T'was the first day of my adulthood, and my parent's wouldn't even see me off into the night. The first
night was always the hardest, you had to leave at sundown with nothing but the clothes on your back and a knife and make
it through the Forsaken woods, then later onto the fortnight long journey to Malsibath. Once in Malsibath you will be
paired with a suitor, and become wed. If you don't bare children in the first year of your adulthood, you'd be forced to
take in a foundling. Not through court, but by killing a mother and father.
It was a great shame if you were to take in a foundling, but even greater if you didn't have a child at all. The rules
were like this ever since the endangering war. The war killed off almost all of upper Pintalou, and forced the
government to put procreation of the cognitive people's top priority. As soon as a female bled, and as soon as a male
begun growing pubic hair was when they became adults.
I'm only fourteen, but my nameday isn't long from now. I'll be fifteen by the time I reach Malsibath, I assume. If I
make it, of course. The only reason they put children and adolescents through this when they reached their "producing
age" was because they wanted strong women and men to produce even stronger offspring. Not sure what that entitled, but
my mother told me that they wanted fertile babies, and the fertility of the pair depended on their ability to endure
the Forsaken woods and make the trek to Malsibath with whatever means they had. I don't believe that was entirely true,
because my biggest secret was that I was a foundling. My parents were quick to make their names known in Malsibath by
reaching there each in under a fortnight on barefoot. And yet, they didn't meet each other until the line up.
When they were paired by the Mother, everyone had such high hopes for a beautiful young child, and then another and
another. You can only have one foundling, but you are allowed to try for another afterwords. They've been trying for
fourteen and a half years, and now you see why it's not always survival of the fittest.