I went to Your Grace’s Yule party, and I had strong drink, what these Westerners call whiskey, for the first time in my life. It was very good to drink, and so I had a lot, perhaps too much if I am being honest.

Actually, I am quite sure that I had too much.

The gift-giving went well enough of course, as I got two boxes. One of them was a waterskin that I still have, and I was very grateful for it; the other was a saddle and reigns, and they were very lovely. I know that they gave them to me because I’m a Plainsman, but I am alright with that. It is not the worst thing that I have been put in the corner with…no that’s not right…stereotype? I suppose that is the word that these people would use, though it is nothing nice in the Charalin tongue, and it’s maybe a bit too strong.

I danced something fierce, and then the man I found out later is the Poet Knight challenged me in a dance. We went back and forth, trading jabs, and it was a good deal of fun, the first such fun I have had in many years. I don’t know how the man knows a Charalin dance so well, but he seemed to know it very well indeed. We danced back and forth, with Your Grace playing the instrument fast enough to help us with the tempo of the dancing.

And just as I was about done with the dancing and Your Grace was slowing down his music, it happened.

I was sick right in the face of the Poet Knight of Lithmore.

Your Grace came over quick and told me that it was alright and to get home. I ran out of there as quickly as I could, and I went home in shame. I mailed the man my apology and the saddle later on in the week.

If he knows half as much about our ways as he does our dances, then he’ll know that a saddle given to him from a Plainsman is a serious apology indeed.

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What follows is a translation from the Charalin tongue to it’s Lithmorran equivalent.

I may not be able to write the Lithmorran language just yet, but I can certainly write in the Charalin tongue just fine. I suppose there were signs almost from the beginning that I was just different, and I wonder that I survived my blooding at all. I’m sure the others in the tribe wondered as well, as I was never the strongest or fastest youngling, and certainly not the tallest. But I could never confess to the others from my tribe that it was my eldest sister that came to help me those many days that I was trapped in the wilds with nothing but the bone knife and my wits.

Thus is the great secret of my tribe that was revealed to me by my sister: a tribe is about teamwork and bonds. If there is nobody that cares for a youngling enough, finds them apt enough, to risk for them, then the clan will never be able to function in the first place if they’re not strong enough to fend for themselves.

It was her risk that made my failure all the more horrific, and it makes my dishonor all the more unbearable.

It was my sixteenth winter when the hunting party came back from a three day trip, and we saw the smoke when we were a little ways out. We rode our horses hard that day, but we were too late to catch the Farin that slew our kinsman and took most of the village children, women, and most of the young men not in the hunting party. We rode for days trying to catch them because we could hear them screaming for their lives, but we were too late to get to them, and we were nearly out of the Plains by the time we reached their burnt out encampment.

We put down the animals that were there, and we left the Farin who were still barely alive there to die in the dust. When we reached our own people, I saw my eldest sister laying there in the dirt, breathing her last. She begged me to put an end to her suffering, and so I did as she begged me to do.

We put our honored dead to the burning ceremony, amongst it our High Mother, and we gathered what few survivors we could find. Most of them were younglings or those a few years over, and those that we could see had fought were considered to have passed their blooding by the new High Mother. It is rare that such a thing happens, but I will say that I agreed with her decision. In any case, the clan needed new members of various tasks, and our once great numbers had dwindled down to a few.

In the months that followed, I did not mourn, and I could not eat many days of the week. I became little more than skin and bones after a while, and I slept for many days at a time. The High Mother saw to me and sent me on a journey to go to the site so that I could mourn properly and rejoin the tribe. I took the journey, but it did not help; my shame was so deep that I could not mourn, I could not think right, I could not eat well. I could not help with the hunting or even do the simplest of tasks, and, eventually, the High Mother deemed that there was something wrong with me.

There was something broken in me that could not be fixed; a man who cannot mourn his kindred is not of the People and has no place amongst them.

And so I was cast out and sent west in shame.

Exile. It is a rare thing, but it does happen.

And when it does, it is as if one is a ghost to the People.

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