THE NECHYA'S ROPE AMULET

DESCRIPTION - LOCATION - HISTORY/ORIGIN

A tradition exists with the Ice Tribes of the northern Sarvonian continent, particularly the Vertans, who live in the farthest reaches of the Icelands Coast. This tender custom of the Northern Ice Tribes is a gift from the mother to her newborn child: a piece of the baby's umbilical cord is sewn into a leather amulet, said to ensure Nechya's blessing for the wearer.

Description. As a myth of the Ice Tribes tells: ages past, when humans were created by the union of Phoblit and Nechya, the first human born was connected to Nechya with what was known as "Nechya’s Rope", the Vertan name for the umbilical cord. This “rope" is considered sacred because of their reverence for life, and therefore, when the piece, which is about a handspan long, attached to the child dries and falls off, it is kept. A special leather pouch is made by the mother of a newborn, decorated with paint, or with beads or shells, and the dried “rope" is placed inside. The mother whispers a private prayer to Nechya wishing the child a good life, then the pouch is sewn shut. These prayers commonly ask for fertility for female babies, and strength in battle for the males.

Though the female babies are not considered as desirable as the males, they are given this prayer so that they may grow up and give birth to more males. The male babies are often given a small totem, an arrowhead for example, to keep in the pouch as well. This totem is believed to transfer a bit of magic to the wearer. An arrowhead would be considered to give off luck when it came to hunting or to warfare; a coin might be given to imbue the wearer with the gift of fortune.

The pouch is kept around the child’s neck, and stays there through the course of one’s life, never to be taken off. It is, however, repaired through the years, if the pouch were to get damaged, or brittle from age. To lose one is considered serious. When this happens, a tribal shaman will pray over the person, asking the gods for protection. Meanwhile, another pouch is made and a lock of the person’s hair and a small personal item is placed in the new amulet. However, a new amulet is never considered as strong in protection as the original. All possible attempts will be made to reacquire the original.
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Location. This old tradition is still practiced regularly by the Ice Tribes in the Ice Coast regions of Vertans, Filmainrim, and as far south as Sanartrim. There are a few people in the other tribes that still practice this tradition, but very few. Among the Himilko, the tradition has been lost completely. As there is more intermingling with societies from the south, this quaint custom seems, unfortunately, to be losing its importance.

Variations throughout the
Ice Tribes: The Vertans are the most fervent in their belief that the loss of the amulet has grave consequences. Warriors that have lost their amulet have been known to spend days fasting and praying, while a new amulet is made. More so, some of these warriors have been known to replace the lost umbilical cord with another body part, such as a little finger, a toe, or a piece of ear. This practice has been attributed to the myth of Uraghadze, where a mighty warrior offered a great sacrifice to regain Nechya's favour.
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History/Origin. There is a story told of the importance of Nechya's Amulet. No one knows the origins of the story, just that it has been passed down from generation to generation since the beginning of time. All the Ice Tribes know this story, but the Vertan people hold it dearest to them. The hero, Uraghadze, would go on to figure in more myths of the Ice Tribes.

Uraghadze and the Caracal. In the forgotten time, there was once a warrior who was named Uraghadze. He was a mighty warrior, and the leader of his people. It happened that one day he was out hunting alone, when he became face to face with the great cat, Caracal. Knowing that his death might well be imminent, Uraghadze readied his spear and faced off against Caracal. The man and the beast fought savagely for several days, neither tiring, neither getting the upper hand. Though Uraghadze was wounded, and exhausted, he at last was able to pierce Caracal's flesh, wounding the animal gravely. Caracal, knowing that he would die, snatched from the neck of Uraghadze the amulet of Nechya's Rope. Caracal then ran off across the snow, leaving Uraghadze alone.

Uraghadze, on seeing what the great cat had done, dropped to his knees in the snow. "Nechya, forgive me, for I have lost what thou hast blessed me with. My soul is lost."

Now Caracal, having stolen the amulet, prayed to Nechya as well. "Oh great Nechya of the People of the Ice. I have taken your amulet, and ask that you favour me with life. Heal my wounds, and let me live, strong as before."

No sooner had Caracal said those words that his wounds were healed. He then laughed aloud to himself. With the amulet, everlasting life would be his. With that, Caracal began to hunt the People of the Ice, feeding off them as he would a newborn pinnip.

Now, Uraghadze was beside himself with grief. Having lost his amulet, he knew that it was Nechya's anger that allowed Caracal to hunt his people with abandon. He knew that the only way to stop Caracal was to offer a sacrifice of great importance. Grabbing his axe, and walking out into the snow, Uraghadze was determined to make amends to Nechya.

Falling to his knees, Uraghadze prayed. "Nechya, hear my pleas. Without your protection, I am a man who cannot protect his people. Without you, I am no longer whole. I am only a man, and you are my right hand." At that, Uraghadze brought down his axe, completely severing his right hand. He fell to the ice, unconscious.

When he awoke, to his amazement, Uraghadze found that he possessed a hand made completely of ice where his right hand had been. To his surprise he realized that with this frozen hand, he possessed the strength of a dozen men. Gripping his axe, and offering a prayer of thanks to Nechya, Uraghadze set off in search of Caracal.

When the two met, they pounced on one another. Caracal fought bravely and ferociously, but he was no match for Uraghadze's frozen hand, and the mighty warrior slew the creature. Uraghadze brought home the pelt of Caracal and fashioned from it a fine coat, that kept out the bitterest winter wind. Ever after he was known as Uraghadze Hanno-eck-Icsain, Uraghadze Ice Hand.
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 Date of last edit 10th Sleeping Dreameress 1667 a.S.

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