Aligare greetingsPosted: March 8, 2013 | |
In any society, real or fictional, the way people greet each other can be very telling. Greeting etiquette is directly linked to other social rules. Which gestures to make, what to say, whether people’s rank or social status have to be addressed.
Aligare society is all about cooperation and mutual gain, and so the social rules are quite relaxed. When meeting a new person, folk assume that the new person is friendly, because why wouldn’t they be? There’s no such thing as class or caste: everyone is born equal and encouraged to make friends. Everyone can freely address everyone else. If a given person doesn’t like meeting strangers, they tend to go live in an isolated place where they won’t need to bump into any.
Greetings are mostly verbal. Just a simple “hello” or “good day” or “welcome”. It’s acceptable to address a complete stranger as “friend” and then ask a favour, like you actually are friends (“Pardon me, friend. Which way to the mage’s home?”).
Aligare society does have a form of handshake, but it’s specific to ferrin. Ferrin are small folk — about the size of an Earth housecat — with a lot of natural predators. They’re more likely to feel nervous in the presence of a big stranger. So when meeting a new ferrin and introducing themselves, aemet and korvi folk traditionally offer their hand. Palm up and held loosely, in an unthreatening way. This is an invitation to sniff the new person and get to know them better, in the same way that we humans introduce ourselves to dogs, cats, and other creatures with a good sense of smell. Even wild ferrin who have never met other peoplekinds will usually figure out the intent of this body language. At this point, the ferrin can actually sniff the offered hand if they want to — if they’re actually feeling uneasy, or if the new person simply smells interesting. The ferrin answers the greeting by grasping the aemet/korvi’s hand in both of their little hands and giving it one light shake.
In Remedy, Rose the aemet has known Breeli the ferrin for years. But in the early story, Rose is so rattled thinking about her mage responsibilities that she forgets herself, and offers her palm to Breeli as though they’re meeting for the first time. Breeli is nice enough not to comment. She just shakes the offered hand. Hey, what are friends for if not putting up with your brain farts?
Korvi have a more generalised physical greeting: they open their wings slightly, fanning out the flight feathers. This can be done for anyone, not just newly-met strangers. It might be a token movement that shows a featherwidth or two — or it might be a three-quarter spread of the wingspan, a dramatic gesture like a spur-of-the-moment performance.
Fanning the wings in greeting is very much optional. Korvi with outgoing personalities tend to do it along with their “hello”, “good day” or “welcome”. If a korvi is extroverted enough to chat up everyone they meet, they’re probably fanning their wings for those same folk. (And if they have any sense in their heads, they tone down the greeting for a nervous-looking ferrin.)
Greetings are appreciated in Aligare society, but like anything, the customs aren’t set in stone. Wild ferrin might not be familiar with town customs. Practical folk might skip the pleasantries and get right to the point. It’s all valid, and it’s all part of daily socialising.
- Barter in Aligare (heidicvlach.wordpress.com)
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- On fitting in (heidicvlach.wordpress.com)