Lesson 3: culture

If you were a native of Gevile (part 1)

While people are all different, and every life is unique in its course, it is possible to find some common themes and experiences running through most people's lives - we all get born, and we all die. Most of us will go through a learning phase in our childhood, and a working phase in our adulthood. Many of us will court and form pair-bonds, often resulting in children. And so on.

For people with a shared identity, a common history and a close geographical co-location it is possible to draw a more detailed chart of the experiences these people will have as they progress through their lives. So, what is the common culture of the Gevey speaking native? What would have been the likely thread of your life if you had been born in the city of Gevile?


You would probably have been born in one of the jaarvagzuush (temple infirmaries) found across the city. Your moeme (mother) would have given birth standing or crouching, assisted by a jwe'he (midwife). Your bizhve (father) would probably not have been present at the birth. Your shnaathuu (placenta) would almost certainly have been cooked and shared between the whole family.

It is most likely that you are not a single basate (child), as women routinely have between three and five children during their fertile period. It is likely that your husplozdem (siblings) would be much older or younger than you, as the average time between children is about five jinsuush (orbits).

There's a possibility that the man you call bizhve is not your biological father - estimates vary, but up to 30% of all basatesh born in the city are believed to be the result of liaisons outside the recognised relationship. Not that you mind: everyone will spoil you rotten throughout your basaconuu (childhood). In particular, zgatesh (uncles and aunts) will make a big fuss over you.

Your closest óhslesh (friends) are likely to be your rhaajesh (cousins), and it's probable you and your gang of óhslesh would have made a nuisance of yourselves throughout the voshpe (city). You will also have been involved in a fair number of gang fights, but nothing very serious - one thing the cuklamesh (adults) around you will not tolerate is mahcantsuu (violence and bullying).

You probably hit cuklamalhetuu (puberty) around the age of 13 (for vuefnesh - girls) or 15 (for raptesh - boys). Things got a lot more complicated after that, though the belguu (coming-of-age party) in your honour to celebrate this entry into cuklamconuu (adulthood) would have been fun, given that it lasts all day and most of the night.


You almost certainly learned your beecuush (letters) on the knee of your favourite zgate, and would have attended one of the krasovnisuush (temple schools) between the ages of 7 and 10. The krasovnisuush are open during the afternoon; during the morning you probably earned some pocket money running ákhuebnisuush (chores) for various relatives or neighbours.

From the krasovnisuu, you would have moved on to one of the much more imposing krasovuush (guild colleges). Every profession and craft supports its own krasovuu, though much of the curriculum is the same (since the city decided to set minimum standards for education).

Some of the subjects you would most likely have studied include: Gevey (naturally); mathematics (with a special emphasis on geometry and monetary issues); health and personal hygeine; safety and first aid; history; using technology; civil responsibility; and contract law (in some detail). Religious studies may have happened at the temple, while arts, crafts, music and performance would have depended on which krasovuu you attended. There would also have been some component covering your guild's profession. You would naturally count in base 10, and found the idea that the rest of the world counts in base 8 a bit wierd. Studying other languages would not have been a priority - everyone speaks Gevey, don't they?

If you were bright enough, and made it through all six jinsuush at krasovuu, then you might have had an opportunity to go to krasovjarhuu (university). The Krasovjarhuu Gevilizhuu (University of Gevile) is highly respected among its peers for its teaching, research and academic study. The Krasovjarhuu Jaakrizhuu (University of the Creator) is also well respected, though it limits its range of study and teaching to theology and medicine.

Much more likely, though, is that you completed three or four orbit's worth of study at krasovuu and then found employment either as a guild apprentice, or as an apprentice in a related guild, or as a city employee. Or you may have joined the family firm. Unemployment rates are not particularly high in the city, and there are plenty of jobs for those who want them. Nevertheless, training never stops and it will be a rare jinsuu when you won't return to your home guild to help out with the teaching, or attend a specialist course, or visit a different guild to learn new skills.


Gevile is not a single industry town, and the type of work you find yourself doing could include farming, mining, logging, light manufacturing and assembly (in particular pottery and ceramics, cloth production, tanning and dying, furniture production, or electrical goods production), civil guarding, fine craftwork, building and demolition work, or utilities development and maintenance (for water, electricity and sewage).

Service industries are also important, from banking, through city management and guild politics, to food preparation and service. Entertainers are highly appreciated throughout the city, as are professional teachers and healers. Religious workers are not held in such high esteem - despite the number of temples across the city, Gevile is not a very religious city.

Trade and retail tend to be more family-based enterprises, rather than controlled by the guilds. Shopping will almost certainly be an important (and enjoyable) component of your social life. Even so, Gevile society is not a wasteful society, and great store is placed on refurbishing old goods for reuse or resale, and recycling. Every street in Gevile has a glounezhlovuu (refurbishment shop), whose staff will be able to fix pretty much anything. You may be a glounezhliste (refurbisher) yourself!

Wherever you work, you are likely to work a pattern of five or six days at work and two days away from work. Gevey society does not understand the concept of a weekend, but is very insistent that people should have time away from the workplace to help out at infirmaries and temple schools, and to look after their karesh (nephews and nieces). Work tends to start soon after sunrise and wind down after midday, then start up again when the afternoon rain eases off. Some people will also have an evening job.

You will probably get paid once every 10 or 12 days. You almost certainly think your taxes and tithes are too steep, though you usually will not moan about paying a tithe to the Mother's and Orphan's Guild, or your city tax which pays for the civil guard and fire watch. You will definitely grumble about your own Guild's tithe, and will probably do everything in your power to avoid the Temple staff on payday!


Your city is powered by thecye (electricity), generated by river power. You cannot imagine living without thecye, as even the smallest shlepuu (farm) in the back of beyond will have its own generator.

Your nonhetem (grandparents) will probably remenisce about how they had to rely on ôjoikluu (wireless radio) when they were basatem. Nowadays, everyone has a threezuu (personal communication device) - communications have got a lot easier since the Ramajesh (Ramajans) managed to get a communications satellite into orbit 40 jinsuush ago.

What you will find wierd is the concept of having your own poe'hajuu (personal transporter) to get around town. They do exist, but you just can't see the point of having one in the city - how can a person shop while they're driving? There is a limited poe'hajarhuu (tram) system that loops around the city, but that's mainly used by old people. It's better, in your opinion, to walk.

You will know all about gaurhtuush (computers) - you learned how to use them in krasovuu. It's a pity they were reintroduced by the Ramajesh as everything has to be done in octal.

The Law and Justice

Your life will be ruled by raznuush (contracts). You learned all about raznuush in krasovuu, which is just as well as you'll be expected to negotiate, manage and break your raznuush without much in the way of professional help. Problems that cannot be sorted out between the parties may have to go to a tribunal (preferably your own guild's tribunal, though the city tribunal is a reasonable - and largely uncorrupted - alternative). Raznuush problems will probably be your main topic of conversation, after cahve (family), traswoenuu (health) and magzuu (shopping) issues.

You will probably think of yourself as a law-abiding citizen. Yablathesh (thieves) do operate in the city, but crime families are treated harshly by the city authorities. Sharhtuumuu (prostitution) is not considered to be a problem: Sharhathesh (sex workers) have their own guild, and run some reasonably respectable sharhavuush (brothels). You will probably get into a bwoefohpuu (fight) every now and again - whichever sex you are - but these are normally sorted out by óhslesh or (if you're unlucky) the city guard.

One thing you may posess is a mokhuu (pistol or rifle), though you won't have it with you while you're in the city. The carrying of mokhuush is strictly prohibited by the city authorities within the city walls, and all mokhuush have to be deposited in the Mokhovuu Gevilizhuu (Gevey Arsenal). Vahvruush (knives) are not so closely controlled.

One thing you won't tolerate is violence against basatesh. Beating a person who has harmed a child is considered to be reasonable behaviour. Domestic violence is generally dealt with in the cahve, unless it's serious - then the perpetrator will have to answer to the Temple tribunal or (worse) the Mother and Orphan Guild.

You probably don't understand the concept of prison. If someone unjustly hurts you, you will expect them to pay compensation (in money, time or resources). Thieves who are caught and who agree to pay compensation may be forgiven. Persistent thieves are branded on the cheek and shown to the gates of the city. Murderers (and murders do occasionally occur in a brawl) can expect to pay substantial blood-money compensation to the victim's family. Nevertheless, the Ramajal concept of "an eye for an eye" is beyond your comprehension. Executions and floggings are never carried out in the city: you are not the city's slave, to be treated like an animal by the authorities - and neither is anyone else. Indeed, you probably have ambivalent feelings about the practice of branding persistent thieves.


Within the city, you will either walk or you will use the poe'hajarhuu. For short trips outside the city you may hire a poe'hajuu - useful for travelling to the cluster of êragolhguush (settlements) scattered within 3-4 milhjaakuum (30-40 kilometres) of the city. Poe'hajuush are not much use for greater distances, nor for travelling away from the kliyuush (roads), mainly because they operate on prinyuu (alcohol fuel).

More likely, you will use either an óekufse (buffalo), or for trips into the mountains a krhovle (horse), with any baggage carried on the back of a guufle (llama). All these animals can be hired from one of the city stables - it's unlikely you would own such an animal yourself.

For serious journeys, there's the option of taking an ósemuu (riverboat). Most of the trading along the length of the Taete Valley is carried by rivercraft. Even though Gevile lies at the crossroads of the major north-south and east-west trading routes, travelling east down to the coastal plains, or west into the mountains, is a lot more difficult than travelling north or south. There has been talk recently of building a poe'hajvituu (railway) between Gevile and Ilusfelte (through the Gevey Gap) to help eastward travel and trade, but you doubt you will see it in your lifetime.

However you travel, you would be well advised to carry your mokhuu with you at all times, just in case you meet some loiflaeyesh (bandits) during your travels.

You have probably heard of the concept of a lhausuu (helicopter), but you have probably never seen one. It is possible that you've seen one of the Swaeye Windmerchants' shunoguush (airships), and you may have a dream to one day travel in such a machine.

This page was last updated on Tecunuuntuu-25, 527: Tincuu-97 Gevile