Once upon a time, I made a doodle in MS Paint.
I’m gonna be honest, I only distantly remember making it, and it did not spark the thoughts I’d hoped it would. But I know a thing or two about serpent culture, and I’ve been wanting to commit this to paper anyways, so let’s muddle through together, shall we? (This is easily the most informal Index I’ve ever done. I’m debating making it a video, or at least making a companion video so you can hear all the subtle (read:nearly non-existent (Wow, this is a lot of parentheticals)) differences in pronunciation between soume, soum, and sume.)
Ok, so first, about this doodle.
A traditional serpent village is set up in sort of a horseshoe around the communal well. As far as I know, the placement of the three main buildings doesn’t actually matter, but somewhere in this horseshoe you’re going to have three, half-sphere buildings, kinda like clay igloos. Each is closed off by a large stone “door”. These circular slabs get stacked up on each other over the central well to make a raised stage for official performances. These are the Three Pillars.
The smallest is the ki’soume, a community oven (think brick ovens or ornos). The il’soum is mid-sized, like one of those stand alone sheds, is the dancers’ respite, just a small, dark space for resting and recovering. Finally, the rei’sume, fairly large, serving as the chief’s house and town hall (called “long house” in my doodle above, but not at all to be mistaken for Native American long houses, as I actually know next to nothing about them. It was a place-holder thought *end PC disclaimer*). Each of these buildings represents a cornerstone of serpent philosophy, the foundations of their way of life. Let’s tackle them one at a time.
- Ki’soume/Kilm Ki’soume means “fire source/center”. Its only functional difference from a kilm, a household oven, is that its significantly larger, and its fire is never allowed to extinguish. All other fires are lit from the one that heats this oven, in fact, even exiles are sent out with a torch from the palace’s ki’soume. Anyone, even a stranger, may ask for bread from the ki’soume, and they will not be turned away.
- Il’soum As you may recognize from Asylum, the il’soum is the dancers’ resting place. Meaning “dark center”, in this instance, il serves more to mean “not Light” than “Dark” proper. It is the balancing point to the li’sume, the dais upon which dancers perform. The li’sume is not a permanent structure, to remind serpents that life, beauty, and joy are transient, and should be enjoyed in the moment. The il’soum, then, serves as monument to both itself and the li’sume, urging that we remember balance, and benefits of quiet, peaceful reflection.
- Rei’sume A rei is a story, but it also means “rule” or “Order”. The rei’sume is the source of civilization in a serpents’ village, serving as record hall, school house, hospital, and courthouse. Like the ki’soume, any may ask for shelter there and will not turned away.
Together, these three places represent the Body, Heart, and Mind. Bread feeds the body, dance and rest feed the heart, and the Law and History of a people feed their minds. No one aspect is greater than the other, and all are needed for a society to thrive. Each time the li’sume dais is erected, it is a powerful symbolic act. Water is life. Stories are life. Dance is life. Bread is life. Each is needed to support our way of life. Each is treasured, and celebrated.
Serpents. So dramatic.