“Get the wax out of your ears.”
The Karate Kid* #quote
Tomorrow I'm going to go to my trading card game thing so that'll be a set of cardboard fun. I'm building a “cube” to do for it. Those into trading cards may know what that is...otherwise that would require a barrel full of explanation so I'll just roll onto the flash fiction!
Ignorance Of The Tali
The Tali family in possessed a unique trait. Magic flowed from their spirit. Powerful, harvestable magic. The entire Kingdom of Ulon befitted immensely from this flow. Make the hearts of the Tali pure and happy to create magic for all the wizards to use all the time. If their mind wavered then the entire kingdom could be affected. Spells could go awry.
So the royal family and the entire court raised the lineage of the Tali family with care. They studied them, learned that a degree of “pureness” to the line affected the magical output. Too much inbreeding at it could affect things negatively, too diluted and it reduced the magic or caused negative effects. The negative effects of a Tali could be so powerful and dangerous that they quietly executed the Talis that didn't turn out as planned. But the Talis that worked provided immense power.
From birth the Tali's were taught to behave well with minimal punishment and positive reinforcement. Each negative punishment affected a Tali ego and could cause massive damage to the Ulon kingdom, which after using the Tali power grew into an empire. The most important thing about raising a Tali to behave well involved making them content and not a “spoiled brat”. An upset in their ego like that could be disastrous. Ulon often took the babies into the mountains to minimize damage.
The biggest part of raising a Tali involved hammering in complete ignorance. The Tali knew very little sadness, and the nobles that raised the Tali refused to even teach them a word for sadness. They could express it with “less happy”. Physical pain worried the nobles the most because of the terrible, horrible magical side effects it caused.
Halun a Talin family adult of twenty five and his attendant Govun walked down a hall way in the Talin palace that housed several Talin families. The Talin's never knew about the terrible outside world, if they became depressed from it, disaster would surely strike.
When Goven saw Halun trip on the rug, he became terrified. Behind a few strands of the Talin's long, black hair that fell over his face he saw pain in Halun's eyes. Goven knew he failed. Should have caught him. They'll have his head for this. Goven thought forty wasn't a long life. Watching a Talin was a high honor, but a dangerous one, if nobody knew of his mess up he'd be safe right?
A massive thunderstorm formed outside while Halun held his knee in confusion. The nobles hired attendees like Goven to watch Halun all the time so the last time he felt pain was around twenty years ago. He'd completely forgotten the sensation. The thunderstorm intensified with each passing second as the damaged spirit of Halun leaked corrupted magic.
“Goven! What is this strange feeling? It's like touching something rough...but it makes me less happy.” Without the words pain or sadness in his vocabulary, or any synonyms the confusion built as the inability to express such a thing.
Goven replied, “I don't understand. You must be imagining something. How about you get up and let's keep going to lunch.” He felt like the best thing would be to sweep this under the rug. Hopefully Halun would think this was all a dream, dreaming being the only time their spirits didn't release magic. If the Talin forgot the incident the storm outside could vanish and Goven's saftey would be ensured.
The pain began to fade naturally, but still lingered on a bit physically. It stayed in full within Halun's mind, it even increased from his inexperience with the sensation. “This, this is real.”
Goven then said, “We should play a game while we walk. How about Compliments?” Compliments was the most contrived game invented by the nobles for comforting the Talins and distracting them. The players just spend the game giving each other compliments.
“You're, you're lying.” Halun told Goven. Nobles taught the Talin few negative concepts. They taught the Talin lying because they needed to teach the Talin not to lie. Halun stood up then purposely fell again. “This less happy. Why are you lying about it? Why?”
The storm outside grew more intense, with a vortex appearing inside of it. Dragons flew out.
“We shouldn't have less happy right?” Goven finally caved to confronting the subject, “So we should stop thinking about it.”
The unfortunate thing for Goven and perhaps the entire empire of Ulon lie in the fact that Halun possessed great enough intelligence to start shattered through the ignorance given to him from birth.
He began to grow more angry, “You say you only lie by accident, but that was on purpose. What else are you lying about?”
Goven knew that the protocol for a Talin discovering the possibilities of the sadness of the world involved executing them, but this would involve exposing that he did it. He didn't want to risk whether or not the nobles would take mercy on him for his behavior.
Goven thought of himself and Halun hanging on some quiet hill wherever the nobles normally executed people out of the public eye. He'd grown attached to Halun over the past few years attending him, and he wondered if the last attendant to Halun died from making a mistake. He also felt attached to his own life.
He then said to the Talin man, “If you want to know how many lies have been told to you then fine. But we'll have to leave right now. Before the nobles respond to the storm.” The Talin's had always been told that all side effects of their magic were shows put on by wizards. “Otherwise you stay here. You will be less happy if you come with me. But you will know more of the world.”
Halun then said, “World, so that's the word for what happens when you keep walking.” They always told the Talun that there was nothing beyond the palace. Beyond the hedges were just the homes of the people watching the Talin and the wizards who supposedly made everything for them and the horizon was supposed to all be a spell cast by the wizards for the Talin to look at. But Halun doubted it. He wondered what truly lie beyond. They never taught them the word for world so they wouldn't think of going beyond. So he just thought of it as “when you keep walking”.
“I want to go with you.” Halun told Goven. Finally he could walk. Where to he didn't know.