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The Jing - A Unique Species

Updated: Apr 23

(Original map by Jaques Smit)

The Jing are intelligent nudipleura with highly malleable physiology. Being able to breathe air and water, their territories are both terrestrial and aquatic. Their ability to connect their minds with one another via the Silk Nexus has shaped their society to focus on maximising the intellectual potential of every individual and group among them.


They are unique in the world of Ayrul in one major way, they have no deities and instead, the conduits - renamed to Silk Nexus Pillars - through which deities would have been able to extend their power to followers are used to facilitate mindmelding.


While there is the Jing Empire that represents the most dominant political force of the Jing, other Jing nations also exist on Isai, reaching as far north as the Wesai Ocean. However, this article will focus on the Jing Empire as the largest and most influential nation of Isai, what it means to be Jing as a person and what their philosophy brings to the world.


As a Philosophy

(Jing Coat of Arms by DALL-E 3)

All beings living on Isai, have a complex relationship with religion. Like all other parts of Ayrul, the continent was shaped and ruled by deities, but during an invasion from the Shadow Realm, those divine entities were slain over a millennia ago.


The Jing used mind-melding to overcome the demons and thus reshaped the meaning of divinity in their culture. In this process, they connect their minds directly to the Weave in a network that stores knowledge, amplifies their abilities, and streamlines communication. This can be done via Silk Nexus Pillars or Weave Rifts.


To the Jing, these Pillars are a symbol of unity and, for obvious reasons, serve as spiritual centres. Silk Nexus Pillars are also the collective spirit and will of the Jing, while providing them with unparalleled long-distance communication facilities.


To the end of enhancing the individual and collective potential of their society, many monasteries have sprung up across Isai. Here, students dedicate their lives to the art of elevating others, and the monastic practices emphasise the pursuit of understanding.


The Jing philosophy values balance highly. They believe that without it, entropy would claim the world, and in their society, that is more true than in most. Entropy is a tightly controlled process elsewhere in Ayrul, where deities manage creation. However, without them, Isai naturally veers towards destruction. This means that the Jing, and their Silk Nexus, are constantly working to counter its effect on their land and sea.


As a People:

The Jing, are also genetically distinct. Instead of the usual double helix DNA, they have triple helix DNA, which results in three sexes. Most of their bodies are soft, gelatinous and brightly coloured, with a variety of head growths called cerata. Some cerata fan out, others droop down or even stand straight back.


While the process can take several weeks, their bodies, and particularly their skin, can morph to take on useful attributes like hardening as armour or changing shape to suit a specific task. Their skin also tends to be vibrant with luminescent patterns that shift with emotions and surroundings. Their eyes are generally a single clear colour. These attributes have given them a reputation of beauty and resilience that attracts many curious people from distant lands.


Due to their connection with the Silk Nexus, most have some form of spell-crafting skill, and dedicated individuals have risen to become some of the most powerful magic users in Ayrul.


The Jing are communal and their ability to connect both physically and mentally biases them to think first of the collective over the individual. Sacrifice for the greater good is not just admired but fundamental to their worldview. Due to their extreme pursuit of balance, every Jing is expected to look after their neighbour.


As an Empire:

(Emperor Vinla of the Jing by DALL-E 3)

In the aftermath of the huge demonic invasion that left Isai's deities lost and the land corrupted, the Jing built on their victory by establishing a new order. While they previously favoured the sea as a home, it was clear that the land needed them as well, or entropy would turn it into a festering sore that drew more demons from the Shadow Realm into the Physical Realm.


Embracing this duty to preserve the land, the Jing Empire was founded. Some factions chose to go their own way, but the vast majority of the Jing chose to join. Thanks to the newly established Silk Nexus, the empire was able to grow quickly, reversing the damage done to the land, while establishing cities and trade with other nations.


It soon became apparent, that their most valuable trade good, was silk. Silk was a fibre that the Jing naturally produced as part of their body modification process. Since other nations seemed so eager to get their hands on it, the Jing began to produce and export it to gain wealth that would further support their efforts to reform the land.


Thanks to the impact of the monasteries and their growing economy, the Jing empire soon stretched across most of Isai. Many Jing, who chose to go their separate ways at first, in seeing the Emprire's success, joined them willingly later.


Architectural marvels, like organic buildings that looked like coral reefs, became the mark of their advanced civilization. Naturally, wealth drew attention, and invaders began to strike at the empire, but these enemies found a surprise waiting for them.


The Jing, for all their apparent pacifism, were formidable in a fight, due to their rapid, long-ranged communication, great organizational skills, and veteran soldiers honed in the battle against unending demonic attacks, the Jing were far from easy pickings.


Unique Physiology

All Jing have very malleable bodies that can be modified in a process called Silking. Most notably they will adapt their sex to match the tri-union role that they play in fertilising eggs. The three sexes are Lentra, Sancus and Vidri, and all three are required in procreation. They live up to four hundred years. As they age, changing their physiology becomes harder and eventually, they choose to join themselves to the Silk Nexus, where their bodies and memories are uploaded to the Weave.


(Lentra Trader by DALL-E 3)

Lentra: Typically characterized by a brighter luminescent hue and delicate cerata-like structures on their heads that droop down. They play a crucial role in the initial stages of reproduction, offering the primary genetic material in the form of eggs, usually in clutches of five.







(Sancus Guardian of the Weave by DALL-E 3)

Sancus: Recognizable by their broader shoulders and armoured skin. They provide a stabilizing genetic component that binds the Lentra's eggs to the Vindri's by partially fertilising the egg.







(Vidri Mindweaver by DALL-E 3)

Vindri: They have intricate patterns on their skin, and they can hold more minds simultaneously while connected to the Silk Nexus. They complete the reproductive cycle by harmonizing with the genetic contributions of the Lentra and Sancus, then seal the eggs by turning the shells hard.





Triad Unions (Triven):

In Jing culture calls a marriage three a triven, bringing together a Lentra, a Sancus, and a Vindri. A triven is built on mutual respect, love, and the shared goal of nurturing the next generation. The trivan provides a balanced environment for offspring, ensuring they receive care, wisdom, and guidance from all three.


The community will typically swarm around single or double parents to lighten the load. Some have reasoned that this union of at least three has led to the Jing's preference for - and advanced skills in - teamwork.


Naming Convention:

Here are some examples of common Jing names.

Lentra: Lenva, Satri, Lentu, Satle, Lenri

Sancus: Sanvi, Custra, Sanku, Custi, Sanra

Vindri: Vinla, Drisat, Vindu, Drilu, Vinse


(Lentra Mindweaver by DALL-E 3)

Mindweaver:

A Mindweaver is someone who has dedicated their life to guiding others on a journey of self-discovery and personal growth.


They blend an attitude of curiosity - searching for understanding - with active listening, and empathetic communication to facilitate a process where a person can overcome limiting beliefs to achieve their goals.


Mindweavers navigate emotions and thoughts by pointing out how someone is experiencing something to raise enough awareness. Armed with this insight, the person can adapt their thinking to better achieve their goals. Usually, this means addressing the mindset and behaviours which is holding them back.


Working with a Mindweaver is collaborative. They provide a framework for the conversation and they direct the person's attention, but the real change comes from the individual's expanding self-awareness, and how they apply that awareness.


Customs:

Entry and Greetings: When someone enters a Jing home, the bioluminescent plants and creatures that form the building respond with a soft pulsing glow, welcoming the guest. A Jing-to-Jing greeting involves them touching palms with outstretched fingers that symbolise their unity under the Silk Nexus, while to foreigners, the Jing typically conforms to the customs of the other culture.


Offerings: Jing will always bring small gifts when visiting another person's home. The nature of the gifts can vary from plants to stories, but to give nothing is considered an insult to the host.


Communal Gatherings: The Jing have monthly communal gatherings at the Silk Nexus Pillars, and those not able to attend, will connect via rifts to the Weave. The day of the month when this occurs is called Connection Day. Even non-Jing are encouraged to participate, or else silently observe.


Dress Code: The Jing wear clothing they consider harmonious with the surroundings. Usually, their clothing comprises colourful flowing gowns adorned with striped patterns and luminescent material woven in.


Culture:

Language & Communication: The Jing have a rich verbal language filled with melodious tones and harmonies that also travels well underwater. For body language, other than gestures, they also include the frequency with which one's patterns glow as part of the meaning. Communication via the Silk Nexus is similar, though the sounds travel along the Weave cords and are uploaded or downloaded directly from the individual's mind. Some foreigners can speak basic phrases in the Jing language but most Jing traders learn the language of the lands they barter with.


(A Jing Theatre by DALL-E 3)

Art & Music: Drawing inspiration from their underwater origins, Jing art contains luminescent materials and organic shapes. Their music blends underwater sounds with vocal harmonies that maintain an almost trance-line rhythm with reed instruments and drums.


Festivals: Due to their origins, their celebrations revolve around the underwater cycles. The "Festival of Lumination", marks the point of year when bioluminescent plants bloom, which thanks to the Jing land reform, occurs both on land and in the sea.


(Jing Underwater Farm by DALL-E 3)

Diet: Jing cuisine is primarily vegetarian and mostly herbs, and seaweeds that are farmed underwater. Their dishes are known for delicate flavours and viscous texture. They like to eat together in large food halls and often share meals with strangers.


Education: Jing monasteries are not just spiritual centres but also places of learning. Knowledge is stored in the Silk Nexus and so the application of knowledge is primarily what these learning institutions focus on.


"A single mind that understands, is worth a hundred of minds that know." - Mindweaver Rilu Assat

Style:

(A Jing home by DALL-E 3)

Architecture: The Jing construct their buildings from coral that has been adapted to live on land as well. This results in organic forms but with a fair focus on functionality. Living walls adjust to the environmental conditions, closing up when it is cold or opening when it is warm. Lighting is provided by bioluminescent organisms, giving buildings a gentle glow during nighttime.


Fashion: Historically, the Jing attire consisted of shells woven together, with the wearing of silk being seen as a strange idea that some even found revolting. However, with the practical needs regarding life on land, and the booming success of the silk trade, the Jing have integrated it into their fashion. While some traditionalists still use interwoven shells, soft, flowing silk clothing has become more popular. These garments are coloured in bright pastels, decorated with flowing lines, and bioluminescent material. All of which harmonise the Jing's natural glowing patterns.


Artefacts: The Jing craft most things from materials found in their aquatic territories, such as shell-based jewellery, hardened coral for tools, and ornaments from rare underwater stones. The Jing use items crafted from orillium - a rare stone formed from petrified weavestorms - to connect to the Silk Nexus.


Transport: The Jing have domesticated hippopotamuses that serve as pack animals on land and in the sea, often pulling carts. Some have been adapted for combat, wearing hardened coral armour with a Jing soldier on its back. For long-distance travel at sea, the Jing employ vessels that harness water currents for propulsion, while these vessels mostly travel underwater, they can also travel on the surface.


Government:

(A Jing Capital of Nuarji by DALL-E 3)

Leadership Structure: The Jing Empire is run by a council - The Assembly of Minds - with an Emporer who is elected from the council once in fifty years. To become a council member, one must complete a test of wisdom and demonstrate a history of successful leadership. No one has ever become a council member, without spending more than ten years training at a monastery and running a successful enterprise.


Law and Order: Balance and the greater good of the Jing people serve as the guiding light of all legal proceedings. When it comes to consequences and accountability, the Jing favour rehabilitation wherever possible, and specialist monasteries exist for this purpose. Mindweavers are called in to mediate conflicts and in extreme cases, the parties are connected via the Silk Nexus, to establish mutual empathy and insight into each other's viewpoint.


Defence: The Jing don't like to fight, but they are by no means defenceless. The Silk Guard - the military - all rotate service, securing the many breaches across Isai. The breaches are what the Jing call persistent rifts between the Physical Realm and the Shadows Realm. As a result, these soldiers are hardened veterans with experience facing terrifying foes that come in great numbers. They are trained in both martial arts and spell crafting while their tactics revolve around superior intellect and communication ability.


(Sancus Silk Trader by DALL-E 3)

Economic System: Silk, food, and materials that are rarely found on land are major exports. The Assembly of Minds oversee the economy to ensure the continued financial prosperity of the empire, as it is vital to fund the ongoing breach containment efforts.


Diplomacy: The Jing do their best to remain neutral where possible. While this approach has been successful in Isai, the militant nations in Apour and Losent have proven problematic on multiple occasions. Since they are not Jing, they cannot be connected to the Silk Nexus, resulting in blockers the the empire's preferred approach in dealing with extreme disagreements. Mindweavers have become central to the Jing's diplomatic missions and often facilitate conversations, with monasteries hosting many of these interactions.


Political Factions

Progressionists:

Description: They want to integrate new ideas and technologies into Jing society, bringing innovations from afar, to enhance the empire's ability to contain breaches. They don't believe that this will disrupt the Silk Nexus or Jing society in a bad way, but bolster it instead. In particular, they want closer ties with the humans of the Kurhan Empire to the east.

Goals: To modernize Jing culture, and adopt innovations from other nations, while building alliances - thereby breaking the Jing's history of neutrality but growing its wealth.


Isolationists:

Description: They want to limit interactions with outsiders as they see them as a threat to Jing harmony and unity. They believe that other nations, especially from Apour, have brought corruption and crime into Jing society, and they would like nothing more than to expel all foreigners.

Goals: To lock the borders, cut trade down to the most essential, and build Jing self-sufficiency to reduce the need to trade at all.


Criminal Factions

Memory Merchants:

Description: They are criminals who tap into the Silk Nexus for nefarious reasons. From intercepting and modifying connections to stealing or planting information, they corrupt the knowledge of the Jing for financial gain. In addition, they run "Euphoria Dens" where addicts lie dazed, absorbed in the experiences of others as they waste away for days and weeks.

Operations: They are often located near Silk Nexus Pillars, and tap into them by infiltrating security. Black markets are found in seedy cities far from the Pillar of origin, to make their activities harder to track. Euphoria Dens are common in densely populated areas, usually in backrooms with seemingly legitimate businesses as fronts.


Essence Poachers:

Description: They illegally harvest and trade life essence. Due to the Jing's rare ability to manipulate the Weave for communication and memory storage, their life essence fetches a high price on the black market. While the buyers of this unethical commodity come from outside of Isai, there are some Jing that participate in this trade. Needless to say, Jing society despises it and perpetrators are often dealt with more harshly than is typical of Jing justice.

Operations: Poaching rings operate out of the poorer districts in cities, snatching orphans, or homeless from the street and taking them to extraction facilities. The black market auctions the essence to foreign buyers, and this practice is often sighted by the Isolationists as evidence of the evil the Jing are exposed to in trading with outsiders.


Traditions:

Connection Day: The Silk Nexus is central to the Jing and once a month the entire empire travels to their nearest Silk Nexus Pillar to connect and store their accumulated knowledge. Those who cannot reach the Pillars will meet at local communal spaces to open rifts and connect there if they can. While there is practical value in this activity, the day is often filled with communal eating and appreciation of beauty in the form of theatrical performances or musical productions.


(Jing family celebrating the Festival of Lumination by DALL-E 3)

Festival of Lumination: This marks the point of the year when bioluminescent plants bloom on land and in the sea. The Jing spend the week of first bloom dancing, singing, sharing meals, and celebrating the beauty of their environment.


Remembrance: Repelling the demonic invaders that killed their deities has shaped the Jing and many have given their lives in the ongoing pursuit to keep the Shadow Realm at bay. Once a year, the jing spend the day making colourful, glowing flotation art, that they release into the ocean, writing down the names of loved ones that died, and remembering that unity is what keeps them safe.


Values:


Balance:

"In all things, we must seek balance, lest entropy claim that for which it hungers" - Mindweaver Wakhi Illu

Unity:

"One life dedicated to the many strengths us all" - First Emperor Lenri Oanti

Sacrifice:

"Giving one's life to save another is the greatest honour, one that wins us a more secure future" - Council Member Renla Padri

Harmony:

"When the world can keep producing what you need to survive, your continued survival is possible" - Mindweaver Quola Hadri

(Lentra Scholar by DALL-E 3)

Knowledge, Understanding, and Wisdom

"A mind that knows is inferior to a mind that understands, but in the wisdom to enact that understanding lies true enlightenment" - Mindweaver Rilu Assat

Empathy:

"Seeing the experience of another as if it were your own is the path to unified action, a path that leads us to balance and harmony" - First Emperor Lenri Oanti

More Jing Quotes:

“Nothing, once directly observed, can stay unchanged. Leave no thought or feeling to stand without discovering what’s behind it.”
 – Mindweaver Wakhi Illu

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