~The Shui Family~
“The ocean is the gateway to reclaiming the vast wealth and riches our people once held.” - Shui Dayang
(The symbol of the Shui clan, often flown aboard their ships).
The Shui family does not have the longstanding history of the other families. It was founded in Atlas by Shui Dayang, a merchant and sailor who spent most of his life on the sea, away from his Hou-Zi brethren. Though his family started as a crew of one, he met a woman on one of his infrequent trips home and subsequently had at least three children, Shui Haiyang, Shui Luo and Shui Hai, both of whom were born at sea and grew up only knowing the sea-faring lifestyle.
Upon the relocation of the descendants and the Hou-Zi to Arcas, Shui Dayang decided to take the long route, wanting to explore as much of the newfound seas as he could before returning to his own people. This ended up spelling disaster as the ship ran into trouble as they met up with a ship of rogues and bandits who promptly slaughtered both Dayang and his wife. Perhaps as a small act of mercy, or perhaps as a joke, the pirates then allowed the children to take the escape raft while they made off with the ship and it’s cargo.
Having lost their father at a young age, they paddled their way to shore with Haiyang reluctantly taking the position of Duizhang, or head of the family, a lot sooner than he’d ever wanted it.
Eventually they made it back to their people, and Haiyang made the decision that no longer would the Shui be a family that constantly lived on the open sea. They would live within the safety of the state of Shen, and from there build upon the legacy of their father by exploring more of the sea and trading with people far and near. While their home would be on land, they would always feel more comfortable on the open seas.
Culture + Traditions:
The culture of the Shui is that of seafarers, though all Shui have different reasons for their love of the sea. Some do it for profit, others for adventure. Some want to trade and some want to fish. However the thing that binds all Shui together is their love of the open sea and many feel more comfortable on a boat than on dry land. The Shui have no history of physical prowess but are experts at their crafts, being among the best sailors, fishermen and merchants of the Hou-Zi.
Boat Ownership: It is the dream of any Shui to own their own boat, though the spirit of community is strong in the family and the priority is always to ensure that at least one boat is owned by the family. Boats owned by the family are always referred to as ships, though more commonly by their name, and the ships are respected as any member of the family would be. Likewise whoever owns a ship is considered it’s captain and commands the respect of all Shui on board regardless of their position within the family itself. The exception to this is the communal boat, which can be commanded by anyone, usually being reserved for the most senior family member or for a rite of passage.
One of the most important causes for celebration within the Shui is obtaining a new ship, and of course this too comes with it’s own traditions. Should the ship have been purchased or otherwise acquired, then it is simply taken out for an inaugural voyage, usually by a significant amount of the family. However any member of the Shui obtain a ship of any size that has not been named or sailed before then this is a cause for great celebration and usually involves a grand voyage with many family members.. A great deal of thought is put into the name of a ship, and it is thought that the name has some significance of the fate of the ship. A ship that does well and is retired or goes down valiantly may see it’s name used again for a newer ship. Naming a ship after a vessel that sank easily or caused the unnecessary death of a Hou-Zi without later being redeemed would be a poor omen for that ship and would be frowned upon as a choice for a new ship.
Funeral Rites: The Shui honour their dead with a burial at sea, though the funeral tradition differs depending on whether the deceased died at sea or on land. Those Shui who die at sea are given a funeral aboard the ship on which they died, at the end of which they are cast overboard, or else a funeral is held as close to where they died if they fell overboard while alive and were not recovered. Those who die on land are placed on a boat befitting their status and returned to the ocean, with the boat and it’s passenger occasionally being burned along with offerings that honoured the deceased and the ancestrals so that the deceased can continue to sail until they are ready to pass into the Heavenly Realm.
Birth Rite: The Shui honour newborns in a ritual that goes back to the birth of Haiyang’s brother Luo. When Luo was an infant – as yet unnamed, Dayang held him out over the ocean, in the direction of their home. Unfortunately the Junk rocked at that moment and Dayang’s grip loosened, leaving Luo to drop into the water below. Luo was rescued but when Hai was born their mother, as a joke, poured seawater onto the newborns fur, remarking that it would save them the swim. Since then it has become a tradition to take a newborn Shui out to sea and pour seawater over their fur to introduce them to the sea, an act which is performed before naming the newborn.
Any maritime or mercantile profession is an encouraged and respected within the family. This can range from sailing, to fishing, to trade and anything in between, such as the preparation of seafood both for the family and for trade. (It is no surprise that the diet of the Shui is mostly seafood based).
Though the family was once just a tightly knit family crew, since taking on the role of the head of the family Haiyang opened it to anyone that follows the seafaring traditions of the family, this is mainly directed at fellow Hou-Zi though those of other races that prove themselves aboard a Shui vessel can be considered too. Whether joining or coming of age as a family member, there is a rite of passage that new members must go before being considered true members, though those of the Shui blood may use the name from birth.
The rite of passage is a simple trial, a prospective Shui must prove their knowledge of sailing by commanding a boat with at least one Shui out on a voyage. The length of the voyage and the purpose are up to the initiate, but they will be judged based on what they choose to do as well as how they handle themselves. The ship not being returned in one piece is considered an instant fail unless there are some extenuating circumstances.
Family Head (Duizhang): Shui Haiyang (BebbZ)
To join as a non-blood member please contact anyone with the surname Shui IRP.
Contact BebbZ#2328 for further information.