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A T E V I   S O C I E T Y


HISTORY
ATEVI CULTURE
ATEVI LANGUAGE
ASSASSIN'S GUILD
RAGI GLOSSARY

 
Return to Foreigner Index"Atevi aren't friends. Atevi can't be friends. They don't like you.
They're not capable of liking you.  The wiring isn't there.
Never forget it. Never expect it.
Start building that construct to satisfy your needs and you're dead.
Or you'll be dead. And the peace will be in shambles."

 
ATEVI-HUMAN HISTORY

The Pheonix is a colony ship exploring uncharted space. Her mission: Build a station at a suitable star to be used as the first jump point in a bridge of stations toward new planets rich in resources. The Pheonix is forced to cut short her voyage due to a computer malfunction. The crew locates a nearby yellow star with a suitable planet. There, a landing party makes First Contact with a native alien species, the Atevi.

After First Contact was made, the officers of the Pheonix abandoned the human colonists on the planet. The Pheonix left to search for precious resources. The officers belonged to the Pilots Guild, hard core spacers who were of a very different background from the Station-builders who were colonists at heart. The colonists established relations with the atevi.

War then broke out between the two species. Neither side had been intentionally hostile toward the other, but biological factors involving atevi and human emotion (see Culture of the Western Association) made misunderstanding between the two species inevitable. The atevi won the war in spite of superior human technology.

The humans and the atevi segregated themselves completely with the humans taking up settlement on the island of Mospheira. Mospheira is technically a province of the atevi Western Association, but in most matters, it is a sovereign state. 

A Treaty was struck and the office of the paidhi was created in order to prevent another war. The paidhi is the sole human allowed on Atevi land. He (or she) is a neutral translator between the humans and the atevi. His duties include the gradual introduction of human technology into Atevi society in order to advance atevi technology at a controlled pace. (The ultimate goal for the advancement of atevi technology is the building of a ship that would allow the humans and atevi to travel to space.)

The Western Association is the largest atevi political entity and the only one that has any dealings with humans. The Western Association benefits from the human technology passed on by the paidhi for an advantage over the other weaker Associations. Any attack on the office of the paidhi would constitute a risk to the power of the aiji of the Western Association. Such an attack would not be against an individual, but against an entire atevi social structure. 


 
 
CULTURE OF THE WESTERN ASSOCIATION

Although the atevi are an intelligent species and capable of strong emotion, their emotions and thinking processes differ greatly from humans. Such differences, not surprisingly, are seen in all aspects of atevi culture from their political structure to their language.

One difference between the two species is the atevi tendency to separate emotion from their physical features as opposed to human's instinctive facial expressions based on mood. The emotions atevi do have are never evident on their faces. 

An even more jarring difference between atevi and human culture is the concept of friendship versus association. The concepts of Love and Friendship are not known to the atevi. The two words do not exist in the atevi language. 

Instead, they have man'chi, an instinctive need to follow a leader or association, a biological loyalty based on evolutionary herd instincts. The atevi obviously care for their own, but such feelings are reserved only for those of the same man'chi who are loyal to the same leader. (This can be very difficult for human paidhiin who often feel socially isolated due to the fact that their feelings of affection toward the atevi are not reciprocated.)

Atevi political structureis based on these associations rather than geographical boundaries. Therefore, the Western Association, the largest of the atevi political entities, cannot be designated on a map. 


 
 
RAJI: THE ATEVI LANGUAGE

Another difference between atevi and humans is evidenced in the atevi language, Ragi, which is based heavily on complicated mathematics. The atevi are a species biologically evolved to be excellent with numbers, and numbers pervade not only their language, but their spiritual beliefs as well.

(Unfortunately, a full discussion of the fascinating Atevi language and their belief system would be far too extensive for this site. Read the novel!)


 
 
THE ASSASSIN'S GUILD

In the Western Association, assassination is legal if one files Intent to fairly warn the intended victim of feud, and if one uses a licensed member of the Assassin's Guild as his registered agent. Such agents are commonly used in Bloodfeuds between Associations. (When Intent has been filed on an ateva of import, such as a Lord or official, all Guild members must meet and vote to decide whether or not the Guild will accept the request for Intent.)

Such killing on a small scale has served to prevent many large-scaled wars. Atevi officials are, understandably, hesitant to act rashly since their opponents may file Intent to feud. Any killings that have not been properly registered are considered illegal murder, subject to dishonor and punishment by the aiji.

The Assassin's Guild is composed of atevi who have passed a strict training regimen to obtain a license. Only the best are accepted, and they must follow a strict honor code. All assassinations must be performed with finesse, meaning no one other than the intended victim is to be harmed or killed: no random shootings at innocent bystanders, no wanton destruction, no wholesale murder. 

Assassin's Guild members often serve as personal security guards for atevi Lords, so they are not only assassins, but defensive bodyguards as well.


 
 
A FEW ATEVI TERMS

aiji:  lord of a central assocation
ateva:  singular of atevi
biichi-gi:  finesse in removing obstacles
mosphei':  human language
man'chi:  an atevi's primary instinctive loyalty to a leader of association
mecheiti:  animals which the atevi ride
nai'aijiin:  provincial lords
paidhi:  interpreter
paidhiin:  plural form of paidhi
Ragi:  the culture of the Western Association
RagiAssociation:  another name for the Western Association
wi'itkiti:  a dragon-like flying creature