Talfaltaner Ethnicity in Known World of the Spellster Universe | World Anvil
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Shared customary codes and values

Talfaltaner women are considered part of the ship they are born on and, given that their ships are effectively floating cities, they're just as precious with men typically speaking piously of their women. Even on the smallest vessels, it is considered the woman's domain to plot a ship’s course. When it comes to the city ships, the council of elders are responsible for steering them to places of good fishing and safe harbour. Of course, it also means that, in times of civil unrest, these women are both targeted and heavily guarded.   Men are considered warriors, defenders and providers. By the time a boy is considered a man, he must have learnt to fish and work in various stations around a ship as well as fight.

Common Dress code

Talfaltaner dress favours simple, practical styles suited for work aboard their colossal sailing ships. Men are likely to be garbed in baggy trousers that fall between the knees and ankle, a style that permits the body to move freely whilst also granting protection from the elements. Shirts and tunics are donned only when the weather is cold enough. Those of higher rank may wear something less practical, but only due to not being expected to work the rigging.   Many women can be seen dressed no differently than the men, including the lack of shirts, the exception being those who are heavily pregnant. These expecting women are typically garbed in a single, loose tunic that falls to the same knee height as many trousers. Children are also dressed in this style, with their clothes often handed around the ship as they grow out of them until the items rot.   Shoes aren't a common sight amongst the Talfaltan people as bare feet grip a ship's deck far better than any footwear. Even those who deal on the docks or are forced to wander the lands eschew even the humblest of shoes, believing soft feet to be a sign of a pampered life and, therefore, a weakness.

Art & Architecture

Weaving is considered a prized skill, not only for its practical uses, but in its intricacy. Sewing is likewise seen as straddling the border of necessity and art, with many sails displaying huge patterns, some of them being passed down along family lines.   Carvings, especially scrimshaw, are more well-known amongst the docks, as the Talfaltan use these trinkets made from tusks and bone to purchase whatever the sea cannot provide. The pictures are often intricate, although it's unknown if they depict accurate portrayals of Talfaltaner life.

Foods & Cuisine

Given that many spend their whole lives, from birth to death, on the open water, Talfaltan cuisine is very much of the sea. In some dishes, the seafood is eaten raw, whilst others are cooked in a milky stock derived from fish bones.

Funerary and Memorial customs

Just as every Talfaltaner is born upon the sea, so too are they given to it upon their death. It's an elaborate ceremony involving the whole crew who wail and pound the decking as the body is paraded around the upper deck before the body is lowered into the water (often, weighted to have them sink). During this time, the elders would whisper the loss to the ship. They believe disposing of the deceased in such a fashion allows the giant sail birds to carry their name across the waves to where the great fleet rides the clouds on the perpetual horizon.   In a pinch, lowering the dead into any water that leads to the ocean is considered suitable.

Common Taboos

One of the most well-known traits of the Talfaltan people is their intense hatred of magic. This is because they believe the use of such power, for whatever purpose, is evil and an affront to the natural order. Spellsters are put to the sword, along with anyone who dares to aid them. Even speaking in favour of either spellster or magic can be enough to warrant execution.


Courtship Ideals

Many ships carry multiple generations, typically running along the matrilineal line as women rarely leave the ship they were born on. As such, it is common for a matched pairing to have come from completely different ships.   With such a heavy emphasis on men providing for not only their families, but the ship as a whole, it's not surprising that their courtship traditions also factor provision as well as a display of bravery and strength. Young men will often hunt sharks by diving into the water with spears. This kill is presented to an intended bride and, if she accepts, will be gifted a necklace bearing a single shark tooth and their courtship will be considered officially begun.   The man will transfer from his home ship to that of his betrothed. He will stay for five months and is expected to work his way around the ship to prove his worth in every sector. After those five months, and providing the council of elders is satisfied with his skill, he will gift his beloved with a five-toothed necklace he crafted from the original shark. From this moment, they are considered a couple and only now may he share her bunk.
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