Skiltaire Cosmology and the Four Aspects by Mark Merlino
The Skiltaire species is widespread in the galactic "neighborhood", though their tribal civilization and culture exhibits many striking similarities. One common thread in Skiltaire culture is the popular myth of "the first tribe". The story is repeated in an infinite variety of detail, as a teaching fable to the young; though the simple truths of the tales are shared by all ages as an easily understandable example of the important concept of a "society of individuals". This is the basis of all Skiltaire tribal culture.
To portray the individuals in the story, each character exhibits different behavioral and personality traits. The unique traits of each character effect the way they related to the environment. Each character's way of thinking and acting allows them to live successful, though solitary lives. The concept of different lifestyles or "aspects", which is common in Skiltaire society. has its origin in these stories.
The typical "first tribe" story involves four individuals each with a unique "aspect", and how their curiosity eventually leads them to discover each other. The simple outline provided is based on information gathered from various Skiltaire tribal teachers, historians and counselors. The basic concept is one that combines cognizance with carnivore curiosity and the desire to know about and relate to others. It forms the basis for a World (Universe) View that characterizes the Skiltaire as one of the most active and successful "contact" species.
Each character has a name based on their "aspect", a unique combination of specialties and skills which give them a personal advantage. Separately, each character can survive alone; but together the Tribe provides superior living conditions for all to share. No specific gender is assigned to any aspect.
Bright: is an obvious type. Bright is physically strong, quick and aggressive. Bright is confident and straightforward in thought and action. Hunting is foremost a test of physical ability; the chase, pounce and quick kill. Bright has extreme attitude and tends to assert dominance over others. Bright is likely to be the first to arrive on the scene of an incident like a bolt of lightning, even if discretion was called for.
Dark: is the schemer and proponent of stealth, the watcher and waiter, the strategist. The world of Dark is a series of puzzles to solve. Observe and learn the ways of the prey. Think before acting, hide undercover, wait for the right moment, then pounce! Dark will not waste energy on pursuit when stalking works better. Dark has an introspective personality and tends to be quiet and unobvious.
Soft: is the analyzer and planner. Soft is compassionate in all ways and has great foresight. Soft believes it is most important to consider the long-term effects of ones actions. Soft is aware that everything is a part of something greater and always tries to consider carefully before acting. Soft will remember important patterns in the environment, seasonal changes, weather, the life cycle of prey and other food sources. Soft is always willing to share information and has an outgoing and accepting personality.
Warm: is slow and easy. Warm savors all experiences, takes notice of seemingly unimportant things for the sheer pleasure of aesthetics. Warm will only hunt when other food is unavailable. Warm knows where the sweetest berries or most delicious mushrooms grow. Warm's relaxed personality has a calming effect on others. Warm believes that there is always enough time to slow down and enjoy more.
In a typical First Tribe tail the four characters were existing independently of each other, neither sharing experience or communicating. They hunted and dreamed alone, each believing their way of life was the only way. Eventually their paths crossed and they began to notice that there were others like and yet unlike themselves. Curiosity drove them to eventual contact, and they struggled to understand the other "aspects" of their kin. At first incompatible opinions about how one should live caused disagreements and made communication difficult. Each was protective of their own aspect, the individual personality traits and skills, which allowed them to exist. With time, self-confidence and the desire for contact overcame the fear of loss of identity. A need to understand the others and a need for companionship created bridges of tolerance. They learned to be more aware and understanding of others and began to relate. It became obvious that being together was far better than a solitary existence. In the tribe, all could enjoy life to the fullest.
The story is of course allegorical, but it teaches some very important lessons. Like their distant Terran 'cousins', mustilidae, Skiltaire are basically independent carnivores. They are not a social animal like ants; but can be sociable, like Terran otters and badgers. Like humans, the Skiltaire evolved to be observers of nature, surviving by learning to understand the environment rather than just existing in it. Their intelligence eventually outstripped all other natural abilities and eventually a social structure developed, as with most sentient species. Skiltaire civilization is not indicated by their shaping their world to meet their requirements, but by their thorough understanding of the environment and their place within it. Some ethnologists have compared the Skiltaire to various successful native human tribes, which have existed on Terra since the dawn of sentient humankind.
The Four individuals of The First Tribe, with their specific "Aspects" have formed the basis for a cultural phenomenon similar to human Astrology, Horoscope or other personality based philosophical studies. Every individual personality is a combination of all aspects, but it is commonly believed that everyone has aPrime Aspect that helps define them. A Skiltaire who has an obvious Prime Aspect is often referred to as the "son" or "daughter" of that member of the Four named for that Aspect. here are a few examples of how a particular Prime Aspect can indicate a Skiltaire's place in primitive or modern society.
A son or daughter of Bright: Charismatic Bright is a born leader. In a tribal leader position, Bright will often lead a hunting or scouting party, or be in charge of defensive operations. If a work party is required, Bright will often recruit members and lead the party. In modern Skiltaire society, Bright is often a politician or the aggressive head of a business. Bright will easily make decisions involving high risk, though often those decisions are made with the assistance of individuals of other Aspects. Bright is the obvious choice for a security officer, explorer, or a military leader in action situations.
A son or daughter of Dark: When surveillance, analysis and caution are required before action, Dark is the obvious choice. Dark tends to work alone when gathering intelligence, but will share useful information with the tribe. Stalking and hiding skills come natural to Dark and teaching the art of stealth to others is an important responsibility. In modern society, Dark will often be involved in security and/or intelligence gathering. Dark is a natural when it comes to spying and other covert operations. The best military strategists are often individuals of the Dark Aspect.
A son or daughter of Soft: Soft is the observer, recorder, thinker, planner. Recognizing that everything is part of something larger, that any action may have unforeseen consequences; these are gifts of the Soft aspect. In the tribe, Soft is the advisor with the practical knowledge base. Where to build the safest dens, where to hunt which prey, where to move to avoid natural disasters, to recognize useful patterns in nature, such as the changing of the seasons; all are the responsibility of Soft. In modern times, Soft is the engineer, designer, community planner, accountant, historian, librarian.
A son or daughter of Warm: In a hunter-gatherer culture, Warm is the supreme gatherer. The laid-back nature of this Aspect lends itself to finding all the best things in life that are "free", as in free from any kind of major physical effort. Warm is the one to have present when a calming influence is needed for any reason. Skiltaire tribes share the responsibility of raising their young, and often Warm is the best babysitter. In modern life, Warm is the ultimate "Party Animal", a good choice for organizing leisure activities. Warm is often found as a psychological counselor or therapist, commonly called a "Relator". Warm can also be a merchant, restaurateur, chef, or otherwise involved in entertainment.