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Background information

You were all born on the exact same day 18 years ago, in the same township named Colzo. In your village it’s business as usual that all children born in a year share the same birthday, and such a group of children is called a “Dayfamily” and its members are “Daykin” of each other.

Colzo has about 600 inhabitants and is placed in the Beyond. While you’ve seen its immediate surroundings (the two villages up and down the main road, some hills and forests two or three days away), Colzo is pretty much all you know.

As such, you’ve never known anything else than the worship of the Voice of the Kephmiri, an artifact that’s been here since before the town was founded. Each week you and the other villagers go to the House of the Kephmiri and you listen to the voices of the Kephmiri. The thoughts and memoirs of Lukarion and Ingana Kephim give you solace, hope and guidance. Each utterance of the Voice is dutifully recorded by the scholars tending to the Voice and its House. Together they weave a fine tapestry of interlocking tales and advice. First among these, and repeated often, are the Four Virtues:

  • Be decisive in both thought and deed
  • Help those who are weak, poor or defenseless
  • Travel the world and be inquisitive
  • Uphold the value and honour of your companions, your Daykin and yourself

You’ve also known since you’re a child that come your 18th birthday, your dayfamily will depart Colzo and travel to the Five Kephi. These are five important, holy places that the Kephmiri visited, many leagues from Colzo, and you will do likewise. On every Kephi you will activate your Kephilim, a small cypher that will prove irrevocably that you’ve been there.

You have seven years to complete your travels, after which you will come home. If you’re away any longer, you will suffer from an affliction called the Yearning — an affliction both physical and spiritual that will “bring you to ruin” until you reach Colzo, or so the Scholars teach you. Either you return in seven years, or you won’t return at all.

This may sound bleak, but you’ve prepared for this since you could walk. All villagers older than you have completed the voyage, and they’ve trained the dayfamily to be up to this momentous task. Your ‘kin may have differences in opinion and execution, but you know full well that you all pursue the same goal.

Unluckily you will be traveling with a hole in your hearts. The death of Gwenyth, one of your daykin, a little less than two years back still weighs on your mind. You will never forget the deadly confrontation with a Balikna that surprised all of you, and the sudden attack that crushed her spine still haunts your memory. It should have been a joyful ceremony, one of the first expeditions of your Dayfamily in training, and instead you returned to a funeral. Liked or not, she put her mark on your journey that is about to start.

And a great journey it probably will be. The villagers have also told stories about their own wanderings and adventures and if even half of those are true —and why would they not be?— this will surely be the expedition of a lifetime!

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