Customs & Habits of the Amazoi

Addressing Others Alcohol Arguing & Children Bathing Blood/Race Calendar/Time Coming of Age Death Emotions Food Fighting Foreign Words Games Gender Equality Gods/Goddesses Humour Language Love Matriline Names Numbers/Counting Rights Seasons Second Adulthood Sentry Duty Sexuality Spirits & The Mind Story Telling Training War

Addressing others
(bai-bat-zi ilak)

Amazoi referred to everyone in the tribe as their brother or sister, father or mother, grandmother or grandfather.

brother - tulan
sister - tula
father - atak
mother - masha
grandmother - mon-masha
grandfather - mon-atak

-The familiar or gentle suffix ~ha was used to indicate immediate family.
-The grandparental prefix mon~ can also be place before names.
(Such as: mon-daeruma = Grandmother Daeruma)

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Literally, The State of Being Berry (aj + i)

It is frequently mentioned through Books I & II, that the Amazoi had the capability of making 'wine' for generations. Though the beverage was most likely not similar to wine as we know it today.

There is no detailed information on how it was made, but with the Amazoi's knowledge in making sealable (lidded) pots, one could conclude they had discovered the process of making yeast and other fermentation techniques enabling them to make a fairly good quality drink. It is also mentioned that honey was added to sweeten it.

The Scrolls indicate the wine was not made by one certain type of berry, but by an accumulation of various types. It has been suggested the main berry might have been what is known now as the Gooseberry. Loaded with vitamin C, it would also help explain the health of the Amazoi.

The question then remains of what the Amazoi did with the pots during their frequent migrations in Book II.
The mention of Shayverta searching for and testing the clay found in most new areas attest to some pots simply being left behind. While in the same time, mention of bouts of drinking after a move indicate at least some were taken with them.

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Arguing & Children
(biter-no aut gan)

Here Arguing & Children go hand in hand. For in order to understand the Amazoi outlook on arguing, one must understand their outlook on what a child is.

The Amazoi believed that birth itself was a horrifically confusing and frightening event, as it was when the newly born's soul entered this world.
Being loud, unbridled, selfish, greedy, fearful, moody, etc. were all considered 'natural tendencies' inherited by the trauma of birth by all people.
(Also included were the inabilities; of speech, to figure out problems, to walk, etc.)
This gave the Amazoi a high level of compassion and patience for the 'newly born' and their actions.

Yet, though these traits were accepted as a part of life, they were expected to lessen as the child grows towards rap-na tolo-ut or 'the soul's awakening'.
This was the point in life where the person understood that he/she was alive, would grow old and eventually die. This 'becoming conscious of one's self' was an unspoken, and private matter, that was expected to occur before Coming of Age.

The common scolding was:
eed-na rap tolo-ut-bo. nay ti-way voy ser
(Your + soul + open + present tense. Can't + do + such things + emphatic)
The modern English equivalent might be:
"You're getting older now. You can't do things like that any more",
For obvious reasons, this holds a much deeper meaning in Osfer than in English.

For drastic measures, an Amazoi parent might say:
eed-na rap verse-to
(Your + soul + shut + (future tense))
There is no modern English equivalent, but can be explained as:
The tolo-ut of becoming conscious derives from the word 'to open'. verse is 'to close' or 'shut'. Therefore, the 'shutting' of one's soul would indicate a reverting to a child-like state of mind.

For the Amazoi, this was the equivalent of losing one's mind, which was perhaps more feared than death.
It was also thought that loud, boisterous people were on their way to going insane.
Thus, to the Amazoi, raising one's voice to express a point meant one's mind was reverting to the empty-ness of a new born.

If grievances could not be solved calmly by words, they would take their problems to the Training Grounds.

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Bathing for the Amazoi was a continuous custom from generations past.

A large hole was dug next to a river where the water could flow in and out of the bath area. For the most part, the current of the river was only used to add fresh water when the pool had become dirty.
The base and sides of the pool were lined with stone.
In the center, a ring of stone (like around a fire) was placed.
Beside the pool, a fire pit and extra wood was kept to heat rocks.
When the rocks were heated, they were put anywhere in the pool at first, but when the water had heated enough to bathe in, the rocks were taken out or placed in the inner ring.

The unique value of bathing was made especially clear by how the Amazoi would take the time to fill in their pools before moving to another location.
Although not clearly stated why they did this, it can be speculated that they (perhaps childishly) wanted to guard their special secret from other tribes.

It is worth mentioning the Amazoi did not link bathing with sickness, as their beliefs of catching a cold or worse was related to their idea of 'spirits'.
(See: Emotions)

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Blood / Race

The issue of what race (blood) a person was has always been present in cultures around the world. But the acceptance of other tribes' people into their fold, the Amazoi unconsciously produced a class-system within their own tribe.
This was most evident in The Scrolls, in which the Storytellers notably omitted mentioning a large fraction of the Amazoi tribe who were not 'full-blooded'.

Up to the day Wayu decided to join the Amazoi, the Amazoi were a single race, described as 'light skinned with black hair'.
Wayu, being from the Wedic tribe, was described as having brown skin, and combined with the tales of how his people attempted to migrate from the south-east, one can assume they were close to present day East-Indian in race.
In his case, there was no indication of racial separation. Perhaps because he was Taysha's good friend, or perhaps simply because he was a good and helpful man.

When Taysha decided to steal Tiya away from her 'owner', the blood-mix tripled. Tiya was described by those knowledgeable as being from the races of the 'Far East'. Though 'far' could have been any distance, it is through Taysha's description of Tiya that we are led to believe she was of asian descent.
The six newly freed slaves that came with Tiya were described as 'light skinned with brownish hair'. Though assumably caucasian, they were still of a different look than their Amazoi counterparts.

The actual issue of labelling other Amazoi by 'blood', seemed to have been started completely by Ulforta.
The reason for this fixation is debatable, but could possibly have stemmed from watching her half-sister take the place of their mother as Chieftess.

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Calendar / Time
(toka / mil)


The Amazoi counted their years by 'winters', and used three calendars counting up from the following events:
1. The Hoorg Massacre
2. The Reunion
3. Taysha's Age

Much like how a Canadian might flip between metric and imperial measurements, usage of the Amazoi calendar was interchangeable and differed by the person speaking.
For example, Falotra would be more inclined to state dates by Taysha's Age as a sign of respect towards her.

The most common usage of measuring the years was from the Hoorg Massacre.
This is the calendar used on the TIMELINE page.
Also see: Seasons


Referring to the time of the day was based on the movement of the sun by width of a hand. This roughly divided the day into 12 hours (or 13 for those with smaller hands).
Measuring the movement of the stars were used for telling time at night.
Time on cloudy days was estimated, and it was mentioned in The Scrolls as being the main reason for most of the Amazoi arguments over being late for sentry duty.
A similar example of this method is shown here.

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Coming of Age
(boto-no ei fern-a)

- (The present tense marker no is dropped when not occurring at the moment)
- (The effeminate suffix a is dropped when regarding boys)

In the days Pre-Massacre, the Coming of Age ceremony was only for girls at the time of their first period. This was regarded as the definite sign of child-bearing age, regardless of when the girl had reached puberty.

After The Reunion, Taysha (perhaps from Wedic influence) felt the need to add a Coming of Age ceremony for the boys as well. This was done at the first signs of puberty which the Amazoi referred to as tolra-na kash or 'The Summer of the Itch'.

In each case, the ceremony was held in the hut of the parent of equal gender, joined by the grandparent to represent the three generations.
Outside the hut, the uk mai-trebak or Watcher would stand. This person would be a close friend of the family, whose duty was to organise those who came to present tont san elboi-ra or The Three Gifts.
The Three Gifts were not material. They were Advise, Warning & Praise.
These gifts were given only by other adults and everyone was expected to contribute.
The receivers were not allowed to speak during the giving of the gifts and it was generally believed this was so no arguing, or lengthy chats over the advice could occur.
Each bit of advice could be short, long, funny or deep, depending on the person giving them and his/her relationship with the new adult.

Though there were 'popular' snippets of advice that seemed to circulate (See Sexuality), there was care among the others not to say the same thing as it would be the equivalent of presenting someone with the same gift.

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How the Amazoi viewed death can be understood simply by what they called it:
tont bae-es-tam-slo or The Great Awakening from this Life.

Similar to other cultures of the time, the Amazoi also believed that their souls traveled by boat across The Great Water where they would then be taken to the Westlands where they started their new life in far'tain (The Beyond).

Far'tain could be described as Heaven or Vahalla. It was there the Amazoi would meet those of their tribe that died before them and spend eternity as the person they had made themselves in life.

Basically death was thought of being the human (and animal) equivalent of turning from a tad-pole to a frog, or a caterpillar to a butterfly. It was this thinking that most likely lessened the grieving process of those left behind, and would perhaps make other cultures that witnessed their lack of mourning to question if the Amazoi had any true feelings.

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As mentioned several times, the Amazoi took great pride in controlling their emotions.
It was, after all, considered a trait of an adult.
This definition of 'emotions' was referred to by the Amazoi as: wayt
Which is a word very similar to the English 're-action'.
Anger, sadness, frustration, joy, embarrassment, etc, were all considered to be a 're-actionary' by-product of any event.
Thus the feelings that derived from any given situation was then in the hands of the person affected, who could then decide how to properly handled such 'emotions'.

This, of course, was largely relative to whether the event crossed the lines of poja or not.

There were many more emotions than the conventional: love, hate, anger, happiness, etc.
The Amazoi would refer to each feeling during a moment in life as the um-ra na vor-ra
(The Feeling of the Spirits)
In simple terms, these were feelings triggered by nostalgia or a new experience, (A smell, a temperature, a word or phrase, a certain look) but in reality it encompassed a long list of feelings specific to each separate event in life.

For example:
- the feeling of brushing one's hair
- the feeling of brushing someone else's hair
- the feeling of making a fire
- the feeling of wet boots
and could even get as complicated as:
- the feeling of the smell of smoke from a particular type of wood
- the feeling of the smell of wet forest when the sun comes out

It also became popular for the Amazoi to create titles for these emotions, much like a type of simple poetry. (See: Games)

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Due to the apparent good-health and longevity of the Amazoi, it is safe to suspect their food was rich and diverse in nutrients.

There are over 6,000 plant, 130 mammal, 380 bird, 90 reptile and more than 125 fish species recorded to be in the Caucasus area today.
Of course, these numbers don't include any that have become extinct since the 8th Century BC, which could make the total number of edible things during the days of the Amazoi even higher.

Even the short list found on this website, clearly shows how the Amazoi were not only able to feed themselves year-round, but how easy it was to obtain the variety of food necessary for a maintainable health.

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Not to be confused with Arguing, this refers to settling differences by physical conflict or to establish who is the better fighter.

Physical conflicts of the Amazoi didn't just spring up like a bar-brawl.
One of the individuals involved in an argument that was not settled by verbal reasoning would approach an elder and ask him/her to oversee a fight between them.
The concept behind settling disputes by fist and foot was to discourage people from being purposefully aggravating.
Humans are very unlikely to endure physical discomfort or pain when they know deep-down, that they are simply being unreasonable.
Or as the Amazoi say; vim patan-to min balat or 'Tying for the sake of making knots'
(That is: Tying rope just for making knots and not for any useful purpose = Arguing for the sake of arguing and not reaching a conclusion)

Social influence over the small population addressed the problem of anyone trying to manipulate the custom (such as a stronger fighter attempting to settle all his/her problems in the Training Grounds) and there were no mentions in The Scrolls of spanking or random or sudden hittings.
Violence was seen as a final solution and almost a humiliation for both people when an arguement had escalated to the point of taking it to the Training Grounds.
More often than not, it was the others who, sick of hearing their bickerings, would push the annoying couple to fight it out for the sake of everyone's poja.

Contrary to popular Amazonian myth, the Amazoi were not blood-thirsty war-mongers who liked to punch each other in the face when there were no enemies to be found.
A lifetime of injuries due to their harsh training, and knowing who was stronger, would dissuade most from constantly fighting.

Though, there is always the exception to the rule.
Pierloa and Gelsha for example, were constantly warned about being overly aggressive.
While on the other hand, Tolra and her constant fights with Noiya were seen as more of a festive event.

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Foreign Words
(toran na karat)

Also referred to as ostoran which literally is any language other than Osfer.

The inclusion of foreign words was mostly a problem for Ulforta, who hated when her sister used the Wedic word 'sea' when referring to The Great Water.
The absorption of foreign words naturally occurred as the Amazoi took on people from other tribes and languages.
The final acceptance of these words became most evident during their time in the Flatlands, when a need arose for specialized military, trade and political jargon.

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There were a few games mentioned in The Scrolls.

The-The Emotions game (tont tont um)
Is less a game than an on-going cultural event.
Starting with tont and ending with um it is a type of challenge in finding poetry in the emotions derived from any one certain event.
(See: Emotions)

Rock-toss (tatbor)
One smaller stone (the marker) is thrown in front of the players. Each player then takes his/her turn to try to throw a rock and make it land closest to the first thrown marker-stone.
(Similar to Petanque)

Archery (dolfat-poi)
There are three recorded archery games:
- Hitting a swinging target.
- Hitting a target from farthest away.
Once in the Lowlands, they were taught
- Seeing how many arrows one could shoot into the air before the first arrow landed.

Playing Wolves (noi-poi)
Basically played by children, it was a group pretending to be wolves with the 'game' being each member finding his/her position in the hierarchy of the group, fighting with 'claws and teeth', 'mating' and 'hunting'.

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Gender Equality
(bebreta-na torofol't)

There was no established word or concept of 'equality' among the Amazoi. In fact, it is indicated the Amazoi of pre-Massacre followed the universal pattern of gender orientated tasks. That is, the men went hunting and cut down trees, while the women sewed and took care of children. This was mentioned by Taysha who stated, "I can't see myself as a simple tribe's woman. Sitting on my ass all day and wiping snot from noses while men come to kill and rape us at will. And I won't let you either . . ."
After her show of strength and giving her own elders the ultimatum of Join me and my ways, or leave, her newly developed ideals soon took root in the new Amazoi culture.

Taysha also incorporated the intricate details of her own language to assert her viewpoints. In one response to Rafeltu saying the women should or should not be doing certain tasks because they are 'different' from men, Taysha replied, "Okay, so... In Osfer, we have naytor which means that one thing is nothing like the other, we also have naysh'thina which quite literally means 'not so same', right? In Wedic, they only have one word, 'different'. You see? We have two words for a reason. Look, if I'm talking water and fire, they are naytor. For that matter, so are bears and wolves. But men and women? Really? We have more in common with each other than not, I'd say... Do you say I have more in common with Ufrudroia because of what she carries between her legs? Nonesense. Men and women are naysh'thina unless we decide to call them otherwise."

Masculine vs. Feminine:

The Amazoi did not adhere to the idea that masculine = male and feminine = female.
This is perhaps most confusing to "Western" understanding because the words are inter-related to each other. But for the Amazoi, the word commonly used to indicate "masculine" is ver't which can also mean 'strength'. Whereas the word used to indicate "feminine" is ulba't which can also mean 'weak'.
To the Amazoi, these are not traits separatable by gender, but by individuals.

For the Amazoi, it was not a matter of creating an equal or fair society. It started as a habit to ensure their survival by a young woman who had proven herself in fights, hunting, making weapons, and on the battlefield, and was continued on as a habit of custom.

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Gods / Goddess

The gods and goddesses were similar to the ideas of the Greek deities in the way they were less interested in humans than wanting to affect their lives on a daily basis.
Similar to meeting up with a pack of wolves while alone, interaction between man and the gods was generally seen as something to avoid.

The gods were temperamental and enjoyed toying with man, much like how a child would play with an ant nest. During this time of being pestered by the gods, the Amazoi's view was to endure the mischief until the god became bored with them and moved on.

Mostly this consisted of the minor inconveniences of life, though from time to time it would come in the form of the Fever or other serious ailments. There were certain deities who were always angry (The River god Torak who punished man with cold for entering his domain). And there were those who were always friends to the Amazoi (The Goddess Uverta, for example)

There is no record of the Amazoi considering the world-wide concept of 'appeasing the gods' either by self-sacrifice or animal-sacrifice. In fact, it was mentioned in Book III of how they stopped the practice in Torik.
The idea one could avert the gods mischief by sacrifice was considered as stupid as thinking it could stop the wolves from howling at night. Like the wolves, the gods would do what they wanted to do. All the Amazoi could do is endure the annoyance and trust that if Uverbim allowed it to happen, then it wasn't beyond their capabilities to bear it.

Similar to the beliefs that there is a 'life force' or god in everything, so too did the Amazoi believe there were 'gods' in everything from rocks, trees, food, animals, water, etc. They could travel freely if desired, though most stayed within their familiar worlds. These gods were mostly seen as what we would refer to as 'spirits' and would play when they became bored. Mostly these games included seeing how much they could mess up a man or woman's life.
(See: Emotions)

But out of that group, there were superior gods who were the leaders and kept order.

Some of the major gods and goddesses of the Amazoi were:

- The god of the ground.
(Like his brother, Torak, he used the cold to keep humans away, but the Amazoi had learned to render his tricks useless generations ago.)

- The god of the sky, clouds and storms.
(Appreciated as the giver of rain, he was also not one to anger.)

- The god of the sun.
(The brother of Tu. More-or-less a self-appointed slave, he lived on the sun and continually fed the fire with wood. He was considered too busy to play games with man.)

- The goddess of fire.
(A short-tempered goddess best not provoked. She was considered friendly to the Amazoi because of their common dislike for her brother Torak.)

- The god of the rivers.
(He used cold to punish anyone who entered his domain and would drown anyone if possible. Brother and enemy of Tabita.)

- The god who shaped earth.
(Using a great thorn to carve mountains and rivers, he is thought to be constantly working somewhere on the earth, he is considered too busy for the likes of man. His destiny seems to similar to his brother Panontu.)

- The mother & father of all Creation.
(Considered female as she 'gave birth' to all there is, basically she is what we refer to as 'God'. She is considered a friend to the Amazoi, and the one deity that decides the final outcome of every event that happens.)

- The goddess of birth, love, spring and sex.
(She is a constant friend of the Amazoi. Conflicting ideologies state her as the mother of the Amazoi rather than Vermot who fathered them via a human woman, though most Amazoi consider Uverta to be more of a happy-go-lucky, sister figure.)

- The goddess of winter and cold.
(She is one of the few 'unpopular' goddesses because of her control of the cold of the sky. But she is not hated because she takes the cold away for half the year.)

- Believed to have fathered the Amazoi with a human woman.
(Conflicting ideologies state him as the father of the Amazoi, rather than Uverta who bore them directly.)

It is also interesting to note the word 'luck' (lina'ut) is derived from the phrase tray li-ra na ut u-no eed which means, "If the gods have their eye on you (they will decide what your fate is)".

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The humour of the Amazoi was generally soft spoken and familiar.

There was mention of more of an appreciation for humorous stories, or word-play, rather than physical humour. Perhaps this is related to not wanting to interfere with a person's poja. This was most evident when a person got mad at a 'joke'.
This was generally considered the responsibility of the one doing the joking, as it showed an insensitivity (or as the Amazoi would say; 'intelligence') of the joker.

Even so, there is also mention of finding farting and burping funny by both genders and, similar to people calling their friends 'shorty' or 'ugly', name-calling occurred (when in good spirits) as a sign of a close relationship.

Another insight to the Amazoi outlook on poor humour would be their word for "Leave (me) alone.": palapoi = Literally means: refrain from playing

It was also made clear during their time with the Southlanders that the idea of laughing at another person's misfortune or pain was distasteful to the Amazoi.

After reading of Rafeltu's dislike for Wirfel in Book I, it can be assumed this sense of humour that the Amazoi possessed was acquired after The Reunion and derived from the quieter demure of Rafeltu and Falotra, the only two males of Age for years.

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The Amazoi referred to their language as os-fer which is basically an abbreviation of payprut osfer, which means; '(to be) able (to) speak properly'.

The spoken word is treated with much respect by the Amazoi as it was believed to be a gift from the gods. And like all things from the gods, there are both truth and lies, good and bad within it. It was thought that if handled carelessly, the spoken word would most certainly lead to troubles.

In fact, the Amazoi saying: li-ra nay fer ther, ut-na karat (The gods cannot manipulate the words of the eyes) is a caution for the Amazoi not to rely on words to convey a message, but to depend on their observation to inform themselves. In fact, the word for 'intelligent' is rapshir't noway which is derived from the words: thought + observe.

Details of the Osfer language can be found on the Osfer page: here.

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The word nai-um is derived from na, i, and um
(meaning: possessive indicator + the state of being + feeling).
This expresses the feeling of being in love, but is not used in the form of "I love you".
The word for 'love' in this situation is the possessive indicator: day na-no eed
(meaning: I + possessive indicator + (present tense) + you).
Having no direct English translation, this makes understanding of the use difficult.

The origins are derived from the Osfer idea of poja which describes the 5 main 'rights' of man. The thinking is that when something is pleasing through the first four senses of Sight, Hearing, Smell and Touch, then it is directly linked with the fifth attribute of poja, which is the desire to possess the object.

This word-usage is obviously from generations past when an Amazoi man would confess his love for a woman by claiming he wished to 'own' her. This was simply a terminology that obviously didn't hold any negative connotations as the 'modern' Amazoi continued to use the phrasing. Ironically, the Amazoi of pre-Massacre considered the emotion of jealousy as the fault of the provoker, while Taysha's Amazoi viewed jealousy as one of the emotions of a child that was to be 'out grown' by the time one reached adulthood.

This, of course, was not a law, and there were numerous Amazoi men and women who stayed with one partner their entire lives.

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(dar-na masha)

Pre-massacre, the Amazoi followed their lineage by the father.
But since the restructuring of the 'family' by Taysha, relationships between brothers and sisters became more confusing when following who the father was. There were also those (either from fear of hurting someone or out of embarrassment) who did not want to openly say who they were impregnated by.

The Amazoi then simplified the lineage by considering who was related to whom through the mother.

People who shared the same mother were then 'True' brothers and sisters, while those of the same father were considered more of clan members that retained the formal title of 'brother and sister'. This was not the case with everyone. Some people related to those born of the same father, such as Rafel and Ulforta who considered each other to be siblings more than anything.

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Each Amazoi name had meaning and was derived from one or more Osfer words.

Using the same name as another Amazoi was considered an ill practice.
It was believed a child with the same name as another might confuse the Goddess who attributed the traits of character and destiny of each person. This was considered irresponsible of the parent for not ensuring his/her child would be free to develop their own path in life, but rather be forced to adhere to the destiny of another.
It was also just inconceivably confusing for the Amazoi to have more than one person with the same name, as one reads in Book III when dealing with the Southlanders.

The exception to the rule was Taysha.
Feeling herself to be the last of the Amazoi, she named her daughter after her mother Shaymo without much thought of social consequences.
At The Reunion, this social 'faux-pas' was solved by Taysha's aunt Shayverta by actually re-naming her mother to Purnoia, meaning Defending Wolf. The understanding was they would all figure out the right course of action when everyone had passed over to The Beyond.

Important words used in names that sound strange to the English ear:

Meaning: 'dew'. 'Dew' was believed to be the 'life water' of the Goddess. Without it, the earth would wither and die. It holds secondary meaning as the the 'life water' of a woman which would seem to be a type of fertility blessing. (See: Sexuality)

Meaning: 'thorn'. The importance of this image was taken from the stories of the god Tu who created the mountains by carving them with his great thorn. (The imagery is similar to Thor's Hammer). Tu was also one of the few gods considered not to be mischievous in nature and held more of a father-figure, even to the latter generations.

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Numbers & Counting
(bon aut osbon)

With the palms of both open hands facing towards you, counting starts from the thumb of the right hand.
Holding out the thumb while curling up the other fingers symbolizes 'one'.
Curling the thumb and sticking out the second finger represents 'two'.
Holding up the second finger and thumb together represents 'three'.

Each finger of both hand represents one number, for a total of 1,022.

Most Amazoi were limited to counting on the right hand, as numbers above 16 (the pinky finger) were not common and generally just referred to as 'a lot' or 'uncountable'.
Use of the left hand was re-established in the Flatlands when troop numbers were vital to keep track of.

Fingers could also be used symbolically
- Holding up the pinky finger of the right hand (16) was similar to the English 'dozen'.
- Holding up the thumb of the left hand (511) represented 'as many as possible'.
- Holding up all the fingers of the right hand (31) indicated 'enough'.
- Holding up all the fingers of the left hand (991) indicated 'too much' or 'uncountable'.
- Holding up the middle finger of the right hand (4) indicated the 'perfect number'.
Any more than four was considered burdensome, any less; not enough. (Obviously this is not a hand-sign that would not go over well in some countries). It was also a joke to mean 'Let's drink?' as shay (4) and say (drink) sounded similar. (See: Drinking Songs)

See the illustration for counting here.

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The concept of 'rights' was not as clearly defined as it is now, but the Amazoi had five basic laws that they felt every man, woman and child had rights to.

These were:
- Sight
- Hearing
- Smell
- Touch
- Possessions
And collectively, they were known as poja.

It is believed they were set as rules similar to the "Freedom of Religion" vs "Freedom from Religion" precept. That is; one was not free to do whatever one wished, but rather was not permitted to do anything that would conflict with another's poja.

It is perhaps best described by Piershta and Vloa in Book IV to Zotikos, a young translator from the Greek colony of Phasis after being made fun of by a young Amazoi boy.

- - - - -
"Poja?" Piershta repeated Zotikos' question with a quick glance at Vloa. "Uh . . . basically it means a kid can't stand in front of you like that and wave like an idiot because he wants to annoy you. He can't yell or sing or laugh or hit something that makes noise if it annoys you . . . "
"He can't stick shit under your nose if it annoys you . . ." Vloa added.
"He can't touch you or take your things if it annoys you."
Zotikos looked at the offending youth, who had already started another game with the others like his scolding had never taken place, then back to Piershta.
"What do . . . if make ugly hut . . . you no like this ugly hut . . . is poja? I must burn hat?"
Piershta and Vloa looked at each other with a smile before Piershta attempted to quench Zotikos' endless thirst for knowledge.
"No . . . that's not poja, that's just . . ."
"Just a difference of opinion." Vloa helped.

- - - - -

Basically, entering the Amazoi village with a boisterous attitude of 'Get over it', the 'I'm not hurting anyone', or the 'Deal with it' ideals would probably get you a solid thrashing.
(An introvert's utopia, perhaps?)

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The Amazoi had 5 seasons and organised symbolically beginning with spring.
- Spring (verta)
- Summer (tolra)
- Autumn (unan)
- Winter (penu)
- The Thaws (ton'turk)

Spring is the symbol of birth.
Summer is the symbol of adulthood.
Autumn is the symbol of old age.
Winter is the symbol of death.

Although not commonly referred to, it is most apparent these symbols are taken seriously as unan and penu are never used for names.

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Second Adulthood
(tont-ersh vinadom)

The Second Adulthood was a custom adopted by Taysha during her time with the Wedic and added to the Amazoi culture.

The concept was each person had their First Adulthood at puberty, while their Second Adulthood was acknowledged at the birth of their first-born.

Taysha saw this as a way to influence and manipulate the conservative Amazoi into having children, as not doing so , they would constantly be considered children though past their first adulthood.

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Sentry Duty
(ukbie-kont lora)

Considering the peace to ambush/war ratio, one of the most interesting continued customs of the Amazoi was perhaps Sentry Duty.

Originating with Taysha's experience with the Wedic and their war against the Kubu tribe, the habit of posting sentries during peaceful times was unique to both the Wedic and the Amazoi. Largely due to Taysha enforcing that all Amazoi old enough to fire a bow were to take their turn at sentry duty, it became an unquestioned chore for the following generations.

The habit of establishing three main sentry posts in stead of a 'roving patrol' originated from their Second Home between the Wedic and Anshe villages.

Although not always possible, the preferred layout was:
1. A low-level hill that could view the forest and main routes towards the village.
2. A high-level hill that could view the surrounding valley.
3. An area of concealment where one could see all entrances to the village.

It was customary for one location to be named taysha-na ut (Taysha's Eye) in honour of her, and the other to be pa'ka-na obo (Crow's Nest).

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Gender Differences & Similarities:

To the Amazoi, the desire for sex is considered part of slo-na tont shay sam
(The Four Wants of Life)
1. Drink
2. Eat
3. Sleep
4. Sex

Perhaps thanks to Taysha's restructuring the entire culture of the Amazoi (See: Gender Equality), like appetite or sleep-patterns, difference in sexual desire was considered different among each individual rather than between the genders. Those cultural opinions that state that men and women have different desires for sex would boggle the Amazoi mind.

Though it is worth mentioning one popular Gift given at Coming of Age Ceremonies:

bret kono tolra-na yeut
breta kono penu-na yeut
A man is a summer fire.
A woman is a winter fire.

Even here, there is more similarity to each other through the analogy of both genders being fires than of say, one being ice and the other flame.
(The phrase could also be used as a suggestive joke, with a woman saying she is 'a summer fire' or a man saying he is 'a winter fire' in a show that they are sexually compatible to the opposite sex)

The River and the Morning Dew:

The Amazoi compared the 'finishing' of the male as tontsin meaning: The River, while the 'excitement' of the woman as tontsha meaning: The Dew.
It as believed both tontsin and tontsha were necessary for producing children.
It was mentioned Book III that Udora suggested to a woman who could not conceive to wipe herself with the dew of morning.
On a note of interest: It was a recorded joke to get the children to take handfuls of dew and dump it into the river because mischievous adults liked to tell them it made tad-poles.

Multiple Partners & Jealousy:

It is assumed jealousy would be related to a loved-one spending time (platonically or sexually) with another person. For the Amazoi, the emotion of jealousy was one of the childish emotions that should be 'grown out of' by a person's Coming of Age. That isn't to say a few fights in the Training Ground didn't happen because of it.

As The Amazon Chronicle clearly shows, the issue of having 'multiple partners' was a matter of the couple. Wayu and Wofala clearly kept to themselves sexually, while Rafel and Panona were open about inviting someone over to 'play', while other couples would rotate between several partners through-out their lives.
This was not limited to opposite sex couples or gender:
Piershta and Vloa had open relationships with various people at once and together, while Daela and Gelsha were at odds when Gelsha expressed wanting to be with others from time to time while keeping her relationship with Daela.


The only mention of an acknowledgement of 'promiscuity' is from the description of the Osfer word for 'bird'; the meaning being one who is chatty and/or hops from branch to branch. ('Branch' also being the Osfer euphamism for an erection)

Same Sex Relationships:

There was no word or definition similar to 'gay' or 'homosexual' in Osfer.
The closest word would be trebo-ha which literally means 'too cute, little or feminine', which was used to discourage children of both genders from showing overly-feminine traits.

Note: The Amazoi were not against feminine qualities and were certainly not 'butch'. The emphasis here is on the word for 'too much' (trebo) which is also a word for 'poison'. (That is; too much of anything = poison) It was the extreme side of any character that wasn't considered healthy by the Amazoi.

Instead, same-sex relationships were considered part of 'youthful experimentation', of which most people simply grew out of.
It was mentioned in the books that Ulforta disapproved of Daela's lasting relationship with Gelsha. It was clear her opposition was not because they were the same gender, but rather because she thought it childish and felt Daela should be having children.
Conversely, there was not mention of rebuke for Piershta and Vloa perhaps because they were childish in their behaviour anyway.


The idea of having sex with someone related to you was not considered taboo. Though there is reference to daughters having their father's children, it was never explained in detail. There were examples of those who were happy and open about it, while there were also those who refrained from mentioning the name of the child's father. It seemed to be a 'Don't ask, don't tell' subject among the Amazoi as long as the act was consensual. (See below)


Apart from poja the Amazoi had very few straight-forward 'laws' (to the degree there was no Osfer word for 'law') But, if they had a list, rape would be the highest offense.

It was considered the most horrific crime that could be committed. (Far above murder) Stories of how evil-minded gods would turn into human form and hunt for human women or children who had strayed from sight, ingrained the imagery of the act to be something only done by evil beings.

The seriousness of this offense was made very clear in Book III when the Amazoi acted in revenge for a victim who wasn't even part of the their tribe.

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Spirits & The Mind
(um-ra a rap)

The Amazoi referred to emotions, consciousness and general thoughts of the mind as rap.
While the unexplained thoughts, emotional feelings, and fears as um.

These 'spirits' (um) were not as we know them in North America.
(ie. either souls of the deceased, or demons or angels)
For the Amazoi, the word um was used when explaining the finer workings or unexplainable experiences of life, yet were treated with about as much concern as we in the present day have over the 1,000+ parasites that live in our bodies.

These spirits were used to explain everything from a sudden swing in emotions to distinct feelings experienced in life. See: Emotions ) For example: ulan-um (A hangover) was generally thought a spirit had entered the head while drunk, but simply going back to sleep or waiting until the spirit got bored was the only necessary 'cure'.

The workings of this spirit world were seen as being similar to that of the physical world.
Ants, flies, bees, deer, wolves . . . all held a part in the system that kept life continuing.
This outlook was undoubtably responsible for the Amazoi's 'cool' reactions to things most tribes of their times would go to great lengths to 'please the gods' to lessen their burden.

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Story Telling
(bakat-na ko)

In the days before the Hoorg Massacre, story-telling consisted of tales of the gods, as well as the adventures of ancestors or of mythical beasts. Story-telling became something quite different after The Reunion, thanks to Taysha's influence.

Having experienced the Wedic custom of 'telling all' before dying, Taysha encouraged (perhaps, pressured) the other Amazoi to tell stories of themselves, what they thought during events, or what they learned from an experience. This 'opening oneself up' was embarrassing and difficult at first, but Taysha's open (perhaps, blunt) stories and the inhibition of the children soon led to a popular custom of which The Scrolls would have been lacking without.

Story Telling was usually done at night around the main fire to whoever as in the group at that particular time. Usually these stories were of events that personally happened to the story-teller. There were some stories that became popular and were re-told to other groups either as the original story or with additions of that particular story-teller's own personal view of the event.

Some stories were humorous, others sad or simply of lessons learned.
Sometimes certain stories only circulated within groups and with others on sentry duty, it took months before everyone in the village heard them.

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This aspect of the Amazoi life was important enough to have its own word.
The word malak is thought to have been borrowed from the Wedic/Anshe language as it has no similarity to any other Osfer word and was used specifically for the time of training.

With this new custom came the position of uk-marek opan pa ray (one who possesses the skill of fighting) or 'The Master of Arms'. Apart from the Wedic, where the Council was the governing body, Taysha's over-bearing strength initially established the Amazoi Master of Arms as the new leader of the tribe. This situation changed when Taysha handed the position over to Ufrudroia, and in turn created the newer position of irana (chief + feminine) or 'Chieftess'. Still, the established authority of the position of Master of Arms meant the instruction of the holder of this title was absolute, even though he or she may not have been the strongest or best fighter. It was almost inconceivable to think of challenging the person that maintained this social rank until the noticeable effort of Gelsha to become the best fighter and replace Rafel.

It is worth noting the Master of Arms was addressed as 'teacher'. (uk-ap for men, or uk-apa for women). The colloquial word apa was also used by the younger Amazoi, which would be similiar to the English slang: 'Teach'.

Taysha also incorporated the Wedic 'Training Ground' (tont malak-na taf) which was a flat, circular or oval area, with logs buried upright around the edges. Usually there were two or more benches to sit on outside the ring. The upright poles were used to condition arms and legs for striking as well as for creating shock when hit with spear, staff or sheild. (See image of the Training Ground: here)

Training on the Training Grounds was separated into physical fitness (running, wrestling, exercises, pushing-pulling-climbing poles), fighting (wrestling, joint-locks, punching, kicking), weapons (spear, sword, knife) and small War Groups practice.

Excersises mentioned by name and described in The Scrolls:
- The Bear Crawl (walking on all fours)
- The Wolf Leap (same as the Bear Crawl, but using the arms to 'leap' forward)
- The Squirrel Climb (either on the poles or in trees. First to the top wins)
- The Duck Walk (walking in a low squat with hands behind the back)
- The Deer Jump (usually jumping over the surrounding benches)

Training outside the Training Grounds consisted of:
- Archery (hitting stationary, moving and different sized targets)
- War Group practice (practicing movement, counter-movement and various strategies)
- Running (up and down the nearest mountain side)
- Pull-ups (hanging from a tree branch and lifting one's own body weight repeatedly)
- Rock lifting (picking up, swinging and throwing/catching large, smooth river stones)

Although the concept of a 'fitness regiment' was familiar to empires throughout history, to the average tribe this was undoubtably a knowledge that alluded them.

Perhaps this cultural parallel outlook on physical fitness shared by the Greeks aided in some small way to the Greek's growing interest in the small, but powerful tribe known as the Amazoi.

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Readers of The Amazon Chronicle soon notice the Amazoi seemed to describe any conflict as 'war'. Even the battles or ambushes that lasted less than a few minutes.
This was because there was no differentiating words for 'war' and 'battle' until they had started to absorb some of the vocabulary of the tribes in the Flatlands.

War Groups:

Without a doubt, the War Groups (ray-na shat-ra) were the Amazoi's most distinctive attribute to warfare.

This style was developed by Taysha and her Wedic friends while searching for an effective fighting system for a small raiding party if cornered and forced to fight.

The War Groups were composed of the following:
- Two of the larger members stood side-by-side with large rectangular shields, while holding short, curved swords that were used to thrust, rather than hack. These two were usually the largest men of the group and were known as the uk-mai tuton (one who uses shield) or 'Shield Bearers'.
- Behind them stood the uk-mai shant (one who uses the spear) or 'Spear Wielder', who used openings between the Shield Bearers to strike at the enemy's legs while protecting the flanks.
- The fourth member would be the uk-mai dolfa (one who uses the bow) or 'Archer'. This position was usually held by the women, who's job it was to pressure the enemy by flanking them right or left to essentially force them to stand squarely against the Shield Bearers.

When fighting with more than one War Group, they would try to station groups roughly two spear lengths from each other to entice the enemy to try and move between them and be caught in a 'cross-fire' between the two Spear Wielders and their Archers.

The weakness of the War Group stratagem was noticeably being outflanked, or having the enemy break through ranks. The Amazoi therefore had no 'line' of defense, but instead used what was called the taja-na pur't strategy, meaning 'Smoke Defence'. This description was in reference to how the War Groups moved in response to enemy attacks and retreats similar to how smoke moved around a swinging object.
Sometimes forward, sometimes back, sometimes to the side.

War Group training usually consisted of a game-like exercises:
- The four members of each War Group would link arms and run an obstacle course around the Training Grounds without falling or breaking the link.
- Another game was done with partner teams which practiced moving with a 'leader' (usually the Master of Arms). The object would be to keep the Shield Bearers square with the 'leader'.
- Other games/practices included; two or more groups battling against each other with padded weapons to see if they could outflank each other. Or one or two groups against an 'unorganised' attack by the others.

Divide & Conquer:

"Conquer. Add the conquered to your army. Move to second group. Repeat"
This concept is well known to students of history or war, but it was a relatively unfamiliar idea among the tribes that inhabited the Caucasus region during the Amazoi time.

This design of 'empire building' did not occur to the Amazoi in some epiphany or vision, nor did it develop by logical steps and planning. It showed itself to the Amazoi like a whisper from the Goddess and was born out of a necessity to accomplish the direction the Amazoi thought themselves to be instructed to go.

It was made clear the Amazoi's original lack of desire for power coupled with their repetitive successes in war and gathering allies greatly annoyed those like Kaspa and the Southlanders.

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