Asranism, also known as Mikaean paganism, is an amalgamation of religious beliefs and practices which were adopted by the Mikaeans during their period of residence in Western Europe between 372 CE to 500 CE.
Burial and afterlife
- Main article: Wicker man
The concept of providing living sacrifices to god had long-existed within Mikaean society, but entered into a period where humans and Mikaeans would be taken as sacrifices over animal sacrifices during the fifth century CE, at which time the Mikaeans were residing in modern-day France.
Though there was no contemporary evidence verifying their usage in Celtic paganism, . The use of a wicker man in this instance was originally limited to Mikaeans cast out from their clades, enemy warriors captured during a battle, or the bodies of the deceased during certain times of the year.
The Mikaeans following the faith of Asranism have continued to the practice of using wicker men for many of their most important ceremonies, with that being those revolving around the act of vederlag or "compensation". Vederlag is the concept of returning to God some of significant value, to repay to him something for all that he has given to the Mikaeans on the earth throughout their lives. This may be in the form of crops to share some of the fruitage of the earth harvested by the Mikaeans with God, or the flesh and blood of animals as a sacrifice for the life-force God imbues into all living creatures in the world. Regardless of the offering provided, the medium by which these offerings are given to God invariably require the use of fire to convert the offerings into smoke that will both obtain the attention of God and give onto the offering in spirit as he himself is a spirit.
In spite of official opposition to these sacrifices, and laws in affect aggressively punishing any such acts,
- Utilizes living sacrifices within its practices as a means of providing the creator with an aroma to obtain his attention and favor; method of sacrifice similar to that of the Celtic wicker men attested to by Julius Caesar
- Witchcraft, fortune-telling, and spirit mediums are common themes of the Asranist belief system; all three were outlawed within the Mikaegeny and are labeled as blasphemy within the Mikaean Church itself
- Massive bonfires in the woods at night are common within Asranist circles as a type of worship and celebration of life and death and the relationship between them and the Mikaean god
- Most of the kidnappings reported within the Mikaegeny can be directly tied to Asranist who require an extensive number of the living beings for their ritual sacrifices to their creator
- The Asranists believe that most of the disasters which have befallen the Mikaegeny can be directly linked to the failure to please their god sufficiently with blood sacrifices in the form of living beings
- It is believed that approximately 20–30% of the Mikaean Church's membership are active adherents to the Asranist belief system; the church seeks to stem its growth rather than prevent it so as to prevent violence within the church
- Virtually all non-Asranist adherents believe the faith to be extremely dangerous to the safety of their society, and have been waging an unsuccessful campaign to destroy it entirely
- The efforts to remove Asranism from the Mikaean population have been abyssmal, largely due to the fact that too many Mikaeans believe it to have validity and many highly-placed officials and church leaders are adherents of Asranism themselves
- Believed that life must be taken to extend the lives of others around them as based on the Mikaean tradition that all members are equal in all things, and thus any inequality in life must be repaid for in death for all adherents
- Suicide cults known as livspakter or "life pacts", exist as a means of transferring the life force of the Asranist from the physical realm to the spiritual one, allowing her to become one with god in exchange for sacrificing her body to him
- Livspakt ceremonies are conducted in the forests during a full moon with an Asranist coven convening to commit mass suicide by cutting their wrists and presenting their minne dolls as a sign of their commitment to die to join god in heaven
Many Mikaeans adhere to a wide range of esoteric traditions which they brought with them to their homeland in Mikaea. Several of these traditions made their way into the religious beliefs of their people, and influenced the development and practices of Mikaeanism, giving it an air of mystery and occultism which can only be blamed on the effects of those ancient traditions. These traditions have been collectively termed Asranism, which is named after the female Mikaean, Asrana, who was burnt at the stake in 1137 following a trial in which she was denounced for blasphemy and witchcraft, as well as the murder of several of her sisters in a series of live sacrifices which had served as the trial's centerpiece, and the primary cause for her death sentence. Today, Asranists continue to practice a number of rituals which have remained a serious cause for concern for the civil and religious authorities of Mikaea, as well as for the various human governments which continue to deal with the potential threat of Asranists kidnapping their citizens.
Within the Mikaean Church itself, the singing of certain hymns from the ancient history of the Mikaeans frequently allude to the dark practices and ceremonies of human sacrifice, blood offerings, and death worship which had been an important part of Mikaean culture. Of particular interest are several Celtic pagan rituals such as beheading sacrificial victims, preservation of body parts as trophies, and the burning of wicker men filled with humans and animals to bring about a good harvest or the blessings of their god. Much of the female population within Mikaea, upwards of about 20-30% of the total population, are believed to be active practitioners of Asranism. Indeed, even within the Mikaean Church itself, several of its clergywomen are rumored to be secret followers of Asrana's teachings, while the church itself is known to have incorporated many of those pagan teachings within the doctrines and practices of the Divine Praxis itself. It is widely believed that many of the rituals practiced by the Mikaeans which originated from Asranism, revolve around the goal of becoming closer to god, gaining control over the target of their obsession, and obtaining forgiveness of sins both real and perceived.
Due to the secretive nature of Asranism due to its long history of persecution from the church authorities, its members are known to be defensive when confronted with knowledge of their beliefs, and extraordinarily selective when determining who to select as prospective members of their faith. Even within their own coteries, a practicing member of Asranism will be deeply protective of her beliefs, and actively avoid any discussion of the topic with her sisters for fear of being outed to the authorities. Entry into the faith appears to be by invitation only, with active members of Asranism carefully watching for certain behavior from their sisters, convening to decide which of them would be worthy recruits for the faith. By all accounts, all selections made by these convents have either been successful or quietly silenced to avoid any threat to Asranism within Mikaea.
Those Mikaeans who follow Asranism provide ritualistic offerings in secluded areas, often wooded and at night, giving offerings of flesh, blood, prayers, and song to their god. Special occasions are marked by a gathering of hundreds of practitioners in the forests of Mikaea, near large stone edifices hidden away from the general public, where they can freely practice their faith without fear of persecution. It should be noted that many of the locations where the Asranists are known to gather are already documented by both the government of Mikaea and the Mikaean Church, though given the knowledge that nearly a third of the population belongs to the pagan faith, the government and church have been reluctant to act on this information and focus their efforts on reducing active membership within Asranism as a more viable alternative to direct persecution.
- The Great Asranist Witch Hunts are brought to a conclusion by a unanimous vote from the Circle of Fathers, who grow weary of the Mikaean Family Church's extension executions of perceived Asranist practioners throughout Mikaea; many of the hierarchs express their disdain for the church killing hundreds of their daughters in an attempt to root out a major heresy within the population while the ranks of the church clergy are filled with those known to hold sympathies for Asranism, with many being closeted members of the pagan faith themselves
- Reverend Mistress TBD is directly ordered to stand down by the Circle of Fathers, along with the teeming ranks of her paramilitary force, the Church Militant of Faithful Sisters, which are numbered to be some 12,000-strong amongst a population counted as being no more than 300,000 by 1150; approximately 5,700 Mikaeans are believed to have been burnt at the stake during the twenty year-long witch hunt, while another 1,000 imprisoned and slated for execution by the church are released from their bonds; modern estimates count that no more than 10-20% of the actual condemned were actively-practicing Asranists, a number the Mikaean Church disputes, though it admits many of the dead were likely not affiliated with the Asranist religious movement
- As a direct consequence of the great witch hunts, the Circle of Fathers resolves to establish the post of the Highfather as a counterweight of the increasing influence of the Mikaean Church; this decision stems from the acknowledgement of the Circle of Fathers slowness to act against the excesses of the church, and the Allkin's inability to act as a purely advisory legislative institution and extension of the Circle of Fathers' administrative wing
- The new Highfather of the Mikaeans, TBD, orders the Mikaean Church to disband its Church Militant, with many of its members being absorbed into the ranks of their various clade stridsjomfru ("battle maiden") forces; the ability of the Reverend Mistress to unilaterally declare witch hunts is revoked by the Highfather, who mandates that any judicial action authorized by the church not expressly approved by the office of the Highfather, the Allkin, or the Circle of Fathers, has no legal bearing within Mikaea, ensuring the senseless bloodshed of the expansive and poorly-directed witch hunts never take place again
Fashion and grooming
Hårveving (lit., "hair weaving") is the term used to describe the various number of traditional hairstyles commonly worn by the Mikaeans. Most forms of hårveving have endured into the modern-day, though nearly all of them are known to be common types of hair-styling outside of Mikaea; thus hårveving simply refers to the types of hairstyles which are most commonly associated with the Mikaeans as an integral part of their cultural identity.
Traditionally, the hairstyles that were worn by the Mikaeans were those most likely to have been found in their native lands of West Africa that best accommodated their as afro-textured hair. However, near the end of their migration out of the continent, the Mikaeans slowly shifted toward the adoption of hairstyles more heavily-influenced by the cultures that existed throughout western and northern Europe.
- Highly-organized behavior as shown through their obsession within keeping everything in its place, keeping an area clean of filth, and following their orders to the word unless it is deemed counterproductive to the will of the one who gave the order.
- Notoriously duplicitous behavior when interacting with humans; will frequently present themselves as innocent and harmless individuals, while holding violent and envious thoughts and intentions toward others.
- Have an open disregard for the lives of animals and the practice of keeping pets; view animals as food or tools for the needs of society; have no reservation hunting for sport, and allow an animal to suffer rather than waste time or energy killing them humanely.
- Not prone to flight-or-fight responses as common within humans, allowing them to rationally approach a moment of crisis; consequently, any act of violence on their part can justifiably be counted as premeditated in a court of law.
Cause of migration
The Mikaeans are, by nature, a predatory species which feeds on any and all other forms of life around them to sustain themselves. Many aspects of their biology and physiology hint to their role as apex predators within their native homelands within Africa, where they ultimately ousted from the region of northern Nigeria by a coalition of West African states around the 4th century CE. The traits that have been listed as confirming these beliefs are as follows:
- Pack-like behavior as typified by their use of coteries as the primary social unit within their population. The common maiden coteries which comprise two-thirds of all coterie units in Mikaean today, are centered around a single "alpha" and her six "beta" sisters, who collectively eat, sleep, and work together. Likely, these units were built around the "wolf-pack" tactics the Mikaeans historically employed during war, as well as during the raids they purportedly attributed to them throughout history in West Africa and Northern Europe.
- While predominately diurnal today, in the past and throughout a fair portion of their history during the migration, the Mikaeans were known to be nocturnal and cathemeral. This behavior is believed to be the source of their modern racial name of TBD, which has its roots the Old Norse term "TBD", meaning "TBD". It would be during the twilight and evening hours that the Mikaeans would supposedly make their move on the human settlements around them, attacking and seizing inhabitants as food and slaves, before disappearing in the night before the rise of the dawn the next day.
- Physical characteristics such as the rows of sharp teeth all females are known to possess, their notable physical strength, and ability to digest sections of animals most humans would find inedible. While all members of their race possess poor eyesight, it is believed that this was sacrificed during their evolution for superior hearing senses and the ability to broadcast their speech via radio-waves to one another, allowing them silent communication during hunts and raids.
- Psychological inured against the subject of death and violence throughout the entirety of the species. While the Mikaeans are known to mourn their dead and remember their lives, they do not appear to care about the bodies of the death, speaking ill of their memory, or any other superstitions associated with the state of the deceased, and find human concerns about the treatment of the dead bizarre and unnecessary.
Timeline of migration
- 4th century CE
- The Mikaeans are expelled from the region of northern Nigeria by a combined force of Bura, Nok, and Sahelian tribes for reasons that remain poorly understood. It is commonly-held that the Mikaeans were noted as being a predatory culture that oppressed many of the surrounding tribes, leading to an alliance that sought and successfully ousted the Mikaeans from the region. Most archeological research and evidence passed down through West African oral traditions and Mikaean records, state that approximately 90-95% of the Mikaean population was deliberately exterminated with the goal of preventing them from returning.
- The surviving Mikaeans fled the region of northern Nigeria for the Sahel in the north, settling along the Niger river within the borders of the Ghana Empire sometime between 320 and 340 CE. They are welcomed as guests by the state's rulers, taking on the role of mercenaries to pay for their lands and repay the locals for their provisioning of food and shelter. This arrangement lasts for approximately eighty years, during which time the number of Mikaeans grows from a few hundred to more than fifty thousand under the careful management of the remaining patriarchs.
- 5th century CE
- Around 430 CE, the Mikaeans begin to face opposition within Ghana from the local inhabitants, who report many of their neighbors going missing and criminal behavior from the Mikaean population, who attack and maim many Ghanian subjects with impunity. While it is often cited that this may have had more to do with the warrior-status held by the Mikaeans as a form of taxation to the rulers, much of the same behavior that likely led to their expulsion from the Niger Delta region had returned in Ghana. This ultimately led to an edict from Ghana's ruler in 433 CE expelling the Mikaeans from the empire, and a series of battles the Mikaeans ultimately lose due to support from the surrounding Sahelian kingdoms to Ghana.
- In 437 CE, the remaining 30,000 Mikaeans living in the Ghana Empire flee West Africa for good after the Battle of Diabaly the year before, where a 25,000-strong Mikaean army is wiped out by a Sahelian force nearly 70,000-men strong, forcing the Mikaeans to concede defeat and retreat from the empire entirely. The Mikaeans assemble near modern-day Nara, Mali, and begin their year-long trek through the Sahara toward North Africa, beginning the first stage of the Mikaean Exodus. Approximately a third of the Mikaeans would perish during the journey from a combination of heatstroke, fatigue, and dehydration, as well as attacks from the Tuareg and Berber natives who had attained knowledge of the Mikaeans previous actions, and reacted to the migrating population out of fear.
- By late-438 CE, the Mikaeans arrive in the Roman province of Mauretania Tingitia (northern Morocco), where the formally request refuge in the Roman Empire. Their request is granted by Emperor Theodosius II, who authorizes the Mikaeans to settle in the province of Hispania Tarraconensis between modern-day Burgos and Palencia, with the hope that they could help forstall the expansion of the Visigothic Kingdom before they crossed the Pyrenees. This did not come to pass as the Mikaeans refused to resist Visigothic expansion into Iberia, and remained its subjects for some four decades.
- The Mikaeans adopt Arian Christianity initially to placate the Visigoths, but soon begin to blend many aspects of it with their own faith, forming the hybrid religion of Mikaeanism that would come to dominate Mikaean culture and spirituality for centuries to come. The Mikaeans would migrate north before the Council of Nicaea, and rebuke the revised version accepted by the Romans as a heresy of Christianity.
- The increasingly hostile nature of the Visigoths and the burden of high taxation drives the Mikaeans to migrate north opposite of the incoming Germanic tribes, with the ultimate goal of settling the original homelands of the Germanic people to escape the wars and instability of the collapsing Roman Empire in western Europe. The Mikaean population by 475 CE was in excess of 125,000, and was deemed too large to confront by any of the Germanic kingdoms in the region, who opted to allow the Mikaeans to depart from the land for their desired destination. The Mikaeans slowly move across Spain and into France, where they gradually continue north collecting tomes, foodstuffs, wears and livestock over a four year period known.
- In 479 CE, the Mikaeans gather near Argentoratum (modern-day Strasbourg) and cross the Rhine River into Germania, and begin their twelve-year trek across the region toward West Pomerania. The Germanic tribes in the region who initially opposed the migration of the Mikaeans into their former lands attempt to stop them, but by this point, half of the Mikaean population is under arms and have adapted to the fighting styles of the Europeans, successfully fending off their attacks and continuing on with their migration unopposed.
- In 491 CE, the Mikaean arrive in West Pomerania, a region which by this point in history has been all but abandoned by it original inhabitants who migrated south to join the invasions into the crumbling Roman Empire. The Mikaeans would settle down here and establish themselves for the next century and a half, adopting many of the local customs and languages, and slowly abandoning many of their West African customs and traditions.
- 6th century CE
- Many of the pagan rituals of the German inhabitants, as well as several Celtic customs picked up during their time in France, make their way into Mikaean religion, leading to the forming of proto-Asranism within their society as a "secret" faith into which only a handful are indoctrinated. These hidden rituals and practices are not formalized, and remain unorganized gatherings formed to supplement or replace many of the old religious customs the Mikaeans held during their time in Africa. Few Mikaean authorities know of these pagan gatherings or care little to suppress them, allowing the faith to spread among their subjects.
- The first documented instance of a vederlag wicker man being used takes place in 535 CE; though no human sacrifice is provided according to text, pigs, goats, and donkeys are recorded as having been submitted for the occasion. Knowledge of the event remains concealed for centuries until the documents related to the event are uncovered in 1692, indicating that the ceremony took place somewhere near modern-day Dobbin-Linstow in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, at a time when the area was still heavily-forested, providing enough protection from outsiders seeking to view the ritual.
- Every Mikaean of legal age and status, that being all Mikaeans who have graduated from ward status, are legally-required to bear arms, possessing a firearm on their person at all times for personal defense, and a state-provisioned combat rifle and field uniform in their home for duty in the local paramilitary forces of the Obsidian Guard
- Firearms, ammunition, and accessories to all sorts of weaponry can be readily-found throughout Mikaea; likewise, a weapons license can be easily-attained upon completely the training necessary to handle whichever weapon one seeks to purchased; there are no limitations on the types of weaponry permitted for private ownership within Mikaea, with heavy and fully-automatic weapons available for sale to Mikaean citizens
- The gun culture of the Mikaeans is highly-advanced, with a healthy respect for weapons and their proper usage and handling; gun-related crimes within Mikaea are exceedingly rare in spite of a gun ownership rate in excess of 70-75% of the population, largely due to the extensive education Mikaeans are given throughout their lives on how to use and respect the role of firearms in their society
- Having a holstered weapon is both a sign of acknowledging adherence to the laws of the state, as well as indicating the legal status of the Mikaean in question as a maiden no longer a ward of a matronic coterie; Mikaeans will frequently refuse to travel to countries which do not respect the right to keep and bear arms, and are thus more commonly found in nations such as the United States, Switzerland, and even many parts of the Middle East where open-carry laws are protected
- All Mikaeans are required to serve in the paramilitary forces known as the Obsidian Guard; this force provides regular and standardized training for all Mikaean citizens on military-grade weaponry, ensuring that most of the population is capable of utilizing existing military equipment in the event of a major conflict
- Mikaean citizens are cycled into and out of the professional military forces every two to three years to provide a more extensive level of military training for advanced weapon systems and combat operation practices
- Approximately 36,000 Mikaeans serve in the Mikaean Defense Forces on two-year tours of duty, while another 600,000 serve as part-time volunteers in the Obsidian Guard paramilitary forces on six-month tours of duty; upon completing a two-year tour of duty, the Mikaeans that are phased out of the active forces are replaced by Mikaeans who have completed a full six-month tour of duty in the Obsidian Guard; volunteers from the Obsidian Guard take precedence over Mikaean civilians volunteering to join the military as professional combat personnel
The Mikaean education system is rigidly-built to streamline the process of integrating a newly-spawned Mikaean into the wider population of their homeland from the moment they are able to walk. Covering a period of about eight years, the hyrde, or "shepherding" phase, is the most important period in a Mikaean's life, as they are molded to enter into the Mikaegeny as functioning and contributing members of society. During this time, a Mikaean will be classified as a "ward" under the care of a matronic coterie, which is responsible for the care and housing the youth, along with the maintenance of their physical, mental, and emotional needs.
- Skilja – 1 year; Skilja, or "understanding", is the six months following a Mikaean's six-month long growth period in their creche of spawning. Though they learn little during their gestation, the half-year long period is included into the skilja as part of their entry into the world and the time for which they will be prepared for introduction into the wider family of the Mikaegeny. It can best be described as a form of preschooling that includes learning the alphabet, verbal and subsonic communication, and basic interactions with fellow Mikaeans. Upon completing the skilja, a Mikaean youth will be handed over into the care of a matronic coterie for the next eight years under the status of "ward", and will remain there until they complete their hyrde phase.
- Gymnasium – 3 years; Gymnasium in the Mikaean schooling system is a three-year long period of comprehensive study and education provided to all newborn Mikaeans to give them a deeper grasp on the basics of reading and writing, mathematics and history, all of which would be most analogous to primary schooling overseas. Unlike their human peers of similar age, Mikaeans at this point are physically and somewhat mentally mature enough to understand more advanced topics, shortening the schooling period to half that a human would need to go through for primary school.
- Finishing school – 2 years; Finishing school is the Mikaean equivalent of secondary school, and covers more advanced topics such as physics, computer science, chemistry, biology, geography, civics and social sciences, and music. There is a strong focus on academic learning, and helping the students digest and make use of the advanced learning they are receiving. Likewise, as the name implies, a strong focus on proper etiquette within Mikaean society is impressed upon all Mikaeans who go through the courses at the school.
- Academy – 2 to 4 years; Academy is the final stage of schooling within the Mikaean educational system, and covers most of the fields that would be provided within a tertiary school such as a college or university. The academy period of education is purely focused on providing a practical education in terms of the degrees offered; there are no liberal arts degrees offered in any accredited academy in Mikaea, and any Mikaeans seeking to attain such a degree will need to search overseas to do so. Mikaeans will learn a trade or vocation in a STEM field while in academy, which which they will then use to enter into a field that they will remain in for practically the rest of their lives.
- TBD – Jelly tart
- TBD – Citrus-flavored tart
- TBD – Mint-flavored tart
- TBD –
- TBD –
- TBD –
- Clade — Hierarch
- Kith — Kitharch
- Commune — Matronic council (seven council members)
- Circuit — Vestal assembly (all cadre representatives)
- Cadre — Cadre circle (all adult cadre members)
- Coterie (Matronic) — Matron (1) / Guardian (1) / Keepers (3) / Wards (9)
- Coterie (Maiden) — First Maiden (1) / Maidens (6)
- Cadre — Cadre circle (all adult cadre members)
- Circuit — Vestal assembly (all cadre representatives)
- Commune — Matronic council (seven council members)
- Kith — Kitharch
- Prefecture — Governor
- City — Mayor
- District — None
- Town — Mayor
- Neighborhood — None
- Chome — None
- Neighborhood — None
- Town — Mayor
- Region — Chairman
- Municipality — Mayor
- Parish — N/A
- Municipality — Mayor
- State — Governor
- County — Board of supervisors
- Township — N/A
- Ward — Alderman
- County — Board of supervisors
Organs of power
The matronic council is the chief governing body within a commune, overseeing all local affairs on behalf of their sisters. The council itself is comprised of seven members; four elected members, two appointed members, and one council-selected member. The positions available within the council are as follows:
- Matron of Headship — The Matron of Headship is the chairperson responsible for calling meetings, putting forth agendas, and managing the day-to-day affairs of the council and commune as a whole. She is elected to a single two-year term, and must hold the rank of matron within a coterie for approximately five years to qualify for the office. Along with other Mikaeans seeking office within the council, the aspirant must pass a preliminary vote within the commune to join a shortlist of candidates who will be vetted by the authorities of her resident microclade. After this step, she and her opponents will go before the all-male governing body of the microclade to be interviewed and authorized to run for election within the commune. Following the election, the Matron of Headship is regarded as the "first among equals" in the council, being afforded no special rank or status for her new title. What she can do, however, is utilize her new privileges to regularly interact with the governing council of her microclade on matters concerning her commune, and may also request two direct meetings per year with her father, the hierarch and leader of the microclade. The Matron of Headship may propose ordinances, control agendas, call meetings, and most importantly, veto any vote by her sisters in the council should she see the need for it. This ability to control what topics are discussed and when meetings take place, is where the true power of the Matron of Headship comes into play, as she can directly shape what issues are brought to the attention of the commune's governing body. Because of her wide-ranging authority within the commune, the Matron of Headship is often under constant supervision by the Matron of Discipline, who keeps her in check and secretly reports to the regulators assigned to the commune.
- Matron of Mediation — The Matron of Mediation is the commune's mediator and negotiator, helping to resolve everything from land disputes, legal battles, social ills between her sisters, fellow communes, and the patriarchal government itself. The Matron of Mediation is often directly-appointed by the hierarch of the microclade itself depending on the size and importance of the commune, or the role may be filled on the recommendation of the matronic council itself should the opportunity be given. Regardless, the role itself holds great authority, as the Matron of Mediation speaks on behalf of not just the commune's leadership, but for the hierarch who appointed her to the position. She works to prevent conflicts between communes, helps to advise her commune of their father's position and thinking on an issue, and provides details on the status of prior arrangements with other polities that may be in conflict with proposed legislation. The Matron of Mediation carries a high degree of prestige and authority, as she has the rare privilege to interact regularly with her father, receiving instructions directly from him on matters of great importance, and reporting back to the commune's leadership as his chosen messenger. Due to her status as a mediator speaking with the authority of a hierarch, her word can be counted on as having come directly from him, and an attack on her is the same as having attacked the person of the local hierarch himself. Anything spoken of by the Matron of Mediation on behalf of the hierarch of their microclade, automatically and permanently overrides anything decided within the commune, serving as a check on the powers of the Matrons of Headship and Discipline.
- Matron of Discipline — The Matron of Discipline is the head of all law enforcement within her commune, the management of the local prison system if one exists, and reporting on the crime levels in her area as needed. To qualify for the position, a Mikaean must have reached the age of twenty and have previously served in the Soldiery of the Mikaegeny for a total of five years. Unlike all of the matrons of the council, the Matron of Discipline is directly appointed by her hierarch, usually on the recommendation of the Matron of Mediation who meets with him regularly. The Matron of Discipline is viewed as incorruptible, iron-fisted, and governed by a set of rules and morals the patriarchs set out for their daughters. She provides legal advice to the residents of the commune, informing residents of new laws and regulations, and directing the arrest and prosecution of any Mikaeans within her jurisdiction. The Matron of Discipline is required to wear a uniform or a badge of office indicating her station, and serves for as long as her patriarch desires. Usually, she will carry a baton of some sort, denoting her ability to use force against her sisters if they fail to fall in line and obey the edicts of their father. Uniquely, the she also knows the name of each and every Mikaean within her commune, as well as their age, rank, and occupation, and coordinates with the security forces to ensure the security within the commune. Likewise, she knows the identity of all regulators responsible for rooting out corruption within the commune, and works with them to ensure the success of their mission.
- Matron of Advocacy — The Matron of Advocacy is the legal representative of a commune responsible for standing before the patriarchs, local authorities, resident Mikaeans, and follow commune councils, on behalf of her own commune and the council she belongs too. Because of the administrative needs of a commune on a daily basis, the role of the Matron of Advocacy was established to provide a face other Mikaeans seeking to address the council could interact with regularly. If the Matron of Discipline is the enforcer of the commune, the Matron of Advocacy is the commune's middleman. All legal inquiries, business transactions, and government summoning demands must go through the Matron of Advocacy, granting her an immense degree of political power. Naturally, the Matron of Advocacy is trained in law, and generally has served in a legal practice for a period of time before being considered for the position. Being able to interact with her sisters effectively is widely regarded as a must, and her ability to adapt to new circumstances vital for negotiations between communes vital to her future success and ability to hold the office. As with all of the other council members, she is elected to a single two-year term, and must be in good standing with the circuit leadership to be authorized to stand for the general election. She is also responsible for overseeing the management of all public functions and formal meetings within the commune which require guidance from the council of the commune.
- Matron of Treasures — The Matron of Treasures is the commune's financial administrator, managing all of its financial resources, collection of taxes, payment of salaries, surveying and allotment of land parcels, and in the past, the distribution of state-provided rations and clothing. The office of Matron of Treasures is jealously guarded by the council, as all of the needs of the residents from food to money to housing and land rights, must pass through the hands of whoever occupies the station. Any Mikaean seeking to fill the role must pass stringent background checks and thorough interviews to qualify for the position. The candidate must be literate, hold a degree in business, finance, or civil engineering, or have held a role as a manager of logistics or business management for approximately five to ten years. Consequently, the Matron of Treasures is often the most highly-educated member of the council, and in most cases, her entire commune. By necessity, the Matron of Treasures is under constant surveillance by the Matron of Discipline. Any discrepancies within the budget and inventories of the commune are immediately investigated by the Matron of Discipline and reported to the regulators, and the Matron of Treasures is brought before the council leadership to account for the discrepancies in the finances. If found guilty of thief, bribery, or incompetence, the Matron of Treasures is stripped of her rank and office, and expelled from the commune for life.
- Matron of the Synedrion — The Matron of the Synedrion is the religious head for the commune, tasked with managing the religious assets of the commune and its clergy members, and shepherding her faithful flock in the name of her god and her father. She is directly-appointed by the fadian of her clade, who selects her based on her years of service, knowledge of religious teachings, and status within the faith as a spiritual leader based on reports from the commune's parishioners. It is the Matron of the Synedrion's responsibility to look after the spiritual needs of the Mikaeans within her commune, teach the clerics how to conduct their work, and to serve as a moderating influence alongside the Second Voice in preventing an escalating of infighting or violence in the community. The Matron of the Synedrion is highly-respected by her peers and subordinates, as she is often very accessible to all Mikaeans in the commune, who regularly look to her for guidance on matters of great personal importance, or aiding them during times of mental and emotional crisis. Traditionally, candidates for the office of Matron of the Synedrion hail exclusively from Mikaeans with a theological education, or some among those who are members of the clergy itself, and who have achieved the rank of geleran within their ecclesiastical district. Unlike the other matrons, the Matron of the Synedrion serves at the pleasure of the local patriarch or the superior geleran of the clade.
- Matron of the Registry — The Matron of the Registry is the commune's chief archivist—recording, managing, and maintaining all of the personal and statistical information on all of the residents of the commune in meticulous detail. Often regarded as the most junior of the seven matrons, the Matron of the Registry by all accounts is one of the most important members of the council, as she is responsible for tracking and recording the lives of all Mikaeans within her jurisdiction that would normally be kept by traditional nuclear families among the humans. Names, ranks, titles, dates of spawning and transfer to the commune and between coteries, service in the military, criminal records, and religious activities are all the domain of the Matron of the Registry. Due to the vast size of the family she is apart of, the Matron of the Registry has to archive all of the minute details of all Mikaeans to provide to the government, as many patriarchs are keen on the well-being of their children, and actively go through the records collected by the Matron of the Registry. Consequently, attention to detail and a good eye are prerequisites for those selected for the job. All candidates must have an education in statistics and mathematics, and must demonstrate their ability to record information quickly, accurately, and concisely before they are even considered for the position. Flawed or fabricated records are grounds for termination from the position.
Membership within the matronic council is decide every two years by the lower vestal assemblies of the commune, where the heads of the commune's various coteries vote to select a list of elder matrons to stand for the available offices within the council. From this list of candidates, a shortlist is formed, and from this list, the finalists will be voted on to fill four of the seven available seats within the body. Two of the seats within the council, those for Matron of Discipline and Matron of the Synedrion, are filled by the patriarch to whom the commune belongs for the former, and by the clergy of the Mikaean Church for the latter. The seat for the Matron of Mediation is filled by a vote held within the matronic council, though in this instance, the Matron of the Synedrion does not vote as her role is simply that as the appointed representative for the church in the commune. As such, only a simple majority is required to fill the seat.
A vestal assembly is a traditional assembly of coterie leaders within a circuit responsible for providing guidance on the needs and concerns of the circuit's population. Vestal assemblies are the largest such bodies within Mikaean society with decision-making authority, and are tasked with the election of four out of the seven members of the matronic council which presides over the commune of the various circuits. Each assembly is comprised of anywhere from 40 to 500 members, and consists of the elected representatives of the constituent cadres from throughout the circuit, with membership based on a "first come, first served" basis for seating for those circuits with more than five hundred resident cadres. As a body, a vestal assembly has the authority to pass bylaws on local issues affecting the circuit, but little authority beyond matters such as those. They do, hoever, have the ability to provide council on issues of land use and zoning, issues of public services within their communities such as sanitation, postal services, and utilities, and have a right to participate in any matters involving the commune's budget planning. On the issue of zoning and land use, a vestal assembly on advises on issues such as the mobilization of local institutions and community action to assist with projects affecting them. Likewise, they have the right to request assistance with the development of housing within their circuits should they find need for it. Every vestal assembly likewise has the power to provide plans on the development, growth, and improvement of their circuit to the supervising commune.
Vestal assemblies traditionally served as the means by which soldiers would be raised during times of war, how taxes would be collected and property values assessed, how and where synedrions would be placed and constructed by the Mikaean Church, as well as how housing would be developed in accordance with the needs of the assembly's circuit. Notice on issues affecting a commune would be disseminated to the population by way of the assemblies, and any issues involving law enforcement could be addressed by mobilizing the support of the assembly to track down and deal with any criminal elements in the various circuits. Each vestal assembly is led by a randomly-selected group of elder matrons who serve for the period of a year, after which they are prohibited from sitting as the overseers of the assembly. The council of overseers is comprised of thirteen members who handle all administrative work for the circuit, and provide reports and recommendations agreed upon by the assembly to the commune's matronic council for consideration. Within urban communes (cities), vestal assemblies are often responsible for sending representatives for their circuits to the urban commune's systurþing, or "sister's congress", forming a body not unlike the city councils found in major cities around the world. As with the vestal assemblies' overseer body, the urban commune's systurþing changes its membership every year to reflect the cycle in the representatives sent from the assemblies where the elder matrons which are require to step down from their posts.
Historically, serving within one's vestal assembly has long been considered a prerequisite to political office and becoming a state maid. By and large, all politicians within Mikaean life are or have been cadre, and by extension, coterie heads at one point or another during their lives, as wisely overseeing the needs of several coteries was and still is considered a good marker for determining leadership qualifications for higher positions of power. Vestal assemblies traditionally met in open fields during the day or following harvest season to discuss matters of importance to the circuit, and determine who would be appointed to represent them within the commune. Indeed, the members of a vestal assembly represents the in part or in whole the entirety of the circuit's most important decision-markers within public and private life, meaning that any issues of importance to the circuit would at one point or another, inevitably pass through the vestal assembly. As such, the assemblies, while lacking in authoritative power within the hierarchy of Mikaean political life, wields immense social and cultural power at the local level, and can single-handedly influence the effect of any policies decided upon by the matronic council governing the commune.
The emblem of the Mikaean Church can be interpreted in one of two ways:
- The central figure is the Allfather, who supports the weight of the Mikaegeny above his head through his spiritual guidance and the teachings of the church
- The emblem symbolizes the all-seeing eye of the Allfather, who keeps a close watch over all his children to ensure their safety and wellbeing
- The Mikaeans do not bury their dead. Rather, they cremate the bodies of the deceased and scatter the ashes in the wind or release them into the sea. In the case of females, the bones are crushed and turned into bone meal for use as fertilizer in the microclade of their birth, where they will give life to the land to aid their family once more in death. Some of the ashes of the dead are commonly interred within minne dolls for remembrance of the deceased, along with fingerbone or fragment of their skull to ensure a piece of the Mikaean's body is kept within her coterie for ritual mourning. Mikaean males receive a more grandiose funeral rite, with a large pyre built for them and their body placed within for cremation. The ashes are then scattered into the wind or the surrounding waters, though it was common in the past for many of his daughters to cut themselves and rub their father's ashes into the wounds to forever carry a part of him on their person. This practice was outlawed in 1871 by Highfather Michael XIV Neal, and security at the pyre ceremonies increased during a male's funeral to ensure none of his ashes are misued following the cremation.
- Naming ceremonies for male offspring following their birth are major social events across Mikaea, with dignitaries from throughout the population invited to take part in the tradition where the father of the son will public name his child before the audience, and invite others to share in the festivities related with the welcoming of a new male into the population of the Mikaeans.
The Mikaeans believe in a theological concept known as the sammenslåing, or the "merger", a belief that soon in the future all Mikaeans will be united with God in perfect harmony, and commune with him directly and without intermediaries. Furthermore, all members of their species will be gifted with the ability to experience all that one another feel as individuals, what they think, how the feel, what they see, and every act that would be unique to that Mikaean. All members of the Mikaegeny would be united in every aspect of their lives, and thus take on a singular spiritual form with millions of minds independent of each other yet united all the same. The sammenslåing has been frequently described by the Mikaeans as a concept too difficult for them to express to humans, being akin to what would be commonly known as a "hive-mind", but without either the negative connotations or the suppression of free will. The envy and hostility the average Mikaean holds toward all others for experiences not lived, talents not expressed, or thoughts not shared in full, would be done away with, and all of the wishes they hope for would be attained through the perfect unity with both God and with each other.
- æ = a (hat)
- ø = u (hurt)
- å = aw (gnaw)
Stridsjomfruer (s. stridsjomfru), literally "battle maidens", were a class of warrior women within Mikaean society who took up the profession of soldiering from the mid-8th century CE up to about the mid-17th century. Throughout the history of the Mikaeans in Europe and North America, stridsjomfruer accounted for approximately 5–10% of the population, with each clade within Mikaea having its own host of female warriors tasked with protecting the lives of their sisters, brothers, and fathers. Historically, the stridsjomfruer were known within Old Norse as the strīthmær, or "war-maidens", who defended the lands of the Mikaeans from their Germanic and later Nordic neighbors following their migration into northern Europe during the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. While though the accounts of the legendary shield-maidens of Nordic myth and saga have never been fully-confirmed or agreed upon by modern historians, it is commonly-believed by many researchers today that the stories of the shield-maidens was based in part or in whole on the historical activities of the old strīthmær of the Mikaeans.
The term "vithring" was commonly used as the racial designation for the Mikaeans during their time in Northern Europe, being named as such by the native Germanic population. The name comes from the word "viðr", or "tree", the connotation being the concept of a vast family tree. The Germanic and Nordic populations the Mikaeans came to interact with eventually made the connections regarding the unique family and social structure of the species, that of one massive family with a singular family head, and likened them to the trees of a vast forest of countless tree or a single tree with thousands of branches, all linked together in a unified manner. Indeed, a common statement regarding the Mikaeans was that associating them with the permanence of the forests in the region; cut one tree down, and another of its kind would likely spring up in another location. Such as the case with the Mikaeans, whose unique reproductive capabilities meant that no manner of weapon could be brought against them that could truly cull their numbers. As such, all in the land referred to the new arrivals as the vithring, a name would be follow the Mikaeans well into the modern day.
A misunnelsebok (or more commonly misubok), or "book of envy" or "book of jealousy", is a private journal within which all personal thoughts and emotions are recorded for posterity. A misunnelsebok is commonly kept by Mikaean individuals to keep a record of all personal slights, grudges, and cases of envy they experience, and provide an outlet for them express how they are feeling without resorting to violence action. The practice of maintaining a misunnelsebok was introduced around the mid-1500s by the Mikaean Church, which promoted the act as a method of venting personal frustrations in a cathartic and non-violent manner. This came at a time where violence throughout the Mikaean population had been increasing without end, and the various hierarchs of the Mikaegeny were seeking ways to mitigate the issue as best they could for their children.
- A Mikaean will write out any thoughts which are bothering them into their misunnelsebok, opening up and explaining to the best of their ability the reason for their anger, and do so as truthfully as possible
- Once the envious or violent thoughts have been put to paper, the Mikaean is encouraged to put the book away and never return to that instance that bothered them
- During their confession at church, a Mikaean will often bring their misunnelsebok with them and present it to their aldatrix, allowing them to peer into their thought process and what it is that bothers them
- The aldatrix will use this accumulated information provided by the Mikaean to provide spiritual guidance to help them deal with their anger and thoughts of jealousy
- A misunnelsebok differs from a diary in that the purpose of the former is specifically allow a Mikaean to write out all of their negative thoughts and emotions, and are not meant to be read by anyone other than their aldatrix during confession
- This method of documenting negative thoughts or feelings was designed to help get around feelings of embarrassment or refusal to revisit and discuss those feelings with others; this allows a priest to read the thoughts without pressing the Mikaean for information
- Most misunnelseboks are limited to only 100-120 pages each, as the goal is to help the Mikaean spend as little time writing into their misunnelsebok and help them better deal with their thoughts and emotions
A minne doll is a ball-jointed doll produced by the Mikaeans as a method of honoring the memory of the recently-deceased throughout their communities. The dolls are noted for the remarkable level of care and detail placed into their creation, resulting in astonishingly realistic and anatomically-correct dolls made in the image of the deceased. Traditionally, the dolls are produced using the hair, bone, and tissue belonging to the deceased Mikaean prior to their cremation. This method of doll-making has existed within Mikaea for more than a thousand years, and remains an important aspect of Mikaean culture and society, as well as their unique manner of mourning the dead.
Early minne dolls were made using wood, iron, and horsehair for the doll's head. The faces of these early minne dolls were sculpted by carpenters who specialized in the field of doll-making as a full-time profession. Due to the difficulty of mass-producing minne dolls with this level of detail, most dolls prior to the 18th and 19th centuries were designed with painted faces over a partially-sculted head to provide some level of fidelity.
- During conflicts, Mikaean soldiers would commonly make minne dolls in the image of all of the enemy combatants that they killed during a battle, and keep the dolls as trophies which would be moved around the battlefield as both a way of remembering victories, the valorous dead, and serve as a means of indicating the capabilities of the unit in question by broadcasting to others all the dead they have claimed during their period of combat service at the front
- Many Mikaeans believe that the soul of a deceased Mikaean can be linked to their minne doll so long as a piece of them has been preserved within the doll; to that end, the head of the doll is designed with a special cavity that can be accessed from the rear of the head, and a piece of the dead Mikaean, usually a finger-bone, ashes, or piece of preserved flesh, inserted into the cavity to keep a physical link to the Mikaean in question within for the doll's caretakers
- Asranists will usually make a minne doll of themselves as a precaution, as many are members of illegal suicide cults that exist in the forests of Mikaea; unlike other minne dolls, these self-made dolls will contain a lock of the Mikaean's own hair rather than a finger-bone or piece of flesh, allowing investigators to determine the faith of the doll's owner in the event they disappear; these dolls also serve as a way of ensuring the spirit of the Asranist has a link to the physical world should she be cast out of her coterie for her religious affiliation, as the minne doll created by her coterie would likely be burned and destroyed as a means of severing the coterie's link to her for her actions
- Mikaeans do not believe in an afterlife, instead believing that the life force which animates them returns to God, leaving behind nothing more than a lifeless, inanimate object no different than the dolls produced by their people; consequently, they view minne dolls as a continuation of their physical form, placing some piece their cremated remains within the doll as a shell that will not decay as their fleshly body ultimately does upon their death
A sinnets hage (Norwegian: "garden of the mind") is a Mikaean library specifically designed and built to include elements from nature within its floor-plan and aesthetic. Large trees dominate reading areas, grass floors are carefully laid down so as to complement the interior design of the library, while not compromising the integrity of the books within due to moisture content. A sinnets hage is frequently cited as having more in common with an arboretum than a common library due to these features, and are universally-associated with Mikaean culture and identity. The first sinnets hage constructed within Mikaea was built in 1273 by Patriarch TBD, who sought to encourage reading and learning among his offspring, while also establishing a place for peace and cooperative behavior during a time of strife throughout the general population. This development was wildly-popular within the clade, and soon took off across the rest of Mikaea as other patriarchs sought to replicate TBD's success.
Leseglede (Norwegian: "pleasure of reading") is the Mikaean tradition of literary societies formed by coteries and cadres to read and discuss literature of all sorts as a community. Originating in the 1600s following the introduction of the printing press in Mikaea, the first leseglede literary societies were established in the cities of Family Pride, TBD, and TBD, which were home to large European trading enclaves that imported books from Europe to sell to the local population. These literary societies would digest these new and intriguing foreign texts and discuss them with fellow Mikaeans to learn more about a world they had left behind more than six centuries prior. Though the Mikaeans had a long history of seeking and devouring any knowledge that they encountered centuries before arriving in North America, as well as forming reading circles around literate individuals for religious education, the practice of leseglede would only grow into an important aspect of Mikaean culture during the early modern period. This behavior soon spread across the island as literacy rates among the Mikaeans grew, and later developed into a major social and cultural tradition that would form an important part of the Mikaean identity. Today, more than 80% of the Mikaean population belongs to a literary society seeking to advance the principals of leseglede, by taking pleasure in the act of reading and learning, and sharing what they learn with their sisters for the sake of accumulation information that will help them grow into a more cultured and balanced individual.
My father, tis' of thee,
My father, tis' of thee,