Falsin is one of the Shifting Isles, originally the northernmost reaches of the land before the Breaking of the World. Being so far from the path of the primary sun, Falsin is a land of constant ice and snow. The Falsiners are organized into clans and under the rule of a king.
The Falsiners are the giants of the world, the smallest of them over six feet in height, while most reach eight feet or more. Besides their height, they are easily identifiable by their silver eyes, black hair (worn long, and braided through with wolf claws to display one’s success at the hunt), and icy-pale skin. To other races, they appear like living marble, their expressions so subtle that they seem to lack any emotion whatsoever, and they are physically incapable of crying. Their senses are unmatched: They can hear better and see farther than any other beings in the world. Hence, their high demand as lookouts on the Libertas fleet out of Agoran.
Falsiners are prone to higher body temperatures due to their icy habitat, and dress in furs made from the wolves and elk that they hunt. Families are close-knit, as are the clans, and many of them share shelters and bedding, though the sexes are kept apart. Premarital sex between man and woman is absolutely forbidden, and masturbation is frowned upon. However, homosexual affairs are always welcome (even to the point of incestuous relations) as the Falsiners have rampant libidos, and embracing such intimacy prevents premarital pregnancies. Touching another man’s woman is punishable by having the right hand removed at the wrist, making the man as good as dead since he can no longer wield an ax or spear.
Parents have no say in a child’s choice of mate. Courting is entirely up to the individuals involved. When a man wishes to pursue a woman, he brings her a slain wolf and a felled tree to prove he can provide food and shelter. Marriages often occur as young as age fourteen or fifteen as life is harsh and short. Most Falsiners don’t live past the age of forty.
Important life events are done under witness of the clan. When it comes to marriage, for example, if a woman accepts a man’s offerings, she will give him oral sex while the clan watches, accepting his seed as a demonstration that she accepts his ability to provide her with sustenance. Coming-of-age trials are also done publicly, though are more heavily required for boys than for girls. A boy’s manhood trials include his first solo hunt, and if he is successful in taking down a beast on his own, he is rewarded by receiving his first sexual encounter from his father, the father’s seed bracketing the boy’s childhood, after which a boy may engage in any other homosexual activity he wishes as well as pursue courting a potential female lifemate. Most life celebrations include a performance of the rhaks-anak, Falsin’s ancient tribal dance, combining dancers and drums and telling the story of life in their icy land. The dance is traditionally performed in the nude.
The technology of Falsin is limited to fire and crude hand tools, though the Falsiners are famed for their axes and spears. They are skilled hunters and gatherers, able to move swiftly and silently despite their large size, and build crude shelters out of wood and stone. Considered primitive or savage to the rest of the world, the Falsiners keep mostly to themselves, rarely venturing from their homeland unless exiled.
The Falsiners have precisely three exports: the beykana (white, winged creatures, similar to but larger than a horse), which are sold exclusively to Jadu’n for the use of the magi; emlaris, or diamonds, which are mined from within their mountain halls; and yangkemi, an addictive drug that increases body temperature, heart rate, and sensory experience. Yangkemi is a silver powder in appearance, and is made from the ground-up bones of Falsiners. When a Falsiner dies, his body is stripped and laid out in the snow, giving food back to the wolf packs from which the Falsiners hunt, thus completing the circle of life. Once the wolves have devoured all the soft tissue, the bones are collected and ground into powder, so nothing goes to waste and nothing has to be buried, as the land is so frozen that burial would be impossible.
Falsin is featured in:
- Addiction (Shifting Isles Series, Book 7)
- Ice on Fire (Treble and the Lost Boys Trilogy, Book 1)
- Blindsighted (Shifting Isles Series, Book 8)
- Heavens Aground (Treble and the Lost Boys Trilogy, Book 2)
- Illumined Shadows (Treble and the Lost Boys Trilogy, Book 3)
- Libertas (Shifting Isles Series, Book 9)