The elders taught the children basic skills including, cooking, cleaning, building, hunting, foraging, caring for children, combat and much more. The children learned everything which they might need for survival in a harsh circumstance. Every day was a new lesson with the intention of being well rounded and an able contributor to the society.
The boy really showed no aptitude in any of the skills taught him. It wasn’t that he didn’t try, it just turned out the other children were better than he. The boy could eek out the bare minimum of requirements of the projects the elders would teach, but nothing more.
Surprisingly, the boy wasn’t frustrated by this as he continued to do his best. However, even younger children passed him in aptitude in some skills. A contributing factor may have been his tendency to space out or maybe a lack of mental acuity. He wasn’t stupid. Maybe his talents lay elsewhere.
The boy was most interested in girls. One girl, Riv, was his age and he liked her. Her black skin was showing signs of becoming a Water, which would make sense because she came from a whole family of Waters. Her father was the current WaTem (Water Ring Master) and his father before him. She had older brothers who were also Waters, so she didn’t expect to follow in her father’s footsteps, but it was a good lineage.
The boy didn’t know where his family came from. No one knew, or would tell him. He even approached the MaTem (Matriarch) of his village. Her creaky voice was kind, but she didn’t reveal anything that the boy didn’t already know.
The last battle between the WhiTem and the Guardians raged outside this very village. A young man dropped a baby boy off in the doorway of the MaTem and asked for forgiveness of the burden, then left. The young man was never seen again, the mother remained unknown.
There was no one else the boy could ask. The MaTem had every scrap of knowledge in the village in a book and in her head. It was her job to make sure everything she knew was written down so her successor could pick up where she left off, as successors had done for generations.
At last came the New Dark’s Day was upon them. This was the day the children who were of age would make their choices. They would take their steps towards becoming adults in the society.
Most children would choose from the basic: Water, Fire, Air, Earth. Fewer children chose: Sun, Moon, Plant, Lightning. Only one child, Slee, a girl, chose Dream. Only one child, Hum, a boy, chose People. He would very likely become VilTem when he got reached the age where he could best the current VilTem in skills aptitude.
When it came to the boy’s turn. He looked left. He looked right. The teacher asked him, “What element do you choose? Earth, Wind, Fire, or Water?”
The boy took a deep breath and said, “Or.”