Shadows of Esteren: The Gaes of Tulg
Childhood and Education
You know the saying about “it takes a whole village to raise a child”? Tri-Kazel, at least in the countryside, is very much into that. Although perhaps it would be more accurate to say that “it takes damathairs and the help of the whole village to raise a child”. Children are divided into three broad age categories called “circles”, aged 1-5, 6-10 and 11-15. Each age group is held together while the adults work and instructed in the skills they will need as adults, primarily by the damathairs but also the demorthen and others. The groups are non-gender-segregated and much of the instruction is regarding games of skill, strength and wits as well as knowledge of how to use different tools. Children of the third circle also get taught how to use weapons regardless of gender. People are considered adults at the age of sixteen, whereupon they usually need to serve in a militia, can get married and get themselves apprenticed to different craftsmen or, especially in the cities, guilds. The militia service is no mere formality, either – many of them have to face actual danger during their service and not all of them make it. Dying during this period is especially common for those who get randomly selected for service at inguards, outposts in inhospitable places of particular importance and danger.
Most young adults are free to choose who to marry. Exceptions are most common among houses of wealth and in cities. Tri-Kazelian culture is also surprisingly egalitarian. While some career paths are more standard than others, talented individuals of either gender can ultimately pursue any profession they can prove their worth in. Indeed, while the title “damathair” means “second mother”, there are some males who take up the profession, just as there are female soldiers, demorthen and scholars, for example. The reason for this is ultimately simple: in a world where survival is a struggle, there is little reason to discard talent for the sake of prejudice. On the other hand, it does mean that the secrets of birth control are kept by only damathairs and possibly demorthen, and very rarely administered to women who have given birth to less then four children. Having children is too necessary for survival. In addition, it is still the custom in some places to abandon deformed or otherwise incapable babies to the woods to save the resources of communities.