats, and they are more likely to shirk duties regarding upholding law and tradition because of this. A tyat is a hedonist in that he strives to taste the freedom of being able to choose his own ideals and how he progresses them, and that often puts him at odds with the law and the other races, particularly the galdori.

But the goal of a tyat is not to bring down the establishment, at least not in a revolutionary sense. The goal of the tyat is to affect change on a personal level, to allow each member of a kuatano to choose for himself how to live his life, and hope that as more wicks and witches join kuatanos, this will infect the social change into the race as a whole. It seems unlikely that this will happen in this generation or even the next few coming up, but the tyats understand that affecting societal change is not likely a quickly won war.

Relationships with Other Races

First and foremost, the tyats are still wicks. Their loyalty, when tested by racial means, falls to that, though they are not biased otherwise. A tyat is far more accepting of other races, to the point that some kuatanos will even boast human members, and even more rarely but sometimes seen, galdori.

This stems from their view of freedom. While the tyats view the galdori as rigid and unwavering, they are open-minded enough to understand that there is always some dissatisfaction with the status quo. The vast majority of the galdori view the tyats as even worse than wicks, being wicks that consort with humans and passives, and the tyats view the vast majority of galdori as snobbish and dangerous authority figures.

A human who comes across a kuatano is often delighted, as the free-spirited tyats are more than happy to share in their revelry and low magic. While they don't throw feasts in the grand sense, a kuatano honours their guests with dancing and theatre, often enhanced by the quick and simplifed New Spokes magic. They are treated well, and are only shunned or attacked if they attack first, or try to enforce laws that the tyats don't identify with.

The tyats have a strange relationship with passives. While the galdori shun, and even hate their passives, the tyats find them fascinating. Many tyats can't fathom a world without the ease of the New Spokes, and they look at races who should be able to use magic that can't as enduring and interesting. With galdori passives, the tyats are open and accepting, even offering equal status to a galdori passive who wishes to join a kuatano.

But with wick passives, parses, this goes even deeper. Because wicks are attuned to the mona via their Spokes Magic, wicks who are born without that connection are seen as those who suffer ultimately. They treat parses in general very well, but parses who join a kuatano are the closest thing to a Durg the kuatanos see. Kelja, as tyat parses are called, are often the most respected and knowledgeable members of a kuatano.

Education

Most wicks are raised to a trade from a young age, and never attend a formal school. Magic is generally taught on a need-to-know basis, as handed down through the Spoke's Almanac of that tribe. If it is not helpful or necessary in the trade, a young wick has to go to an Elder or older family member to learn. Most wicks do not know how to read or write because of restrictions imposed on them by the galdori (and because it is usually not necessary, given their lifestyle). Most know a few crucial words but nothing more.

Religion

Wicks are unique in that they worship every god in the Circle Pantheon equally, having no prime god. At the end of every month, there is a celebration - both for the happy events of the month (births, deaths, etc) and to honor another god or goddess. At the end of the first month of the year, wicks celebrate Alioe, and go counter-clockwise through the Circle. On the last day of the year, wicks celebrate the god Hulali.

Non-nomadic Wicks (Tsats)

Some wicks, particularly those who were born of a galdori/human union and grew up with humans, do not belong to a tribe and instead live among humans permanently. These wicks are called tsats and they do not generally subscribe to nomadic wick culture. If a tsat were to behave like a nomadic wick, they would be disdained by true nomads.

Wick Passives

It is possible for wicks to have passive children. These individuals are known as parse and are generally treated with the same respect as normal wicks, though they do have a handicap. The danger of a parse's diablerie is still present, but for unknown reasons parse are not as likely to manifest their diablerie as galdori passives.

Prominent Wick Tribes

Political Correctness

The terms "wick" and "witch" are occasionally used pejoratively among galdori, to show disdain when magic is used for a base purpose, or simply as an insult. In common speech, however, it is an acceptable term.

Wick Magic

More can be read about Wick Magic here.

Playing a Wick

See Playing a Wick for important tips on how to play a Wick.