Severing kinship ties

From: David Cheng (
Date: Sat 06 May 1995 - 21:37:13 EEST

I don't know if it's just me, but I always seem to do some of my best thinking in the shower. Perhaps it's the womb-like environment? . . . The downside is I have to remember to write down my ideas as soon as I get out, or else I frequently forget them.

Anyway, this morning, for some reason, I was thinking about the months-old discussion about Sartarite Humakti having to sever their kinshi ties when they get initiated. Here's what I came up with:

We know that only a small percentage of 'typical' Sartarites go on to worship any gods besides Orlanth and Ernalda. This means there are probably only a few thousand Humakti in all of Sartar. I doubt there are more than 10-12 decent-sized temple sites. This leads me to believe that the temples have memberships that cross tribal, and certainly clan, lines.

We also know that the Humakt temples are some of the best sources of mercenaries in Sartar. I can easily see how an interested patron would negotiate with the head Sword to employ a significant percentage, if not all, of the worshippers at that temple.

Now, let's say Boris is a Humakt initiate, born into a clan of the Malani tribe. Boris' Sword negotiates with the King of the Colymar to provide a Century of mercenaries for all of Fire season. Boris volunteers to be one of the men to serve.

It turns out that the Colymar king has been gravely insulted by the Malani king, and Colymar king is encouraging his clan chieftans to raid Malani lands over the summer. He is putting his money where is mouth is, and plans to sponsor several raids directly, spearheaded by his new Humakti mercenaries.

The Malani king calls for a muster of his warriors, to counter-raid in force. He fears this also might escalate into a full tribal war.

What are Boris' responsibilities? He is clan duty-bound to answer the King's muster. But, he is also cult duty-bound to fulfill his mercenary contract.

It seems to me that a ritual severing of family ties is almost necessary for the Humakti, to avoid having to make such a difficult decision. It is, in essence, made for him. He has no clan ties restraining him from serving his Sword and his god fully.

Feedback enthusiastically solicited.


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