The Island of Miloa
"What are you curious about?"
For what felt like the hundredth time, Neva replied “I don’t know”.
“C’mon”, said Pim “everybody is curious about something. Do you ever wonder which mountain is the tallest?”
Neva shook her head.
“What about how many stars are in the sky?” Una interjected.
Neva shrugged her shoulders.
“Ooh or how big the ocean is! You could captain a big ship like Captain sailor!” Pim pantomimed steering the wheel of a ship. Una picked up a stick and, wielding it like a sword, leaped onto the deck of Pim’s imaginary ship.
“Unless you’re attacked by a hargrothan skeleton crew!” Una made exaggerated flourishes at Pim with her stick as he dodged lithely out of the way.
“Then you’d wish -” She panted as she lunged at Pim
“- you’d been more curious -”
“- about war!”
The big kids were lucky that they knew what they wanted to explore. Neva couldn’t even read yet, how was she supposed to know what questions she wanted to pursue?
Suddenly Neva had a thought. “What ‘bout farmer Zarin? He does the same thing every day. What does he got to be curious of?”
“Plenty!” answered Una. “He’s always trying out something in his garden, how do you think he learned to grow those ginormous pumpkins?”
In the distance, the children heard a bell ring.
“I know one thing that I’m curious ‘bout.” said Neva
“Great! What do you want to know?”
Neva took off running in the direction of home and over her shoulder yelled, “I want to know what’s for dinner!”
Culture and Traditions
The island of Miloa is the homeland of the goat-kin people known as Miloans. As an island nation Miloa is known for its abundant fishing and seafood, which they often trade with Stradyn for grains and produce. 67 years ago Miloa was willingly annexed by Stradyn due to increasing aggression from Hargroth. While little has changed inland, the coast has become significantly more diverse as Stradyn has fortified port cities into defensive military outposts.
Miloan culture celebrates curiosity and exploration, and this can be expressed in a variety of ways. Some Miloans dedicate themselves to one lifelong pursuit, while others possess multiple interests. As skilled sailors, many travel far and wide as traders and culinary tourists. It is common for Miloans to be able to resist poisons.
For what to the Miloan people has been hundreds of generations, they have shared a special friendship with the Anazatae people (Dark Elves) living below the surface of Miloa. According to historians, long long ago a wise Elder named Odraen Kin’Pali welcomed the Anazatae refugees who were fleeing the destruction of their homeland. Ever since that time, they have been friends to the Miloans. The Anazatae share their wisdom and knowledge, act as travel companions, and even welcome Miloans into their great city, dark and cold though it may be.
A young Miloan’s first journey off the island to explore the rest of the world is considered a very special milestone in his or her life. By about the age of 4 or 5 a Miloan has reached physical maturity, but will not be considered a true adult until they have experienced something of the world beyond their homeland. This first journey is called the Peregrination, and it can last anywhere from a few months to years. Once a Miloan feels that they have experienced or learned something out in the greater world that they would not have known otherwise, they are free to return home and be welcomed as an adult. The Peregrination is as much a celebration of a Miloan’s coming-of-age as it is an exercise intended to expand their thinking.
While there are often many journeys in a Miloan’s life where they may choose to have many companions or none, the peregrination is a time where they are traditionally accompanied by one of the Anazatae. This tradition was developed to the benefit of both peoples. The Anazatae love to be reminded that innocence and wonder still exist. They use the peregrination as a way to heal their ancient heavy hearts. In return, they offer perspective and philosophical guidance to the young Miloan who will undoubtedly encounter many new experiences during the journey. For those Miloans who are shy, having an Anazatae companion is often of great comfort when the wide world proves to be darker and more dangerous than the wildflower doppled hillsides of Miloa. For those who are fearless, an Anazatae companion is often of greatest comfort to anxious mothers waiting at home.
About 10% of the population is comprised of non-goat-kin Miloans. Called thus because they are often the souvenirs from a Miloan’s travels, a journeyborn is nonetheless raised and treated just the same as their goat-kin peers, with some exceptions (for example a human journeyborn would not have his or her Peregrination until they were 16 or 17 years old).
Elder Riam Kyo’Dorin: a journeyborn tortoise-kin, Riam Kyo’Dorin has been the Elder for 448 years. He is much loved by his people for his wisdom and even temper. While not to discriminate against non-journeyborn, it is certainly a comfort to have a leader whom everyone knows will be around to guide his people for more than the normal 15 year lifespan.
Opinions on other cultures
Anazatae: For as long as we can remember, the Anazatae have lived in the city below our villages. Many hundreds of years ago, our ancestors agreed to share our land with them. They tell us that they are indebted to us, but it is we who are grateful to them. They share their knowledge with us, give us guidance when we ask, and watch over us while we sleep.
Stradynites: They seem nice. Sure do grow nice fruits n’things too.
Garaltans: You know not to be rude or anything, but I just don’t get those folks.You know I heard that no one is allowed to leave in that country. At least, not without being banished. I mean how’re you supposed to understand the world if you never go out in it?
Ultans: Is it true? Do they really have mind powers? Do they live in mountains? Is it cold there?