Today the theme is Message, and I’d like to talk about the language of flowers.
Trigger warning: some of this gets grim.
Travel into the Spice Quarter of Akorros and you will see pictograms of flowers everywhere – on walls and doors, carved into barrels and crates, drawn on wrappings of goods bought in shops.
To the casual observer, these just appear to be decoration, but to the members of the The Tsili of Akorros they mean so much more. They are a language claiming ownership, specifying contents, listing recipients, discussing value and agreeing bargains, arranging meetings.
The sign of the broken Lily
The most chilling sign to receive is the broken lily identifying traitors – accusing the bearer or inhabitants of betraying the all-powerful Tsili.
These make the household a target for all tong members. Within days, the household will receive a visit in the dead of night, stealthy assassins who will garrote everyone in their beds, leaving none alive. Staying awake and up is seldom any defence – the Tsili know the capabilities of the target and will send a team in sufficient force to be able to deal with them.
Typically the garroting is saved for the innocent family members; the guilty tsili member doesn’t have such an easy time. After being forced to watch their family being killed, they are then forced to drink a potion which enhances the sensitivity of their nerves then slowly flayed. Their screams last a long time and serve as a warning to any other tong members who might be thinking of disobedience.
Typically the attackers will come clothed in shadow and attack with poison-tipped darts from cover. These darts are not intended to kill, just to disable and render the target defenceless, after which they will be slowly killed while fully aware.
The only way to escape the sign of the broken lily is to immediately pack up and leave the city, moving far away out of the Tsili’s reach with the whole family, then assume a new identity. Any family members left behind will not survive. And the Tsili have long memories…
Come back tomorrow for Day 13, and we’ll look at Rest