Yallow: a time of freedom and carelessness, marking the transition between youth and maturity. When their time arrives, the young men and women of Thaery and Glentlin become wayfarers and wander the thirteen counties. They travel by footpath and take shelter at wayside inns, or camp in the meadows. As they go they maintain the landscape: planting trees, repairing trails, clearing thickets of dead bramble, quelling spider-grass, the odious hariah and thorn. If anyone shirks, he becomes notorious, and the epithet chraus (‘languid’, ‘small-souled’, ‘dishonorable’) is apt to persist for the rest of his life.
Never is love more poignant or friends more dear. Memories last forever: laughing faces; red wine by lantern light; the music of mandolin and flute; nights on green hilltops, when voices are low and Zangwill Reef hangs like a glowing curtain across the south, or awesome Skay trundles down the sky. All too soon Yallow ends and youth is gone.
The Saidanese of Skay and the Djan of Maske comprise the species homo mora, which cannot fruitfully interbreed with homo gaea—though the Waels of Wellas and certain Dohobay tribes are reputedly hybrid races. Saidanese and Djan manifest a typically human physiognomy, with gracile proportions, small features, black hair, pallid olive complexions, often overlaid with a faint metallic sheen.
Djan eyes range from dark green to black, with elliptical pupils. On Skay a unique set of social imperatives—the so-called First Principle—has stabilized the type. On Maske, the coming of the Thariots created a convulsion, and the type has become somewhat more differentiated.
Both Djan and Saidanese are dedicated to the maintenance of an exact social order. Every possible activity is performed in concert with others, according to a standard method. The minimum Djan social unit is a group of four persons, most often two males and two females, who set up what is in effect a housekeeping cooperative. Each is ‘married’ to a person from a different household, though a kind of indiscriminate affection or habit of mutual fondling and grooming, which may include sexual contact, permeates Djan and Saidanese society. In effect each household is linked to four others; by widening circles every household connects with every other household of Djanad.
Djan behavior varies as to the size of the immediate group. Four is the smallest group in which a Djan can feel relaxed. Three Djan presently become uneasy, their voices rise; they become restless and over-active. Two Djan, if alone together for any extended period, stimulate each other either to affection or antagonism. The solitary Djan, lacking social restraints, becomes disoriented, unstable, and often dangerous.
Thariots employ Djan workers in large numbers, guided by the following schedule:
The moods of the Djan are a mystery to the most earnest students of the race. The Institute of Djan Studies at Wysrod has prepared the following summation, applying specifically to Thariots traveling in Djanad:
A lone Djan (a rare situation in itself) coming upon a lone Thariot, will seldom (4%) commit an overtly hostile act, but not infrequently (40%) will commit a covert act ranging from mischief to murder. Two Djan coming upon a lone Thariot will more often than not (65%) first harass and eventually attack him, after a peculiar and embarrassing set of psychological accommodations between the three participants. Two Djan will never (0%) attack two Thariots; the four become at least temporarily an uneasy replica of the Djan social atom. Three Djan will rarely (15%) attack a lone Thariot, almost never (2%) a pair of Thariots, and never (0%) three Thariots. Four Djan will almost never (1%) attack a lone Thariot, but are slightly more liable (2%) to attack two Thariots. They will never (0%) attack parties of three or four Thariots.
The above conditions apply most rigorously when Skay is gone from the sky. With Skay visible, the Djan become mercurial, and react to influences beyond Thariot comprehension.
In passing, it may be noted that, while in Djanad thievery is unknown, the Djan in Thaery is a constant, confirmed and unregenerate pilferer. Similarly, the Djan in Djanad is modest and sexually restrained, whereas in Thaery, Thariot men casually copulate with Djan girls, although Djan men never copulate with Thariot women, both through mutual repulsion and physical disconformities.