A Speaker's Guide to the Ovareshid

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Speaker of the Cerid
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A Speaker's Guide to the Ovareshid

Post by Speaker of the Cerid » Fri Oct 26, 2018 4:17 am

I am Rashimad! I speak!

Those of you here have expressed an interest in joining the Household of the Great Speaker to serve as Speakers for the People to the ovareshid - the majority of which are the
hiu-manz, as they call themselves. It is important, if you wish to speak for us to them, that you know something of their ways, that we are not dishonored by unintended insults or mistakes. Therefore, the Great Speaker has given me the honor of instructing you in that which we know of these beings.

Many of you have already seen examples of the ovareshid at Gejlak Beach; but some of you have not, and there are also aspects of their appearance whose significance may not be obvious.

The ovareshid stand only on their hind legs, and are liable to hurt their backs if traveling on all fours for extended periods. We are faster than they are when we are on all fours, but slower and less sturdy than they are when we stand upon two. They have no wings or tail, but their forelegs are used only for manipulation are are greatly suited to this purpose. Each paw terminates in five digits, each with an extremely puny claw, capable of aiding one's grip but otherwise largely fragile and useless - many of them cut or file them down to keep them from getting in the way, though some do not. The forepaws' digits are thinner than ours, and the forelimbs have a wider range of motion; they can lift and move items at many different angles.

Ovaresh skin is scaleless and easily damaged - it is quite important, if physically interacting with one, to avoid dragging your claws across them even lightly. The skin typically comes in a range from dark brown to pink. Red skin occurs, but unlike the red scales found among the People, it is a sign of illness, injury, or excitement or agitation. Other skin tones are generally signs of illness or injury. They typically also have a layer of fur, very thin over most of the body but with thicker patches, most noticeably upon the head. The fur varies considerably in color, but is liable to become gray or white with age.

Males and females exist in roughly equal proportion, and when they marry is it usually only one male to a female. Ovaresh males are, much like our females, generally taller and more muscularly developed; many of them grow fur about their mouth and jaw into adulthood, and some lose it upon the crowns of their heads with age. The females are most often smaller and less muscular, as are our males; they grow little or no hair about their mouth but are not prone to losing that atop their heads. Their chests appear to be more prominent than those of the males, but we have found it impolitic to discuss with them the anatomy beneath their clothing.

This is an important point, which bears repeating. You, if you have anything approaching a proper upbringing, know that there are body parts which should not be discussed except with those close to you; I need not elaborate. The ovareshid, however, go further in that they actually cover much of their bodies under most conditions in the name of decency, the conditions governing which we do not understand - it appears to be permissible to relax them, as some visiting merchants have been observed on the beach in much sparser clothing than they would otherwise wear. Regardless, it is difficult to know how an ovaresh will react to personal comments or questions, particularly about the areas normally covered by clothes, and it appears to be much safer simply to comment on the clothes themselves, since these are not merely utilitarian but often an aesthetic expression.

The ovareshid enjoy both having power over others and surrendering responsibility for themselves to others. It is characteristic of their nations that the land, though it is said to be owned by this or that person, is not truly bound to them, but to their rulers, who may do certain things there as they wish, without the owner's consent. The nearest equivalent among the People would be if the Great Speaker owned all the land herself as one great estate and had all others as tenants, but told them they were owners and was believed. This, of course, the Great Speaker would never presume to do, for the People are too cunning to be lied to so; and moreover, it would greatly displease the
zerenid, who demand individual attention and bounds between their places. Yet it appears to be the case among the ovareshid.

In many other spheres, it is the same: ovareshid have rulers, who themselves may have rulers, in a great chain that reaches up to the very highest rulers. Very few ovareshid are truly free, nor do they seek true freedom, and those that do often use their freedom for nefarious purposes. What they think is freedom is to be allowed to choose their rulers, never to rule themselves. Yet there is an opportunity for those of us that must deal with them, either to ensure good relations or to find benefit; instead of many actors with which one must negotiate, there are few. Somewhere, there is a ruler who has the power to do what you wish to have done; should she be amenable to doing so, she may command it. Therefore, your job will be to find the correct ruler, to speak with her, and to present your proposals in such a way that they are desirable to her and do not threaten her or her fellow rulers.

Those of you who have already been around ovareshid are aware that most of them, like animals and small children, cannot shield their emotions from detection. For us, doing so is as much inborn as is walking; those ovareshid who are capable of it at all, it appears, must be trained in how to do so. Your instinct may be to be shocked by this lack of discretion; to scorn them, if you do not understand its source, or to pity them if you do. Many of the People do these things, and have the luxury of doing so. I tell you, however, that for a Speaker, this is a poor mistake to make. Ovareshid may silently scream out their feelings like toddlers, but they are far more in control of themselves than they will seem -
especially those who are rulers - and it is best to remember that.

That said, it will be beneficial for you to know something of ovaresh facial expressions, if only to see the difference between what they truly feel and the impression they try to give - this is an advantage they will not have, and may well aid your efforts. Understand that their hearing organs - convoluted flaps, in contrast to our stalks - are not mobile and play no great part in their expressions, though like stalks they may become flushed with exertion or heightened emotion. Pay attention instead to the mouth. If the corners are turned upward, this is a sign of friendliness, amusement, or contentedness. If the ovaresh does this while baring her teeth,
do not be alarmed - this is merely an emphatic smile. If she does it while her mouth is open and she makes bird noises, she is laughing. If the corners are turned downward, by contrast, this is an indicator of negative emotion - sadness, or anger, or despair.

We shall be discussing each topic in more detail as we go forward, and others besides. But I wish to impress upon you, here and now, that we are dealing with a species unlike ours in many, perhaps most, ways. They are alien to us. Those instincts that would serve you well in earning the trust and cooperation of one of the people may well mislead you if applied to an ovaresh, and you must strive to move past them where they would be unhelpful. Understand that you represent not only yourself, but all the People. Though we cannot expect you not to be yourselves, for our survival in this world, we will be depending upon you to present friendly faces to our neighbors. Those of you who eventually become Speakers will be those who show that they may do this successfully.
Korad, Speaker for the Çerid
Behold! I have been chosen as Speaker: I am a voice of the noble and courageous people of the Çerid, come to speak their minds to you! Open, then, those strange flaps on your heads that your hear with, and take in their words!

(A proud member of the Secret Society of Shyriaths)

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Re: A Speaker's Guide to the Ovareshid

Post by Continuator » Wed Mar 13, 2019 3:31 pm

(And the counter-view from the other side of the bay...)

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