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!