A Preliminary Study of Sangonomiya Folk Belief

A Preliminary Study of Sangonomiya Folk Belief
A Preliminary Study of Sangonomiya Folk BeliefNameA Preliminary Study of Sangonomiya Folk Belief
Type (Ingame)Quest Item
FamilyNon-Codex Series, Non-Codex Lore Item
DescriptionThis paper was written by Shihab Purbiruni, a scholar of modern history from Sumeru, two years before the civil war in Inazuma. It details the folk beliefs of Watatsumi Island and the Sangonomiya people, and puts forward some relatively new academic propositions.

Item Story

The version of this tale most widely accepted by the people of both Narukami and Watatsumi Island reads as follows:
Around two thousand years ago, the Archon War was drawing to a close in Inazuma.
It is said that during this time, the Great Serpent Orobashi broke the coral branches off his body and guided the people of the deep sea back to the light of day, and by his grace and pity, he gathered them together to make a living upon the barren island of coral.
But in this world of fickle fortune, humans, puny as they are, often suffered on account of their bitter lives and were gloomy because of their pain and misfortune. The bright sun, the clear skies, and seas, the clam palace that glittered with rainbow light, the teachings of the clergy... None of these could assuage the wounds of hunger and disease.
The Great Serpent never forgot his past as one of the defeated, or his oath to never again allow his people to be forsaken. So he asked the shrine maiden:
"Blessed daughter of mine, why do the people of the deep sea weep? Have I not defeated the Dragonheirs of the Depths and given you the light of day?"
The wise shrine maiden replied:
The Great Serpent asked again:
"Indeed, it is my failing that has caused you to go hungry. What then, my people, is your request?"
The honest elders replied:
"You made a road for us, guiding us to create a nation amidst the blue seas with no need for robbery, oppression, or tyranny. For this, we are already more than grateful... Yet, to the east of our coral island, there are lands wider and more fertile still."
"Permit us, great lord, to set foot upon those islands and there carve out a dominion for ourselves, that our children after us shall have a glorious past, a future in fullness, and a present without darkness."

The Great Serpent was silent and made no reply.
Narukami it was that dominated the eastern islands, possessing great strength in war, and those deities defeated thus were all slain to the last, in accordance with the law of the divine realm.
But in the many years that followed, the hungry and diseased people would ask time and again, at last moving the heart of their god.
Thus did the Great Serpent train them to become mighty warriors who commandeered ships and sea monsters while mastering wave and cloud, leading them in an invasion of the Electro Archon's lands amidst the whistling of whalesongs...
But the people of the sea knew not that Watatsumi Omikami had embarked upon a violent campaign in which he had no hope of victory, and his purpose was not conquest, but sacrifice.
It is said that there were inscriptions which the shrine maiden hid, upon which were written a prophecy of the certain defeat and the future of humiliation that awaited this eastern expedition.

Orobashi's true motives are not well-recorded by history. This is merely a hypothesis drawn by those who discovered the inscriptions in latter days:
Watatsumi Omikami long knew that he would not have any chance of survival this time, but accepted the prophecy's result calmly.
If he wished to ensure the perpetuation of his people's "faith," there was but one path — sacrifice. Even if Watatsumi would pass away, its people would endlessly weave their memories of joy, prosperity, bitterness, and loss into a united faith. These memories, in turn, would flourish on account of the intense emotions of a vanquished people forced into shameful submission.

Many among the Watatsumi people now no longer believe that their guiding Omikami has any chance of revival, but their pride as Watatsumi's people, the pain of watching the body of their god carved up for minerals by their overlord, the hurt of losing that god... These emotions have passed on from generation to generation, becoming the pillars of forbearance, resistance, and sacrifice that underpin the faith of Watatsumi's people.

As the author has mentioned, Sangonomiya has an extreme lack of written historical material. As such, these past motives have all essentially become fictional tales upon which future generations can inscribe any meaning they wish. Thus, these histories have become "histories of accumulated consciousness" rather than "histories of recorded fact." The fact that this collective consciousness has been strengthened and rendered ever more cohesive over time, such that a people who have lost their beloved god may still actively resist a nation whose faith is in a mighty elemental deity... This just goes to show that their persistence is hardly some obsolete thing.

Notably, this tendency to give little thought to the "facts" of the past and emphasize the "consciousness" of the present is a glaring flaw in Watatsumi today. The flames of these hatreds and humiliations, borne and nursed over hundreds and thousands of years, can be fanned by those with an agenda in leaner years and ultimately bring catastrophe upon the nation.

But though I say this, while the people of Watatsumi are known for their forbearance, are they really to grin and bear this mortification endlessly for the sake of survival?
With their recent economic exploitation at the hands of the Kanjou Commission, more and more of the young people of Watatsumi Island are discussing resistance and their complaints. It seems evident to me that these discussions are not merely about the past, but about the present and future also.

However, there is another version of the legend of Watatsumi Omikami's slaying:
While the people of the deep yet dwelt in the depths, they kept very reliable chronicles, for there was no day or night for them. If they kept no precise records, they would even forget what time it was. But these chronicles were ordered sealed in Enkanomiya by the Great Serpent, never to be retrieved.
The names of the people of Watatsumi were also not written in the Inazuman style then. The names and surnames used today by them came about by order of the Great Serpent, who had them learn the traditions of Narukami.
It is said that when Watatsumi Omikami decided to bring the people of the depths out of the waters, he did this at the instruction of the heavens themselves. For Watatsumi Omikami had once fled into the Dark Sea to avoid the Archon War, committing a grave sin in the process. Thus perhaps it was upon heaven's order that Orobashi went to his death — though this cannot be known for sure.
Unfortunately, the script once used in Enkanomiya is known to few, and the books themselves have been hidden there also. Thus, I fear that the truth of the matter shall never see the light of day.
However, these legends that hint at the "truth" are but unimportant anecdotes compared to the aforementioned ones that imply much about the "consciousness" of the people.

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