Chronicles of Aviara
Known to themselves as “Those that Bask in the Sun”, the Lizardfolk of Aviara are semi-nomadic following specific routes along the southern coast of the continent. The Lizardfolk follow rich multifaceted traditions that many outsiders find strange and confusing.
Lizardfolk tribes tend to be communal in nature. Individuals hold specific ranking and positions within the, and advance based on deeds and tests of strength. Because tribes often spend months at a time without encountering another tribe, members will often wear complex tattoos that denote not only who they, but what they have done. Outsiders can easily identify tribe members of increased importance by the number and complexity of their tattoos. This sometimes leads to unfortunate miss understandings, because there isn’t always an exact correlation between the two. A highly decorated tribe member may not hold much actually power, but may still be respected, where as someone with real influence may only have a few simple tattoos that speak volumes. The understanding of the tattoos is akin to understanding a different language. Reaction of Lizardfolk to outsiders sporting tattoos reminiscent of their cultural style ranges from amusement due to the obvious misunderstanding to rage due to the lack of respect to culture demonstrated.
The creation and content of a tattoo is immensely important to tribe members. Those who train in the art of tattoo making are often held in high regard. Such tribe members can hold the position of Story Teller or the even loftier position of Title Maker. These members are not only trained in the practice of tattoo making, including specific style and iconography, but also in tradition, history, religion, and culture. Because the position is so important to Lizardfolk tradition, many tattoos are signed with some symbol to designate who crafted the tattoo. This can hold just as much significates as what a tattoo says.
Because tattoos are so revered within the culture, scars that pass through or break a tattoo are taken very seriously. Members who have disgraced their tribe in some major way will at times have the associated tattoo broken through scaring. Having an important tattoo inadvertently broken with a scar is considered a very serious omen depending on the severity of the scar and the type of tattoo that was broken. In contrast, some scars are often decorated with the story of what caused that scar. These tattoos and scars, are held in very high esteem, because the scar is seen as natural proof of deed, and the subsequent tattoo is an elaboration.
Lizardfolk have a very animistic outlook on spirituality. They respect the spirits around them, and individuals may venerate specific spirits. Lizardfolk see almost everything as either having a spirit, or being influenced by the spirits. This extends even to concepts such as spirits Hunting, War, Peace, and Seasons. The only things that do not have spirits are those things that are in no way connected to the natural world, such as aberrations.
Because the spirits around and in them are so important, it is also of great responsibility to maintain the quality and purity of those spirits. This often confuses many outsiders, because the quality and purity of spirits do not always have anything to do with morality. Lizardfolk are instead, more concerned with how well defined a particular spirit is, especially with how that spirit manifests itself. For example, a shaman maybe concerned with the spirits with a specific region of land if things in that area began to act in ways that they are not used to seeing. This may making them go out to investigate what is causing this change, and then correct it if it is a threat to the area.
This concern for the quality and purity of spirits is not limited to outside forces. A person’s individual spirit is very important. Lizardfolk feel that individuals need to have a well-defined sense of themselves. Because an undefined spirit can interfere with the spirit of a community, it is not unheard of to send tribe members on journeys to find themselves. This practice is very personal to individuals, because understanding who they are in relation to the world around them is of the utmost importance to a tribe member. These Lizardfolk may wander the world for months or years before they return to the tribe. Many who do come back, return with amazing stories. Some are fortunate enough to have a Story Teller document their deeds away from the tribe for them, but this is not always the case. Many Story Tellers will not document deeds or feats unless they have witnessed it themselves, or can corroborate the details to a very exacting degree.
This is probably the most misunderstood and feared aspect of Lizardfolk society. Because Lizardfolk acknowledge and respect the spirits of those around them, but also work towards enhancing their own spirits, some Lizardfolk will participate in ritualistic cannibalism. This tradition is centered around the belief that consuming another’s spirit will strengthen one’s own spirit. This will be done by eating the portion of a body that the Lizardfolk believe that person’s spirit lies. This is normally an organ that is somehow connected to the nature of that person’s spirit. For example, if someone was known for their intelligence, the brain maybe consumed, whereas if they were known for combat, the heart maybe consumed.
The process for ritualistic cannibalism is very involved. It begins with the purification of the person or persons who will be consuming the body. This is done, because the person must know themselves before they can allow someone else into them. Then, the organ to be eaten must be purified. This is normally done by cooking the impurities out of it. Afterwards, the organ is consumed and the imbiber goes to be purified again. This is done to ease the absorption of the spirit into the body. The circumstances in which cannibalism can be done is very strict. Traditionally, spirits will only bond with the living if it has either been defeated and cowed, or given freely. Lizardfolk believe that if a spirit is consumed without it being submissive to the consumer, there is a chance that the spirit can overwhelm spirit of the person who consumed it. This will occasionally require the spirits to be purged from the body, before a tribe member can find balance and purpose.
Lizardfolk have been observed partaking in cannibalism during battle. Lizardfolk often purify themselves before combat to give them focus during battle, and many Lizardfolk believe that the heat of battle burns away the impurities within them, and the people they fight. It is often within combat that a warrior may encounter a spirit they respect, and feel would make them better. Trying to find a body after combat is often difficult and dangerous, and many times the body has been despoiled and tarnished. After a battle, if a tribe member consumed the spirit of another, they will perform rituals to complete the bonding process. In a sense, cannibalism is one of the highest forms of respect a Lizardfolk can show to another, although this may not always been seen this was, understandably so.
It should be noted that Lizardfolk do not see a separation between the natural world and the sentient world. To this end, they have been known to perform the rituals with other creatures that they respect, and would like to become more like.
The Third Eye
A lesser known aspect of Lizardfolk, is the presence of partially formed third eyes, located between the other two eyes and higher up on the forehead. Many believe that this gives Lizardfolk the natural connection to spiritual energies around them, because they are born with a rudimentary ability to perceive them. This is further enforced by the disconnection many Lizardfolk feel, if they ever have their third eye blinded. This spiritual connection through the third eye is very important to Lizardfolk culture. The degree of development of the third is a major influence on how much shamanistic training any particular Lizardfolk goes through, and further advancement into that tradition often involves a ritual that further opens and defines the third eye of that Lizardfolk.