Wednesday, 12 November 2014


Tabitha Falkayn's grandparents were accepted into Highsky Choth which occupies a long stretch of the Oronesian archipelago and controls the fisheries around latitude 30 degrees north. Perhaps a quarter of the choth are human. Smaller eccentric Oronesian choths, sometimes only a single household,  expect their children to form separate communities.

Tabitha's parents and their children grew up in Highsky. Because her parents were lost at sea when she was young, an Ythrian family adopted her. They encouraged her to observe the Highsky custom of a wandertime. Thus, she spent several years in human country over most of Avalon as an itinerant huntress, trapper, sailor and prospector. She won enough at poker for her share in a private commercial fishery business that she runs in partnership with the Ythrian Draun of Highsky. Thus, human economic practices influence the choth.

Tabitha lives entirely among Ythrians on St Li in the archipelago. In my first year or so at school, a performance of Alice In Wonderland was advertised with posters showing Alice with the Gryphon, a child with a monster, as I thought, although Alice did not look frightened. Now, of course, I know Alice as a work of literature as the teachers and parents would have done at the time. Tabitha grows up entirely surrounded by winged, feathered, proud carnivores - but takes them for granted.

Tabitha smokes a pipe and says, "'Most of us [in Highsky] keep to the Old Faith, you know.'" (Rise Of The Terran Empire, p. 502), although I am not sure whether she means to include herself in the "Most of us..."

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