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Nuparu and the Dakhi-Na Vahki / The Six Commandments of the Law

Posted by Tolkien , in linguistics, Bionicle, Matoran Language, Language and Etymology, Writing?? Nov 12 2014 · 930 views

Nuparu and the Dakhi-Na Vahki / The Six Commandments of the Law

[also there]

The Onu-Matoran engineer-inventor Nuparu is well-known as the creator of the last generation of law-enforcement automatons to be implemented in the city of Metru Nui prior to the Great Cataclysm. This was the culmination of a series of attempts to control crime-rates and unrest spanning the period after the tragic events of the Matoran Civil War.

While it is true that Nuparu was primarily responsible for the conception and mechanical design of these automatons, he also played a role in articulating the socio-political philosophy behind their implementation. In the aftermath of the Civil War, many leaders sought to implement safeguards to prevent any future uprisings in the city—not simply because they desired to control the population, but because they also wished to prevent the reoccurrence of a state of affairs where the bloody intervention of the Makuta once again was threatened.

Various schools of thought arose, all centered around the concept of Vahki – "the Law" – and its application. Accordingly, Nuparu named his creations the Vahki. Furthermore, he consulted the Ko-Matoran Scholar and Historian Ihu about the history of Matoran legal systems. The oldest codified set of laws, said to have been transmitted directly from Mata Nui, was the Dakhi-Na Vahki "Six Commandments of the Law" (dakhi "(a) law, rule, commandment"), which articulated many of the basic principles of Matoran ethics.

vahki |n.| (the) Law; lit. "measurement of limitations" [vahki < vahiki < vdahiki < fata-hiki, from fata "restriction, limitation " and hiki "measurement"]
dakhi |n.| (a) law, rule, commandment; lit. "component of order" [dakhi < dakihi < zdakihi < zata-kihi, from zata "order" (see entry da) and kihi "part, component"]

Each of the six individual laws was eventually characterized by a single lexical compound, which stood as the "name" of the law. Drawing upon this historical material, Nuparu created six variations on the original Vahki-design, each specifically tailored to the enforcement of one of the Dakhi-Na and equipped with corresponding abilities. The laws are as follows:

I - Zadakh: "Thou shalt follow the plan."
zadakh |n.cmpd.| (the) law of schematic [zadakh < zadakhi < za-zatakhi, from za "schematic, structure, plan" and zatakhi "(a) law, rule, commandment" (see entry dakhi)]

II - Bordakh: "Thou shalt not betray life-integrity."
bordakh |n.cmpd.| (the) law against decay/failure/betrayal/disloyalty [bordakh < bordakhi < borzdakhi < bor-zatakhi, from bor "decay, failure; lit. 'opposite of growing/living/remaining'" (< bo-ur) and zatakhi "(a) law, rule, commandment" (see entry dakhi)]

III - Vorzakh: "Thou shalt not obstruct movement/vital-energy."
vorzakh |n.cmpd.| (the) law against obstruction of movement/energy [vorzakh < vorzakhi < vorzdakhi < vor-zatakhi, from vor "obstruction (of movement/energy); lit. 'opposite of movement/transmission'" (< vo-ur) and zatakhi "law, rule, commandment" (see entry dakhi)]

IV - Rorzakh: "Thou shalt not be idle/cease communication."
rorzakh |n.cmpd.| (the) law against idleness/non-communication [rorzakh < rorzakhi < rorzdakhi < ror-zatakhi, from ror "idleness, non-communication; lit. 'opposite of unit/word'" (< ro-ur) and zatakhi "law, rule, commandment" (see entry dakhi)]

V - Keerakh: "Thou shalt not injure/disassemble."
keerakh |n.cmpd.| (the) law against injury/disassembly [keerakh < keerzdakhi < keer-zatakhi, from keer "injury, disassembly; lit. 'opposite of unity-of-parts'" (< kee-ur) and zatakhi "law, rule, commandment" (see entry dakhi)]

VI - Nuurakh: "Thou shalt not forget."
nuurakh |n.cmpd.| (the) law against forgetfulness [nuurakh < nuurzdakhi < nuur-zatakhi, from nuur "forgetfulness; lit. 'opposite of memory'" (< nu-ur) and zatakhi "law, rule, commandment" (see entry dakhi)]

In addition to the choice of name for each Vahki, Nuparu also equipped each Vahki-type with abilities appropriate for the enforcement of the individual laws they represented:

- The Zadakh were equipped with Staffs of Suggestion, allowing them to enforce the commandment that Matoran should follow the plan or programming provided.

- The Bordakh were equipped with Staffs of Loyalty, enforcing the commandment against decay, failure, or betrayal by generating a strong sense of loyalty in the target.

- The Vorzakh were equipped with Staffs of Erasing, which inhibited higher mental function, enforcing the commandment against the obstruction of movement or transmission of energy by causing Matoran-units to revert to base-programming.

- The Rorzakh were equipped with Staffs of Presence, allowing the Vahki to monitor the senses of subversive individuals and enforce the commandment against idleness (not performing a particular labor for some reason) or non-communication (i.e. withholding information).

- The Keerakh were equipped with Staffs of Confusion, allowing them to enforce the commandment against injury (of another unit) or disassembly (of some structure) by disorienting and subduing the offender.

- Lastly, the Nuurakh were equipped with Staffs of Command, allowing them to enforce the commandment against forgetting or abandoning some task or purpose by directly forcing a command-directive upon a target and imposing obedience.

While Nuparu originally intended for the Vahki to represent the Unity of the Law (Vahki Kaita) by working as a whole throughout the city of Metru Nui, they were not implemented as such. Instead, each of the six Vahki-types became separately associated with one Metru and were largely restricted to working within that Metru, subverting Nuparu's original ideal.

Accordingly, as the role of the Vahki became more and more oppressive under the increasingly totalitarian leadership of Turaga Dume, Nuparu came to believe that, in spite of his good intentions for bringing about a final age of peace for his city, he had ultimately failed, and the revelation that Turaga Dume was in fact the Makuta Teridax in disguise only reinforced that belief. Despite the efforts of those who strove to establish the rule of law in Metru Nui, in the end, history repeated itself with the intervention of the Makuta, and the universe suffered the consequences...

Etymological Notes:

Five of the words listed above are derived via a common pattern: stem+ur+zatakhi. After standard processes of phonological reduction have applied – namely -urzata- > -rzada- > -rzda- – this results in a triconsonantal cluster [rzd]. This cluster is further reduced according to the application of three different phonological rules, as follows:

- Rule 1: [rzd] > [rd] / V__
This means that, when the cluster [rzd] is preceded by a short vowel, it reduces to [rd]. This rule applies in the word bordakh (< borzdakhi).

- Rule 2: [rzd] > [rz] / C[+cont]V__
This means that, when the cluster [rzd] is preceded by a short vowel and a consonant which is a continuant, it reduces to [rz] (i.e. instead of [rd], as in Rule 1). This rule applies in the words vorzakh (< vorzdakhi, [v] = continuant consonant) and rorzakh (< rorzdakhi, [r] = continuant consonant).

- Rule 3: [rzd] > [r] / V:__
This means that, when the cluster [rzd] is preceded by a long vowel, it reduces to [r] (most likely with an intermediate stage [rd] or [rz]). This rule applies in the words keerakh (< keerdakhi < keerzdakhi) and nuurakh (< nuurzakhi < nuurzdakhi).

  • 6

Makuta Luroka
Nov 12 2014 02:02 PM

Do you think that perhaps Zadakh is derived as zadakh |n.cmpd.| (the) law of commandment [zadakh<zataki] rather than [zadakh<za-zataki]?

    • 0

That's basically the same etymology, since (I assume) you're taking zataki from zatakhi, which itself becomes dakhi "law, commandment". The reason I added za is that otherwise zatakhi reduces zatakhi > ztakhi > dakhi, leaving us without an initial za-, and it helps to match up with all the other Vahki names. =)

    • 1
Dec 13 2014 09:18 PM

Just happen to stumble upon this after so long... man these are epic... I have just subscribed to your blog. lol

    • 2

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