NOTE: THIS IS A WORK IN PROGRESS.
A GLOSSARY OF EBUNORUN TERMS AND NAMES
Note: Nearly all the terms and names used herein are from the Adeniya language, the mother-tongue of the Obakoja or “common tongue” of Ebunorun. This is a list as though it were produced by a member of the Adeniya peoples, for a member of the Adeniya peoples, or for someone wanting to learn the Adeniya language and the Adeniya perspective on the world of Ebunorun. This is much like a list of terms and names in English for American consumption; the terms and names do not at all reflect the terms and names used by the peoples thusly referenced. Similarly, in the real world, Germans do not call themselves Germans, they call themselves “Deutsch,” just as Germany in the German language is “Deutschland.”
PEOPLES OF EBUNORUN
Adeniya (“People of the Crown”) [E-Adeniya]: Descended from local peoples and the immigrants of Kush who founded the Owuro Empire (“Dawn Empire,” 5001-7000) on the Middle Oyo River, and were central to the formation of the Akoko Empire (“First Empire, 7000-8300). They later founded the Adeniya Empire (9300-9835, 9960+), during its Golden Age (ca. 9600-9800), it ruled the largest empire of Ebunorun to date, including all the lands of Ebunorun, plus lands to the west, north, east, and south of the map. Slowly, the empire fell back into the core, and then came the terror of the Reign of the Aderubaniyan, and the insult of the victory of the Ominira, rather than the resurgence of the Adeniya.
Today the Adeniya remain proud of their achievements, but know that they and their kingdom are in its twilight. Most of the upper classes and urban folk have turned inward, obsessing with philosophy, religion, history, petty debauchery (not true depravity), or other minor interests. A few, a very few, seek to reignite the flame that burned so brightly during the Golden Age.
Aderubaniyan (“Monsters”): A catch-all term for the various species of monstrous beings who live on the distant island of Alaburuku (the “Island of Nightmares”), where the rule of the Alawa-Buburu (“Wicked Lords”) is absolute.
Agbejoba (“People of the Royal Union”) [E-Fon]:
Akokorin (“First People”) [E-Guan, etc.]: The Akokorin are said to be descended from the first people to settle in Ebunorun proper since the Nla-Igbase. There are many Akokorin groups, each has its own dialect or even totally unique language; many have been assimilated into the larger ethnic groups, sometimes to form an entirely new culture (such as the Akoporin, below). Most either are subsumed into the kingdom of other peoples as common peasant farmers and laborers, while independent groups who still live in the wilds and borderlands prefer a life of gardening, gathering, fishing, and hunting.
Akoporin (“People of the Merger”) [E-Gbe (Ewe, Fon, etc.)]: The Akoporin are a people formed from the unification of Adeniya and Salaye with undifferentiated native groups (Akokorin, above); they are found in between the two major cultures, and are a diverse people. Some are more Adeniya, others are more Salaye, while still other sub-groups resemble the original native peoples that were found between the Adeniya and Salaye. The Akoporin are the majority population in Ijomobirin, and are a minority in western Adeniyaman and eastern Ominiraman. The ruling nation of Ijomobirin, the Agbejoba, were formed several centuries ago by the merger of two royal families of Adeniya and Salaye in Okeobaa, where they still rule. The other major Akoporin nation, the Olote, are split between the two realms of Ijomobirin and Ominiraman.
Alakoso (“Boat People,” “Sailors”) [E-Ijaw]:
Arara (“Dwarves”) [E-Dwarves]: The Children of Ogun, the Arara are a dwarf race, descended from the original servants of Ogun, though long ago cut down in power and size due to their hubris. There are both Iron Dwarves (Irinrin) and Stone Dwarves (Okutarin). There are no female dwarves; dwarves do not reproduce naturally.
Asasala (“Refugee People”) [E-
Ashoju (“Northerner”) [E-Gur/Mossi/Dagbani/etc.]: This ethnic group is
Awonomoba (“The Royal Men”) [E-Dogon]: Descended from the colonists of the second Kushite colony of Amenti (2300-2600), the Awonomoba sought shelter in the Great Escarpment of the [Seno-Gondo] Plains south of the Odo-Oya.
Eshu-Awo (“Pale-Skinned Devils”): One of the three leading races of Alaburuku. Their origin is unknown, but they are thought to be Iwinrin corrupted by the Aje-Ofo of the Alawa-Buburu.
Ibawioko (“People of the Divine Spear”) [E-Aro]: Southern cousins of the Yipada, the Ibawioko descend from mixed groups of Yipada and local southern peoples. Like the Yipada, they have their own faith, distinct from that of the rest of Ebunorun, centered around a priest-king. Unlike the Yipada, Ibawioko religion and society was successfully corrupted by the Alawa-Buburu before the Reign of the Aderubaniyan, and many of the mortal soldiers and servants of that realm came from Ibawiokoman. Ibawiokoman remains under the rule of the Ibaje-Okan, though there are loyalist exiles and rebels within the kingdom.
Ibojisin (“Grave Shadows”) [E-Undead]: A class of Aderubaniyan which are derived from the unquiet dead, maintaining a semblance of life through the Aje-Ofo of the Alawa-Buburu. Some of these have physical forms, such as Egungun (skeletons), Nrin-Oku (“walking corpses,” i.e. undead zombies), Oku-Ku (“corpse eaters,” ghouls), or Binu-Oku (“angry corpse,” wight); or they can be incorporeal, such as wraiths, specters, and true ghosts.
Iwinrin (“Ghost People”) [E-Elves]: Iwinrin arise from among the Spirits of the deceased who neither fade into nature nor are reincarnated. They are found in small numbers in wild lands throughout Ebunorun. There are no Iwinrin children; Iwinrin cannot reproduce with one another. Iwinrin can reproduce with humans; the result is an Omo-Iwin, or “Ghost Child,” possessing aspects of both humans and ghost-people. They do not possess their own language, using either Obakoja or a local dialect.
Obakoja (“Haggle”): The common tongue of Ebunorun, a patois of Adeniya, Salaye, and other local languages.
Ojarin (“People of the Market”) [E-Dyula]: A branch of the Okutakole who settled southeast in lands traditionally held by the Ashoju. They are the rulers, nobles, upper class, and merchants of Nla-Ishowo.
Okutakole (“Stone-Builders”) [E-Mande/Mandinka/Soninke/Manding, etc.]: These peoples from the northwest are known as “Stone-Builders,” as unlike almost all other people native to Ebunorun, they have been known to build their homes and buildings of stone, rather than wood, mud, or bricks.
Olote (“The Rebels”) [E-Ewe]: The Olote are a sub-nation of the Akoporin. They arose from a union of several minor nations who all suffered under a monstrous king (who, it turned out, was an aderubaniyan in disguise). Their cultural tendency toward independence and a distrust of any organization beyond that of a hamlet (and especially of any sort of royalty) has meant that they have been unable to carve out their own kingdom, and their numerous villages (run as anarcho-syndicalist communes) are split between Ijomobirin and Ominiraman.
Ominira (“The Liberators”) [E-Ashanti]: A sub-group of the Salaye, the Ominira peoples formed the core resistance against the Reign of the Aderubaniyan, and it was the Ominira king and his warriors who led the final battle that freed Ebunorun from their rule.
Salaye (“The Enlightened”) [E-Akan]: Descended from local peoples and the immigrants of Kush who founded the Ashale Empire (“Sunset Empire,” 5001-7000) on the Upper Oyo River, the Salaye were also among the founders of the successor kingdoms, amongst which was the Ajogun Empire (“The Inheritor Empire,” 8300-9200).
Yipada (“The Converted”) [E-Igbo]:
PLACES OF EBUNORUN
Aarin-Aye (“Middle-World”): The world of Ebunorun, a great glistening blue and green globe that circles a yellow star in the depths of some distant space-time. The “Middle-World” more specifically refers to the surface world, as it stands below Heaven (metaphorically) and above Hell (literally, as Hell is found at the heart of the planet). It is well known that Aarin-Aye is a globe; only the ignorant believe the world to be flat.
Adagun (“City of Lakes”) [E-Lagos]: Port city of Adeniyaman.
Alagbede (“City of Blacksmiths”) [E-Odienne]: Capital and only city of Okewuraman.
Alakoko (“First City”) [E-Djenne]: A city of the Oloyoba-Nla Ayeraye Inyanrin. By legend, one of the oldest (still-occupied) cities in Ebunorun (all older cities stand in ruins).
Alakosoman (“Land of Sailors”) [E-Ijaw]:
Alkebulan (unknown): The continent of which Ebunorun is a portion of the westernmost extent; an alternate-world Africa.
Alsayf Khilifaat (“Caliphate of the Sword”) [E-Sokoto Caliphate]: Capital is Sukalsayf.
Altamsah (“City of the Crocodile”) [E-Kaduna]: A city of the Alsayf Khilifaat, one of the few where the native religion, dedicated to a Crocodile God, remains very strong.
Apaadi (“Hell”): A place created by the gods, deep within the earth, where the Eranko-Olote were imprisoned after their rebellion, and later the Ibi-Kra, the souls of humans who led the rebellion that led to the Nla-Igbase. There, too, are condemned the Souls of people who willfully and maliciously disobey the righteous dictates of the gods. The Eranko-Olote and Ibi-Kra torment and feast upon the mortal Souls thus imprisoned, but gain thereby no pleasure or enjoyment, for to them it is meaningless labor; the Souls, though fileted, smashed, rendered, ripped, torn asunder, digested, and expelled, feel every moment of the torment, but afterward return to whole form, for the entire process to begin again.
Asasalaman (“Land of the Refugees”):
Ebunorun (“Gift of Heaven”): The southern portion of the western reaches of Alkebulan; equivalent to the lands of sub-Saharan West Africa.
Ehinerinman (“Land of Ivory Tusks”):
Ejanla (“City of Big Fish”) [E-Bassiambiri]: Capital of Alakosoman.
Eleshin (“City of Raiders”) [E-Yagbum]: Capital of Ile-Iyanu.
Faamaijoko (“Place where the King Sits”) [E-Kangaba]: Capital city of Ijoba-Nla Oluwaorun.
Ibi-Idiwa (“Place of Solitude”): The headquarters of the Ofo-Ofo of the Adagbe-Awujo.
Idiwo (“Forbidden City”) [E-Tabou]: The only city in Yanyaneyin Clan territory.
Ile-Ibukun (“Blessed Land”) [E-Benin]: Capital is Ilu-Mimo (“Holy City,” “City of Saints”); more properly, the secular capital is the section of the city known as Ilu-Goolu (“City of Gold”).
Ile-Iyanu (“Land of Misery”) [E-Gonja]:
Ilu-Mimo (“Holy City,” “City of Saints”) [E-Benin City]:
Ilu-Obaa (“City of the King”) [E-Oyo]: Capital city of Adeniyaman since the fall of Ilu-Aarin.
Ijoba-Nla Oluwaorun (“Great Kingdom of the Lords of the West”) [E-Wassoulou Empire]:
Ijoba-Nla Ominiraman (“Great Kingdom of the Land of the Liberators”) [E-Asanteman]: Capital is Ishigun (“City of Victory”)
Ijomobirin (“Land of Queens”) [E-Dahomey]: Ruled by a matriarchy, protected by warrior-women. Most of the male warriors were killed during the Reign of the Aderubaniyan, so the already extant army of warrior-women became paramount, and when they won the freedom of their land, installed a queen rather than a king.
Ishigun (“City of Victory”) [E-Kumasi]: Capital of Ijoba-Nla Ominiraman.
Jinanriman (“Land of Yams and Taro”) [E-Nri/Igboland]: This is the land of the Yipada. It is a theocracy, with the Jinanri Alufaa-Oba (“Priest-King”) ruling as Oba-Nla. The faith of the Yipada, Ibawilaarin (“The Divine Within”) sets them apart from most of the other peoples of Ebunorun, as they never accepted the preeminence of Nla-Alufaa and the Nla-Ikawe Odu-Ifa. This has placed them at odds with the rest of Ebunorun for centuries, however, as pacifism is a central and core belief of Ibawilaarin, it rarely causes violence. The lands of Jinanriman west of the Odo-Oya were conquered by the Aderubaniyan during their reign over the region; after the defeat of the Aderubaniyan, the Nla-Alufaa decided to hold onto these lands, as the south-eastern neighbor of Jinanriman, Ibawiokoman, remains under the rule of the Ibaje-Okan loyal to the Alawa-Buburu.
Jagunaafinile (“Land of the Palace of War”) [E-Wogodogo]:
Kokoro (“City of Ants”) [E-Accra]: Largest port city of Ijoba-Nla Ominiraman.
Kush (“Land of Kings”): A land far to the east, along a great river. This is the homeland of the Kushites, who enter the history of Ebunorun twice. First, Kushite colonists settled the region 5,000 years ago; they merged with the local peoples, brought their writing system, religion, and civilization, and founded two realms, the Ashale Empire (“Sunset Empire,” 5001-7000) on the Upper Oyo River (the peoples from which the Salaye are descended), and the Owuro Empire (“Dawn Empire,” 5001-7000) on the Middle Oyo River (the peoples from which the Adeniya are descended).
However, much of their culture and religion were lost in the millennia since, and the modern influence of the Kushites stems from the expansion of Kush to the region with their colony in the north, known as Amenti (“The Western Land,” 7300-7600), amidst the ruins of the Ashale Empire. These Kushites did not recognize the local mixed population as related; by this time, most of the old Kushite civilization had been subsumed by local or assimilated groups. These were either conquered and enslaved, or pushed into the western lands (where they became the ancestors of the Salaye).
Nla-Ishowo (“Grand Marketplace”) [E-Kong City]: Capital city of Onishowoman.
Odo-Oya (“River of the Goddess Oya”) [E-Niger River]:
Okeobaa (“Hill of the King”) [E-Abomey]: Capital of Omobinrin, of late informally called Okeayaba, “Hill of the Queen,” though traditionalists dislike the change.
Okewuraman (“Land of the Gold Mountain”) [E-Kabadougou]:
Okoaku (“City of Manly-Men”): Easternmost city of Asasalaman; formerly a city of Ehinerinman, before the Great Gender War.
Oloyoba-Nla Adeniyaman (“Great Empire of the Land of the Crown”) [E-Yorubaland]: Original capital city is Ilu-Aarin (“Center City”), said to be the site where the Orisha first started building the world, and the site from which they later left Aarin-Aye for Orun-Rere. Capital has been Ilu-Obaa since the destruction of Ilu-Aarin centuries ago.
Oloyoba-Nla Ayeraye Inyanrin (“Great Empire of the Eternal Sands”) [E-Songhay]:
Omobinrin (“City of the Princess”): Capital city of Ehinerinman.
Oniru (“City of Crocodile Tails”) [E-Bamako]: City on the western border of Oloyoba-Nla Ayeraye Inyanrin.
Onishowoman (“Land of Traders”) [E-Kong Kong Kingdom]:
Sukalsayf (“Sword Market”) [E-Sokoto]: Capital city of the Alsayf Khilifaat.
Yanokan (“City of the Chosen Ones”) [E-Abidjan]: A port city of Ominiraman.
Yanyaneyin Clans (“Shark-Tooth People”) [E-Kru]:
THINGS OF EBUNORUN
Akojodun (“List of Years”): Most of the lands of Ebunorun use local calendars based on the current reigning monarch’s rule, or at best, based on the years of rule of the current dynasty. Sages throughout the region use the ancient Akojodun Kush, AKA the Kushite Calendar (KC). This calendar was brought to the region by colonists from Kush more than two thousand years ago. The Kushite Calendar is based on the crowning of the first Pharaoh of Kush. It is currently the year 10,017 KC.
EVENTS OF EBUNORUN
Reign of the Aderubaniyan (9821-9965): For centuries prior to the Reign, the Aderubaniyan of Alaburuku had raided the coasts of Ebunorun almost unceasingly for loot, slaves, and sacrifices. During that time, they made a few small long-term settlements, building forts and towers along the coast to better enable raids inland. However, it was not until 9821 that they began to conquer land en masse and hold it, slaughtering or enslaving locals. Many of those enslaved, like those taken in raids in the centuries prior, were shipped off to the Island of Alaburuku and beyond, to their colonies in the distant lands of Ariwaoorun (North America) and Guusuwoorun (South America).
SPIRITUALITY AND RELIGION
Adagbe-Awujo (“Solitary Order”): The original order of monks, founded by the penitent brother of the first Nla-Alufaa. Originally, the order was dedicated merely to spiritual cleanliness and “getting righteous with the Orisha and the Will of Olorun” through isolation from the rest of the world. Orders were founded for both men and women. Training included both spiritual as well as physical training, to better seek perfection through an understanding of one’s personal Ashe and Ayanmo. Later, during the Reign of the Aderubaniyan, when the clergy of the Nla-Ikawe were banished from the monster-haunted lands, the Sofo (“Empty,” so called for the monks sought to empty their life of everything save for the concern for the balance of the Oris) learned to fight without weapons, using their personal Ashe to strengthen their bodies in battle and empower open-handed attacks. Today they are also known as the Ofo-Ofo (“Empty-Handed”) as they usually fight with only their bare, empty hands.
Aje-Ofo (“Wicked Magic”): Aje is witchcraft, evil magic granted by the Alawa-Buburu to women (Aje, witch); Ofo is sorcery, evil magic granted by the Alawa-Buburu to men (Osho, sorcerer); together they are known as “Wicked Magic.” While their sources are the same, the nature of the practice and how the magic works in the mortal world is different. Aje grants knowledge, both of magic spells and crafting of magic items, as well as divination powers; the costs associated with Aje are blasphemous, including cannibalism, sexual deviance, and other depravities. Ofo grants raw power and the ability to command Aderubaniyan, but physically transforms its practitioners in horrible and uncontrollable ways. That said, it is uncommon but not unknown for men to practice Aje and women to practice Ofo; in such cases, male witches must live as women and female sorcerers must live as men. Only the most vile and powerful sorcerer can also learn Aje, while only the most depraved witch can also learn Ofo; such abnegation of humanity, spiritually and physically, is the path to attaining immortality and being counted among the Alawa-Buburu.
Alawa-Buburu (“Wicked Lords”): The Wicked Lords are not gods, as such, though some are as old as the gods and as powerful as the gods. They are lesser spirits who envied the gods their power, or mortal beings who envied the gods their power, and through time, horrible sacrifice, and blasphemous deeds gathered to themselves enough Aje-Ofo to ascend to a new level of existence, neither mortal nor god, nor merely spirit. Once they attain this status they can grow even greater by corrupting the souls of other mortals with offers of Aje-Ofo, as well as by using their own minions and allies to steal power from other Wicked Lords.
Alufaa (“Priest,” “Cleric”): Alufaa are the ordained clergy of the Orishas; a male priest is known as a Babalawo (“Father of Mysteries”), a female priestess is known as a Iyalawo (“Mother of Mysteries”). While there are many independent village priests (Houngan) and priestesses (Mambo), most of the clergy in Ebunorun are part of and beholden to the Nla-Ikawe Odu-Ifa (“Great Library of the Books of Enlightenment”).
Ashe (“Divine Essence,” “Power,” “Life Force”): Ashe is the natural magic inherent in all things; it is both the inherent energy and the power to use that energy. It is found in all things – Orisha, ancestors, spirits, humans, animals, plants, rocks, and rivers, etc. In humans, Ashe is based in the head, where also reside the Psyche, Spirit, and Soul. Ashe is a major component in human social interaction, a core element in one’s charisma, and is readily expressed through voiced words such as songs, prayers, praises, curses, or even everyday conversation. Thus, words are actions; spell-casters almost always must use a verbal component to cast spells to properly form the Ashe to their will. Similarly, a leader giving orders, a mother singing a lullaby to her child, a griot telling a tale to his audience, a merchant and a customer haggling over a purchase – all use Ashe to a lesser or greater extent.
Atunbi (“Reborn”): A reincarnated Sunsum, known as an Atunbi, is not the same as the original person; they share some of the memories, have much of the same character and mannerisms, and often physically resemble the person such that it seems like a twin, but the Atunbi is a separate, distinct individual, with their own soul. Atunbi often but do not always have a birthmark in the shape of a thing that was important to the reincarnated Spirit. Very rarely, an Atunbi is split as twins, known as Iwoyi-Atunbi or “Mirror Twins;” in such cases all the Good in the Spirit goes into one twin (We-Ibeji, “Purified Twin”), and all the Evil into the other twin (Baje-Ibeji, “Corrupt Twin”). In such cases, the Evil twin’s birthmark is something significant to evil, such as the symbol of demon-god or other evil sigil. In some places Evil twins are sacrificed; in others, they are left exposed to nature. Most civilized peoples seek to try to raise the child well, and hope for the best; these often end up being given to the temples to raise, though this is difficult if the Evil twin is the second-born, and thus destined to inherit.
Ayanmo (“Destiny”): It is said that the destiny of all mortal Souls, at least, the destiny sought by Olorun and the Orisha, is transcendent unity with Olorun and the Orisha in Orun-Rere. However, it is known that mortals, being mere mortals, often succumb to the evils of the world, whether of petty or great sort. Thus, the Orisha help the Alufaa, in order that the Alufaa can help other mortals to find the Ona Olododo (“Righteous Path”) through the balance of their Oris (Psyche, Spirit, and Soul). The Alufaa consult the Ifa (“Divinations”) to help the supplicant find his or her true Ayanmo.
Eranko-Olote (“Monster Demon”): These are the rebel beasts who sought to steal the land of Ebunorun from the Orisha and humans in the early days of the world. They and their leaders were defeated, but only just; it was a near pyrrhic victory. The Orisha had to make a deal with the Alawa-Buburu of the Eranko-Olote, lest their entire work be undone in a final apocalyptic battle. The Alawa-Buburu were given their own island far out in the western sea, and per the contract could interact with the rest of the world and its people under specific circumstances (i.e., the granting of Aje-Ofo). They could even send their Aderubaniyan into Aarin-Aye when so summoned or under other specific conditions. Most of the Eranko-Olote captured by the gods during the war remained in their prison, Apaadi, there to be held for eternity as punishment; so too would the Aderubaniyan be condemned when slain by mortals. However, even the Eranko-Olote of Apaadi can be summoned by the most powerful of Aje and Osho, through a loophole in the contract with the Orisha.
Ibaje-Okan (“Corrupted Soul”): Ibaje-Okan are mortals who have been corrupted by the Alawa-Buburu, and include everything from the lowest independent worshiper to the corrupted kings of Ibawiokoman. The greatest among the Ibaje-Okan are the Aje and Osho who wield Aje-Ofo. There is much debate among the philosopher-priests of the Nla-Ikawe Odu-Ifa as to whether the Corrupted can be saved from their corruption; the Nla-Ikawe tends to favor erring on the side of kindness, when dealing with those, especially of lower station, who truly seem repentant. Sadly, in most cases, they have often been bitten twice by those who seemed penitent. Of course, to those who continue in their blasphemy, no mercy is expected or required to be given.
Ibeji (“Twin”): Twins are relatively common among the Adeniya and Ominira (1 in 20 births), and merely 1 in 80 births among other peoples; however, twins hold special significance throughout Ebunorun. Twins have special religious significance, in that it is believed that they have an important Ayanmo, or Destiny. Due to ancient events amongst the gods, the younger of twins is the first heir, the eldest the second heir. Twins also have several special abilities. First, twins, whether identical or fraternal, share an empathic bond, and when they concentrate on their twin, or when one twin is experiencing great pain, fear, joy, etc., they can feel the other’s emotions. They also possess line-of-sight telepathy with one another; this extends to a range of one mile at 4th level, 10 miles at 8th level, 100 miles at 12th level, 1,000 miles at 16th level, and any distance, even across dimensions, at 20th level. Finally, twins who both take spell-casting classes can boost each other’s power and exchange spells. If within telepathic range and not casting, a twin can give half his spell-casting level (rounded down) to the other twin, and that twin’s spells are cast at the combined level; if the two are touching, each ca cast their spells at the combined total levels of the two, though only one can cast per round. Also, under similar circumstances, a twin can give a spell to the other twin; the spell is cast at the recipient twin’s level or the level of the giving twin, whichever is greater. The twin who gave a spell cannot regain that spell until their twin has cast the given spell.
Ibi-Kra (“Evil-Soul Demon”): These demons are the souls of men and women who fell to the corruption of the Alawa-Buburu in the days before the Nla-Igbase to become the first Osho and Aje. When mortals were cast out from Ebunorun for the rebellion, led by the Ibi-Kra, the Ibi-Kra themselves were condemned to Apaadi, as had been the Eranko-Olote in the previous age. Like the Eranko-Olote, the Ibi-Kra can be summoned using the rituals learned from the Alawa-Buburu.
Ibukun (“Divine Magic”): Ibukun is the divine magical power granted by the Orishas (gods) to their clergy; contrary to popular belief, this power is not granted by the Supreme God, Olorun, as Olorun is as far above the Orisha as the Orisha are above mortal men, and thus has no time for the dealings of mortals. The Orishas grant their clergy the divine spark that enable them to manipulate the magic inherent in all things (Ashe).
Idan (“Wizardry”): Idan is the ability to wield Ashe learned through the arts of wizardry; this form of magic does not call upon the Orisha or Alawa-Buburu. It is more of a science than an art, and subsumes the study of alchemy and the use of illusions. The arts of Idan are not native to Ebunorun; they came to this land long ages ago, from the east, out of the land of Kush, and were known as Hekau. Wielders of Idan are known as Olusheto (wizards).
Imole (“Divine Spirit,” “Angel”): Imole are the lesser servants of Olorun and the Orishas. They are beings of pure spirit from Orun-Rere (“Heaven”), and consist of innumerable types. Some are direct servants of the Orisha; others are charged with overseeing certain areas of Aarin-Aye, supervise natural phenomenon (winds, trees, volcanoes), or manage specific ideas or concepts (painting, horse-riding, etc.). Most are associated with one or another of the Orisha, though some are independent, if still subordinate to the Orisha.
Ishiro (“Mystical Power”): Igbon (“Wise Ones,” druids) are animists who call upon Ashe, the natural magic of the world, directly using the training known as Ishiro. Unlike wizards who command Ashe, and Alufaa who call upon the Orisha to wield Ashe, the Igbon allow Ashe to flow within and through them naturally, like one breathes.
Iwa (“Character”): This is a person’s character, how he or she behaves in terms of the righteous dictates of the Orisha and the desires of Olorun. In game terms, this is Alignment.
• Those who are Lawful are living righteously; supporting the collective society, nourishing individual weal, supporting order and justice, and living according to the course of the Ayanmo (“Destiny”).
• Those who are Neutral may mostly live in this way, but also at times do things that are not righteous with order and common weal, and are not in accord with Ayanmo.
• Those who are Chaotic actively oppose the righteous ways of Olorun and the Orisha, seek to undermine and invert society, deny their Ayanmo, and usually are cultists of the Alawa-Buburu, if not indeed wielders of Aje-Ofo.
Kra (“Soul”): The portion of the non-physical part of a human given to them by the gods; it is attached to the Body by the Sunsum (“Spirit”), which is based on the Okan (“Psyche”). The Soul is immortal, and upon death returns to the gods. If found wanting, it is cast out of Heaven into Apaadi (“Hell”), there to be consumed and expelled time and again by Demons. The Kra corresponds with the Kushite concept of the Aakhu (Immortal Spirit) that went on to join the gods after death (or is consumed in the Hells by Demons if unworthy).
Mimo (“Exalted Spirit, “Saint”): The greatest of men and women who have transcended the mortal world join the ranks of the Orishas – notably Shango, as well as others. There are also men and women who have achieved great holiness, though not quite so great, yet have “become one with the Orishas,” and thus are “Exalted” or “Saints.” Like the Orishas, they act as intercessors between mortals and their greater spirits – sub-intermediaries for the Orishas. Many call upon favored saints, as often these saints are distantly related or, at the least, either native to the supplicant’s homeland or were dedicated to the cause-at-hand when living.
Mogya (“Female Force”): This is the essence of the female spirit, derived from the Twelve Mothers of Humanity, from whom all men and women of Ebunorun descend. The Twelve Abusua (Female Lineages) are derived from the Mogya. The Mogya of the mother and the Ntoro of the father together form the Sunsum, or Spirit, in a newly-conceived child. Note that some portion of the Sunsum of a child may come from the Eminrin (“walking spirit”) of a deceased relative; a male Sunsum may only reincarnate if the Ntoro of the father is the same, and a female Sunsum may only reincarnate if the Mogya of the mother is the same.
Nla-Igbase (“Great Expulsion”): For untold ages, humans lived a paradisiacal life in Ebunorun, not suffering from want or need, basking in the presence of the Orisha, who in the early days of the world, lived among humans directly. Then, over time, there came to be those who feared death; even though the Orisha told them that death was a natural part of life, and that the souls of the righteous lived on in Heaven, there were those with doubts. And with this doubt, the thoughts of the Alawa-Buburu entered Ebunorun, and whispered their lies into the minds of the doubters, and thus gained their first followers, the first Aje and Osho, who wielded the Aje-Ofo of the Alawa-Buburu seeking to gain immortality.
Over time, the Orisha gave humans more and more responsibility and power in Ebunorun, even as the power of the Alawa-Buburu grew in the hearts of humans. Eventually, the corruption spread far and wide, and fomented rebellion against the Orisha. Such a war, of course, could only end in the defeat of the rebels, for the power of Aje-Ofo in mortal hands means little when directed against the Orisha.
After the rebellion, the leaders, the Ibi-Kra, were cast into Apaadi. Their followers were cast out of Ebunorun, in fact, were exiled to distant lands, banished from Alkebulan altogether, ancestors of the Ajeji (“Strangers,” natives of other continents and possessed of strange coloration and unintelligible languages). Those who had remained neutral were scattered hither and yon into the wilds of Alkebulan; their languages were garbled, but they remained recognizable, and are thus known as Arakunrin (“Brethren”). Those who had remained loyal were still exiled, but were granted the next-best lands in Alkebulan, the Great Valley of Kush, where, using the arts of civilization taught to them by the Orishas, they founded the Kingdom of Kush, the first and greatest kingdom of humans.
With the Nla-Igbase, the Orisha returned to Heaven, and have only returned to Ebunorun physically upon great and important occasions, such as when Ogun cleared the path for humans to return, and when he later taught them how to use iron. Generally, since the Nla-Igbase, the Orisha work in the world through their intermediaries, the clergy, rather than directly.
Nla-Ikawe Odu-Ifa (“Great Library of the Books of Enlightenment”): This is the unified and organized religion of Ebunorun, found in most parts of the region and beyond. It was founded during the early days of the Adeniya Empire by Mimo Arugba (who now serves Alara, daughter of Orunmila) in the mid-9400s. During the growth of the empire, the various local religions were assimilated, syncretizing the names and practices of local Orishas across Ebunorun. Later, the various Olori-Alufaa (“High Priests”) began to fall from the guidelines set down by Mimo Arugba. At this time a wandering adventurer was sent into the path of the faith; Ogu-Ohun, an exiled prince of Ogisomogiso (today known as Ile-Ibukun, the “Blessed Land”). After having a vision under a sacred iroko tree, he set off for Ilu-Aarin, where he quickly rose through the ranks of the Alufaa. With his charisma, he was able to unify the Olori-Alufaa and have himself crowned as Nla-Alufaa, the Great Priest of the Great Library. The Nla-Alufaa ranks amongst the Obas (“Kings”) of the various kingdoms of Ebunorun; his (or her) subjects are the Alufaa of the Nla-Ikawe wherever they may be. Ogu-Ohun, upon taking the Ite-Mimo (“Holy Throne”), took the regnal name Ewuare (Ewuare I, “The Great,” 9440-9473) returned to his home city.
There he found that his brother, the Oba Ogisomogiso, had fallen into decadence and depravity. Upon encountering his holiness, the king burst into tears at his fall from grace and abdicated; he took up a life of solitary existence in the wilderness seeking redemption (he became the founder of the Adagbe-Awujo (“Solitary Order”), which later evolved into the monastic order of warrior monks it is today). Ewuare then installed a Gomina (“Governor”) to rule the secular portion of the country, with the Uzama (“Council”) continuing as an advisory board. He then reorganized the faith along the lines of his native land’s organization.
Each Oba continued to be served by his or her local Olori-Alufaa (as the Obas were center to many important local rituals). However, each region (defined variously by the orders of precedence at the time) was assigned an Odionwere (“Elder,” equivalent to “Bishop”), and all the Odionwere in a greater region (generally defined by ethnicity, culture, and/or language) were subordinate to an Okao (“Governor,” equivalent to “Patriarch”). He built up a rigid hierarchy to support this structure, including the first postal system in the region.
Ntoro (“Male Force”): This is the essence of the male spirit, derived from the Twelve Fathers of Humanity, from whom all men and women of Ebunorun descend. The Twelve Iran-Omo (Male Lineages) are identical with the Ntoro. See Mogya and Atunbi for more information.
Okan (“Psyche”)” The portion of the non-physical part of a human formed in union with the physical form; acts as the “base” upon which the Spirit settles and keeps the Soul in touch with the Body. After death, the Psyche remains with the body and over time, fades to nothing. The Psyche is housed in the skull; if the skull/head is destroyed, so too is the Psyche. The Okan generally coincides with the Kushite concept of the Khat (Mind), the portion of the soul that remains with the body and deteriorates.
Orisha (“Intermediary God”):
Sunsum (“Spirit”): The portion of the non-physical part of a human, usually formed by the union of the parents at conception; based in the Psyche, the Spirit binds the Soul to the body. When a human dies the Spirit breaks from the Psyche, releasing the Soul to return to the gods. The Spirit then wanders (at this stage, known as an Eminrin, or “walking spirit”); usually weaker spirits are pulled by the magic native to the wilderness, there to gather in great invisible swarming masses. Stronger Eminrin eventually return to the homes of their father or mother, to be reincarnated. The strongest and most independent spirits (i.e., often those whose Sunsum grew strong at the cost of their Soul, for they were mighty but did not love the gods), eventually incarnate a spirit-body, and become Iwinrin, “Ghost People.” The Sunsum/Eminrin generally coincides with the Kushite concept of Khaibut (Shadow).
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