Children are considered a mixed blessing in Wintermark, for every new child is another mouth to feed. While Wintermark has not suffered a major famine since it joined the Empire, there is still a tradition of giving new parents gifts of grain, or dried fruit, or meat to help celebrate the birth. Twins are considered unlucky by the Winterfolk, and it is still common for a childless friend or relative to adopt one of the twins and raise them as their own child even though the practical need to spread the burden of feeding babies and small children has mostly passed.
Older children are expected to work hard to help their parents. They are not allowed to fight before they are strong enough to hold a warrior’s sword at arm's length without shaking. No Thane will permit a child to take the battlefield with them unless they can pass this test.
Children are encouraged to talk to adults in the Hall, so that they may find a trade or calling that suits them, but never to pester them, lest they distract them from their business. Once a child is old enough to choose an apprenticeship, they are encouraged to stay close to their tutor where they can work to help. “Heroism is not found in the mouth” is an old Winterfolk saying. Even before then, children are expected to act and to be treated as small adults.
When playing amongst themselves, however, children are encouraged to be boisterous and energetic. Children are often given wooden practice swords and will divide themselves into orcs and warriors to play-fight it out. Some stormcrows enjoy the company of children and will spend their time teaching them the legends of Wintermark heroes of old to inspire them.
Things every child should know
- Stand on your own two feet. Every person in Wintermark should be able to stand up for themself.
- Heroism is not found in the mouth. Listen to what adults are saying, and avoid spreading tales. If you must tell someone, find a stormcrow and let them know what you have heard.
- Never back down when you know you are right. Never let anyone bully you or keep you from your rights. The Winterfolk stand firm and keep what is theirs.
- Be cunning as the Suaq, and wise as the Kallavesi. Learn about riddles and challenge each other with them. Riddles will sharpen your mind like a whetstone sharpens a sword.
- Choose your own path. Learn about all three traditions of the Winterfolk so that you can decide which one you wish to follow.