The Dullo people is the most dispersed and oldest cultural group of the Kałceba. Although they have spread throughout the two main continents of Phasmatum, the Dullo people have a very nationalist culture. Most of them will reject other sapiant being's cultures, norms, and traditions. The Dullo people can be best explained as a loose coalition of commune settlements, each with their own religious leaders, administration, and guilds. There is no over-arching government which controls them; rather, each commune operates independently, connected primarily through one another by the young adults who travel to various settlements during their exploration period.  


  Gathering Period   From birth until six years of age, Dullo are taken care of by gatherers. That is, those who gather the children together to care for them. Children live in group homes where they are separated into smaller cohorts of 5-10 with children who were born during the same year. Gatherers help facilitate feeding, care, stories, and playtime with the children. Beyond physical care, they help instill a sense of compassion, wonder, and creative investigation into the children. Children are taught the value of sharing all that they have and collecting special trinkets for admiration. The most special of trinkets should reflect something about their individuality.   Guidance   From six years of age until 15, Dullo move into the homes of adults in their community. Once a year, Dullo hold a ceremony where the children coming into guidance are able to choose an adult to live with. Most adults open their homes to the children, so long as they are not already raising three. Once in the home, the children begin to learn from their guides -- about the work they do, the privileges of civic engagement, general history, personal stories and lessons learned, and practical knowledge about how to care for oneself. Students will also attend informal lessons with teachers to learn reading and math. Although children always have a home to sleep, it is expected that all community members contribute to raising all children and the children are allowed to explore anywhere within the confines of the community.   Exploration   From around 15-16, Dullo people enter into the exploration period. During this time, they will travel the world, going to different Dullo communities to meet new people. Dullo explorers are given home-going funds to help start their trip. However, they are expected to learn how to earn money along the way. Though every Dullo community will welcome an explorer without question, it is customary to bring gifts when you enter the town.   Many Dullo choose to spend time in human or other land-dweller communities to discover new things, make money, pursue a higher education, or perhaps try on some professions. It’s not uncommon to find Dullo spies, pirates, performers, or artisans. Though few take their profession seriously or stay at one job for long.   This exploration time can last for a few years or for decades; depending on the explorer in question. Although Dullo adolescents are discouraged from leaving the exploration time before 22. Partly to ensure that explorers have had sufficient time to see and understand the world. Partly because communities encourage explorers to mate, preferably with other Dullo explorers, though this is not required.   Pregnancies last for nine months. During the final months bearer Dullo go to the nearest sister community in order to be pampered and to give birth. The community where they give birth is the community where the child will stay. Some bearers may want to stay for the first few months of birth to breastfeed. Those that do will also feed any other babies in the community as to discourage unhealthy attachment. After leaving, the bearer will continue their exploration. At any time, an explorer can make the choice to change between sire and bearer — taking a respite at a sister community to do so if they are far from their original home. Some prefer to stay as a bearer or sire. Others like to experience both roles, believing this is the only way to discover every experience in life.   Unification   The Unification stage is the final stage of life. Often happening when an explorer is at least 22, usually not beginning until they are in their thirties, occasionally there are those that won’t return until they are in their fifties or beyond. During the unification stage, the Dullo will choose a sister community they want to call home.   Once this choice is made, the explorer will move from adolescence into adulthood. While there are no social mores restricting relationships, Dullo persons in their unification stage will take a third plant which lowers hormone production enough so that they are no longer able to bear or sire children. However, this will be the time when they begin to raise children. As it is customary to have between one and three children in your household at a time, during their guidance stage.   According to the knowledge, skills, and talents they discovered during the exploration days, Kałceba in the unification will apply to join a guild in a chosen category to begin their career path.   Common guilds include:  
  • Gatherers: Those that help raise toddlers and babies
  • Providers: Those that catch fish and raise alge and other plant-life for sustenance
  • Singers: Those that tell Kałceba history, myths, and religion through song. They are in charge of ensuring traditions pass between the generations and lead celebrations and rituals.
  • Healers: Those that take care of the pregnant and the sick; they are also in giving the three plants of bearer, sire, and raiser
  • Teachers: Those that teach reading, writing, math, and other subjects
  • Artisans: Those that create beautiful objects and tools for their community and to sell to other communities
  • Merchants: Those who travel to nearby communties to buy or sell things for community use
  • Administrators: Those that ensure the town is running smoothly. Leadership and judgeship positions for administrators are done through election.
  • Watchers: Those that to keep those in the community safe
  • Entertainers: Those that open bars or restaurants to provide performances to the community. When other members are performing, they will also sell food and drinks to attendees
  • Keepers: Those that open stores to facilitate trade or purchases between other community members
  • Constructors: Those that build and maintain homes, help facilitate other construction needs, and ensure cleanness and sanitation of the city is kept.
  There is no retirement age for Dullo people. However, when there are too many workers, not enough jobs for new Unifiers, or they are just tired, they can retire. At this time, they are able to apply for retirement funding from their guild, which came from paid dues. After retirement, some Dullo people may take up travel again. However they must be residing in their home community in order to draw any retirement funding. When traveling, they are expected to make their own money or use funds they previously saved.    
Some Dullo people reject the traditions of their home people in favor for human traditions. Those that do may choose to settle in a human community, marry, and raise a family. Others may decide to join the Llellâ community. This is not something forbidden for the Dullo, nor are those who do so banned from returning to the Dullo community. However, these people are not considered full Dullo citizens and are still referred to as adolescents even in their older years. For the them, a person like this just hasn’t finished their exploration stage . . . one day, they will return to a community and unify.
  It is common for those in their Exploration stage to pair off or join groups of bearers and sires. Some of these relationships last a short time, while others choose to stay in the same pairing or group even after the Unification stage. There are no marriage ceremonies native to the Dullo people, but some individuals may choose to get married during their exploration and join the Unification community as a married couple. Dullo communities do not recognize this as legal marriage. At best, they would call them an open relationship. However, there is an understanding that these partnerships or groups consider themselves to be a family and any children which choose one of the people as a guide is, in fact, choosing the all of them. It is rare to meet a completely monogamous Dullo person who chose Unification.  

Religion and Values

The First Story   The stories of the Dullo are endless and when visiting different communities one may hear songs of different stories, even variant compositions of those stories most loved. However, one story is a staple of every community. That is the treasure of the first Vitrine. Hidden somewhere in the world is the first Vitrine which holds the first story ever told. The one who gave each the Watermark left that story behind so that they would never be forgotten. However, since the Vitrine was lost, the story was forgotten. And the only way to bring their creator back to life is to find the vitrine and remember.   Singers   Singers are considered to be the most valued members in communities. They are tasked with memorizing and singing the history and myths of the Kałceba people. In addition to this, they compose new songs about inspiring stories from local and international Kałceba people. Many people who begin their Unification period may apprentice under a Singer; however, few are chosen to join their ranks. In addition to having an awe-inducing voice and innate talent at composing, Singers must be able to listen to and discern the stories that will best speak to the Kałceba condition. Each week, Dullo community members gather to hear old, loved songs as well as new, inspiring songs. Singers are also in charge of leading traditional rituals and celebrations. Singers are not considered performers but religious mouthpieces and few would share their songs outside the boundaries of their community.   Death and Eternal Life   Dullo regard time through ever-evolving past stories which help to inform and inspire the people of now. When telling a story, the past becomes the present. And when living a story, the present becomes the future. Dullo people do not view the afterlife in terms of a place. Rather, they believe that life after death only occurs through the stories that people tell. When people share stories or Singers compose and lead songs about an individual, that individual is re-living that moment—along with everybody else who is listening—and during that moment, they are alive once more. This is why it is important for the Kałceba to live a life worth telling stories about, because that is the only way to live beyond the physical plane. When nearing death, Dullo citizens will often give away treasures representing their most prized stories to those that they trust. In giving these away, they are ensuring that even if their stories were not composed by a Singer, they will continue to live through the stories told by their loved ones.  
Vitrine   The Vitrine is a display case that acts more like a personal altar for Dullo people. From a young age, they are taught to collect things that remind them of their lives and display those items. Vitrine are first showcased when Dullo reach unity. However, before that time, they collect treasures and items which they always carry with them. The top two shelves display treasures that reflect stories in their own life. The bottom shelf displays treasures that were entrusted to them by people who they are close to. A Dullo person will be able to share a story for each item that is on display.   Individuality and Community   Beyond the shared privilege of storytelling, the qualities most valued by the Dullo are individuality, exploration, and community. Individuality is self-discovery of the person you most want to be, making your own choices and forging your own path, and living that life to the fullest extent. Stories shared is ones life-force and each story is unique. Exploration is discovering the world and all it has to offer, but also what are the ways that you can put your individual mark on the world. Adventures had are stories shared and stories shared means eternal life. Community is the privilege each person has to be raised by the Dullo and to contribute to the Dullo. Compassion towards both residents and explorers are key. Kind acts lead to your name in other stories. And the more stories you reside inside, the longer you live.   Possession and Privacy   Jealousy is considered untoward in Dullo culture. Sharing resources is done without even asking permission. The one exception to this is an individual’s vitrine: each person has a vitrine, which showcases their favorite artifacts and treasures that they discovered in their lives. Each one has a story and Dullo are fond of telling others the story of an item when asked. The vitrine would be the nearest thing to a personal alter for the Dullo and are placed prominently in homes.   Front doors are not locked and children and adults will enter homes after calling out their name once. If they receive no response after a few seconds, then visitors assume they are not interrupting something important and walk inside. Every home has at least three bedrooms: two bedrooms which lock: for adults and those in exploration. One bedroom which does not lock: for children. It is expected that behind any locked door romantic relationships are afoot. Any public display of expression is frowned upon but public displays of good-natured ribbing about it is common and encouraged.
Compare and Contrast: Dullo and Llellâ   The Llellâ cultural group shares many of the same cultural traditions as the Dullo people. However, what sets them apart is their love of another species or their love of the outside world. This has is resulted in the Llellâ democratic country, a place where any outsider Dullo may migrate to. Although many Llellâ people still encourage their young to travel, they are less likely to place children born in gathering homes. Rather, the grandparents (one, two, or many) will raise the children and once their child decides to Unify, they will all live together in multi-generational homes. The Llellâ still follow the Storytelling traditions, including the First Story, Singers, and Vitrine. However, the influence of other cultures has caused them to enjoy their privacy much more than the Dullo.

Justice System

  Systems of justice vary across Dullo communities. However, most use one or all of the following methods to deter crime. As a general practice, administrators who act as judges will privately decide an individual’s guilt or innocence. However, if deemed guilty, there will be a public forum to determine punishment. During this forum, any individuals who were harmed by the guilt are able to tell their story.   Service   For minor crimes, such as defacement of buildings or stealing from shops, community service is often required. If the harmed individual wishes it, the perpetrator must provide community service for them with the goal of increasing empathy and shared understanding towards the harmed.   Silence   For repeat offenders of minor crimes or crimes such as fraud or physical altercations without weapons, perpetrators must endure silence of the community. Nobody within the community will speak with the perpetrator and no store owner will sell to the perpetrator. It is expected that they will fish or forage for all their necessary food. If in a household with others, any adults may buy food for themselves or children but are expected not to share. If the perpetrator is guiding children alone, they must be sent to live with another household until the period of silence is over. The perpetrator is not able to live the community during a period of silence. If they do, the period of silence will repeat from the beginning once they return. The perpetrator is suspended from their job during the period of silence; however, once silence is over, they are able to return to their job so long as their crime did not directly effect the work that they do. A period of silence varies depending on the severity of crime. It is typically no shorter than three days and no longer than three months.   Imprisonment and Removal of Position   For repeat offenders of premeditated crimes or crimes involving physical alterations with weapons, perpetrators are imprisoned. The length of the imprisonment may vary. However, those who are imprisoned lose their job. During their imprisonment, they will undergo intensive rehabilitation counseling. Additionally, upon release, they will be expected to tell the story of their crimes and how they will strive to do better in the future. Once released, they are offered a probationary job appointment. Once the probationary period is over, they are able to continue the position they have . . . and move up to greater responsibilities . . . or change to a different career choice. However, it is understood that they will have to return to the lower rankings of the career position and work their way back up to their previous role. Some guilds, such as gather or teacher, may be barred from them depending on the nature of the crime. Additionally, if they were guiding children, they will often be permanently relocated if the crime was of a serious nature.   Taking of a Story and Imprisonment   Although some communities choose to take a story for offenders the first time they are imprisoned, most communities will only take a story if a perpetrator is eligible for repeat imprisonment. All punishments above still apply. In addition to this, a perpetrator must give up one item in their vitrine. And when giving up this item, they are no longer allowed to speak the story that accompanies it again.   Banishment and Erasure of Name   For those who have been imprisoned multiple times or those who committed the most serious of crimes such as: murder, rape, and intentional violence against children. This is the most serious consequence a perpetrator can face. On the palm of their right hand, they receive a brand which cannot be hidden and cannot be removed. It indicates that they are banished not only from their community, but any Kałeba settlement in the world. In addition to this, their vitrine is taken and destroyed and their name is erased from every past and future story ever told. Since the Dullo believe that the spirit lives on through stories shared, it effectively banishes the perpetrator from their current life and the next.
This piece is a work in progress as I better expand on the native species and cultures of Phasmatum. Please let me know if this information is clear for you and what you wished you could learn more about.

Cover image: by Linde Lanjouw


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