This week, I write a little bit about the history of Wamifūko, their shattered mountain that used to be a fortress, and their rites of passage. There is also a question about world-building and these weekly posts. Finally, Sand and Bone gets into chapter 25 as Rutejìmo has to escape the city to burn the body of his wife's mother.
If you haven't gotten it from the previous chapter, the Wamifūko had lost a war a few centuries back. Actually, they lost to the Kosòbyo who gathered up an army, marched across the desert, and throughly trashed them and their mountain fortress. They decimated the Wamifūko, made a few promises to kill every one of them if they ever traveled more than a chain (66.5 feet) from the bottom of the mountain, and then headed back over to their side of the desert.
The Wamifūko didn't take it well but they did try to take over the desert and lost horribly. Over the centuries that followed, they rebuilt their home as a commerce center instead of a war fortress. Well, they didn't have much choice since they lost the top two thirds of their mountain fortress when they lost.
Rites of Passage
From Sand and Blood, readers might have gotten the impression that the Shimusògo's idea of the rite is uniquely brutal (abandon them in the middle of the desert to get magic or die), but it isn't.
In this chapter, we have a little hint of the War's rite of passage:
“We moved them to the council hall. Ópi is currently drawing on the sacred scrolls, but I'd rather they were protected then draw them into this. Snakes can't crawl through stone, but we can't leave them there for long. They aren't ready for it.”
One of my favorite things is looking at magical powers (the ability to phase through stone in this case) and then see how the culture would grow around it. Wamifūko, for example, have spent centuries honing their abilities to go through stone and were previously a violent clan. They would consider defenses paramount. That means ritual spaces are well protected… by hundreds of feet of solid stone that they can easily pass through.
This ties into their rite of passage. They don't abandon their teenagers in the desert, they can't go far enough to get them really lost, they abandoned them inside the earth. Specifically, in a coffin-sized hole a hundred feet from the nearest surface. They either have to learn how to walk through stone or suffocate to death; remember the more extreme the stress, the more powerful the manifestation.
The other aspect is the spirit's choice. In Raging Alone, there were actually three spirits who were “competing” for Desòchu: Shimusògo, the bird spirit; Hadoramìno, the bull; and Nimimokíro, the vulture. In Sand and Blood, Tsubàyo had two competing for him with him eventually becoming one of the Pabinkúe.
Giving the spirits a choice doesn't really work if they are buried in the ground. Wamifūko allow that choice by waiting longer than most clans before they start the passage. For the clans who allow choice, the rites usually happen in the early to late teens. For the stone clan, however, they wait until their early twenties before performing the rites.
It was suggested to me that my posts are overwhelming, not only in length but information. When I first started doing these, I was thinking about writing about the underlying details of the story, what I was going through when I wrote it, or generally just more information for those who want behind-the-scenes for my novels.
I'm a strong believer in “one person is an opinion, three people make a trend, and if everyone says it is wrong then fix it.” So, I have a question for those who read this, do you think there is too much information in these posts?
Sand and Bone 25: Sneaking Out
Determined to perform his duties, Rutejìmo has to leave the besieged city to burn the boy of his wife's mother. This could be very dangerous for a pacifistic priest but Gichyòbi is willing to reveal another one of his clan's secrets.
Read the chapter at https://fedran.com/sand-and-bone/chapter-25/. If you like it, please become a patron or review one of my previous books. Subscribers get access to all my novels, including the first book of my next series and my high-society romance novel.