The Kiris are a Nation of people from the Continuation universe. They are primarily known for rejecting the use of high technology (electric and most complex mechincal tech) in everyday life in favor of a hunting-gathering existence. They inhabit the galaxies of Fóraval, Jelin, and Feyléna. Their language is Keshnul.
Early History - DaughterEdit
Along with the Leddies and Ránlans, the Kiris trace their ancestry to the Ra-Ledis people on Daughter. The circumstances surrounding the disaster that left Daughter toxic to most Earth-based life are not well known, but it is known that the Kiri Nation blamed their specific ancestors for much of this disaster. Their heritage is deeply shaped by this cultural guilt, and their history might be described as an exercise in preventing a similar disaster from occurring again. Their name for their Nation, Kiri, derives from the Keshnul "kiru," which means "incomplete." It is understood to be a reminder that humans cannot exist in isolation from their ecological partners.
The Era of TerraformingEdit
At the time of when Continuation worlds began to be terraformed, the Kiris were a highly technologically advanced people, possibly more than the Ránlans, though there is also evidence that the Kiris excelled more in biotechnology, while the Ránlans excelled more in physics and engineering. The Kiris led terraforming efforts. The first terraformed and arguably most biodiverse world in the Continuation, Onáda, became their capital planet. At this time the Kiris developed the ecological class codes (classes 1-5) for planets that became standard in the Continuation. Near the end of the terraforming era, the Kiris created several bio-engineered humanoid species. In this era, the Kiris laid claim to a sphere of influence that included worlds within the Fóraval, Jelin, and Feyléna galaxies.
The Pre-Convention EraEdit
In the centuries following the substantial completion from terraforming, the Kiris developed several characteristics they would become widely known for. They began to sequester high technology in tech centers and restrict its everyday use. They developed a priest-class, (Keshnul: "Jetháti": "pure ones") to propagate anti-high-tech teachings. They became increasingly matriarchal, to the point of considerable misandry. They developed a system of government in which each planet was overseen by a Worldkeeper, whose ultimate authority figure was the Worldkeeper of Onáda. The Worldkeeper was always female; her husband, if she had one, was called the Worldbringer, but the role was somewhat symbolic and carried little direct authority. Worldkeepers often inherited the title but in some times and places were voted in through caucus. More regional authorities were generally voted in through caucus. During this era, as a result of restricted use of technology, the Kiri worlds began to fall out of contact with each other. For some time, they had little unified government beyond the travels of the Jetháti.
The Convention EraEdit
The Convention of Kiri Worlds in 1000 BE is arguably the most important event in Kiri history. It was precipitated by a war on the planet Uramésha in Fóraval. This war ended in the devastation of a population by a small atomic bomb. This event was viewed as a symptom of breakdown in the interplanetary cohesion of the Kiri Empire. In particular, the use of the bomb was regarded as a warning sign that a more codified policy of technology restriction was needed. Worldkeepers and Jetháti from many Kiri worlds were assembled in a meeting called the Convention of Kiri Worlds, or simply the Convention. The Convention produced codified standards for the doctrine of tech limitation and the responsibilities of Worldkeepers, regional governments, and Jetháti to maintain interplanetary communication and coherent socio-ecological policy. Many of these standards are credited to the theologian-philosopher Samlla of the Fallingwind House.
A key player in bringing peace on Uramésha and a lead figure in the Convention was Átymar Lelfeyléntor, Worldbringer of Onáda. His prominence as a man in these political dealings is often credited with the beginnings of a movement toward greater gender equality.
The Kiri-Sama WarEdit
In the last decade Before the End, the Kiris and Samas engaged in aggression over Sama attempts to colonize the planets of Feyléna, which the Kiris had set aside for non-human Earth-based life. This aggression ended with the destruction of the Sama Empire in the War's End, an event initially blamed on the Kiris, but from which they were soon exonerated, as they lacked the technological means to accomplish it. The Kiri-Sama War or War (often simply "the War") became an era of great romance in Kiri culture, which the Worldkeeper Léyvia Lelfeylénta at the center of a rich tradition of heroic legends. However, the practical impact of the War on Kiri life was relatively slight. The fighting never impinged on Kiri worlds inhabited by humans. Its greatest significance for the Kiris is perhaps the illustration of their willingness to risk life and limb for the safety of the Feyléna planets and the non-Earth-based life they nurtured. It is, thus, an affirmation of their belief in their philosophical principles.
The Post-War EraEdit
The 2000 years between the War's End and the Jana Era were a time of relative stability for the Kiri Empire, marked by a gradual diminishment of the central power of Onáda and increased isolation of more far-flung Kiri worlds, particularly in Jelin.
The Jana EraEdit
The Jana Era proved ideologically difficult for the Kiris. Until the advent of widespread travel via jae tech, the Kiris had been able to effectively isolate themselves from outside cultural influences by monitoring border traffic at the Tides (stable wormholes). Jae travel, however, moves point-to-point without needing Tides. Early in the Jana Era, the Kiris found themselves besieged by international visitors (and their technologies) with little infrastructure for managing these influences. The Kiri Empire quickly embraced the use of Jana Walking (ja
e travel), arguably in violation of tech-limitation principles in order to have access to people and technologies to manage international jae traffic. Over the next several centuries, tech-limitation teachings were increasingly less followed and individual Kiri planets became more and more idiosyncratic in their culture and responses to technology. Eventually the empire fragmented into individual worlds of Kiri cultural origin.
Generally living in small, isolated communities, Kiris have developed considerable phenotypic diversity, though blue eyes, blond hair, and dark-brown skin are very rare among them. Hair color typically varies from mid-brown to black and skin color from very pale to mid-brown. They comprise a wide range of sizes and builds. Their Earth ancestors appear to have been principally Eurasian.
Kiri social structure varies widely by time and place, but a typical Kiri "norm" is a community of several hundred individuals in contact with several other such communities that may be divided by several days' journey. Community leaders may be chosen by heredity line of descent, election, or other means. Women tend to dominate decision-making. Education is formalized with young children being taught by dedicated teachers prior to apprenticeship in adolescence. Some universities exist. Jetháti periodically travel through communities to teach philosophy.
Family and Sexual RelationsEdit
Nuclear families consisting of parents and children tend to live together in the same house, though they often live close to other relatives. Surnames are place names based on residence: as people move, they will generally change their name, though some prominent families retain ancestral names. Homosexual relationships are generally widely accepted and even praised for being non-reproductive and, therefore, carrying no risk of contributing to overpopulation. However, formal marriage is usually heterosexual, suggesting a strong cultural link between marriage and raising children. Monogamous long-term sexual relationships tend to be favored. The use of contraception is almost universal and available to both sexes by means of herbs engineered for this purpose. Families with obviously unplanned children face ostracism. The largest commonly accepted family size is three children, two being more common. Larger families may run the risk of being criticized for having unplanned children.
Everyday Technologies and EconomyEdit
Kiris tend to be hunters and gatherers, though some farm in small way. Families often specialize in an additional trade, such as weaving, smithying, etc. Reading and writing are common, though high quality paper is rare. Technologies that require significant infrastructure or electricity are typically prohibited.
Communities are largely economically self-sufficient and are considered unbalanced if they are not. While money is sometimes used, barter is more common. Some more learned individuals, such as Jetháti or lorewards are considered to contribute to the society through intellectual work and are given some resources without physical payment, though all community members contribute to gathering food, constructing homes, and other tasks. Travelers are generally treated hospitably without request for recompense.
Kiri National law is codified and taught by the Jetháti. Communities may have their own local laws. Punishments generally aim to correct an infraction. For example, a stolen item must be replaced. Those considered a substantial disruption to the community are exiled for varying periods of time, up to permanently. Someone considered an immediate threat or someone convicted of murder may be killed. Those who consistently break tech-limitation are exiled from the Kiri Empire.
Religion and PhilosophyEdit
The dominant Kiri religion/philosophy is called Tórvathen (Keshnul: "nature worship"). It has two aspects, one concerned with a mythic, divine tradition (often considered the "religious" aspect) and one concerned with attitudes and practices (often considered the "philosophical" aspect). The bifurcation of these two is strongly evident in the writings of the famous theologian Samlla of the Fallingwind House.
Tórvathen myth posits a creator-goddess, Volsénlla, who is responsible for creating the universe of the Continuation. She is generally considered one of a race of gods with different gods responsible for creating different universes. Having created the universe, Volsénlla is not actively involved with it. It is considered inappropriate to pray to her for intercession as doing so asks her to alter the laws of physics, which she established to manage the universe. This has not stopped many populations over the years from forming traditions that do pray to her. However, Samlla of the Fallingwind House held that Volsénlla should be viewed as a metaphor or instructive tale and not a reality.
The Tenants of TórvathenEdit
Tórvathen has two core teachings:
- Nature is everything.
- Everything is a part of nature.
The first of these teachings denies the existence of a separate "supernatural" above or outside of natural laws. Even Volsénlla is considered to be part of a larger natural order. The second teaching denies a divide between human and non-human, nature and culture. It has sometimes been noted that Kiri philosphy is inconsistent in expressing that there is no divide between humans and the rest of nature while simultaneously regarding human agency with a suspicion it does not ascribe to the rest of nature. In the Kiri tradition, a sense of special human responsibility (ex. for the collapse of Daughter) is in a tension with a desire to undo the narrative of human specialness.
Mirlla (pron. MIR ya, Keshnul: "the way of life") denotes the laws of physics (including expressions like biology, ecology, etc.) within a Tórvathen philosophical context. Mirlla is the most revered principle in Kiri philosophy. The universe is regarded a grand, self-sustaining and self-correcting system based on the functioning of the laws of physics and their biological derivatives. (Kiris are, of course, aware of the law of entropy, and incorporating this energetic decline into Tórvathen thought is the subject of much debate.) It is considered suspect to tamper too much with these laws and wrong to wish them suspended by supernatural intervention. Such acts or intentions are seen as disrespectful to the wonder of mirlla. Acts that create ecological imbalance, loss of biodiversity, overpopulation, etc. are seen as disrespectful of mirlla (a violation of it in its small manifestations) and are strongly resisted. The defense of mirlla was a main philosophical motive for Kiri action in the Kiri-Sama War.
One aspect of respect for mirlla is respect for death. Kiri philosophy holds that limits should be placed on how far humans go to save or extend life. Thus, the phrase, "Eval lyne" (Keshnul: "let [it] die") is written over every tech center as a reminder of this principle of tech limitation.