1.02 Solstice

Solstice – A time of New Beginnings

Location: The City

In Gythalpi, the lands where Rylan grew up, contracts were traditionally started and terminated on solstices and equinoxes. When a person was indentured as a worker or servant, their contract was written on a clay tablet and the started at sunset on the solstice, and (for a one year term) ended at dawn on the same solstice. The greatest number of these yearly contracts was signed at the summer solstice, when landowners were keen to sign on people to work in the fields to bring in the crops over the summer and do construction and manual labour over the winter. The solstice, therefore, became a time of great celebration – celebrating freedom from obligations. This freedom was symbolized by the throwing of the clay tablets against paving stones or another hard surface somewhere in public: the breaking of the tablet symbolizing the termination of the contract.

In modern times, this tradition continues differently. In the days approaching the solstice, vendors sell soft clay tablets, which are given as gifts to friends and family. These are inscribed with things which people want to gain freedom from like alcohol addiction, STIs, blackmailers, unwanted children, homework, etc. On the day of the solstice, the city or town erects a large stone slab in the centre of the gathering place and people of all ranks and stations come together and side by side smash their tablets against the stone, freeing themselves from their perceived burdens. There ensues a party, in which lots of alcohol is consumed and inhibitions are lowered.

For his part, Rylan has bought a tablet for each of his new friends, and one for himself. He will only etch and bake his on the night before, but he has a pretty good idea of what it will read like. He will be sure to smash it, however, as an unsmashed tablet is the worst possible omen of ill-fortune. Recently one gang in Gythalpi has been sending baked, unsmashed tablets to enemies as an intimidation tactic.

Categories: Storyline, Posts, Posts by Rylan

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