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"And the sky did fall. And the ground did burn. And there was giga-death. When all has been taken from us do we realise what is important. Our ancestors realised it, and we honour their realisation. In those dark days before the sky cleared those who became the Falket understood that all we have is our word, our vow. The trust that we can co-operate, and that we will relentlessly punish those who break their vow is what defines us, what binds us. Our vow is writ upon our living flesh... Let it be that if we ever break it, our transgression be writ upon the cold of our corpse."
Excerpt from the ritual of initiation, Black Wing Falket Tribe
The Falket tribes, if taken as a single group, are probably the largest culture in the lands. They are far from unified, however, split into separate groups they call 'tribes', who live a wandering hunter-gather lifestyle. This lifestyle has led to them being viewed as savages by many of the more settled cultures, an opinion many of the Falket are happy to allow to continue providing it keeps outsiders away from their interests.
The truth is somewhat more complicated. In the years after the Burn a nomadic lifestyle offered many advantages over settling in one place. The people who became the Falket adapted to this lifestyle well, valuing the freedom and safety the ability to move around gave them, and from there built a culture that puts the interests of the tribe over those of the individual.
Much of the codes of behaviour from which the Falket draw their cultural identity seem to come from a relatively small group of people, soon after the Burn. The Falket refer to these as the Ancestor tribe, but outsiders should be careful of equating this belief with any form of religion, as while the Ancestors are held in great esteem, they are not thought of as Gods or spirits
Falket culture is inexorably linked to the tribe. The worth of an individual is determined on how they can benefit the tribal group, and not anything inherent to the person. This outlook makes them very pragmatic and unsentimental when it comes to making decisions, but has also made the Falket very successful survivors. The Falket are primarily scavengers and warriors, and martial ability is a source of fierce pride with ritualised combat between tribes something of a a custom. Many a bawdy joke is made about the tribes and their constant search for fresh breeding stock. Tales of young women being abducted in the night, or men enticed away from their families are frequent around bars all over the land...
But, as often with the tribes, the truth is far more practical. It approaches taboo for members of the same tribe to have children. The tribes believe this weakens them and the children are born ‘wrong’. As such, the tribes are always looking out for outsiders worthy of joining the tribe, or of providing the next generation at least. Of course it is rare that anyone would meet the tribe’s standards, so the most common pairings are made at the annual quorums - meetings of many tribes in a two week long festival where it is customary for matches to be made and tribesmen and women to join new tribes.
Many who are not of the Falket see a contradiction here; how can one place so much importance in a tribe, and then leave it so easily? The Falket do not see it that way, rather that if any single tribe is to survive it must adapt, and the loyalty to the idea of a tribe is greater than allegiance to any individual one.
The Oath. For a Falket the single most defining aspect of their life is their oaths. In the chaotic time after the Burn, the first Falket faced a dilemma. Their chances of survival as a group increased greatly if they cooperated, but the survival of any individual in the group could be increased if they looked to their own survival at the expense of the others – hoarding food and medicine, for example. The answer was the Oaths.
A Falket Oath is literally more important than life. An Oath can be given for anything, but once given will be followed until its terms are completed, or the individual dies in attempting its completion. Breaking an Oath is a great disgrace, and the only way to remove this disgrace is the suicide of the individual. If they have fallen so far from the principles of the Falket that they cling to life, it is the duty of all Falket to hunt them down and restore their tribe’s honour.
Seers are held in extremely high regard amongst the Falket, as without them a tribe would lose all communication with the rest of the Falket and struggle to find new resources. Tribes are structured around a Seer, who takes the role of advisor to all members of the Tribe.
The emergence of Seer talents is a cause for great celebration, and a Seer who reaches maturity can be expected to form a new tribe at the next quorum or take over from the current Seer if they grow elderly. Falket will protect Seers at all costs, as the survival of the tribe is in jeopardy without them, and they have been known to react poorly to mistreatment of non-Falket Seers.