Kin Ethnicity in Vazdimet | World Anvil

Kin

Members of the Vardan traders refer to themselves as Kin, a nod to the close working ties required across and throughout their many Clans and caravans to navigate both the dangers of the Void and the constant warring of the other factions.

Culture

Major language groups and dialects

All Kin speak Galactic Common, which gained its status as the universal language of Vazdimet specifically due to the Vardan's influence. Those who work as traders often pick up many of the other languages along their routes, as well.

Shared customary codes and values

Service to their fellow Kin, and especially their Clan-Kin, is a value taught among the Vardan since birth. The Void is a living but harsh home, and a caravan's survival relies upon the efforts of each of its members.   To the Kin, leadership roles carry with them a responsibility for service to the caravan, the Clan, and the Vardan, setting an example for all those who look up to them for guidance. The more influential their position, the greater their responsibility.

Common Etiquette rules

When traveling within the Void, the state of the ships and efficiency of their crew are all that stand between life and death. None know this better than the nomadic Vardan, who make their home within the caravans among the stars, with no planet of their own. This has led to a strong culture of community, where the needs of the whole outweigh the needs and desires of each individual.  

Pronouns and Relationships

The Kin revert to "us" and "we" when discussing themselves in all but the most intimate conversations. Personal identity is considered a highly private matter, respected by all but shared with only a select few. As a result, the Kin hold little interest in the concept of gender and gender roles as understood by much of the universe, instead focusing on their personal roles and assignments within their Clan and caravan. The Clan in turn supports each member in these interests, finding ways to balance the caravan's needs with the skills and interests of its members.   Personal conversations revolving instead around the pronouns "I," "me," and singular "you" are considered highly intimate, reserved for those with whom the speaker has formed a personally fulfilling relationship. To receive someone's personal pronouns is an act of trust and deep friendship, often in the hope of something more: marriage, to form a private family unit.   Vardan marriages focus on a working partnership among all participants, rather than romance, placing a higher focus on the intellectual and, to a lesser degree, emotional relationship and intimacy between the participants, rather than a physical relationship. Marriages among Kin are therefore emotionally closed, frequently polygamous. They are also physically open, particularly in the case of those wishing to become gestational parents, in accordance with the Kin's emphasis on the genetic diversity of each new generation.  

Privacy

Vardan caravan ships are often cramped, with little personal space. As a result, the right to privacy is highly respected among the Kin. Each family unit is granted their own personal shared quarters, which are off-limits to all those outside the family unit, with exceptions made for small children. Additionally, the Kin refuse to acknowledge overheard conversations utilizing personal pronouns, instead pretending they never noticed the speakers or their words.   As with all things among the Vardan, the usual rules of etiquette are followed with an almost religious zeal, for the sake of all Kin - unless doing so would endanger the caravan, Clan, or Kin.

Common Customs, traditions and rituals

The Kin are not only responsible for the prevalence of Galactic Common across the universe, but also for the adoption of the Stardate Calendar when recording interplanetary and interfactional events, due to its use by the Vardan when scheduling their trade visits. The calendar holds even more significance among the Kin than to the rest of the universe, as each month is named after their planned maintenance to ensure the proper upkeep of their ships.

Birth & Baptismal Rites

For those interested in becoming parents for the next generation, the Kin separate themselves into those currently able and willing to serve as gestational parents, with all others considered non-birthing parents. In most cases, a parent will already belong to their own family unit, entering into a Vardan Marriage containing at least two and often several adults who will serve equally in parental roles for any adopted or naturally born children, regardless of the biological genetics of the ensuing children.   Those capable of carrying children are encouraged to do so, although this is recognized as a deeply personal decision and thus subject to the Kin's full respect of privacy. Those who cannot or wish not to will take other roles. Children belong to the Clan of the individual who carried them, with no rights held by outsiders or other Clans.  

Pregnancy Among Vardan

In an effort to increase the genetic variance within the Vardan, when conceiving a child most gestational parents will select a genetic donor from one of the merchants' many planetary ports of call, rather than from among the Kin. These genetic donors waive all rights to any resultant children, or even the knowledge of whether or not the pairing resulted in a child, ensuring they do not grow up with split loyalties that would distract from their place as Kin.   Upon a successful pregnancy, gestational parents are closely cared for by their family unit, with assistance as needed from the rest of their Clan-Kin. While expected to continue their regular responsibilities as best as they are able during the beginning of their pregnancy, as the unborn child's development progresses so to does their gestational parent's need for rest. Their family unit, as well as the rest of their Clan-Kin, will therefore jump in readily to take over the typical roles of their pregnant Kin, and to care for the medical needs of both the developing child and their gestational parent.   The Kin believe each child is a gift, from the Void to the Clan. The perinatal care provided among Vardan caravans is considered among the best in Vazdimet.  

Birth and Childcare

Each birth is a cause for intense and prolonged celebration, among both the child's family unit and their Clan.   Upon birth of a new child, their family unit is permitted a break from their typically shifts and duties in order to bond with their new family member. The newborn is presented to their family unit, with each member sharing a personal story from their own life accompanied by a wish for the newborn's future. Family members take turns caring for the gestational parent and the newborn, ensuring both receive all the meals and sleep they require. Provided the Clan is large enough, the family will be excused from their responsibilities for a full week, to instead care for their members. For smaller Clans or larger family units this duration is often shorter, or with staggered shifts for each parent, although in all cases the family unit will be granted at least a full day with no responsibilities to anyone outside the family unit.   During this week the family will select the newborn's first name, while will be used to refer to them until they are considered of age and ready to select their own name. The family unit will present both child and name to the Clan, at which point the Clan begins their own celebration of the newborn. From this point on the Clan-Kin will assist the child's family unit in care for both newborn and gestational parent until both have recovered fully from the birth. Upon recovery, the gestational parent will resume their usual duties toward the Clan, while the Clan accepts full responsibility for the well-being of the child.

Coming of Age Rites

Childhood is a time of learning and discovery, finding one's place within their Clan and among their Clan-Kin.   While each child's family unit takes primary responsibility for the care and well-being of their children, the Clan will step in with increasing frequency as each child ages, first to help with supervision and then later with education and even apprenticeships centered around each individual's interests and the needs of the Clan. Throughout this stage of development, children are referred to by the name used by their parents when presenting them to the Clan, but are encouraged to think of what name they will choose for themself once they come of age. They will continue to share quarters with their family.   Once a child has prepared themself for their place within their caravan, including completing all necessary training to take on a more independent position within their selected role, they are ready to declare their own name and claim their own status as an adult within the caravan. This is one of the few public events within the Clan where an individual will refer to themselves with personal pronouns, announcing their new name and role in a special ceremony attended by all available Clan-Kin. From this point on, they are considered an adult.   While new adults may request to remain quartered with their current family unit, most newly fledged adults are reassigned to new quarters, this time shared with other unaligned young adults, often sharing similar roles within the caravan. Here they will remain until forming a new family unit, or joining an existing unit. All Clan-Kin will refer to them by their newly chosen name, until they decide to choose another.  

Renaming Ceremonies

Beginning with their coming of age, a Kin is welcome to change their name as often as they feel necessary, as they discover more about themselves and their role within the Clan. These ceremonies are the only time an individual will use their personal pronouns when addressing the Clan, as with each renaming they are also redefining their role within it. Most renaming ceremonies involve only minor adjustments to the Kin's existing name, although for large life changes a Kin may instead choose an entirely new name altogether to commemorate the occasion.   The Kin believe there is power in a name, as it is the portal to one's personal identify. Strong past memories are often evoked by calling an individual by a former name, most often with parents referring to their children by their original presentation name, or two adults in a marriage referring to each other by the names they held when they originally formed their relationship.

Funerary and Memorial customs

The Kin believe that all life comes from the Void, and so all life must also return to the Void. Members of the caravan are permitted an opportunity to pay their last respects to their departed Clan-Kin, at which point they are reverently sent out the airlock to rejoin the universe.   In cases where an immediate return to the Void in not possible, due to local planetary laws or the Clan's own wishes for further honors for the deceased, the body is instead fastened inside the airlock for Void mummification. This allows the Kin to safely and sanitarily store their departed loved one's until a later date, either traveling with their dead attached to the outside of their ship as a sign of respect for their contributions to the Clan and their roles in helping maintain their Kin's deep ties to the Void, or to allow disposal in a location of the deceased's choosing, such as a sentimental star system.

Common Myths and Legends

The Kin see the vast expanse of the Void as the gestational parent of the universe, the space within which all life comes into existence. A fierce but loving parent, the Void sees to the needs of all their children, provided they respect the power of the Void in return. Once the Kin have fulfilled their roles within the universe, the Void will then carry them home across The Veil to the Afterlife.
Faction
Vardan
Leadership
Vardan Council
Clans
Related Organizations
Official Languages
Galactic Common

Layers of Kinship

To the Kin, all Vardan are Kin, regardless of any past differences or squabbles over trade routes.   One's Clan and caravan members are instead known as Clan-Kin, an acknowledgement of ties toward their shared communal needs and safety.   A family unit consists of all members of a marriage, plus their children. This may include adult children who have requested to remain within the family quarters upon completion of their coming of age renaming ceremony.   All non-Vardan are known simply as outsiders, although in special cases a Clan Lead may choose to name an outsider Void Kin. This is a great honor, usually signifying a major act of service performed in benefit to the Clan.

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Comments

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Dec 10, 2022 00:07 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

I love the Varden so much. <3

Dec 10, 2022 00:16 by Morgan Biscup

Me, too. I'm so excited with how they turned out.

Lead Author of Vazdimet.
Necromancy is a Wholesome Science.
Dec 10, 2022 08:01 by Soulwing

The entire living situation around the Kin is quite fascinating, especially their family system. Gotta respect their respected desire for privacy even in a limited area that is a spaceship. A rag-Tag community with roots all over the universe.

Creator, artist and writer of the science fantasy world Kingsmaker.
Dec 10, 2022 17:22 by Morgan Biscup

I adore the Vardan. They're small in numbers, but they have a large impact on the universe, and they're *good* people.

Lead Author of Vazdimet.
Necromancy is a Wholesome Science.
Dec 10, 2022 19:07 by Soulwing

I definitely was able to feel that within the brimming energy of excitement this article gives off. ^^

Creator, artist and writer of the science fantasy world Kingsmaker.
Dec 10, 2022 14:12 by E. Christopher Clark

This is fantastic! My favorite parts were the section on pronouns (that bit about how learning someone's personal pronouns is a moment of intense intimacy was SO great) and the section on names and how kids are allowed to change them once they come of age.

Track my progress on Summer Camp 2024!
Dec 10, 2022 17:21 by Morgan Biscup

Thanks so much! I'm glad you enjoyed reading about the different ways they see the universe.   I had a lot of fun writing this article, and I'm really looking forward to exploring more about them in my prose. They're one of my favorite ethnicities in Vazdimet.

Lead Author of Vazdimet.
Necromancy is a Wholesome Science.
Dec 29, 2022 14:05 by TJ Trewin

This is a really interesting concept with their use of pronouns for more personal and intimate things! Confessing your feelings to someone must be really really special.


Journals of Yesteryear

Dec 29, 2022 18:31 by Morgan Biscup

Oh absolutely. They'd most likely have had other personal conversations before then, though, so it wouldn't be blindsiding anyone out of the black. Personal and emotional intimacy is separate from physical in Vardan society, so they'd have interacted before for that conversation to happen.

Lead Author of Vazdimet.
Necromancy is a Wholesome Science.
Jan 18, 2023 05:23 by Elijah Hemlock

This is one of the coolest things I have ever read! I'm amazed at the depth of world building here. I really liked the idea of having multiple names throughout a lifetime to signify your change and growth. I wish it was one we saw in the real world and that changing your name is more common or at least normal name.   How would Kin handle someone committing a crime? Or worse, betraying the Clan? I imagine it would happen with extreme rarity given how they are raised and the importance placed on the Kin and the Clan, it's probably a once in a millennia event but I'd be really curious to see how it's handled. Apologies if this was already discussed elsewhere.

Jan 18, 2023 17:29 by Morgan Biscup

Thank you so much! <3   The largest crime among the Kin is to put fellow Kin in danger, either intentionally or through willful incompetence. This includes anything that would threaten the neutrality of the Vardan - because this neutrality is what keeps them safe. Many of the larger factions are at war.   The most severe punishment among the Vardan is Exile - no longer Kin, former members are left to fend for themselves in the universe if they wronged fellow Kin, or handed over to the judicial system of the planet or faction whose laws they broke.   This is always a regrettable outcome, and it is often hoped in all but the most egregious cases that former Kin will someday find their way back and atone for their past actions.   I do have an article on that if you wanted to know more.

Exiled
Rank/Title | Dec 8, 2022

The Exiled are former Kin, stripped of their status for actions threatening the safety and well-being of the Vardan.

Lead Author of Vazdimet.
Necromancy is a Wholesome Science.
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