Superstition is an integral part of any culture. In Ibvail, there is a strong belief that even numbers are less lucky than odd. The number 2 is the most unlucky of numbers, and that anything involving it will have ill luck. The belief that odd numbers are better reflects the teachings of the Ibvailyn Path, in that there are 7 gods, and that balance must come in three parts. The number 2 being the worst of numbers stems back to a time before the Path had spread to all Ibvail. The people were in scattered bands, struggling to survive in the harsh climate, and a magician called Prodem had just lost his two-year-old daughter. His grief conjured up a death-plague that swept over all of Ibvail and killed all children of two and twelve years, and made gravely ill all that were in their twenties.
Although no Ibvailyns remember (and very few ever knew in the first place) that Prodem caused this, the ramifications on Ibvailyn culture are clear:
-Two people never live in a house alone. When a couple marries, they either live with another family member until they have a child or take in an orphan. (There are those who do not do this, of course, but they are often regarded as outsiders and very few people will associate with them. Lacey’s parents ignored this superstition and for a long time were feared by neighbors.)
-Second floors of buildings are never used for private chambers.
-Many parents give their two-year-old children to the Walkers for the year in hopes that they will be protected.
-Twenty-two is regarded as an age best suited for simple tasks. Many people this age do not engage in many social activities, do not travel, and do not marry.
Culture is a complex thing, in which reasons for certain practices and beliefs are not always clear. So even though the characters might not know the reason for their superstitions, the writer has to. The writer must be consistent, and the only way to be consistent is to know all the details, all the reasons, every character’s quirk and every story behind the superstitions.
Take care, fellow travelers.