The roots of the kavkem organisation Shy͡ilun (a strongly abbreviated prenysh (free/unbound) and yilun (future)) lie in the mythology Hes̈i Akynkulla - the belief that the only way the kavkema can possibly claim a niche for themselves is to fight for the planet they've been stranded on.
Some number between every fifth or sixth kavkem can be said to be affiliated with Shy͡ilun, although the density is traditionally considerably greater on Asheenagiji than anywhere else on the planet. That said, after the Tabraan pushback from A Thread Between The Stars, the density on Tabraan began to exceed that in Asheenagiji.
Shy͡ilun is organised into shards (teva), most of which in turn organise into clans (nisija). Each of these units enjoy a strong autonomy, further emphasised by adopting a name of their own. A Thread Between The Stars mentions the shards Jabenash, Haarat, Aman, as well as the clan Makama. The Haarat shard is described as being of the clan Makama, whereas Jabenash is an autonomous shard.
A shard usually consists of a number between fourteen and twenty-three kavkema, filling the following roles (those in bold are exclusive to Shy͡ilun; the others may be found in various other kavkem groupings, although rarely all in one place):
|From haver (leader). This tends to be an operational leader, not a ryrhakenem.
|From manem (guide); a co-Leader. Possibly sometimes a second-in-command, this is more of a backup position. This is usually where a shard will put a ryrhakenem, if they have one.
|From rese͡i (attention), best translated as Watcher. Scouts / Patrols / Guards during sleeping hours. Two are an absolute minimum to allow the Watchers themselves to get sufficient sleep. Four is preferred as it leads to little to no delay in being able to move on.
|From theres (hunt). Hunter-gatherers, who find the food for the shard. They rarely need to hunt alone, but they must be able to and still feed the whole shard, if a mission requires everyone else to focus on their specialisation.
| From jemosh (strike), best translated as Striker. Jemura come in two forms:
An etajemur is a warrior. Etajemura are trained kavkema that are able and willing to engage the Nayabaru to kill. These are usually taken along to missions to trail the group at a distance and actively intervene if a Nayabaru gets too close; the only (sane) kavkema that regularly seek out close combat. While this is a specialisation, like the Hunters, a shard is taught not to rely solely on the Strikers. Everyone must know at least the basics of self-defence and mutual combat assistance.
A shard usually has 2-3 etajumura.
An avinitjemur is a spy, infiltrator or thief. For these kavkema more so even than all others, stealth is paramount (indeed, the term describing their specialisation means 'invisible striker'). Some of them regularly attempt to break into Pens - these are the kavkema that rescued captives first get to see. Unlike Strikers, these kavkema will avoid combat unless they've literally been backed into a corner.
A shard usually has 2-4 avinitjemura.
These specialisations are considered close enough to each other that kavkema with said specialisation may even switch from one to the other between missions.
|From sekis (to create, to make). Engineering. Sub-specialisations can include trap-deconstruction, building temporary shelter, the creation of tool necklaces, the stocking of tool necklaces, the creation of weapons (including explosives), or the engineering of counter-traps. There's usually enough work to do to keep at least three kavkema busy with some engineering specialisation, especially given they additionally need enough knowledge to replace a fallen comrade with a different specialisation.
|From reshas (to speak). Messengers. These mostly consist of kavkema with exceptionally good orientation skills - sent to bring other shards messages. Sometimes shards will exchange Messengers instead of sending one on a round trip.
A clan typically consists of:
|A shard specialised on rescue. Despite the name, this shard is likely to rescue kavkema only rarely; other destructive missions are given to it. Additionally, this role is most likely to cycle on, to avoid putting a particular shard in undue danger.
|A shard specialised on resource acquisition. This can be both thieving from the Nayabaru (and indeed often is) or scattering itself to travel far with reliable frequency, bringing a stream of resources that are plentiful elsewhere to a location with little of it.
|A shard specialised on intelligence. This shard is often the first to be sent to an area and at heightened risk of falling prey to traps. That said,
|A proto-shard, exempt from missions, of only 2 rese͡ita, 2 theroa, 2 sekua, and 2 transient members, often of the other shards in the clan (but also as̈raakava, especially if there are as̈raakav-ryrhakenema in the area). It serves as teachers to kavkema (either young kavkema, recent recruits, or recent rescued kavkema). At any one time, a najituman proto-shard might typically be teaching anywhere between 1 and 5 kavkema.
|From gerenis (to understand). The clan leader. They will usually be travelling with one of the shards, communicating with the others through messengers, but as the tasks of the shards change, the clan leader will typically switch clans to wherever the greatest meta-organisational need is. Despite this formal obligation, in practise gerenua are usually therapists and psychologists first and foremost, as the self-sufficiency of the shards leaves little to be organised between them but for the loose assignments of specialisation already mentioned.
|Literally “guide” (in the spatial sense), best translated as location manager. This is someone who ensures the shards in the clan don't accidentally reuse each others shelters or watering spots in short succession, which would make them more vulnerable. This kavkem tends to collect intelligence data from all shards to advise on which places are strategically best to attack due to Nayabaru focus reportedly being elsewhere.
This means that a clan usually consists of 50-84 members, depending on staffing and on whether one wishes to count transient members and members in-training.
Shy͡ilun shards and clans come and go, but there are permanent fixtures at any one time:
- 3 x Katal-focussed clans (practically never actually in Katal, but highly active around the notorious city)
- 2 x Tain-focussed clans
- 3 x “east” clans
- 3 x “north” clans
- 10 x scattered shards1)
This means that at its absolute minimum, Shy͡ilun has between 690 and 1154 members.
Shy͡ilun are known to give their members psychological training in case they are captured, both to have an emotional fortification against physical and psychological torture, but also to notice when they are being manipulated.
The scenarios Shy͡ilun plays through vary between shards and even within shards, and everyone in Shy͡ilun is encouraged to gather practical experience resisting at least three different techniques for getting information out of them. In the Catalyst chapter of A Thread Between The Stars, the avinitjemur Lesken remembered a basic psychological lesson he'd gotten from his shard haavu, Torai, wherein she used confusion tactics to derail his sense of reality and context.
Shy͡ilun do not ever intentionally and directly physically harm their members. This means members of Shy͡ilun tend to be poorly equipped to handle pain, except in whatever abstract emotional sense they have been taught to handle it.
On a whole, Shy͡ilun is likely a net gain for the kavkema, on two levels - it does achieve goals and it gives the kavkema hope they would otherwise not have.
That said, it is often true that Shy͡ilun missions over time will average to little more than a zero sum game - they tend to lose as many kavkema to the Nayabaru as they manage to free from them. The actual number might be closer to 1.1 kavkema rescued for every 1 kavkem lost, but it's nothing to write home about, and it only takes one bad day to destroy the statistic for one particular shard of unhappy kavkema.
The greater benefit to the Shy͡ilun missions is that they gain more information over time - every kavkem they rescue can tell them more about the current state of the Nayabaru.