Sometimes spelled Rostyaëkía to emphasise the absence of a diphthong.
are excellent models of post-recovery Lilitic thought—they represent the artistic, interpretive attitude towards the universe that the later Lilitai are so famous for embodying, and are heavily influenced by the Lyrisclensian deity-principles Cogita and Chrona
. Less known to outsiders, however, is the very ancient past of the Lilitai, when they were not dragon-women, but mere humans, like many other inhabitants of Thet.
The culture in which Rostyaekía flourished was a very different one from Ksreskézo: intellectual, sophisticated, and highly scientific, religion to its members meant having a fairy-tale for their children and the morally foolish; but their culture, sturdy as it was, could not have been prepared for the genocide they would face at the hands of the primitive biosciences of the Ksreskézaian Empire.
They were called the Rotomem, and after five generations on their colony ship in search of an inhabitable brane, they had entered the Ksreskézaian space through a convoluted filamentous wormhole, hoping that it would put their old worries far behind. At first, an attempt was made to barter with the Oksinení patriarchy for some manner of land or perhaps even a whole world. The Oksete, who had been plugged up behind the Tletkettoyí and Hogedepí domains for centuries, were all too blood-thirsty. After some less-than-honourable offers of pittances of land in exchange for the Rotomem's technology and knowledge of the wormhole system (which they simply could not provide) the Ksreskézaian Empire formally went to war with the outnumbered band of pink-skinned invaders. While they found many technologies of interest aboard the poorly-armed ship, the people themselves were of little interest, and the Ksreskézai imprisoned its thousand-strong crew and passenger manifest with the expectation that the "tratbagete" could be sold as slave labour within the empire.
Popular opinion of the new slaves, however, was that they were undesirable because of their barren appearance, although their awkward bipedal gait was "endearing." At great personal expense, the emperor himself commissioned the greatest alchemists of the Ksreskézaian Home Territory to rectify the problem through thaumatogenetic engineering
, and officially they did so, but in truth this plan was tragically doomed due to the incompatibilities between the metal-rich biochemistry of Ksreskézo and the much more exclusively non-metal biochemistry of the ultimately Terran Rotomemí.
For all their understanding of the universe, the Rotomemí had never encountered anything like the (feeble) Ksreskézaian understanding of magic
. It gave a civilization barely capable of getting off their own rock the ability to command great power in the field and in space. This reduced the Rotomemí to powerlessness, and they were easily herded into the biological study facilities, where three generations of their people lived and died before the Lilitai emerged.
In order to isolate DNA for study, significant cell quantities must be destroyed. In this case, it involved hundreds of the Rotomemí in the first generation being melted slowly over the course of years with trickles of acid and amputations. In addition, the Ksreskézaian alchemists at first eschewed the usage of the powerful genetic engineering consoles aboard the Rotomem
, and instead subjected their victims to heavy metal poisoning in a vain effort to build substantial gene libraries for study.
It was during the evident hopelessness of this torture that the Rotomemí first seriously turned to their gods, including Rostería (IPA: ɹɒstɚi:a
), to protect them from their torment and to help them survive. Many of the Rotomemí in the experiments lost the ability to speak due to injury and malnutrition; these were reduced to writing of their pain and their prayers. The command officers of the ship had been some of the first to die; those who remained had no grasp at all of hope for anything but a miracle.
At some point, the researchers determined they needed more subjects, and so began forcing the surviving prisoners to copulate, harvesting the zygotes and using them in early tests of the revised genome. These took a long time to establish viable cell lines, and by the time the first children were returned, their parents were quite elderly—and the children were no longer fully Rotomemí, bearing many random features and genes from the species that the Oksete had found in the Rotomem
's animal gene database, searching for the 'right effect' for their would-be slave buyers.
The watchful mother was an alien in these children's eyes. The shrines built under the facility, in the abandoned sewers there, carried scorn for this world and everything on it; but the first mutants were not truly extraterrestrial to it any longer. They had not been around to see the idols of Rostería before they were defaced by the frustrated Rotomemí and the spirit-suppressing Oksete. The history was, thus, cold to them.
The third generation, the first Slokdtabasa, were born under similar circumstances, but long after the Rotomemí were dead, and only the intermediate mutants remained as a cultural link. To an extent, they sided with their grandparents, feeling reactive against the "tratbagete" label the second generation used to scorn the first, and re-imagined Rostería as the sad mother, unable to save her children from cultural oblivion. But the temples were few and far between, and eradicated when found by Oksete, until only an oral history of the Slokdtabasa remained as her testament: hence she became both the first and last goddess of the Lilitai.
Still, the memory of Rostería persisted in the tiny cultural record that each successive woman learned from her mother and elders. Throughout their time under the Oksete, they did not forget what had been done to their ancestors or from where they had come; and indeed, when a Slokdtaba was wronged by an Okse, she would curse in Rostyaekía's name, as though to strengthen the mother-goddess's hold over the human spirit.
When the holocaust occurred, however, interest in the Rotomemí fell to an all-time low, as Slokdtabasa went to bed one night and discovered that the society in which they had lived for nearly twenty millennia was no longer, prompting them to appreciate what they had sometimes resented and taken for granted previously, and miss what they believed they had been essential to maintaining. It was not until they left the Ksreskézaian homeworld that the cold lump in their stomachs—that they were not the will of the Ksreskézai and could never replace them—was finally replaced with a more positive outlook. For that, they knew they needed their own identity, and they turned once more to Rostyaekía.
Rostyaekía represents the Lilitic will to exist; she is the sum of everything that is unique to their race and to the force that drives them. She is typically portrayed as an illustration or unpainted statue of a human woman with long, ragged hair, clutching two children close to her robes (tattered) for safety. Her eyes are closed, but tears run down her cheeks, and she is clearly grief-stricken. The children, once portrayed as a mutant boy and Lilitinaní girl, are now usually portrayed as both female. Around Rostyaekía's neck hangs a square on a chain; this represents the last operator's keycard required to launch the Rotomem
, which was passed down several generations before being completely lost.
The powers of Rostyaekía are many, but reclusive; it is said she only grants favours to those who can make her tears stop once enabled by her gifts. With that in mind, there is no need for a standard prayer. Exceptional Lilitai who play a critical role in supporting the species' independence or display remarkable self-determination will be escorted to the afterlife by her instead of Neptarléa
; this is considered a great honour.