Lily Civilization

The Lily Civilization was an ancient culture that existed on the island of Yuriba in the Ancient Era, specifically between the approximate era of 6000 BCE to 3000 BCE. Believed to be primarily human in constitution, they are the sole known major pre-modern culture to exist on Yuriba that was not grounded primarily in the domain of Underhill. Scholars generally believe that there are no genetic or cultural descendants of the Lily Civilization on the main island, and that they were completely wiped out. It is likely that there are residents of Underhill who contain trace Lilian heritage, although after nearly 5,000 years dilution it is arguable just how relevant that is. The standard identifier for artifacts and traditions associated with the culture is Lilian.

Contents

Society

Semi-agrarian in nature, the Lily Civilization is believed to have had a notable sized merchant class, a class of hunters and fishers, a religious class, and a class of artisans. From what minimal evidence exists, it seems that the merchant and religious classes were commonly most powerful – or at least, they have left the most spectacular artifacts – but that class distinctions were, overall, not very strong.

The specific organization of society varied across several broad periods in Lilian history. Due to the lack of access to major ruins and the inability to fully understand the sparse extant native Lilian records, much of the specifics of each period remain uncertain. However, archaeological analysis of smaller artifacts combined with folkloristic studies of stories and rituals among the still extant Underhill societies that may relate to the Lilian era have produced evidence of broad trends in four identified periods.

Early Lilian Period

The early Lilian Period is typically dated as lasting from 6000 BCE to 5200 BCE. It is at this point that the earliest evidence of human settlement on Yuriba can be traced, although academics remain divided as to if the natives emigrated from other Pacific islands or were brought here by magical forces. (At present, a small group of researchers at Rinkei Gakuen are debating the merit of attempting a genetic study of early Lilian remains in order to compare them to known cultures.) However, the predominant theory seems to favor outside influence due to the faint similarity between the Old Yuriban script and certain very ancient forms of writing from the Pacific region, as well as a predominant magical motif in art and myths believed to date to this point.

Middle Lilian Period

Between 5200 BCE and 4000 BCE the Lily Civilization rose to its apparent zenith. Many of the artifacts from non-Lilian cultures date to this period, leading to belief that trade was at its height. At this point, it is believed, the society was organized primarily by seniority and age, although at the end of the period there is some evidence supporting the development of a tribal council, rather than a single chieftainess. The few records that have been shared from Underhill suggest that the color red was favored specifically to mark elders and matriarchs; its use as a color of power seemed to continue into latter eras, although perhaps for different reasons.

It was in the Middle Period that the Lily Civilization seemed to have come to its height in metalworking skills as well. Almost all recovered artifacts have been made of bronze (perhaps harvested from the native Bronze Rose), although a few items of iron weaponry have also been discovered.

Late Lilian Period

Between approximately 4000 and 3500 BCE, the Lilian society was organized into a sort of loose democracy. Collections of small rods of Black Marble and Red Jasper have been found with other artifacts dating to this period; many believe that these may have been used to cast binary votes. While the citizenship appears to have been more involved, there is evidence that trade was faltering.

The Late Period also seems to have been a period of some religious turmoil, with a distinct rise in religious depictions in extant artifacts and architecture. Furthermore, it is during the Late Period, starting approximately around 3600 BCE, that the first evidence of animal and human sacrifice tied to the Lily Civilization has been dated. Records Underhill on the Lilians grow increasingly scarce as the Late Period proceeds; there is fairly strong evidence that while the two cultures continued to trade, the Underhill culture began to isolate itself from its sister culture, uncomfortable with how it was changing. What fragmentary records remain easily accessible support this idea, as well as indicate a fairly steady trickle of citizens from Underhill, as well as foreign emissaries and traders who disappeared while visiting the Lilians; many researchers theorize that some of the reason these records are now harder to find than those referencing earlier eras has to do with what is, effectively, a government cover up of a failure to deal with the decline of their neighbors and the predation on their own citizens.

Final Lilian Period

The Final Period began with the sudden strong shift of the primary religious influence among the Lilians to the cult of Inishie, and the subsequent creation of the splinter Toltraua society that rebelled against the change. The Toltraua civilization is believed to have been wiped out by 3300 BCE; folkloric analysis points to the grisly possibility that the remnants of the splinter group were killed in a mass sacrifice on Inishie-san. While exact dates remain extremely uncertain, it is fairly certain that the demise of the Toltraua culture predated that of the Lily Civilization by between a hundred and three hundred years. Archaeological evidence suggests that the comparatively simple sacrifices of earlier centuries have grown increasing more complex and frequent, sometimes stemming from ritualized torture; temples and shrines dedicated to goddesses other than Inishie often show signs of desecration or damage dating from this era, further suggesting that the Lilians had collapsed into full out religious warfare. Several mass graves of sacrificial victims from this era have been discovered, the majority in or near the Omolara valley, although some dot the western and eastern sections of the island as well.

Language

The primary language spoken in the Lilian world was what is now referred to as Liliaceous A. While the script used to write this language, Old Yuriban, is still in use today, the actual language appears to be unconnected to any now known and remains completely undecipherable. Evidence indicates the Lilians traded with the Jōmon culture on the Japanese islands, as well as other, unreliably identified civilizations; it is likely that at least some Lilians involved in trade spoke the languages of their trade partners.

Settlements

The primary Lilian settlement is the city of Ravensport. Located on the northwestern shore of Yuriba, along the shores of a sheltered harbor, Ravensport was a city of narrow streets and two- to three-story buildings, primarily built of Black Marble. Unfortunately for the historically curious, Ravensport appears to be inaccessible due to longstanding magics of the island; what knowledge is available is drawn from the writings of native fae and kitsune who had visited the city before it was sealed. A variety of other ruins certain to date to the Lilian Era are known, however, none of these are in close proximity to one another; they consist of a variety of private homes, temples, and visible in the west, what may well be watch towers of some sort. Further exploration tentatively westward has begun to turn up possible evidence of smaller towns, or more accurately, hamlets, gatherings of between four and a dozen homes with a few businesses or temples, scattered in the vast unexplored areas. Presumably, in the Lilian era, these were commonly traveled between.

Artifacts

The most commonly located artifacts of the Lilian culture are pottery shards, often with religious imagery. Simple weapons of bronze or iron also occasionally appear, particularly on the northern half of the island. More rarely, jewelry dating to the era is found. From what has been uncovered so far, it appears that piercings were common and that wide cuff bracelets seemed to be a preferred form of adornment; while less common, several styles of necklaces have been discovered as well as the rare hair decoration or circlet.

There is some evidence of magical artifacts that likely date back to the Lilians; very, very few have been uncovered and those generally minor. However, if the supposition that the bulk of the Lilian communities lived in the west is correct, there may well yet be more to be found. At present, anyone who finds a suspected magical artifact is strongly encouraged to bring it to a knowledgeable magic worker for examination.

Religion

The Lily Civilization worshiped the Yuriban Pantheon. Shrines that link to these native deities, including a temple on Akibimi-san believed to be linked to the mountain's namesake deity and rebuilt temples to Issui and Tsuki, have been found, and are believed to be Lilian in origin. The hidden temple known as Chikyuu's Heart contains a large variety of devotional offerings that date to the Lilian era. Worship of the four seasonal goddesses, Akibimi, Fuyuzora, Harumeku, and Zansho, seems to have been particularly prominent during the Early and Middle Periods. In all likelihood, there were multiple small shrines for each deity, given the size of the island, with each having a single larger temple for major rites.

In the Late and Final Periods, Lilian religion became dominated by Inishie. Unlike the religious artifacts and pottery found in earlier periods, most religious material after that point is the remains of sacrifices given to the goddess; although generally kept quiet, rumor claims some temples originally dedicated to other goddesses are known to have been desecrated or marred by Inishie's worshipers based on archaeological evidence.

Destruction

Shortly after 3000 BCE, the volcano Inishie-san erupted. Documentation suggests that this was the largest-scale eruption in known Yuriban history, an event that still figures prominently in native myth and legend. The primary religious centers of the Lily Civilization, by that point all located near to the volcano, were completely destroyed. Their population already weakened by the sacrificial demands of the religion, many Lilians that managed to not perish in the initial eruption and fall out failed to survive the adverse weather and conditions that followed the eruption. While some few remained, it seems that within twenty or thirty years all remaining Lilians had succumbed to the natural disaster and its aftereffects, left the island, or been absorbed into the Underhill culture without a trace, probably using the Jusenkyou blessings to blend into the non-human population without note.

Archaeological evidence shows this period to have been harsh on the rest of the island as well, showing severe drops in many native animal and plant populations, as well as a number of extinctions. (Including, it seems, the native Yuriban human.) The extent of the damage is believed to be behind many divine wards that sealed the island into smaller sections to allow them to recover, different ones falling and making new areas accessible as they returned to enough health to allow passage by first non-intelligent, then intelligent species. In studying the pattern of dropped wards, it has been theorized that the weather conditions at the time of the Lilian eruption carried most of the pyroclastic flow and ash fall to the west and north, as territories in the south and east were among those first resettled. There is academic argument over whether this may indicate a potential second Inishian caldera somewhere in the west or north, but without the opportunity to explore the regions, it is impossible to say for sure.

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