Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Marked: Rites of Passage
Frack, another entryway with one of those archaic scanners! Matron Sitaa had told us about those. She said in the old world, commoners and servants used discs called badges. These badges were swiped over mounted readers, identifying your name, work station and tribe. In the old world, commoners and servants were tethered this way. They needed permission to do even the most basic things like entering public spaces. Council members and sages didn’t have any restrictions. They didn’t need a badge.
We still have a caste system though we tell ourselves it's evolved. Upper society children are marked as distinguished members of society during their rite of passage, Dao. For girls, their lineage is painted on their hands, the elaborate script imprinted with the juice from the sutra plant. The stain permanently darkens a girl's hands and depending on her family’s wealth, the best calligrapher’s script is coveted art. Boys, drones whose primary function is to reproduce and raise children, are snipped cruelly: a reminder of their purpose and status. In my own tribe, our hands aren’t painted. Instead at our coming of age ceremony, a chee-chee tree is etched just above our left heel. It’s quite beautiful. It’s also a liability if seen by a rival tribe.
What the frill! Why did Matron send me out here?