I will now speak of the curious Talsivann, and of their festival, Aumara – a very sad festival indeed.
The Talsivann inhabit the northern coasts of Fioria. They are a small race, the men reaching five feet, and skinny, almost emanciated. They do not eat well.
The one thing I had heard of them, when I set out to map Fioria, was languid descriptions of their deep blue skin. Their most remarkable trait, however, isn't the skin, but the eyes.
They are big and round as seastones, and gold, with no iris.
I was crossing the northlands with two friends when a hunting party of theirs found us.
They were short and hunched, dressed in animal hides and boiled leather, looking unfazed by the dreadful cold. They wielded swords and spears.
Thanks to my friend Galdar, who speaks Talsivn, we managed to establish communication. We needed a place to stay.
They seemed apprehensive, but after some discussion agreed to let us stay in their village on account of the extreme cold.
En route to the village they informed us of the aforementioned festival, which would take place at night. When we inquired, they simply called it “A new beginning.
” I found myself intrigued by their evasive answers.
The Talsivann elder welcomed us to his village with great grace. The son of the elder, Alyue, gifted me part of a deer-kill he'd made with his own hands.
Then he excused himself and joined the other youths, who had gathered at the center of the village, talking in lively tones. There was a great jar, and the youths drew lots from it.
Some drew white stones, and others blue. Alyue explained the “white-stones” were “selected” (he didn't say for what).
The youths drawing white stones would start celebrating triumphantly; their parents, however, shared a defeated expression. Alyue drew a white stone.
I glanced at the elder, his father; he looked crushed.
Later that night we all feasted together at the town square. There were some two hundred people, all engaged in fun and frivolity.
We sat by the elder's side and watched in amusement as the children danced and sung. But the elder, along with some of the parents, still seemed rather downcast. I asked him what was wrong.
He looked at me and said: “What else? My child is leaving me.”
He then explained (and Galdar translated) the festival of Aumara. Talsivann villages are never more than two hundred people large, to preserve the balance of the land.
To this end, some of the youths would leave to found another village. For the youths, this meant freedom, adventure and independence. But for the parents?
Alyue made a toast to his father. The father smiled the brightest and warmest smile. The child was thus reassured.
The next morning, the children that had drawn a white stone left, to build their own lives.
The parents stood at the end of town, waving goodbye, waving until the children could no longer be seen.