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culture:nayabaru

The Nayabaru culture is a Nekenalosan wide-spread secular, anarcho-totalitarian culture with very little sub-cultural fragmentation, born in part of Ysikary's tampering with the neurology of the main adherents (the Nayabaru species) and in part from instincts the Nayabaru species originally possessed.

Membership

The Nayabaru culture is or once was lived by:

The Nayabaru are very sceptical of non-Nayabaru who purportedly obey their cultural norms, but will usually quickly come to accept the curious exception to the rule of thumb (that only Nayabaru live Nayabaru culture) if their superior assures them of the authenticity of the claim.

A notable 'exception' to that rule is Teranyina. She earned the Nayabaru's trust long ago and has maintained her position by word of mouth ever since. Very few Nayabaru consciously think about her status as a foreign element in their culture, since they're often taught of her existence at a very young age.

Membership to the Nayabaru culture is revoked by ostracism - which is how come some Nayabaru are not part of it.

Values

The Nayabaru culture thrives of the following values:

  • honesty is a necessary component for social functioning
  • death may never be wilfully inflicted upon a sapient creature
  • every Nayabaru has a natural place in the social hierarchy

There are several dire consequences to this set of rules.

For one, social mobility is practically non-existent - the closest phenomenon to social mobility (downward mobility in the form of ostracism notwithstanding) is a conclusion of apprenticeship for tasks within Nayabaru culture that require much prior education.

Apprenticeship is an interesting case: Since failure is not an option, but the only way to remove someone from a position is to ostracise them, Nayabaru that turn out to be unfit for a certain task are usually nonetheless granted the positions they were apprenticing for, barring unacceptable behaviour. The same footnote applies to jobs that they were 'born into'.

For two, the Nayabaru suffered a massive identity crisis during the peak time of their war with the kavkema, as there were losses on both sides. However, if asked, the Nayabaru attribute (out of necessity) all deaths that occurred during the decades of war to the kavkema, who 'forced their hand'. What might once have been a reasonable position to hold has encrusted to a parody to itself that the Nayabaru are quite happy to embrace: They will gladly imprison kavkema until the end of their natural lives and they have no objection to torturing their prisoners. They only take great care not to kill them.

For three, Nayabaru born with an ability to lie (a neurological mutation) can exploit the system if they are intelligent enough to cover up evidence of their lies. Nayabaru are not commonly in the business of mistrusting each other and are happy to take the first plausible explanation of errant behaviour at face value. This flaw also extends toward Nayabaru that are simply unaware of their own insincerity (such as Toben in the prequel book).

Nayabaru are very accepting of their place in society and commonly eschew the idea of moving in either direction along the social axis, as rising would give them greater responsibility, while falling would reduce their influence.

Since Nayabaru are expected to know their place by instinct once they are able to speak, there are not many options available to a Nayabaru, and the titles they could claim are often broad. Only very few Nayabaru will bother specialise within a title.

All in all, the Nayabaru culture is not friendly toward progress, because:

  • …the culture neither rewards exceptional skill nor punishes bad performance.
  • …social harmony is preferred over scepticism.
  • …specialisation is rare.

That said, given their love of honesty as a virtue, they are a staunchly secular culture with a decent understanding of their own psychological functioning, growing up to be self-reflected and to seek evidence for any claims they wish to make. (That said, their self-reflection does not always yield the right answers, of course. They are extremely prone to (very effectively) rationalising their own behaviours, more so than human beings.)

Sub-cultures

Sub-cultures are more title-based than they are regional. Nonetheless, there are a few strains of Nayabaru culture that can be said to exist:

Tain-Katal subculture

The core Nayabaru subculture, Tain-Katal Nayabaru are the Nayabaru that live along the 'east' coast of Asheenagiji. It's the only subculture to try to assimilate kavkema into its ranks (i.e. consider certain individual kavkema extremely low-ranking members of Nayabaru culture - other subcultures might still happily keep them as pets), albeit with brutal methods. It views kavkema that were not grown in their labs as creatures halfway suspended between 'animal' and 'terrorist'.

It exhibits some cross-pollination effects with the Asheenagiji subculture.

Asheenagiji subculture

The main body of the Asheenagiji continent is a desert expanse. The Nayabaru in this subculture are less likely to reject outcasts from other areas, granting them a richer but more dangerous cultural landscape. It has the highest murder rate, largely because it has the highest number of psychotic individuals (some of which are even permitted to breed).

They have a stance toward inflicted death that is compatible with the base culture, but makes an exception for accidentally inflicted deaths (which most other Nayabaru sub-cultures make no exception for), which they do not punish.

(Over many generations, this stance has bled slightly into the Tain-Katal subculture, who apply it exclusively to accidental kavkema deaths.)

The Asheenagiji subculture itself has no general stance on the kavkema, given there aren't many kavkema amongst the wastelands.

Valesh Island subculture

The area around Valesh, scattered pockets in mainland Cetaros, as well as some of the islands south of Cetaros (but not all of them) is home to a Nayabaru subculture that has elevated their xenophobia of the kavkema to an art form that has pushed it back out the other end to give them a certain respect for them.

Perhaps ironically, they view the kavkema entirely as animals (though they grant them basic sapient 'protection' by their ethical system, i.e. consider their deaths something to prevent). Nonetheless, they are considerably more interested in the kavkemic culture than the rest of the Nayabaru culture would claim and there are informal areas that the kavkema are left alone (though it's not allowed to be made explicit, since then they need to do something about it) so that they won't die out. The subculture is too interested in keeping enough of the kavkema around specifically so they might continue hunting them - which occasionally involves catching them and releasing them again later simply to hunt them again. It's something of a sport for them.

Cetaros-Tabraan subculture

The Cetaros-Tabraan subculture is another 'pure' streak of Nayabaru culture, much like Tain-Katal, though they are stricter about their treatment of outlawed inflicted death. They also do not engage in defensive measures against the kavkema more than necessary - one might consider them a bit lazy about it, and very confident in their ability to take on kavkema if personally confronted with them.

Much like the Valesh Island subculture, they view the kavkema primarily as animals (but also grant them sapient 'protection' by their ethical system, i.e. consider their deaths something to prevent). Whereas other cultures will happily abuse the kavkema as labrats or otherwise 'dehumanise' them, the Cetaros-Tabraan subculture shows no inherent interest in this, but this is largely attributed to their disinterest in kavkema, not to kindness.

Vatenas-Petraal subculture

The Vatenas-Petraal subculture considers the kavkema entirely sapient and fully accountable for their actions. Accordingly, they are a very nasty place for kavkema to live, even if they will not engage in some actions such as using them as labrats.

They're a fairly purist subculture that does not tolerate much mixing with other subcultures (Petraal on Sefusa notwithstanding). Vatenas as a whole keeps itself neatly isolated from the other subcultures by nature of being an island. They are very interested in scientific progress (even if they are not very good at it, as they still suffer all the same failings of the base culture) and keep communicative contact with the rest of the Nayabaru primarily so they can learn of new technologies.

They're entirely willing to use kavkema as slaves (other cultures might call the same setup “pets”). They're actually the most likely to treat kavkem pets/slaves kindly, but it's something that takes time, the right personalities, and has to be earned.

Sefusa subculture

(I would expect this to be a mix of Vatenas-Petraal and Tain-Katal, but I don't seem to have a feel for this.)

Reeva Peninsula subculture

The Reeva Peninsula subculture can, from an outside perspective on the Nayabaru, be considered a radicalist subculture. While they are not under the same pressures as the Asheenagiji subculture to be tolerant of deviants, they possess a similar principle. The Reeva subculture has avenues for social redemption.

Since they do not consider social failing to be a permanent affliction, they are the most likely of the Nayabaru to talk to the kavkema, rather than simply antagonising them. That said, as with all Nayabaru, their social harmony overrides any interest they may have in 'forgiving' the kavkema, and any alliances should be considered as temporary as they would elsewhere. They just crop up more often.

Similarly, the Reeva Peninsula subculture is the source of Nayabaru without a title as a legitimate notion, having pioneered the concept.

All in all, they consider one's social place as far more mobile than the rest of the Nayabaru, though they would still be very confused by someone changing jobs more than once in their life.

Government

Nayabaru society is governed in an anarcho-totalitarian fashion.

They have almost no concept of centralised government, with the exception of the Karesejat title for the final arbiter, which is necessarily singular - though matters will so rarely bubble up to that level that it's not a problem.

On the other hand, they are such a strongly social culture that ostracism is a grave threat to any one of them, on average making them eager to please those who they could consider their direct superiors. It is frequent enough that a Nayabaru is pressured by his subjective superiors to 'behave'. This pressure could easily involve physical force (it's an accepted potential component of social interaction), though it's usually not necessary.

Society

Sociopolitical interactions occur on two levels: Title and individual. Leverage occurs by titles. Nayabaru do not question titles, themselves practically unable to lie about their own. Titles are more transient than individual identity, of course, though they are much more static than in human cultures.

Titles

Nayabaru tend to choose their own titles once they mature, based on their honest assessment of their capabilities and strengths, and have a strong incentive to pick a reasonable one, as it is their title that is under scrutiny:

Should another Nayabaru have beef with them, it is almost without a doubt linked to their title. Titles impose certain expected behaviours upon the Nayabaru that have them, granting them authority in some matters and no authority in others. For example, the Karesejat has almost complete authority as long as her commands can be plausibly linked back to her purpose as a final arbiter and prime protector of the Nayabaru; were she to ask something that could not be traced back to this, it would not be uncommon for Nayabaru to ignore her request, or outright challenge her for her title.

A title challenge is a simple depiction of how actions and title do not mesh. Thus challenged, a Nayabaru must either

  1. plausibly refute the points,
    or
  2. grant that the points are valid and
    1. strive to make amends, as well as plausibly promise not to breach the title's authorities again,
      or
    2. rescind the title.

If a refutation is successful, the Nayabaru that spoke the challenge is generally considered to owe the challenged party a favour (in proportion to the social status gap between them).

Losing a title is formally not the end of the world, but very unpleasant to Nayabaru, as it takes time for them to find another, and in the time that they have no title, they have only their individual identity, which is far more sacred, and all Nayabaru strive desperately to keep out of disputes.

The only true means to 'challenge' an individual is to ostracise them.

Social scrutiny

Nayabaru are generally very liberal in their social understanding, excepting the following:

  • actions linked to titles, which are expected to be meticulously in line, both in superiors and inferiors
  • blatant crime (most notably murder), which bypasses titles entirely (unless the title might be considered an excuse for said crime, in which case it is considered the criminal rather than the individual Nayabaru) and results in ostracism
  • kavkem sympathy

Kavkem sympathy is not considered all bad. Words are cheap in this regard and an individual Nayabaru can lament the treatment of kavkema all they wish, treat kavkema nicely in the privacy of their own home, and politely request better treatment for kavkema from the people who detain them, but even the slightest action that could be taken to be sabotage of a different Nayabaru's actions toward the kavkema are considered inexcusable, and will usually result in immediate ostracism.

Generally speaking, all Nayabaru are friends with each other. They tend to speak their mind openly amongst each other and are rarely deeply offended by a comment made. Heated debates are extremely rare - even the severe disagreements that result in title challenges tend to be had in quiet, open-minded conversation.

Despite their social nature, however, Nayabaru are still very individualistic, though the societal framework that is embedded in does not allow that to flourish. As hinted, individual quirks are more than tolerated… but it is rare that these quirks even develop, as Nayabaru are keen to conform to each other's expectations.

Title-free individuals

Note that deliberately title-free Nayabaru exist, though they have traditionally been considered dangerous individuals, as other Nayabaru are both hesitant to attack individual identity (though they certainly will) and used to that Nayabaru without a title desperately want to regain a title. Acceptance of these strange Nayabaru (who usually simply are so varied in personal skill as that a title would unnecessarily restrict them) has gotten better in recent centuries, but they still tend to be peripheral to Nayabaru society. (That said, ironically, it is usually title-free Nayabaru that are the harshest judge of other title-free Nayabaru - owing to a strong desire to establish themselves as an individual, rather than being lumped into a group with title-free Nayabaru in general, as would otherwise occur.)

Courtesy

The Nayabaru believe in a fairly generous personal space between strangers (roughly to the degree of 'please remain at the other end of the room until I specifically greet you verbally'), and none between acquaintances.

The Nayabaru species engage in a customary handshake.

Titles and Positions

The following titles or positions are known at this point in time:

Title Rank Meaning
Karesejat 5 - Highest Final arbiter, defender of the Nayabaru, direct commander of Hesh and related titles
Lashal 4 - Very High Judge
Seklushi 3 - High Chemist, biologist, sociologist and psychologist
Hesh 2 - Standard Guard, warrior and scout (focussed on kavkema but just as likely to engage Nayabaru outlaws)
Marmo 1 - Lowest Artisan
Yereso 1 - Lowest Veterinarian
Neese - -

Rank granularity is approximate.

Keep in mind that Nayabaru usually only invoke their hierarchical position to fell decisions, and will freely talk casually across rank borders about a variety of topics, including matters relating to their job. As such, it's quite possible that someone from the lowest rank will have a conversation with someone from the highest rank without showing any signs of submission that humans are used to.

Tattoos

It is customary that a Nayabaru reaching a mostly stable height is tattooed with insignia befitting their role. How elaborate the tattoos are in shape is inversely proportional to the social rank it conveys; that said, more colours usually pertain to a higher rank. For example, Seklushi are marked by two strips along one arm, one blue (longer) and one green, whereas a Hesh will have a fairly elaborate (Hesh-specific) black design on their back.

Banners

Banners are an emphasis-device for social situations. Since tattoos are permanent, while conveying rank, they do not convey one's dedication to a rank. As such, in situations where one wishes to denote one's dedication to a rank (frequently done when leaving one area where all people know each other and heading to another for temporary matters), one will wear banners denoting one's rank.

'Wearing' banners comes in three forms:

  • coiled around upper arms, joined by a band across the back at height of the shoulders
  • like a scarf, looped around the back of the neck, with the ends draped across one's chest
  • an 'X'-shaped 'banner' worn in combination with one of the other two variants, with two strips draped across the back and the other two strips coiled around the other banner so that their ends lie on the Nayabaru's shoulders (either on top in the scarf-like variant or across the shoulder-blades in the other)

There are, however, also rank-neutral banner designs. These evolved to signal respect even when one's rank was not important to the situation, e.g. because the people involved would not be working together directly, but were more interested in exchanging ideas.

Title-less Nayabaru are known to use rank-neutral banners somewhat excessively to 'show' that they are 'willing' to submit to social structures. (This often manages to pacify Nayabaru primarily because of the aforementioned desire of the Nayabaru to accept even vaguely plausible explanations from their fellow Nayabaru - not because it's actually convincing in the strictest sense of the word.)

Technology

  • Biological Weapons
  • Communication
    • Radio
    • “Telephones” which connect local areas (information meant to reach someone further away is relayeed)
  • Transportation
    • “Trains” which are used primarily to transport cargo, rarely used by Nayabaru purely to travel
culture/nayabaru.txt · Last modified: 2017/11/18 15:22 (external edit)