Please see follow-up post for exposition.
Among Minmatar characters and the players who portray them, many would agree that, of all their traits, few will be as crucial to their relationship to their faction as the Voluval mark. From the scant details in early chronicles like ‘Tattoo’ to sketchy outlines in Source, we know that it can be a defining moment in the lives of many republic-born Minmatar. Some are not considered adults, or even fully Matari, until the ceremony is complete.
In the chronicle ‘Outcasts’, we are told of a little-known settlement for those who Tribal tradition deems abominable. These unlucky individuals include the recipients of some of the Voluval ritual's most reviled outcomes. Yet these unfortunates form only the most miniscule fraction of the wider Minmatar population, and so a vast and varied spectrum of other fates are also possible.
Among these are the lausa
, the dispossessed.
The origin story of this practice is, unsurprisingly, muddied by generations of oral transmission across boundaries of family, clan, and tribe. It is said that it began in the conclusions of funeral rites, when, after the interment, skyburial, or cremation of the body of the decedent, their survivors would be assisted by the shamans in releasing the former’s spirit from any worldly bonds. In this way, the spirit was free to return to the ancestors while the living could move forward without grief.
From this benign beginning, the rite has been adapted to apply in some rather less pleasant circumstances. While those outside the Tribes are loathe to admit it, there are occasions when a family or clan member has conducted themselves so egregiously as to blemish their relations’ reputations. Further still, the Voluval rite itself may betray a young spirit that is inauspicious or unwelcome within the clans. In the most extreme cases, the rite can be used to sever any familial ties to the offender, rendering the blame to the spirit of the individual and saving face for their now-former blood kin, both materially and in the view of the ancestors. While the ceremonies vary, and can be performed in absentia, it is typical for the individual to be summoned before the family's elders and shamans for the particulars to be administered. These may range from protracted formal orations, to entreaties and offerings to the ancestors, to ritual mutilations, depending upon tradition. Regardless, at the conclusion, the offender is called lausa
before the elders: they are forever a stranger to their clan and family.
It is said that in the distant past this would likely be a death sentence, as lausa
would be unlikely to find a new home among self-respecting clans. In truth, while some of these dispossessed succumbed to hunger in destitution, most simply fell in with the less savory elements of society, leading to brief but exciting lives on the periphery of Minmatar space. More recently, due in no small part to the advent of the Republic, bureaucratic safeguards have been enacted for handling the most basic welfare of these persons. Notably, organizations such as Urban Management established programs for the placement of young people with foster clans whose elders would overlook a potential wrinkle in reputation in exchange for material compensation. Shamans may sometimes petition for a special status not unlike vassalage, depending on the interests and temperament of the clan in question. In such cases, the clans may grant lausa
the right to bear the clan name as an adjunct, noting through appellatives that these persons were 'found discarded’.
Ultimately, the arrangements benefit lausa
less than their adopters. Their successes will belong to the clan, but their failures are their own.