The Angniku of Angnikuyaak🔗
“The charmed curtain of the mountain”
The village is set many miles north of the settlement Nauruk. The first settlers of Angnikuyaak (or called Angniku by its people) decided to keep themselves sheltered from the tundra by creating small rooms to huddle in inside of the mountain. Many years after, a whole society was built inside and outside of the mountain. Upon mining further into the mountain, the people had discovered crystals in the ground that soon became the center of their society.
The Angniku believe that each crystal represents the extension of one’s spirit and their placement in their society. These are determined by the Elder Shaman of the village as they are believed to carry the ability to see what crystal resonates with each child. The Elder Shaman is the leader of the people, and they’re essentially the Chieftain of the Angniku. The crystal the child is given shortly after birth becomes that person's name (for example: Kya Clear Quartz) and it also represents their social standing/job in the tribe.
If someone was to break their crystal then they are to be banished from the tribe as it is believed that the spirits who break your crystal curse you. Those who are deemed cursed may only return once every 5 years when a traditional ceremony is held to honor the spirits. During this time the banished ones may plead for forgiveness and bring an offering to them in return for a new crystal. If one does not get accepted then they are sentenced to exile forever. Once someone is banished their families may not speak to them ever again or they too will be banished, for they chose their family over their own culture.
- Diamonds - Elder Shamans
- These are very rarely given to a baby. They’re only given to the next chosen Elder of the tribe. Those who own them are treated like royalty, and train their whole lives to become the next leader of the Angniku.
- Moonstone - Shamans
- The other spiritually gifted shamans are the aristocratic people of the tribe and are often advisors to the elder or work closely with them. They hold rituals, rites, and give offerings to the spirits. More on them can be found here
- Agates - Warriors
- The Warriors are the defenders of the tribe and highly respected for doing so. Their strain of agate will determine what kind of warrior or strengths they possess.
- Quartz - Hunters
- The Hunters are responsible for bringing food and pelts back to the people from outside of the tribe itself. They’re very important to the survival of the tribe.
- Pearl - Healers
- The Healers are very obviously respected and needed for their abilities. If you do not have a pearl and are a bender it’s very disrespectful for you to be taught healing.
- Topaz - Traders
- The Traders travel to other villages and exchange mined materials for other goods like fish and agriculture.
- Sapphire - Teachers
- The Teachers are responsible for training the youth whether it be in bending, combat, or the history of the entire tribe/world.
- Zircon - Cooks
- The Cooks are obviously important for their providing of the whole tribe food. The cooks are also the ones who arrange feasts and such to honor those in their tribe.
- Those with wildly specific other gems will get to join nearly any job and still be respected. They may not be Elder Shaman or Healers due to societal standards, however.
A child’s first name the parents give at birth, and once the child's crystal is chosen the crystal becomes their middle and last names.
Clothes of any kind are allowed, although the Angni tend to wear outfits with many furs to keep themselves warm against the cold mountain winds. Your crystal needs to be secure and visible on your clothing or hair, as it is a part of you and defines your role.
When a child is 8 they will be sent out with 2 other children of their tribe and tasked with returning home with a dead polar bear. No matter what crystal you have it is important that you use your skill to return home with the bear. If you return without it you will be banished.
One would say “Spirit shine on you brother/sister” and grip the forearm of the other person while extending their index and middle finger to displace peace.
- Dim One!
The people of Angni are very close knit and respect each other’s roles in the clan, as everyone is deemed important, although there is a greater respect held for people such as shamans. Outsiders are not treated with much kindness and will be shunned socially or forced out if they manage to enter. They aren’t banished, however, unless they do something extremely disrespectful and/or rude. If one leaves the clan to live permanently outside of it they will be banished. There is no way for outsiders to become Angnikuyaak.
Those in the Angni don’t have many restrictions on them when it comes to relationships inside the clan, unless one is a shaman or the Elder Shaman. Shamans do not date, marry, or have children. More on shamans can be found in the document pasted above. Those who leave the clan to have a relationship with someone outside of it will be banished.
To propose to someone, one must first receive a blessing from their parents or any other close family member should their parents be absent (if the person simply has no family to do this with, one shall use a close friend of theirs instead. If this doesn’t work either just skip this step). From here one must take their time throughout the day to present the person in question with gifts and offerings, and spend their entire day with them. Finally, when it is midnight, one must bring their significant other to the top of the mountains under the stars (it is said that the clearer the sky is that night, the more successful the proposal will be) and present them with one’s own crystal, which is a sign of utmost admiration, trust, and love towards the other person. If the other person accepts, the two will exchange crystals and come back down to the village to sleep in their own homes with their significant other’s crystal for the night. This is the only time where it is acceptable for someone to give their crystal to another. Then right at dawn, one must return back to their fiance and give their crystal back. The ritual is complete and the two are now engaged.
When one of the Angniku dies, the clan first begins by arranging a spot atop the mountains for the body to be buried. They say the closer to the sky you are, the better the spirits will take care of you. The people gather around their body, not yet buried, and sit in silence out of respect. Then everyone stands up and departs back down the mountain, except for family and close friends. They stay for additional prayer to wish the departed’s spirit well before burying them in the snow.
Pets such as arctic hens, hare sheep, and white hamsters are common, but there are a few pets that have significant connections to stones. Polar bears, and polar bear dogs respectively, tend to only be owned by agates who may use them in battle, and wolves are owned by those higher up in the clan. To have a wolf means one is worthy of great respect.
The Night of Yukara🔗
There is one night of the year where the stars in the sky are at their brightest, and dazzling meteors fly through the pitch dark. This night always falls on the first full moon of January, and is called the night of Yukara by the Angniku people, named after the moonstone who discovered that this night was the brightest of them all in the first place.
Those who stay up late in the night to witness this event to its fullest will see the night sky dotted with thousands and thousands of bright stars. Water Tribe constellations are fully visible from the ground as one gazes up. Families and individuals alike gather together outside their homes and in the snow to just look at the stars, and sometimes bond over making up their own constellations. People also love to watch the meteor showers as they find it quite beautiful.
To the vendors and stalls around the market, this is a day where they can sell special sweets that would usually be in lower stock such as joon berry sauce and mooncakes, which are popular with the excited children taking part in this day. They eat the treats under the stars with their family and friends.
For shamans, especially those who follow Xiyue, this is a blessed day where the spirits are at their most prominent and powerful. They will hold a special Yukara rite in the moonstone temple and pray for Angniku’s safety, fortune, and luck. To the Xiyue followers, the constellations mean even more than just simple naming and beauty. Constellations are said to be families reuniting, and they treat these constellations with respect and mourning. Every star is someone who has passed, and someone the spirits will watch over with their gentle care.
The night of Yukara isn’t a holiday that’s celebrated with a grand festival, or any type of party. It’s a quiet, peaceful, yet powerful staple of the Angniku’s culture, and this day brings them together in a way they can share and look forward to each year.
Written by River & Tae