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Obo - Culture
Written By: Deirdre / Wyld_Dandelyon (Writer)
A teenage girl who rebelled against the patriarchal society she grew up in, was exiled, and returned as a prophet and savior.

Obo was a teenager in an inaccessible area of what came to be known as the Breida Mountains before that region encountered the Empire. The people had only about two dozen food plants, but the area was rich in gold and gemstones, as it still is today. Life was hard, but they made and wore beautiful jewelry.

The ruling powers in Vlikiffumi were priests, all male, who ruled in name of the deity Kiffumik, who was always depicted as a man and accompanied by several cats, a species that had died out in that area during the sundered times.

In those days, in Vlikiffumi, women were seen as chattel. The only wealth a woman had was her jewelry, though much of that was designed to mark which man owned her, and could not be sold or traded. Besides, men owned everything that mattered: land, livestock and crops, clothes, tools and weapons, and the sacred fermented and distilled beverages.

Well, Obo, like all teenagers, thought she knew better than her elders, but she chose to challenge the most basic beliefs of her people--she started teaching that women were superior in all ways to men.

Her sisters and cousins and friends, all female, took fire from her teachings. Her mother and grandmothers shook their heads and cautioned her, “If you’re caught, they’ll send you out of the wholesome land, and we’ll never see you again.” But she shook her head, gems glinting in her many braids, saying that she’d rather die than live as someone’s property.

Now, in those days, whenever someone rebelled against the laws, which were collectively called "The Good God Kiffumik’s Will" and written down in a book by that name, they were sent into the dead borderlands. The priests gave a long speech, promising that if they were repentant, and the god wanted to forgive them, they would return after a month in the deadlands. If they remained unrepentant, they would never be seen again unless, of course, they were right, and the priests were mistaken. In that case, the god would preserve their life and they would bring wonders out of the deadlands. If that happened, the priests promised, they would bow down before the god’s new prophet.

And when the sinner did not return (which is what had always happened), the priests used that as evidence that whatever that person had done or said was clearly against The Good God Kiffumik’s Will, and order was restored.

When Obo was arrested, she started sharing her ideas with everyone she could talk with, male or female. With no way to tell how many people had heard her heresies, the priests took her on a very public procession to the deadlands, inviting people to come hear her, and watch with their own eyes as the god’s deadlands swallowed her up.

Unlike most sinners, she did not repent or beg for her life. Instead she started to claim that Kiffumik was actually a woman-god who wanted woman-priests, and that the deadlands were Kiffumik’s punishment because people were ignoring the god’s true will. And she went laughing and dancing into the deadlands, promising to return.

Life returned to normal. Her mother and grandmothers and female friends grieved for her, and stopped speaking of her words.

A month passed, and she did not return. The priests celebrated the confirmation of her heresy.

But then she came riding into town, wearing no jewelry, but with a cat in her lap, driving a wagon full of exotic fruits and vegetables and cages of cats, with seeds for hundreds of plants. She was hailed as the new Prophet of Kiffumik, and many changes were made in Vlikiffumi under her rule.

Based on the oral traditions of the area, Empire historians believe Obo was probably born somewhere between 1422 and 1427 and died between 1465 and 1470.

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