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The Azuposi were a race of humans living in the Pasocada Basin in Maztica. They enjoyed an agrarian existence and a sophisticated society.[1]

SocietyEdit

Azuposi society was matrilineal, meaning that property and ancestry were passed down the maternal line. Women owned all the property, and men worked the land but acted as caretakers rather than owners. Myths dictated that this system may have originated from a decree of one of the War Twins or may have come about because Sus'sistinako (the Spider Woman) was instrumental in the creation of the Azuposi.[1]

The Azuposi spoke the Azuposi language.[2]

TribesEdit

The Azuposi nation was dived into six separate tribes. Each tribe was named after one of six directions significant to the Azuposi due to the solstices. These directions were up, down, northwest, northeast, southwest and southeast. The respective tribes, named for the animal associated with that direction, were Eagle tribe, Shrew tribe, Mountain lion tribe, Badger tribe, Bear tribe, and Wolf tribe.[1]

DietEdit

Bread, which the Azuposi made from mayz, was the staple food in the Azuposi diet. Despite being primarily a farming society, the Azuposi hunted such animals like birds, rabbits, gophers, and occasionally larger animals. They also gathered wild plants like prickly pears, beeweed, and pinyon pine to supplement what they grew themselves. Turkeys were sometimes domesticated and raised for meat and eggs. The Azuposi grew crops such as cotton, mayz, melons, squash, and beans.[3]

The farming conditions in the lands occupied by the Azuposi were tough, and Azuposi farmers often planted more than they needed, in the knowledge that some crops would simply not make it. They would also store certain foods, like maize, in the event of some years not producing any crops at all. Farmers used tools like shovels and hoes, made from bone, stone, or wood.[3]

ClothingEdit

The Azuposi dressed in cotton cloths and hides that had been dyed in bright colors and adorned with beads or intricate embroidery. Men typically wore a cotton loincloth in summer and pants in winter, and draped a blanket over their shoulders. Women wore cotton shirts and long loose skirts, covered in a blanket that was held in place at the waist with an embroidered belt. They usually tied their hair into braids or buns. Both genders wore shoes made of leather.[4]

PotteryEdit

Pottery was an important part of Azuposi society, and the designs and techniques used were held by the females and passed from generation to generation. This led to slight variations in style emerging between households and larger regional variations. It was possible to tell where a pot was made by examining its style, or to determine the origins and descent of a community.[3]

SpiritualityEdit

The Azuposi did not believe that their current life had any bearing on the next, and they focused on working to better their current life instead. They were not a materialistic people, believing that material wealth should be shared so that everyone could benefit from it in the current life. This meant that they saw their deities as respected figures to be bargained with, rather than impressed or appeased. They believed that the soul lived on after death, but had little beliefs concerning the afterlife or such.[5]

In daily life, the Azuposi observed many personal ceremonies that they believed would bring them good will from the spirits they worshiped. In addition to this, there were larger ceremonies observed by the community. Some of the most important rituals were held at the winter and summer solstices, although the winter solstice (Soyal) was more important. The gods of the sun and war were worshiped then, celebrating the giver of life and protection from their enemies. During the festivals on the solstices, many secret rituals were performed in the kivas, or ceremonial rooms. When the secret rituals were finished, the entire community gathered together to place offerings of mayz to the gods, to pray and sing, all building up to great procession through the settlement. Music and dance continued on into the night around large open fires. Ceremonial herbs were regularly used in rituals, including such plants as black cohosh, cedar, cornmeal, gourd, horsetail, mallow, mesquite, ragweed, sagebrush, and wild jalap.[6]

The Azuposi had a deep respect for past, including ancient artifacts and legends. They especially revered elders, who they saw as the essence of the community, the keepers of esocteric secrets, the leaders of ceremonies and advisers to leaders. They lived with and were cared for by descendants or relatives. The Azuposi also had a healthy acceptance of mortality, viewing death as a natural part of existence. They laid their dead to rest by sunset, ceremonially preparing the corpse before burying it in the desert and building a cairn of stones over the grave. The Azuposi viewed the undead as abominations to be destroyed.[6]

SettlementsEdit

The Azuposi had settled in the Pasocada Basin. The City of Gold, Michaca, sat at the center of their civilization in the Sun Canyon. Numerous other smaller settlements spread out around it, and their infrastructure branched out from this one central hub. Sturdy stone roads connected Michaca and larger settlements, and smaller paths radiated out from these centers to smaller communities. Signal towers were laid out along the roads, so that they were all connected by line of sight, and could be lit and used to transmit smoke messages quickly across the land. Shrines to Masauwu were commonly found found along the roads and paths.[7]

ArchitectureEdit

The Azuposi predominantly built structures using stone or adobe. Adobe was used more often, since it was easier to make and get, being of mud, straw, and water. Stone was used for more important structures like ceremonial buildings, or where defensive strength was needed. Stone buildings were sealed with mortar and covered in plaster. Upper floors and roofs were using wooden beams. The wood for this task was usually sourced from the Dunobo Springs.[8]

Many Azuposi settlements were pueblos, which consisted of just one building split into many different rooms. Doorways between individual houses were trapdoors in the floor or ceiling. Pueblos also had the advantage of being easily defensible. The rooms of a pueblo ypically fell into one of three categories: habitation rooms, ceremonial rooms (kivas), and storage rooms. The habitation rooms were where food was prepared and eaten, and where people slept. Occasionally, adult males would eat their food in the kiva instead. Kivas were round rooms used for ceremonies and rituals. They also acted as social centers for men while they wove cloth or created weapons. Storage rooms were smaller rooms normally found on the upper levels of a pueblo, where the Azuposi preserved crop seeds and surplus food, like dried corn, beans, dried squashes, and cured meats. Hunting and farming items or ceremonial paraphernalia might also be stored here.[8]

Known SettlementsEdit

  • Michaca: The City of Gold and the heart of Azuposi civilization.[9]
  • Great Raven Pueblo: A settlement located by the Raven Falls on the Pasocada River, it was important for trade with the Metahel.[9]
  • Elfmeet: An Azuposi community on the edge of the Long Canyon where Poscadar elves often came to trade.[9]
  • Keshtin Pueblo: A settlement of about 750 people built next to the Keshtin Falls. It was renowned for its distinctive woven blanket designs.[9]
  • Kin Elbhaz: A community of 500 well-known as a place of good fortune, for harvests were always above average and disease was rare. Envious visitors often speculated that the villagers or their ancestors made a pact with evil spirits, but the truth was that a group of brownies were responsible, in exchange for access to the pueblo's grain stores.[9]
  • Kinopal: A pueblo of 800 people with a dark reputation, for rumors said that past leaders of Kinopal made a pact with evil forces for personal gain, but with dire consequences for their descendants.[9]
  • Mitzlato: A settlement by the Opallin river that was home to about 800 people. It regularly traded with nearby desert dwarves.[9]
  • Opallinoc: A trade hub built at the confluence of the Opallin and Pasocada Rivers, home to a population of 4,050.[9]
  • Peshtobo: A large community of 3,100 members.[9]
  • Ukolo: A small village of 300, Ukolo was nonetheless important, for it was the center of Azuposi turquoise mining.[9]
  • Yapoza: A community of some 1,200 members, Yapoza was supposedly founded where Matsailema stopped to rest after going on a destructive rampage. A man and woman found him as he rested, and the man recognized him. The man wanted to kill him, but the woman said he was still a god and to be respected. When Matsailema woke up, the woman gave him food and welcomed him into her home. After staying there for seven nights, he promised to bring prosperity instead of destruction upon the Azuposi, and instituted the matriarchy to ensure wisdom and patience among them.[9]

HistoryEdit

The Azuposi had no written language. Instead, their history was passed down the generations by word of mouth, and this led to some factual inaccuracies creeping in, where details had been changed to better favor the Azuposi or even to create better rhymes in poetry or song.[10]

Mythical originsEdit

The Azuposi believed that the land was created by Sus'sistinako (the Spider Woman) and the Sun, two spirits who were somehow parents of one another, by pulling it from the primordial ocean. Sus'sistinako then created Alosaka (the Germinator) and Iyatiku (the Corn Mother) by singing them into existence, and they in turn created living beings. Humans were brought into existence underground, but their lives were filled with chaos and corruption, and they were unhappy, so they sent the bird Motsni to find them a better place to live. Motsni flew out of the underworld at Shipapu, an exit point, and found Masauwu (the Skeleton Man). Masauwu informed Motsni that life was hard on the surface but that a bearable humble existence was possible. The Azuposi decided that this would be a better life, exited through Shipapu to begin their lives on the surface. Masauwu remained their patron deity, teaching them how to farm and live in peace.[10]

True originsEdit

Although not a certainty due to their lack of written history, it was likely that the Azuposi ancestors came from Kara-Tur, because of the similarities in their appearance and their language, especially with that of the Wu-haltai people.[10]

War with the MetahelEdit

At some point during their past, the Azuposi and the Metahel were at war with one another.[11]

ReligionEdit

The Azuposi believed in many different spirits. Some were local and particular to a specific thing or place, such as the bear fiend of the Growling Falls. Others were far more powerful and important, like the Sun. They believed that the spirits lived in the Spirit Realm, in various Wenimats (demi-planes).[12]

Azuposi priests did not choose a specific spirit to serve. Instead, they tried to form good relationships with as many spirits as possible, acting as diplomats and mediators between the rest of the populace and the spirits. The exception to this were the sunwatchers, who served the Sun and devotedly tracked its movements and the passage of time according to it, keeping track of the calendar and the proper dates for various ceremonies. There was at least one sunwatcher in every Azuposi settlement.[12]

Although there were many spirits, some of the most powerful and important included:

  • Sus'sistinako, or Spider Woman, was believed to be one of the oldest and most powerful spirits, who created the raw material of the world.[12]
  • Sun Father was a very important spirit to the Azuposi, for he governed the passage of time and life. With Spider Woman, he was one of the oldest and most powerful spirits.[12]
  • Alosaka, the Germinator, was a distant spirit concerned more with the overall fertility of the land on a scale that humans could not comprehend. He was one of the older spirits, and was believed, along with Iyatiku, to have created the living things of the land.[12]
  • Iyatiku, the Corn Mother, was the spirit of life itself. Despite her remoteness from day-to-day concerns, she was greatly revered by the Azuposi.[12]
  • Masauwu, the Skeleton Man, was the patron of the Azuposi people. He was the spirit of death and the dead, the master of gate between life and death.[12]
  • Sho'tokunungwa was the third in the trio of ancient spirits that also included Spider Woman and Sun Father. He was the spirit of the stars and distant sky, including the weather.[12]

Other spirits included the War Twins Ahaiyuta and Matsailema, Miochin (Summer spirit), Shakak (Winter spirit), Morityema (Spring spirit), Shrui'sthia (Autumn spirit), Tih'kuyi (Moon Mother), Paiyatemu (Trickster), Hli'akwa (Turquoise Man), and Ma'we (Salt Woman). There were also spirits for each kind of animal; the most powerful of these were Bear, Cougar, and Snake.[12]

AppendixEdit

InspirationEdit

The Azuposi were based on the Native American Anasazi culture.[13]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 John Nephew and Jonathan Tweet (April 1992). City of Gold. (TSR, Inc), p. 8. ISBN 978-1560763222.
  2. Thomas M. Costa (1999). “Speaking in Tongues”. In Dave Gross ed. Dragon Annual #4 (TSR, Inc), p. 26.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 John Nephew and Jonathan Tweet (April 1992). City of Gold. (TSR, Inc), pp. 16–17. ISBN 978-1560763222.
  4. John Nephew and Jonathan Tweet (April 1992). City of Gold. (TSR, Inc), p. 19. ISBN 978-1560763222.
  5. John Nephew and Jonathan Tweet (April 1992). City of Gold. (TSR, Inc), p. 16. ISBN 978-1560763222.
  6. 6.0 6.1 John Nephew and Jonathan Tweet (April 1992). City of Gold. (TSR, Inc), pp. 19–21. ISBN 978-1560763222.
  7. John Nephew and Jonathan Tweet (April 1992). City of Gold. (TSR, Inc), p. 12. ISBN 978-1560763222.
  8. 8.0 8.1 John Nephew and Jonathan Tweet (April 1992). City of Gold. (TSR, Inc), pp. 17–19. ISBN 978-1560763222.
  9. 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 John Nephew and Jonathan Tweet (April 1992). City of Gold. (TSR, Inc), pp. 12–15. ISBN 978-1560763222.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 John Nephew and Jonathan Tweet (April 1992). City of Gold. (TSR, Inc), pp. 7–8. ISBN 978-1560763222.
  11. John Nephew and Jonathan Tweet (April 1992). City of Gold. (TSR, Inc), p. 9. ISBN 978-1560763222.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 12.6 12.7 12.8 John Nephew and Jonathan Tweet (April 1992). City of Gold. (TSR, Inc), pp. 21–28. ISBN 978-1560763222.
  13. John Nephew and Jonathan Tweet (April 1992). City of Gold. (TSR, Inc), p. 5. ISBN 978-1560763222.

ConnectionsEdit