Vaikalimara Clan Society
as revealed from an unearthed journal
Foreword by Grezzele Stredelys
When we were both of an age to seek our fortunes in the world, my sister and I traveled far from the lands of our particular Araime tribe of giantkin. We used our skill with weaponry to ease our way, becoming mercenaries of a sort. Thus it was not unexpected that death should find us upon a battlefield, but it was unexpected that one of us would be resurrected as someone other than who she originally was.
My sister was "fielded" by the Vaikalimara and secretly restored to life to be one amongst their number. From that day she who was always closest to my soul was lost to me, and also from that day I vowed to find out all I could of her "new life" within those of the Kindred known as "War Daughters of the Mist." Yet their ways are secret, their tribes reclusive. Thus I could discover nothing until I heard by chance of a document held by the Grot'karesh Clan.
I am not by natural inclination nor skilled in the arts of a thief. Yet steal this document I did. Do not question me as to how; I would only lie about the circumstances in any case. But this document, replete with how it came into the hands of The Preceptors, I reveal to all giantkin now as a means of closure for those like me who lost one of their blood to initiation within the clan of the Vaikalimara.
Introductory Notes by the Preceptors of the Grot'karesh Clan
The following writings were found in a cave in the eastern Dragonspine Mountains. Though the author of the journal revealed herself within its stretched-hide pages to be a member of the Vaikalimara Clan of giantkin, the initial truth is that she was one of our own Grot'karesh kindred. A scholar to her bones, she had conceived of a means to gain information regarding the hidden lifestyle of "the Mistborn," as those of the Vaikalimara refer to themselves. She arranged her own death upon more than one battlefield to be sure, until at last she was successfully "fielded." Old letters secured in the archives state the original plan she presented to the Preceptors was for become one with the Vaikalimara, live amongst them, record their ways, and then come back to her own with her gained insight. Alas, she never returned to her original people, a testament to the ultimate lure of the Vaikalimara rituals. Yet somewhere in her clouded mind remained the vestige of her fundamental purpose. Accordingly, she initiated a journal of her experiences within the culture of the Vaikalimara and eventually left it in a cave in the eastern Dragonspine. There it was discovered many decades later by one of our clansmen.
The formal grammar and verb style of the Saramar Runes employed in the manuscript's writing, confirmed it as the effort of the one-time Grot'karesh scholar, and so it was reverently handed over to us, the Preceptors, for safekeeping as part of our historical annals. It has been reserved from the view of all but a select few due to doubts regarding the writer's mental acumen at the time of its composition, doubts that might sully the status of her previous distinguished works. Yet, whatever questions might be raised as to the clarity of the chronicler's mind, there is no doubt the document does serve to provide an intimate look into the very reclusive society of the Vaikalimara giantkin.
The Recovered Writings of Grebena Nysabir
What is sanity? Can it be quantified? Declared as an absolute truth with no possibility of any deviation from that unconditional reality? I do not know the answer to this question. I am not even sure I seek that answer any longer.
The dream of my birth remains strong in me...
Banshees surround me, wildly screaming. And then the others, those others who are alien beings from some other place, are summoned forth by the slender ones with the pointed ears.
Everywhere there is blood. Everywhere there is death. And for me there is only pain, pain so intense I cannot help but scream as wildly as the banshees did before me.
Suddenly I am transported, physically lifted, as a strained voice fills every space around me. "Mishka, stay with us," it begs.
…Yet I am not Mishka. I know I am not someone called Mishka... Or am I?
I scream a final time not just in agony but in confusion as well, and then I am born.
The shaman smiles at me, "Welcome to life, one now born into the name of Grebena Nysabir, one now to know the secrets of the Mistborn."
"Who is Mishka?" I find myself asking wearily, my body still aching from some recent if unremembered trauma and my nostrils assailed by the bilious odor of oozing trollfear mushrooms burning in a nearby brazier.
"Mishka is all of us," replies the shaman with another smile.
Mishka is all of us.
That alone is the one thing I can readily declare as absolute truth. No matter that Mishka was a giantkin of Wsalamir origins whose last breath lies beyond the boundaries of physical memory of any now living. No matter that Mishka fought against mass legions of undead long since vanquished. No matter that she faced the others in numbers never since seen. No matter that her sanity fled from her with the unnatural complications of her battle wounds. She was the first of us. She will be the last of us. She is all of us.
Mishka was purposely selected, as I was purposely selected. As, in truth, all of us are purposely selected. Through some ancient shared internal dream of her are we all born, we of the Vaikalimara.
Zelia laid her touch, her nigrashe as we call it, upon Mishka on a fine spring night after the giantkin had wandered away from all she had known to that point as family and tribe. Having been caught in a series of thorn bushes that tangled themselves into her clothes, Mishka wearily settled herself by a stream, using a small handaxe she carried on her person to cut free the tenacious nettles that clung to fabric. Wielding the blade upon the barbs stuck deep into her tunic, her fingers slipped, slicing shallowly across her chest. She parted the blouse to dab the stinging wound with cold liquid from the spring, and saw reflected in the water the trail of blood that traced outward from the cut. Suddenly a mist rose, thick yet strangely warm, clouding the air, making vision uncertain… until Mishka looked straight up into the heavens. And there, sharp and clear and true, rose the six stars of the constellation known as The Handmaidens.
Mishka stared awestruck at those distinct points of light above her, noting that the design of the blood trickling slowly from the somewhat long though not deep wound in her chest matched the pattern of the constellation. She threw her head back in wonder and found words coming unbidden to her lips, words she had never before spoken and words she did not herself know, but which with all the surety of epiphany referenced those six stars shining with eye-catching brilliance in the misty sky above.
"Myzori," she recited in a voice slow and soft, reflective of her mesmerized state.
"The most amazed," she heard a voice not her own patiently expound as a sharp thorn incised itself without pain within the flesh low on her left calf, near where the non-healing old wound of Maelshyve still festered.
"Eyzori," Mishka's own voice continued.
"The most forgiven," the other voice followed once more, as another thorn imbedded itself painlessly perhaps a thumb-length to the left of the former stab.
"Loxori," again Mishka spoke.
"The most protected," the other voice intoned as a third thorn stuck in her flesh a half-thumb-length above the second.
"Ioxori," Mishka's dazed recitation went on.
"The most enlightened," the soft voice crooned as a fourth thorn cut into Mishka's flesh a thumb-length above the third.
"Kuvori," the giantkin quietly verbalized almost as if giving sound to a prayer.
"The most respected," the other voice stated its piece as a fifth thorn wedged itself a half-thumb-length to the left of the fourth.
"Auvori," finalized Mishka in a strong voice as a feeling of total calm and absolute belonging overtook her.
"The most beloved," rose the final words of the voice as a sixth thorn trapped itself the most deeply of all approximately a thumb-length down from the fifth.
Mishka stared down at the delineation of The Handmaidens upon her left calf. With wonder she traced thin lines between the thorns with the tip of her handaxe: amazed to forgiven, forgiven to protected, protected to enlightened, enlightened to respected, respected to beloved, beloved back to protected. Dipping her hands in the stream, Mishka then rinsed clean of gore this touch of Zelia, this nigrashe, the spiky spines floating away into the water. And it is said that the nigrashe healed instantly into the gentle lines of the scar pattern that bound Mishka to the Goddess of the Moons from that day forth, with the sixth thorn prick, as well as the line connecting that marking to the fifth puncture, standing out more prominently than the rest in the raised outline.
I now list the names of the three tribes of the Vaikalimara as they were taught me when I was a newborn, thrust through the sacred mist into the bosom of Zeymor and consecrated through a nigrashe incised upon my left shoulder into the strata of Eyzori, most forgiven...
Vaukor of Auvori and Kuvori
Xiolor of Ioxori and Loxori
Zeymor of Eyzori and Myzori
These names, and more importantly the revealed names of the six stars of the constellation upon which they are based, are sacrosanct and should be spoken but rarely and always with reverence.
Each tribe of the three shares equal representation of two particular stars of The Handmaidens, epitomized in the particular formation of the strongest scar tissue of the nigrashe. Two shamans guide each tribe, one from each strata, as chosen from the groupings of a particular star which consecration places any of the Mistborn.
Though we do not seek out the other tribes of Vaikalimara to attest to the continuance of this state of truth, it has been accepted from the beginning. The communally passed dreams present Mishka, handmaiden tied to Auvori, the most beloved, being joined in the first tribe by Arenari, handmaiden tied to Kuvori, the most respected. Arenari was once of the T'Kirem Clan and, after her death in battle, was fielded by Mishka upon the instruction of Zelia. The Goddess of the Moons also charged Mishka to trace the nigrashe upon Arenari's right thigh with thorns and with axe blade, leaving the fifth thorn prick, as well as the axe-blade-incised line connecting that fifth wound to the sixth, as the most prominent in the cluster. Arenari's was the first true fielding amongst the Mistborn.
And so it was that Vaukor became the first tribe and, when the time comes for all to end, Vaukor will be the last.
Sometimes one touched by Zelia through a nigrashe has a long devotion or particular association with another Arkati or Lesser Divine. Thus her soul is split between an old dedication and the nigrashe of Zelia. These Mistborn are the nesarir.
The secondary dedication of a nesarir is called a nigrashu and is a private matter of faith. Sometimes Zelia embraces the nigrashu of a nesarir and sometimes she resents such, testing such a Mistborn more than others whose service is unclouded.
From birth all Vaikalimara are taught the skills of the axe. This universal training has historical significance. Arenari was a renowned proficient with the double-bit axe. In close combat she would adeptly wield one such weapon in each hand, and just as adeptly throw one from either hand to engage in more distance-initiated struggles. Thus, as Mishka is honored in the ritualistic dream of birth, Arenari is honored in the ritualistic weaponry instruction of a Mistborn.
Yet, Vaikalimara are free to choose their paths in life. Not all are required to become expert warriors with the axe. The ways and means of magic are open to them for exploration, as are the ways and means of other forms of arms. The Path in life a Vaikalimara ultimately chooses has much to do with the dominance of one particular serri-serri over another within the individual's internal and external being.
Through the intervention of Zelia, the five senses of physical being are extended in the Vaikalimara to include abstract qualities. These extended senses are referred to as the serri-serri, and they strongly influence various paths taken in life.
Hearing becomes auserri. It encompasses the inner spiritual hearing of those of a clerical persuasion that is evidenced in their understanding of the holy voices that ride the wind. It also holds sway over the enhanced physical hearing of those of the bardic bent as evidenced in their internal timing with the rhythm and tempo of the natural world.
Sight becomes voserri. It encompasses the inner mental sight of those who choose to discipline themselves within the framework of this world through the practice of monkish austerity, and those who choose to recreate the framework of this world through the processes of savant awareness. It also holds sway over the enhanced physical sight of those with a roguish demeanor, evidenced in their advantageous use of stealth and sleight-of-hand.
Smell becomes fiserri. It encompasses the innate ability of those with wizardly skills to intuitively sniff out the strengths and weaknesses of the inert elements of the natural world, including even time itself. It also holds sway over the enhanced sense of smell with which those with rangerly talents are able to instinctively classify all living elements of the natural world.
Taste becomes geserri. It encompasses the innate intellectual palate of those with sorcerous skills to savor unusual interactions between the natural and unnatural worlds. It also holds sway over the enhanced gusto with which those who display talents that declare them holy warriors, paladins of the gods, internally devour perceived injustices within any realm.
Touch becomes daserri. It encompasses the spiritual and mental connection those with empathic powers develop with others through physical or emotional contact. It also holds sway over the strong grip warriors maintain with the external connectors to their physical prowess, that is their weaponry.
Contact of the Vaikalimara with other beings of the natural world is purposely limited. Our life is centered upon the deity who bestows the nigrashe upon us. Therefore, we seek no association with any others but those of our own tribe, so that our service remains ever true and unquestioning.
However, on rare occasions one of the Vaikalimara will receive a mission requiring a period of living among others outside of the tribe. Such a mission is not always quantifiable with regard to set deeds or even a set timeframe, with some missions lasting but hours and some many decades. Indeed, the precise aspects of the mission often seem fluid in nature to the Mistborn herself, as one cannot expect to fully know the mind of Zelia.
Such missions come forth in dreams, as does much of the commanding of the Vaikalimara by the chosen deity. Interpretation of such dreams must be left to the shamans. Once it is determined a particular Mistborn is to venture forth from worldly isolation, she must stay away from her tribe until she receives a repeat dream of birth as a signal her mission is complete. Then and only then may she return to the bosom of the tribe.
It is not unheard of for an adolescent in the tribe to receive a mission, but more commonly they are bestowed upon Vaikalimara who have come of age. Oftentimes, though not exclusively, those called to missions beyond the scope of the tribe's seclusion are nesarir, as Zelia chooses in her own way to fully test their dedication.
The position of the shamans of the tribe as direct representatives of their specific stars and thus handmaidens of Zelia in the fullest sense is never to be questioned. Their powerful nigrashe provide them with insights no others of the tribe possess. Alone born in full spiritual maturity, only they hold sway over the Three Great Mysteries that comprise the core of Vaikalimara religious beliefs.
The shamans do not rise into their positions by some means of progressive ascension; rather they are born into them. From the moment they share in the dream of birth, it is apparent who they are. Zelia arranges all so another shaman emerges from amongst the fielded only when a previous shaman is about to be released from service to enter the final quiet clasped within Gosaena's arms. That such event comes only when needful is one aspect of the first Great Mystery, that mystery itself being the prerogative of the fielding.
All Vaikalimara who have come of age take part in the fielding, but it is the shamans who consecrate each Mistborn through nigrashe and who are granted visions on the placement of a newborn within the strata of the tribe. And it is they who faithfully declare when a new shaman has arisen from among the fielded, thus releasing from service one of their own to travel alone into the wilderness, away from the tribe, to make her final journey beyond the Ebon Gate.
The Second of the Great Mysteries is the summoning forth of the mystical properties of the trollfear mushroom. Only shamans know the secret of preparing these mushrooms to take advantage of their full supernatural capacities, though all Vaikalimara learn the use of the prepared mushrooms to bring about blessed dreams. The trollfear is the lifeblood of all blessed dreams of the Mistborn.
The last of the Great Mysteries deals with the interpretation of blessed dreams. This is the sole province of shamans, and is the only one of the mysteries that is not shared in some aspect with all members of the tribe. This is because only within shamans are all the serri-serri equally strong. In them no one sense dominates. Thus for them the meaning of dreams is unclouded by predilection to any singularly enhanced sense.
Mishka had been wounded upon the battlefield when she was chosen to receive her nigrashe. Arenari had been dead upon the battlefield when she was chosen to receive hers. From that time to this, such has always been how the touch has come: to the wounded or the dead upon a field of battle. Such will be how the touch comes into all eternity, by this method of selection referred to as the fielding.
We Vaikalimara are guided through the blessed dreams of a shaman to a place of fresh combat, where the wounded yet lie untended and the dead yet lie unresurrected. There, in a thick fog brought forth by the shamans to shield our movements from prying eyes, we search for those of our own race and sex upon whom to perform the ritual for identification. If successful identification is made, the giantkin is borne off the field by four Mistborn: one at each shoulder and one at each knee. She is taken to a predetermined and adequately hidden location, healed and/or raised as is needful, and consecrated with the incision of the nigrashe by a shaman.
And then she is born.
It was Arenari who first was granted knowledge of how to prepare the trollfear mushroom to sacred purpose.
Her nigrashe lacked the gentling of Zelia's madness that served as precursor to that of Mishka; thus she had regrets about leaving behind her old life. Isolation from all she had known and all she had loved was difficult for her to accept. Zelia therefore sent Kuon as a messenger to guide her toward the discovery of the numinous properties of the trollfear.
What process transforms the mushroom into its most mystical form will forever remain restricted information within the framework of the second Great Mystery. Once Arenari learned this method, she found burning the mushrooms in a brazier eased not only her profound melancholy but vanquished all her regrets about giving up her past life. In dream, she then passed awareness of the divinely inspired technique on to Mishka. Now that process is shared in dream with each and every shaman of the Vaikalimara, while the prescribed sacred use of the transformed mushroom is shared with each and every member of the clan.
Blessed dreams, dreams relating to service, all come to be through the auspices of the trollfear mushroom. All interpretations of such dreams come to be through the facilitation of the shamans.
Mishka was the first to realize she could interpret dreams sanctified by the use of prepared trollfear mushrooms. She found as well that concentrating on such spiritual translations filled her with an exultation of all the senses. It left her temporarily weak, yet giddy with inexplicable happiness. She urged Arenari to attempt the process, and Arenari too found her senses overcome with a powerful euphoria that could only be described as holy.
However, these first two shamans soon discovered that not all others brought into their fold were able to achieve such rapture by dream scrutiny; that in fact attempting such left most depressed and severely disoriented. Thus did it become known as an ability reserved for full handmaidens of Zelia, sanctified by their representation of a particular star of the Goddess of the Moons' constellation.
Mishka, in short order, created the speech pattern used for others to relate blessed dreams to their shamans as that formulaic model of recitation discharged from her consciousness the mental wanderings to which the whispering of Zelia normally left her prone. Thus, a dream sanctified in its receipt by use of the trollfear mushroom is spoken to the shaman in a ritualistic singsong voice, the specialized cadence of vocalization taught each Vaikalimara as a newborn. The rhythmic tonal quality of the narration serves to clear the mind of the shaman of all extraneous thoughts, allowing her to concentrate fully on the content of the dream by utilizing as a conduit the unique combination of strengths inherent in her serri-serri.
It is one of the Three Great Mysteries that any shaman is capable of unraveling the full meaning of a blessed dream of any Vaikalimara. The dreamer need not be of the strata relating to the shaman's own star, or even of that tribe. However, it is common practice to seek out the shaman of her own tribe who is tied to the dreamer's own strata for formal sacramental enlightenment regarding a blessed dream.
All days spent in service are holy to the Vaikalimara. No single one stands above another in the sense of the clan's overall observance. To us as individuals within the strata there are three main events in life that are cause for great spiritual rejoicing: birth, singulation of a serri-serri, and finally coming of age.
Each of these events marks the commencement of a specific stage of life for a Vaikalimara, these three stages being newborn, adolescence, and adulthood. Such life stages for a Mistborn have naught to do with physical development and all to do with spiritual development.
The birth of all life transpires through trauma; it is no different for a Vaikalimara. The dream of birth is violent and frightening, painful and confusing. One awakens from it wearied, yet somehow curious to commence one’s journey in a new world.
With first breath comes the potent odor of burning trollfear, an odor nauseating to unaccustomed newborn senses. Soon that scent will become an intoxicating perfume to her, but in the beginning it riles the stomach and irritates the nerves.
The shaman of her stratum within the tribe greets her with her newly bestowed name. Her blessed dream of who the newborn is within the tribe determines the newborn’s kegritsha, which in turn determines her familial name. Her given name is the shaman's prerogative alone to choose, though oftentimes she will consult with the most spiritually senior member of the newborn’s new family to see if she has some particular preference. Her name before the birth will elude her memory during these first hours as the numen of the trollfear works to full sacramental purpose.
The members of the newborn’s kegritsha hold a private celebration to mark her coming into the world. After the shaman reveals her fresh nigrashe to them, they reverently rub over that sacred mark a holy oil formed from a mash of the trollfear that will aid in proper scarring. They sing songs of the history of the Mistborn as they carry her on a pallet to lie under the light of The Handmaidens as they glow in the spring sky. They keep vigil over the new one all throughout that first night.
Only a shaman is born to full spiritual maturity. All other Mistborn must grow into such in stages. As a newborn, untried and not yet ready for full service, she learns the most fundamental of skills to function in life. She is taught the singsong cadence of dream recounting. She begins training with the axe. She repeats by rote the respectful recitation of the names of the three tribes of the Vaikalimara and the six stars of The Handmaidens. Most importantly, she is educated in the sacred use of the trollfear mushroom.
The newborn has no specific duties within the tribe as she lives secluded within her kegritsha during this time. The only expectation put upon her is to come to understand the great task to which she has been called. The trollfear is there to keep her from dwelling upon a past that matters not at all, with those of her kegritsha providing her with the mushroom on a near constant basis. She is encouraged by her family at this point in her life to use the mushrooms much more frequently than she will in later years. Thus she quickly finds the distinctive aroma of it burning in a brazier loses its off-putting qualities, and in fact provides her a spiritual experience like no other.
The amount of actual time that comprises this stage of life for a Vaikalimara, like all the stages in life for us, is not predetermined. A Mistborn remains a newborn until the most spiritually senior member of her kegritsha declares to the shaman of her stratum that she is ready to undergo the ritual of singulation of a serri-serri and thus enter adolescence.
Singulation of a serri-serri too is difficult and painful, though its trauma is far different than that of birth. The risk of death underscores the ritual and the trollfear lies at its core, though in a way separate from the mushroom's use for the mind clearing and spirit cleansing of the newborn.
During the ceremony of singulation, for the first and only time in her life, a Vaikalimara will consume a portion of prepared trollfear. Using a sanctified athame, her shaman cuts a mere sliver of mushroom from the whole and places it upon the tongue of the candidate. Prayers are uttered to Zelia by the candidate's kegritsha, who are all in attendance, and then the newborn swallows that tiny slice of mushroom.
In that moment, as a violent sickness overtakes her body, the Vaikalimara is a newborn no more. Her reaction to the numen will bring forth the specificity of her future path in life. So the shaman waits for the full results of that reaction, a process that usually takes no more than several hours. It is only when the initial effects of the retching nausea have run their full course that the secondary reaction of the candidate finally comes to light. It is the secondary reaction, which occurs only after death and subsequent resurrection, that determines which of the five serri-serri is dominant within her physical body and thus within her spiritual being. A temporary unnatural either sensitivity or insensitivity to input that must be processed by a particular sense is what forms such a secondary reaction. As an example: a ringing the ears or a loss of hearing for a small window of time indicates the governance of auserri.
The kegritsha of the candidate then present her with a gift of a dedicated pouch for containment of a personal store of prepared trollfear mushrooms. Elaborately decorated by each member of her family with a personal mark and known as a vylkaran, this pouch represents the Mistborn’s completed passage into adolescence. For most Vaikalimara, a private store of sacred mushrooms is a holy reminder of their service that they choose to keep always near at hand. For others, the mushrooms seem far too divine to be kept so customarily close during the everyday routines of daily living. If a Mistborn of either adolescent or adult status (such is forbidden a newborn) chooses to carry such a personal store, it is always placed in the vylkaran and only in the vylkaran.
Never again will a Mistborn eat of the blessed trollfear. Any attempt to do so in circumstances other than the formal sacrament of singulation is sacrilege and punishable by unresurrected death.
Once singulation has revealed what serri-serri rules within the adolescent, an initial exploration period of a few months’ duration commences regarding the several paths influenced by that serri-serri. After that point, the adolescent decides which of those paths suits her best and her lessons then center solely upon the one chosen path, as well as the religious and historical teachings necessary to ready her for the journey into adulthood and spiritual maturity.
An adolescent Vaikalimara does have specific duties within the tribe. Adolescents are the keepers of all things necessary for the physical survival of the tribe's members. They are the gatherers and growers of foodstuffs, the butchers and cooks, the spinners and weavers of cloth, the garment-makers and cobblers, the carvers and forgers, the tanners and builders.
Thus are the adolescents the working limbs of the body of the clan even as its shamans comprise the governing head and as the adults are the beating heart and life-organ containing torso of that body.
The coming of age for a Vaikalimara marks a life that has reached the goal of spiritual maturity. Such is not a goal that can be based upon a worldly calendar. Thus, the stage of adolescence can last but a single year for some Mistborn and several decades for others. There is no stigma attached to a longer period of adolescence, as there is none attached to a longer existence as a newborn. Some Vaikalimara will be expert at their path in life by the time they come of age; some will only be functional in their chosen path by such time. Zelia requires servants of all professional proficiencies.
The passage into adulthood requires that the candidate has studied well the tenets of clan belief and history. The shaman of the candidate's own stratum determines competence in these matters. The shaman's latitude in her judgment of the candidate's readiness to come of age is great, but her decision with regard to that ultimate readiness is definitive.
Because of the flexibility of the shaman's scope with regard to the ritual of coming of age, no two such sacraments are ever exactly the same. Whatever the tests prove to be, once they are passed the shaman hands the candidate a short-bladed, double-bit, ceremonial handaxe and a deeply hooded, grey, flax cloth cloak, indicating she is to take part in her first fielding as an adult within the tribe.
The process of fielding has been with the Vaikalimara since the beginning. Though Zelia herself fielded Mishka, clan members have themselves fielded all other Mistborn since. Mishka fielded Arenari. Mishka and Arenari alternated fielding the remaining four representatives of the stars who were to become the first shamans of the other two tribes of the Vaikalimara: Saliere, the most enlightened; Caaiea, the most protected; Toliia, the most forgiven; Pytria, the most amazed. Once there existed six Mistborn for each star -- one shaman and five of the lower strata, Zelia through blessed dreams,advised the women to split into three separate groups, the three tribes each of two stars, and for each tribe to then wander on their own and field others into their tribes as future dreams would instruct.
Though the prerogative of the fielding is one of the Three Great Mysteries, the actual procedure remains relatively simple. During the spring, when the constellation of The Handmaidens is viewable in the night sky, a shaman of the tribe receives a blessed dream revealing the location of a battlefield that will soon yield wounded and dead giantkin. All the adults of the tribe travel en masse to that place of revelation. As night falls, the shamans call forth a mystical fog to shield the actions of the Vaikalimara. It is said that the others of our race understand the meaning of the fog and take caution not to interfere with the holiness of the fielding, but as to the truth of that I cannot say. I can only say that in the entire history of the Mistborn no fielding has ever been interrupted by the hostile actions of any giantkin.
The Vaikalimara then traverse the field, seeking out the severely wounded and the dead. At the body of each fallen giantkin, one Mistborn will pause and remove any armor or other coverings from the chest of that fallen one. Then the Vaikalimara will adeptly wield her ceremonial handaxe to make a shallow cut to the length of perhaps a halfling's foot diagonally over the heart of the fallen one, initiating the angle of the wound from the same side as the location of her own nigrashe. Thus would I, with my nigrashe on my left shoulder, cut from left to right diagonally across the chest of the fallen one.
If the bleeding from the score in the flesh of the fallen one flows in the rough pattern of The Handmaidens, the Vaikalimara knows she has come upon one touched that night by Zelia. Thus the fallen one is lifted by four Mistborn of the stratum and taken from the field to a predetermined secret site where both shamans will study the night sky. That shaman who first spots the blazing of her own star amongst the six of the constellation, a signal as to which stratum this chosen is considered part, will then use the trollfear to receive a blessed dream as to where the nigrashe should be placed on the body of the newly touched one. The incising of the nigrashe with thorns and with axe-blade then comes under the jurisdiction of the particular shaman into whose stratum within the tribe the touched one will be born to new life.
Adult life for a Vaikalimara is always about service, whether participating in a fielding, gathering the sacred trollfear for the shamans' preparation, or performing tasks desired by Zelia in some form or another. All things Zelia wishes done strictly within the bounds of the mortal world will be placed upon the shoulders of the Mistborn. Some tasks are easy to understand as to purpose; others are not. Still, a Vaikalimara will never question service. She will never demand reasons for Zelia's commands. And for this absolute loyalty will she ever know she will never walk this world alone.
- Kuvori (the most respected)
- Ioxori (the most enlightened)
- Auvori (the most beloved)
- Loxori (the most protected)
- Eyzori (the most forgiven)
- Myzori (the most amazed)