cultivated pearls

[SPOILER] PERSONA 5 CONVO : Sojiro Sakura vs. Protagonist

Host of a Talk Show – Because the bus was going the opposite way with passengers on it. And yet it is our public transportation. Us citizens can’t feel safe living like this.

Elderly Male Guest – That’s just terrible.

Elderly Female Guest – I wonder why these terrible things keep happening recently. Didn’t something like this happen a while ago, too?

Master – (Playing word puzzle)The hint to the vertical one is “the kind of shellfish which is cultivated to make pearls”. (sees Pego)…Oh, yeah.. they told me that you’d come today.

Elderly Male Guest – Thank you for your coffee. I’ll put the money on the table then.

Master – Thank you for coming.

Elderly Male Guest – This shop is located in a back alley. So at least we don’t have to worry about getting hit by cars.

Master – Get hit by cars?

Elderly Male Guest – You know, there were lots of strange accidents like vehicles went out of control or something. I’m just hoping that such accidents won’t happen around here.

Master – Well.. I’m not really interested in that kind of things.

Elderly Male Guest – Hahaha. See you next time then.

Master – (Murmurs)Ordered a coffee and sat there for 4 hours huh… so, what are you here for?

I need your assistance
> Where is Mr. Sakura? / Are you Mr.Sakura? 

Master - …Hmm. I am Sojiro Sakura. I’m going to take care of you for a year from now. I was thinking what kind of a bad kid it would be, so it’s you, huh. I don’t know if you heard, but one of my customer is a friend of your parents’… Oh well, come with me.

(They go upstairs to the attic room.)

Sojiro – This is your room. I’ll at least give you a bed sheet. You look like you have something to say, huh?

> This room is really big.
There are so many stuff in here.

Sojiro – Clean the room later by yourself. I will go home after closing the shop. So you’ll be here alone during night time. Don’t get yourself in trouble, otherwise I’ll throw you outta here. Get it? Well then… I heard about what happened to you. As I remember it was something like “You were protecting a woman who’s being harassed by a man and you got that man injured, so he sued you”, huh. Let me tell you something.. he sued you because you shouldn’t even get yourself involved with “adults’ businesses”. And it’s true that you hurt that man, isn’t it?.. Then you got expelled by your local high school because of your criminal record. You were forced to move to another place and transfer to a new school because of the court’s judgement. And your parents agreed… Anyway, so I have to take care of you troublemaker from now on. I won’t tell you anything else. All I can say is that taking care of you is just part of my “business”. Behave yourself during this one year, and you should be able to get rid of this probation.

> …Probation?
For one year…

Sojiro – If you cause any trouble, I’ll send you to a reformatory… Oh, we need to go to “Shujin” tomorrow.

Shujin?
> What are you talking about?

Sojiro – Shujin High School. The one you’ll be transferring to. We have to pay a visit to your teachers, since they don’t get students like you very often. Tsk.. such a waste of my precious Sunday… They delivered your package, I put it over there.

Odd Divination Techniques by the Flights

EARTH - Mudwalking
Mud is prepared from a special, fine dirt and clean water. Several divinating items like runes and stone-wrought symbols are mixed into the mud, along with some of the subject’s small personal effects. The mud is ideally spread into a shallow, wide basin, but spreading it on the ground is suitable if no such thing is available. The subject simply walks through the mud. A diviner will determine meaning from the ceremony based on foot print shapes and which items were tread upon. If an item adheres to the dragon’s foot throughout the walk, the importance of the divined meaning is magnified significantly.

FIRE - Ashwatch
Performed only when divinatory guidance is most crucial, an Ashwatch requires the subject to surrender an item most beloved. To surrender anything less may result in ill omens that give little useful information. The item is burned for a few hours before the real divination begins. Once thoroughly burned, the sacrificed item is left in a place exposed to the elements for seven days. The diviner is tasked with inspecting the item several times a day and noting changes in the item’s form- char patterns on the remnants, crumbled pieces falling off, or if it is nothing more than a pile of ashes, the size and shape of the ash pile. The diviner uses the process of the item’s destruction to determine the ultimate message.

WIND - Ribbonflight
A technique best performed in groups and often set up in times of celebration. Each participate writes their name or an identifying symbol on a very small strip of parchment and ties it to a long ribbon. Ribbons are often colored or styled to match the purpose of the divination- one hoping for insight on their love life would use a red ribbon, one seeking warnings of future dangers would use yellow, etc. Participants gather above the most suitable thicket of bamboo and release the ribbons together. Diviners interpret fortunes based on where the ribbons end up and how they get tangled on things. This task can take hours depending on how far the ribbons flew and how many participants there are. It is considered good fortune to lose your ribbon entirely - it means no fortune is needed, carry on as you were and all will be fine!

WATER - Halved Pearl
Though Water may be the flight most relevant to the topic of divination and oracles, not all of their techniques are exceptional. This technique requires the cultivation of a pearl from any kind of giant shelled mollusk. A piece of the subject, such as a scale or lock of hair, is planted in the mollusk to act as the pearl’s nucleus. The subject must be the one to care for the mollusk over the years it may take to produce a sizable pearl, or the reading will be considered invalid. When ready, the pearl is cut in half and the diviner reads a fortune based on the patterns of the pearl’s interior. It is not at all an efficient technique, but most suitable for divination that examine the subject’s past. Pearlcatchers widely believe it to be a tasteless and offensive ritual.

SHADOW - Shadow Stabbing
Diviners of this technique must also be proficient in higher forms of shadow magic - specifically illusions, occasionally dream walking. Having defensive spells help, for reasons that will become apparent. The diviner surrounds the subject in various kinds of illusions, often styled with layers of symbolism. The first illusion to be confronted by the subject will determine quite a lot about their fortune. The diviner must observe the subject’s response to each illusion while maintaining the spell. This technique was first used to divine weaknesses, fears, and other very dire topics. As such, the illusions involved were often very frightful and the subject would respond with violence towards the source of them. On top of the imagery, this technique is best performed when the subject is not expecting it, to get their raw reactions. As such, surprise divination are the norm. It is not uncommon for pranksters to solicit these divination on behalf of their victim.

ICE - Isolation Drift
Isolation Drifts are more self reflection among the elements than a divination in the traditional sense. The subject is given meager rations and set adrift on a small ice floe, then pushed out into the open sea. This is solely performed in areas where currents will eventually bring the floe back towards the main land, as rescue teams are not sent to retrieve drifters at the end of their isolation. While in isolation, drifters meditate over the topic they seek insight on and focus on any images they see in the icy mists or rimed waters. Drinking the icy sea water was thought to aid in these insights, but less desperate subjects will forgo it. Upon return, the subject is often ill or emaciated. The diviner will nurse them back to health while helping the subject interpret thoughts and visions that appeared during the isolation.

LIGHTNING - Statistics
Among utilitarian clans, divination would often be a subject to be scoffed at at best, disparaged at worst. Those with interest in the topic had to find ways of working their craft in a way that looked and sounded based in data and reason rather than mysticism. Set ups for divination rituals are posed as experiments, often of a social or psychological angle. While no doubt there were a few Lightning “Diviners” who would take a genuine analytical approach to these practices, for many the “statistics” are just a facade. The actual rituals and divinations are fairly simple, along the lines of “So you found the blue rod to be a better conductor? Of the 23% of dragons that thought similarly, did you know that most were also suitable candidates for clan leadership?”

LIGHT - Glass Shattering
A technique developed by an enterprising glazier, Glass Shattering is a very simple technique in which the subject breaks colored sheets of glass in any way they see fit. The diviner interprets a fortune based on shapes of the largest pieces. To encourage fate to smile upon the subject, the subject was to determine a design for a stained glass panel to be crafted from the glass pieces - by the glazier, at a price. Installing the panel in a window and basking under its filtered sunlight was said to bring good fortune. While many write this technique off as touristy, surprisingly few complaints have been lodged against the creator for falsehood or misdirection.

NATURE - Vein Tracing
A simple technique that can be performed without any formal knowledge or training in divination. It is most often used to help the subject make a decision among many possibilities. A leaf is all that is required, though parchment, ink, and an assistant aid the process. Segments of the leaf are designated to specific outcomes or meanings. There is a general meaning for some leaves (The tip of an oak leaf generally implies truth, or the lower left side of a sunflower leaf implies humility, for example,) but a subject (or ideally their assistant) may assign any meaning to any portion of the leaf. Parchment can be used to write these assignments, which helps if the choosing is complex. The subject then traces from the stem of the leaf, following the veins until the edge of the leaf is reached (and thus, reaching the meaning or conclusion of the divination.)

PLAGUE - Vein Tracing
A twin divination technique for sister flights. Vein Tracing functions almost identically but uses a different vector - blood veins, twisting scars, possibly even the gnarling, twisting vines found among the Rotrock Rim. A more dire version of this uses the blood of the subject. When the blood is poured over a special carved slate, the blood forms rivulets that slowly wind to a random segment of the board. Diviners who use their own blood veins often scar or tattoo symbols where the veins fade from visibility. Subjects can simply trace over their veiny body to learn their fortunes. 

ARCANE- Questing
An arcane divination quest is part introspective journey, part interpreted symbolism. The diviner prepares an arcane crystal and sends it off into Starfall Isles, streaking off like a shooting star. The subject is to travel in the direction it fell and find it. The diviner always accompanies them, but does not aid in locating their shard. Along the way, the diviner will provide analysis of any happenings that occur and note any interesting symbolism they discover along the way. The site of the crystal is most rich with symbolism- Upon finding it, the diviner will speak at great length about each little detail of the location and what it means for the subject’s fortune. It is an ill omen for both the subject and the diviner if the crystal is not located. 

Amalgamate Pearl

(Image is not free to use)

Since some people asked, I’ll make a separate post describing this lore concept that was mentioned in my last short story. You can use this concept for your lore if you want though if you reference this heavily, I’d appreciate a link back to this segment.

An Amalgamate Pearl is one large pearl created by a group of pearlcatchers. Upon taking up the duty of building an amalgamate pearl, each pearlcatcher involved ceases cultivating their own pearl and focuses only on working on their collective one. Some, as a show of dedication, leave their pearls somewhere within the space that the amalgamate pearl is kept. (Shown above, these individual pearls were strung on the stand.) Since many pearlcatchers take up this duty at an early age, these abandoned individual pearls are usually quite small.

There are several reasons a group may begin to craft an amalgamate pearl. Some groups do so as an act of communal bonding. Depending on the views of the group, it may be a symbolic gesture of unity or a spiritual one. Some communities who don’t put a great importance on their pearls may do this as a ceremony of surrendering their dependence on them.  If the community does put enormous importance on their pearls (as is common) they may view those who contribute to the amalgamate as either spiritual martyrs or as pariahs. Some leaders of pearlcatcher groups may insist on their followers creating an amalgamate pearl in order to force a connection to the place where the amalgamate is kept, making it difficult for them to separate from the group.

Pearlcatcher spell crafters have found ways to use amalgamate pearls for occult purposes. While for many the pearl is only a non-literal representation of the soul or memories, some mages can make this belief into truth. Amalgamate pearls can then become a physical vessel for the souls and memories of many.

@jasperbuffcheetopuff

The war had been over for a short amount of time.  And although Homeworld was defeated, there were a large number of casualties on the Rebel’s side.  A lot of the success that Homeworld had during the war was due to the work of one particular gem.  

Jasper.

A fierce leader she was.  And a top ranking soldier among the hundreds of Quartz gems cultivated for this very battle.  Doing such a grand job, Yellow Diamond invited Jasper personally to her quarters.  The towering door opened before the orange gem, shutting immediately behind her when she stepped inside.

“Hello, Jasper.”  Spoke the feared ruler.  “I’ve asked you here because I want to give you something.  A personal reward of sorts to show your accomplishments.”  Yellow Diamond flicked her head to the left where two Quartz were standing.  Afterwards the Quartz gems stepped off to opposite sides to reveal a tiny gem between them.

Yellow Diamond began to speak again.  “Unfortunately we’re not having much success in the Pearl Cultivation Kindergarten.  But I would like to offer you a gem that is quite rare, but just as delicate and obedient as the common Pearl.  A Black Star Diopside.  And if she doesn’t work out, feel free to shatter her at any time you please and we’ll get you a replacement.”

“The Seed”

Ran into this theory about who Pearl’s original Diamond ‘owner’ might have been. It was compelling enough to write a blurb about.

“I will never understand your preoccupation with these…weeds, Sister.”

With her gaze respectfully downward, Pearl only saw Pink Diamond’s bare, powerful feet walk airily over the grass without upsetting a single blade. 

“Weed is in the eyes of the beholder, Little Sister.” she stopped to admire a particular growth. “Organic life isn’t dictated by some perfect system. It exists for the sake of existing. Growing, flourishing and constantly changing to ensure it’s own survival.” 

“The randomized chaos of evolution. Primitive and inefficient.” White Diamond scoffed, Pearl silent at Her side.

“And yet…” Pink Diamond retorted. “My little garden here exists in perfect harmony.”

“After your careful cultivation.” 

Pink Diamond sighed. Pearl suspected the Diamonds had had this same debate many, many times over the millennia. Perhaps it even predated the Empire itself.

“As much I cherish your visits, White Diamond,” she said with a colder formality. “I doubt you came here to have one of our little talks.”

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okokokok SU Fan theory analysis time

Peridot: “They’re for standing around, and looking nice, and holding your stuff for you…” 

“Did you teach her to talk like this? She’s a made-to-order servant just like the hundreds of other pearls being flaunted around back on Homeworld…and she looks like a fancy one too” 

“So, who do you belong to anyway?…then what are you for?”

“You’re an accessory, somebodies shiny toy! Where do you get off acting like your own gem? You’re just a pearl!”

“She’s just a common pearl!”

It’s interesting because for the longest time I’ve suspended my disbelief and not questioned who Pearl is, and that is to my common understanding, that a pearl has a dubious position amongst gemstones. Garnet, Quartz, Amethyst even Lapis Lazuli, Jasper, and Peridot are what I would consider conventional gemstones in that they are actual rocks. Pearls are completely organic, similar to bezoars, a product of a living organism’s fluids. They’re not faceted like real gemstones and in fact the most perfect pearls are completely round and smooth and more precious if they are grown in nature. 

Here, we are faced with the reality that space alien Pearls can be cultivated just like we cultivate/farm them on earth. (I had a cultivated pearl necklace myself) And when we talk of pearls, it’s always in the plural, because a pearl is beautiful, but something that’s best in quantity and relatively achievable compared to other gemstones, which are always referred to by name as singular. Even if you were to talk about different quartz types you would have to force it into an unnecessary plural form. You might even think about the most common formation of pearls being a strand (necklace). 

And pearls being so luminous and round, without edges are without any function other than to decorate - just as they are on earth pearls are valued monetarily as forms of decoration. Unlike crystals which might be meditated over, or some believe have spiritual/energetic properties, I’ve never heard of pearls serving a function other than beauty and in fact, often pearls are not even the stars of jewelry. 

They’re plentitude detracts from their preciousness, and we can see from Pearl blushing when Steven hears about hundreds of other Pearls out there, she’s embarrassed, and the thought probably flashes in her mind that her value might be diminished by that tidbit of info being revealed. Of course, she doesn’t have to worry, it’s been thousands of years since she had to contend with being “just another Pearl,” and by the end of the episode she knows that she’s valued by her friends for being an uncommon Pearl.

Another thing that made me think was the common remark. It might have to do with the fact that pearls can be cultured and among gems it takes an outstanding sort of natural pearl to be really precious. I hesitate to classify them as gemstones because they are common and not really mineral. 

Although, Peridot does remark that Pearl is a fancy one. Throughout history, fancy, extraordinary pearls have been prized beyond measure. Recently, if you were to mention the Black Pearl most people would get imagery of ghostly cursed pirates in their heads, but when I was growing up I remember hearing a story about a black pearl that was found by divers, the size of  man’s fist. If I remember correctly it brought ruin to those who sought it and those who owned it.

Did anyone else take notice of Pearl’s flight suit? It hasn’t been around since she tried to build a rocket to space but omg, did you guys see that pink diamond in the center? I bet that’s the flight suit she originally had when they arrived on Earth and the pink diamond is Rose Quartz’ symbol. I bet Rose either had Pearl made (or maybe she’s a natural pearl? if they have those) or gifted to her for her trip to Earth. 

Rose was entrusted with Earth to grow Quartz types like her, to build a quartz army for Homeworld and Pearl was her parting gift (from Yellow Diamond - that’s my headcanon) but once she realised the planet was dying and she was killing the natives she decided to stop because Homeworld had basically given her the planet so she could do what she wanted with it, including spare it. 

Yellow Diamond is feeling betrayed because Rose is a highly trusted “official” they didn’t give just anyone fertile army-growing planets back then! If she won’t use the planet, they’d take it back because Homeworld was already writing checks on the gems they were expecting from Rose.

That’s probably why Peri is inundated with YD’s propaganda about the crystal gems being traitors - they basically were, because a lot was hinging on them doing their job. Earth might have even been the one hope for a new world for the gems - Lapis once said “I never believed in this world,” implying that a great many probably did have hope this world would be good for them. But Rose stopped that, for the good of the natives.

Pearls are definitely status symbols, and who could give/receive a made-to-order fancy pearl that stands out among the “hundreds being flaunted on Homeworld”? 

Even thousands of years later Pearl stands out as fancy compared to the newest Pearls Homeworld has to offer! WHO could afford a Pearl like that?! One of the reasons I think Pearl was gifted by YD to Rose is because I think they were probably good friends (before the betrayal and thousand year war - did anyone else catch that?! YD was so upset about the betrayal they fought for one thousand years!! No wonder Rose’s army was decimated and only the handful of them survived, especially if they weren’t making more soldiers) and Rose doesn’t seem like the type of gem to get a Pearl for herself, she’s the type who would get one given to her by a friend who wants her to be looked after…

Okay, actually I just thought of something. Peri says Pearl is fancy while holding her bow and then Pearl races off and changes her clothes to the flight suit, which I just theorized are the clothes she originally arrived on Earth in, which would make them the common dress of Homeworld Pearls. So, Pearl was feeling self conscious about being called “fancy” and decided to dress down. (aaaugh kewt birb mom!! >.<) 

But other than that, it makes me think about the significance of clothes and uniforms in gem culture. We know the symbols of dress signify allegiances - the diamonds for yellow diamond’s homeworld gems, and the star for the crystal gems - but the crystal gems have also had several wardrobe changes documented throughout the show, usually reflecting something growing or changing in their psyche. 

Garnet’s fusion changed after she shared Ruby and Sapphire with Steven, Pearl’s outfit changed once she poofed in front of Steven for the first time from a silly mistake, and Amethyst’s fusion changed once she accepted her flaws. The gems have been poofing and changing a lot over the years, but homeworld gems seem to value conformity over change and growth. I mean, Peri basically shamed Pearl back into wearing her Homeworld jumpsuit (armor) in order to compete with her (in the workplace).

I think it’s pretty funny/weird/sad too because Pearl, as independant as she is, as much as she’s trying to be her own gem (even though she really is so different from everything that makes the other gems what they are) I’m pretty sure she thinks of Steven as Rose and a little as who she “belongs” to. 

If we remember a while back she had a whole arc where we found out that she was really struggling to be of use to Rose and Rose was really bothered by how suicidal she could be (we saw that when Pearl was training Connie). Pearl just wants to be of service and do things for Rose but, how can she do that when what Rose needed, so soon after she got Pearl (if my headcanon is right), was a warrior, not a froufrou servant?

Pearls are made-to-order they learn and adapt to suite their “masters(?)” So, if Rose needed warriors, if Rose needed to be protected, Pearl decided to be that for her, even if she were to crack or shatter Rose could heal her, and she couldn’t sit back. 

I have a headcanon where Rose becoming Steven was deliberate, so she could help her friends heal in ways she couldn’t when she was Rose. Her becoming Steven let Pearl take care of her in more ways than she ever could when she was Rose. She stopped being the strongest so the others could find their strength and she could show them that it’s okay to be weak and rely on one another. Becoming Steven let her get to better know the parts they kept hidden from her when she was their leader.

Another thing (probably the last) is “did you teach her that?” and “what are you for?” and this kind of goes with the deliberate Steven headcanon. Rose is extremely compassionate and empathetic. She can tell when the gems are unhappy, when they’re struggling. 

Pearl, for all the attention Rose gave her (thousands of years of it), was still insecure, but through teaching Steven to be strong “in the real way” and so many others she grew confident in her own strength. Amethyst harbored guilt over being from the Kindergarten and a bit of a complex about being imperfect/weak and her and Steven can commiserate about having the Earth be their home (in the runaway ep). 

Garnet has probably been closed off and insular for a long time - we see in the series that she really reaches out to Steven, wants to grow closer to him (in the future vision ep), feels comfortable being weak around him (when she comes apart), and enjoys expressing her love for him.

Rose wanted to strengthen and heal her gems and so she was “teaching” them to be strong (so yes, Peri, Steven did teach Pearl that) and as for what Pearl is for…well, she’s her own gem, a servant whose master has “passed on” and has gained her own freedom. In a way, all the gems gained their freedom from whatever residual Homeworld dynamic was at work amongst them when Steven came. Anything they do is because they want to.