Azkaanentiiro

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All this data is potentially out of date, and should be taken with a truckload of salt

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Azkaanentiiro (meaning "path of the mountain") is one of the more significant warrior traditions of ancient Caldari history. It began as a monastic discipline among the tribes of the lower Kaalakiota Peaks that lived in the shadow of Pale Mountain, known also by its ancient Napanii name: Kalanazkaan. Although long since faded from a position of influence, the tradition is well-documented thanks to the recording and preservation of its founder's sayings. While largely relegated to obscurity as a regional following in the modern era, some capsuleers have taken to studying Azkaanentiiro, possibly indicating a new resurgence of the tradition.

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History[edit]

According to an ancient document known as the "Analects of Tyko", during the twilight of the Raata period, an educated Imperial civil servant by the name of Tyko was assigned as the administrator of the Pale Mountain region on Caldari Prime. He was nominally responsible only for ensuring the proper enforcement of Imperial edicts, but the circumstances of his time required much more from him. During the early years of his service, Tyko became famous for his dedication and selflessness. He traveled the length and breadth of the region, personally overseeing public works projects intended to bring the benefits of Imperial science and engineering back to its long neglected people.

When the Raata finally collapsed, fracturing into many smaller states, the region's tribes were cut off. Seeing the dark age to come, Tyko established a school on the slopes of Pale Mountain itself where he spent the last decade of his life teaching in the hopes that the light of Imperial education would not fade. His students would become the next generation of leaders, and under their guidance the Pale Mountain tribes became beacons of endurance and enlightenment in comparison to the chaos on their borders.

Eventually foreign armies took interest in the region and conquered it. Upon their victory, however, they saw the wonders of Imperial civil engineering and administration still functioning in this land long thought to be a backwater. The outsiders did not destroy Tyko's school. Instead, successive generations of ruling generals sent their sons to its steps high up on the mountain to learn. In time, this spawned an elite class of warrior-monks, equally deadly with the spear and dagger as they were tempered to know their proper and honorable use.

This military nobility lasted for nearly a millennium, and even today its distinct code of honor, Azkaanentiiro, inspires thoughts of a simpler and harder time when men had only one life and sought to live it rightly.

Tenets & Practices[edit]

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According to the tradition, adherents must understand that the Mountain (a metaphor for enlightenment) is formed of three basic metaphorical elements: Stone, Water, and Wind. These are not merely physical elements. Each represents and is fundamentally connected to various components of human life and to the imperatives of honorable living. According to the tradition, each element should be studied in turn and an adherent is expected to master them in order. This mirrors the symbolism of the adherent walking the Path from the foot of the Mountain to its peak, passing first its great rocky foundations before coming to the streams and falls on its slopes and finally breathing the pure air of the summit.

Iskki, the Stone[edit]

The first element on the Path is Stone - Unchanging, Immutable, Essential

Tenets[edit]

Physically, the Stone represents the tissues and organs of the body: bones, sinew, and muscles; and also the food that sustains them, without which life was said to end after three weeks. The Stone also represents fundamental values: the institutions of family and community, the concept of heiian, and the connection to ancestors.

According to the tradition, one's moral compass is the guide of all their decisions, the foundation of their personal outlook and choices. Each person travels a path pointed out by this compass, but without calibration it will not be the Path of the Mountain, the path to enlightenment. Refining individual and communal virtues is a continuous practice expected of adherents and it is the most important part of studying the Stone. According to the tradition, adherents should seek to embody these specific virtues:

  • Honesty: Speaking and living truthfully. Foregoing opportunities to cheat or steal.
  • Fidelity: Faithfulness and loyalty to the people, groups, and causes to which one adheres. Fulfilling oaths and promises.
  • Hospitality: Showing profound respect to visitors regardless of racial or national affiliation or economic status and doing so without expecting remuneration.
  • Respect: Showing due deference to one's elders, peers, and even enemies who demonstrate similar quality of character.
  • Courage: Persevering in the face of fear, which is not the same as feeling no fear at all.
  • Heiian: Subordination of individual needs to the needs of the group, even to the point of sacrificing one's life. Rectitude flows from this in that one who wounds the community will be judged by the community.

Practices[edit]

Physical exercise is encouraged as it strengthens the body and calms the mind. Even in the interstellar age this is seen as essential to good holistic health. Adherents are encouraged to practice the gymnastic and martial arts to hone and harden their bodies into metaphorical Stone. It is important to realize, however, that the end result of strength is not the purpose of this practice. According to the tradition, it is the effort that has value. Pharmaceutical, genetic, or cybernetic shortcuts, provided they are not required for medical reasons, are strongly discouraged.

Those who walk the Path are also encouraged to appreciate simple foods and rustic preparations, especially given the variety of highly-stimulating flavors and ingredients available in modern interstellar life. Many adherents take symbolic or even purely ceremonial meals to emphasize this. Turnips stewed in blood, an ancient dish often complemented with a creamy kresh root sauce, is a traditional piece of Kaalakiota regional cuisine and in Azkaanentiiro is said to have deep connection to the Stone. Simple barley flour dumplings or plain Ghalen dumplings are other such items, as are almost all stone fruits. Some adherents may only keep a plate of these items on the table as a side dish at a normal meal, while the more devoted may adopt a strict diet based on these traditional foodstuffs.

Nizu, the Water[edit]

The second element is Water - Cyclical, Mobile, Vital

Tenets[edit]

Physically the Water represents the fluids of the body: sweat, saliva, mucus, blood, and semen. The heart is the metaphorical focus of Water in the body. Elemental Water also represents molecular water, without which life was said to end after three days.

Rivers fed by glacial melt were very important to early civilization on Caldari Prime, and this was no different in the Pale Mountain region. The archaic expression "fuzasen shoamaaten nizu", meaning "waters of father glacier", is still sometimes used today to refer to the provision of one's basic necessities or to one's salary. As the seasons changed, and what passed for warmer springtime weather on the Caldari homeworld came to the mountains, flash floods from snow melt in higher elevations were a danger in many areas. Water was essential life, but if not respected, it could also take it away. The transition of water from solid ice, to liquid, to vapor, and then through condensation to rise as clouds and fall again as snow on the mountaintops is said to mirror the cyclical nature of life. By studying Water, the adherent learns to embrace and master this cycle.

Learning to handle the present, being part of society and taking from the world what you need to survive while not wading in so deeply as to drown, is a central part of studying Water according to Azkaanentiiro. The adherent is expected to become flexible and adaptable so as to accept change and thrive despite difficulty. Tyko is recorded as teaching that sometimes this expectation requires one to take the path of least resistance and allow events to flow past because confrontation is not always the wisest choice. At others, he said, it demands the sudden and maximum application of force, like a tsunami rushing down a glacial valley after icefall, to wash away injustice.

Practices[edit]

Several physical activities are closely associated with the Water according to the tradition. Among them are ribbon dancing and practicing martial forms with the hands and spear. The warrior-monks of the Pale Mountain region were renowned for their skill with a special type of spear made from a strong and extremely flexible wood that could absorb shock without breaking. Zero-gravity gymnastics is one modern evolution of the ancient arts and some of its elements, particularly agility, are said to correspond to the values of Water.

The ancient Caldari tradition of preparing tea is understandably central to the study of Water, and there are numerous schools of thought dedicated to the art, each with their own variation on the tea ceremony. Adherents are encouraged to appreciate tea and the techniques of preparing it. The Analects record that Tyko once said a man who faces an unsolvable problem should go alone to a separate place and prepare tea. With each step in the preparation he should quiet his mind more and more in order to focus on the ritual. When the tea is ready, he should speak aloud the dilemma and then drink in silence. When he has come to the bottom of the cup, he should make a decision and then act on it without hesitation.

Tiuul, the Wind[edit]

The third element is Wind - Transient, Invisible, Powerful

Tenets[edit]

Tiuul (meaning "Wind") is described as an archetypal force in Azkaanentiiro and is closely associated with the spiritual Mountain Wind. Physically, the Wind represents the nerves and the mind. It also represents respiration and breath, without which life was said to end after three minutes. Wind is the most esoteric and cerebral of the three elements on the Path and according to the tradition its influence is felt in cultural currents, the trials of leadership, and in the meaning and power of words. The Wind inspires orators and inventors alike to usher new understanding into the world.

Practices[edit]

Tyko is recorded in his Analects has having said that the Wind brings with it the lessons of enlightenment, but that like the Wind itself, the meaning of its lessons cannot be contained. Thus an adherent studying the Wind seeks to understand the nature of the world and themselves through habitual study. In ancient times this was often done through meditation. The accomplished adherent was said to be able to briefly sever their attachments and desires through control of the mind and free themselves to contemplate the answers to existential questions such as how thought arises or the true nature of time. Some schools of thought sought answers to these questions (their methodologies in a way mirroring the scientific method) while others believed the purpose of meditating on them was never to find an answer, but rather to prepare the mind for enlightenment.

According to the tradition, the composition of poetry is also closely associated with the values of the Wind. Selecting the proper word for the proper moment is considered a sublime art. Several ancient stories tell of beloved leaders who spoke only a few times each year, some even doing so in poetic form, and their words were valued and obeyed all the more for it. Even today simple poems can be found carved into river rocks and stacked along the mountain roads of the Kaalakiota Peaks. Chanting is another activity that is considered part of studying the Wind and is traditionally practiced by adherents. Meditative chanting of this sort involves singing a single syllable or phrase in carefully timed repetition until its normal meaning loses value and the mind can peer inside to unlock hidden philosophical truths.

Archery is a physical activity closely associated with Wind for obvious reasons. An adherent's control of the arrow requires patience and sensitivity to not only their own movements, but also that of the bow, the wind, and the target. Any uncompensated for variation in these things can ruin a shot, requiring adherents to cultivate delicate skill, patience, and practice. The warrior-monks of Pale Mountain studied archery and were apparently so accomplished in it that the arrow was made part of their sacred emblem.

Taashe, the Stars[edit]

According to the tradition, the Path of the Mountain ultimately leads an adherent to the goal of enlightenment. Although most are never expected to attain this goal, and those who do may only achieve it for a fleeting moment, the effort of striving for it is supposedly the hallmark of a life well lived. According to tradition, enlightenment is represented by the Stars – Watchful, Immovable, Uncountable

Tyko is not recorded in his Analects as teaching on the subject of enlightenment itself in great detail. Some believe he intended to do so but died too early, while others think that he did in fact pass on lessons for those who reached the metaphorical Summit but a later generation repressed his teachings for unknown reasons. Over time this has led to occasional speculation that so-called Lost Analects of Tyko are out there waiting to be found.

Eleven Questions to Master Kovainen[edit]

Over seven hundred years ago, not long after first contact between the Gallente and Caldari homeworlds in Luminaire, the Cultural Deliverance Society arrived on Caldari Prime. This group changed Caldari society in many ways, shaping it into something that would better integrate with the interplanetary civilization the Gallente imagined. Today, many historians point to its arrival and activities on Caldari Prime as marking the beginning of the animosity between the two homeworlds of Luminaire. While undeniably impacting the Caldari way of life and turning the page on many of its oldest traditions, the Cultural Deliverance Society is also notable for having preserved a great deal of ancient Caldari history through extensive study (detailed knowledge of the past being an essential component in successful social engineering).

The following interview was recorded in 22634 (-YC602). A member of the Cultural Deliverance Society asked Master Kovainen of the Tykonic Academy on Kalanazkaan, Pale Mountain, about the local monastic tradition. In preceding centuries, warrior-monks of the Azkaanentiiro had been leaders of the people. By the time of Gallente first contact, however, the tradition had lost much of its old influence. The interview is nevertheless an invaluable window into the past and offers unique guidance to those who seek to practice Azkaanentiiro today:

Q: Does one have to give up their own religion to follow Azkaanentiiro?

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Q: What is individuality?

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Q: What is freedom?

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Q: How can a busy career be reconciled with the practice of Azkaanentiiro?

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Q: What should people do in their everyday lives?

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Q: Why perform ceremonies every day?

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Q: How can one help others?

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Q: What does the phrase, "Heiian compels us all to do our part," mean?

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Q: The worst people can become monks. Why is that?

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Q: How do we know when we are making a mistake?

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Q: In general, if people are wrong about something, should we let them alone or try to show them their mistakes?

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Timeline[edit]

  • ~20970 Tyko, a Raata-era bureaucrat, is assigned as Imperial administrator of the Pale Mountain region
Tyko becomes famous for his dedication to the people, traveling constantly and personally overseeing projects; his reforms earn him a following and people begin to write down his sayings
  • ~20998 The empire finally collapses, fracturing into many states
Tyko helps lead the Pale Mountain people through this time, establishing an academy on the slopes of the mountain to carry on the Imperial education system and train future leaders
  • ~21008 Tyko dies
The region becomes bountiful in comparison to most of its neighbors under the guidance of this academy's graduates and enjoys a degree of geographic isolation
  • ~21080 Foreign armies take an interest and conquer the region, but seeing the success of the Pale Mountain people, they do not destroy the school
  • ~21150 The ruling generals send their sons to learn at the Tykonic Academy and over several generations, an elite class of warrior-monks is created
  • ~21900 Tykonic traditions, long influential in the region, have fallen from favor among the political elite and the descendants of the warrior-monks are no longer in power; the Academy remains a place of retreat and learning, increasingly detached from the affairs of state
  • 22517 First contact with the Gallente
  • 22684 Isuuaya, the first modern corporation, is founded on Caldari Prime
  • 23121 Founding of the Federation
  • YC110 Reconquest of Caldari Prime and start of the Empyrean War