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There are few constants among the post-exiles, their lives are their own for better or worse.
 
There are few constants among the post-exiles, their lives are their own for better or worse.
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==Imbali Culture==
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Even during exile, imbali culture was rich and substantial, with imbali developing some of their own traditional art somewhat separate from arati culture. In the post-exile era, some imbali have held to more the more traditional ways, while others have developed new practices and styles.
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===Imbali Poetry===
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There have been a variety of famous imbali poets in Mugroba's long history, including the few listed below.
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=====Adopu=====
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The poet known simply as '''Adopu''' (1234–1260) is perhaps the most influential poet in traditionalist imbali literature.  His magnum opus, ''The Sky is Still'', a long narrative poem about a family of imbali printmakers, is required reading in any basic literature course at [[Thul’Amat]], and most Mugrobi, imbali or otherwise, are at least aware of him. 
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Less well-read works of his include ''The Woman at Úpih-on-the-Turga'' and the fragments of the piece he was working on before he died, collected posthumously under the name ''Iwuto''.
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He originated a style called '''awu’tsúye''', literally “the back side of the tongue”.  Adopu’s poetry is difficult and sometimes impossible to translate into Estuan, though deeply rewarding, according to many scholars of traditionalist imbali poetry.  Adopu’s syntax and diction intentionally obfuscate the truth; his sentence structure is labyrinthine, and he omits and misrepresents details such that the careless reader will misinterpret the narrative, and the too-careful reader will be endlessly confused.
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After him, the majority of traditionalist imbali poets attempted to imitate awu’tsúye with varying levels of success.  A popular example is '''Osiy pezre Isúun''', who wrote as late as the twenty-fifth century.  Awu’tsúye is a sticking point between pre- and post-exile imbali, as well as between “modern”, metropolitan Mugrobi galdori and Bull Elephant traditionalists.  Awu’tsúye as an art form and an intellectual exercise is deeply tied to the Mugrobi language and to the imbali exile.
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Adopu’s given name is unknown.  Strikingly, Adopu was not born of imbali; he was given to the Turtle as a boy, rumored to be the son of a member of court.  He adopted the name Adopu, roughly meaning “broken” in Mugrobi.  In ''Iwuto'', he calls this name “his greatest lie”, but declines to explain further; many scholars have suggested that Adopu was, in fact, [[Imbali#Oshoor.2C_the_Foresaken|oshoori]], but no other evidence exists.
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=====Tsadi pezre Awameh=====
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''I am between Depthesda and Tempa,<br>
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''Between the shell and the skin.<br>
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''I am Idefewo in the water, before the<br>
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''Wave; I am not who I am, not what<br>
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<br>
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''I am: what am I? I am the heart<br>
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''That loves you, the hands, the arms,<br>
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''The lips; and I am the tongue also<br>
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''Which cannot be trusted to love.''<br>
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:— excerpted from “Liminal”, the first imbali poem to be published in major [[Thul Ka]] periodical ''Hulali's Breath''
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'''Tsadi pezre Awameh''' (2632–) is one of the Turtle’s less celebrated poets, but she is nonetheless a crucial figure in the development of [[Imbali#Post-Exile_Imbali|post-exile imbali]] literature.  One of the first imbali to graduated from Thul’amat after the end of the exile, she made herself a controversial figure by eschewing the traditional Turtle poetry forms popularized by [[Imbali#Adopu|Adopu]], in favor of arata and even foreign techniques. Citing beloved Mugrobi poets like [[Al-Jenwa|Brellos pez Hirtka]], she wrote — and continues to write, even in her old age — a great deal of love poetry, but also social commentary.  Her verse is known for its vivid imagery and colorful metaphors, and its scandalously frank handling of life as a post-exile imbala in Thul Ka.
  
 
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Latest revision as of 20:03, 11 February 2020

The people of Mugroba have long enjoyed an uneasy symbiosis with their passive population. The passives of that country, the imbali (singular: imbala), are not confined to lives as servants or stripped of their rights and property as they are in Anaxas, but they are not fully trusted and much of the civic life of that nation is, by tradition and by law barred to them. Their word is not trusted in the courts of law, they are denied many of the blessings of the priests, and their every word is considered to be a lie. In a country and a culture that values honesty as the highest of virtues, this makes them suspect at the very least. Yet the imbali have found their place in Mugrobi society, for there are times when the truth is unhelpful, when it is harmful, and when a twisted word or a well-placed falsehood might well serve better.

A Brief History of the Imbali

The ancient galdori of Mugroba feared their passive children, feared their deadness to the mona, and knew them for what they were: soulless. It was not that these children would not return to the cycle, for the word which is soul in Estuan has two meanings in Mugrobi: the part of one's self that returns to the cycle, and the part of one's self where the capacity for honor lies. Without this latter part, so it was believed, those born passive could therefore have no concept of truth, would indeed speak nothing but lies or would so warp the truth as to make a mockery of it. So the imbali, the soulless, the empty children were sent away.

Long ago, before there was a country called Mugroba, the people of the river valleys and desert tribes had a simple method of dealing with their passives. They sent them into exile in the desert, provided them water for three days and three nights, and their guilt thus assuaged, never admitted that they sent their sons and daughters to die in the wastes. As the towns along the river grew, as Thul Ka itself become a sprawling monster of a city, the galdori of those places withdrew their collective minds from the desert and turned them ever more towards the river. So to their passive children then gave no longer water but small boats and bid them either travel on the flow to the sea or to dwell upon the lonely islands in the middle of the great rivers. Over time exile to these river isles become the common method of segregation and separation and there on those islands, little communities of abandoned children and other exiled and abandoned people began to form.

In Thul Ka, the island of choice for this exile was The Turtle and as the city grew the island was fortified with strong and lofty walls to better keep the imbali contained. By day they were permitted to walk the streets of the city, to engage in what trade they could, though few trusted them with any matter of confidence, but at the setting of the sun, they were forced to retreat behind the walls of the Turtle or face terrible reprisals.

Being thus exiled and believing them to no longer be a danger or a curse, the galdori left their exiled kin alone to do much as they pleased.

So, within the walls of the Turtle and in other places of exile, the imabli led what passed for normal lives. They did business, they fished and made goods for trade, they composed poetry and songs, they built houses and lived much as other people did. Marriage, and indeed all priestly blessings were denied them, but still, they had children and not every child born to the union of two passives was without the gift of magic. Yet in the cities and towns of the rivers, in all the habitable places that would become Mugroba, to be born of an imbali was to be imabli and so even the children who could command the mona were seen as soulless liars, as unlucky omens, as godscursed.

For centuries this went on. Newly discovered passives were sent to the islands in the river and there they would be adopted into families which had been imbali for generations, passive and non-passive alike. Centuries of imbali interbreeding has led to an almost entirely different subspecies—most imbali unions produce an imbali child and it is a rarity that a magical child is born among imbali who have lived their lives in The Turtle. As the nascent kingdom of Murgroba grew and by fits and starts moved ever closer to the imperial ideal, many new lands were conquered and added to the whole. For the imbali, the conquest of the Muluku islands would have far-reaching significance.

The islands were far away from the heart of Mugroba, distant, sparsely inhabited places, perfect for exile. And to the islands the imbali were sent, and in that exile, and exile without walls, they found a most unlikely place. The islands were home to many valuable spices, to cinnamon and nutmeg, to cardamom and cocoa, the air was fragrant with their heady scents, and headier still with the prospect of wealth. Many imbali became spice traders, selling their costly wares up and down the rivers and coasts of Mugroba and in so doing amassing fortunes to rival many of the greatest galdori merchants. Years and decades passed and the imbali grew ever more powerful in the maritime commerce of Mugroba, they dominated the spice trade and brought fabulous wealth to themselves and to their country. Exile had given them this gift.

The exile of the imbali was not to last forever, though the reasons for its ending had little to due with enlightened attitudes or respect for common decency. The program of exile was ended in large part to appease the galdori merchants who had become angered by the centuries-long domination of the spice trade by those they considered unworthy and cursed. By the 2500s, the imbali monopoly had become so unbearable that in an effort to break their hold, the government formally ended the program of exile, had the gates of the imbali ghettos flung open, never to be closed again.

The Imbali Today

The ending of the long exile changed the very meaning of what it meant to be imbali and set up divisions among the passives of Mugroba where before there had been none. The old imbali, those whose families had been born into the exile, had become their own distinct culture with their own customs and traditions. Most of these still observe many of the traditional prohibitions and taboos of the exile. They do not speak the names of the gods for fear of bringing ill fortune on the divine and instead use a variety of epithets and poetical references; they will not enter temples and shrines without express invitation or lightly seek the blessings of priests. These and many other old taboos are not observed by the post-exile imbali who have not grown up with these curious traditions and for whom these are alien practices. Neither group fully trusts the other, the post-exile imbali seeing their traditional counterparts as holding on to archaic and even demeaning customs while the traditional imbali often see their post-exile brethren as something to be pitied having no culture or people to call their own.

Traditionalist Imbali

Most of the traditionalists come either from the Muluku islands or from the communities of imbali in the cities. By custom they are often merchants, trading in spices and other goods, or selling their unique services as Mugroba’s only perpetual liars. Imbali may be hired to provide false alibis, to compose letters of apology where in the client wishes to save face by covering up some secret shame, or any of a thousand other services wherein a dedication to truthfulness would be a handicap.

A good many traditional imbali work in the bookselling trade as well, and the Liars Market in the Turtle has one of the most extensive markets for works of fiction, unauthorized biographies, scandalous publications, and even censored works illegal elsewhere in Mugroba. By some strange dispensation, the imbali are allowed to possess, buy, and sell these banned works. Though selling such publications to non-imbali is technically illegal, a brisk trade in subversive newspapers, semi-treasonous works, and a good deal of obscene and bawdy literature thrives nonetheless.

Oshoor, the Foresaken

A child of an imbali parent born with magical abilities is called an **oshoor** (plural: oshoori), a word that means ‘forsaken’ or ‘abandoned’. There are many oshoori both among the traditional and post-exile imbali though the term is usually used to refer specifically to the magically-able traditionalists though they themselves seldom use the word. Much lore and a good deal of fear has built up around the oshoori for they are seen as being just as soulless and cursed as any passive imbali yet they possess command over the mona just as a galdor would. By custom and even by law, imbali cannot do magic, it is considered to be an ontological impossibility, and therefore any seemingly magical action an oshoor takes is, despite all appearances, understood to be not magic at all. Various explanations for the magic of the oshoori have been forwarded over the years, but the most commonly accepted one is also the most frightening. It is believed that, far from simply being galdori born to passive parents, oshoori are a particularly dangerous kind of passive, one which has managed to control their diableries and do with that twisted mockery of magic whatever their wills desire.

Not every galdori in Mugroba holds this frightful view of the oshoori. For the past several decades and movement has grown up, largely in Thul Ka, which maintains that the oshoori are indeed nothing more than galdori with unfortunate parentage. The League for the Restoration of Souls seeks to remove the stigma from these unlucky children and bring them back into proper galdori society. Though their goals seem worthy, and even noble, there is considerable controversy about this group. Many traditional imbali view them with disdain and even hate, believing that the League is little more than another effort to break their long-held dominance of the spice trade by stealing their children from them and shattering their families.

Post-Exile Imbali

Having no people to call their own, the post-exile imbali make the best they can of their lives. Some are fortunate enough to have kind and loving families which will keep their children within the family circle and feeling little shame in doing so. Others are not so lucky and are disowned and made to fend for themselves. Some drift aimlessly through life picking up what jobs they can, others seek refuge among the traditionalists in the hopes of becoming a part of that culture.

There are few constants among the post-exiles, their lives are their own for better or worse.

Imbali Culture

Even during exile, imbali culture was rich and substantial, with imbali developing some of their own traditional art somewhat separate from arati culture. In the post-exile era, some imbali have held to more the more traditional ways, while others have developed new practices and styles.

Imbali Poetry

There have been a variety of famous imbali poets in Mugroba's long history, including the few listed below.


Adopu

The poet known simply as Adopu (1234–1260) is perhaps the most influential poet in traditionalist imbali literature. His magnum opus, The Sky is Still, a long narrative poem about a family of imbali printmakers, is required reading in any basic literature course at Thul’Amat, and most Mugrobi, imbali or otherwise, are at least aware of him.

Less well-read works of his include The Woman at Úpih-on-the-Turga and the fragments of the piece he was working on before he died, collected posthumously under the name Iwuto.

He originated a style called awu’tsúye, literally “the back side of the tongue”. Adopu’s poetry is difficult and sometimes impossible to translate into Estuan, though deeply rewarding, according to many scholars of traditionalist imbali poetry. Adopu’s syntax and diction intentionally obfuscate the truth; his sentence structure is labyrinthine, and he omits and misrepresents details such that the careless reader will misinterpret the narrative, and the too-careful reader will be endlessly confused.

After him, the majority of traditionalist imbali poets attempted to imitate awu’tsúye with varying levels of success. A popular example is Osiy pezre Isúun, who wrote as late as the twenty-fifth century. Awu’tsúye is a sticking point between pre- and post-exile imbali, as well as between “modern”, metropolitan Mugrobi galdori and Bull Elephant traditionalists. Awu’tsúye as an art form and an intellectual exercise is deeply tied to the Mugrobi language and to the imbali exile.

Adopu’s given name is unknown. Strikingly, Adopu was not born of imbali; he was given to the Turtle as a boy, rumored to be the son of a member of court. He adopted the name Adopu, roughly meaning “broken” in Mugrobi. In Iwuto, he calls this name “his greatest lie”, but declines to explain further; many scholars have suggested that Adopu was, in fact, oshoori, but no other evidence exists.


Tsadi pezre Awameh

I am between Depthesda and Tempa,
Between the shell and the skin.
I am Idefewo in the water, before the
Wave; I am not who I am, not what

I am: what am I? I am the heart
That loves you, the hands, the arms,
The lips; and I am the tongue also
Which cannot be trusted to love.

— excerpted from “Liminal”, the first imbali poem to be published in major Thul Ka periodical Hulali's Breath

Tsadi pezre Awameh (2632–) is one of the Turtle’s less celebrated poets, but she is nonetheless a crucial figure in the development of post-exile imbali literature. One of the first imbali to graduated from Thul’amat after the end of the exile, she made herself a controversial figure by eschewing the traditional Turtle poetry forms popularized by Adopu, in favor of arata and even foreign techniques. Citing beloved Mugrobi poets like Brellos pez Hirtka, she wrote — and continues to write, even in her old age — a great deal of love poetry, but also social commentary. Her verse is known for its vivid imagery and colorful metaphors, and its scandalously frank handling of life as a post-exile imbala in Thul Ka.