Bosmer or Boiche?
Kvetchman May 19th, 2019 (edited) 113 Never
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- Bosmer or Boiche? – A Look at the Societal Divide in Valenwood
- The Mer of Valenwood go by many names. Some would say that there are as many forms of Bosmeris as there are Bosmer, which would naturally result in there being as many names, but there are a couple that one might catch most often; the Tree-Sap people, the Bosmer and the Boiche. But while it may seem like these names can be used interchargeably, the truth is often much different.
- Few records exist that could properly explain the origin of the Tree-Sap people. The most common theory on their origin is that most commonly espoused by the Mer of Valenwood themselves; namely, that they were materialised from The Ooze by their great protector, Y'ffre. Of course, a great many scholars and Mer in general discredit this legend as nothing but; after all, were it to be the truth, the Bosmer would be no Mer, but rather an entirely separate race.
- The most common theory outside Valenwood is that of the Aldmeri migrations: in an age before time, the original Mer spread across many parts of Tamriel, one of them being Valenwood. While vast parts of the coastline were habitable to the same degree as Summurset, the interior proved much more formidable. The settlers were forced to adapt to Valenwood's hostile environment, accepting the Green Pact and gradually turning to tribal ways.
- During the Ayleid expansion, the latter established many colonies in Valenwood, especially in its northern regions. While many would establish themselves as centers of Daedric worship, others would slowly assimilate into the Bosmer society, accepting the Green pact. In a similar vein, the south of Valenwood would come to be settled by many Altmer of Summurset, who clustered around major cities like Woodhearth, Greenheart, Southpoint and Haven. Disregarding established conventions of their native society, many would come to intermingle with the Bosmer, forming the fabric of urban Bosmer population.
- It is among this urban population that the term Bosmer came to be. Influenced by the Ayleid and Summurset Altmer settlers who came to hold an important position in the Valenwood urban societies and who would commonly intermarry with Bosmer, many among the latter turned to idolising Altmer culture and calling themselves by a more western name. There is a strong current among urban society – obviously strongest among Valenwood Altmer and those closely related to them – which calls the two nations brothers. These Bosmer profited greatly during Dominion times, but their pro-Altmer ideology goes beyond wealth; they are greatly influenced by Summurset culture and traditions, and their tongue is filled with Altmeris loanwords and forms, both elements of what they perceive as belonging to a higher culture. Ironic, considering the very same ideas are common among the Altmer of Summurset; their ideology considers the Bosmer a race of Mer who have degenerated from their once Aldmeri form. Nevertheless, the pragmatical elements of the Altmeri elites have never let these beliefs cloud their judgement, showing no remorse in integrating Valenwood into their Dominion as well as promoting it into its integral province in ages long past.
- All that said, not all Bosmer are supporters of a union with the Altmer, nor do they all have considerable (or any) Altmeri admixture. The majority of urban Bosmer consider the Altmer a positive influence but there are also loyalists who support a promotion of native culture and an independent Valenwood under the native Camoran dynasty, although this latter group is not very strong. After the disasters that piled onto Valenwood in the Third Era, from the Camoran Usurper to the devastating wars against Summurset in the west and Elsweyr in the east, national consciousness is at an all-time low. It is not surprising that there is an ever-growing camp of those who would prefer the return of the Thalmor, if only out of a romantic yearning for a Valenwood free from the rule of Man.
- A completely different world exists outside urban Valenwood. Outside of the cities, authority – both Imperial and that of the native rulers – is weak; all power lies in the hands of the hunters who call the vast forests home – the Boiche. The ancient name for the people of the woods does not hold much symbolic importance among the ones who most commonly use it. For the hunter-gatherer societies that form tribal communities throughout wild Valenwood, the Boiche identity is a fact of life, but nothing more than that. The greater nation has no meaning, only their tribe and clan; the Khajiiti are their enemy, but so is any other intruder.
- The main trait that unites the wild Boiche is their worship of the great poet Y'ffre; they despise the urban Bosmer who they consider traitors for not following the rules of the Green Pact to the same stringent degree. One of the areas where the two cultures clash is the use of wood: the civilised Bosmer consider the use of foreign wood sacrilegious and tribes living near the few land trade routes often engage in raids against trade caravans, murdering the merchants and taking the wood, only to leave it in the wild to be reclaimed by the Green.
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