Valentine’s Day in the Iz’kal State

Thanks to our “anonymous” friend for this.

No one really remembers how it began. Studies of old transcripts seem to indicate that the sacred day was a vestigial remnant of long lost human culture, forgotten through the ages, and slowly replaced by the now characteristic pragmatism and cynic attitude of battle hardened human nomads. Survival in a brutal universe has taken its toll, and mercenaries have little use for sweet words and lofty ideals.

Small groups of the original earthlings, however, have preserved some of their old traditions (though they do not remember their origins), taking them along to whichever harsh world they attempt to forge a home in. Sometimes, some of these colons would seek refuge and hearth upon one of our worlds, often despite our best efforts to persuade them otherwise.

We, Iz’kal, often regard human with scorn. We think them savages, their traditions primitive and contrary to their own survival. Yet, the tradition of Valentine’s day struck true with many an Iz’kal in the fringe worlds, where contact with human travellers was relatively more frequent than in the capital worlds. Valentine’s day seemed to embody many of our ideals: peace between members of our species, prosperity through union, and simply promoting harmony in our society.

Valentine’s day was quickly appropriated and transformed to cater to our culture, our social norms. Why celebrate the union between a mere two members of a species when we, Iz’kal, have to psychological capacity to bond with so much more than a single fellow Iz’kal? Hence, the custom was adopted on the fringe worlds under the name of Herad’s Advent, after the well known historical figure(1), and celebrated not just the bond between two Iz’kal, but within an entire Majmoa.

It took several cycles for the custom to engrain itself deeply into fringe world Iz’kal culture, but once it took root, it spread like wild fire. Within a few cycles of the first Iz’kal fringe expatriates returning to the capital worlds, respected socialite Majmoas were already placing the custom under the spotlight, not knowing, of course, of its primitive, distasteful human roots. Today, several hundred cycles later, Herad’s Advent is an integral part of our culture, and is celebrated three times per cycle.

For once, it was humans who brought their own peculiar ways to the Iz’kal, rather than the other way around.

Aliyah Saab, iz’kal sociologist

(1) Long ago, Herad united several groups of Iz’kal on the fringe worlds who had disagreed over resource usage. At the time, the Iz’kal empire was not as extended and fringe worlds were largely left to their own devices, making life there considerably more difficult.