Salsolan Culture

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Table of Contents (hide)

  1.   1.  Founding Principles
    1.   1.1  Respect
    2.   1.2  Privacy
    3.   1.3  Secrecy
    4.   1.4  Other Principles
  2.   2.  Traditions
    1.   2.1  Prejudices and Predispositions
    2.   2.2  Trade
    3.   2.3  Mateship & Relationships
    4.   2.4  Religious Aspects
  3.   3.  Special Events & Rituals
    1.   3.1  The Last Supper
    2.   3.2  Saturnalia
    3.   3.3  Cotona
    4.   3.4  Cueponi
    5.   3.5  Strafethorn
  4.   4.  Laws
    1.   4.1  Salsolan Behavior
    2.   4.2  Substances
    3.   4.3  Betrayal
    4.   4.4  Bribery
    5.   4.5  Punishments
    6.   4.6  Leaving Salsola
    7.   4.7  Consent

Salsolan Culture, Tradition and Law

TRADITIONAL SALSOLAN SIGIL

The Hand of Eris

What is a pack without a culture?

For Salsola, this question unravels beneath the overabundance of culture it has; A burden of culture, almost, enough to fill a whole book, enough to make an individual's eyes roll back into their heads just for contemplating it. Sounds grim? Never fear! This handy page is here to help make things a little easier to comprehend.

Below you will find the entirety of written content describing the culture of Salsola. To the left is a handy little table of contents - if you are looking for something specific, say: "What is this Cueponi ritual I keep hearing so much about IC?" then be sure to use the contents bar to make your search much swifter.

If the vastness of this page is intimidating to you, you're not alone! But don't fret it - This is the culmination of almost a decade of existence on 'Souls, with huge influences from a number of IC events, characters, and players that have helped make Salsola all it is today. It's a lot, that much is given. But if Salsola is the right fit for you, you'll come to love it all in time.

If you think that there is something missing from this page, or that some of the information we have provided below is incorrect/outdated, get in contact with one of our friendly Leaders and we will take care of it. Please do not make updates to this content without approval from leadership first.


1.  Founding Principles

1.1  Respect

Respect is a major influence on daily Salsolan life. Public shaming, humiliation, and praise are extremely important to Salsolans, as they have great impact on standing within the kingdom. Members should always try to save face, as perception of their status can oftentimes be almost as important as the hard work that goes into achieving it; Public humiliation of another canine is an act of extreme disrespect, and can be used as a punishment by higher-ranked subjects. Patriotism is expected of members where culture and values are concerned, and respect and outward loyalty toward Salsola's culture and ideals (or at least the outward appearance of such) are obligatory.

1.2  Privacy

Privacy is another important concept - one's public representation and persona is of utmost concern to the discerning Salsolan. Canines are ill-advised to blatantly slander any fellow member, especially if they are of a higher rank. Speaking against another member in public without justification is insulting, and can result in retaliation. Quiet whispers, rumors and private exchanges of information, false or true, are extremely commonplace.

1.3  Secrecy

Secrecy is the third most notable aspect of Salsolan culture. Members of the pack are restricted within the public eye, certainly, but what one can achieve in secret through dirty means is just as valid as something done righteously to a Salsolan. It is said that there is a second secret conversation - one of insinuations and double-entendre - always running beneath the surface of any public Salsolan discussion. This lust for secrecy stretches into some members' personal habits; The sharing of a secret can be felt as an act of extreme love or trust to some, and is not to be taken lightly.

1.4  Other Principles

Group Interests

Salsola is concerned primarily with itself as a kingdom: members are expected to work together as a cohesive group toward the shared goal of Salsolan prosperity, regardless of their personal or familial affinities and dislikes. Any Salsolan, regardless of status and rank, is better than an Outsider, after all. Members of the Family should interact with one another with respect and duty at the forefront of their minds - love and adoration of one another is unnecessary, but apparent devotion to (and ambition within) the group is required if one is seeking the approval of those above them in the hierarchy.

Salsola Versus Outsiders

Members should strive for wariness and disdain of all Outsiders. The term ‘Outsider’ is used to describe any Luperci who is not a present member of the Thistle Kingdom, and is used in a derogatory nature. Spying is a highly valued skill, and knowledge regarding Outsider packs or groups is an important commodity. Frequent or close association with Outsiders can be considered suspicious - those suspected of retaining close ties to someone unaffiliated with Salsola may be spied upon by their own packmates, in turn.

Salsola is not at all forthcoming regarding its own activities and inclinations to those who are not within their flock. As such, close sentimental relations with other packs are purposefully avoided. Nearby lurkers are frequently dispatched, and the pack has no tolerance whatsoever for trespassers.

Salsola is generally wary of inciting trouble against other strong groups, as it does not seek warmongering so much as it is power-hungry. Weak groups are perceived as potential prey, and may be treated (and persecuted) as such. Loners are openly derided as having no power - they have no group protection and no structure, and those who willfully choose a prolonged life as a Loner are regarded as strange and distasteful to the typical Salsolan.

Individuals should avoid causing issue with other packs without the blessing of the leaders - retaliation would be most unpleasant! Of course, if a member's actions throw no suspicion on Salsola (an individual’s secrets can be kept secret by use of an alias, after all), the leaders are typically indifferent.

Note: Not all Outsiders are regarded exactly the same; see Salsola’s Pack Relationships for current standings.

2.  Traditions

Salsola is heavily fortified in its culture, and has particular respect for its traditions. These are largely meant to encourage unity within the pack, and give members opportunities to display their skills, beliefs and social standings. Some traditions are followed with greater devotion than others, which may only be enacted or partaken of on occasion.

2.1  Prejudices and Predispositions

Affinities

The technology of ‘those who came before’ (humans), civilization and Luperci-designed primitive technological methods are respected and desired - artifacts, hunting/farming techniques, and other remnants of the distant past generally facilitate this new and grandly civil survival. Spying, fighting, and "survivalist" skill-sets are also well regarded within the Thistle Kingdom. Philosophical, scholarly, religious, and spiritual pursuits are respected and increasingly sought-after as the size and prosperity of the kingdom allows for greater specification in interests.

Biases

Salsola is most often egalitarian with regards to species, age and most other factors, but it does have some biases.

  • Females: Within Salsola, women are generally regarded as the superior gender.
  • Luperci: Non-Luperci are not permitted to join the pack. Being a Luperci gives clear and obvious advantages; one who would choose to reject these gifts can only be stupid or weak, and therefore unfit to become a member of the Family. Individual members may or may not possess this prejudice.
  • Able-Bodiedness: Handicapped, old, or otherwise "weak" canines are not altogether barred from joining Salsola, and may be tolerated if they have been born into it, but often have to carry a greater burden when it comes to proving their value and worth.

2.2  Trade

Despite its wariness of outsiders, Salsola may make an exception for any worthwhile trade opportunity. Cunning trade ensures that the Thistle Kingdom continues to build upon its much hoarded wealth, and canines skilled in barter and merchantry may find favor within the Family if they utilize their skills with care. The pack is primarily concerned with getting the better deal in a trade, regardless of the other traders' disadvantage. Trading is highly encouraged both within the pack and between members and outsiders, and can often carry a competitive edge.

Trade Pact

In rare cases, Salsola’s leaders have been tempted enough by the great wealth of another pack to consider arranging a Trade Pact. This entails both Salsola and the other group promising to be forthright, honest, and open in their dealings, and is also intended to promote ongoing trade and access between the groups' members. Though the pact is intended to promote a healthy trade relation, Salsola is still self-interested at heart, and new leaders may not respect the pacts of the old.

Covenant of Salt

This ceremonial ritual is used only when sealing a formal trade pact between the pack and another large group: only the leadership ranks can perform the Covenant. The Salsolan representative takes a handful of salt, and passes half of this to the outsider, keeping half for themselves. The outsider and the Salsolan then press their palms together, opening them and allowing the salt to fall to the ground. The mixed salt renders the pact unbreakable: sorting out the grains of salt by owner is just as possible as breaking this pact.

2.3  Mateship & Relationships

Mateship is a sacramental rite, requiring "approval" as achieved via the wedding ceremony, in which the couple is blessed by the pack’s Crone (or in the absence of a Crone, one of the Mafiosi). Following the wedding ceremony, couples usually publicize their mateship by hosting a celebratory reception. It is encouraged to give gifts to a newly mated pair, to help them begin amassing their shared wealth (which in turn will be profitable for all Salsola).

Fornication with outsiders is extremely discouraged; anyone who engages in such an act should take care not to let the rest of the pack catch wind of it. As always, Salsola’s laws of Secrecy apply - What happens beyond the borders, stays beyond the borders! Trysts and cheating may be commonplace, but can be humiliating or even punishable if discovered by the Salsolan public. Best to keep your dirty laundry hidden!

A Salsolan Wedding

Generally solemn, private affairs, mateships in Salsola are equally as often used as a means to bolster rank position or political standing within the Family as they are a traditionally romantic gesture between individuals. It is entirely up to participants as to how large or how small they want the wedding ceremony itself to be, with some couples opting for only themselves, Mafiosi and the Crone to attend, though generally there is a large amount of pressure for the entire pack to be invited to the reception held thereafter.

Attire

The participating members may wear whatever they choose, though this is an ideal time to show wealth, rank, or family connections through the use of expensive materials and craftsmanship. Family bloodlines may have their own ancestral traditions as to what is worn.

The Binding

Participants both provide a unique length of pliant material (e.g. leather, cloth, vine, chain, horse hair, plant material or fiber etc) to be woven together. This represents a joining of their union. The woven or braided material is used to loosely tie the couple’s hands together at the wrist during the ceremony; Local supersticion holds that the union’s fortune is increased the longer their hands remain bound, though it is by no means a necessity, and the newlyweds are welcome to remove the binding at their earliest convenience post-ceremony. It is sentimentally common for the binding material to be later tied into a loop, bracelet, necklace or ornament, and either worn by one of the couple or hung on proud display in their home.

The Oaths

The overseer of the wedding ceremony (either The Boss or The Crone) will ask its participants to swear allegiance to one another, often with overtones suggestive of a greater loyalty to the Law and the Family. Often, significant items or words are exchanged between the participants. Depending on the piety of the couple or the religious affectations of the celebrant, a rite or prayer may be offered to bless the union and beseech fertility and prosperity upon the new family unit.

The Reception

Following the event, a large and informal feast occurs in the Ruins proper, most commonly held at the Feasting Hall for convenience and size. This is generally something provided for by the family and friends of those participating. Some may choose to extensively decorate the area, intending to bolster the appearance of their household and names. Attendees are encouraged to bestow well-wishes and sometimes gifts upon the participants, for as in many things, gift-giving (i.e. bribery) is an essential part of Salsolan culture.

Having been converted to a matriarchal rule under the reign of the First Queen, Salvia Eternity, Salsola does not adhere to some of the more archaic patriarchal traditions associated with primitive post-wedding receptions; Consummation is a private affair, and no proof of it is ever required to ensure the validity of the union. However, with plenty of drink often provided at the reception, well-meaning advice-givers and jokesters may use the opportunity to be as baudy and lewd as they dare, much to the embarrassment of the newlyweds.

The Favor

One key cultural rite held at the wedding reception is the granting of the Favor. If they so choose to, the wedded participants may ask one favor/make one specific request of any attendee, often an individual in a higher political position or with greater personal wealth than themselves. Provided the request is not impossible, the individual asked is held to great pressure to agree to it. Whilst most often this is of no issue, it has yet to be seen how daring the Favor can get - the pardoning of a friend’s crime, the payment of a servant’s debt, the forgiveness of a family transgression, the possession of a fine horse, and the agreement of training or trade etc are normal examples.

Mateship Regulations

Homosexual relationships are acceptable, but the adoption of children may be encouraged.

Incestuous relationships are generally treated the same as any other. By definition, all relations are already incestuous: the pack is Family, after all. Do note however that close incestual relationships, such as parent to child or sibling to sibling (as opposed to the more common cousin x cousin), are frowned upon only in that they may create unfit heirs for the family line or weaken the general stock of Salsola. Such unions are generally best kept out of the public eye.

Age can be a deciding factor in the granting of a mateship - though there are as yet no set specifications for how wide an age gap is socially acceptable, a wedding cannot take place until both members are at least of shifting age.

Betrothal
A relatively new tradition within the Thistle Kingdom, a betrothal is the planned mateship of two individuals as ordained by a Leader. There are a number of reasons a betrothal may take place - it can be a useful tool for the Mafiosi in securing political alliances or maintaining control over unruly subjects. However it is a rare phenomenon, and not one broadly liked by all members of the pack.

Divorce
Divorce is disrespectful and commonly results in a negative public outcome for those involved - especially so if the mateship ends childless. Ending a mateship must be cleared by the leadership ranks if the individual/s in the prior mateship desire to save face (they may even blame their mate/s for the separation, resulting in singular demotion or further punishment).

Puppies

Puppies only have the blessing of Leadership to be born to mated/wedded couples in the Family rank and above.

Legitimate parenthood and childbirth are extremely important - the birth of children should be celebrated by the entirety of the pack. Being born into Salsola is the only way to gain foolproof and immediate acceptance, though even Salsolan-born members may find themselves homeless if they refuse to adhere to Salsola's culture.

The Leadership threatens drastic consequences on the issue of illegitimate puppies - e.g., abandoning them to another pack or even killing them. Of course, as children are an incredibly valuable commodity to Salsola, bribery and underhanded methods of finding a place for one's illegitimate offspring may be accepted; The actual outcome of illegitimate puppies is often much less bleak than rumors suggest.

2.4  Religious Aspects

Salsolans are not subject to mandatory organized religion. Religious ideologies are nonetheless a large part of Salsola, however, as evidenced by the respect given to those within the Sanctus Faction or the coven. Spiritual belief is considered quite a serious endeavor, as the ever-canny Thistle Kingdom does not wish to be on the bad side of whatever god/gods/powers may potentially exist. Members are quite free to practice their own religions and there is generally no obligation to partake in spiritual ceremonies, but it is encouraged - often times, rituals and ceremonies ordained by religious zeal are as much a ‘social to-do’ as they are a pious event.

Disrespect to spirituality is offensive to its practitioner, and as such most individuals within the pack are therefore tolerant of (or at the least, indifferent to) differing beliefs. In this instance, diversity of belief can be considered to strengthen the whole of Salsola, enriching its culture and protecting it from the unknowable powers-that-be. It is considered unwise to be close-minded to the possibility of otherworldly power - Particularly considering the increasing influence of the secretive witches of the coven ranked among Salsola’s elite.

The Coven

Operating under no organised or recognized structure is Salsola’s very own coven of witches. The witches involved practice a great myriad of separate ideologies and pray to often-familial deities. There is no set religion that guides them, nor any governing body that controls their worship. However the coven often comes together to form a cohesive collective of devotees, practitioners of the ‘Craft’ (the Craft being the term for magic, or magic-related works).

3.  Special Events & Rituals

3.1  The Last Supper

Mealtime is taken together as a family approximately every other month - This particular event is dubbed The Last Supper (or more colloquially ‘The Supper’) by Salsolans. Depending on supplies and the necessity of news being passed along, the meal may occur more or less frequently than on a monthly schedule.

Attendance is expected; unless a character has a good reason for absence, s/he should attend. Repeated in-attendance for poor reasons or no reason can result in consequences.

Supper Hall

The Last Supper always occurs in a ruined hall in the south of the Ruins proper. A mix of different logs, stools, and other assorted furniture makes up the seating, which are often arranged to form one long formal table. As the supper typically occurs at night, torches and candles provide lighting for the feasting pack. Servitori - both general Mendicants and Indentured Servants that have been generously provided to assist in preparation for the event from their debt-holders - can sometimes begin preparing for the feast a full week prior to the event if it is especially large and splendorous. Their tasks often involve curing meats and cooking or salting delicious banquet food, as well as assembling the necessary chairs, tables, fire-pits and cookery necessary for a smooth-running Last Supper.

Seating

The Boss sits at the head of the gathering, flanked by the Sotto Capo. Directly to their right side sits their second-in-command, a seat of honor that is significantly positioned as “the right hand of the Boss”. High ranks sit nearer to the leadership, and low ranks sit further away down the long table. If permissible by rank, mates often choose to sit across from each other at the table. Bambino are permitted to attend the Supper at any age, depending on their parents' wishes. Typically, children are separated from their parents, given their own small space. Some parents choose to keep their children close.

Servitori in attendance are not allowed to be seated, nor to partake of the feast. Some meals require slaves to serve wine, hot spit-roasts or delicacies; Other times, slaves are not permitted to enter the dining hall at all, and can only listen to the festivities from beyond the stone walls of the Supper Hall. They are allowed to partake of the scraps left over to be cleaned up.

News & Procession

Business matters are never spoken while eating, as it is seen as disrespectful to the hunter/cook and the leadership. Usually before the feasting begins the leadership will share any relevant news and announcements with the pack, and occasionally they will offer a speech. Once the leadership has spoken, the rest of the pack may share personal news; And only after the leadership has sampled the food, may the rest of the pack begin eating.

3.2  Saturnalia

WARNING: This section of content contains generic descriptions of ritual sacrifice, sensitive or young readers may be advised to skip.

The ancient Saturnalia festival of Rome honored Saturn (a major god presiding over agriculture and the harvest time). Salsola's version of Saturnalia has direct throwbacks to this predecessor, but has distinctive cultural differences in both practice and meaning.

Salsola's Saturnalia is rarely celebrated during the last week of December. Though the weather may be frightful when the feast is celebrated, it is intended to bring joy to Salsola with the arrival and celebration of true northern winter. Additionally, the feast's ritualistic aspects are intended to provide a fruitful harvest season for Salsola, along with general luck and bounty throughout the following year.

Participation in Saturnalia rituals are entirely voluntary - no canine is required to engage in any part of the festival, as is related to Salsola’s relaxed views on religious activities.

Gifts

Saturnalia often begins with the ritual of gift-gifting. Though the gifts may be of a lavish nature, the object of Saturnalia gift-giving is to deliver the present anonymously. Various methods may be employed for this end - some canines may simply give their gifts as "the gift of a friend," refusing to verbally acknowledge themselves as the giver, whilst other canines simply drop the gift on a doorstep and scurry away. The method of delivery is up to the individual, but the intent is normally to remain anonymous and secretive!

Servitori Gifts – Saturnalia often coincides with Servitori receiving gifts: members of the pack may feel more comfortable giving anonymously to a servant. Servitori gifts are intended to thank the servant for their service to the pack, and may be of a practical nature (e.g., giving a carpentry-inclined servant some tools) or of a more generous nature (e.g., giving a servant some small new freedom they were not previously permitted).

Sacrifice

Saturnalia Eve is celebrated with a sacrifice. In archaic days of old, the sacrifice would have been Luperci in nature, and of virile age - e.g., not an old man and not a young boy, but of reproducing age and an adult. The ritual killing was performed in the usual public manner at the Stone Ship by the loch. In more modern ages the Mafiosi have used superior livestock in place of a Luperci tribute, though there is no telling when this darker tradition may resume.

A crucial aspect to the Saturnalia sacrifice is the importance of spilling life's blood over holy ground. The sacrifice's throat is generally cut, and they are bled out over a stone altar. Unlike other sacrifices, this body is later buried in the bog and marsh of Salsola - 'given back' to the land.

Banquet

The Saturnalia banquet, while held in the same hall as the Last Supper, differs greatly from the "usual" celebration of Salsola. Displays of behavior normally unacceptable in public - overeating, sloppiness, and overeager drunkenness - are not only accepted but encouraged during the Saturnalia banquet, which is a wild and free-spirited event. Salsolans are encouraged to have fun and revel in their membership within a strong, enviable pack.

Canines of Salsola become more lax in their strict hierarchy roles during Saturnalia. Dominance and submission are minimized, and the canines feast together as friends and Familia, entirely forgoing any discussion of business or political-related topics. Servants are permitted to dine with the ranked members of Salsola, an event occurring only once a year.

Serious offenses committed during the festival are still treated as such - e.g., if someone attempted assassination of The Boss, the feast would halt, the killer would be strung up to die, and then the revelry would likely continue.

Lord of Discord

The Lord of Discord is chosen from amongst the banquet's attendees by the Mafiosi. This canine is responsible for shouting absurd commands during the festival: e.g., instructing a canine to chug a cup of wine, or having a group of Salsolans throw another member into water. The role of the Lord of Discord is essential to the festivities, giving them an air of fun-driven chaos.

Banquet Servants

While servants are permitted to dine with their masters, they are still responsible for food preparation, and must serve their debt-holder's needs during the feast. Unruliness from servants during the feast is moderate, at best - while a servant may joke more openly with his or her master, outright defiance and refusal of duties is still a terrible offense even during Saturnalia and can result in serious punishment.

Post-Saturnalia

The next day, the usual Salsolan roles resume, and anyone unable to leave festival mode behind is promptly snapped out of their revelry with a slap or two. Though Salsolans are encouraged to take everything said and done during the festival lightly, serious complaints may be brought to the Capo ranks over festival behavior. More often than not, though, it is simply a case of: What happens in Saturnalia, STAYS in Saturnalia!

3.3  Cotona

A popular and common ritual by which members are marked with the Hand of Eris to prove their everlasting devotion to Salsola. The symbol is an old one with roots back to the foundation of the pack, and stands for Salsola's protection and guidance in the individual member's actions. It acts as a visible reminder of their loyalty and the duty that comes with being in the Family. Members should desire to bear this pack symbol - it is an important part of becoming "Salsolan" through and through.

Individuals are free to choose the location of their marking, though it is often placed in a concealable area so that Salsolans can continue to disguise themselves and become anonymous outside of kingdom territory. Any experienced canine may perform the ritual, but it is the Segno's specific responsibility to do so (and one can only expect the neatest scarification when done by the Segno). Perfecting the mark through scarification may take up to six weeks, and the Cotona ritual refers to the entirety of this painful, repetitive process.

Branding is an acceptable alternative to carving for scarification purposes, and some choose to apply color via tattooing; this is also acceptable, and a much less painful option.

3.4  Cueponi

This ceremony graduates children from the Bambino rank into an adulthood rank, thus accepting them as a contributing member of Salsola. The ceremony is most commonly undertaken once the youth in question has reached shifting age. Late bloomers may be seen as a sign of weakness or poor nature, so most children are excited to undertake their Cueponi as soon as possible.

After expressing their eagerness to complete their Cueponi rite, a youth is summoned by the Boss, who oversees this ceremony. This is intended to form a bond between the two, and ensure loyalty to both Salsola and its Mafiosi. The Boss must bodily inspect the Bambino, and ascertain their ability to shift into Optime form (which is associated with adulthood and capability). Should they find the youth acceptable, the leader grants them with a task to prove their worth.

Failure of this task results in their relegation to the Associate ranks. Successful completion of the task results in their promotion to the Family ranks.

The task granted for the Cueponi ceremony is itself shrouded in a riddle, and requires the hopeful adult to deduce the meaning of the request before attempting the task itself. The riddles have multiple answers and are solvable in multiple ways.

Members of Salsola should PM the Salsola Pack Account to discuss the Cueponi ceremony for any Bambino characters whenever they choose to advance to Salsola’s adult ranks. NPC Bambinos may be automatically promoted into the Family rank (and presumed ICly to have successfully completed their Cueponi) at the age of one year. The Cueponi ceremony needn't necessarily be played out in its entirety: in the event that leadership or member are unavailable for threads, OOC assumptions are permitted.

Example Riddles
These riddles are examples and cannot be used for the ceremony, as they have provided answers.
- "Bring me death, that I may look on it without fear" (answer: a fossil, a human skull, a Luperci bone)
- "Bring me a living jewel" (answer: a peacock, parrot, lizard, or other brightly-colored animal)
- "Bring me a child of ice and fire" (answer: blue amber, a cat with a gold (fire) eye and blue (ice) eye, a red cold-water fish)
- "Bring me a godly voice, so that all my people may hear my summons" (answer: a horn, a crow, a loud musical instrument)

3.5  Strafethorn

This ritual, while infrequently undertaken to show personal stamina, stoicism or pain endurance, can also be inflicted as a punishment on an unwilling individual. The pack-member in question wraps their arms with thistle or other thorny vines, then goes about their usual business, allowing natural movement to bury the thorns into their flesh. Salsolans will in rare cases perform the Strafethorn punishment of their own accord as a show of their loyalty, devotion and piety in the face of continual pain and discomfort.

4.  Laws

Salsola's morality has always been rather flexible. Each situation is approached differently, according to context and value. While the pack preaches strictness and total adherence to law, in truth, there are always exceptions. There are few situations in which a Salsolan will not adjust his or her morality according to the greatest personal or group benefit.

Essentially, Salsola has no true moral code: members have the appearance of individual freedom. So long as they overtly adhere to the social mores and contribute to the pack, the well-kept secrets of their individual lives are of little concern. There are few, if any, firm "laws."

The leadership is generally indifferent to transgressions against Outsiders; However, when possible Salsola prefers to stand apart from conflict with other groups. Actions which cause or may cause group retaliation are frowned upon unless planned with Mafiosi ahead of time. Basically: if you're going to act out, make sure you leave no connection to draw blame back to the pack!

4.1  Salsolan Behavior

Superiors should demand respect; Subordinates should display it, especially in public. Canine dominance and submission should be enforced, and failure to do so may present opportunities for rank usurping. Committing a grave offense against a higher ranked member may incur severe punishment.

A light slap on the cheek is a prominent display of discipline, as it leaves no permanent damage but has a significant impact on one’s dignity. The slap is never violent or even forceful enough to hurt - a subtle, light tap on the cheek in the public eye from a higher-ranked member is incredibly shaming and is likely to result in temporary pack shunning of the slapped individual.

Greetings

It is common for Salsolans to greet packmates by nuzzling or briskly touching one another on one or both cheeks with one’s nose. This greeting is reserved for those within the pack and is an allusion to the old human tradition of kissing on both cheeks.

Introductions

Salsolans should be rather particular about introducing an outsider to fellow packmates. If, for example, Jackal decides to introduce Wolf, a Loner, to his fellow Salsolan Coyote, the introduction differs depending on its purpose.

Non-Recruit

If Jackal is simply seeking to make Wolf known to Coyote (i.e., Wolf is a personal friend), Wolf is introduced as "a friend of mine" by Jackal. This places responsibility for Wolf's behavior on Jackal, and lets Coyote know that Wolf will not be recruited.

Recruit

If Jackal is seeking to recruit Wolf (i.e., Wolf is a potential new member), Wolf would be introduced as "a friend of ours." This informs Coyote that Wolf is a prospective recruit and is responsible for his or her own behavior.

4.2  Substances

Members are free to do as they please on their own time, so long as pack duties remain attended to. There are no laws regarding mind-altering substances; However, excessive public intoxication or addiction is self-humiliating and defeatist. Members would be wise to avoid appearing in public when "trashed", or otherwise at a loss of their senses. They might humiliate themselves, and bring shame upon their house.

4.3  Betrayal

Betrayal is an offense of the utmost seriousness, and may result in punishment. Obviously, the idea of betrayal applies only to the group at large - Betraying an individual is of individual concern, but betraying the Kingdom is of the highest severity. One may betray the pack in a variety of ways, including but not limited to:

  • Giving Salsolan secrets to Outsiders.
  • Purposefully giving relevant (not personal) false information to a packmate to undermine the pack.
  • Stealing from or damaging the property of the pack.
  • Causing severe, undue physical harm to another Salsolan.
  • Sexual assault on another member of Salsola.

Any acts such as these are liable to be heavily punishable, if discovered.

4.4  Bribery

Bribery is an acceptable form of barter, and extremely commonplace within the Thistle Kingdom. If your character has wronged someone, attempting to bribe them with a gift or promise of service is a good way to avoid punishment. While it is not guaranteed to work, higher ranking members generally enjoy being plied with gifts and offers. Bribery should never be blatant or over-the-top; To be seen bribing someone is to reveal your weakness to the onlooker.

Unfortunately, extortion and blackmail also inherent in this system - if the wrong Salsolan member picks up on some vital, unknown information, they may levy it against your character. This can result in your character having to give up time, items, wealth or even personal freedoms so their secret shames don't escape into the public eye.

4.5  Punishments

Punishments are not necessarily as a result of particular wrong-doing. Sometimes the leadership simply suspects a Salsolan's loyalty is less than they claim; In these cases, the member is dealt a punishment to endure simply to prove their loyalty to the leadership. Those who tolerate punishment without complaint are perceived as stronger and more loyal than those who protest.

Strafethorn

The member is required to wrap their arms with thistle and other thorny vines, then go about their usual business, allowing natural movement to bury the thorns into their flesh. This punishment is generally utilized to prove loyalty; Occasionally, Salsolans perform the Strafethorn punishment of their own accord as a show of their loyalty.

Silencing

This is a brutal punishment, inflicted for revealing a secret or showing extreme verbal disrespect. The tongue is cut out of the mouth and leaves the victim mute. This is frequently inflicted on mouthy or disrespectful servants, and is a cruel tradition that began at the table of the first king of Salsola.

Servitude

This punishment is generally reserved for outsiders who are captured lurking on or near Family territory, or for those perceived as owing the pack a debt. It basically entails the offender being abducted into the Servitori ranks. In very rare cases, members of the Family may be punished with servitude by the Leadership.

Manhunt

This is a form of sport for the elite canines of Salsola; Essentially, the release and then hunt of other Luperci. This is used for escaped servants and exiled betrayers. Occasionally, it is used to run failed Associates out of Kingdom territory.

Exile

Exile is a rarity. The canine is thereafter ostracized and shunned; Salsola members may not even acknowledge the exiled party's presence or existence if they meet in the neutral lands. Further offenses generally result in further punishment.

Pentiti

A step further than exile, only especially egregious betrayers are declared to be a "pentiti." Salsola actively seeks retribution for the crimes committed by an individual labelled as a pentiti. If a pentiti is captured, the individual is usually horrifically tortured, with the Hand of Eris mark cut from their flesh. They are put to death - when this happens, their left (Latin: sinister) hand is cut off. The hand is kept and preserved, displayed for all would-be traitors of the pack as a warning.

4.6  Leaving Salsola

Peaceably

Members are expected to retain membership for life. Leaving without notice is a major offense and considered a betrayal of the pack. Nevertheless, leaves of absence are sometimes granted - should a member feel a need to return to their homeland, they are sometimes permitted to do so. This is done with the understanding that they are to remain Salsolan at heart and someday return. Rarely, the leadership allows canines to permanently leave - this is typically done via exile.

If you are wanting for your character to leave Salsola but retain peaceable ties to the pack, we thoroughly encourage PMing the Leadership so that they can discuss potential options with you.

Destructively

Members are sometimes expelled for disobeying the cultural codes and stipulations. Dismissal may be violent and members ejected from the pack are treated poorly when encountered in the neutral territories. However, Salsola does not often bother seek vengeance on these former members, except in the event that they are on the run after committing a grievous crime, or are declared a Pentiti.

4.7  Consent

Salsola respects OOC consent rules. Punishments cannot be conducted without OOC player consent. However, Salsola's cultural code sometimes requires punishment for actions. Alternatives to tolerating the punishment include leaving the pack, though your character cannot return and Salsola members will treat your character poorly. It is therefore highly encouraged that players think out the end result of their actions before breaking any of Salsola’s norms.

If you have any questions, inquiries or concerns regarding Salsola’s cultural stipulations, please reach out to our friendly leaders for help.


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Category: Salsola