Smozh

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Overview

By definition, the word smozh means tailless. Among S'Kra Mur, it is a very grave insult.


What It Means to be Smozh

To understand the gravity of the word, you must first understand the importance of the tail. Much like the ru'at, the tail is a central aspect to all that is S'Kra Mur. This can be seen throughout their culture and beliefs.

Some examples of this:

While the list only contains a few examples, there are many more to be found throughout their culture, and so it should come as no surprise, that to a S'Kra Mur, not having a tail is a sentence worse than death. It is to be without the self or without the very essence that makes them whole. (See statements below.) To a S'Kra Mur, smozh are not people. They are not anything. They cease to exist to society and their names are often purposefully forgotten to history. They are not spoken to nor glanced upon.

Perhaps this can explain why the word itself is considered such a grave and offensive insult among S'Kra Mur.

How does a S'Kra Mur become Smozh?

This is a complex question with a complex answer. To start, there are a number of reasons someone may be rendered smozh, and a variety of people that could potentially declare it, order it, or carry it out.

The reasons we know of are considered to be the most egregious of behaviors among the S'Kra Mur:

  • Kinslaying - Killing family or another S'Kra Mur. This action refers to a permanent death, as those of us among the adventuring class are oft prone to forgetting about.
  • Betraying the ru'at - Perhaps the worst crime to any S'Kra that recognizes the concept of the ru'at -- because there are those unfortunate ones that do not. The tale of the Sons of Hav'roth in The History of Muspar'i is perhaps the most well known story of this.
  • The fine old tradition of assassination is another example. Killing innocents, with or without a specific and valid reason, is the one sure way to be declared smozh.

The type of people that could name someone smozh largely comes down to recognized, reputable leaders such as King Arhhdan of Muspar'i, a Sraan leader, a leader of the Shh'oi Gamant, or even a leader of a Rathan House. This list is far from exhaustive.

Concerning the physical event of a S'Kra Mur ceasing to be, well, a S'Kra Mur, the process itself is not a simple one. In short, simply severing the tail of a S'Kra Mur -- while incredibly painful, shameful, and offensive -- is not enough, nor is verbally calling them the name. Once declared smozh, the S'Kra Mur is put through the ritual of removing the tail in what is referred to as the smozh ceremony.

The ceremony is not only humiliating, but also intensely painful. In this process, the tail is detached as close to the base as possible -- this is enacted by an elder Empath typically, as to cut the tail any closer to its base would result in bleeding death. Once severed, the wound is magically cauterized, preventing it from ever growing back. Without these two steps, the tail, if cropped too long, it will slowly regrow over time, though the S'Kra in question will most likely endure a period of intense mortification until it does.

In other cases, the tail may be cut beyond the titled "smozh barrier". It is said that, as an act of mercy, the tail may be "accidentally" cut too close to the primary arterial node just below the pelvis, allowing the S'Kra an agonizing but honor-saving death. There are certain minor and little spoken rituals involved in the family's treatment of the blood that issues forth in such a death, but these are not documented in detail.

On those rare occasions the process is not performed exactingly, the medical treatment of the dishonored is decisively swift. Those who have earned the title of smozh are not granted the clean death of the ceremonial q'zhalata, but are made to live with all knowing the shame of their tailless lives. Such is considered just among the S'Kra Mur.


GameMaster Statements

Basilisc

Former S'Kra Mur race Champion.
"To clarify, the S'Kra Mur tail is the physical embodiment of the divine spark that all S'Kra have within them. It is essentially the spirit, given flesh. ... The tail is sacred, above anything else. This is why someone being declared Smozh is not simply stating that they're physically deformed, but that they are spiritually dead. They are not shunned, or cursed, or spat upon. They just aren't. They don't exist anymore. Not to the S'Kra Mur."
April 12 2010
The more notable reasons for naming someone Smozh would be things like kin-slaying, which was of course the first reason but it would certainly be possible for a reputable leader to choose his or her own reasons. If King Arhhdan wanted to disgrace someone for defiling his name, he could certainly do that. As could the leader of a Sraan, or even the leader of one of the [S'Kra Mur] Rathan Houses. The important factor however is that it would never be done lightly.
As for the charges of Necromancy specifically, it would fall on whoever authority that particular S'Kra Mur fell under. There is no "S'Kra Mur nation" to which all members of the race belong. If -- and mind you, this is an if; purely hypothetical -- if King Arhhdan came out and proclaimed that all S'Kra Mur Necromancers were seen as Smozh and should be made such on sight, hey that's great. But if you're anything other than a citizen of Muspar'i, his word shouldn't mean diddly squat to you.


Those That No Longer Exist: Known Smozh

GMPCs
Known By Reasoning
Dzree Kinslaying of Sh'kial, Genocide
Dhrakhh Kinslaying of his eldest brother Zaarin
Vhess Unknown
Player Characters
Known By Reasoning
Smozh Kinslaying of his father


Sources

GM Basilisc Post
GM Basilisc Post
History of Muspar'i -- The Sun's Egg
Introduction to S'Kra Anatomy
S'Kra Mur Language
Ways of the S'Kra Mur
Ushaanin's Singularity