The Origins of Tuluki Caste Tattoos
* Historical Background
* Caste Breakdown * OOC Notes

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Historical Background

The origin of Tuluki caste tattoos can be traced back to the culture's fascination with the arts, predatings the founding of Tuluk and the sacking of Gol Krathu. Prior to the arrival of Muk Utep and his barbarian hordes, several highly ritual-dependent tribes inhabited the region of Gol Krathu. Linked in origin and history if not race, the tribes symbolized both their common unity and their shared differences through a series of runic tattoos applied to the neck and face. Each tattoo represented a particular grouping and hierarchy within the various tribes, detailed with immense complexity in order to depict the rich intricacies of tribal life.

After the sacking of Gol Krathu and the founding of the city-state of Tuluk, the cultural significance of the tribal tattoos expanded to encompass the rituals and symbolism of the conquering invaders. As the city grew and attracted inhabitants from across Gol Krathu and as the culture of the city-state evolved to adapt to the fluid migration of individuals and tribes to the safety of its walls, the significance of the tattoos continued to change.

Today, the original histories and meanings behind many of the caste tattoos have been lost to time and history. It is believed by many Negean historians that the wedge and crescent shaped tattoos common to all Tuluki citizens may have initially denoted the original tribes subjugated by the Sun King.

Reborn from the ashes of ruin and occupation, Tuluk has continued to embrace the ritual self-artistry that has been a cornerstone of its cultural development throughout its existence. The Tuluki perspective has endowed the concept of tattoos with an intrinsic sense of history and self. While meaning little to an non-Tuluki, each tattoo details the life and circumstances of the person it is associated with. Often, the tattoos are detailed images of creatures and events that have occurred but just as often, they are intricate patterns and markings that are more symbolic in nature.

Within the common culture of Tuluk, there are four main divisions of caste tattoos, namely slave, commoner, noble, and templar. Each of these divisions can be further broken down into sub-categories, each with their own unique meaning and symbolism. Because the wedge and crescent tattoos are common to all inhabitants of Gol Krathu, they are not taken into account when considering caste breakdowns.

Caste Breakdown

All Tuluki citizens bear a tattoo of a blue and purple inked band somewhere on their head, face, neck, or upper shoulders, signifying their origin in Gol Krathu. Beyond that, each bears a caste-specific tattoo.

Slaves - Generally born into slavery, though there are exceptions to be made, and bred exclusively by House Winrothol, the slaves of Tuluk are the lowest of the four main castes. The tattoo of a slave, while dependent on who the master is, is always a constant and even a simple glimpse can serve to identify the owner. The caste marking is a triangle or hexagon, the color dependent on the slave's owner and the shape dependent on the owner's caste, tattooed on the left wrist.

It is not uncommon to see individuals bearing the markings of Houses that did not survive the turmoil following the destruction of the Old City. While many of them have become free, their historical markings remain intact.

Commoners - Perhaps the most eclectic of all the castes, those in this section of the social ranking vary widely in terms of position and skill and can be found in almost all walks of life. Many live out their lives unaffiliated with any major organization, though many others seek out employment with one of the powerful Merchant or Noble Houses. Still others seek out the Templarate and offer their skills as servants or soldiers. Regardless of who currently employs them, citizens within this cast are marked as well with the emblems of their employer. The caste marking is a six-pronged star tattooed on the back of the hands. Those who affiliate themselves with one of the Houses or with the government are marked with a circle, its respective color dependent on the employer.

  • Merchant House Employees - From Salarr to Nenyuk, the great Merchant Houses offer rewarding opportunities for those with the necessary skill and talent that seek to increase their station in life. Commoners employed within these Houses are inked with the sigils belonging to their respective House.

  • Noble House Employees - Many commoners seek employment within one of the seven Noble Houses within the city. Those with high quality communication and political skills often find themselves with greater levels of power than they would have otherwise ever known. While the destruction of the Old City destroyed many of the Noble Houses, the majority of their servants and employees were able to escape relatively unscathed.

  • Government Employees - The government of the city-state of Tuluk has a wide variety of opportunities open for commoners who wish to pursue their patriotic duty to protect Gol Krathu. Ranging from duty within the Legions to personal service to the Templarate, commoners are found throughout almost all levels of the government.

  • Miscellaneous Organizations - Still other commoners make affiliations with other organizations or bear the marks of customs and rituals no longer part of the current society. While not as common or widely spread, these markings can still occasionally be seen within the populace.

  • Bards of Poets' Circle - Renowned for their wit and their skill with words, the bards of the city-state of Tuluk have formed their own sub-culture centered within the Poets. Circle. Widely sought after by the Noble Houses of Tuluk, they can be found in almost every area of the city.

  • Merchant House Family Members - The upper echelons of the commoner caste, these individuals are the powerhouses that dictate the actions of their respective Merchant Houses. Of considerable political and monetary influence, they have in their own way helped to shape the face of Tuluki culture.

Nobles - Chosen by Muk Utep himself, the nobility is the ruling class of Tuluki society. They are privileged and powerful, having spent their entire lives being educated in a variety of schools of thought. They are above the laws of the city and their ranking members serve on the Triumverate and help to dictate Tuluki policies. Of the twelve original Houses, only six survived the destruction of the Old City and the subsequent Allanaki Occupation. With the rising of the Lyksae Family to the status of nobility, there are currently seven Noble Houses that assist in the supervision of Tuluki society. The caste marking is a seven-pronged star tattooed on the back of both hands.

The Templarate - Undeniably the most powerful caste within Tuluki society, His Faithful are undying symbols of the tenacity and strength of the Northlands. Through their maneuverings they have managed to drive off the occupying invaders and bring forth Tuluk's rebirth. Their members serve on the Triumverate and they are responsible for protecting the city state from enemies both within and without. The caste marking is a moon, its red or silver shade dependent on which Order the templar belongs to, tattooed on one wrist.

OOC Notes

The caste tattoos listed here are specific to Tuluki culture alone. Individuals that are not born within the Gol Krathu region, or have not adopted it as their home, would not have any interest in adorning themselves with such tattoos, as they would have little meaning to a foreigner. The populace of Tuluk and the Gol Krathu region would find such caste markings on a foreigner both insulting and derogatory, as it would show that the individual in question had little respect for their heritage and culture.

Additionally, Tuluki citizens would never attempt to remove a tattoo that had already been inked onto their body. Such actions would be tantamount to attempting to erase part of their past, an act unthinkable within their society. That being said, there are code limitations to how many tattoos can be applied in one wear_location that do not necessarily exist in an IC context. If you find that you have filled all of your character's wear_locations with tattoos already and would like to add more, please email the mud account and some of those tattoos can be shifted to your main description, freeing up some wear_locations.

Compiled by Laeris
Last updated 11/13/2004 by Sanvean.
© 2003 Armageddon MUD. All rights reserved.