Despite the long title, I plan on keeping this blog post fairly short, to make up for the epic post I put up yesterday. 🙂
The challenge for Day Four of Sharon Bayliss‘s worldbuilding bloghop was to describe some aspects of the culture, such as foods, music, and how holidays are celebrated. I was unable to complete the week of challenges, because my week suddenly got very busy. But I’d like to post them anyway, for readers of the Dreams of Fire and Gods trilogy to refer back to.
The culture in Dasak is basically similar to medieval Europe and many of the of foods and drinks are the same: breads, sausages, ham, bacon, ales, etc. Sael and Koreh share a pork pie in one scene and have kikid eggs for breakfast. The kikid was described earlier—it’s a brown and white spotted game bird.
One common drink is stosum, which is an ale spiced with herbs that are are steeped in it after the majority of fermentation has completed. It is a very popular drink and each tondekan (a city-keep and it’s surrounding lands) has their own characteristic flavors.
The people of Dasak are fond of ballads and one of the popular ones making its way around the kingdom at the time of the story is called The Farmer of Dussikh. It’s described in book three:
Tanum sang a beautiful, tragic ballad that had been popular in the royal court about a year ago—one about a simple farmer who loved a nobleman. Every day, the nobleman’s carriage passed by the farm, on its way between the man’s estate and the city, and the farmer saw the handsome face of the nobleman in the carriage window. The farmer tried everything to get the attention of the nobleman, standing by the side of the road or riding alongside the carriage for a short distance on horseback. But the nobleman was always preoccupied with his day’s business affairs and never looked up to see him. Then one day, bandits attacked the nobleman’s carriage and killed his guards. They dragged him into the road and were about to slash his throat and steal all of his gold and jewels, when the farmer charged out of the forest brandishing nothing more than a hunting knife. He fought valiantly for the man he loved, killing all of the bandits, but he was mortally wounded in the battle. As he lay dying, the nobleman saw him clearly for the first time and was struck by how handsome he was. He held the farmer’s head in his lap and bent weeping to give him one tender kiss before he died.
Dancing is of course popular in the kingdom, with the peasants tending toward noisy, energetic group dances, with both men and women dancing together in lines or circles, while the nobles separate the men from the women. Court dances are also much more staid and “dignified.” Or, as the peasants like to say, “boring.”
There are a number of other cultural things I could go into, but I’ll just mention one more: the game of gönd. This is a popular gambling game with playing pieces of little wooden disks (known as “shields”) and little sticks (“swords”). Bets are placed and the playing pieces are tossed onto a table or the floor, at which point the score is calculated from the way the swords and shields touch each other. Someday, perhaps, I’ll write up the rules of the game. 🙂
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