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It is said that history is written by the winners, but there are those who think it was a mistranslation and that history is, instead, written by the whiners. Almost all myth shows that those who survive are the downtrodden, the ones the gods continually hurl insult and injury upon only to see them persevere. Whether or not this describes the Gelts and their strange exodus to1 the Xtant is a curious question. Certainly, Geltish mythology presumes a fairly antagonistic beginning with their gods, one which has mostly calmed down except for occasional oddities, like their assumed relationship with sheep.2

The war cries of the Gelt clans coming down from the Xtant Hills at their enemies have been compared to the bloodcurdling shrieks of the Xpletive Winds. Their Pisankas slice the air with whistling volleys followed by the thunder as the air claps together after the final blades pass. It is said that a Pisanka made by the old masters can "cut through time itself." Whereas this has never been proven, it is true that the Pisanka is the only (un)conventional weapon known to have held back at least one invasion of The Others?.

A standard Pisanka is anywhere from 4 inches to 24 inches long, depending on if it is measured from root to tip or along its actual length which may be distorted by the clever corkscrew-like curves. A real Pisanka-devotee (often referred to as a "Sanker") may refer to its "cortex measure" which takes into consideration the inner space between the curves and down to the hilt (referred to as a "root" only by serious Sankers.) The "baffle" (referring to the outside surface) is usually where size really counts. The fractal-like edges in the roughest true Pisanka (often referred to as a "Pishanka") will look as smooth and sharp as the ones of the finest, although they will not have the same translucent, almost transparent nature.

It is said that both "baffle" and "cortex" confused the spectral armour of The Others?, but some insist it is the materials. Pisankas of the finest variety will be made in the traditional crystal-and-bone fusion. Some Sankers insist that the famous jewel-and-horn combination is also acceptable for showpieces, if not for war. Crystal-and-shell combinations are sold by more entreprenurial Gelts to non-clan members.

Pisankas are judged on their clarity, the sound they make when unsheathed from their horn-like carrying pouches, and their colour and pattern. King Uskara's Pisanka (he named it "Shofar") had a beautiful leopard-print curve with purple edging and a white root. It hangs in the Gelthall and can be admired for free on any high holy day or for a small fee during business hours.

While most Geltish children play with Axes, the bequeathing of a Pisanka at a special "coming of age" ceremony3 has been abandoned by most urban Gelts. Replicas made of metal are generally miniaturized and used for coring apples, pears, and Gerunkfruit.

[1] Whereas most seek an exodus from the Xtant, the Gelts seem to have been headed in the wrong direction. One premier Gelt philosopher suggested that this was due to a 40-year curse that started them with loincloths in the desert, whereas it is merely considered the usual state of affairs to the Geltish women who complain that their husbands never ask directions.

[2] While there are certainly those Gelts who have a close relationship with their sheep, we don't want to know about it.

[3] The giving of a large stick called a "bat" for females or a "bar" for boys has replaced the Pisanka, due to scarcity of materials. It's the thought that counts.

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Page last modified on October 29, 2008, at 12:54 PM by DoyceTesterman

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