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Author Topic: The Coats of Arms of the Grand Empire of Krath  (Read 2279 times)
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Coren FrozenZephyr
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« on: 11 January 2006, 14:02:00 »

COAT OF ARMS
IN THE GRAND EMPIRE OF KRATH


The High Temple of Earth (the Krath perspective)
This is the painting that inspired this description. Many thanks to the artist!


Shrouded in great mystery and an eerie/inhuman authority, the High Priestess of Ankriss remained an inexplicable, unsettling figure for the average Krath citizen. No Krathaszar ever allowed to step into the Inner Circle/City [nn], the images regarding her are quite confused. Each tribe has its own distinctive conception of this unearthly representative of the Earth Goddess (the Krean version likely being the legitimate, albeit the least popular). We shall focus on the representation habitually used in the official documents to appreciate how a strongly patriarchal tribe like the Krath accepted an anonymous (Lillivear) female as the supreme authority in their empire. Most Krathaszar view the High Priestess with a devout respect mixed with mild apprehension; she is regarded as the celestial agent of Ankriss on Caelereth. Some, mistaking her for the semi-human avatar of Earth, worship the High Priestess as a goddess in her own right.

In assimilating this strange Krean Goddess, the Krathamar perhaps equated Ankriss with the mythical Earth Mother from the nomadic days of the Krar. This is perchance why Her principal cleric is depicted as a mysteriously serene, motherly figure. It is highly likely that Krath natives misinterpreted the rumours circulated by merchants returning from the secluded Krean realms about a quasi-immortal priestess embedded in some special (the stories here being highly inconsistent) tree called the Tree of Ages (which from the outset was a Lillivear concept). As a result, she is depicted in imperial records as an ageless female fully clad in a very modest and unassuming brown garb entrenched in an ancient tree whose gnarled roots latch on to a pale sphere symbolizing the vicious perpetuity of mortal life. Her tree is always a barren, twisted one. Remember that life west of Orcal for the nomadic Krar was a tough one; the Earth was as much a terrible, unforgiving fiend as the nourishing mother. This perhaps explains the mixed feelings of deference and dread the Krataszar hold towards the High Goddess and Her priestesses.

To revisit the Krath icon of the High Priestess, she has the plum face of smiling youth but the tired body of a woman well past the ripeness of summer into the autumn of her life.
Her figure is a conglomeration of contradictions and paradox. Despite the fine of her silhouette, it is impossible to say if her hazel hair fuses into her brown clothes or the hood of her worn dress covers a bald scalp. While a divine light reflects from her peaceful features she is seated in an aura of darkness, the voidal blackness centred below a chin marred by faint lines of disquiet, right where her throat should have been. The tranquillity of her expression suggests that she is witnessing things far beyond the mortal – yet an strange silence radiates from her. Perhaps she can no longer communicate the images of bliss she is seeing, the ecstasy she experiences - her quiet call a cry for help…

No flowers bloom on the branches that enfold and extend from her throne like a convoluted network of interconnected tangles; it is clear that whatever Power flows through and sustains her corporeal shell is meant for her alone. Whatever the High Priestess inherits she does not share. No sprout of blossom can drink from this divine well to quench its terrible thirst. She is Happiness in the misery of her realm. A holy radiance emanates from the crown of entwined boughs of which she is the gemstone just as the gnarled roots, in all their knotted crookedness, sucks the light of life from the globe her Seat rests on, her sphere sunken in gloom.

Blessed is she that from her Throne she controls everything that goes on in the World Below, enjoined through her roots to every creature of the ground; her Tree reaches out to everything in the Heavens and the Abyss. Great is her Rule; she alone draws/directs the lost spirits from the sewers of Death through the warped pipes of her roots into the afterlife, leading them off into the emptiness where the shafts of her crown thins. But is she not also damned? Is her immortality not a horrid curse? Forever stuck in the balance, trapped in the cycle of life and death; she shall never travel to the visions of grace whose brightness fills her soul and haunts her dreams. Forced to behold without end the Promise yet never journey/pass through the veil into the Essence.

Despite the majesty of the branches, the trunk of the Tree is a short, stout one just like her plump, minute figure - too small perhaps to support the grave burden eternally imposed upon her.


Usages

All official documents sent to the High Temple from the Empire are sealed with stamps shaped in the likeness of the model described above. These stamps are always carved from wood and oftentimes are attentively coloured. The actual hallmark is an engraving of the same image is imprinted at the bottom of the sphere. The globes may range from anything as small as a nutshell to the size of a large Zhunie orange.  There exists a superstitious belief that tarnishing a High Priestess figure will bring years of misfortune upon oneself. Many scribes will wear leather gloves not to stain the icon with their hands. Some may even avert their eyes until the whole pile of letters are sealed!

The seats of the Temple’s representatives are always marked by this emblem in imperial ceremonies, oftentimes by a coloured banner draped over their benches.

The haunting image often signifies the passage from corporeality to Realm Ethereal or the everlasting cycle of life after death. Most commonly the emblem is found on the banners dancing with the mourning wind as the Collectors attend to/soothe the deceased after the battle and deep, graceful engravings covering the polished lids of coffins and the masts of funeral barges.
« Last Edit: 11 March 2007, 06:46:38 by Coren FrozenZephyr » Logged

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