The First Bix Sticks
I thought I'd dust off this old chestnut, which is from Tales of Ayr, which you can either download for free or preorder on Amazon for its release on August 15th. In part because I just edited book one and remembered how much Luca's bix sticks are mentioned. So I thought I'd share where they came from and why they're important to his people.
Secondly, I've developed my own divination system to go along with bix sticks, and have decided to make my own this weekend. With any luck I'll even do some readings on the ol' Twitter, so look for those if you want a random fellow to tell you your future based upon some sticks he painted to add some flavor to the world he made up. But, considering how Luca maintains they're there just to separate idiots from their money, perhaps it's a good fit after all. But now, without further ado...
(excerpt from Dobra Tales and Lore, collected by David Hooper)
Long ago when glass was still new, Mother Ikus and her daughter, Bix, wandered the land with their two asses. But none would take them in, for tales of Dobradab’s other children spreading misery across the lands preceded them. So kindness eluded them, and hard times came, such that Mother Ikus had to sell her male ass, although Bix loved it dearly.
And with only the female ass to pull them, they made poorer time, which is why they could not cross the desert before them in one night. Without the constellations to guide them during the day, they soon became lost seeking shelter. No shade awaiting them, their water soon ran out, and even the oncoming night brought no relief, for Mother Ikus did not know where they were, so could plot no course to safety.
But Mother Ikus was a kind mother, so her daughter knew nothing of their troubles, instead blithely playing with a set of twigs she gathered by tossing them upon the ground. And because Mother Ikus was a kind mother, she did not want her daughter to suffer the slow death of starvation. So with knife in hand, Mother Ikus addressed the night sky, demanding to know what Sol wanted of her.
To her great astonishment, Sol spoke to Mother Ikus, telling her from the games of children a way would arise. Inspirited by the voice, Mother Ikus snatched up Bix’s sticks and imbued them with Sol’s Breath. And when she gave them back to her daughter to toss upon the ground, they showed her the way forward, and Mother Ikus and Bix arrived at the next town the next day on foot.
With nothing left to their name but Bix’s sticks, Mother Ikus showed the townspeople the nature of her child’s toy. And they saw their true worth and offered Mother Ikus great fortunes if she would but part with them. But Mother Ikus was a wise woman, and so she never parted with Bix’s sticks, instead allowing any who wished to inquire after one question for a price. Thus she soon earned many wagons and many asses and many more suitors as well. And while Mother Ikus brought many to her new wagons, she took no husband, although she allowed her suitors to follow her, for Bix’s sticks said she was to continue traveling to seek her fortune. So they packed up her many wagons, and all followed the path the sticks laid out.
Soon their travels brought them to the other fellow scattered Dobra tribes, and Mother Ikus recognized them all. She recognized as well the envy in their eyes upon seeing her great fortune while theirs had dwindled. But because Mother Ikus was a kind mother, she took pity upon her relatives and taught them how to read Bix’s sticks that they too might have a trade.
And with that, Mother Ikus and her tribe were welcomed back into the Dobra tribes. But because Mother Ikus was a wise woman and never forgot, she never taught the other tribes how to create their own sticks, which she only imparted to Bix, who imparted it to her daughter in turn.
And that is why if you desire to know your future, you should consult Bix’s sticks. But if you wish to know your true future, it best be an Ikus reading them.
Footnote from editor David Hooper:
Beggaring belief, this is one of the few Dobra tales that remains consistent in terms of telling across their numerous tribes. Oftentimes the storyteller will insert their own tribe as the hero and add another as the villain, the tales themselves remaining relatively consistent, whereas the players change. However, in this myth, Ikus are known throughout all the Dobra tribes as the best diviners of Bix sticks. (David Hooper, Tales and Lore, 11)