Slow to violence, absolute in its use
Languages: Tollam / Vort
Government: Tribal Council
Ruler: Scepters or Triarchs of the Triarchy
Example Names: Ez-Jaga War-rider of the Redsteel, Takan Honey-tongue of the Meadmongers, Hara Far-shot of the Sandstriders
Tollam names are typically constructed ‘[Given] – [Deed] – [Cadre]’
This page outlines the Tollam culture. Click here for information on the Quasi-human species that populates this culture.
- Advanced Callings
- Social Structure
- Customs and Culture
- Attitudes Towards Other Sapients
- Gender and Sexuality
- Tollam Values
- Tollam Terms
- Trade Goods
- Pale/Moon Tollam
The history of the Tollam is a contested and poorly documented subject. Many Tollam adhere to a belief that they were created by Oto the Warrior Ayr, as the epitome of martial prowess. This simple myth underlies much of the Tollam culture, forming the foundation of the Tollam religious philosophy of Kreegus. This contrasts with the lorekeepers of Selene claims that the Tollam were created by the Sige of the Urul empire; that the giants were humans ‘engineered’ into soldiers using ancient technology and crafted to fight in both earlier conflicts and the cataclysm that ultimately ended the Urul themselves. The truth is unclear and few feel compelled to argue the point with the Tollam themselves. Whatever the origin, both Tollam oral traditions and the fragmented texts that are available confirm the giants presence in the Tollar mountain range since at least the second era, nearly three millennium ago, and their ongoing dominion there for nearly as long.
Skald: Solitary travelling warrior poets, lorekeepers, and arbiters with powers said to derive from the union of the Warrior and the Scholar. Chroniclers of great and terrible deeds with the gift of imbuing people with the powerful weight of their deeds.
Kleaver: Terrifying vanguard warriors with incredible resilience and martial prowess known for their brutal weaponry. Front line shock troopers and living armour with frighteningly resilient biology, psychology, and gear.
A tribal society of devoted quasi-human warriors ruled by three rulers known as Scepters, one from each of the tribes. The Tollam need not concern themselves with agriculture due to a first-age artifact called the Fostrian which allows them to generate a seemingly endless supply of extremely nourishing food. This leaves the Tollam ample time to pursue their favoured pursuits; sport, warfare, and venturing the heights and depths of the great mountain ranges.
Tollam society is embodied in three institutions: Tribe, Clan, and Cadre. The interplay of these institutions, their role in Tollam society, and the loyalties of its people, can be difficult for an outsider to determine but can be roughly described as follows.
There are three Tribes of Tollam; Regn (Rain), Sant (Sand), and Barg (Mountain) and each one represents an ancestral connection to a geographic region of the Tollam territory. Tollam do not choose their tribe, it is a hereditary maternal trait and each territory is dominated by members of that tribe.
- Regn: The Rain Tribe rules over the southwestern reach of Tollam, from Algenrodt to Lutzerath and out to the island of Samow. Regn tribals are known to be skilled sailors, prodigious drinkers, and volatile opponents. They are the only tribe to maintain a peaceful relationship with Victra, even if only a select few southern Victran settlements.
- Sant: The Sand Tribe rules over the northwestern lowlands that lie on the border between Nehep and Tollam, from Altlay to Beurach, as well as scattered nomad and desert clans. Sant tribals are known to be skilled survivalists, terrifying warriors, and eager mercenaries in the forces of the Nehepi phraeds.
- Barg: The Mountain Tribe is the dominant tribe and rules over the eastern range of the Tollar mountains, from Bushof to Klief and various smaller settlements between. Barg tribals are known best for their patience, mountaineering, and engineering and craft skills. The Barg tribe is the source for almost all Tollam steel and the iconic weapons, armour, and ballistic shields of the Kleavers.
These three tribes represent the dominant powers within Tollam but there are two other tribal titles that can be held by an individual;
- Verbant: (Exiles) These are outcasts and outlaws who have been driven from their tribe by some great misdeed such as betrayal or cowardice.
- Ervalt: (Errants – literally ‘he chose’) These are typically Skalds, priests, elite guards, and other solitary figures who, for personal, practical, or political reasons, choose to stand outside the broader tribal structure.
The Regn, Sant, and Barg tribes are each ruled by a Scepter, a venerable and accomplished Tollam leader who was chosen by the previous Scepter of their tribe and has survived the grueling trials necessary to assume the mantle of leadership. The Scepters act as the central governors of Tollam, guiding the Tollam culture as a whole through edicts, arbitration, sanctioned competitions and, most importantly, declarations of war known as a ‘Cadence’. Disputes between the three Scepters are infrequent but can be settled by vote or competition depending on the severity of the dispute.
Below the tribe is the more practical social structure of Tollam society; clans. Clans are analogous to a town, guild, or company in other states and clan leadership traditions vary but are typically hereditary with strong meritocratic tendencies (See Social Structure for more information). Most Tollam clans maintain stationary settlements, built either in vast mountain chambers or in fortress like edifices high in the mountains. There are also several nomadic clans which travel within and outside of the accepted Tollam borders, establishing seasonal encampments on the edges of other cultural territories. Such travelers can usually be identified by their slightly smaller stature, owing to their less steady diet of Fostrian food. Several clans can occupy a given area and there is often open conflict and competition between them for ultimate authority.
The cadre is the smallest social group in Tollam society and represents a group who sleep, hunt, and fight together. The Tollam do not generally engage in monogamous relationships and the cadre system is essentially an established system of polyamory. A cadre typically consists of 3-9 individuals, tightly bound by common history and experience, with each member akin to either a sibling or spouse. Accordingly, cadre mates are chosen very carefully, typically through some act of prowess or endurance. By Tollam law a cadre member is responsible for the actions of all other members.
A Tollam cannot join a Cadre until they have reached the age of 15 and many do not join a Cadre until significantly later. Solitary and Paired Tollam are rare and socially disadvantaged, though not excluded. For example, as mentioned Skalds often operate as solitary individuals or in pairs, though not universally.
There are many clans and Tollam choose clan as well as cadres. While any tribe or clan can join any cadre with the consent of the members, only certain tribes can choose certain clans. This structure, and the competition and conflict it tends to engender often confuses outsiders, but the Tollam understand it as second nature.
The Cadence is called this for two reasons; it is primarily announced by Skalds in musical tone, by drum or horn, and it is considered by many to be related to the vulgar imperial word ‘to fall’ implying the falling of the sword or the falling of the dead in battle. Regardless of Tribe, Clan, and Cadre, all Tollam are expected to heed the Cadence of Battle when called by the Scepters. Those who do not contribute to a war declared by the Scepters face dire punishment; they become Verbant and are forbidden to eat of the Fostrian. Some exceptions are made for those who are not properly informed of the cadence.
The decision to call a Cadence is made by the Scepters in consultation with their advisors. Once called, runners and Skalds are sent to pronounce this and the clans send representatives to discuss strategy. The last Cadence called was against an Ossandrian legion that ventured into Tollam lands and though it has been nearly twenty years since the war drums fell silent, Ossandrian survivors still whisper rumours of the event.
The social hierarchy of the Tollam is defined by fights, tournaments, and competitions and the most consistent measure of authority among a clan or cadre is tied to titles and honours earned through such mechanisms. The most impressive deeds are those known wide and far or those recognized and recorded by Skalds. Accordingly, many Tollam are eager to impress large groups or Skalds in particular. Even grand endeavors like carving an unassailable fortress from the granite of a high mountain peak is of little worth unless it is well traveled or recognized by the Skalds. This places the Tollam lorekeepers in positions of some power and if it weren’t for the broader Tollam aversion to the solitary lifestyle and the difficult trials required to obtain the position it might be more popular. Instead, the more common position of authority is clan or cadre leader. These positions are often, but not always, singular and wield considerable sway over their fellow Tollam.
The Fostrian is a first age device designed to feed nations and capable of producing a seemingly endless supply of incredibly nutritious and filling food, commonly referred to as Abrath, with only minimal oversight. All southern Tollam are offered food produced by the Fostrian. All that is required to receive this food is the mark and the affirmation. The mark is the first tattoo received by a Tollam warrior after they have been born, a simple indicator of Tribal membership. The Oath is the affirmation of this allegiance, pledged whenever Fostrian food is received.
Many in the south argue that the greatest advantage the Tollam possess is not their innate sturdiness, but their access to the Fostrian, and the lack of large scale Tollam culture beyond the boundaries of the southern mountains is often used as proof to support this argument.
It is well known that the Tollam will find many reasons for war; honour, power, glory, but food is not one of them. The Fostrian and its minders are sacred and inviolate and the foodbringers are sacrosanct. Any tribe that threatens the Fostrian or the supply of Abrath is quickly designated Verbant by the Scepters.
The Fostrian is a rich provider but it does have limits on how fast it can produce food. The current Tollam population strains the production capacity and this has led to two mindsets among the ruling Scepters of the Triarchy: expansion and conflict to thin the Tollam numbers; or increased food production by other means. The first appeals to the general philosophy of most Tollam; that conflict is the source of greatness, glory, valour, and the development of new wisdom and technology. The latter is often associated with a loss of cultural identity and physical superiority; Tollam do not farm and they look down on those who do. While the occasional oddball might take up farming there are powerful social and genetic pressures on the Tollam to fight. The middle ground lies in game meats and many Tollam do hunt both large herbivores and carnivores, both as a form of martial practice and to supplement their food. The Tollam are cautious and conscious of their vast appetites and the potential to overhunt their stock and this has led to the practice of herd management by region to minimize such risks. The Tollam perception of their hunting regions has led to conflict with their neighbours.
The Tollam capital of Tollar sits atop the carved peak of Mount Ota, tallest mountain in the range and is built around the Fostrian. Here the giants have constructed a citadel of enormous proportions, carving a vast and impenetrable defensive structure from the mountain itself. Tollar represents the densest population of Tollam in all Aeldos and is incredibly spartan and functional. The Tollam permit only a handful of outsiders, generally denying entry to all but the most notable foreign warriors and some diplomats. Key parts of the city (beyond the Fostrian) include the granary’s and Porters district, the tribal chambers the great arena and several martial academies, most competing with each other constantly.
Along with Tollar, some Tollam tribal encampments are situated within, around, and atop some of the highest mountain ranges in Aeldos. Frenz, Tollar, and assorted warcamps can be found well above 5,000 meters and the external weather and atmospheric conditions at this height are inhospitable to most non-Tollam. The environment within the barrier walls of Tollar is controlled but in many other settlements any non-Tollam visitor would be hard pressed to survive for long.
Most trade within Tollam is barter-based, save for food which is considered a communal good. The only outside commerce is done with particularly bold Nehepi and Selenian companies who trade exotic foods and alcohol, materials, and tools for ores and gems that are rare outside the mountains. Abrath also finds its way into trade sometimes, though it is generally frowned upon. A small number of Tollam commission custom arms and armour from Selene and Nehep, though again this is considered an oddity among the giants.
The martial philosophy of Kreegus (almost universally common among the Tollam) is often mistaken for a religion by outsiders but does not actually replace the common worship of the Ayr. Predictably, many Tollam are devoted to Oto the Warrior, but just as many are Decarists who offer worship to the entire pantheon.
Tollam law is sparse at best and there is little that cannot be settled via trial by combat or challenge. Insults, assault, and even murder are all charges that are open to trial by combat. By law cadres are considered responsible for the actions of their members and punishments are either the domain of the cadre or endured by the group as a whole.
- Insults: The greatest insults in Tollam society are to be declared Nitthing (lower than all others, beneath them, weak or cowardly) or Ergi, Argr, Ragr, (slave). These are all considered vile insults and wholly valid reasons to initiate a blood duel. For many Tollam the failure to fight one who insults you in such a way on the spot is seen as confirmation of your cowardice and weakness (though not legally). Killing an individual who levies such insults against you bears no legal repercussions in Tollam.
- Theft: The Tollam have a strong sense of cadre-property and anyone caught stealing from another cadre are punished harshly, often by some combination of pubic shaming, reduced rations and the revocation of titles. In minor cases the punishment might be delegated to the Tollam’s cadre, but in major ones the entire cadre is punished. It is considered entirely valid to challenge someone for an item and win it in fair combat; the offense is in taking without “earning” it.
- Sorcery: Though often associated with the use of Lingua, sorcery actually encompasses a broader range of offenses. In particular, many Tollam are suspicious of dexterous or subtle skills beyond their capacity; opening a heavy lock at night, without alerting men nor beast or modifying first age technology in the absence of a Skald. The punishment for such crimes is exile making it a dangerous profession to be a sneak-thief in Tollam.
- Cowardice and Betrayal: Considered ‘brother crimes’, this can include disobeying the orders of the Scepters or one’s cadre leaders, aiding an enemy, and other betrayals of trust, or ambushing an equal or inferior, abandoning one’s cadre mates in battle, use of poison, repeated challenges of lesser foes, and other abuses of authority. All are punished harshly depending on the severity. Typically minor or first offenses are punished by revocation of title and reduced rations. Second or moderate offenses are punished by imprisonment. Third or major offenses are punished by death or exile. Some cadres will chose instead to exile or kill the coward than risk punishment of the whole cadre.
- Murder: The Tollam concept of murder is fuzzy at best and the only real crime is to intentionally kill someone who was unaware, kill using poison, or kill a clearly inferior foe. As a result most charges of murder are handled either by the surviving members of the murdered individuals cadre, or by charges of cowardice and betrayal.
The weight of the law in Tollam is wielded by Skalds, Scepters, and Clan leaders and refusal to engage with a charge is considered equivalent to cowardice.
The culture of Tollam lacks any concept of a military as seen in other nations with standing armies. Instead all members of the culture are considered warriors and a declaration of war mobilizes almost the entire culture.
Customs and Culture
The giants of the south spare little thought for outsiders and history and instead spend much of their time immersed in their day to day activities. As a general rule they are friendly, resolute, curious, and competitive, but some are more suspicious and hostile to anything that interferes with or interrupts their goals.
The Tollam have no particular fear of ruins but only minimal interest in their secrets. There are several major ruins within the Tollar range which have been excavated or re-purposed by the Tollam. The most notable of these are the Fostrian, mentioned above, and the Iron Grave, a shattered first age prison which is now used as a testing ground and trial for the hardiest and strongest Tollam to descend into, defeat the lurking horrors, survive the spore filled air, scorching heat, and boiling water, swim in the black and take trophies from the greasy monsters that linger within.
Attitudes Towards Other Sapients
Tollam have little contact with other quasi-humans and most of their interactions are internal or with humans.
- Humans: Tollam attitudes toward humans range from curious to ambivalent to dismissive. Of the human cultures with which they are familiar, the Selenians and Nehepi are considered tolerable, while the Victrans and Ossandrians are seen as both challenging and slightly contemptible.
- Tamaa: Tollam attitudes towards Tamaa are typically regressive, fixated on their physical beauty and rarely perceiving them as worthy opponents or long term companions.
- Bellatori: Tollam rarely encounter Bellatori but most who do consider them Pretenders to the Warriors legacy. They quickly find them to be worthy and dangerous challengers.
- Kaeki: Few Tollam have even heard of the Kaeki and those who have consider them dangerous sorcerors and a matter for Skalds. Skalds see their use, but also their danger.
- Heliar: Only a handful of Tollam really understand the difference between an Artilect and a Heliar, but most consider clever machines as either an interesting challenge or abominable creation of the weak.
- Oneiri: Tollam have no stories or point of reference for the Oneiri. To them they simply appear as human children.
Gender and Sexuality
Tollam are generally a bisexual race, with no social aversion to same sex relationships and a general lack of understanding of mono-sexual or monogamous attractions. They have no analog to marriage outside the cadre structure. They also have no set understanding of gender and the language of Vort is genderless.
The Fostrian provides the vast majority of food for the Tollam of the south, churning out a seemingly endless supply and variation of extremely dense and nutritious foodstuffs known as Abrath. Abrath takes many forms, from hardened breads and rich milks to curious pseudo-fruits and bricks of protein. This is supplemented by wild game and fruit and the occasional foods brought in by Selenian and Nehepi traders. The Tollam relationship with food is highly functional as a result, save for one exception; alcohol. While their prodigious size, stamina, and metabolism make it nearly impossible for the Tollam to get drunk, many love the taste of alcohols which the Fostrian does not produce. Lacking any agriculture of their own many giants will pay good coin for even small amounts of liquor brought from afar and some cynics have suggested that the real threat of the Tollam will be revealed when they realize they can enslave the rest of the continent to make liquor for them.
Tollam fashions tend towards the practical and martial, with sturdy hide and leather with modest embellishment being the standard for casual wear and massive plated armour for combat.
Tollam use tattoos as records of life milestones, battles, contests, and personal oaths. Many Tollam have tattoos covering nearly their entire body. These markings are highly stylized, often runic, symbolic, or composed of tribal sigils and icons.
Tollam hairstyles tend towards the sparse: shaved bald or into patterns are the most common. Long hair is reserved for Skalds.
The nature of much of their outside interaction is often brief, violent and traumatic and it is easy for an outsider to mistake the Tollam infatuation with sport, combat, and warfare with savagery and blood thirst; the Tollam themselves rarely bother to correct such perceptions.
In truth the Tollam are not particularly blood thirsty and much of their behaviour is governed by a semi-religious code of warrior conduct known as Kreegus. This code evolved as a response to the innate Tollam drive to fight combined with their almost suicidal absence of fear of death. The Kreegus has several formulations and interpretations, and numerous additional teachings, but at its core it is as follows:
- I feel the urge to battle but I shall not be controlled by it.
- The urge can be put to use. Let battle be the master and I will be a student.
- Any challenge that strengthens me I will face with all my might.
- If there is no challenge there is no lesson.
- Not all challenges involve blood.
- Not all challenges can be fought by the cadre but when we fight, it is as one or not at all.
- Cowardice and betrayal are for lesser folk and I will not bring shame to my cadre, clan, or tribe.
- To lose is not a shame, it is a lesson. The Tenebrae watch all battles, but I do not fight to please them.
The Kreegus encourages a broad interpretation of “battle” and while true warfare is seen as the greatest teacher, the Tollam also recognize gladiatorial combat, hunting, sports, hard labour, and even drinking, as forms of battle. Virtually anything in which a Tollam or cadre can compete, formally or informally, against another is treated as a valuable endeavour.
Challenge in Kreegus is also a notable term and while some Tollam honorably decline fights which would be perceived as unfair, some choose instead to handicap themselves. Fighting an armed enemy while unarmed for example, touching an enemy rather than injuring them, or restricting themselves to melee weapons against a ranged enemy. Indeed, the harder a Tollam makes a battle for themselves the more glory they are seen to earn if they win or even survive. This tradition, and the often swollen Tollam egos that trigger it, often has to be managed by clan and cadre members who are more realistic judges of Tollam ability.
The number three is of considerable importance to the Tollam; There are three tribes. Each tribe has three leaders. There are three Scepters. Cadres usually stop at nine in size (3×3). Many Tollam take three mates and many seek to have three children. This superstition is so baked into the culture that many Tollam don’t really notice it.
Tollam do not ride horses. Indeed it is seen as a socially unacceptable act by some Tollam. The reasoning being that a Tollam should always carry their own weight. This does not mean that Tollam do not keep or use horses or other draft animals. Indeed the Tollam Dray is a distinctive and massive breed of horse used for their immense pulling power and envied across Aeldos. Tollam just view horses as domestic tools, not to be risked in warfare and not acceptable for travel. A small number of Tollam also raise Aurochs, Daedon, and Mammut for work and ceremonial purposes.
The Tollam participate in a very odd sport and test of strength known as broling.
Broling requires the following; a stout tree at least two Tollams arms in diameter, three other tall trees spaced equally apart in a rough triangle, sufficient rope, and the willingness to sustain massive injuries in pursuit of fleeting glory.
First the stout tree is felled and its branches removed to create a log. Laying flat, the ends of the log are tied high up on the pair of parallel trees and a pulley is used to draw the log back creating a great mass of wood ready to swing in an arc. Now the fun begins.
One by one Tollam will line up before the log as it is raised to varying heights and dropped in a swinging blow at the individual Tollam below who must stop the logs motion. At first the log is raised only slightly, providing only minimal momentum and challenge. Most Tollam of sufficient age can handle this and those who cannot are ruthlessly ridiculed. However, as the game continues the log is raised higher and higher, and its travel time extends, granting it more and more momentum. Within a few rounds many Tollam will have been knocked senseless or had their ribs cracked by the Brole as it falls relentlessly. The last Tollam standing, able to take the log or Brole from it’s greatest height is considered the winner. Surprisingly few Tollam die from this inane and dangerous game, no doubt due to their redundant organs and considerable resilience, otherwise the sport would be a far more lethal one. Some Tollam participate in a variant of this known as Split Broling, a more labour intensive version that requires multiple logs. In this the Tollam must split the log with their weapon. This version is far more dangerous as the real blades used are often cast back in the holders face by the force of the falling Brole.
Also known as “Grot Ball”, Kalball is related to other ball games played across Aeldos, though only distantly and it bears a distinct Tollam flavour. The basic equipment for the game requires capturing and binding a large grot. This beast is then force-fed to bursting and then dipped in molten bronze. The resulting Kal or ‘ball’ is a fattened grot shaped item just heavy enough to present a challenge for any non-tollam to hold. The game is played by three teams of three. Teams score points by holding on to the Kal, one point for every full minute. Holding here, being a relative term; so long as a player is touching the kal they are considered to be in possession. This leads to many players standing with one foot on the ball as they beat back their opponents. While players are not armed, combat makes up much of the game and injuries are a common and accepted.
These well respected and highly sought after figures among Tollam are tasked with singing the record of Tollam history, keeping the books of code and law, and granting title to the great deeds of the people. These volunteers (often proven warriors who demonstrate unusual intelligence and independence) are tested, winnowed, and appointed by a tribal leader alongside an existing Skald and few can demonstrate the prodigious memories and knowledge necessary. Once initiated they are given great latitude to act as historians, judges, teachers, and entertainers.
Skalds operate in many different ways; as adjuncts to Tollam cadres in battle; as wandering minstrels; as traveling arbiters, and as guides to kings and foreign visitors. Most history and knowledge of the Tollam is maintained by Skalds, making them highly sought after by those curious about the otherwise insular culture.
Tollam use their size and strength to craft and wield massive weapons and armour which would be impractical for any other sapient. Cleaver blades, ballistic shields and warplate armour for example are demonstrations of the strength and stamina of their wielders.
Of particular note are ballistic shields, monstrous pieces of layered metal are difficult for non-Tollam to move. They were adapted from Clatterjack shields and the Tollam use them to protect against Victran firearms and as brutal close range weapons. They often have a spiked bottom allowing the giants to plant their shield before rushing the final steps towards a reloading enemy. Tollam shield tactics are disorganized compared to Ossandrians but the size and resilience of their shield makes them effective nonetheless.
Loyalty, Honour, Legacy, Martial Prowess,
Tolm: Alternate spelling and generally accepted pronunciation of the species name
Abrath: The diverse foods produced by the Fostrian
Vindklen: “Diminished Folk”; Human-Tollam hybrids and their descendants
Kreegus: The martial philosophy that guides most Tollam
Kleaver: Elite and devoted warriors of the Tollam
Skald: Lorekeepers, arbiters, and bards of the Tollam
Cadence: The call to war made by the Scepters and embodied in the sound of enormous war drums.
Ervalt: “He chose”; Errants
Iron, Silver, Wool, Fur, Hides
There are several mutations of note within the Tollam species and their treatment by the larger culture varies significantly.
Also known as Mon-Tollam, these rare individuals are born with palest white skin, black hair, and black sclera. While typically of equal height to other Tollam they tend towards thinner builds. Beyond the differences in their appearance Pale Tollam tend to have exceptional perceptual acuity and above average memories. Pale Tollam are rare and are considered a good omen. While most are treated well by their brethren they are often excluded from cadres and most end up as Skalds.
Ka-Tollam are considered the ‘chosen’ of the Tollam. These individuals are able to self-direct their own mutation, growing into enormous engines of war. Ka-Tollam can grow to exceed four meters in height and are built more like great apes than humans. Their size make them powerful beyond measure and an armed and armoured Ka-Tollam is a match for whole platoons, and even Clatterjacks. Ka-Tollam are rare, with only a few dozen in all of Tollar, and their strength comes at considerable cost. They are plagued by constant hunger that often manifests in grisly appetites and are apt to fall into torporous slumber if not properly fed. As a result they tend to live their lives in bursts of activity, spending much of their time sleeping, and the rest at the vanguard of Tollam battles. Most Ka-Tollam are a combination of nature and nurture; special children marked for the honour are taken to the Pit, a Tollam facility shrouded in mystery, where an ancient and unbroken line of monks initiates them. It takes decades of training and secret procedures to turn these children into the goliath warriors known as Ka-Tollam. This is not always the case though; there are records of Ka-Tollam emerging from the general population as well.
Tollam are able to interbreed with Humans and though generally rare, the descendants of such pairings inherit a portion of the potency and durability of their parents. These ‘half-breeds’ or ‘Vindklen’ meaning ‘diminished folk’ are accorded the same rights as any other Tollam but their inability to ascend to the same heights of physical prowess as their Tollam ancestors often leaves them as lower class members of the culture. The treatment of hybrids in cultures outside of Tollam varies with each culture.
“Humans are so weak, so small, so petty. You have no purpose, no heart. You are serious when you should laugh and frivolous when you should take care. You battle each other over land you cannot hold and piss away your legacies on ingrates. When you make war you seek only conquest and bring only sadness. Tollam fight because it pleases the Ayr. We do it because it is what we are. We do it because the struggle is joy. We may die bloody but we die happy.”