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[Culture] The Vasoyevi


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In 1807, a historian stood before a caravan of unfamiliar folk -- freshly arrived in Providence, draped in dark motifs, a conversation myred with foreign tongues & nervous interactions struggled to proceed. Irulan had discovered a small traveling band of no clear origin, and would author a small report of his findings after. From there, the term ‘Vasoyevi’ or ‘Vasoyards’ came to be, inspired by the most recurring surname amongst them. It was the beginning of a story with an undefined end, to take place in the still young realm of Almaris. 

 

 

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[!]Vayosevi transporting stolen wheat from Luciensport

 

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Originating from the diverse Raevir people and the now extinct Subudai, the Vasoyevi have long remained absent from the history books of the Descendants. Belonging to a peasant class, they, much like Karnaszy & Karamans, ventured wherever labour and the weather would lead them. They were favoured for knowing their ways around vineyards and livestock, and never demanding permanent residency. After a job well done, the caravan simply moved forward, unbothered by the affairs of their temporary hosts. 

 

Related folk to the Vasoyevi all found fortune in their integration into states such as Hanseti-Ruska, but the Vasoyevi felt those folk abandoned a freedom that only the nomadic could maintain. One day, the Vasoyevi earned their bread as labourers, the other they sold their produce as merchants. In worse times, they would survive as thieves. No border, no conflict and no system could pin them down for centuries: in the shadows of irrelevance, they prospered.

 

Yet they had not foreseen that the governments of humanity would modernize so rapidly in the Arcasian era: the stability of the Barbanovs & Novellens rapidly expanding bureaucracy and effective governance of their territories. Where they once settled as guests, they now arrived as trespassers. Peers and landlords became less hospitable or tolerant, as they now had to abide by national regulations. The way of the caravan seemed to become an impossible dream. 

 

It was from this moment that the sacred policy of indifference to human politics came to an end. If the Vasoyevi were to live as they wanted, they would have to be tolerated by governments with varying expectations, if not participate in the systems they had created. A scramble for the future of the Vasoyevi came to be, as a balance had to be struck between maintaining their ways of yore, and changing to survive the enlightened era of Almaris. 

 

From this, the Vasoyevi began to look more consciously at their identity and future. The simplistic view of them simply being peasants on the road, expanded with new views and conclusions. The few literate Vasoyevi would write down their language, and compare them to their Raevir contemporaries. Their way of life began to be transcribed by curious onlookers and themselves. An underdeveloped identity began to appear on the pages of its authors: something the Vasoyevi weren’t ready to simply surrender for a less complicated path to labour & bread. 

 

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Vasoyevi Culture

 

The Vasoyevi have lived for years on the road. They are a caravan people, traveling from place to place selling their labor and their wares in their attempt to attain the freedom from government and rules that they so greatly desire. They will often camp, with permission, outside of a settlement or city for anywhere from a week to a month, offering their goods and services to the community. Many of the men will get jobs as day laborers on farms while they are there, and for cheaper than local labor. At night, their camps become lively parties for the locals to attend, with instruments strumming, liquor and coffee liberally dispensed, and even the furtive drug or two to consume. Unfortunately, this laissez-faire attitude, their propensity to sell more untoward goods, and their tendency to undercut local labor costs has also seen them driven from their fair share of communities as well. But the Vasoyevi always remember.

 

The Vasoyard caravans believe very strictly in oaths and pledges. If a Vasoyevi makes a deal with someone, that deal is sacrosanct and will be upheld. With little else to give as collateral, the Vasoyevi have made their oath to be an inviolate decree. If a deal is broken by a Vasoyevi, all Vasoyard caravans will work to bring the deal breaker to task, forcing him to uphold the deal and often exacting further penance besides. The same works for those who break deals with the Vasoyevi. Other Vasoyard caravans will no longer treat with those that have broken deals with the Vasoyevi, and will often hunt down the oathbreaker, exacting a Vasoyevi justice against them.

 

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[!]A traditional Vasoyevi evening

 

Social Hierarchy and Gender Roles

 

Men and women hold equal status among the Vasoyevi, recognized that each sex can bring money to the caravan through the same ways. The caravan is a largely egalitarian society, where people can live free of title and status, just being people. Every member of the caravan is trained in the use of bow and sabre, to protect the caravan from outside threats. Each caravan is headed by a man and a woman, usually husband and wife, but not necessarily. The man is the Patriarch of the caravan and is in charge of temporal matters, determining the direction of the caravan, settling disputes within the caravan, and treating with the envoys of the various towns and settlements they stay at. The woman is the Matriarch of the caravan and is in charge of spiritual affairs, doling out religious advice, blessing the journey, and other spiritual affairs.

 

The Sigismundaroșie 

 

Exalted Sigismund, also known as ‘The Soothsayer,’ plays a historically significant role in the lives & spirituality of all Raevir and Canonist nomadics. While the Vasoyevi have adhered to Canonism since their forced conversion by St. Everard II, their isolated existence amongst the human nations made their faith develop at a different pace. When the Ruskan Orthodoxy became mainstream canonism, and Owynism became rehabilitated under High Pontiff Owyn III, the differences in the method of worship only widened severely. 

 

Originating from an old folktale, the Sigismundaroșie or ‘Red Sigismunda’ was said to be a woman blessed by Ex. Sigismund’s mysticism: which allowed her to wield a strong affinity with herbalism, soothsaying & taming the temptations of man. They replaced the clerical presence that the Holy Mother Church would often grant to established folk alone: with them historically assuming the role of herbalist, brewer & mystic in the Vasoyard caravans.

 

They are said to consistently appear as tall, pale & red-haired women who are given birth to easily. Although not every female that fits this description is to become one of the Sigismundaroșie, all are given the opportunity to learn about the world of mysticism & flora.

 

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[!]The first alleged Sigismundaroșie, Helena Lupeșcu

 

Vasoyevi Religion

 

The people who became the Vasoyevi were originally Raevir pagans. Over time, their yearning for ultimate freedom led them to the sole worship of the daemon Valaen, who was dedicated to freedom and anarchy most of all. These devotees left their lands to travel the world, becoming the first of the Vasoyard caravans. For centuries, they traveled on this nomadic journey, freed from the burden of governance and bureaucracy. However, as time passed and many of the Vasoyevi became complacent, they began to start to settle and leave the nomadic existence, turning from Valaen. This angered the daemon who set one of his servants upon them, the creature known as the Psoglav. This daemonic servant chased the Vasoyevi, never letting them settle for too long without coming into their camps to eat those it could. As long as the Vasoyevi kept moving and leaving blood sacrifices for the Psoglav to consume in their stead, they would be safe. Yet the threat of the Psoglav was always upon them. They both hated and worshipped the creature.

 

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[!]A woodcut of the fabled Psoglav

 

This changed during the Tarchary Crusades, where Saint Everard II forcibly converted the Vasoyevi to Canonism, showing them that freedom on the road is but one of the gifts granted by GOD. Moved by their piety in their new-found religion, the Exalted Sigismund granted the Vasoyevi a blessing that allowed their families to combine their strength in combat and slay the Psoglav. Since those days, the Vasoyevi have been devoted Canonists, seeking out confession and mass whenever they reach a Canonist town. On the roads, the Sigismundaroșie perform the duties a clergyman would often perform.

 

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[!]A Vasoyevi woman tending to a wounded man during the Tarchary Crusades

 

Vasoyevi Traditions

 

Slava

 

The Vasoyevi revere the Exalted Sigismund above all the other Exalted and all the saints, and consider him to be the family’s protector and provider of welfare. His saint day in the liturgical calendar necessitates a time of great prayer and festivities for the family, and can often be their social event of the season. This celebration is called Slava. The celebration consists of the ritual offering of a blood sacrifice (usually a rabbit or chicken), along with a feast held for relatives, neighbours and friends. A specially designed candle is lit in the family’s wagon, then wine is poured over a Slava cake, prepared and decorated by the host’s wife, which is then cut crosswise, rotated and broken into four parts and lifted up. During the ritual, thanks are given to the Exalted and prayers are said for prosperity. The cutting is performed by the host and the oldest or most important guest and other family members. The feast then begins with the ceremonial drinking of wine, eating and a toast expressing wishes for health, fertility and well-being of the family and guests.

 

The Kȁjatci

 

The kȁjatci (Singular: kȁjatac) are a group of Vasoyevi that have dedicated their life to hunting monsters. The kȁjatci were formed after the former pagan group killed the Psoglav, the daemonic servant they both feared and worshipped through blood rituals and sacrifices. Now proper Canonists, the kȁjatci view monster hunting as a form of penance for their ancestor’s deeds.

 

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[!]A young boy is taught the basics of sabre combat by veteran kȁjatci

 

Caloianul

 

Caloianul is a ritual to ensure good rain for a harvest or to help end a drought. Four clay dolls are made by a Sigismundaroșie in the form of the Four Exalted. A few drops of the leader of the area’s blood is mixed into the dolls, which are then baked. The baked dolls are paraded through the town while chanting prayers to GOD and then buried in the earth outside of town. After three days, the dolls are dug back up and either thrown into the well of the village or placed on a wooden plank in a nearby body of water and left to float away.

 

Bobotează Bundles

 

Unmarried women can spy their future husband in their dreams by putting a small branch of dried basil leaves that have been dipped in holy water and blessed by a Sigismundaroșie under their pillow on the full moon.

 

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[!]A Vasoyevi bride is dressed by the women of her caravan in preparation for her wedding

 

Vasoyevi Cuisine

 

Ćevapi

 

The most common meal amongst the Vasoyard caravans is grilled meats and flatbread, often with grilled onions and root vegetables added. This grilled meat, often shaped into small logs and mixed with herbs and spices, is called ćevapi. Each caravan has its own recipe for ćevapi with a unique blend of spices and unique blending of meats (most often lamb, goat, and beef).

 

Karaman Kafa

 

In the days of the Tarchary Crusades, the many pagan tribes fighting Canonist forces would break bread for the first time in centuries. The legacy of this desperate alliance remains the universality of Karaman Kafa. By origin, a Qalasheeni method of coffee-making, Kafa got popularity by those that left the Korvassan desert in Arcas & spread it in other Human realms. It is a staple of the Vasoyard caravans and is often prepared for guests and during important meetings.

 

Karaman Kafa is a style of coffee prepared using very finely ground coffee beans, and boiled without filtering. The kafa grounds are left in the kafa when served. The grounds and water, usually with added sugar, is brought to the boil in a special brass pot with a long handle called a džezva. As soon as the mixture begins to froth, and before it boils over, it is taken off the heat. Karaman kafa is traditionally served in a small white porcelain cup, and is often accompanied by something small and sweet to eat. A lot of the powdered coffee grounds are transferred from the džezva to the cup; in the cup, some settle on the bottom but much remains in suspension and is consumed with the coffee.

 

Besides being a staple of the Vasoyevi kitchen, the coffee grounds used are believed to carry a mystic power only to be accessed by the Sigismundaroșie. As it can give clarity about the fate of a person, most Vasoyevi consult this ritual for a variety of questions: the success of their future marriage, their harvest or their personal conquests. 

 

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Rakija

 

Rakija is the alcoholic drink of choice for the Vasoyevi. It is a fruit brandy, with an alcohol content of around 50% to 80%. The best rakija is prized for its inability to give people a hangover. Rakija is served in small, shot-like glasses, but is always sipped slowly. It is almost always consumed with food, as it is part of the meal, and not something you would just drink at a tavern. This is one of the reasons why the Vasoyevi are considered such fine hosts, as they will often serve a meal to a guest just for an opportunity to enjoy some rakija.

 

Vasoyevi Music

 

The Vasoyevi have music going around the campfire almost every evening. Their traditional instruments are the tamburica (a long-necked lute), the frula (a wind instrument similar to the recorder), and the accordion; that said, their travels around the world have incorporated many instruments into traditional Vasoyevi music. The most famous dance of the Vasoyevi is a two-beat dance called the kolo. This is a circled dance with almost no movement above the waist. The kolo always starts very slow at the outset and gradually increases its speed throughout the song until reaching a climax towards the end.

 

Vasoyevi Language

 

Greetings

Zdravo - Greetings [General greeting, formal]

 

Dobro Jutro - Good Morning

Dobar Dan - Good Afternoon/Good Day [Because this is also used to say ‘A Good Day’, the Dobro takes its adjective form of Dobar]. 

Dobro Veče - Good Evening

 

Relationships

Brat - Brother

Braca - Brothers

Sestra - Sister

Sestre - Sisters

 

Majka - Mother

Tatka/Otac - Father

 

Sin - Son

Ćerka - Daughter

 

Muž - Husband

Žena - Wife

 

Prijatelj - Friend

Neprijatelj  - Enemy [Literal translation is ‘No Friend’, and serves as a declaration].

 

Politics

Caru - Emperor

Carice - Empress

 

Kralj - King

Kraljica - Queen

 

Knez - Prince

Knezica - Princess

 

Izaslanik - Envoy [The Vasoyev language has never adopted specified naming for bureaucrats, such as Chancellors or Ministers, as they simply call them Envoys due to their representative nature of the Monarch]

 

Spoiler

OOC: If you are interested in joining this culture, please contact Burnsider on Discord at Burnsider#3564.

 

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It is shameful that this post hasn't gotten nearly as much recognition as it should. Fascinating blend of Ottoman, Romanian, and Russian cultures, with a social structure that is actually elaborated upon. I am very much interested in the concept of the Sigismundaroșie; haven't seen much likened to it, in my several years on the server.

I implore of you, Burnsider –– give me more to feast upon.

 

+1

 

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5 hours ago, Hephaestus said:

It is shameful that this post hasn't gotten nearly as much recognition as it should. Fascinating blend of Ottoman, Romanian, and Russian cultures, with a social structure that is actually elaborated upon. I am very much interested in the concept of the Sigismundaroșie; haven't seen much likened to it, in my several years on the server.

I implore of you, Burnsider –– give me more to feast upon.

 

+1

 

 

Thank you very much for the feedback on the Vasoyevi. I've also pulled a lot of Serbian into the culture as well. It was, in fact, one of the initial primary drivers (along with Romanian). 

 

Feel free to see my character in game for a coffee reading sometime. 

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