It is with significant import that we write this missive to you. We Shamans have uncovered some startling information that calls into question the ancestry that we all claim.
As part of our mission, we have sent Shamans out onto the continent, to learn and begin to understand the nature of the beliefs of the multiple cultures and races upon the Continent. One particular pilgrimage took us to the cities of Tar. The people there, called Quill, are roughly the same stature as the Islanders, but with shallower chests and longer arms. They lack our hand webbing and inner eyelid as well. Beyond that, their skin, hair, and eye color are close to ours.
Tar’s religion is remarkably similar to ours. They worship the spirits of nature, and their main spirit Atur is in the form of a tree. This echoes our use of carved trees to represent the spirits of nature. In our discussions with them, we found we had more in common dogmatically than was disparate. They believe the birds carry the spirits of the dead. We shamans venerate the creatures that inhabit our Isle of Birds.
Culturally, our pilgrims found much that was similar as well. Their capital resides amongst a confusing morass of swamp and is difficult to find without guides. Similarly, our capital of Pearl lies hidden amongst the vast waterways of the Grand Banks. Both the Quill and the Islanders have a strong, innate desire for precious stones. We both decorate our bodies- the Quill with paint, we with ink- taken from sources in nature. Our decorations are a part of who we are, strongly represented in both cultures. Even the practice of noting the mother’s family on the right side of the face is the same. Our Council and regent structure is virtually identical to theirs. Our pilgrims found it odd that two cultures with so little contact could be so similar.
We investigated further, as far as we could. The Quill have a greater historical archive than we do. With some negotiation, we were able to learn some of it and examine their cultural relics. We saw some ancient tools that clearly were made from star oyster shells. Yet the Quill had no knowledge of that species- it was not native to their shores. Several items had paint we recognized as the purple you get from our spiny anemone, yet they claimed it was a color lost to them. It was curious.
As we discussed history, the Quill scholars from their Elder Council were saddened we knew so little of our ancestry. Everything beyond roughly 300 years ago is simply gone. Too many storms made paper and vellum records unrecoverable. All we know is contained in the earliest spirit poles upon the Island of Birds. They tell of our first ancestors being led to the island by the spirits of the air, fleeing persecution from the big lands and seeking the safety of the sea. This seemed to excite their scholars.
They brought forth several scrolls which told of a legend. In ancient times, there were two groups of Quill- those of the coast and those of the swamp. They lived in harmony, cooperative but separate. Something came between them, and warfare broke out. Here there are two different accounts. The first says the coastal Quill were wiped out because they were ‘impure’. When we asked them about this, the scholars believed that it meant they were deformed. The Quill culture treats birth defects quite harshly. The second account says that the spirits of their ancestors led the leader of the coastal Quill to a land far away. He returned, and his people left in exodus. It was the opinion of their council that this was merely a way to re-write what was essentially genocide.
Since our initial contact, we have made several other discoveries. Some of the oldest spirit poles in the Islands are made from a kind of wood not found in our lands. We inquired, and the wood is found in Tar. These poles also seem to hold birds, as the spirits of the air, in higher regard than we do now.
While we possess no central piece of evidence that links our Islanders to the Quill, all the evidence points to a close association between our two peoples. It is possible that we are descended from the Quill who left their shores, possibly to settle in the islands. The Elder Council agrees, and their signatures append this missive. Both the Quill Senior Council and the Shamans of the Wild request resources be made available to further investigate, and potentially reunite, our cultures.