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Thought Pillars or Temu-Zamu are rudimentary constructions found in the Land of Dread that impart a specific idea by a specific author, from complex instructions and maps to the simplest tips. Both a rite of passage and a general symbol of status, many tribes leave Thought Pillars scattered across the wasteland. 

Thought Pillar

A basic thought pillar describing a vowel shift in Nikiltan dialects.

Construction

A most basic pillar is built such: A firm rock forms the base of the structure. Upon this, a smaller rock is placed, with the creator's name engraved on it. Upon the namestone, a log is placed, with the idea carved into one side. The log is topped by yet another stone.

Further additions can and are often made, from using rare, expensive, hard materials, having the 'log' be a rooted, living tree, even building the thing itself in a very inaccessible place, keeping the knowledge exclusive.

Purpose

At first glance the pillar tells passers-by that a specific person came up with a specific idea, but the functionality of the pillar reaches much further than that. People may leave engraved rocks on top of the pillar to show their support for the idea. Having important individuals sponsor your pillar is considered a great honour. Knocking over a pillar, whilst not a crime, has been observed to be grounds for a duel to the death. 

Most pillars are dedicated to mundane things, displaying rudimentary maps or explaining local dialects, but occasionally they aspire to something more; pillars of great spiritual wisdom have been hotspots for nomads throughout the centuries. Entire trade routes have been laid out to pass as many pillars as possible.

Original & current practicioners

It is unclear when people first started building these, or who started. According to local legends, it was the Hashhaltu who first built Temu Zamu, scattered around the Dread, supposedly to impart wisdom of a more spiritual nature. 

Currently, all six tribes make use of these in one way or another.


  • Esemseru construct them entirely out of stone and/ or metal. Popular thoughts inscribed are metalworking techniques,  training tips,  village maps, or family dynasties. Esemseru pillars are nearly always built in and around villages or mines, places where people often come by. 
  • Masqutu construct the standard pillars, usually recording potion recipes or experimental findings. Pillars can be found all across the Dread, though expert alchemists will usually inscribe their biggest findings on pillars near Tingar.
  • Nikiltu construct an enormous amount of pillars, inscribing everything from maps to alphabets to differences in alphabets and pronunciation between various Nikiltu villages. The closer their capital Kimjanu, the less likely a Thought Pillar will be of any remote use to an outsider.The most baffling use of thought pillars so far observed was making them out of leaves and twigs to record rumors in villages. This 'disrespect' for the sacred nature of the Pillars has been detrimental to the relationships with other tribes, especially the Esemseru.
  • Basu build temporary pillars wherever they stop to trade, recording the current prices and exchange rates they're currently employing. The fact that they disassemble their pillars isn't frowned upon as much because their facts themselves are temporary, shifting like the sands the Basu were named after. 
  • Hashhaltu: Legendary first builders of the pillars. Popular belief has it Hashhaltu pillars are secretive hidden in exceptionally difficult to reach places, containing more spiritual than practical wisdom. Few individuals ever lay their eyes on one, which has led to their very existence being questioned.
  • Banbirru pillars are mostly used to mark the territory of their builder. Upon their death, their pillars are ritually knocked down by their relatives.The only exception is pillars built by their priests and priestesses, which contain spiritual guidance, and are often constructed out of living materials (thus difficult to knock down). Other uses include listing the village's rules or emphasizing the sacredness of certain hunting grounds.

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