Squalling Tradition / Ritual in Excilior | World Anvil


Rage against the machine

For some time we struggled to even find a place to live in this humid land. But then the Squalling occurred. And within a few days, there were plenty of abandoned homes to choose from.
Perikleen Scafelis, Nilaslian pilgrim, 3583 AoG
interfolk have dealt, through all of their history, with some of Excilior's most devastating razers. No place on the entire planet is immune to the potential catastrophe that can result from a razer. But the Hinterfolk have possibly endured more wanton destruction at the hand of razers than any other casterway population. They have fostered a quixotic, baffling, and (at times) tragically lethal tradition for dealing with this onslaught of natural disasters. They call this tradition: the Squalling.  
Daring the Razer
When the Hinterfolk become aware of an approaching razer, many of them take to the beaches - or to any convenient landmass that puts them "closer" to the approaching maelstrom. Once they have staked out a favorable position, they then proceed to yell, scream, rant, rage, and generally bluster at the looming razer. The continued display of belligerence isn't merely vocal. They shake their fists. They throw all manner of trash and refuse "at" the storm (which obviously lands 10-15 meters in front of them, often floating in the surf). They frequently revel in dropping their pants and baring their arses as some kind of... challenge(?) to the impending disaster.  
This act of impotent resistance is known for more than just its bellicosity. It also carries on for hours. Depending upon atmospheric conditions, some razers can be identified up to eight hours before they make landfall. And many tales of the Squalling detail dedicated (and staminant) ragers staying true to their task for this entire time span. Indeed, the boisterous protests typically continue up to the point (and even after) the razer has made full landfall.


he Squalling was initiated by the apocryphal figure, Othnal Peyterschwimm, in 2585 AoR. The story goes that Othnal was a saltfoot from the coastal village of Gero. He was apparently very old, incredibly cranky, and a lifelong subscriber to the wondrous powers of mouldmilk. On one fateful evening, he was down at the pit, savoring his ninth or tenth mouldmilk of the night, when word came that the Bells of Norkey were sounding. Sure enough, once the local drunks exited the building, it was clear that a gargantuan razer was looming on the horizon.  
Old Othnal
According to most accepted tellings of the tale, while everyone else started making immediate plans to evacuate as fast as they could, Old Othnal marched right onto the beach and started screaming at the approaching razer. In fact, he didn't simply yell at the storm. He seems to have gone into a full-blown apoplectic fit. He tore his clothes. He shat in the general direction of the razer. He displayed every obscene gesture in his repertoire. And apparently, he kept up this spirited rage for a great many hours.   To the other Hinterfolk who witnessed his tantrum, they were convinced that he'd simply lost whatever remained of his fragile sanity. They laughed - and proceeded to hunker down, or evacuate, before the mighty tempest came upon them. But a funny thing happened...
It's wot the domdest ting. Ol' Othnal stood out thur and gave that ol' razer whut fer. And you know wot? The razer backed down!
Elhainen Shwart, Poglian barkeep, 2585 AoR
Crisis Averted
Nothing. No catastrophe. No destruction. The razer never hit Poglia. It turned completely away, spinning somewhere out in the Aequin Ocean. And when the locals turned back to their normal routines, they came back to the pit, looked out upon the beach, and saw Old Othnal laying in the sand. Dead. There was no evidence as to exactly what had killed him. Maybe it was the sheer exertion. Maybe it was just "his time". Whatever the case, they knew what didn't kill him - the razer.  
A New Legend
Once word began to spread throughout the Hinterlands of Old Othnal's grand (and insane) gesture, he quickly ascended into legend. And that legend soon gave birth to an entire tradition that still continues in the Hinterlands to this day (to some extent). Whenever the Hinterfolk become aware of a razer threatening to slam into their homeland, they march to the beaches (or as close as they can get to the approaching tempest) and they do their best impression of Old Othnal. They shriek and holler - as he did. They shed their (already weather-worn) clothes - as he did. They insult the weather system. They challenge the gods. They bare their arses toward the sky. They basically carry on like idiots.  
It hardly bears mentioning that this ritual's ability to actually avert a razer strike - in any way - is... mythical (at best). There have been a few bored Agnoscio who have actually tried to steady the phenomenon of the Squalling, and to measure any positive impact it has had on the threat of oncoming razers. Not only has the supposed-benefit of this tradition never been quantified, but some of those Agnoscio are known to have perished in the razers that struck during their studies.  
Death Toll
Cognoscenti have pointed out (when they're not chuckling dismissively about the subject), that the Squalling has been a terrible detriment to all Hinterfolk - Poglians, especially. The religious zeal with which Hinterfolk embrace the rite leads many to continue raging clear into the most dangerous periods of the storm. Indeed, there are some who hold out for as long as humanly possible - until the storm has been averted... or until they're dead. And the archives overflow with Hinterfolk who met their demise in the midst of the Squalling. The only cognoscenti who won't dare to reject the prophylactic powers of the Squalling are those who actually live in the Hinterlands.


s the Squalling is a tradition based upon mindless rage (focused on a weather system, no less), there are no formal rules as to how one properly "squalls". But there are several factors that can make the endeavor seem more effective. Being epically inebriated on mouldmilk always seems to be a wise precursor to the Squalling. Those who are less attached to their clothing seem to be doing the Squalling "better". Stamina is critical, but no respectable Hinterfolk would allow themselves to be seen abandoning the effort after minutes - or even, hours. It also helps to have a general disregard for your own personal safety.


If you're not going to be reasonable, we can just get nekkid and scream at each other, like those arse-sticks waiting for the storm on the beach.
Gaia Shuntz, Tollian negotiator, 3284 AoG
espite the Hinterfolks' general reputation as daft and uncivilized, there are many throughout Poglia and Tollia who view the entire practice as ridiculous - and suicidal. These people may still make a token effort - shaking a fist, screaming at the sky, etc. - but it rarely lasts long and it does not impede their critical preparations for the coming storm. Unsurprisingly, the Hinterfolk who forsake the Squalling tend to be wealthier and better educated. They may feel some slight cultural connection to the practice - which has become a full-scale tradition - but they see it as a quaint (and possibly, embarrassing) rite, and they have no intention of allowing it to threaten their own safety.


ince Old Othnal first set the precedent in 2585 AoR, there has always been at least some observance of the ritual for every single razer that has ever hit (or threatened to hit) the Hinterlands since. Most accounts indicate that the practice reached its peak near the end of the Age of Rivals in 3009 PE. Unsurprisingly, this is also the period when the greatest number of deaths were reported from those who participated in (and stubbornly clung to) the Squalling, even as the full force of another epic maelstrom slammed into their homeland. Throughout the Age of Gnosis, there seems to have been a gradual dissipation in Squallers - no doubt driven by the (slow) dawning on the population that the Squalling is an excellent way to increase your chance of dying in the impending razer.  
Nevertheless, Squalling still continues, in some shape or format, to this day. There may no longer be Hinterfolk lined along the beach as far as the eye can see. But every approaching razer in the Hinterlands is still accompanied by some number of crazed rioters, standing near the water's edge, and screaming every insult that comes to mind. Sometimes, those people even live to boast about the experience afterward.
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