Karameikos and Beyond
The Shearing Ceremony
The native Traladarans have a custom which is an important part of the Karameikan national character.
Called the Shearing Ceremony, it was developed in the village of Marilenev (Specularum) and was in common use there and in surrounding areas in the centuries before Thyatis conquered Traladara. Since that time, improved trade with the inland communities has spread the Shearing Ceremony throughout the land. When Duke Stefan and the Thyatian settlers came, they were acquainted with the ceremony and generally adopted it.
It goes something like this:
When a Karameikan youth approaches adulthood, either he will approach his parents or they will approach him with the news that it is time for the Shearing.
Soon after, at a dinner to which other family members or village leaders may be invited, the youth stands silent while his parents solemnly dress him in the traveling gear. The bottom of his cloak is sheared off and left ragged as a reflection of his condition: That of an impoverished traveler.
From that time, the sheared youth is considered a friend of the family but not part of it. He must make his own way in the world until the family decides he is worthy of the clan. Usually, living apart from the clan for a few years and participating in acceptable adventures or trading ventures is proof that the youth is able to prosper on his own; when his parents reach the conclusion, he is invited to another dinner, at which time he is presented with a garment bearing the clan’s markings or coat or arms. This indicates that he is once again part of the family.
All young men between the ages of 14 and 19 are Sheared. (Usually, the lad approaches his parents first, because it’s an embarrassment to wait so long that they come to you.) Young women are not approached by their parents, but may insist that they be Sheared. Being Sheared and living away from the family for a few years is a good way for a young woman to earn respect within her family.
When the Thyatians came to Karameikos, they saw in the ceremony a way to separate the worthwhile from the parasitic in their own families, and adopted the custom.
A Sheared youth from a titled family is not considered to have any title until he is invited by his family to rejoin their ranks.
Shearing is a human custom, not shared by the demi-humans of Karameikos.