Encyclopedia/The Matis

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The Matis and the Zoraï

Until the Great Swarming, the vast majority of Zoraï had never ventured beyond their great wall which marked the frontier of their lands. Exchanges between Matis and Zoraï were, then, few and far between, and the few Zoraï that did venture to Matia were generally given a mixed reception. Though the Matis welcomed jungle raw materials and Zoraï techniques of storing knowledge, they remained dubious as to their strange appearance and their mysterious talk of Kami worship, to the point of questioning their moral fiber.

However, two years living together in the Prime Roots (2481-2483) allowed both peoples to at least better understand their religious outlooks and see that they shared the common needs of all hominity and that they both loved their children!

The Matis also discerned in the Zoraï a certain sense of high-mindedness and sophistication which for a time brought the two peoples closer in spite of their religious differences. What is more, like the Matis, the Zoraï possessed in-depth knowledge of nature which they could not exploit to the full, due to their worship of the Kamis. For this the Matis generally agree that the Zoraï religion is detrimental to individual achievement.

In the newfound lands the Zoraï have time again shown their friendliness towards the Matis peoples and have been called in to arbitrate in negotiations between Matis and other homin races on a number of occasions. Indeed, if Yrkanis ever came to power, having dethroned the tyranic monarch, it is thanks to the Zoraï leader's indulgence in giving him asylum in Zora.

Many Matis feel discomfort, even resentment for this debt which some claim tarnishes their honor and credibility in the eyes of the Karavan. Indeed, in the light of the increasing friction between the Karavan and the Kamis, it is increasingly felt that friendship with the pagan Zoraï is ‘incompatible' if not unfaithful.

Despite the growing antagonism, in exchange for Matis positions in the Witherings, a number of pro-Zoraï tribes have been authorized to settle in Verdant Heights. These tribes include : the Siblings of the Weeds, Sacred Sap, Oasis Diggers and Ecowarriors. Anti-Zoraï tribes positioned on Matis lands include the Woven Bridles and the Darkening Sap.

Cube of knowledge sealed in 2525

Matis and Fyros

Matis and tribes of the Verdant Heights

Matis and Trykers

Matis History : Exode

Matis History : Origins

Matis History : Expansion

Matis History : Great Swarming

Matis History : Exile in the Prime Roots

With the debacle of the great Matis cities of Matia in the face of the kitin onslaught of 2481, the Matis had but one means of survival left open to them : flight. The Karavan pointed the way to the forests of the east where great teleportation rainbows led to the vast sanctuary of the Prime Roots which the kitins had not yet infiltrated. For the time of a moon, Matis in their thousands were able to breach the laws of distance to escape the jaws of death. With each new day the underground galleries and caverns were explored, secured and pushed further to house and provide for the ever increasing population. At one point there was some debate as to how many more refugees the Prime Roots could accommodate. But then the influx began to abate suddenly, for one after the other the rainbows were destroyed and soon the Prime Root populations ceased to swell.

The Matis court was reconstituted and partook in debates for the improvement of living conditions. Underground territories were designated for each race. The first interracial round table was devoted to how to combine forces to make a viable haven of the Prime Roots. King Yasson, signed the Edict of Four Peoples to establish an entente cordiale with the Zoraï, Tryker and Fyros chiefs and a code of conduct was drawn up to ensure the peace was kept. The edict also appointed King Yasson as homin delegate to the Karavan.

The wise King, understanding that this was a time to anticipate what the future held, cleverly promoted the botanical talents of the Matis by having the crafters play a leading role in the furnishing of the Prime Roots. To add to this, the stay in the Prime Roots allowed the Matis to further their understanding of plant life and develop new techniques. It may be said that increase in demand for Matis wares stems from these Prime Root years. The illustrious Master Crafter, Lenardi Bravichi, was the great orchestrator of the campaign of Prime Root embellishment making the two-year confinement more tolerable.

Life was organised around three main time periods : breakfast and work till ‘midsun'; lunch and work till eventide; dinner and evening worship before bed. The main bulk of Matis work consisted in elaborating furnishings and clothes for the homin residents at large. Children were given tuition in halls of learning. In accordance with the edict, their afternoons were given to physical exercise and recreation with children of other races. With one day in five given to rest, there were many occasions for feasting such as the birth of the King's son and heir, Yrkanis, which rekindled sunken spirits and the belief in the future.

Shortly after his arrival, King Yasson was summoned to the entrance of the upper galleries to the surface where he met with a Karavan contingent. The order was to remain under cover until the all clear could be given, the Karavan having sent in a major force to rid Atys of the kitins.

The Karavan also strongly warded against homins mixing throughout their underground confinement. Jena's disciples feared that the homin survivors would fall into dispute and kill each other outright in the Prime Roots where the Karavan were unable to intervene. Yasson reassured the Karavan that all was under control, though not once did he transmit the Karavan order, knowing it was impractical and could only upset the balance of the temporary underground society. What counted was getting through the ordeal and being reborn from the ashes of the past thereafter.

For over two years, at each full cycle of the moon, Yasson surfaced with a group of sages (one from each race) to receive a Karavan report. On the twenty-fifth meeting, the Karavan announced the kitin retreat, on the twenty-sixth the all clear was given and at last homins could resurface. King Yasson sent out a reconnaissance party in search of new territory while homins were able to make merry and take in the air on the surface. It was during one of these resurfacings that a minor incident occurred that revived repressed tensions of old. Thereon, while waiting for news of the reconnaissance teams, the homin council of chiefs took the decision to segregate races to avoid further incident.

Matis History : New Beginning

The Edict of Four Peoples was signed in 2481 in the Prime Roots to establish a code of conduct to enable the four homin peoples to live in tolerance and harmony during their underground exile. It constituted a historical turning point in homin relations and thereafter allowed homins to plan a new start on the new territories amid a climate of mutual support.

The Edict was structured essentially around three axes : spiritual, which granted freedom of conscience and the right to practice the religion of one's choice or to abstain from religious practices; territorial, to provide freedom of movement and the right to pass in and out of territories in case of kitin attack; commercial, to allow equitable access to the buying and selling of merchandise and raw materials.

The Edict of Four Peoples was in effect for the seventeen years that spanned the first period of homin reconstruction until it was revoked by the Matis king Yasson in 2498.

In 2497, the Tryker government decided not to renew the lease of Lagoons of Loria to the Matis. Lagoons of Loria, until then, had provided the Matis with water supplies and resources for their reconstruction. The Trykers went further by striking a pact of alliance granting the Fyros exclusive commerce and preferential prices for large amounts of Lagoons of Loria resources. In short, the Matis were deprived of resources for reconstruction both as tenants and as customers! The Trykers were thus guilty of violating at least two articles of the Edict of Four Peoples.

After a period of remonstration, the Matis king revoked the Edict and took actions to limit movement of Tryker and Fyros merchants traveling through Verdant Heights. Tithes were imposed on Goods not destined for Matis consumption.

Many non-Matis merchants, in response to the turnpikes in Verdant Heights, preferred to brave the Prime Root passage rather than pay to pass through the onerous turnpikes. Others still chose to avoid attracting the wrath of the Karavan and take the long way round to Burning Desert through the Witherings.

Seeing the valuable resources being slowly drained to Burning Desert, King Yasson had no other choice than to drive the Tryker contingents out of Verdant Heights and annex Lagoons of Loria. The result was the Autumn War (2499-2500) during which Fyros sided with the Trykers against the Matis.

Matis Culture : Religion

Matis Culture : Technology

Matis Culture : Art and Craft

Matis Culture : Political Organisation

Matis Culture : Customs

Matis Story 1

Matis Story 2

Matis Story 3

The Locket of Julea - told by an old Matis Preacher

Would you believe that the first Matis ever to set eyes on a kitin lived to tell the tale?

His name was Angeli di Fabrini, of noble stock, second son of a high ranking officer who, having but a small fortune, placed him with the clergy. At sixteen, after the festivities of the three kings that announce the coming of colder days, the young seminarian was sent to the northern front on his first mission to reinstate the word of Jena in the hearts of Fyros villagers residing in the outer limits of the desert who had been victim to the advancement of heresy. Indeed, the song of pagan chants was in danger of resounding in our lands. After the long and grueling ride to the Matis outpost and a well earned rest, the seminarian was eager to make his first tracks in the desert.

Angeli rode over the hot desert dunes clad in the attire of his station, to which, despite the general agnostic feeling, no Fyros would manifest untoward feeling. At the first Fyros village, known as Colomo, the young Matis was listened to by the mayor with polite indifference and entertained by the local mage who offered him a bed till an imminent storm passed over. But the mage, not for a second imaging that the young Matis apprentice seminarian could feel any affection other than brotherly love, introduced him to his daughter, Julea.

A strange sensation stabbed Angeli di Fabrini full in the heart as he followed the daughter's argument against the existence of the dragon and even of Jena. Spellbound by Julea's beauty and assurance, Angeli could only stammer his learning and more often than not found himself acquiescing to legitimatize her questions. As for the young Fyros girl, she was at first intrigued then charmed by the boy's refined manner and before long love's spell kindled in both their hearts.

It was on the forth evening, sitting out on the silent dunes, that their bare arms first, then their lips touched as natural as the wind caresses the dune...

But the following morning gave no time for embarrassing glances or fumbling words or even a simple gaze of reassurance, for news came of a terrible invasion of monsters and the village chief ordered the immediate evacuation of the village. Not knowing then what was awaiting them, the fighting men sadly rode on to join the imperial army at the capital of Fyre leaving the children and homins unfit for combat to travel further north lest local tribes launched an assault in the absence of warrior protection.

Angeli was left to rejoin his own people, though he stayed long enough to exchange lockets with Julea, each locket enclosing a lock of hair. And so after a last embrace they parted forever, but the novice's adventures were not over by a long chalk.

On his way back to the forest lands he was caught in a desert storm and stopped to shelter behind his mektoub packer by an oasis when, hardly fifty yards behind him, he beheld an awful dark mass that stretched tree hundred yards wide and trailed a long way into the distance. The seminarian had set his eyes upon an army of kitin soldiers advancing at a furious speed. It was futile to run, he sat with his prayer book savoring his lost love, recalling the precious moments as the whole kitin army marched straight past him not thirty yards from where he was praying. But then, a number of the creatures came to water at the oasis…

The mektoub was well broken in and under the seminary's firm hold did not jolt. Angeli sat still and studied the kitins watering barely fifteen feet from his tree. As soon as the dreadful legions had passed he was able to continue southeast on to his outpost to give the alert. The only ‘rational' explanation as to why the kitins had left him unattended was that they were quite simply not yet used to the Matis smell! But what became of the young seminarian?

No, he never married, his heart remained faithful to Jena thereon. And, thanks to Jena, you are looking at him now, dear young homin. Yes, though between you and me, I still wear the locket of Julea close to my heart.

Matis Story 4

The Company of Lenardi Bravichi

When the great Matis artisan, Lenardi Bravichi, came to the Prime Roots that had become home to the homin peoples following the terrible swarming, he could hardly contain his emotion. On seeing the weird and wonderful flora, he set out on perhaps his greatest work to make living there so much more soulful.

In a frenzy of creation he set about working on patterns and prototypes that would serve as furniture for the time the homins would reside there. Once a pattern was worked out he would impart the process of creation to another master crafter who would then dispense the knowledge to other crafters so enabling the rapid production of furniture to comfortably furnish the caverns before the winter set in.

One of his greatest creations was his colored lamps made of living luminous flowers which served to light up the high and otherwise gloomy corridors. To help him in his great work, Bravichi formed a company of homins (later known as the Company of Lenardi), all masters in their field from every race, to help him in his beautification of the Prime Roots.

A team of Fyros miners led by Gaylus Cetheus specialized in digging out the trenches and chambers in such a way that only once was there an accident of subsidence, despite the many miles of excavated galleries and caverns. A Tryker by the name of Dally Baily devised ingenious engines to enhance air flow. A Zoraï with extraordinary magnetic powers, whose name escapes me now, implemented an intrusion alarm system as well as a communication system consisting of a series of magnetic rods and wooden tubes allowing homins to communicate from one chamber to the next without having to displace themselves.

One day, Lenardi Bravichi set the Fyros miners to work on an interesting chamber which stepped down into a perfectly symmetrical corridor. The Fyros maintained that the site could only have been created by the hands of homins long ago for this was no work of nature! Then Gaylus began the excavation until his pick axe hit upon a strange sounding object tougher than anything known to the homin eye. However, Lenardi, true to his temperament, was set on his work schedule and finding no use for the object did not desire to lose time on his works. But the Fyros insisted and dug a trench around the strange object uncovering a concave oblong ten foot wide. The minors were overcome with excitement. The company gathered together, and the Zoraïs that were present recommended caution. They felt there was a dark menace linked to this discovery... the following events proved them right.

Firstly, a Tryker stamping the ground to see where to place the airing machine put his foot through a transparent panel and nearly fell into the hollow beneath. The strange material had cutting properties harder than thorn and sharper than nita wood that ripped through the Tryker's skin and later caused gangrene to set in. He had to have his leg cut off! There was worse to come…

The Fyros, despite Zoraï foreboding, went ahead with his plan to fully uncover the object and in his enthusiasm undercut the wall of an upper chamber which caved in on top of him. With this second unfortunate accident and no more backing, the area was closed and a tombstone planted in memory of Gaylus Cetheus, so bitterly stung for his enflamed curiosity which some say tipped the balance of his reason.

Matis Story 5