The birthday in Al’terra is not marked in the same way that we would take note of such a thing - with parties and gifts and things - but in a rather more quiet and dignified manner. A typical birthday would involve giving the recipient a cup of tea, formal or informal, and a book. Some books go with certain ages: The Laws and History of Al’terra at age 16, The Gilied at age 20, and Readings of Eastern Shores at age 30.
In this way, birthdays aren’t remarked on nearly as much. after all, why are they so important to us?
There is an Al’terrian calendar in my room and as we are at the beginning of the year, we have reached the first birthday on that calendar - all the escapees are marked on there and major non-escapee characters. Today is the birthday of our beloved Queen Cyrus, whom is intelligent and wise and stunning and a very good Queen to Al’terra for her very short reign. Long live the Queen!
School is back and actually it’s been back for quite a while for me and while I love Al’terra and its people dearly, I have rediscovered my love of text based role play and I’ve decided to take that up for a time. So I don’t become an insomniac - much to your chagrin and mine - I’m going reduce posting frequency to requests and pictures of interest unless I get some written inspiration.
So I’m not going anywhere, just focusing a bit of my energy elsewhere. Feel free to send the characters questions and me questions and funny messages and pictures. I’ll be here!
You can’t take this trope in the literal sense as described by TvTropes. It just doesn’t work, they’re talking specifically about game play. However, it is close enough that we can bring to light some relevant Al’terrian thoughts.
Al’terra has some pretty demonic spiders.
Al’terrian spiders of the most fearsome sort are called Dragga (drajja in Al’terrian) and singularly are tarantulas about the size of the hand with large double wings. They don’t function like normal spiders, rather like hymenoptera (social insects: bees, ants etc) and move in groups and colonies in hive like mentality. When they find prey, they easily over take and devour it, most active at dusk and dawn.
Though there is an antidote, it’s hard to find one for the strength of the venom of the dragga, fatal within minutes. So feared are these creatures, found mainly in woody areas, that they are listed as part of the six curses.
In TCM3, as part of the touching of the curses, we see Rob unable to defend himself and Timethy forced to reverse time to save him. Pretty insane.
Pride (also known as ‘the Pride’ or ‘Prideful’): The socially elite class that remain in the centre of the city, carefully guarded and enclosed. They are allowed to leave the city but most do not. Their city is divided into male and female parts, but the majority of both genders study abstract concepts of life and philosophy called the tincane (scholars). Since knowledge is considered power, they are some of the most powerful people in the world. Formally, when the world fought more wars, they were the adventurers and practical scientists. Another group of people are fighters and adventurers who do the bidding of various councils and orders for battles, diplomatic missions, or shows of power. They used to be leading generals in armies. They are known as Jin-Tï warriors and they physically manipulate the chess board as well use what they do to change other people’s outcomes. Warriors feel the chessboard in them and control the moves by their actions in the physical realm. A third group of people is dedicated to the study and use of magic. They are known as fvïya. They use and gain magic of their own or other use. Part of it includes manipulating the chess board for very different outcomes. They can use their chess board to influence the world around them (super natural). In Tantus, the smartest, most brilliant of all the Pride live and work here. Children of the Pride run wild until the age of five when they enter school to learn all the basic skills. At age 16, they are apprenticed to the role that fits them best. As apprentices, they are not allowed to love and must learn to control their hormones. The Pride controls the common government system.
Privileged: A previously unofficial class of full adults in the outside part of the city with jobs that give them authority or power, such as government officials, wealthy business men, or those in the law. Middle class or Privileged work as high class servants for the Pride.
Commonality: Everyone else is society.
A few notes about how this is relevant to the story. All of the escapees, except for Olivia, are born common. There is minor distinctions within being common which have to do with a bit of your dress and mannerisms, what you’ve read in your life, your hair style, and the length of your name. Kite Durand is a low birth name but she has more reading experience than those of her birth. Nicki ‘Mianna is mildly better, Rob Mentra about on par. Timethy is a Pride name on a common boy (arguable, he’s about half Galeez we think).
But what about out friends who have reason to the rank of Pride? Olivia becomes tincane and a studies tigers for a living. Go figure. Rob? Tincane too, but who knows exactly what he studies? And Timethy, who is Jin-Ti and while we see a bit of skill in his weapon training, we actually get a glimpse into his ability to use chess to change reality. If you don’t remember this, in book 3 while Rob is pretty much dying, he sits down to play chess which ends up reversing time and bringing him the antidote to save Rob, who alone knows what happened. Pretty wickid. Cyrus is raised tincane but I suspect she knows a great many more things. And the Jay, really the only fviya we meet (fviya actually has an i with a double dot but that formatting is hard to find/time consuming so I generally using a normal i) and we know he studies reading and probably things related to sight. But I don’t know. Why don’t you ask the chracters and they’ll tell you about class experience and their Pride work?
Hair. Hhhmmmm. Oh hair.
Traditionally speaking, long hair has always been more socially preferred. Whether this is a thing that’s still current, who can really say: times have changed
Certainly you would find long hair among the priests and priestesses of Nineism, who tend to stick to the old ways anyways. You would find by opposition short hair among the Pride. The common people mix it up.
They aren’t very interesting with their hair styles either: tied back, braided perhaps, pulled up for special occasions. It is imperative that hair can be done themselves. That perhaps has a bit of female bias to it, but men will tie back and braid their hair for occasion to. Or chop it off. That happens.
The fact Kite has longer hair inadvertently signals she is of lower birth and older tradition. It would be odd to point out now that Timethy, prior to the Factories, also had long hair. So did Nicki, so did Jared.
I don’t think hair style is a big issue anymore though and I haven’t seen prejudice against any of the characters for hair style of all things. They don’t really go in and out of fashion either, fortunately.