An Okotan’s Life
Written by the Almata
An Okotan is a very interesting being in of themself. They have a mechanical skeleton, an organic body and innards, and metal skin, along with a mask. Knowing exactly when the dawning of a Pre-Cataclysm Okotan was is near impossible, unfortunately. The Cataclysm not only left next to nothing in terms of written documents, but also blurred the memories of every Okotan on the island. Okotans don’t remember their history, but luckily, they have whatever bits and pieces the spirits of Anali reveal to us. As it is the duty of the Almata to communicate with these spirits and say what they say to the Okotans, these writings transpire to inform how an Okotan lifespan works.
By now, the dawning is a well-known stage. Since the Cataclysm, these dark times have forced us to perform this ritual in order to make up for lost Okotans and defend the island.
Like the emergence of our civilization, a dawning starts with a mask. The mask is new and clean of any life essence. It should be ready to make sure the Okotan does not perish by the island’s abundance of energy. This mask will be the new Okotan’s mask for life, for if removed, the Okotan will be weakened and soon collapse, their body unable to function anymore. The mask will become an extension of the Okotan’s life signature.
A dawning requires materials as well. Steelwood is required for the metal parts of the Okotan’s body. An average Okotan would take around a cubic bio of steelwood chips, however, this amount is not set. Tree fibers, clay, and other natural materials around the same amount are also used to make most of the body. The most important part of the dawning is the heartstone. These heartstones are found on top of Okoto’s mountain and are believed to give the new Okotan their soul. The Okotan’s personality and life signature are carried by the heartstone. These stones are believed to have been formed when the mountain was an active volcano. As of now, there seems to be no end to the amount of heartstones.
Dawnings usually occur inside the island’s mountain, in a specific chamber made for the Okotan. The chamber can be in a part of the mountain that faces a certain region. The chamber has a unique design on the floor where the materials are laid and a sculpture on the wall where the mask is stored. Two adepts are required for a dawning, sculpting and putting together the materials to make the body. As soon as the body is made, the mask is quickly put on the new Okotan’s face. The Almata of the region then releases the life energy from the heartstone, giving the Okotan life. The Okotan then searches within itself and speaks its name. The naming concludes the dawning, recognizing the Okotan as a new, fully-formed being.
Stage of Mimicry
The Okotan’s first stage is mimicry. This stage is the one nearly all Pre-Cataclysm Okotans forget, for their dawnings were long forgotten. However, mimicry is the most important stage, especially in these dark times where dawnings are more common than ever. In this stage, the new Okotan relies on the adepts who sculpted them. These adepts become guides to the Okotan. Much like the beginning of our tribes, who observed how the Naki act, the Okotan observes their guides and tries to live like they do. In this stage, the Okotan learns, and soon experiments different living styles on their own. The amount of time the Okotan starts to grow out of mimicry varies, but it doesn’t take long for an Okotan to move on.
Stage of Discovery
When an Okotan starts to experiment and mold their own lifestyle, their guides no longer need to look after them and hold no power over the Okotan anymore, making them the same status. The Okotan begins to find their purpose, their duty. They figure out how to gain energy, for instance, certain types of fruit and Naki they either prefer or know is available most of the time. An Okotan also learns how they want to contribute to the island. They find their duty by identifying what they’re proficient at and what they like to do.
Stage of Isolation
This stage is when the Okotan learns to live on their own. The Okotan learns how to survive, gather, and provide for itself, relying on nothing but their knowledge, instincts, and the island. Although it’s not an established rule, an Okotan usually stays in their home region, fearing crossing into an unfamiliar region may be detrimental to their health and well-being. The Okotan usually returns after they find something of value or start contributing to villages other than its own. This stage is more of a cultural rite than an actual stage of life, however, it marks that an Okotan is truly independent and can survive on their own.
Stage of Duty
An Okotan spends their life doing their duty, whatever it may be. This is a recurring stage, a stage many living Okotans are currently in. As such, it is a broad stage that can apply to a variety of occupations that exist on the island.
The passing of an Okotan is when an Okotan’s body can no longer function, be it from outside forces or naturally. If found mostly intact, the Okotan’s body can be modified and reused. The Okotan’s heartstone, however, ceases to glow and the Okotan’s soul moves on. It is believed that the soul travels to Anali, the realm of spirits, where the soul rests until they return to their body again.
While the Okotan’s soul is in Anali, its body is being rebuilt into a repaired or improved version. The body is returned to the Okotan’s original chamber from which it was dawned where the soul is called back. The soul leaves Anali, follows their life signature like a beacon, reoccupies the body, and the Okotan returns to its duty. On some occasions, an Okotan’s mask is broken beyond repair and can’t be used for the rebuilding. In this case, whatever life energy is left in the mask is transferred by the Almata of the Okotan’s home region into a new mask. The soul once again has a life signature to follow.
Some aspects of an Okotan’s existence were omitted to shorten these writings, and would be more appropriately written in a separate text. These aspects are mostly spiritual and would feel more fitting in texts involving Okotan spirits instead of an Okotan’s lifespan and stages.