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Rainbow Maiden's Jewels - Culture
Written By: Layla Lawlor (Writer)
These are the stream-tumbled remains of Ancient debris from above the Great Northern Rim.
 
 

In the Slunai shard around the base of the Great Northern Rim, the locals often find small round objects made of various materials in streambeds, at the base of waterfalls, and on river-deposited gravel bars, washed down from the mountains above the Rim.

These are the remains of debris from destroyed Ancient cities above the Rim. Tumbled in mountain streams, scraps of plastic, glass, soft metal, concrete, masonry, etc. are subjected to the same grinding action as ordinary stones, and end up small and gently rounded. They are very similar to beachglass, although they may be made of many different materials depending on what they started out as. The most common are various colors of glass, plastic, and concrete. Harder materials are more likely to survive their journey down from the mountains in a shape that more closely resembles whatever they originally were, e.g. bolts and washers still look recognizable.

Before contact with the Empire, the Slunai used to explain these objects using various myths and fables. In the region north and east of Tifanaro, they are called "Rainbow Maiden's Jewels" after a story in which a young woman dwelling among the clouds, after breaking her engagement to her faithless lover, tore apart her wedding clothes and caused exotic jewels to rain across the land.

The Slunai collect them to be sewn onto brides' wedding dresses for good luck, because of an old belief that Rainbow Maiden would watch over a new bride and punish a husband who treated her poorly. These dresses traditionally consist of a plain or lightly decorated bodice, with the "jewels" sewn onto the skirt as well as (if there are enough of them) a cape that drapes over the shoulders and arms. They can be very heavy, and clatter noisily (and, to the Slunai, pleasingly) when the wearer moves about. All kinds of items may be found on these dresses: beachglass, small tools, bits of electronics, well-worn bottle caps, even objects with recognizable lettering or logos.

These wedding dresses are also brought out for some holidays and special occasions, e.g. mothers often wear them to their grown children's weddings. Traditionally, married women are buried in them, though in modern times they may be handed down for a keepsake instead.

Post-contact, the Slunai know what they really are, but still appreciate them aesthetically and collect them to make traditional wedding and funeral garb.

The practice is mainly confined to the rural areas along the Great Northern Rim, and the Empire takes little interest in it for the most part, but the locals have become aware that some scientists, museums, and private art collectors are willing to pay handsomely for these dresses ... leading to a brisk business in cheap knockoffs.

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Great Northern Rim: A broad escarpment that follows along most of the northern edge of the Empire.

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