Monday, September 30, 2013

Geato Abira: Tari Dar, the City of the Blue Stones

By Scott Bingham

The Creation of the Lizardfolk and Tari Dar

Through the bloody and violent death of the Nameless One at the hands of his disgusted brother Mar’ies, the tears of Ishari over her broken child’s form caused the birth of the Geato Abira. It is said that Tari Dar marks the place the Goddess of Truth knelt over the torn body of her child as she wept. As the goddess’s tears fell and mixed with the blood of the Nameless One the lizardfolk were created, taking shape and first breath beneath the mutilated corpse of the fallen god. They emerged from the soil and discovered Ishari in anguish over the murder of her child. Owing their creation to Ishari the lizardwomen erected the Grand Spire to honor her and to please her, trying to assuage the torment the great Goddess dwelt in. Looking upon the lizardwomen, Ishari loved them and blessed them, leaning down to kiss one among their number. Legend says that this was the birth of the first Sala-ma, for when the lips of the Goddess of Truth brushed the eyelids of the lizardwoman, her mind became clear and her eyes could see beyond the mortal realm. Being now divinely connected to their goddess the Geato Abira cultivated and protected this gift, seeking to pass such a blessing down through their daughters to further honor Ishari. From these first few lizardfolk sprang the Geato Abira and in that place was Tari Dar built.

The Grand Spire and the Core

At the heart of Tari Dar stands the Grand Spire, the very same said to have been raised to appease the Goddess of Truth. Built by Geato Abira hands the Grand Spire is massive in size and reaches toward the heavens, symbolic of the source from which the lizardfolk came to be. Though simple in design the Grand Spire is a wonder to behold, rising above the marshland and visible from nearly everywhere within the Geato Marsh. Travelers wandering the marshes often use the Grand Spire as a point of reference, using the shining light reflecting off of its surface as a central point while navigating the mazelike wetlands. Due to the sacredness of Tari Dar and its closed borders none have gotten close enough to fully inspect the Grand Spire but outsiders speculate that the spire was constructed from vast amounts of sapphire, the only known use of the massive vein running beneath the city of Tari Dar. For those who have entered the secluded way stations of Tari Dar it has also been determined that long and winding branches wrap around the spire with a lover’s embrace, symbolic to the Geato Abira of their love and connection to the Goddess of Truth. 

Beneath the Grand Spire lies the Core, a small network of caves that is entirely insulated from light and sound. To the Geato Abira this is the most sacred of all for it was within the Core that the first lizardwomen were conceived. To them the Core is the very womb that they were birthed from as they first came to be. The Core’s interior is pitch black, soundless, and a seemingly impossible labyrinth despite its limited expanse beneath the earth. When the Talos Bak Sal wish to add another sight sister to their ranks the Core plays a crucial role in determining her worthiness. The Sala-ma will be placed within the Core alone and the Talos Bak Sal will wait for her to emerge. If the lone lizardwoman can navigate the Core and successfully return to the land above she is considered to be loved of Ishari and worthy of being one of the goddess’s high priestesses. This sacred initiation is also a proving ground of a Sala-ma’s command of the seer-sight which plays a critical part in the Talos Bak Sal’s role in Geato Abira society.

In times of need that concern the entirety of the Geato Abira the Sala-ma of the Talos Bak Sal will meet at one of these holy places to govern the Geato Abira using the great gift of truth, the seer-sight. Inside the Core, the very womb of their existence, the Talos Bak Sal ponder the world within, seeking the answers to what course the Geato Abira must take to better themselves as a people and what changes should be made in their interactions with one another. Round the base of the Grand Spire the Talos Bak Sal ponder the world without, determining their relationships with outsiders and those who are not Geato Abira and examining how to better their strength and influence outside the borders of Tari Dar. 

Guarding these holy places at all times but never entering within is the ever vigilant and outward facing Gale Sal or the Watchful Eye. Members of the Watchful Eye consist of Sala and Sal-Talon warriors who have proven themselves and are deemed the most worthy of their post. Whether through battle or personal achievement these warriors have demonstrated to all Geato Abira that they are the strongest, most capable, and above all cunning warriors to be found throughout the marshlands. To be among the Gale Sal is considered by the Geato Abira to be the highest honor a warrior can achieve. The Gale Sal seem tireless in their vigil over the high priestesses and sacred places of Ishari but on rare occasion the Gale Sal have been known to send one of their number to resolve a dispute between the various tribes. Even scarcer than this is the involvement of a high priestess accompanied by a contingent of Gale Sal for though they are the highest authority among the Geato Abira they seldom leave the safety and sanctity of Tari Dar.

The City of the Blue Stones

The City of the Blue Stones is so named because of the massive natural vein of sapphire that the city rests upon. The unique clarity of the water throughout the marshland has also led outsiders to refer to Tari Dar as the City of the Pure Waters though the Geato Abira rarely use such an allusion. The Geato Abira will claim that both phenomena are because of Ishari’s tears which had not ceased to fall even as the first lizardwoman rose from the Core. Holding such a place as the very center of their creation the Geato Abira feel that it was here that they could feel closest to their goddess. Tari Dar is a holy city, dedicated to Ishari and closed to any who are not Geato Abira with the exception of a few designated areas that are strictly supervised and enforced.

Multiple temples dedicated to Ishari spider web across Tari Dar and all entrances to the city are underwater and effectively guarded at all times. The few areas that are open to those who are not Geato Abira are limited to above ground way stations on the very borders of Tari Dar. Each of these possess a strong warrior presence and to enter even these one must be cleared by a Sal Abira. Visitors can stay as long as they wish with the understanding that they will enter no further into the City of the Blue Stones. Many who make the journey do so to experience the culture of the Geato Abira, to seek out the counsel of their priestesses, or to honor the goddess Ishari. Many of the Kindred and Krishtog frequent these fringe stations and still others of Desylinn’s peoples have visited these open areas.

Tari Dar is a wonder of a city in its ability to be self-sustaining. Although many merchants and traders make the journey and peddle what they can at one of the many way stations, a majority of Tari Dar’s economy comes in the form of offerings and donations by the thousands of tribes throughout the marshland. It is not uncommon for a Sal Abira to make a pilgrimage to the City of the Blue Stones to pay homage to Ishari and to seek guidance for their individual tribe, bringing with them an offering to Ishari or gifts for her priestesses the Sala-ma. They may take a small contingent of priestesses and warriors with them or travel alone to Tari Dar. It is rare to find a Taresal within Tari Dar as the gender as a whole is looked down upon. The gift of the seer-sight is believed to belong to the divinely chosen females of the Geato Abira and any male possessing this gift is seen to do so wrongfully and to spite their goddess. Taresal with a respected command over the seer-sight however have been known to be permitted within city limits, though they are often closely monitored.