Madu Kadu

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Sixty years before its demise, a man named Ericot Wesi was visited by Quruth, who declared to him that the intelligent beings of the world have gone astray and he was becoming displeased. If he did not see people working to please him soon, he swore that he would rip the land apart and kill everything that lived there. Ericot was frightened by this image and begged Quruth to tell him what would please him. He was told that the way Quruth had made the world would leave clues as to his preferences. Over the following nights, Ericot wrote what he thought would please the god which he immediately started living up to.

Quruth appeared to him again, saying that he was a fool, that the actions of one man are too little and that he would destroy the world before the next snow on the man's home. Ericot pleaded for a chance to gain followers, a chance to prove that the world was worth keeping. So Quruth mulled it over and gave Ericot a blueprint for the Madu Kadu, and promised that if he achieved this, he would be taken up to Quruth's realm to live forever. If, however, he failed, he would be snuffed out of existance like a candle, gone as if he had never been born.

Ericot went out from that day forth, gathering followers and building the community based on the marks and the goal of pleasing Quruth. Winter came, and Quruth appeared one more time, declaring that he was pleased and would keep the world for a while longer. He also promised a gift, although he did not say what it would be.

Years later, Ericot fell in love with another woman in the cult named Eres. Together, they bore a beautiful baby girl, named Temay Wesi, who had a passion for the ranks and eventually earned herself more marks than anyone ever to live after. She had been the gift, and she was the next Destined One.

Ericot vanished eighteen years after the founding during the night, and it is said that he had been called up to live with Quruth. His successor, Temay, ruled for thirty years and was killed in a battle to defend their beliefs. Ever since then, a wisely appointed man by the name Caydan Orfolis has ruled. The cult, believed to be a threat to many kingdoms, was attacked during the last twenty years of its existance, finally disbanded five years ago. It is said believers still live.

Deity and beliefs

Quruth, creator and destroyer of all, holds the universe in balance. He is a mischief maker, toying with the lives of mortals for sheer pleasure. Like all beings, he has preferences in such things as color, food, and animals in particular.

He prefers snakes over all animals, placing them all over the world at his whim. The evidence is that there are so many types of snakes in the world and they seem to have few predators. Using animals for anything except companions or food is forbidden. A horse cannot be broken, and must choose to let the rider on its back.

Tilled land is ill-advised, although encouraging certain plants to grow in an area is permitted. Crops are not to be cut down, but rather picked from, allowing the stalks to fall on their own. Berries are considered to be one of Quruth's practical jokes, as some taste good, others are deadly. To pick a berry no one recognizes and eat it tests a person's favor in the deity's eyes. If he becomes sick and dies, he is considered to be less in favor. If he becomes ill and recovers, he is not in favor but has chances to gain favor (one can lose ranks this way). If he is unharmed, but the berry does not taste good, he is mildly in favor. If the berry is delicious, he is in favor, possibly gaining a mark from the act.

Grains and grasses are the deity's gift to the world, being the most widely edible and usable plant available. Fruits and vegetables come second, being delicious but sometimes hard to find. Eating meat is the mark of a favored animal, as are sharp teeth and claws. One who wishes to be more in favor can file his teeth to points or shape his fingernails into points. In higher ranks, spells can be performed to elongate the canines and harden the fingernails. Many higher-ranking women are also given the option to modify their sexual organs, their monthly cycle replaced by the laying of a leathery egg. Any children conceived are still carried inside, as the egg would be far too small to accommodate a full-term baby and still be laid safely. This can lead to a decrease in sexual sensitivity.

Fences must not be erected as they are not natural. One can mark an area with stones, but animals are not to be restricted physically. Weaving and skin wearing is permitted, and metals are not to be forged by the hands of a Madu Kadu, lest he be cursed. Blacksmiths are considered to be damned. Stone and wood tools are favored, spears, clubs, whips, stone hammers, slings, and arrows in particular.

He prefers blue, as that is what he paints the heavens, and green with which he paints the ground. A member of the Madu Kadu will generally dress in these colors, as well as earthy tones. The color red is usually reserved for times of battle or mourning.

Fire is shunned and cooking your food with such is forbidden. That does not mean that one cannot cook with magic or dry foods in the sun. If there is no smoke or flame, it is allowed.

The favored element is air, as it supports the life, blows gently or knocks trees down in its ferocity. Next in line is earth, which he sculpts into beautiful shapes and fashions into jewels which he hides to tempt the mortals. Water comes after, being widespread but absent or undrinkable at times. The last is fire, which he strongly dislikes using.

In-clan Rankings

  • Damned - someone who has done something hideously wrong to the clan, often killed to gain a mark
  • Banned - a half-step up from Damned, usually a common blacksmith or glassworker. The subject is shunned.
  • Mort - not yet initiated, largely harmless, short for mortal
  • Gift - child of a member, already has a foot in the door but can leave if they wish and not be thought the worse for it
  • Moonlit - 0-3 years initiated, referring that one is in view of Quruth, although dimly
  • Sunlit - 3+ years initiated, referring that time has given Quruth a better view
  • Graced - 1-5 marks, one that has been granting small favors, small chance of being kept in his presence in the afterlife rather than cast back to earth
  • Blessed - 6-10 marks, one who Quruth is starting to favor, if kept around, will be a pet or minor servant
  • Charged - 11-15 marks, will be kept as a servant that will carry out his orders
  • Favored - 16-20 marks, possibly kept in the afterlife and lead the servants, slight chance of being left alone
  • Assured - 20+ marks, will be kept and left to one's own devices
  • Destined One - only one, highest rank and leader, talks directly to deity, will be kept as adviser to Quruth

Please note that Moonlit and Sunlit members are essentially of the same rank. One can move from Moonlit or Gift rank to Graced with ease. Gifts are not entirely in the ranks, but held at higher value than Mortals.


  • Cook - prepares food, common ranks: moonlit, sunlit, graced
  • Feeder - takes care of animals, serves food common ranks: moonlit, sunlit, graced
  • Gatherer - cultivates and gathers food, hunts, common ranks: moonlit, sunlit, blessed, charged
  • Trader - leaves camp to sell surplus goods, common ranks: charged, favored
  • Guard - watches the edges of camp for potential threats, guards prisoners, common ranks: all ranks
  • Crafter - makes weapons, armor, cooking utensils, clothes, etc. common ranks: moonlit, sunlit, graced, blessed
  • Body Modifier - applies the marks, sharpens teeth, manicures, takes care of hygiene, common ranks: charged
  • Spy - makes reconnaissance missions, common ranks: sunlit, graced, blessed, charged, favored, assured
  • Magic User - enchants items, heavy duty healing, magical body modification, common ranks: favored, assured
  • Tactical Officer - takes command during battles, advises Destined One, common ranks: assured

Any person can have more than one job. The first half of the list is generally volunteer work, although any member must act in at least one job every day. One who hasn't contributed to the community can be assigned nighttime guard duty regardless of rank. Higher ranking members watch over the lower ranks that are volunteering or have been assigned that night. Gifts are not required to work.

The second half is assigned according to personal ability. Many of these jobs are reserved for higher ranked, more trusted people. However, a lower rank may be taken up as an assistant or apprentice by someone assigned to one of these jobs. They must be Sunlit or higher in order to become such, though.


Simple wooden structures are common, often built by new initiates when they enter the community. Animal hide tents are also common, often made by the crafters or given to respected members. Stone, although rarely used, can be used to form the base of a more permanent lodging. Stone axes can be used to build log dwellings, although the only members that have enough time or respect to build or inherit one are in possession of such. Members might spend their free time building, maintaining, and adding on to the Destined One's log house. Toward the end of the Madu Kadu's reign, this house had enough room to accommodate most of the members and withstand the impact of a large tree without falling or keep members comfortable during a torrential downpour.

Lesser ranks generally live toward the outskirts of the community, the Destined One's house located at the top of a hill within a very dense forest. Footpaths are very common, crisscrossing their way through the trees with no actual order. Many of the paths circle the Destined One's house, as many members wish to gaze upon it and think of how lucky they are.

Attire and Personal Appearance

Animal hides, leathers, and rough linens are very common, although higher ranking people can trade for silks. They are often dyed with plant juices rather than mineral dyes. Green clothing is the most common, and jewelry made of stone, bone, and wood are highly sought after. Blue stones such as turquoise are primarily reserved for higher ranks, but pendants carved from wood or bone are readily available for lower members. One might go to the length of smearing his or her blood on a wooden carving to dye it red. The most common carvings are of snakes. Some might adhere pieces of eggshell onto their pendant, often from the fallen eggshells of the robin or the common blackbird-- a mottled blue-green shell--, although sometimes one can get a hold of eggs from mute swans-- pale blue shell--, or the gray heron.

(Eggs are never cracked open simply for the shells, although eating eggs-- often quail-- is perfectly acceptable in limited amounts. Only one egg may be taken from a given nest. This makes eggs a rare treat, often reserved for the Destined One.)

Hair can be left alone with no problem, although personal preference leads many people to use their fingers or wooden combs to tend to their hair. Bee's wax may be applied on occasion to make for elaborate styles generally reserved for ceremonial use. These fancy styles are often crests or an elaborate weaving that leads to an appearance similar to shiny scales. Hair is rarely cut, and then only with stone tools. Otherwise, a person may leave his hair loose or braid it.

Lower ranking men often do not shave, as the proper stone tools are difficult to make. Higher ranking people, though, can get a hold of such a tool or-- more often-- get an enchantment to stop the hair from growing in certain areas and kept to a fixed length in others. The enchantment cannot be reversed easily.

Tattoos are valued as a way to honor Quruth and test one's favor against the god's common toy, infection. They often end up depicting his favorite things in either picture or writing. Some might even have poetry praising the god permanently placed on his skin. Others could have a patch of "scales" applied to his or her body, as well as anything from slitted eyes on the eyelids, fur, or darkened lips and lined eyes.

Tattoos are also used to give a person a mark, a double circle made with special green ink during a ceremony. A tattoo of a snake can be enchanted while it is being made in a complex task which gives the wearer the ability to conjure a serpent version of themselves from that picture. A person rarely has more than one such enchanted snake tattoo.

Teeth can be filed into points with rock in order to imitate predators, although the procedure is risky and once again used as a method of testing one's favor with the god. Mages are also taught in how to cause one's teeth to grow longer, further enhancing the effect, particularly in the region of the canine teeth.

Fingernails are left to grow long and are very frequently filed into points to imitate predators' claws. Higher ranking members can have their fingers enchanted to permanently harden and grow into fair imitations of sharp claws. This spell is not as risky as tooth growing, although it is much harder to achieve on the part of the magic user.


The gatherers go out into the surrounding area during any given time of day, either hunting or searching for edible vegetation. They often travel in groups from anywhere between two and ten. An exceptionally good kill or harvest, particularly in slim times, can give a low-ranking member a mark.

The food is then brought to the cooks who dry and salt meat, vegetables, and fruits for later use. Soups, stews, and steaks are cooked over magically heated stones which can be hot enough to blister the skin should an unlucky soul touch them. Unleavened bread is also made over these stones. Salads are reserved for higher ranks. A typical dessert consists of nuts and dried fruit for lower ranks and fresh fruit and berries for higher ranks.

The feeders' jobs include setting up areas for people to eat and handing out the food accordingly. The job is easy and often done by recently wounded or ill members that are recovering but have not regained enough strength to return to their normal duties.

In spite of the higher ranks getting better food, it is initially distributed evenly. Personal rations can be given to other members as they see fit. Even the Destined One shares his food with the rank below him if times are lean. Should there not be enough food to go around, nearly everyone goes hungry.


Weaponry is simply a matter of choice. There is no particular weapon for a particular rank, and armor is distributed as evenly as possible among the masses. One can choose to give up or trade pieces of his or her armor to others, meaning that in battle the Destined One is very often the best armored. Weapons and armor are made of wood, bone, reeds, and sometimes stone. Armor often consists of wooden shields and basketlike helmets. Higher ranks might use solid wooden helmets or animal skulls. Although these do not provide as much protection compared to bronze, iron, and steel, members train themselves to be able to dodge nimbly as nature intended to overcome this handicap.

Free time can be spent doing exercises to enhance one's fighting ability. Members spar with each other regardless of rank, although it is very common for higher ranking members to be teaching the lower ranks. Sparring is a wonderful way to bring the members together, especially when two of the best fighters decide to hold an open spar. Members will surround the two challengers in a circle and cheer them on. It is considered ill-favor to prefer one fighter over the other. Sparring is most often done with staves rather than the other weapons, although contests to determine a person's prowness with such things as whips and slings are held as well. Wrestling is a favorite sport, beloved by nearly every member of the cult.

Crime and Punishment

Anyone above the rank of Graced is almost certainly a member of the Madu Kadu that almost always has enough faith and knowledge of the beliefs to stay well away from any actions that could be considered a crime. Minor crimes -- such as making use of a metal tool-- can lead to someone's mark being permanently covered with black. If such a person has no mark, he is reprimanded and sent on his way. More severe crimes, such as actively denying the faith or working toward one's own selfish gain, can be banished, often slashed across the cheeks to leave deep scars.

The most severe crimes include attempting to take the life of another member, regardless of rank, and actively choosing a trade which goes entirely against the Madu Kadu's beliefs (Ex. blacksmith.) That can lead to a person being declared Damned and ceremoniously killed by the Destined One himself. A Damned person is certain to never get into Quruth's domain when he or she dies. If the person does not submit to the ceremony or is too difficult to restrain, any member can kill him and gain a mark from the act. If more than one member is able to take him down, they all get the credit.

If a member or someone seeking to become a member is proved to have done something in the past to deserve a damnation or banishment, the sentence is reduced accordingly. (Damnation -> banishment -> reprimand) Anyone that is not seeking to become a member is considered to be disgraced, a step up from being damned.

Ways to Get a Mark

  • Eat a dangerous or deadly food and survive.
  • Eat an unknown substance, survive, and have the substance become a new food source.
  • Subject your body to a dangerous operation and survive. (Ex. removal of a diseased organ or gangrenous limb)
  • Extreme valor in combat.
  • Self-sacrifice for the good of a higher-ranking member (Ex. taking an arrow for the Destined One)
  • An extremely good harvest or hunt that makes a big difference to the food supply (all members of party are credited)
  • Discovery of a new medicine or method of healing.
  • Self-sacrifice for the good of the community (Ex. staying up for 4 days in a row watching for a bear in the area, denying self food so others can eat during lean times)
  • Become poisoned or horribly diseased and survive. (Ex. surviving a snake bite)
  • Killing a Damned member that has evaded the ceremony. (all members of party are credited)
  • Killing a number of people who are passively against the beliefs
  • Killing a person who is an active threat to the Madu Kadu beliefs
  • Appearing to the Destined One in a dream (depending on intensity, could lead to more than one mark)

These are only a few examples of how a person can get a mark. The member is picked by the Destined One to receive the mark and no one else. Please note that the methods of getting a mark above do not always work, as the Destined One could deny the mark. Sometimes it is delayed so he can return to his home and meditate in order to hear from Quruth whether the person deserves a mark.


Respect for all-- even lower ranks-- is a must. Higher ranks are considered to be more in favor, but that does not mean that higher ranking members are more talented than others. They have only done more to earn the respect of Quruth. All members are expected to teach one another and treat other members as they would their own flesh and blood. Romances are common and children have been born within the communities. They are born with a special rank-- Gift. They are considered to be sent down from Quruth to the lucky couple, and they are extremely likely to become active members of the community.

Marriage is nonexistant in the community, and there have been half-brothers and half-sisters as Gifts. Homosexuality is regarded as an amusing act to Quruth and is left alone, sometimes even encouraged. Attraction has occured across the border of members versus mortals, although it is discouraged and has never evolved into anything other than attraction.

Common Knowledge and the Public View

The Madu Kadu is a very dangerous cult, and a threat to daily life. With their camps destroyed, theirs is a dead religion. In spite of the steps taken to destroy them, though, there are still eccentrics trying to revive the ways of Quruth. These people are best arrested, locked away, or executed.