Taunting the Watchers Tradition / Ritual in Laethelle: the Starlight Age | World Anvil
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Taunting the Watchers

Have you ever spent any time in the Penumbra? I used to go to Dusken Village every year when I was a child, and while there, my village friends and I would play "Taunting the Watchers". We told each other that it was a test of our bravery, but looking back, I don't see how. I mean think about it: even the most distant edge of a Penumbral village is still well within the boundaries of the light; it's not as if the Thramorri were going to push through almost certain death just to snatch up a child standing with her back to the Dark, are they? All we were really doing was running up to the marker at the edge of the village and daring each other to step across. And yet, despite my rationalizations, it was still the most frightening game I have ever played.


Taunting the Watchers goes by many names - as many as there are Penumbral communities - and the origins are just as dispersed. At some point in virtually every Penumbral village, some child or group of children comes up with a similar challenge: to move as far away from the village and the Spirelight as possible. Children have been playing this game for millennia.


The rules are varied, but at its core, Taunting the Watchers is a simple game: establish a boundary line - a village border for example - across which lies the Dark and the Thramorri. Once established, children take turns daring each other to step across it, with the one moving the furthest away for the longest amount of time being declared the winner. Players are considered especially brave if they stand in place with their back to the Dark, effectively "taunting" the Thramorri to come and get them.


There are only two roles to the game: players, and the Judge. The players are the ones crossing the line; the judge is tasked with arbitrating disputes about distance or length of time spent in the Dark. Often the Judge is a player who has in the past won the competition, and they are expected to venture out into the Dark to settle disputes that are too close to call.
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