With little left to celebrate in Whatslef, survivors instead give ‘recognition’ towards the completion of a round of travel.
The ‘first’ Whatslef was the region within which Inse’s gaze first spared survivors before the first turn. It is hence used as a reference point, indicating a completed round of travel when arrived to or passed by again, and typically, elicits a range of emotions from survivors which span from indifference to general angst or actual festivities.
Rather than formally ‘celebrate’, however, different groups gradually developed idiosyncrasies/tendencies which would emerge around the location, with specific practices being the most conscious of them, and simple habits being the least.
Initially all the more on on guard in light of the increased Zealot activity, the Barriguards eventually came to recognize the relatively harmless pattern in their behaviors.
Although they do not let down their guard, they do allow for a brief celebration of their own to commemorate another completed turn they lived to see. In order to keep up morale, the re-arrival to the ‘first’ Whatslef is deemed to be part owing to the Barriguard’s success in guarding Inse from harm, hence preventing any backlash from It upon them.
The Barriguards hence allow their members and selective family members to leave the confines of the barricade for the duration of time they remain in the ‘first’ Whatslef region. These temporary leaves of duty are scheduled among themselves and only last a few hours each, but allow for a much welcomed break. As the Barriguards are not a uniformed order, their members can easily pass off as regular survivors, and hence while out wandering the rest of Whatslef among the common survivors, use this to maintain a low profile and avoid unnecessary conflict.
The Zealots are the only ones to actually celebrate, ever, in Whatslef. The completion of a turn, and hence return to where their new lives under Inse began, is marked by blessings as a holy day. Preparations for arriving to the area begin in advance, and prayers accompany ritualistic reenactments of the days leading up to Inse’s arrival to the world. Regular survivors who venture near the Zealot lands often witness such spectacles, which, like everything done by the Zealots, are exceedingly detailed, specific and grand.
Often, however, piles of the deceased (those first lost to Inse’s arrival) would go missing in the days prior to these reenactments, and if none are available in the region, a small number of survivors would typically go missing, eliciting rumors the Zealots partake also in recreating Inse’s destruction of life, either symbolically or literally. No proof is ever found of either, but the disappearances persists.
The moment of breaching into the ‘first’ Whatslef is seen as the day the world was ‘reborn’ and ‘received by Inse’ ; Survivors beyond their lands no matter how far away can always hear the Zealots bursting into instantaneous, cacophonous festivities. These go on for days into the travel or stillness without any relief or respite.
It is only when the duration of being in the ‘first’ Whatsleft is three quarters way through that the Zealots suddenly go silent, and again, this is used by survivors as another time marker. Intensified prayers take over every moment left remaining in the area, and most Zealots are ever spotted outside their temples. The few who are-those guarding their lands-are seen doing so without ceasing in their share of the worship. The chants, in some cases, are all that can be heard if one wanders near enough to their lands, and like the festivities, never seem to cease in their rigor.
Upon leaving the ‘first’ Whatslef however, the Zealots break out in a final few hours of festivities, and even those who despise them admit the festivities exude an undeniable sense of well-being and certainty. In essence, the last of the festivities celebrate the future Inse has laid out for the world, and hence, regardless of its unpredictable nature, is still deemed worthy of worship and thanksgiving.
The best preserved remains of the world’s standing air stations and bases are situated in the ‘first’ Whatslef region, having been exposed to comparatively the ‘shortest’ period of decay. Still badly deteriorated-practically ruins from having also been the first looted-they developed sympathetic value among the airfarers, who remember them from their former glory and their service before and after Inse’s arrival. When passing by these ruins, air vessels will hence expose and turn their weapons in their direction, saluting every crashed wreckage and barely standing vertical station.
Should the turn end within the region, allowing them to dock, the Clusters will set their Docking Grounds within travelling distance to them and station crew members by the ruins in order to protect them. Vessels, primarily those confident of repelling any Saboteur antics, will even station themselves away from their Cluster and above the structures in order to mark them as ‘protected’.
Unofficial Groups and Callings:
The Ritesmen become near non-existent when within this region of Whatslef, as it is here that their ever-failing attempts to dispose of the dead are re-presented to them in its entirety. Having had the entire turn to devise new ways to set the dead to rest, it is at this place, where it began, that they set their expectations the highest; yet, they see their failures supersede them every time.
Initially, the Ritesmen’s ‘tradition’ involved patrolling and guarding the dead out of fear of them being taken by the Zealots. Over time however, their failures to do so diminished their efforts, as well as the remains of the dead left to guard, and hence, the practice faded away.
Among some groups however, a single body from either the long dead or recently passed is kept hidden and guarded in this time; a single victory, if it is all achievable, that they strive to keep. It is only at the success of preserving these individual corpses that the Ritesmen celebrate, but often, these celebrations are short-lived.
Most Railfolk tend to become more paranoid around this region and tend to completely avoid the East Peripheral rather than prepare the rails from it like they usually do. It could be owing to almost anything, and those who care to speculate claim it is from the region being the least suited to their rail construction, whilst others say it is because it is the most depleted in resources.
Whatever the reason, Railfolk generally become shifty and easily agitated, and like most survivors, distract themselves by reminiscing about the pre-Inse days, and fervently bitching about the post ones they are still being forced to live.
Scavenger-Traders go quiet around this region or time period, as stripped of most resources, the area provides them with little to carry on their trade with.
Instead, some risk wandering closer to the Zealot lands in search of any remains they might claim for themselves left over from the festivities, while others head further out to join the Railfolk in the hopes of procuring more resources or wares the folks’ train permits them carry in abundance.
Like most survivors, they have nothing to celebrate.
Survivors have nothing to celebrate. Their normal lives ended in this region where Inse first arrived to and the turns began, and so if they acknowledge it at all, it is often just in the form of feeling mellow or angry, and hence acting out if they feel like it. Typically, they ‘celebrate’ by either:
- Gathering to bitch about Inse and the life It left them with
- Doing nothing, feeling nothing or feeling agitated
- Spending most of their time inside their transports so they do not have to look at the place
- Going towards the Zealot lands to chuck rocks, debris or non-threatening projectiles from a safe distance into the camps at the celebrating temples and worshipers.
- Or carrying out mock celebrations outside the Zealot lands from a safe distance making fun of their practices.
Assuming they are even still alive at the point Inse’s turn is on the ‘first’ Whatslef, Extravs have the least regard for the place, and as such little to no reaction or cause to ‘celebrate’, having spent all their time elsewhere and developing no roots there whatsoever.
Riskies often dedicate this period of time to celebrating in their own way: Making things difficult for everyone else celebrating the end of the turn or not.
Zealots: True to their natures, they attempt pranks on the Zealots and join in on the mock celebrations that are often carried out outside their lands. Such gatherings by the survivors are sometimes used as cover when something goes wrong, and the Zealots momentarily break their festivities to address the disruption or eliminate the blasphemous activity.
Barriguards: Riskies also seek out Barriguards to harass for the heck of it, as it is an open secret that they emerge from their lands during the time Inse’s gaze is over the ‘first’ Whatslef. While most end in simple scuffles or at worst an actual fight, rare cases have seen members from either side being shot or seriously wounded. Those Riskies who survive however live to do it all again the next time round, this time with specific targets in mind to bother.
A less practiced, but much riskier, nuisance they provide to the Barriguards involve a screaming individual or small group of them charging the barricade dressed as Zealots in plain sight before tossing off the costumes and running away just before they get in range of actually being fired upon. Underestimating the safe distance has led on several occasions to serious injuries and on one occasion death. Still, the prank continues.
Airfarers: Riskies some times also go after the Airfarers in this time, and stage mock threats upon their guarded stations by firing blanks or false beams (in the case of the magically inclined) at them, before running away as well. A bomb scare was successfully achieved thrice over the ten years, but has since lost their effectiveness.
Ritesmen: A lesser practiced nuisance involves stealing or swapping out the guarded corpse under the protection of the Ritesmen, but very few Riskies do this more than once.
Saboteurs are the second group to actually ‘celebrate’ the completion of the turn and often gather to share their antics from over the period of travel. The ‘best of them’ are usually dared to carry out the first big sabotage of the new turn, and this usually leads to multiple groups and individuals trying to outdo each other for the score. The entire duration of time spent in the ‘first’ Whatslef is hence open to this sabotage arms race, which ultimately became a traditional competition among them.
Although targets like the Zealots and Barriguards are occasionally targeted, they are generally deemed the ‘easier’ pickings as the difficulty of hitting them comes with the added advantage/’handicap’ of bragging rights to help their stories.
Saboteurs hence try to attack ‘lessor’ groups and regions to make their efforts seem more significant, and the results vary immensely with each concluded turn.
Special precautions against Saboteurs are hence taken during this time period, and casualties on either side can become common.
Considering the region is where it all first began, most attempts at reversing what had happened occurs at the end of a turn. The attempts vary but often fall under the radar as none ever produce any results. Survivors often joke that the attempts are so pointless and futile that even Inse is never threatened by them, hence never speeding up Its turn or reacting in any way whatsoever to their attempts to magically or scientifically end It.